Bat and Sparrow

August 08, 2018:

Red Sparrow and Batman meet. She eagerly tries to help him, he gruffly rebukes her enthusiasm.

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

MORE THAN A YEAR AGO.

"Okay guys, just bear with me. I know I said I'd film the whole trip, but it's one of those things that sounds better before you run into a passed out guy in the parking garage elevator and then almost sweat through your clothes getting to the top the old fashioned way. I know what you're all thinking. A wheelchair in a parking garage, no big deal, right?! It's all ramps! Holy shit it's arm day times twenty seven, I'm just glad this place is so run down I don't have many cars to dodge."

Arnavi swivels her phone around, her Twitch stream filled with emotes that denote the struggle is real, and of course the usual unsavory things. Her's is a stream built around mythology, theory, and news layered in heroism. It is a stream about finding out the bright truth hidden in the dark corners of the world.

Here, atop an old parking garage, she stops at a run down car with two flats and police tags. "But don't worry, it's worth it. Look." Panning down to underneath the car, six car batteries, set up in a row, cables going to the trunk. One that pops open with just a little push. There inside, a big, great circular spotlight with a black bat welded over it's front.

"Like three months of data and a shit load of triangulation and here it is." The zoom on her face is intense and her smile infectious, eyes light with a mischief that speaks to her oncoming deed. "We found the backup signal holy shit! Alright hold on."

The phone is set down. Every ache she has in her muscles from the trip up, ever awkward push to get her chair closer, it has a payoff she won't let herself miss. Pulling at the backup Bat Signal to get it into position, it's clear it hasn't been used in some time. But it works. The stream hears the click. They hear Arnavi Mehta gasp, fumble with her phone, and look to the sky.

"Now we just wait guys. Now we just wait for the interview of a lifetime!!"

NOW.

The Bat Signal blares in the sky, and it's hard for The Red Sparrow to ignore.

But most things are ever since the mist.

A punch misses her head by half an inch. A chain whirls through the space where her legs were, but she can't stop looking up. Forever it has been a source of reverence. The myth that started it all. If someone might ask her who inspired her, she'd truthfully say Red Robin, who, just maybe, she fell entirely to hard for in his debut year in his new cape and cowl. If someone asks her how legends begin, she'll say 'with Batman'.

The Inhuman twists, snatching the chain in mid air and pulling the man's head in line with his buddy's baseball bat, a leaping kick plowing him over and into solid brick. The alley is mostly dark. Mostly silent now, save for the labored breathing of the two men who tried to rob a college kid on his way home from a late night job.

But Arnavi Mehta isn't paying attention to any of that, and just thinking back on the interview that never showed. The mythology that remains larger than life. The man that inspired dozens more to stand up for people who couldn't stand for herself. In a rare moment of oblivious revery, she'll never see the man who was hiding behind the dumpster come charging at her back.

*

In a flash of gunmetal grey, a sharp projectile is expertly thrown. It glints off the moonlight for only a moment and then embeds itself into the meaty part of muscle right where the calf meets the ankle of the attacker at Arnavi's back.

It seems as if there has been more than one person that has been lurking in the shadows. As Arnavi might expect from her 'legend' he's mostly in shadow, perched on a ledge of a lower grotesque large enough to support his weight. However, in what little light there is, the shape of his cowl's bat-shaped ears are hard to miss.

It's a brief moment. Batman waits to ensure that his target is sufficiently incapacitated for Arnavi before he gives a warning: "You should go home." His voice is even, commanding.

Then, he points his grappling gun toward a taller building. With a distant impact, the hook sinks into its target and starts to propel him upward, cape flapping in the sudden wind of upward momentum. As far as he's concerned, this conversation and situation is over. He has other engagements.

*

Batman arrives from The Sound Stages.

*

It only takes the slow blink of her eyes behind white lenses to hear it all, every inch if her engineered to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel things before others might. It almost makes her laugh, how silly it is that this beacon of hope blaring to the sky might be her undoing, but so too does she hear that Batarang cut through the air to send her assailant stumbling short.

Turning to the statue that is myth realized, perched in the way a giant demon might loom in ancient legend, her lips part as a certain kind of terror sinks in. No one is immune to this. No one. If they say they are, they're lying, a revelation that only now syncs up with Oracle's warning about Batman.

'You'll meet him when it's time. You'll meet him when you're ready.'

The Red Sparrow was not prepared.

His words never really land in her brain. Sure, she hears them. She hears /everything/. That's her /job/. Some Inhumans are fish people destined to work for persnickety Brits, others are living eyeballs turned into rooftop vigilantes because when she got a second chance, she decided it didn't belong to her alone. But she doesn't really register them. They might be /negative/. That's just not how Arnavi is charged.

There's an audible gasp as he zooms off. Then, before the flutter of his cape drowns out the sudden shriek of excitement, Batman will hear her exclamation.

"HOLY FUCKING SHITBALLS THAT WAS THE GOD DAMN BATMAN!!! DID YOU SEE THAT?!"

The dude on the ground groans and rolls around, holding his leg. "Oh right." says Arnavi, scooping up the Batarang and moving to a running leap.

Inhuman physiology helps her keep up, bounding in ways a human could not, but eventually even she must too use a grapnel, brick complaining as her line snaps to a building that lets Arnavi swing wide of Batman, but wide enough to give a great big wave, one that holds his Batarang up for him to see!

"No wait! I can help! Look i'm already helping I got your Batarang!"

*

It's easy enough to hear Arnavi's excited exclamation as he careens toward the rooftop and that prior engagement that blares urgently in the sky. He thought the case closed, the misguided vigilante properly chastised.

And then she wings by him again, holding up a Batarang the she retrieved. White eyehole slits narrow. A ping of recognition jars as he remembers Oracle reporting of a woman who wished to join the fight against crime in Gotham. A woman described as…enthusiastic.

Leaping onto the rooftop and stowing away his propellant, he's still moving. The Bat Signal beckons and he still needs to answer it. "I don't need someone to fetch my things for me," he tells her. "Wait for the police to pick up those robbers and give a statement."

There's no wait, no give in his order.

*

"Oh pshhhhhhh. I dropped a little beacon for them already. Those guys aren't going anywhere! But you might need backup! Right? Right! I needed backup."

You see, this is the thing. There's tons of give to Arnavi's words, because she's a giving person. She is made of charity. She is going to HELP Batman.

This isn't to say she thinks Batman really needs backup. She just hopes he needs backup. Maybe she's hoping for some kind of redemption after nearly getting jumped, or maybe she's just hoping to understand how years alongside Batman turned Red Robin into what he is, so that she might follow in those footsteps.

"I once tried to call on you with a back up Bat Signal. I found it! I found it all by myself an-"

A rebounding leap will take her vaulting over a roof. She runs to catch up, keeping pace and keeping conversation, her eyes barely on where she's going, but her footfalls land easily. This is the dangerous part of her, because all of this is easy, and it lets her do this at all.

"-well, you didn't show up. But you were busy. So I get that. I always wanted to ask you this thing, maybe it's impor-"

That's not a Bat Signal. Maybe it's the axis, it's location, just a little off. It's projected from another building, one they aren't far from.

Three rockets lance out into the night, cutting towards the dynamic duo with great prejudice.

*

As they run across rooftops, Batman notices as Arnavi easily catches and keeps up with him. That is not something easily done. Still, though, his eyes are on the horizon - always forward.

"I don't make house calls," Batman tells Arnavi dryly. It's clear that he certainly knew the difference between the currently in use Bat Signal and the one that is used as a back up. It's possible he insisted there were differences between them so he could know.

"And I don't need back up." The words are firm, bitten out.

The light is evaluated and as the rockets lance toward them. Batman leaps to the side, intent on knocking Arnavi flat onto the roof and covering her with his reinforced suit.

As soon as the danger is passed, he gives her a look. "Go." He spares her barely another glance and is leaping off the roof and toward the origin of those rockes.

*

One day Arnavi Mehta might be a terror to behold. Inhuman physiology, pushing her towards the physicality of someone like Steve Rogers. Hyper senses, capable of putting the Man of Steel to test. Training untold, from… movies. Oh right, that's why Arnavi is not yet a terror to behold. Also, maybe she shouldn't be watching Twitch streams in her HUD while trying to be Batman's sidekick for the evening.

She doesn't know what the fuck she's doing.

Batman slams into her, driving her to the rooftop and she goes still under his protective shield of suit and cape, and series of explosions obliterating an old billboard, but so far causing little collateral damage. With the danger passed, that order is issued.

"Yes sir!"

There they are, one roof over. Bulk. Baton. Shot, and their leader, Slash: The Fearsome Hand of Four.

Of course the order to 'Go' is taken in the best way possible, and The Red Sparrow leaps into action, vaulting the space between the buildings and slamming into Baton mid-air. with the force of a truck. It sends them both careening into the alley below.

'What the fuck.'

'He was supposed to be alone.'

'Shot, shoot him! Bulk, hold him still!'

*

One day Arnavi Mehta might be a terror to behold. Inhuman physiology, pushing her towards the physicality of someone like Steve Rogers. Hyper senses, capable of putting the Man of Steel to test. Training untold, from… movies. Oh right, that's why Arnavi is not yet a terror to behold. Also, maybe she shouldn't be watching Twitch streams in her HUD while trying to be Batman's sidekick for the evening.

She doesn't know what the fuck she's doing.

Batman slams into her, driving her to the rooftop and she goes still under his protective shield of suit and cape, and series of explosions obliterating an old billboard, but so far causing little collateral damage. With the danger passed, that order is issued.

"Yes sir!"

There they are, one roof over. Bulk. Baton. Shot, and their leader, Slash: The Fearsome Hand of Four.

Of course the order to 'Go' is taken in the best way possible, and The Red Sparrow leaps into action, vaulting the space between the buildings and slamming into Baton mid-air. with the force of a truck. It sends them both careening into the alley below.

'What the fuck.'

'He was supposed to be alone.'

'Shot, shoot him! Bulk, hold him still!'

Bulk does his best, diving through air to try and grapple the bat, faster than he looks but still slower than the caped crusader. Shot unleashes more than rockets now, lasers from his singular eye cutting through the air from his perch, claws hooking him onto the building's edge.

But this is all distraction. Twin energy laced katanas whip left and right, intent on filling the space Bulk does not with death meant for The Batman.

*

There's a brief look at Arnavi as she eagerly flings herself into the fray. His 'go' was meant as a dismissal. Of course, that really is his own fault for being so succinct. Sometimes being the bat of few words works against him.

It's too late now and battle plans shift, recalculations are made. It's no use arguing any more. Arnavi is in this and it's better to use this surprise to his advantage than to reveal that this was a mistake.

Batman crashes into Bulk, knees forward. Even as his momentum attempts to knock Bulk off his feet and right into the rooftop, he is still moving. Batman is not a brawler. He rolls even as he hits both his target and the surface.

The four pronged attack is, luckily, broken up. Even as darting this way and that, the katanas whip toward him and his forward momentum dictates that they each slash against him. Due to his own reflexes, they are not killing blows, but bright angry marks cut through both arms of the Batsuit.

A grimace is given, but Batman does not waver. Instead, he springs, a small round ball grabbed from his belt and smashed against the ground. A spray of smoke arises, obscuring the battlefield, making it all the harder for Shot to make a shot.

*

There is some surprise for Bulk as he impacts living legend, arms curling forward a moment before he realizes he cannot breath. The action completes, but without strength, and Bulks hits the rooftop just as Slash wades in. Each blow should end him, and she measures her victory twice before her eyes catch up to where there is but seared armor and superficial wounds.

'Baton, stop playing with that girl and get up here!'

But this alone does not stop Slash from following up, only to have a smoke bomb dropped amidst them all.

'Go subsonic. Track sound and mo-'

SMASH!!

Baton's baton finds the back of Slash's head, sending her reeling until she trips over Bulk, who is already rising to the fray. Shot shoots, but follows only shadow as Batman leads those blasts into a oblivion of misses, his precarious position shifting to try and track the Batman, while ignoring the David and Goliath face-off happening on the other rooftop.

Arnavi looks up and up. Bulk looks down through smoke and squints as he sucks breath.

'Wait did you hit me? Why you got Baton's baton? GIVE IT BACK!'

"Ohshitohshitohshit!"

A great fist slams down, and Arnavi rolls with great desperation, just as Shot fires another blast, this time at the only target he can see. It glints in her eyes, her body twists to bring the great staff-baton to deflect it, an impossible feat she makes possible.

But to what end? Slash is already up, and already decided that Arnavi needs to die. Somehow it's all gone wrong, for they came here to kill the Batman, but instead have converged on one over-eager birb, who did not take the smoke bomb as a hint that SHE SHOULD HIDE!

"Mistakes we made!"

Comes her battle cry, furiously backpeddling against an overwhelming force.

*

The smoke bomb gives Batman a precious moment to asses. It's a quick readjustment and then he's moving again.

This high up the smoke bomb will start to dissipate rather quickly. However, he uses the confusion to silently track Shot. The sounds of his attacks against them giving him away. The best way to use this confusion to his advantage is to take out the sniper and then move from there.

He lets Arnavi fight for now. While he did not wish her in the fight, she is in it now and he will allow that advantage to work itself out as long as she can hold her own.

Swinging upward, he tries to smash Shot off his perch and onto the ground. With a precisely guided punch, he means to put the man down and out for the count so he can focus on the rest of the fight.

The entire time, part of his attention remains on Arnavi to ensure that she remains upright.

*

POW!!!

That fist, so practiced at finding a home in the faces of those who deserve less mercy than Batman allows utterly destroy's shot's best mode of attack, the laser-eyepiece that makes up most of his cybernetically enhanced face. His head snaps back, and a claw lashes out towards Batman that misses utterly on Shot's way to the fire escape below, the woozy member of the Hand of the Fearsome Four tries to rise, vision almost completely destroyed by Batman's attack.

Baton, sans baton, powers through the air towards the caped crusader in that moment, swinging through the air on his own swingline and not so down for the count as Arnavi might have thought. His boot aims for cowl, his battle cry showing that he's missing several teeth and blood spittle flies through the air as a gruesome trail behind him.

The Red Sparrow doesn't see Batman. Doesn't know if he's down for the count or dead or oh god oh god what has she DONE. It fuels her with a surge of adrenaline, and while her sensory intake always makes things seem oh so slow, now the world is molasses that she tries to power through, that baton-staff she's stolen whipping up and around to block one blade, then another, planting hard to the roof to meet Bulk's sudden charge with a double-booted kick to the spot Batman already caved in on his stomach.

This turns into an abandonment of her borrowed stick, rolling away from that impact and leaving Bulk with a little flashing light on his forearm which suddenly explodes in a stunburst that nearly knocks Arnavi from the roof.

It certainly sends Bulk cratering to the alley on the otherside of the building, completely unconscious. It does not stop Slash, who looms over Arnavi where she has her single handhold, one blade rising with an ominous hum.

*

Batman allows Shot to drop to the fire escape below. There is only a moment to ensure he will not get back up and then he turns his attention back to the fight.

Baton is met with a duck and a redirection of his momentum. A hand grabs at the foot. Using his attacker's own momentum, he attempts to yank him from his trajectory and then continue that arc toward the edge of the building. If all goes well, he'll land uncomfortably on top of Shot.

By now, the smoke bomb has mostly dissipated to a fine mist. It makes the rooftop look more like a music video than anything that purposefully obscures people. Using the confusion of the fight, Batman sweeps to the side. Looking for an entrance, it seems Arnavi's powered attack against Bulk is the way to go.

Slash's advance is met with a gravelly counter. "It's over, Slash. You know it, don't make this harder on yourself."

*

There's so little that Baton can do against that counter that he actually screams in frustration before his face meets brick and he crumples in a pile atop his alley, making the fire escape into a Bat-sanctioned time-out zone. It seems for a moment that Arnavi is about to meet her end, shaking off the daze of her own stun-bomb, a hazy mix of smoke and the ominous cyan glow from those energy rimed katanas throw her extraordinary senses for a loop.

But not so much that the voice of Batman does not inspire the fear of his demise away, does not call her to action.

Almost comically, the very Batarang that Batman had used to save Arnavi earlier cracks Slash between the eyes.

Her blades drop, and so does she, tumbling backwards to fall flat on the roof. It's only then that Arnavi lets herself fall to the fire escape below, slamming to it hard enough that she winces, one hand on a rib that's likely bruised as she rocks back onto her rump. And though there are a dozen or more feet between them, and maybe twice that many bruises, the vigilante looks up to Batman and gives a thumbs up.

"That was… amazing. Holy shit. I once fought a pile of bread-slime that was eating people but never actual.. you know. Super villains. How'd I do, coach? Give it to me straight. Don't hold back. Unless you really want to."

A beat.

"Oh god please don't yell at me."

*

While Batman attempts to connect with Slash, a batarang careens forward and crashes into her head, knocking her out cold. While all the members of the team are dealt with and are unconscious, Batman wheels on Arnavi.

"Why are you here," he asks her, voice firm, angry even. There is no yelling. Batman does not yell. He simply states his opinions and in times like these? They are unhappy. "I am not your coach." The words are firm, just as firm as they were before she leapt into the fray.

"Do not follow me. Go home." That's his advice to this woman that seems to want to emulate him. "You survived this fight, that's enough. Go home."

Unwilling to give her pointers, unwilling to give her any praise other than the fact that she survived, he turns from her. At the very least, he did not yell at her. It's scant praise for helping him survive. However, it is also Batman.

"Go home, Sparrow."

*

'Why are you here?'

It sticks to her mind like a glue made of rage, and though he does not yell, it pins her in place all the same. For anyone else, she might deflect. She'd make some comment about getting Red Robin's digits, or maybe talk about how it's great exercise. This one, usually, has jokes. But not right now. Right now she has tears in her eyes because in that moment, Batman cuts to the core of her.

"I got a second chance to make a difference."

Hollow, harrowed, she blinks it away. Her mask will hide her tears, a thankful thing, as much as it hides her identity. "I didn't want to waste it."

If his question cut her to her core, hearing her hero name come from the legend himself heals all her wounds. She swallows it down, and if her words don't move him or give him a single moment's pause, he'll know his own coaxed from her that one thing he's been asking her to do all night: She pulls herself together, pulls herself up, and with the utmost pride of having fought side by side with a man who has inspired a generation to push back against the dark, she goes home.

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