The Bloody Aftermath

February 21, 2017:

Shortly after Nowhere Fast, Red Robin and Spoiler arrive in Metropolis, at the site of Deathstroke's ambush of the Flash.

Refracted Reflections, in Metropolis, and the alleyway outside

It's probably looked better.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna Zatara, Batman, Deathstroke

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

"Give me five minutes," Tim had said. The timing didn't sit well, and double checking her gear, Stephanie had retorted with a slightly tremulous: "Three." Or what, really? Her bike, which was Tim's OLD bike, didn't have the speed she needed right now and Stephanie knew it. She also knew the time frame without information might annoy, and annoyed Tim might move slow and…

"It's Flash. He moves fast, talks fast, thinks fast…

"Heals fast," was said in unison, and sooner than he had promised, they were off. And Stephanie was counting the minutes in her head. From when the text arrived, to when they left, to when they zipped from one city limit into the next. Only the act of guiding Tim via her phone's GPS kept her from losing it completely, though Tim would see how Stephanie trembled in her seat, would hear the edge to her voice.

So, thrity minutes after sending the text that she was on her way, Red Robin's sleek red and black car rolled into the area. Spoiler had sent a few texts every for minutes, letting Flash know that she was still en route. The lack of response keep her on edge, kept her worrying, but she managed not to nag at Tim to go faster.

Longest. Half. Hour. Ever.

"We're here," Spoiler says, breathless, eyes sharp. She didn't even put on that dark purple lipstick. Too worried. She reaches for the handle almost before Tim's brought the car to a complete stop.

When last we last left 'When the Robin Broods', Tim had shared his concerns about his crush with his ex-girlfriend. Just as it seemed that there were some inroads being made, it was all spoiled when a text from a scarlet speedster arrives and ruined the whole moment, sending Robin and Spoiler on an uncomfortable mission to rescue Spoiler's beau.

Suicide Slums, one of the few dark parts of Metropolis. Flash's GPS is pinging heavily in the area. A shop one of the side streets is billowing dark smoke from it as the front windows are shattered, a few criminals running from it. Regular street looking thugs - people that Flash would have had no issue with at all. They make their escape down the road, heading for the alleys as sirens sound in the distance, approaching fire and police units.

The sign outside reads: 'Refracted Reflections'. No wonder Flash was drawn here, after all, it sounds like the type of place Mirror Master would have come raiding. The door of the shop is smashed open, laying on his side on the hinges. Within, glass cases are smashed. With the heavy pall of the smoke in the air and the screaming siren of the fire alarm and burgular alarm, it's hard to immediately pinpoint where the scarlet speedster may be. But this is the place.

The Redbird, named for the car he'd used when he was still Robin, was about as advanced as any car could be. The inspiration from the Batmobile was obvious, though it was sleeker than the Dark Knight's car usually was, and had space for more than two people to sit; but it moved like a demon and it handled like a dream, and that was basically what mattered right now, anyway. Speeding between and around traffic, getting out of New York City in record time and then only getting /faster/ on the highway, the driver stirred on by the blonde's obvious distress.

Whatever he himself felt about it didn't show, of course. The Red Robin costume saw to that, with its cowl, the white lenses covering his eyes.

Of course, 'the Flash' could refer to a few people, he found himself thinking on the way to Metropolis. If it was Bart, though, Tim would have to beat the crap out of him.

That's just the rules.

The nearly silent Redbird makes noise as it screeches to a halt when Spoiler says 'we're here,' the top shifting, the polarised, almost metallic red of the bird-shaped windshield moving out of the way so that they can quickly exit the vehicle.

There's a faint grunt from Red Robin as he sees the state of the building, the goons running for their lives. Sirens; emergency personnel would be on site soon. But maybe not soon enough.

The white lenses on Red Robin's cowl /glow/, faintly, as he cycles through different visual overlays, but of course he's already heading in to the smoke, just as Spoiler is without a doubt. Thermographic won't cut it if there's a fire, but a quick ultrasound pulse fills the interior, showing him the world through sonic imaging, to cut through the smoke.

The sooner they find the Flash, the better.

Spoiler keeps her phone out, pushing up and through the now open windshield. She has no lenses in her domino mask. It's a fabric mask, so much like all the Robin's wore… when they were eight. She scans the area, wincing faintly at the sirens, frowning at the goons running for it. That means only one thing: The authorities will be here soon. Flash has to be found, fast. Stephanie alights on the hood for a heartbeat, sliding to the ground and sprinting for the building.

The smoke stung her unprotected eyes and burned her lungs. She refused to let it slow her down. Keeping low, having full faith that Tim was right behind her, Spoiler starts the most important Pokemon hunt of her life: Scarlet Speedster. She moves through the building, using her tracker to pin point his location the best she can, the exact same way she tracked him to that library after he freaked her out but texting her Hello Kitty not-for-work phone with 'hey, got shot'.

"Do you see anything?" she calls out, over her shoulder. Because she has faith Tim will be right there with her. No reason to doubt that.

Fast as that car can go, it's still not Flash fast, which isn't here or there. As Robin goes through the spectrum, his sonic vibrations will find one figure within the building. Prone, but moving. Slowly. The fire is near him, but the figure is at least alert and moving among the glass cases.

As Spoiler goes running into the store, her boot hits something metallic and it sinks in. The tri-pointed metal sticks straight up and sinks into her boot and into the flesh beneath. Caltrops. The hoodlums that did this.. planned ahead. If it was the hoodlums at all.

Barry is dragging himself across the floor, over the calrtops and smashed glass. He's only using one arm, the other drug behind him uselessly as he pulls himself over the damaging material, his bloodied and brusied face contorted in pain. He tries to scream for them to stop, but the blood chokes in his throat and coughs and spits.

His legs are shattered, twisted nearly around on themselves as he has a large broken staff in his hand that he's using to pull himself along.

Deathstroke's broken staff that he managed to get.

'Do you see anything?'

"Yes," Red Robin calls back, his suit's voice modulator now active and burying the familiar voice of Tim Drake under an electronic blurring. "The floor's covered in caltrops."

Well, she probably knows by now, the warning coming a split second too late.

His combat boots scrape against the floor rather than lifting in conventional steps, pushing debris and sharp things out of the way. No point in getting lamed by some jagged carbide steel piercing through his boots, and…

"Flash," he sounds out, moving towards the crawling figure. He can't see all of the details, but what he /can/ see is bad enough. He cycles further, looking for active sources of electricity. If those thugs were good enough to do this to the Fastest Man Alive, and smart enough to leave caltrops laying around, there might be other surprises left behind. Other traps.

"Spoiler, he's hurt. Badly. Get back outside, I'll try to get him out."

"Ah!" Stephanie screams the moment that foreign object sinks in. She forces herself to fall backwards, away from where the caltrops are, heedless of hte rest of hte glass. An arm hits another before she's clear. A few shoves for distance, and Spoiler brings her foot up to try to pry the damn thing out. Maybe? Flash is hurt and the last thing she wants to do is sit here.

But really, she has no one to blame right now but herself. She charged in, recklessly, without thinking, blinded by the ping of her GPS.

"I'm going with you." Cough cough, this horrible smoke! "Soon as I get this." Cough. "Out of my foot." Stephanie's voice, unmasked. Because she also lacks a voice modulator.

How does she have a secret ID again? Oh, right. She's the unknown batling.

A moment of study and.. yeah. That's not getting yanked out without some tools. Okay. Time to improvise.

Collapsible staff makes a handy walking stick, and Stephanie shoves herself up with it, trembling. And keeping the caltropped foot up.

"Alright. Fine. Game plan?" Spoiler asks the more experienced Batling, eyes not able to see through the smoke.

Hearing the voice, Flash uses the small air horn that Deathstroke left him to sound out his location. After all, Deathstroke's contract was to maim the speedster, not kill him.

He pulls himself towards the voice, using the end of the staff to dig into the floor, pulling himself over glass and caltrops, further digging into his flesh, shredding his suits. He looks up towards Robin as he comes around the corner. Half of his face is exposed, bloodied and beaten in with the staff. The thunderbolt on his ear that served as his comm unit is smashed. There's a lot of damage, and there's no way he's getting to his feet at the moment. The speedster's a wreck and going to need a lot of repair at the body shop.

He doesn't recognize Robin, not immediately, as he spits out more blood and wheezes. "..fire. Nee-need to clear."

Well.

It's not /Bart/ Allen.

"Hrn," Red Robin mutters irritably when Spoiler refuses to leave even though she's gotten hurt, though really he should know better… It's not often that she listens to him at the best of times, and this is hardly the best of times. Still, she's not going to be any use getting the Flash out of the building, not when he's in that condition and she's injured too. With the smoke and everything obscuring him, and the general profile of his costume, Red Robin might look almost like the Bat himself from where Flash is crawling, though his figure is slimmer, a bit shorter.

"This is going to hurt a lot," the vigilante rumbles, crouching down beside the Flash. "Sorry."

Leaving the Fastest Man Alive to crawl out on his own would take time he doesn't have, not to mention whatever harm it would do in the meantime. The only available solution is expediency, though it will do some harm on its own. Just… Hopefully less, as he aims to pick the speedster up in a fireman's carry.

"Game plan is we get outside," he tells Spoiler, starting to move back the way he came, still sliding his feet in case of other caltrops, moving with a curious mix of haste and caution, trying to avoid hurting Flash too much more in the process.

"Got him then?" Spoiler asks, stubborn as ever, and only when she gets confirmation or spots the figures moving toward her does she turn to make her way toward the car again, coughing. Ugh! The smoke!

Her heart is hammering away, both of the guys she thinks of world of back there, and one badly injured. But Tim'll bring him free. She's got to get to the car and get the door open. She has no way of knowing how badly Flash is hurt, no idea what happened. All she can do it get back to the car and try not to feel completely useless.

Knowing that there's precious few choices in the matter, Flash nods. "D-do it." he says, holding onto the staff for dear life. It's the only clue he has to the identity of his attacker. The speedster is lifted and immediately cries out in pain. A broken sternum will do that as his breath is stolen again for a moment.

The front of his body is riddled with bleeding tears and wounds from the caltrops and glass that cut into him as he was forced to drag himself along. Several caltrops are still embedded in him, especially in his feet as Robin is able to get him into a carry. This is the curse of his metabolism and stamina.. he stays awake through it all.


"Medical kit in the trunk," Red Robin is already instructing Spoiler, as he carries the speedster out. "There's an anti-shock blanket in it, lay it out in the alleyway."

Even from what he can see, the injuries are extremely bad. If the Flash wasn't a metahuman, he'd almost certainly be /dead/, or at the very least crippled for life. Between his abilities and the advanced medical care available… A faint frown tugs at the corners of his mouth, the only part of him visible from underneath his costume. If Zatanna weren't missing, he could try taking the Flash to her. She could almost certainly heal him up, though the experience wouldn't be very pleasant.

For now, the old-fashioned way will have to do. Once he and the Flash are outside, and Spoiler hopefully has the blanket laid out, Robin carefully sets the red-clad runner down on his back.

"The best I can do is some first aid, you're going to need serious attention, and soon, and I'm guessing you don't want to go with the paramedics. What happened, anyway? We saw some goons running away when we got here, but they didn't look like the type to be able to do /this/ to you."

He's talking to try and keep Flash focused, focused on something other than the pain. Especially since Red Robin is going to have to add some more onto the pile, even with some cursory medical care.

Directions received, Spoiler moves to the trunk as fast as she can manage, and gets the blanket spread out, balancing on one foot to do so, ignoring that her cape is stuck to the caltrop on her arm.

"League HQ. They've got to have the medical facilities we need," she's saying, droping to her knees at Flash's side and reaching for the emblem on his chest. She might have pocketed the cables Barbara used to hook his suit up to DELPHI so Spoiler could have remote access during the Under water adventures. And one USB adapter later, Spoiler has a way to hook Flash's suit to her phone and then to DELPHI. Because that's a favor she's totally abusing right now.

"Here." she says, turning hte phone's screen to face Robin, frame still trembling. She turns her attention to Barry.

The look is clear: what do I do? how to help? how did this happen?

"Stay with me, Barry, okay?" she says, because Tim's going to figure it out or read it off the Bat Computer sooner or later and really, what's the point? Tim knows. Of course he does. Stephanie had tried to hide it for all of two seconds before just trusting her friend and charging ahead.

"We've got you. You're gonna be just fine." She's totally trying to convince herself, by the shake in her voice.

"B-bait." Flash offers. "They.. were b-bait. Assasin. Orange. Black, moved fast. Surprisingly so." The police scientist in him is trying to focus on the facts. "Knew me. Other me." he's confused, tired. He's lost a lot of blood. He looks up at Robin and the speedster's gloved good hand reaches up and grabs the cape for a moment.

"Need a favor. Dislocated knees. Ankles. Shoulder. I.. you need to reset them. Hurt, alot. But if they heal.." They'll heal in that awkward position and have to be broken againt to reset them. Flash looks plainly into Robin's visored face. "Need to do it."

Then Stephanie's right there, and the speedster frowns. "…isn't masks supposed to hide us, Stephanie.." he says, releasing Robin's cape to take Spoiler's hand. "..I know. You're here. Already feeling better, heh." he offers. It's a lie.

His signals are all off the charts. He stressed hard. Overloaded electricly, his knees are disjointed. His ankles are broken. He has innumerous wounds. His pounding heart is actually working against him, healing wounds that shouldn't be ready to heal just yet.

"Codenames in the field," Red Robin says by reflex; like all soldiers, in stressful situations he falls back on his training to keep himself and other people alive. Not using anyone's real names in the field is, naturally, one of the first lessons the Batman teaches the members of his Family. The cowled vigilante doesn't say it harshly, it's offhanded, distracted as the other two refer to one another by their actual names. Of course, the last thing he needs is Spoiler accidentally revealing who /he/ is because she's understandably upset.

"Grab his head, Spoiler, keep it steady. You, bite down on this," he adds to the Flash, the speedster's words already memorised, the description of the assassin and of his own injuries filed away. 'This' turns out to be a length of wood wrapped in leather, soft enough to not break teeth, but hard enough to keep him from accidentally biting off his own tongue during what's about to happen.

He looms over the Scarlet Speedster, putting gauntleted hands on the dislocated shoulder.

"I'm going to set your shoulder on the count of four. Ready?" It doesn't really matter if Flash is ready or not, but he at least waits for a nod. "One… Two…" He doesn't even get to three, pushing the shoulder back into place ahead of time to keep the patient from tensing up, to keep him distracted. The pain would be… Remarkable.

But then those gauntleted fingers press just so, against a particular spot near the shoulder, and the pain starts to ebb, the flow of energy through the Flash's body shifting subtly. And then Red Robin continues moving, quickly and efficiently, to start setting those mangled legs as best he can.

Red Robin corrects her, and Spoiler inhales sharply, lips pressing together and her emotions retreating back again. He's right. Of course he's right. That the tone was distracted and off-handed keeps Stephanie's nerves more or less even and she shuffles on her knees so she's kneeling at his head, hands coming to cradle. Her hands are firm though the tremble is still there. Pain from her own injuries mix with the stress of the night and keep her own adrenaline high.

Flash nods, taking the piece of leathered wood inbetween his teeth. He keeps his eyes on Spoiler's, unaware of her own injury as Red Robin moves and there's a two and then a sickening snap as the shoulder finds it's socket again. Barry's blue eyes go wide open as his teeth chatter a mile a minute as he gurgles and painfully moans against the strap as he holds tight.

Flash drops back down for a moment as he cries out again as the process is repeated a few more times by Robin as the man goes about fixing Barry as best he can. DELPHI is feeding information to Stehanie quickly - the speedster's ability to heal is surprising as he is already starting to knit, but it's taking time.

The next part is probably worse.

With smooth, efficient movements, Red Robin /straightens out/ the Flash's mangled, twisted legs, knowing that someone who heals quickly is going to be in danger of healing /wrong/ without outside assistance. The best he can do to try and ease the inevitable agony is more application of the qi gong techniques he learned from Rahul Lama what seems like a million years ago now, but that can only do so much. It's not healing magic, just… A redirection of the natural flow of life's energies through the body.

He's extremely careful now, as he sets the Flash's knees, not wanting to put the other man in a situation where he'd need to be rebroken to mend properly, or worse crippled for life, but fortunately for everyone the former Boy Wonder has an excellent understanding of human anatomy.

It was, after all, a key part of learning how to subdue enemies without killing them by accident.

"I'll remove some of this shrapnel and clean you up once we've got this straightened out," he continues talking, again to distract. He doubts that his electronically modified voice is very soothing, but it doesn't need to be. The sounds of bones twisted into place are horrific, first the knees, then the ankles, but soon enough most of the speedster's bones are at least where they're supposed to be.

Spoiler winces at the snap. At each snap. She holds Flash's head through it, bending forward to press her forehead to his more to help her keep her grip than anything else.

Unlike Tim, Stephanie has very limited knowledge of hte human body. She's got First Aid from Girl Scouts and whatever she's picked up playing nurse to Alfred or Batman or whomever when someone comes into the Cave needing help and she happens to be in. Nothing had prepared her for the sound of bones snapping like that. When all is said and done, it's hard to tell who's in need of comforting more: Barry or Stephanie.

She can't even see for the way her eyes have watered, whole body still shaking.

"Almost done," she half-whimpers. because that's so much more soothing than Electro-Growl over there. "He's almost done. I swear. He has to be. It'll be over soon. Just a bit more…"

Each snap. Each pull. It's pure agony. The speedster's face reflects each one of them as he keeps focused on Spoiler's eyes. He doesn't mean to put her through this. He's the last person that would. His good hand reaches up, pressing to the side of her face and mask, his body trembling, not with speed force, but with pain as tears spill freely from the corners of his eyes as he tries his best to ride out everything being done to him. Deathstroke was more than thorough in his work. And now, Robin has to be too.

Flash just makes an excellent test for Drake's abilities. One that he's passing with flying colors.

Red Robin is always thorough.

That's one of the things that makes him different from Nightwing, or Red Hood, or even the new Robin. One of the things that makes him more like the Bat than any of the others who've fallen into the weird Family that orbits around the Dark Knight. Next comes tweezers, disinfectant, bandages. Methodically he goes through the visible injuries on the Fastest Man Alive, pulling out bits of debris, jagged metal caltrops, before replacing that pain with the harsh burn of the disinfectant, and then white gauze bandages. It seems to take forever, but even now the emergency services haven't arrived yet. His hands are quick and steady at this sort of thing: He has far more experience than he'd like at digging bullets and metal chunks out of himself, and then stitching up the wounds.

"All right, now we need to get you to the Hall of Justice. Spoiler, are you hurt too?" He heard her cry out when they were inside, around when he noticed the caltrops. He noticed she was favouring one leg.

At least with Flash, the wounds will heal and mend themseleves quickly. He starts to say something when he hears Robin's words. She's hurt? He spits out the bit he was biting down on and starts to struggle a little to push up. She's hurt. Why is she tending to him if she's hurt. Robin should have dealt with her first! The speedster frowns. "What.. what.. what happened?"

When at last the horrible snaps stop, Stephanie remains bent over Flash, forehead to forehead, trying to catch her breath from it. It takes her a moment to push herself up straight again, and look over Tim's work.

She had almost refused his offer to help. She had started to. She had starts to say that maybe she needed help. And then the panic set it of not being good enough and… She's more than grateful. She's dizzy with it, and it takes far too long for her eyes to focus on Tim's cowl. Long enough for the speedster to start to push himself up.

Without thinking, Spoiler puts a hand on Flash's forehead to put weight on him so he can't get up without hurting himself.

"Right foot. Didn't see the caltrops. Something hit my left arm, but it's not hindering movement," Spoiler replies to Robin. "Get them out so I can walk? I'll guide you to the Hall unless you already know the way."

Whatever Red Robin might do to stifle the Flash's fussing is preempted by Spoiler taking care of it, so he just takes the kit and moves around to where she's sitting at the speedster's head, crouching behind her. At least with the heavier boots of a Gotham vigilante's costume the penetration of the caltrops isn't as bad as it might be, and soon enough the cowled young man is tugging them loose, letting the metal bits clatter to the side of the alleyway, where hopefully nobody will step on them.

"You're going to stay off of your feet once we get you to the Hall, and get your foot looked at," he tells her firmly, hoping that for once in her life she'll do what he tells her, and then there's a brief pressure of his fingers against the back of her neck, right against one vertebrae, the pressure point at least easing a bit of the pain. "Can you deal with the medical kit? I'll carry Flash to the car, and then we can get you both where you belong."

Which means he's going to have to fireman's carry the Flash back to the Redbird, but well the speedster isn't in much of a position to disagree right now, anyway.

Robin's right, there's no arguing from Flash, between Spoiler keeping him down, and the other Robin keeping him quiet, he frowns. He feels useless at first but then he is prepared to be carried to the Redbird for the trip to the Hall of Justice.

Because Stephanie Brown is about to raise some hell if they don't rush to help Flash immediately.

Spoiler turns to look down at Flash as Red Robin repositions himself. She winces, biting the tip of her tongue and grunting softly with each pull. The uneasy breath she draws when the task is done turns into a soft moan of relief when Red Robin hits that pressure point. Her eyes flutter closed for a heartbeat before she inhales, and pushes herself up. Smiling tightly at Barry for a moment.

"Yes, I can get the kit, and I'll get off my feet when the task is done," Spoiler retorts, because stubborn. There's a slight sway from her when she's on her feet, the pain spiking again, but with Red Robin's pressure point thing it's manageable. Medkit collected, Spoiler unhooks Flash's monitor from her phone as she reseats it into his uniform. Her staff collected and shrunk back, Stephanie picks up the staff Flash had and with all this in tow, face scrunched up in pain from the one still in her arm that she doesn't realize is still there, she limps lightly toward the Redbird.

When waits as Red Robin gets Flash into the car, brows pulling together.

"Thank you," she tells Tim. Once boyfriend, once mentor, first love, always friend… Those two words says a host of things beyond a mere sense of gratitude. For all they've been through together, Stephanie hadn't wanted to let her ex know right off about the new guy in her life. She was worried he'd be… hurt.. upset… Well, he was. She heard that heartbeat when he knew, when the panic in her voice at getting the text told him that… she was moving on. That he came to help her despite that or because of that, she didn't know but…

"Thank you." she manages again, having nothing really else she can say right now. Dropping her gaze, she pulls ooen the door and gets in, and hisses at that caltrop digs into her arm again. But a bite to her lower lip keeps the grunt from escaping too much, and she tries to look back at Flash.

"Do you know where the Hall is, Rob?" she asks now, voice tired from the night, mind still unsettled and so falling back to old code-nicknames. Because… codenames on the field.

Easing the Flash into the back seat as gently as he can, Red Robin straightens up and turns to look at Spoiler, as she thanks him. With the cowl, with the everything, his expression is unreadable, which is probably for the best.

Whatever he feels, though, there was no hesitation in the way he offered his help, and no regrets that he had. That was the job, after all, and he's known it for a long time now, ever since he ran around in the red and green suit, the yellow and black cape of the Boy Wonder. He never wanted to be like the Batman, with that vast gulf between himself and everyone else, even the people he did care about, but he knows the consequences of what he does, how he does it. That happiness is for other people.

He settles into the driver's seat, and the Redbird closes itself up, the engine gunning with surprising quiet. The cowled vigilante looks over and sees another caltrop sticking out of Spoiler's /arm/, which he'd missed before, and he reaches over to gently remove it, a simple gauze bandage produced from his utility belt to wrap over the injured part of her forearm. And he gives her a smile.

He doesn't feel it, but that doesn't matter.

"It's kind of hard to miss," he notes on the subject of the Hall of Justice, the Redird pulling out and rushing towards that distinctive structure.

He'll only stick around long enough to see Flash and Spoiler safely handed off, though: He has a long drive back to New York City to make, and more life or death business to deal with.

There is, after all, always something that needs doing.

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