Former Ally of the Batman

July 30, 2016:

Bluebird invites Red Hood into her trust; Red Hood shows her a kindness.

REDACTED

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Nightwing, Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

After the talk with Iron Guard, and watching the police gather up the men that they both just had taken down.. Harper was feeling it. She thought she had enough time to get back home or at least to a better part of the city so she could park the bike and walk to where she needed to, but there was a scream and she was already veering in that direction…

…a few minutes later, Harper stumbles out of the darkness of the alleyway, leaning against the wall, holding her hand against her chest as she curls over and begins to walk. A few people would consider her a drunkard by the way she staggers, her feet carrying her in which ever direction, ducking into a wrong turn of an alleyway again which happens to house a door at the side. First, there was a bang. And another.. Harper slinging herself against it repeatedly until the door itself gives. She stumbles forward, falling upon the ground upon her side, her foot striking out to kick the door closed as she slowly rolls to lay flat upon her back, her arms spread out in a come to jesus moment as she lets out a wheeze of a breath.

Man.. she was only nineteen and she felt fifty.

The initial bang against the door had a gun out and aimed at the opening — he usually had the alarm on, but he was inside, puttering about and getting ready to move items from this Safehouse to another.

He certainly wasn't expecting company.

The persistance has him moving so that he has a better vantage point and the unknown entrant might have less, the guns still raised and aimed. He was expecing thugs, maybe a mafioso or drug lord. He certainly wasn't expecting a young woman, and certainly not one that he's seen before. He doesn't put the guns away until he's sure that the girl isn't here for him. The fact that she is flat on her back and wheezing, however, seems enough to convince him that he's not her target. Although, it sure looks like she was someone else's.

Stepping into the dim light, his helmet pulled on over his head to disguise his features and voice, Red Hood puts the pistols away and pauses just at the girl's head, "You want me to call an ambulance or one of the Bats to retrieve you?"

Her eyes close for a moment, all she needed was a second to get her bearings. The room was spinning so much that if she turned an odd way she was sure that she was going to throw up. But she didn't. She just closes her eyes. Focusing, putting herself at a safe space until she quite literally felt someone enter into her personal bubble and her eyes snap open just at the sound of his voice. She knows that voice.

"Wha?" Wait.. Criminal alert! He gave her a good and solid smack with his guns and left her to rot!

"Aw hell no!" Though, as soon as she lifts that shoulder she's down again, the floor feeling mighty fine from where she stood. Plus there was that cool breeze from below. The air from outside kicking in that made it feel almost air conditioned.

"If.. if I say no to either would you let me sit here and you not try to bash my brains in while I recoup?"

That helmeted head merely looks down at the girl befor ehe steps over her to close the door. No need letting anyone snoop around. He tries to re-latch the deadbolt and turns when it refuses to lock properly. "You did a number on my door. Good thing I'm leaving this particular place for another. I should really charge you to get it fixed though."

Leaning on the now-closed door he looks at the girl again. "You sure about that? I mean, you look to be in pretty bad shape." He will also point out,

That helmeted head merely looks down at the girl befor ehe steps over her to close the door. No need letting anyone snoop around. He tries to re-latch the deadbolt and turns when it refuses to lock properly. "You did a number on my door. Good thing I'm leaving this particular place for another. I should really charge you to get it fixed though."

Leaning on the now-closed door he looks at the girl again. "You sure about that? I mean, you look to be in pretty bad shape." He will also point out, "You're the one who walked in on -me-, toots. My house, my rules. But I'm feeling generous." She hasn't interrupted any deals. Yet.

Bluebird was holding her breath, even closing one eye and keeping the other one open as he finally steps over her. She breathes out a sigh of relief, one hand crossing over her chest as she tries to sit upright. Nope. No dice. She's totally done..

"Ooh, not enough people for you to rob and what not?" She hisses out, even her lungs sounded a little bit bubbily. "But whatever, you leave and I'm totally claiming this place since I'm bleeding all over the floor. Personal touches.."

Finally, she forces it, grunting loudly as she sits upright, that shock of pain took her breath away as she leans her head forward, huffing and puffing. "Fine.. your house your rules.. Just.. I'll abide by them and all. But, once we get out of that door it's going to be a fight, I gotta turn you in, yo. They're still looking for someone who fits your description."

"You've got balls, I'll give you that," Red Hood offers before he crouches down opposite the girl. "What are they calling you, huh? And that doesn't sound good. Fine, no ambulances, but you should really get that looked at before you end up with a collapsed lung. Those are no fun at all." He shrugs and looks around.

"You can have it if you really want it. Door's broken though."

"You gotta in this line of business.." And it was true. Why be a villain if you don't have the moxy to back it up? And why be a vigilante if you didn't possess the same?

"Bluebird.." She states, clenching her teeth. She knew that it was bad, but she also knew herself. She could hold off for a long time until she gets to that special place, where Bruce had the hookup of a good nurse and a few doctors who won't ask questions.

"Nothing a lil' duct tape and screws can't fix." She narrows her eyes faintly, then holds out her arm. "Mind helping a girl up? And what do they call you?"

"What's with the Bird theme already? But ok, Bluebird." He places a hand to his chest, "Red Hood. Pleasure. And I'll help you up as long as you don't have any weird taser thing in hand that you're going to try and taze me with. Your buddy, Nightwing, tried that already. Didn't do much. Also, I can still shoot you since you're not exactly at the top of your game at the moment."

He will, however, reach to help hoist her up by her arm…not her hand. "Want me to call you a cab or something? I'd give you a ride myself, but frankly, I don't trust your sort."

"Hey! My name is different. Still a bird but dammit, different!" While she was keen to argue about her name, she wasn't keen on being helped up as she was. She wanted to hold hands, dammit, but this way? It actually felt a little bit better.

"I'm not going to tase you. Though I could. But I'm not.. And I highly think if Nightwing failed, I'd fail harder.." Plus, she wasn't in the mood. For once she was actually at someone elses mercy, and she wasn't too keen on rocking the boat while she was in dire straights. "I left my bike around here somewhere. I got turned around a bit. I don't think it'll be too kosher of me getting into a cab dressed as I am. No doubt I'd either be beaten or turned into the police myself for a reward.."

She chuckles a little, then… actually, surprisingly leans on him for a bit of support. "Why is that? I mean yeah, you're on the bad side of the law but.. I seem to remember you not liking us Batfolk as a whole."

"You're not in any shape to ride a bike anywhere," Red Hood points out. "I could probably get the bike and bring it in, but for what?" As for the taxi, she's not too wrong. He seems a little startled as she leans against him, but he brings her over to a chair to sit, "Why I don't like the Batfolk? That's on a 'need to know' basis and you don't. Who do you want me to call to pick you up. I can get you somewhere remote."

"Yeah, I don't know -why- you'd want to do that. You might like it too much and ask to borrow it.." Okay, her attempts at being funny were failing. In fact, she felt pretty lame saying it. "Sorry.." She really doesn't say much as he helps her to the chair, grunting softly as she's slowly lowered onto it, letting out a breath of air as she leans her head back to close her eyes. "Well.." She starts out..

"No one." Which, is kind of sad. "To be honest, I haven't been in contact with anyone much lately." She seemed a little bit sad about that, but she was sure he didn't want to hear her sob story. "But regardless, it would be nice to know. Maybe I can fix it."

"Then you should go see some medical sort. Even if it's not the hospital, I know they keep a few doctors in their back pocket," Red Hood moves to lean against a nearby table, his arms crossed as he observes her. "I doubt sending you off with an ice pack and a couple of tylenol will really be advantageous. If some of those goons get you, you're as good as dead."

He tenses some when she offers to fix 'it', he gives a bitter laugh, "Cute. But you can't."

"Trust me, I plan on it." Harper lifts her hand to show her broken fingers, held together by medical tape and nothing else. "Ice pack wouldn't hurt though. Neither would tylenol if you got it. I'll pay you back some kind of way, I owe you one.. Red Hood." She confirms his name with a slight wince of her eye, then a shrug of her shoulders. She knew that if she was caught.. it.. just wouldn't end pretty. "I guess I'm staying here then." And.. that was that.

"You say that I can't, but you don't know that. You don't even know me. Hell.. I don't even know -you-. And chances are? We probably won't see each other again, so.. why not? Throw caution into the wind. Give a little and I'll do the same. Pinky swears on it. Y'know?"

Dammit. She's going to make him call one of them. This was -not- what he wanted, but he goes over to a box to pull out one of the burner phones there. Red Hood looks at the girl before he goes a little deeper into the building, returning shortly with an ice pack from the freezer, a bottle of tylenol, and a bottle of water. Both bottles are opened for her before he speaks into the phone.

"I have one of your's here. She's pretty beat up and won't take a cab. Come get her." The address is given and he hangs up, dropping the burner phone to the floor and smashing it with his boot.

"You. Can't. It doesn't matter who you are. Unless you can go back in time, you can't and even then, why bother? So no. You are not getting my story to bring back to them."

Damn, was he trying to get rid of her so easily? All she wanted was a frickin nap! And a good conversation, which she wasn't going to easily get.

"Oh c'mon! Who did you call?!" And this is why they won't let Harper out to play much. If at all. She didn't have the good training that the rest of the crew had. ALl in all, compared to the rest of them? She totally sucked. And we'll not get on the prospects of her diet. Hot cheetoes does not maketh the hero!

"Hey. If I could go back in time, a lot of this crap wouldn't have happened. You know? I'd probably be -long- gone from Gotham with a good scholarship in a good neighborhood and my parents, god bless, may or may not still be together. Though, my dad is a shit person and who knows about my mom.." Her gaze wanders off, ever so slightly.

"So you know what? Screw it." Harper's fingers latch against her mask, pulling and tugging it off to set upon the table, her fingers rubbing against her face after she reveals herself, then pours out two of the asprin, snatching them up to pop into her mouth to chew. Water comes next.

"You're going to get my story then. And you're going to be in my trust. No choice now, you saw my face."

Red Hood shrugs, "If you like." He notes her face as she removes her mask, but he doesn't return in kind. His own mask remains on. "You still aren't getting my story and I'd say you have about twenty five minutes before they arrive to come get you. Less if they bring one of the 'mobiles'."

So he obviously knows some of Batman's toys and knows how to reach…someone.

And Harper knows this. If he's called someone.. and he readily gave out an address, and she was one of 'theirs'.. it had to be one of two people. Batman himself, or Alfred. And he said 'mobiles'. Yeah, she had a pretty good guess as to whom he called and why. Thankfully, it wasn't the other.. five? Six? It was getting too hard to count.

"I got a kid to take care of." She starts out. "My brother. He's gay." She puts that out there. "And you know how people are. They really didn't look too kindly on that. At school, even at home. I kind of figure that my dad had a sense that my brother was different than what he liked because he wasn't out there thieving, so he tried to beat my brother to hell and back but thankfully, he liked me a bit more. Took more beatings than I can count on fifty peoples fingers." She snorts. Bitter.

"I think what is worse is the kids and the people in the neighborhood. Live in the Narrows. I had to stick to him like glue just to keep the heat off of him but half of the time I wasn't there. Want to know who actually helped? Batman." She nods at that. "The local gang were about to stab my brother an' me. He just showed up out of thin air and stopped them. Put the fear in them, you know? Only that he could. Then he was gone." She shrugs. "Part ways? You remind me of him a wee bit. I mean, you scare me sure. Everyone practically does. But you're stubborn, just like that ol' coot."

Red Hood just listens, not moving for his guns and not moving from his lean against the table. Is he asleep behind the helmet? Possibly, but then he asks ater a moment, "How's your brother now? He doing ok?" He then leans forward some, "So you decided to team up with them in thanks for helping your brother? Let me give you a bit of advice: Get the Hell out of Gotham."

Harper lifts a hand to wave it side to side. "So so. Going to school is still a bit perilous. Since I've graduated I can't keep an eye on him. But if something is going on, he's not telling me about it. Walking home is a crapshoot all in itself. I stole one of Batman's old drones to try to watch him while I'm at work."

Harper does laugh though, her head shaking faintly. "You actually got that part wrong. I didn't join up just for thanks. I kinda forced myself in. Didn't take no for an answer." She does frown a touch. "I'm not leaving Gotham until my brother graduates. Once he graduates and gets into one of those fancy schools far away from here? I can probably finally rest. Maybe attend the same college as him, maybe settle down.." Harper grins, though she looks rather odd with a black eye. "Sounds fun, right?"

"He won't graduate if he gets beaten to death," Red Hood points out. "What happens if a drone catches someone pulling a gun on him? People -do- move schools. It's not unheard of. If it's a money thing, just ask the Big Bat." Not that he has any connection to the brother, but it seems odd for that to be a reason why she's staying.

"And take my advice. Get out of the vigilante business before it gets you killed. You seem clever…you could probaly be doing a lot better than getting beaten up and falling into a murderer's den."

"Yeah, it's a money thing but.. Cullen loves Gotham. I don't know why. I guess it's that whole thing where if you're born here, you'll die here. Sooner or later." She picks up the ice pack and puts it to her jaw, her eyes closing. "Batman doesn't have any money." Alright.. there are some things she does have to keep to herself. Like who Batman really is. "And I'm not too keen on asking for a handout. We're talking a total uproot of our lives. Trust me, he's better off getting into a school on scholarships than us living in the streets with no food to eat."

"See? You sound like'em. He said the same thing to me at least.. three times." She cringes, then gives Red Hood a wry smile. "It's a guy thing, isn't it? It so is.."

"Who cares? I love Venice, but you don't see me living there, do you?" Red Hood shakes his head before he pushes away from the table and moves further into the building. He's gone for a couple of minutes, no answer to her accusation that he sounds like the Bats or that it's a 'guy' thing. Instead, he returns with a duffel bag and tosses it at her feet. "That should be enough to get you and your brother out of here. No one should be forced to live and die here, especially at your age. The Bats will get you killed, even if you -are- careful."

"You're kinda dumb to -not- live there.." Harper points out. Hell, if she's been there, she'd love it too and never come home. But.. as he disappears, she has time to think. Time to rest. Her eyes closing.. a faint little snort drawn upon her lips as she inhales and exhales.. not even noticing when he returns until the bag is thrown at her feet.

She shoots upright, wincing, her hand gripping her sides as she looks down towards the bag and up towards him, her expression bewildered..

"..wha.. I.." If that was money.. which she knows it is.. Her foot thumps against it to move it and test its weight, her scowl gone towards Hood then.. "..I didn't tell you my story for a handout.. what the hell!? Nevermind me getting killed but… you don't even -know- me!"

"Then consider it a loan and you can pay me back," even though he's planning on not being found. "You can scowl all you want at me, 'Bluebird' but it'll make my wizened, black heart grow a size or two knowing that I spared someone the shit life of a vigilante in Gotham. Do you even understand what could happen?" Red Hood steps closer then, looming some over the younger woman, "If they find out who you are, they'll link your brother to you…and they'll use him to get to you and the rest of the Bats. They won't go as easy on you as I did."

Harper was too headstrong to listen before. Now? After the horrors that she's seen, the many sleepless nights? How she'd often times wake up crying with only her brother to console her? Maybe her heart wasn't in it.

Even as Red Hood looms over her, she leans back, a little look of shock and realization settling into her features as she gazes down towards the bag. She was.. angry. She was sad. She was afraid. More so afraid. She was in this to give Cullen a better life, and now he was accompanying her on missions, being a voice in her ear and keys upon the keyboard where she couldn't.. how could she?

The light-tuned beep of the horn outside the door hand her slowly shifting forward, the ice pack dropped upon the table, her mask slowly tugged on and fixed upon her face to hide her identity. There wasn't any words to say at the moment, she knew and felt that he was right.

As she stands upon her own two feet with a grunt and a quiet whimper, she leans forward with the same slowness, grasping the bag to hitch it upon her shoulder. She took his words to heart.. somewhat..

"I.." No. She couldn't say a word. But as of now? This second?

Her name -was- Bluebird. Former Ally of the Batman.

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