Captured

BY : Wingnut
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Dragon prints: 52513
Disclaimer: Batman and all associated characters belong to DC Comics. This story is just for fun, no money is being made.

Author's note: Phew! Okay, so this time I actually have a good excuse for the delay. An annoying injury kept me from typing. Things should roll along much more smoothly now. I'm sorry if recent chapters have seemed rushed, but hopefully all these silly bumps will be smoothed out now. 



Again, thanks so much to everyone who took the time to write. You guys are the best! I hope the long awaited update doesn't disappoint. You'll be pleased to know that the next will be following much faster... and have naughty events, of course (finally, right? X3 ) 



Please review if it strikes your fancy! Direct requests/comments/high-fives/general-everythings you'd like a response to can be emailed to me at TheMightyWingnut@gmail.com - Please note that while I am open to requests, it doesn't necessarily mean I'll accept them! Be gentle with me. I'm fragile. u_u 



Edit: I almost forgot! While "Spent" was originally a one-shot request piece, there has been some interest in more. A second chapter will follow soon. 



Enjoy!~ ;) 


 

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 “What do you think?”

Alfred looked up from the array of colourful sketches strewn across the kitchen counter top, finally meeting the boy's gaze. The overlap in appearance between young Grayson and his guardian was rather uncanny. One could easily mistake them for blood relatives, but despite the shared hue of their eyes, Dick's carried a reverberant joy to contrast the cold sorrow of Bruce's own. This was the first time since his return that Alfred has seen it present with such vibrancy. It twisted conflict within the old man's core. He had never been fond of the idea of Robin, but there was no denying the purpose it provided Dick, the spirit it sparked within him. A question of the difference between mere survival and truly living, he supposed. Was this how it had to be, then?

“There's no talking you out of this, is there?” Alfred's smile failed to hide his worry. Dick sighed.

“You know I care about what you think, Alfred. I know you just want what's best for me.”

The butler shook his head. Lines of worry aged his features with practiced ease, but his compliance read sincerely in his second attempt at a smile. Dick's design choices helped rouse the more positive emotions Alfred held for the matter. A high collar, plunging neck line, flamboyant use of gold... He couldn't help but chuckle.

“With all due respect, Master Richard, do you intend to be invisible in the shadows or steal the spotlight in center ring?”

Dick was already grinning.

“You'll help me make it, then?”

“Of course.” Alfred replied, “But might I make a few suggestions...?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Batman was pacing. That was never good. Anything that could affect the Bat's composure had to be worrisome. Barbara leaned against the wall of the cave to avoid the light cast from the massive computer screens. She didn't need to feel more on the spot than she already did. All she needed, really, was for Bruce to cut to the chase. The sun had already dipped below the horizon. It wasn't like him to dawdle when there was work to be done. Those dark boots worked silently along the stone floor, back and forth, back and forth... Barbara had never noticed, but the smooth rock was noticeably worn along his path, speaking to the years of troubled strides it played host to. The quiet was eerie alongside the fervor in Batman's movements, so much so that Batgirl eventually gave up on her plan to grant him space to think.

“Bat—Bruce. Please. What did you need?”

She spoke softly, but even so, her voice seemed loud. Batman stopped dead, finally looking up from his feet. Barbara instantly regretted her decision to talk. At least his focus was elsewhere before, now those cold eyes bore into her. He stared for what felt like an eternity. She could have sworn a weight lifted from her shoulders when he finally turned away.

“I have an important task for you.”

Uh oh...

“What do you need me to do?”

“Dick has been acting strange since he found out about Ivy's escape.”

Barbara had to raise an eyebrow at that one. No shit, detective.

“With all due respect, um... Duh?”

Batman turned to brace his hands against the console, shaking his head.

“You don't understand. You didn't see him, Batgirl. He ran out of here, I've never seen him look so... lost--”

“Bruce, he--”

“Let me finish. I expected that much. Had he reacted differently, then I would have worried, but that's just it. When he came home... He was fine. He's been acting like it never happened. Superman said they had a good talk, but I can't see how a single discussion could undo what he'd been going through. I'm worried he's buried his distress. Or worse.”

“Worse...?”

Bruce pulled his cowl back and pressed two fingers to each temple, beginning to massage in a circular motion. His jaw was taut. His eyes were closed. It had been a long time since Barbara had seen him display such clear signs of stress. To make matters worse, his words were passing the feeling along to her with shocking efficiency. Bruce took his time before answering her.

“I think Dick might be planning something. Something reckless. He's a problem solver, he finds satisfaction in solution, but the only line of reasoning I see here is—”

“He's going to confront Ivy...”

“Yes.”

Barbara's lean suddenly seemed less avoidant and more dependent. She didn't trust herself to step away from the wall. Her stomach was in knots. Dick, you stubborn idiot...

“What do you need me to do...?”

“Follow him. Try to talk him out of it. He'll listen to you.” His words made the young woman shift uncomfortably.

“Will he...?” Her emotions were at war, fighting through a wild mass of unaddressed concerns. I slept with him and then ran away, why would he listen to me? Surely he understood,. It was better for both of them that they not repeat that moment of weakness, not with everything he was facing, at least that's what she had told herself. What if my involvement after what happened just pushes him back to her? It seemed like a fair concern. Dick craved affection at the best of times, there was no telling what a troubled state of mind could make him lapse into. What if he doesn't even want to see me? She wouldn't blame him if that were the case.

“Batgirl, focus.”

Bruce's voice made her jump. She looked up from the point on the floor she'd been fixated on. Bruce made a greater effort to speak gently when he noticed the worry in her eyes. “I don't know what happened between the two of you. I don't need to know. But we're both aware of Dick's feelings for you. He'll listen.”

“I really hope you're right, Batman...”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Free falling. There was nothing like it. The thrill of each drop sparked a veritable light show of adrenaline through Dick's nervous system, rousing a passion he hadn't felt in too long. Even before he was Robin, Dick had an edge on gravity. It was often joked that the youngest Flying Grayson took faster to aerial arts than he did to walking. When he was up here, he believed it. It wasn't simply a matter of fearlessness. Fear was a beast that became a powerful ally if properly tamed. Control it, turn it into something docile, something to be used. Stare it down. Leap.

It was a game of repeatedly cheating death. Dick watched the city streets rise to meet him, relishing the weightless sensation each time they fell away on the upswing. The autumn wind swept silently over his new suit. Ditching the cape seemed better and better the longer he indulged in his race against the night. His new uniform worked so perfectly with his movements, he almost forgot he was wearing it. No cumbersome belt, no unnecessary adornments. It was perfectly streamlined, and astonishingly light for such durable material. Alfred had delivered in both design and function. It was simpler than his original idea, a conservative black with one bold streak of blue from the fingertips of one hand out to the other. He loved it.

Having to hide the truth from the old man was going to hang over him for a long time, but there was no way Alfred would have helped if he knew. Dick never stated outright that he planned to go after Ivy... but the butler never asked. As much as the young hero liked to think his guardian knew all along, that it was a matter of don't-ask-don't-tell, he knew Alfred's cooperation had stemmed from trust. It nearly winded him just to think about it. Lying to Batman was seen as a near legendary feat in the superhero community, but Dick never had much trouble with that. Lying to Alfred, however, was a different matter entirely.

Nightwing caught a flash of motion in his peripheral vision. He made a note to alter the specs on his new mask. That visual field could stand to be wider. The fact that he was being tailed didn't really surprise him, but he wasn't heading for Toxic Acres, and he hadn't shared word of Ivy's whereabouts.

Whoever had found him must have been tracking him since he left Wayne Manor. Bruce? Another tell, his pursuer was closer this time. Black, yellow, the briefest hint of red. So now you decide to make contact, Babs... He was lost somewhere between anger and delight. The cold shoulder treatment had hurt him, but when had he ever been less than thrilled to see her? He didn't turn when he made a silent landing at his vantage point, an old apartment complex, long since cleared out. Barbara was less discreet when she perched. She wanted him to know she was there.

“Hello, Batgirl.”

“Hi, Rob—”

Nightwing.”

“Boy Wonder.”

She sounded the same way he felt. Restrained. One of them needed to say it, but neither had the capacity. Not yet, anyway. Dick quickly moved them past that silence before it was filled with words yet to mature.

“How did you find me?” He finally looked back. Batgirl smiled, or tried to, anyway.

“You didn't think Alfred was going to just hand you a new suit without a GPS tracker, did you?”

So it was truth-omission all around, then. Touché , Alfred.

“Fair enough.” Nightwing looked back to one of the shorter buildings below. They were being careful, no light shone through the windows of the old animal shelter, but a quick switch to thermal vision confirmed occupancy. And here he'd been worried his detective skills were slipping. He fixed the sights on his mask before turning to Batgirl. “So why are you here, exactly?”

“I could as you the same thing.”

“You could. I asked first, though.”

Batgirl rolled her eyes, but she relented.

“Bruce is worried about you, Dick. I'm worried about you... He was wrong to fire you, but do you really think you're ready to be out here...? You could get hurt, or worse—”

“Please, Babs, not you, too.”

She fell silent when he cut her off. Dick continued, tense. “You're both so ready to tell me what I'm capable of. Like you were both there, in my head, living through all of this shit with me, but you weren't. You have no idea how badly I need this, Babs. I'm sick of being protected, and I'm not going to let Bruce stop me from being involved this time.” He didn't elaborate on what he was referring to. He didn't have to. Nightwing took a deep breath and turned his back on Batgirl again. “I'm not a little kid anymore. I pick my own battles now.”

Barbara was torn. Bruce had trusted her with this one, but now that she was here, it wasn't Dick's motives she found herself questioning. It wasn't just his argument, it was in the way he carried himself, the conviction with which he spoke. She made her approach carefully. He didn't pull away when she set a gloved hand on his shoulder.

“At least let me help you.”

Dick felt a knot tightening in his stomach. He couldn't bring himself to look at her. Those were feelings he definitely didn't trust himself with yet.

“Alright.”

Batgirl withdrew to mimic her partner's position, scoping out the scene. Her cowl lacked the specialized lenses favoured by her male counterparts. She looked to Nightwing to fill in the blanks.

“So why are we here...?”

“Because this is where Ivy is.”

Batgirl sighed at his reply. That much she had deduced on her own.

“Thanks, Boy Wonder. Care to give me a little more? This isn't her usual stomping grounds.”

Nightwing lifted a hand to tweak his sights once again, zooming in to locate an entry point. He finally smiled.

“She wouldn't go to Toxic Acres, she's not stupid, but Arkham will have weakened her. She can't go far. She needs friends.”

Batgirl raised an eyebrow. She took a closer look at the building in question, squinting to read the weather worn sign in the flickering glow of the streetlights. Of course.

“But how did you know...?”

Nightwing shrugged and rose to his full height, readying a line for descent.

“She doesn't have a lot of allies she trusts. This is Selina's only piece of property aside from her condo that has hydro and heat—Shall we?”

Batgirl rose to prep her own jump cable.

“And the plan?”

“Take her back to Arkham.” Nightwing dropped off the edge of the rooftop, muttering quietly. “Make sure she stays there this time...”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



The heavy scent of dust and mildew greeted the pair as they slipped silently through a loose window. Nightwing was sure to secure the pane in their wake. A chill may alert their target... or targets. There was no way to be certain of Harley's presence, but with the Joker still locked up and Ivy no doubt in need of care, she wouldn't have gone far.

It didn't take long to place the source of the temperature feedback. In addition to the radiators along the baseboard working away, someone had set up heat lamps. They cast an eerie red glow along the back of the room, illuminating a wall of empty cages. The tile floor offered quiet movement, not that they needed the assist. Nightwing could hear his heart pounding in his ears, deafening amidst the lack of sound otherwise. No signs of life. They'd been here, he was certain of that much, and the running heaters meant they'd be back. For now, it seemed safe to talk.

“Find anything, Batgirl?”

The heroine rounded a corner, calling back to him.

“Dust is stirred on the stairs... They must have gone out.”

Nightwing felt that twisting sensation in his gut again. This didn't feel right. Where would they have gone? Batgirl was still out of sight. He took to examining what appeared to be a makeshift kitchen that consisted of a mini-fridge and hotplate set up near a stainless steel sink. There wasn't much in the fridge. Grocery shopping, maybe... but at this hour?

“I can't imagine where they could have gone.” Silence. The knot bound tighter. “Batgirl?” Nothing. He stood swiftly to hurry after her, nearly hurtling down the stairs as he rounded the first corner. A hall stretched on to the left of the stairwell. The room at the end was open. More red light spilled through the gap in the door. His heart felt like it was trying to break free from his chest. Oh god. His mind was racing. No, no, no... He shouldn't have let her come. There was no point moving quietly now, he conquered the hall in three strides, bursting through the door. Foolish. Out of practice. He'd regret his mistake.

Nightwing's focus was stolen by the sight of Batgirl bound. Vines consumed her frame, rising to a firm knit over her neck and mouth to ensure her silence. Her eyes were wide, not with terror, but urgency. He should have acted as soon as he saw it, he should have known. Instead, he found himself stunned by the sight of the young woman's captor. It appeared partially human, something one might see in fantasy stories; a forest dwelling being, more plant than animal. Cold blue broke sharply through the crimson light as the diminutive creature opened its luminous eyes. Nightwing found his thoughts flashing back to the living adornments in Ivy's bedroom. His knees felt weak. Batgirl was trying to call out to him, struggling against her attacker. Her warning was silenced.

Dick smelled her before he heard her, that disarming, floral scent washing over his senses. It punctured his memory bank to unleash a violent wave of recollection. Images he'd repressed flooded his mind, stirring carefully concealed emotions from the depths of his subconscious. The vibrant light in her chartreuse eyes... her hands pressed to the mossy tree trunk... her head tilted back in rapture... the way her fiery hair spilled over those pale green shoulders. He could hear her melodic cries of delight. He could feel her. Nightwing didn't have time to turn, at least that's what he wanted to believe. He wasn't about to admit to himself that he froze up. Fear had slipped from his hold to turn its jaws on him. The bite left him paralyzed, short of breath. Her touch was soft and delicate, fingers tracing the outline of his mask as she pressed to his back. Her breath was warm against his ear while she spoke in that patronizing tone.

“Hello, Blue. Did you miss me...?” 

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To be continued...



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