Red Devil Ruckus

February 07, 2017:

Red Robin saves The Dark Devil when an errand of justice goes wrong.

The Narrows, Gotham

A festering cesspool of hovels, back alleys, and gangland utopia.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman, Spoiler, Jessica Jones, Zatanna Zatara, Burger King


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…



The new recruit wasn't taking calls, but her communicator was still on. She might even be able to hear anything on the wide band, but if she did, it doesn't show. Instead, there is just her tracking signal, leading straight into The Narrows. Right into The Skulldugger's territory.

Despite the ever present action of the police and a dozen or more vigilantes, the sewer-skulking gang had somehow kept going. One theory was their leader had magical abilities. Another was that they'd been perfecting a new drug based on the 'mists' that had popped up around the world ever since Apocalypse had tried to end it.

Whatever the truth was, circumstance had not allowed a full investigation, and The Dark Devil was mostly unaware of it, her business here almost run of the mill, at least for a shitty place like Gotham. Azalea given one of the girls she knew here her number.

'If they come back. Call me.'

She never called. Azalea had to read about her in the obituaries. Tonight was not about investigation, root causes, or some greater truth. Tonight was about justice.

The alley sings with the sound of battle, a gunshot rings out to deafen the air, and a baseball bat collides with an armguard before it's sent back into the face of the man who swung it. A smash of face against brick, sickening and satisfying, followed by the snap of a knee joint as it bends to far.

She is outnumbered. She is outgunned. But she does not stop.

She's narrowed the odds from eight to four, but more punches are slipping in. More blows landing without deflection, forcing her into a defensive posture that begins to give the Skull-Painted, tattooed freaks some semblance of hope, that they might best The Devil Herself.

The 'new recruit' had been described to Red Robin as something of a handful, and his admittedly limited experiences with her hadn't exactly given him cause to disagree.

He's rarely around the Batcave, these days, a fact that had led Spoiler to all but plead with him to not be so withdrawn: He had, as something of an olive branch, offered to help out with the girl she was trying to mentor, a task which the Batman had also asked him about, though it had gotten lost in the shuffle of other things.

Now, though, it turns out that there's trouble, just when he's in the mood for the same. The shadow on the edge of one of the rooftops overlooking the alleyway is all but invisible. It's just not in human nature to look /up/, to check for threats above one's normal eyeline. Even in Gotham, with its peculiar ecosystem of masked vigilantes and larger-than-life super criminals, most people just haven't developed such a useful survival skill.

There's a quiet, quiet sound as something hits the alley's disgusting floor: A pair of small spheres that suddenly, loudly burst and erupt into a field of obscuring smoke, the greyish haze filling much of the alley in a matter of seconds.

And then in one of those seconds, about two hundred pounds of muscle, bone, kevlar and leather drops on one of the Skullduggers, the gunman, without a word.

There's a grim little smile on Red Robin's visible mouth as he rises up, his profile obscured in the smoke and the dark, the white lenses set into his cowl glowing faintly. /He/ can see perfectly, see the heat of bodies, the elecricity that courses through their systems with every nerve impulse, see their hearts race with fear and excitement. Like this, the lines of his costume almost match those of the Bat himself, though his cowl lacks the ears. Still, even a moment of hesitation works in his favour; it would be ridiculous to think that Red Robin never considered that possible advantage when he picked his current look.

He doesn't warn the gangers to run. He doesn't want them to back down. His staff extends silently, and then suddenly he's armed, a six-foot length of metal alive in his hands, wielded by one of the few true masters of such a deceptively simple weapon.

"What the /FUCK/?!"

"Another one? POP PILLS! POP PILLS!"

"JUST BULLSHIT, GE-" The gunman goes silent while trying to reach for his dropped weapon, when Red Robin decided to make a landing pad of him, the sound of his body crumpling, of his chin shattering against pavement is the end of their rallying cry as smoke obscures and the stage is set.

One begins running, all the nerve he has left sucked out with the sound of his friend's modeling career ruined at Red Robin's feet, awhile another hears the click of the staff, sees the looming shadow somewhere in the dark, and slams home the chamber of his sawed off double barrel to complete his reload, a single blast leveled at hip height and sent in the general direction of the Newest Demon in the night.

There's one more person cursing, and it isn't the last gang member.

Pain bleeds through her skin and sings from her bones, and it's fuel for The Devil Inside, unleashing more of her monster, just as the smoke fills the alley and rushes around her. Her, and her very normal, low-tech domino mask.


The weight of the creature that hits her is to much to be a normal man's, and somewhere, a dozen or so feet away from Red Robin, The Dark Devil goes for a ride over the top of an old, burned out car to crash beneath four hundred pounds of hulking muscle.
Another shotgun blast will ring out in Robin's direction shortly after the first, a small obstacle between him and the bigger fight as Red Robin's optics show him the truth: One of the Skullduggers did pop pills, and what happened to him is not unlike someone taking the Venom serum, a bulging mass of crazed, horned muscles that tackles Gotham's newest Batling into concrete.

The grunt is breath stealing, but The Dark Devil doesn't intend for it to be her last, and she tucks her legs, pushing out with all that she's got to keep the beast's momentum going to send him tumbling into the alley wall. What happens next is a mad scramble: The Devil finding her feet, Hulkdugger finding his, blows filling the space between as the diminutive form of Azalea Kingston tries to stand against a sudden, meta-human threat amidst the backdrop of crushing smoke.

Fuck, indeed.

One of the things about the Code is that it inherently, and indeed /intentionally/, leads to asymmetrical warfare.

The other guys can have guns. Oftentimes, the other guys /will/ have guns. You will not. There will be many of them, and usually only one of you.

That's what makes it scary when you win.

Red Robin doesn't stay still. He's been doing this too long, he's fought this war since he was a child. In the smoke, in the dark, he moves like the shadow itself, disappearing as the shotgun fires the first time. It's not clear if anything hit or didn't, which is also quite intentional. To fight like this, you can't simply be a fragile human being: You have to be fear and mystery in the shape of a person, an urban legend that decided to drop out of the sky and really ruin someone's day. You have to leave them wondering if they hit you or not. If hitting you would even make a difference.

But it's clear that he's not the only one with tricks up his sleeve, as one of the Skullduggers takes /something/, increasing his mass, his strength, his rage. And that it's directed at the Devil, who might be extremely tough… But she's not invincible.

A second shot, Red Robin still moving, and that's his signal to act. The figure in black and red all but melts out of the smoke in front of the shotgun-wielding Skulldugger, one gloved hand grabbing the double barreled weapon, twisting, wrenching, pushing just so - to disengage the barrels, to dismantle the gun, cracking the man across his skull-painted face with the removed barrel.

He might not /use/ guns, but that doesn't mean he doesn't /understand/ them. Hours spent blindfolded, practicing with different pistols, different rifles, until he could take them apart in seconds, without looking.

Unless the Skulldugger is extremely careful, his ankle is caught, and then a faint mechanical *whirr* becomes audible in the few seconds it takes to yank him up into the air by that ankle, like a badly-designed pinata. The possibility of a twelve-foot drop onto their head usually causes most goons to simmer down, and drop whatever they might be carrying.

Which leaves the big one.

Even as large and crazed as the Hulkdugger is, he'll probably notice when something about half his size lands on his back, when Red Robin tries to hook his staff under the madman's jaw, to wrench him and his attention away from the Devil. Already, he's thinking. Calculating a dozen plans to try to end this nonlethally. Not knowing exactly what the thug took is a problem, but he can make a few deductive leaps.

"I think the little lady's had enough," rasps Red Robin's electronically modulated voice. "They don't like it when you come on too strong, big guy."

With the other threats neutralized, the world becomes a battlefield of three, and finally it seems as if numbers are on The Dark Devil's side. Which is good. Because she isn't winning this fight.

As much as she keeps up with it's enhanced speed and agility, as much as being able to read some of it's movements in the fading smoke, it is a monster, it is stronger, and The Dark Devil refuses to back down.

A massive fist comes in, and a blocking strike intercepts at the wrist so that the neonate Batling can make room to wade in, her diminutive frame driving every inch and ounce of power from the ground up, every measure of technique and inherited knowledge focusing a blow that would feel more like a a three hundred pound bruiser's than a hundred and twenty pound girl's. Each strike digs deep, meant to power past the outer layer of hardened flesh, the same technique masters use to break the fourth brick down, instead of the first.

But it is not enough. Blows pepper it around the ribs, one shot impacts where it's liver should be, a felling blow for anything else, but not This Thing. The retaliation sends a fist careening into her face, and her block does little to stop it from sending her shoulder-first into the alley wall. The next fist catches brick when she dodges, another catches her ribs and sends her off her feet, oblivious to gravity in that terrible moment.
She's stunned, and can't get out of the way of what's coming next. A blow that should cave her head in. But then there's Red Robin, his weight on the creature's back jarring it from it's mission, and his staff sending it's hands up and back to reach for it's new foe.


It's cry echoes as a roar, deafening, and somewhere overhead lightning cracks the sky and thunder follows his cry for blood.

Odd. The weather was supposed to be clear tonight.

There's a clang as The Dark Devil snatches an aluminum bat from the ground, dropped by someone she had felled earlier, and without remorse she swings, plowing it first into the Hulkdugger's face to send both it and Red Robin staggering sidelong, and then at one of it's knees, forcing it to put a hand against the alley wall to keep it's balance.

"Who…the fuck.. you calling /little/?!" The Devil Inside's affront becomes her strength to keep fighting, until a sharp kick from Hulkdugger sends her rolling across the alley and into the side of a dumpster, her bat clanging away.

Now the odds are even, and slowly Red Robin will feel his staff coming away from that throat.

In the position he's in currently, just about all Red Robin can do for the moment is hold on, and avoid getting caught by those hands. It wouldn't be good - he's fought people with superhuman strength before, and it's not very pleasant when you're essentially just a normal human - and so he hunkers down lower, keeps his hands closer to the sides of the hulked-out ganger's neck, tries to keep himself out of reach while he distracts it from the attempt to fist-murder Devil.

And it… Seriously?

"Yeah we all liked Warhammer when we were fourteen," he mutters irritably, though where any thunder and lighting came from the masked vigilante can't begin to imagine… Or spare much thought to worry about. It's a do or die situation, which tends to create a narrowing of focus. You need to live in the here and now, at times like these, or you'll find yourself not living at all.

The close impact of the bat against the Hulkdugger's face has him crouching lower, pulling tighter on the staff to try and wrench the exceptionally burly man away from the Devil, to try and lure him into making some kind of a mistake, though the young woman doesn't seem to have appreciated his banter either.

The world shifts as the Hulkdugger is nearly upended by the bat to the knee, as the Devil gets kicked away, and now it's time to try something different.

The staff is suddenly yanked away, pulled back from underneath the ganger's chin, and Red Robin himself kicks off a heartbeat later, flipping backwards into the slowly-dissipating smoke. Perhaps to try and draw the big man away, to goad him into a charge that will end with him facefirst in a brick wall.

But also because of the three discs he stuck to the Hulkdugger's back, right over his vertebrae.

Each of which suddenly unloads a taser charge into the Hulkdugger's system.

The dance of the hulking creature and the Red Robin might seem to go on for ages to the addled Dark Devil as she struggles to her feet, blurred vision bringing both images of Robin and the creature together into one. When she sees Robin flip away, she can only assume that he's decided this was her mess and she should clean it up, and one hand goes to the dumpster to steady herself.

There, an opening! It's turned it's back to her!

Electricity lances up it's back the moment it whirls. The creature cries out, howling in the night, and as the discs finish their discharge and /completely/ run out of juice….

It steps forward.

Smoking. Stalking. Eyes red and veins popping and purple, it seems to grow larger. And larger. "WHUT! WARHOMMER!!" Oh God, it heard Tim. Understood him. It scrapes a foot at the ground, like a bull lining up for the charge. Then it does it again.

And again.

And again and again. Until finally it takes in a deep breath, shaking all over, it's bulging hands brought up before it. Something inside it cracks - not bone. No, this is far more terrifying. An organ bursts. Then another. It's scream splits the air and Red Robin will only have moments to react as the entirety of the creature bulges.

The Dark Devil, for her part, has the sense to haul herself up into the dumpster and kick at the lid to shut just as the creature rumbles deep inside, a living bomb, ready to go off.

Whoever this red god is, he's about to get all the blood he can stand.

Indeed, Red Robin is expecting that charge. Waiting for it. With any luck, a little bullfighting will put the oversized brute - which seems to be getting /more/ oversized - out of action completely. But something… Something is wrong.

That he sees through the computer-enhanced displays on his cowl's lenses is bad. A massive increase of heat, as whatever pills the ganger took drive his body to expand in impossible ways, his heartbeat so quick that it seems like the muscle should simply burst out of his chest like something out of an old movie. Organs rupturing, bursting. Flesh bubbling, bulging.

Things happen quickly.

Red Robin divests himself of his cape, tossing it over the fallen form of the Skulldugger he'd landed on when he entered, hoping that the bullet and fire resistant memory material is enough to preserve his life; he knows there's probably nothing he can do for the Hulkdugger now, that he has to triage. Prioritise. A quiet *paff* of air as he shoots a grapple upwards, reeling himself up to the rooftop, grabbing the pinata-Skulldugger on the way up to haul the gunman out of the way of the impending explosion. He can't do more. He only has so many arms, he doesn't know if trying to tranquilise the Hulkdugger would even /work/, or if it would just get more people killed.

So he makes his choices. He saves who he can.

Bearing the previously-dangling Skulldugger to the asphalt on top of the neighbouring building, Red Robin crouches down behind the outcropping of the wall for cover.

Probably just before the man-bomb goes off.


The sound is horrible, but not exactly what one might expect, and the 'explosion' ends up being a gout of blood that shoots straight up in the air, right from the neck-stump of the newly headless Hulkdugger, his cranium having popped off to land on the rooftop with Tim.

Then, the head begins to melt against the roof like wax.

Like a balloon with all of the air let out of it, the rest of the creature crumples over, shaking and twitching and bubbling as it becomes a smoking mess of magical energies that eats into the concrete, but thankfully spares those still strewn about the alley.

There's another sound from below, of a dumpster lid slamming shut, and The Dark Devil summoning every bit of angry strength to stalk past the puddle and towards the cape. She thinks, for a moment, that it's Red Robin, and reaches down to pull at the cape. When it comes free she just kindof holds it up, staring at it with lifted brows, before looking around, and finally up, to see where he's gone to.

Of course, she won't see him until he wants to be seen, and one hand reaches in to cradle her abused ribs, while her unshielded eyes search for some sign that Robin still yet lives.


She's certain she's getting his name wrong. It's not like they gave her a roster when she joined the family - she's been figuring it out on her own. Spoiler she knows. And Blue Robin. That's his name right? Right. And of course, this one is Red, and so he's Red Robin.

Of all the times Azalea Kingston could be accidentally right about something, she's going to sorely wish she could use that luck on something else when she finds out.

About a moment later, Red Robin and the other Skulldugger drop to the alley floor, the former carrying the latter by the scruff of his neck. He lets the ganger go none too gently, straightening up and turning those featureless white eyes towards the Devil, checking to make sure that she's all right, before he scans the rest of the alleyway.

He really wasn't expecting that.

"Could've gone better," the cowled vigilante says, having already collapsed his staff and returned it to its spot at the small of his back. He seems none the worse for the wear himself, his armor lightly scuffed but otherwise intact. "Don't remember anyone in this gang exploding before. Are you all right?" he wonders of the Dark Devil, before he continues on towards the smoking, twitching, disintegrating mess that used to be a person.

Already, he's drawing some items from his utility belt. Looking to take some samples before the former Hulkdugger dissipates entirely.

"Check their pockets," he instructs in that electronically fuzzed voice, crouching beside the ruined corpse. "He took something before he changed. We need to figure out what it is."

Really, she never knows how to act in front of these people. And to her, they are still something separate. Legends who do this without the gifts she's been handed. Just hard work, brute force, ingenuity, and some technology thrown in to even the playing field against things like /this/.

The respect Azalea Kingston has for Red Robin in that moment is almost as strong as the disgust The Devil Inside has at her for looking up to /anyone/, and when he tells her to get to work, that the job isn't done, she slams a hand against her side to send pain racing into her system, teeth gritting as her body accepts the new shot of adrenal fuel.

There's no time for passing out, after all.

A curt nod, and she's scouring the downed men for something, anything. Eventually she comes up with a small pill bottle, and the red 'pills' inside look more like sugar cubes. The Dark Devil leans against the burned out car and jiggles the bottle at Red, before tossing it his way.

"Yeah, it's a new trick. I guess this is what happens when someone around here gets stubborn about being told to fuck off. Either we beat them so bloody they fuck off to some place else, or they escalate. I guess they're still working on the formula."

She kicks a little bit of dislodged brick towards the melty pool, and as it comes to a slow stop at the very edge, the brick itself seems to dissolve on contact. Eventually the body and the ground beneath reach osmosis, and it solidifies into a smoldering crater just a foot or two deep, warped and messy.

"I didn't… back when we were after Bucky, I didn't catch your name."

"That's war," the electronically modulated voice replies.

Escalation is unfortunately nothing new in Gotham. It started before the Bat, when the outfits and the gangs ran the city however they liked, when the cops were either corrupt or in the ground. It only got worse after the Dark Knight started his crusade, as normal people saw Gotham become less terrifying, more liveable inch by inch, the cruel and the selfish and the evil fought that much harder to preserve their power, their fiefdoms. The darkness in the city threw up newer, stranger, more powerful threats. Again and again and again.

But they weren't the only ones who escalated, were they? What started as a one-man crusade grew over time. Batman, then Robin. Then Batgirl, Batwoman, Nightwing, Spoiler, Red Robin, Bluebird…

Wars need armies, after all.

The tossed pill bottle is caught without Red Robin even looking up from what he's doing, though his attempts to take a sample just result in the sample case itself melting through, drawing a faint frown from the vigilante. That's going to make analysis tougher, but at least there's the pills themselves…

"It's Red Robin," he answers, turning to look over at the Devil. "Just Red is fine, since there's already a Robin." No need to elaborate that he used to go by that name himself, that he was once the Boy Wonder. The Dark Devil seems to be a probationary member of the team at best, which means a compartmentalisation of information is necessary. "Though there's also Red Hood, but… He's not much of a team player." Probably because of the whole 'no guns, no killing' thing.

Straightening up on his booted feet, he looks around the alley again, considering. One ran away, the others will survive. Still one death too many, but… It could've been worse.

"Spoiler asked me to check up on you," he says. "Not exactly what I'd have in mind for a training exercise, but you did well enough. Next time you decide to go beat up some gangers, though, you should probably get her to come along. Never hurts to have somebody watching your back."

Admitting that she had needed help, that being part of this war as a one person army wouldn't work out, was the first step. Following through had been tougher. She cuts a glance down the alley as Red explains it all, and when he mentions Spoiler her teeth grit. It's brief, but the annoyance is there. Like she couldn't do this herself.

It only takes a moment of staring at that cement-and-hulk puddle to tell her the truth: She couldn't.

"You're probably right. I guess it got to me. Someone I knew up here, they took her out. Drew it out. Kept her for a day and a half where they could have every which way with her. I know what it's like. Not from her perspective, but from their's…"

That part might sound odd, and her distant, almost feral expression cements the truth of her words.

"I know how good it made them feel, how powerful. And it made me.. it wasn't anger, exactly. Not really rage. I guess I thought I was going to show these stupid fucks what real power looked like, but once again, this fucking city is full of surprises and they all want to kill you."

With a grunt she eases off of the car, and moves towards Robin. There's a sound of a clip disengaging from the small of her back, and he'll see that she's offering him the grappler that she's borrowed. Now a more modestly used grappler. "I didn't forget. And.. I'm glad you happened along. I don't have, that is.. all the shit I used right now, it's all pretty basic. Hard to gain an edge on something like that without some planning or tech, and I was all out of easter eggs filled with talcum and cayenne. So yeah. I'll try and keep Spoiler in the mix next time I feel like doing something so fucking /stupid/ as this."

Yes, she makes her own Dollar Store blinding bombs. Batman was very specific about not giving her anything, really, to work with. Other than the bulletproof bodysuit that serves as the basis of her costume, and the domino mask, which has none of Red's fancy tech. He did not say anything about making her /own/.

It had the feel of something personal, but Red Robin didn't want to jump to any conclusions. He doesn't know the Dark Devil, after all, she's largely a cipher to him beyond what little he's heard through others or witnessed himself. Angry. Difficult. Powerful, yes, but unrefined - one of the saving graces for people like him when it comes to operating in the world of superheroics is that most individuals with superhuman abilities never really learn to use them properly. They use their strength, their speed, their toughness as a crutch, because nine times out of ten they don't /need/ anything more than that.

But if she's going to do what they do, it isn't enough.

"They already know that they're powerless," he says, secreting the pills away in one of the myriad compartments on his belt. "Most of the time, that's why they do this. They know that in the grand scheme of things they're just little fish in a big pond, so they band together, and they find weaker people to exploit. Some of them are just sick, monstrous… But odds are, most of these guys started out as scared kids who didn't see any better options. Who found some kind of belonging as part of the gang, and did worse and worse things to make sure they continued to belong. It doesn't excuse what they did, but it still matters when you decide what /you're/ going to do."

It was easier when he could believe that there was just something fundamentally different about the criminals of Gotham. That there was a nice, neat dividing line that made them bad, and everyone else good. But he knows there's more to it than that; that's why the Work isn't just beating up street thugs, isn't just finding evidence and solving crimes. Those are just symptoms. The root causes are deeper: Poverty, privation, lack of opportunities.

Fortunately, when you're rich you can at least try to do something about those.

He takes the returned grappling gun, attaching it to his belt with the others, nodding once.

"He's trying to see what kind of material we're working with," Red Robin explains. There's no need to elaborate who 'he' is. "Good ingenuity, though. The expensive toys aren't everything… They can be taken away, they can break. Being able to improvise your own like that is an important skill."

If Stephanie's gift to her was hope, that this job can be done without becoming the monster that Batman appears to be, then Tim's is wisdom. Some part of her deep down knows that every thing he has to say about these men is true. But what they took from that girl before taking her life sends her skin crawling with renewed rage. A focused fury that sends her gaze to one of the heavy-breathing, out cold fools that still lay around the battlefield they made of this alley.

It is every ounce of the good people she knows, the hope they have for her, that keeps her from the darkest part of herself. Every ounce, plus a little more when Tim Drake, The Red Robin, compliments her ingenuity. Animals don't have that. Monsters don't have that.

The Dark Devil swallows it away as she pushes thoughts of retribution and outright murder down and past the Dark Passenger she carries with her, silently denying it, silently promising it some other vice later.

The trades are hard, but always worth it in the end.

When she levels her crystal blues on those blanked-out white lenses, she tries to look deeper. Past the vacant gaze he presents with his cowled countenance, and to the measure and stature that only the Devil Inside can really know. Thousands of years of human interaction blend into something that let her find how genuine he is, and her little nod, the best way she knows hot to accept the compliment, is almost embarrassed.

"Well. I'm glad for the opportunity. Mostly. I do wish he'd give me just a little more. Not toys, but, I need a computer. Maybe access to.. whatever it is you all use to help you hunt down people. Jessica - she was there the other night - she's showing me the ropes on investigative method. I know she isn't in our little club, but she knows her stuff, and what Spoiler can't teach me about a detective's life, I'm sure Jess will fill in the blanks. Maybe you can talk to the big guy. I just want to do good, and I'm starting to realize…"

She looks down then, at the terrible puddle that's turned into a crater. Red might actually be able to cut a piece of the ground out at this point, with how solid it is. "…fists only go so far when dealing with this shit."

"Miss Jones is good at her job," Red Robin agrees. "I've had the opportunity to see her in action as an investigator, and she knows how to do a lot with little in the way of resources. In the end, investigation is investigation, no matter what sort of tools you have to do the work… The really fancy stuff just helps to cut down on some of the tedium."

He might have the sort of brain that makes tremendous deductive leaps, but hunches and insight will only take you so far. In the end, you need evidence, you need proof, you need to show the connections, otherwise it's no good. They don't live in some old-timey drawing room detective novel, where the brilliant investigator can trick the criminal into confessing their sins with a few pointed questions.

"But I'll see what I can do," he adds, contemplating the former puddle again, his train of thought heading down that line as well. Maybe if he just took a chunk with him… "Being able to beat people up is extremely handy, but you're right. That's the first lesson, Devil." He's crouching again, picking out a different set of tools. A small, focused laser cutter, and… A ziploc bag? Not everything has to be high tech. "Your brain is the most important weapon you have. In the end, it's the only thing you can really count on. Perception, investigation. Pay attention to the little details around you… Even when you're in a fight. Think about what they mean, think about how you can use them to save people, and yourself."

The sound of the laser cutter is a quiet hiss, like frying bacon. He takes it slow. Careful. He was always thorough.

"I'm sorry about your friend," he says, quietly.

The vigilante in front of her - a real hero - gives her advice. It's one of those moments that will last an eternity, cutting to the core of who she wants to be. She'd told Zatanna how much she wanted to be a hero, and she'd meant it. Not because she needs the redemption or recognition. It just felt good to do good, instead of just getting her spiritual rocks off by beating criminals to a pulp.

"She wasn't even really a friend. Not really. Just someone I fucked behind a Burger King once."

The Dark Devil is classy as fuck. Remember, Tim, while you're ruminating on how classy she is, always be careful with your laser cutters.

"Still, she didn't deserve.. I try not to get too attached to people, you know? I figure, none of us can, really. Unless I'm misreading all of you crazy fuckers way wrong, and if I am, and you all got wives and kids and shit, well… then I guess I'm just an asshole." The Dark Devil can really only really watch as Tim works, though she does watch closely, until he has his baggy filled with former ganger bits.

It takes her a long moment to realize how different he is from Batman. Batman, likely, would not have said anything about her 'friend'. "If you find anything on that stuff.. loop me in? I heal pretty quick. I'll go get my ribs taped up now. For real, I want to be in on this one. Find these guys and their roid pills, whatever they're up to, and shut them down."

'She wasn't even really a friend.'

What she /was/ gets Red Robin's attention away from what he's doing, that cowled head turning to look right at the Dark Devil, but between the black mask covering nearly his entire face, and the white lenses that hide his eyes, the expression of mingled bewilderment and maybe a bit of judgement is pretty thoroughly concealed. A certain amount of '/really/?' does filter through, though.

"Nobody deserves that sort of thing," Red Robin says, a simple fact which he finds needs to be stated with an unfortunate frequency. All too often, people are willing to assume that not living up to a certain moral standard - say, involving casual sexual encounters behind fast food restaurants - means that someone is somehow less deserving of safety and protection. The absurd idea that bad things only happen to bad people.

What else Dark Devil says hits a bit closer to home than the cowled vigilante would really like to deal with currently, especially after the conversation he had with Jessica Jones, but…

"It's up to you," he says, trying to compartmentalise. Put away his problems so he can deal with someone else's, like usual. "It can be difficult to balance that sort of thing, but it's not impossible. But if you want to stick with one night stands, that's your prerogative." He pauses, putting some of the… Debris… In the baggie, and sealing it up. "Maybe try a cheap hotel room or something though, next time. Or at least behind a Five Guys'."

He's mentoring, see? He's helpful.

The evidence, such as it is, obtained, Red Robin staightens up again. He nods once to the Devil, moving to get his cape back. He might not have a shortage of the things, but that doesn't mean he wants to go leaving them lying around random alleys.

"I'll make sure to, Devil. You're the one who stumbled onto this lead, I'm not going to take it out from under you. Besides… It should be a good learning experience." He pauses, his head tilting as though he were listening to something, something that the Dark Devil can't hear. "The police should be here shortly. I don't know how long these men will go to jail for, Devil, but at least they'll be off the streets for a while."

There was a time, not too many years ago, when the GCPD would never have come near this part of town. But it's a good reminder: For all the escalation the Bat and his 'family' have caused among Gotham's criminals, they've also pulled the city that much back from the abyss.

If only she were just jerking his chain. That would be more like something Zatanna might do to poor Tim. Instead, Azalea just lifts her brows and accepts his silent judgement with a slow cross of her arms. It isn't until his quip about Five Guys that she actually smirks, and as she edges closer to Red and he tells her the good news - that what they did here matters, that he'll keep her in the loop, that these guys are going to jail - she seems to perk up.

Looks like pain is just a temporary situation for her, and really, it's what got her noticed. Batman tried to stop her with a nerve strike, and she kept coming.

The shit you have to do to get noticed in this town.

Maybe she'd dispute want and need when it comes to her 'encounters', and all the things The Devil Inside demands to remain leashed. Maybe some of it isn't as needed as she thinks, but she dare not tempt it's ire.

Someone could die.

"You're alright, Red. I hope.. I hope we can work this one together." She reaches back then, for her grappler and… finds she no longer has one. Right! A finger raises, waggling as if to say 'yes indeed, it's time to walk', and then she sucks in a painful breath to get to that dreadful business. "I'll be in touch, teach."

That's right. As the Devil walks alone, Tim will be faced with a new, terrible reality: He has joined the wonderful club of The Dark Devil's mentors.

May God have mercy on his soul.

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