Affordable Leg Breakers

August 20, 2017:

Black Canary and Deathstroke hit the same drug house. Only one of them is getting paid for it.

Gotham City Slums

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Gotham City.
02:45

Through the grim and sweaty sheen of old rain on Gotham City's streets, the moldy yellow of street lights reflects in sections between patches of darkness. The conical glow casts downwards from the streetlamps, painting safe places to hide surrounded by an uneasy black of night not even the homeless want to pass through. It's been said and sung many times, many ways, that 'nothing good happens after 2am'.

Whoever wrote that had probably been to Gotham City after dark.

The purr of the matte black motorcycle underneath the Black Canary accompanies a headlight of her own. Fresh, white light paints the streets before her, sending rats and cockroaches back into the shadows. The fingerless gloves roll back, letting go of the speed into the upcoming turn towards the isolated tenement housing ahead, where rumors of heroin-lined staircases lead to the fifth story apartment that belongs to the lord of the poppy who's slung it to the dead or dying.

Black Canary patrols the night. Alone. In the dark. Perhaps some good will soon come after 2 AM.

*

Fuck 2am. Nothing good comes from Gotham. Standing at the crumbling edge of the slum and looking out at a sea of similar condemed housing projects, the corner of Slade's eye twitches. He turns away from the all to familiar scene and looks back twoards the target's building. He doesn't take contracts in Gotham, he made a deal with the Bat and he's a man of his word. That said, he figures the vigilante wouldn't mind this one, it specified no killing and one less dealer is one less dealer.

The sound of the bike draws his attention anew, no one in this hood can afford a vehicle that sounds like /that/, at least, not unless they're the target. The corner of his mouth twitches downward, a bike isn't the Bat's M.O., maybe Grayson was sent to double check on Slade's presence here? That would be … foolish. Hrm.

*

With no helmet, the motorcycle's rider is a shock of blonde hair trailing in her wake above a leather jacket. Sleeves unzippered and rolled to mid-forearm, she's three categories deep into danger for this part of Gotham at so late an hour: White. Female. Alone. And with the way the motorcycle's headlights are killed upon approach to the five story building made of brick from the era where Bruce Wayne's grandparents were building Gotham, she's heading to the same place.

The purring of the vehicle simmers as the Harley coasts into place across the street from the tenement building, drawing the attention of two men with neck tattoos and sagging jeans sitting on the doorstep of the tenement. One slender leg, clad in fishnet and ending in a cuffed boot, stretches out to flip the kickstand into place.

One thug thwaps the other in the arm to get his attention, and the stage is set.

"Ay ninita," First contact is made by one, as the other lights a cigarette. "You a long way from the mall, baby. Move on. Move on."

*

Deathstroke frowns slightly, his eye narrowing further as he focuses. Incredible vision. Part and parsel of the whole 'upgrade' he was given. It takes him a moment to see what he needs to, but then he's blinking, returning his vision to normal and considering. What in the hell is she doing here?

Oh.

Of course. She went all hero on them, didn't she? Guilt driven heroic urges? Grief? Or is there still that lingering sense of duty tickling the back of her operative's mind? He leans forward a little, curious to see what happens next.

*

Widowed. Separated by a handful of years and one dead husband, Dinah Drake-Lance wore body-fitting armor and hair short enough to protect her from pulling, back then. Now, having scaled down to a leather jacket and mostly bared legs, she casts a more attractive picture to the meth-blooded swine who rule the moldy part of town. The air of expectation and finality in the way she twists the key, however, is the same grade of impatient that she's always been.

Some things never change.

"One second, you two." Canary holds up a half-gloved finger to the men as she digs into the inner pocket of her jacket, stuffing her keys inside.

"One second, who the fuck she think-" Neck tattoo says to his mustache-tattooed friend and both lift from the stairs. Flabbergasted, both men cross the street, and with a lift of a shirt, 'Neck' silently proclaims his allegiances to both Heckler & Koch, and Calvin Klein. "Look, bitch don't make me get rude 'bout this, but unless you wanna get a train run-"

Before the sentence finishes, Dinah's arm lashes out, jamming her fingers into the man's throat. Silencing him. In a flurry of fishnet and leather, three more strikes land in a climb up one man's body to a wrap of legs around the neck of the other…and all three bodies come down, crashing onto the wet pavement with Black Canary in control.

As taught by none other…Slade Wilson.

An elbow strike to the temple and two legs clamping down the blood flow through the other's neck later…and both men are unconscious.

Without a sound.

*

Deathstroke quirks a brow at the display, his mind overlapping old memories with what he's seeing anew, like an automatic overlay in a replay booth. He sighs. Gone hero indeed. She's altered the move, pulled her blows. None of that was lethal, both of those men will be fine by tomorrow, save a few bruises. Taught by Slade? Perhaps, but his style doesn't tend to leave so many whole people behind.

She chooses to make the blows less maimy… fine by him. He can respect such a choice, even if he doesn't agree with it. Everyone walks their own path, though, he's beginning to imagine taht she's here for reasons that may run counter to his own. And he took a contract.

He takes a single step forward, off the edge of the building, and begins to plummet towards the sidewalk below. On the way his hand snakes out, grabbing a drooping phone line, his momentum ripping the nearest side of it free and sending him into a swing towards the opposite street.

*

Impermanent and nonlethal, it may be quick, but certainly not painless. It's the same kind of humane euthanasia that the 'Bat' has been made clear is his standard for the streets, and it's exactly what the two gangland thugs get on the concrete drive. When all is said and done, Black Canary tugs the pistols out of their waistbands and drags the sleeping bodies to a lightpost.

Zip ties. Where she once used to leave bodies, she now leaves packages in two slumped over forms for what will surely be an anonymous phone call for pickup later.

With a tug at the wrists of her gloves, Black Canary turns for the door of the tenement, huffs her hair away from her eyes, and starts her long-legged walk towards it with purpose that is interrupted by the arrival of the one-eyed mercenary who blocks her path.

Dinah stops, staring through her domino mask and smeared black eye makeup at the one, the only, Deathstroke the Terminator.

"I don't suppose you're here to give me a high five on my way into delivering a well deserved ass-kicking," Dinah's head twists a measure, stare locked in. "Are you?"

*

Despite the armor and the weapons, he lands with hardly more then a soft 'chink' noise, the line discarded part way to the ground. He absorbs the momentum in a roll and comes up to his feet with a smooth easy grace, his gaze looking her shoulder at the two ziptied men on their little pole. His attention turns to her, "I suppose that depends on your intentions here."

There's a voice that brings back memories. It's distorted by the metal of the mask, hollow, colder, but familiar none the less.

*

"Well," Dinah sighs and reaches behind her head to tug the strands of her blonde hair out of painful pinches against her leather jacket. The scoop of glove behind her neck ends in two gloved hands tugging downward on the lower hem of her jacket, jerking it into place. "I got a tip that in that building, right there." Dinah points over Deathstroke's shoulder. "Are drug addicts sleeping on the stairs, Soylent-Green style, and if my intel is right, the guy responsible is upstairs."

Dinah rolls her shoulder and glances down over Deathstroke's stance, counting the steps between them, sizing up for the possibility.

"I was looking to give the GPD a living care package," Dinah cocks a brow. "Give or take a little wear and tear." A beat. "You?"

*

Deathstroke isn't as conserned about counting the steps between them as she is, or if he is, there's no way to tell. He was a hard read back in the day when he had 2 eyes and no mask, now? He's impossible. "Contract." he says again, unhelpfully, "Man upstairs is mine." he extends a hand towards the building in offering however, as if willing to let her go ahead and mutilate all the other thugs as she desires. See? Gentleman.

*

There isn't enough caked on eye makeup and domino mask in the world to hide the mote of annoyance translated through the look Black Canary gives Slade Wilson. The edge of her tongue peeks out and runs across the inside of her teeth. "Lovely." Canary starts forward, eyeballing the man on her path angled past him, towards the door. "You burning down the house, then? For old time's sake, let a girl know if she's gonna have to start getting busy carrying people out of the building?" Canary passes Slade, turning her back to him.

*

Deathstroke follows behind her, a looming giant made of violence and quiet disapproval. The more things change, the more they stay the same. "Whole sale destruction was never my gig unless the mission called for it. I am not a boardsword, I am a scalple." he points out. "Broadsword ops cost extra." he adds, it's hard to tell if he's joking or not.

*

Up to the short staircase, Canary leads, shadowed her former sensei. While she bears the cool weight of his shadow against her shoulders with no outward fear of the man, Slade's vision is more than capable to spot the three or four visible hairs standing on end at the back of her neck. With casual ease, she takes the stairs one at the time, coming to a stop before the door.

If he was there for her, she'd be dead. Yet, with Wilson, it just means he's not there for you yet. Such assumptions can be deadly.

"I'm going from the bottom up, loud. I'm not here to play tea party." Canary grunts as she tugs on the heavy door and shoves it further open with her boot, leaving room for Slade. "Thirty seconds till I kick the first door in."

*

Deathstroke follows behind her with a sort of judgemental silence, letting her fill the quiet with talking. It was a favorite tactic of his back in training, yell when you fucked up, and be silent the rest of the time until you couldn't bare it anymore, then speak only to tell you how you did slightly worse then he was expecting of you. "Twenty." he says simply, his tone the same as it was Back Then, as if he were issueing an order or a challenge.

*

Throw a saddle on it and teach it to beg like an animal, Dinah was a creature of passions who'd learned to tame them, but all tame animals are one hungry week from devolving. She'd landed on her back upon a mat so many times to such silence that it had become a constant battle within. The human expectation of reassurances had been bled out of her, drop by drop, by force.

"Suit yourself." Dinah replies quietly, flexing her fingers until they pop down the first hallway towards the stairs. Snoring bodies, wiry and hungry from opiate use, line the floors and cement of the staircase. With care, Dinah looks up, down, around, casing the hallway down towards the first door marked with graffiti matching the neck tattoo of the man tied up outside.

She glances over her shoulder, just once, to see if Deathstroke is still there.

Eighteen.
Nineteen.

The spinning kick to the door, just beneath the licking mechanism, sends the door swinging inward on the nineteenth second on principal alone.

*

Deathstroke watches her advance, the silence looming, much as he is. He's even gone so far as to cross his arms over his chest in that way that plainly states how unimpressed he is with all of your crap. He expects better.

Imagine being one of his kids. Yeesh.

Lazily he extends a single finger, pointing over her shoulder into the room who's door she just kicked in, "Gun." he says flatly.

*

Dinah's through the door before it finishes its swing around. The warped, white wood claps against the inner wall and shatters a 'BUDWEISER' beer mirror. Glass shatters, and somehow, it reflects the light towards Dinah and her hair, streaming behind her as she rushes in, to see her blue eye canted to its socket for a glimpse on her way inside.

Popcorn and malt liquor spill over the old sofa as gang banger trades his adult snack for a pistol on the end table. He swings the pistol to bear. Canary crosses the distance.

Wrist. Arm. Control. Wrench. The loud POP of the 9mm pistol and flicker of light is enough to rattle the hive.

The gang-banger sails out through the door and collapses in a heap at Deathstroke's feet.

"America." The gun's slide flies out into the hallway, and the rest of the pistol is discarded under the sofa. "Don't you have somewhere you need to be right about now?"

*

Deathstroke tilts his head to the side and reaches down to his thigh to pull out a pair of steel tubes. He matches them end to end with a twist motion and then the sticks extend into a full blown staff. Slade's newest version of his power lance from back in the day, "Yes." he says simply, letting the weapon lean lazily off to the side as if it were a flag pole, "And I am there already." incidentilly, the staff is pointed at the stair well… which is starting to sound like it's hosting a herd of elephants. Or maybe bison is more area appropriate.

*

The short heel and sole of Dinah's boots land in time against the linoleum flooring. Casually, she strolls back to the door, stepping over the broken glass and crunching the tiny particles left best for the cleaning crew to sweep up. "Saves you the trouble of hunting him down. I get it." Dinah reappears, eyes following the line he points with his lance towards the stairwell as the first Nike-clad swoosh appears rushing down with shotgun in hand.

Six in all. It's going to be a crowded hallway, and hallways being killzone deathtraps as they are, Dinah jumps up to steal such an advantage by grabbing the first goon by his arm, tear him off of the stairway (taking half of the bannister in the process) and disappear with him back through the destroyed doorway.

*

Deathstroke lets out a little sigh as he watches Dinah fight, an old dusty set of thoughts long ago set aside on a shelf getting a sudden new rehashing. She always had so much potential, she moves like Adeline did in her prime, all grace and explosive talent. Rose moves like that. But the hessitation was always there, and it's on display tonight again. To be fair he's not supposed to kill anyone either, but still.

Another idiot rushes the stairwell, this one screaming and brandishing a high tech looking peice of Euro-trash SMG, his nerves shot on junk and adrenaline he's waving it about wildly, his high pitched wail filling the downstairs as it climbs in pitch. Deathstroke just depresses the stud on the staff and a flash of light sends the idiot slamming into the wall behind himself, his muscles spasming at the powerful taser blast he took full to the chest. "Amatuers." he nearly growls in disappointment. He didn't even bother to move when he made the shot, not even a wee bit.

*

Black Canary, herself, isn't rusty to the craft, but the hesitation is truly in droves. She glosses over killing moves for nonlethal moves, and when the right move to select would leave someone in a hospital for weeks, she chooses the next, less dangerous move, dialing the healing down to days. It's more work for her, risks more exposure.

Guilt in dancing sinew and muscle.

Canary hooks the trigger finger right out of the shotgun and bends it back to the thumb. A male scream emits from the open apartment door, soon silenced by an uppercut that sends his eyes upwards, then mandible nearly unhinging in the swinging kick across his face. The unconscious body spins in the air, and the shotgun falls to the floor.

-— New Activity ---
"Thugs are sloppy. They think guns make them strong." Dinah reappears in the hallway, stepping over the shuddering, electrified man to leap and twist, riding the next in line back down to the floor in a bone-cracking roll.

*

Deathstroke shakes his head, "They lack dicipline." those three words drip with disgust as he follows Dinah up the stairs, "Usually I avoid these sorts of contracts." they're clearly beneath him, "But the money was just…" he sighs heavily again. Plus he's a sucker for a parent with an axe to grind. Which is totally a thing he will never ever say outloud ever ever ever.

*

Dinah leads the path up the stairs, lifting her gloved hands, putting her 'dukes up', as it were. "Wait, you get paid ahead of time for doing this?" BLINK? Her body lurches back suddenly to avoid the swing of a baseball bat that takes a chunk out of the plaster, exploding the air before her in white dusty building material. She lurches back up again, driving her fist into the man's stomach, the other in between his eyes, then tosses his body over her hip in a Judo throw that tumbles him down, past Deathstroke, to the main floor. "Am I literally making your payout easier, right now?"

*

Deathstroke just keeps walking as another thug hurtles past him, only swaying to his right just enough to let the guy sail by unmolested, "Yes." he says evenly, "On them? Yes." he answers her second question, though likely not in the way she intended it to be answered. She should have remembered, no one but /no one/ fights a battle like the Terminator, if he was letting her join the fight, then it was for a purpose. Most likely for several purposes. He does nothing without a reason.

*

"The cops tend to frown upon having to question suspects from the ICU." Dinah rounds the top of the staircase at the same time another thug rounds the landing, heading down. She lowers her head and rushes the short distance to jump and use the handside railing for a lift to fly knees first into the man's shoulders. The wall cracks in a hundred places, and she rides him to the floor, punching once for lights out time. "Cops make bad enemies."

Dinah whips her eyes up, looking to Deathstroke's one remaining eye, and then rises, turning to take the stairs by twos.

"So does the Bat." Dinah says over her shoulder as she ascends to the fifth floor.

*

Deathstroke shrugs, "We have an agreement." he says simply, the fact that he's kinda sorta breaking that agreement currently is decidedly /not/ mentioned. He said he wouldn't accept any hits in Gotham without giving Bats the heads up first… but this isn't a hit. Technically. "Besides, with my enemies someone as genteel as the Bat or a Gotham policeman would be a refreshing comedic break in my life." he… has a point. The Kaizan still has a blood debt out demanding Slade's life, as do at least 3 terrorist organizations, 4 governments, and god only knows how many villains /and/ heroes.

Deathstroke has an impressive rogues gallery for a guy on other people's rogues gallery listing.

*

Canary brushes her hands off and slides to the entry to the hallway, leaning into the corner for a quick look around it. "Guess that answers the 'have you been keeping yourself busy?' question." Dinah's blue eyes shift down to the door rumored to belong to the mark, guarded by two men waiting with pistols in hand.

Frowning, Canary turns her head to the other side, looking to Deathstroke's face with a disappointed look of her own. She holds up two fingers and bats her fist around a fire extinguisher casing, pulling it free with a grunt. "All things considered it probably means something for the best if all of the people who want you dead are scum to begin with."

Dinah rips the pin free and wraps a zip-tie around the clamp on the fire extinguisher, which sets it to life. With another grunt, she throws it down the hall towards the goons, who begin yelling threats into the fog.

"Girlfriend? Wife? Domestic Partner?"

*

Deathstroke's expressionless mask stares back at her, it's stylized skull half, the orange half, reflecting a distored image of her own face back at her, the only part of her old commander she can still recognize is the single ice blue eye staring out from the skulls' depth. Last time she saw him he had two of those, rumor mill spilled out all kinds of stories about how he lost it, but lost it he clearly did, either that or the faceless formless black half of his mask is a creepy affectation meant to unsettle people. Which would actually be like him.

"Adeline and I are no longer together." he says flatly as he rounds the corner and slips into the thick white fog. Apparently he's done waiting for her to finish off the thugs… or she hit a sore spot. The fog shifts suddenly in a violent fashion, one way then the other, and the hall is suddenly very silent. As the fire suppresent dust begins to settle, there's only Deathstroke standing and two men unconscious (hopfully) on the floor.

*

Dinah lifts her brow and her blue eyes, playing chicken with her own resolve against the eerie sense of his mask. In some ways, the firmness that suddenly applies to her brow is out of surprise, or lack thereof. Loss is no stranger to their pasts, and in his trek into the fog, Dinah doesn't follow. She jams her shoulder against the stairwell and folds her arms beneath her breasts, glancing down to dig the toe over her boot into a chip in the tile flooring.

"Let's get this over with and get out of here." Dinah finally speaks up when she can finally see Deathstroke through the fog. Fanning at the air before her, she whips the chemical fog away from her face and dips down, knees together, to gather the pistols. "Go get your payday." She adds, looking up to him past blonde bangs. "My part is done."

*

Deathstroke steps through the door without another word, and there's the sudden boom and flash of a shotgun report, then half the sound of someone racking the slide, then a wet smooshing sound, followed by a mand shapped lump sailing mostly through the door way as if he'd been fired from a cannon, clipping the fframe on his way past he spins in the air and lands on his face, sliding to a stop a couple feet down, groaning.

If he looked like anything it isn't a drug dealer so much as an accountant. The man's wearing a fucking cardigan for christ sake, and honestly, if it weren't for the scars cut through his cheeks, a sure sign of a Gothamite that's survived the Joker toxin but had to have his cheek muscles cut to return his mouth to nomral, he'd be down right ordinary. He wheezes from the floor where he's curled up in a ball, his face red and swollen with his attempts to catch his breath.

Deathstroke walks back out of the shadowy room and towards the downed man, staff in hand, "Jobs like this are down right boring." he complains to Dinah.

*

While Slade works, Dinah gathers the pistols, racking the slide to pop out chambered rounds, then removing the slide in its entirety. She dismantles the weapons as Slade has seen her, a hundred times, blindfolded. She may not pack a piece in her leather jacket, but she's not forgotten them, by far.

She steps back, quickly, when the body clatters through. Painted, red lips wince in sympathetic pain to the dent his body put into the frame of the door. Her heels tap the floor as she steps back, leaning to one side, checking down the plane of her net-covered legs to search for signs of breathing.

"I'm not about to wax poetic with you on street cleanup philosophy. I know we've done far more interesting things than this. I'm not going to waste your time." Dinah steps back to fold her arms once more, leather jacket pressing into the wall and legs crossing at the heels to watch him work. "For whatever reason you took the job, you did." Dinah smirks, tone twisting to humored scolding. "You knew it would be boring, so don't bitch at me about it."

*

Deathstroke reaches down nonchalantly and grips the 'accountant's collar as he passes by, half dragging half carrying the man towards the stairs without any sign of strain, "Fair enough." he admits as he starts down the stairs, letting the man bounce down them uncerimoniously until he manages to get his feet up under him enough to stumble up to a mostly standing possition, though, he's still curled a bit over his stomach, one arm hanging a bit loose at his side. He tries to talk, but mostly just wheezes.

Slade shakes the man once, "I'm going to put you in my car, if you puke, I will break your jaw. If you attempt some half assed escape I will break your knees and your ankles. If you try to reach for a weapon, I will shatter your hand so that they can never be peiced back together." he doesn't ask if the man understands, he merely continues walking. The way his red puffy face paled a few shades to a soft pink was answer enough. Deathstroke doesn't threaten. He states facts. He stops at the entrance to the building and turns to face Dinah, pinning the drug dealer to the wall with a hand on his chest as the assassin speak, "You're letting your form get sloppy. You keep fighting these fools and you'll start to lose a lot more then that. And wear some armor like a grown up, bared legs are for cabera girls and lifeguards, of which you are neither. You still lead with your right, switch it up more in training." pause, "Good to see you still working." which is almost like a hug from him! Then he turns and shoves the smaller man out onto the street in front of him.

*

Dinah is silent on her way down to the front of the building. Professional courtesy, perhaps, but she doesn't intervene in the treatment of the cardigan-wearing toxin peddler. Sure, her threaded brow dips at the mention of lasting, permanent damage, but as she steps over the unconscious form of at least one person who is going to need surgical pins, the hypocrite in her laughs. She doesn't feel one bit bad about hurting bad people, either.

"I'm working my way up the ladder." Dinah defends herself flatly as she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a burner phone. She wipes it down with a handkerchief after pressing a predialed number and lobs it into the dirt with enough shadowed bitterness around his critique. Just like old times. Fucker. "You be safe out there, sensei."

Dinah watches Slade go, and once the novelty's worn off, she grunts and claps her heels across the street to her motorcycle. One cabaret leg athletically swings out over the bike into a straddle and she kickstarts the bike with a growl.

"I'm not getting sloppy." She protests to the shitty neighborhood before her, and peels out into the night.

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