A Knife With Your Name On It

September 01, 2018:

The Red Hood comes after Batgirl, and leaves a message for Batman.

Somewhere in Gotham

It's an alley in Gotham City.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's just another night for Batgirl.

"Bitch, I don't know what you think I was doing," the street thug says as he struggles against the cords of reinforced wire wrap his chest and secure him to the railings of the third story balcony. "but — mrphm hmm-hmph-hm."

She stuffs his culturally appropriated do-rag into his mouth, because if he calls her bitch one more time, she might neuter him. Her temper has been shorter since her return from NYC.

"GCPD is on their way, Trevor," Batgirl says as she lifts back to her full height, looming over the ganger. She steps back to the escape ladder, sweeping around it to begin her ascent to the roof while leaving poor Trevor shouting after her, his frustration muffled behind the cloth. She pulls herself up onto the roof above, breathing out a slow exhale once she's basked in the calm moonlight.

*

BLAM!

The loudness of that gunshot makes it very close. Close enough to be trajectory traced right back down to the location from whence the Batgirl had just vamoosed up from. The sound definitely came from wherever Trevor is…

Was.

That's not the only sound that can be heard because the sound of a body falling from three stories up and hitting the ground is also very obvious. Intentionally obvious.

Should the Girl with the Bat Tattoo decide to follow those detective rules, she'll be able to find a guy sitting on the balcony railing. Just swinging his boots, decked out in his armored plain clothes costume and sporting the signature thing that makes him very much whom he always

The Red Hood.

Oh, he's also holding his gun in his hand. His smoking gun. And he looks up, just figuring that she'll be looking down to see what the hell happened.

"Oops?"

He doesn't sound oops-y. At all.

*

Her heart stops. That BLAM! was an unexpected sound — and terrifyingly close. It rattles her

She sweeps back toward the roof's edge, looking down through the grates to meet the unseen eyes of the Red Hood looking up at her. Her nostrils flare at the sight of him, and then to where the body of Trevor — still gagged — sprawls out across the dingy alley floor.

"No." Her voice is breathless, teetering somewhere between rage and fear. "He knocked over a convenience store a block down. Why did you kill him?" She is speaking while she moves, slipping a razor-edged batarang from where they are neatly tucked near her collarbone. There's space between them, but not much.

*

"Eh. It was convenient."

With that, the Red Hood tumbles off the railing and drops down towards the ground, possibly even landing boots first on Trevor. It doesn't really matter. He's making a statement.

And maybe even trying to keep Batgirl from thinking straight this entire time. He's here for a reason, after all.

The Red Hood offers a wave over his shoulder, while tucking away his gun and starts to walk away like he's just done the entire city of Gotham a few hundred favors. "You can thank me later. After I kill the rest of his idiot friends."

The bait! It has been thrown! But will the Batgirl bite?!

*

No…

Her eyes widen at the departing Red Hood, and before her instincts can warn her against the trap being lain, she is planting her hands on the edge of the roof and swinging herself over the edge to drop down in a practiced fall to the ground.

She doesn't land on Trevor, but the sight of him — still gagged, eyes glassy to the moonlit sky, and hole in his head — has her wishing she hadn't landed that close. It turns her belly cold.

Her blue eyes dart back to Red Hood's retreating back, and her expression darkens.

She takes the bait.

In an advancing step, she loosens the razor-edged batarang. Even as she lets it fly, something tells her that its edge is not going to be enough…

*

"… Out of the Belfry and into the Fire."

Red Hood whisperquips that to himself the moment he can hear her movements above. It's like slow motion has kicked in or something because he's given up on walking away and starts turning his body back towards her.

As he rotates, his arm comes up and extends, his palm opening up to hurl a pair of smoke grenades in the general direction of the landing Batgirl. He's pretty sure he's got the timing down but just in case, that's why he's throwing two.

Granted, this doesn't give him time to deal with the razor-batarang that's headed in his direction. His body is a full on target for the damn thing and it slices right into his jacket, ripping clean through, into his shirt and slicing through his side on its way out the back of the jacket.

"Okay, so you can thank me now."

Red's pretty sure that her cowl will allow her to see through the smoke. But that's fine. He'd prefer it if she saw him running towards her and leaping up with both feet to dropkick her in the damn chest. Leaving a trail of dripping blood in his wake.

*

Barbara's mind is rapidly trying to track the incoming grenades while also keeping her sights on Red Hood. They clatter across the dingy pavement, spilling forth plume after plume of wretched smoke. She ducks low, pulling the edge of her cape to her mouth while her HUD swaps immediately to the sonar built into her ears.

Bats, man.

It bypasses the smoke, and her HUD highlights the silhouette of the Red Hood just as he launches toward her. There's no time to move, so all she can do is embrace the impact.

She takes the feet to the chest while she wraps her arm around his knees, pivoting to take them both down to the smoke-drenched pavement. She tries to roll, throwing her weight aside in some desperate attempt to get back on her feet, to get the upper hand.

Her voice is a hard growl, grunting her words, "I think I'll pass."

*

Red Hood is actually caught off-guard by this move. He wasn't actually expecting her to mount such a quick counter-defense. He's actually trained himself to be ready to deal with Batman and the Bat Brats. But this Batgirl. She's a different thing all together. All of his tricks aren't going to work on her. Not the way they'll work on those stupid birds.

Somehow the Red Hood manages to think of all this as he smacks into the ground with a heavy thud. His helmeted head gets knocked around but still the hood doesn't come off. He's definitely taken the time to design it that way. The sound of a crack happens but that just reinforces the fact that his entire skull is protected. And apparently for good reason.

When she disengages from him, he's already spinning into a kip-up that has him kneeling, with both of his pistols out. " A+. Finally, something we can agree on."

It's only a brief moment for banter before he leaps at her, twirling the guns into his palms and aiming his pistol-whipping combo at her face as he explains the rest of his quip.

"It's never the kids that fail. It's always the parents, isn't it?"

And maybe some insight into what's got this crazy bastard so pissed off.

*

The sound of Red Hood's head hit the ground slows Barbara just for a heartbeat, but only long enough to see him kipping up. The lack of staggering or slowing is noted in the back of her brain, where the tactical side of her is already trying to make sense of this man as a fighter.

The sight of his guns has her gripping for her cape. Bat Tech — something that Jason Todd would well-remember. Those bulletproof capes are all the rage in the Bat Family.

But, if she was expecting to be shot at, the pistol-whipping comes as a greater surprise. She barely ducks out of the first strike, but the second lands solidly across her jaw and temple, sending her reeling. There's been barely three days since her last concussion, and she's on the ground once more.

She can't slow down, can't stop. He's looming over her now, and all she can hope for is a sweep of her leg to the back of his knee in hopes of dropping him back to the ground. Again.

Unfortunately, Red Hood's insight leads Barbara down two roads: Bruce… and Jim. Is this about her dad? But, that would only make sense if Red Hood knew she was Barbara Gordon…

*

Sweep the leg?! Sweep the leg?! Red Hood is not prepared for his leg to be swept! Robins wouldn't sweep the leg!

Frustration seems to be setting in at the same time as the pain of getting sent back down to the ground happens. There's a wince in pain that sounds even weirder with the robotic twinge that his helmet gives his voice. He's definitely trying to keep his physical showings of pain in check. Because he doesn't want this Batgirl thinking she's handling him.

He should've stalked her more.

He's hoping that pistol did some crucial damage because almost a hair's hesitation after his painful expulsion of a wince, Red Hood rolls /towards/ Batgirl, one hand no longer holding a pistol, drawing his signature jagged dagger and aiming to stab… right into whatever part of her is closest. Because damn! She's ruining his plans!

There's even an angry robotic growl that comes with this stabbing.

*

Batgirl didn't expect a knife. By luck or intention, it does exactly what Red Hood intends. It finds the weak point in her chest armor, sliding between leather breastplate and pauldron to pierce through her underarmor and deep into the soft muscle of her shoulder. With all of Red Hood's weight behind it, it stops only when the tip chips into the pavement beneath her.

She screams out in agony, coiling inward beneath Todd as her hindbrain wants nothing more than to go fetal in some desperate hope to protect her vital organs.

She grabs for his forearm and wrist of his stabbing hand, but her gloves dull her fingertips, giving her little purchase on his own covered skin.

*

Knives. Knives work on the Batgirl. See, now that's a mental note to remember. And one that Red Hood plugs right into his memories. Not that he's even sure he's going to leave her alive after this. But still. Whatever.

Batman taught him to always be prepared. He wasn't this time. He won't make that mistake a second time. With Batman, you're not allowed to make a mistake a second time.

The Red Hood's anger just has him twisting the knife in her shoulder, the jagged edges of the Kris dagger likely making matters even worse. Even while she grabs for his arm. He's got the upper hand and he's not about to let it out of his sight. Not yet.

"I should kill you. I really should." He sounds like he wants to but also sounds like he doesn't. It's a complicated tone to read especially with the modulation. "But you tell him that his services are no longer needed in Gotham. You tell him the Red Hood's gonna' clean up this town. The right way."

During his little speech, the Hood moves to plant his knee on the arm of the already hurting arm. Just to turn up the pain and try to keep her from mounting too much of a counter.

*

The twist rips another sharp, tight scream of pain from her lips. She tightens her fingers around his forearm, feeble in her attempts to loosen his grip around the knife hilt.

Those too-blue eyes look up into the looming, empty red mask above her. The sightlessness of it is unsettling. She wants to see his eyes, wants to look into the soul of the man this close to silencing her life.

Her nostrils flare as she breathes through the next jolt of pain that shoots up through her nerves as he plants his knee. Her breath comes in sharp and quick, and all she can compare herself to is a dying bird.

She's a goddamn Bat.

"By executing stupid thugs who steal $200 for drug money? Is that — the right way?"

*

"The system doesn't work. The system sets criminals free. Criminals kill innocent people every day. I'm just evening the score."

Red Hood finally releases his grip on the knife, leaving it right where it is and snatches himself away from the Batgirl, dropping back and rolling to scoop up his pistol as he stands. It's all very fluid. Rolls that anyone could do but there maybe some familiarity in the way he moves.

Then again, trying to pay attention while in searing pain might not actually be possible but.

"Keep the blade. Tell your brothers, I've got some with their name on it too."

And as the Red Hood turns to go, there's a very good chance that either now or later, that the Batgirl will get the opportunity to see that the name 'Batgirl' has been etched into the handle of that particular dagger.

*

She's smart, smart enough not to get up after the Red Hood when he rolls up to his feet. She grabs for the knife hilt, holding it tightly in her palm and fingers. She steadies it in her shoulder, not daring to take it from the soft flesh of her shoulder. That's how bleed-outs occur.

She watches him depart. Her teeth grit through the pain, but it can't bite back the words she fires at the retreating back of the Red Hood.

"Tell me who you are, so we know who we're coming for."

*

Red Hood stops just long enough to look back over his shoulder at Batgirl. For once the voice modulation is gone and he sounds almost like he might just happen to regret everything that just went down in this alley.

"… ask Him."

Nothing else to say, Red Hood takes off around the corner and in a few moments the sound of a motorcycle screeching off can be heard.

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