BY : megamatt09
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Dragon prints: 52709
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman, Avengers, X-Men, or Spider-Man nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter One: Trigger.

Gotham City didn't seem like much to many people, but to Dick Grayson it had a certain appeal to it. He lost his parents at the age of twelve after an extortion scheme gone wrong. He became the sidekick of Batman and became Robin, the Boy Wonder. He had a falling out with Batman and split off to do his own thing. Robin turned into a leader as part of the Teen Titans. Then he changed into Nightwing when he left the modified circus uniform and the pixie shorts behind.

Despite being at the tender age of twenty-one, Nightwing had a lot more experience than a lot of people in his field. Not he thought he was better, but he knew his way around. Mobsters, aliens, evil demons, assassins, psychotic clowns, and everything in between, Nightwing fought them all.

Nightwing returned to Gotham City around six months ago as a solo crime fighter. He didn't make the mobsters crap their pants as much as his mentor did, but he did what he could.

Perching himself above a high vantage point, Nightwing gazed down at a figure dressed in black making her way through the shadows. Black clad women in Gotham City were a dime a dozen, but the way this woman moved made Nightwing think she was running from something or someone.

The former circus acrobatic followed her with grace and skill. She turned into the alleyway. Nightwing stopped short when he noticed some familiar, and not so friendly, faces approach them.

'The League of Assassins….wonderful.'

Nightwing knew he should wait for back up, but if this woman was being chased by the League, she might be a target.

Gliding down, Nightwing put himself down the alleyway. The woman leading the League stepped back from him. Her curves poured into the skin tight black suit she wore. Her dark hair shined in the moonlight. The half mask covered her face, but the bright green eyes clued in Nightwing on who he fought against.

The woman he faced happened to be as beautiful as she was dangerous. The other woman vanished behind him as the League closed in.

"Talia Al Ghul," Nightwing said.

"Yes, Mr. Grayson, very good," Talia said. "I must say, I'm surprised you've returned to Gotham City. I thought you wanted an opportunity to step out of his shadow."

"He has a shadow which follows me wherever I go," Nightwing said. "You should know it…you can't escape your father's shadow."

"We have this much in common," Talia said. She withdrew the blade from her sheath. "But….we do not seek a quarrel with you, or any of Gotham's protectors. Once our business is concluded, we will leave Gotham City."

"What business is this?" Nightwing asked.

"You should not ask these questions!" one of Talia's honor guard yelled.

Talia surrounded herself with an army of women almost as beautiful and almost as deadly as she was. Nightwing knew if she gave the word, he would be in for a rough night.

"Please," Talia said in her commanding tone of voice. "Stand down."

Talia walked towards Nightwing. The young man didn't dare move from his position.

"The woman we are after, which you allowed to get away, is a dangerous beast," Talia said. "I'm sure the Detective has made you aware of the Lazarus Pits."

Nightwing raised an eyebrow and nodded.

"Yes, I'm well aware, they caused Ra's to live well past his expiration date."

The slight on her father's tendency to cheat death bounced off of Talia.

"Many of the Pits have been tainted over the years," Talia said. "They will still restore a person, but at a horrific price. The League has done all we can to secure and destroy the Pits which have been corrupted."

Nightwing snorted. Give what Batman told him about the Pits, they were already corrupted.

"A woman took her daughter to one of the corrupted Lazarus Pits," Talia said. "I discovered the breach just as her daughter had been exposed to the process."

"What happened to her?" Nightwing asked.

"She was turned into a creature of unmistakable bloodlust," Talia said. "To sustain her life, she must feed off of others."

"She was turned into a vampire," Nightwing said. "By one of the Lazarus Pits?"

Talia heard an undercurrent of mocking in his question.

"You live in a world full of extraordinary super powered beings," Talia said. "Why do you find such a creature hard to believe?"

"Sorry," Nightwing said.

"She lacks a few qualities of a vampire, their reaction to sunlight being one and her reflection is visible within a mirror," Talia said. "But in essence, yes, she acts as one. Any humanity she once hand is slipping away strand by srand."

"She seemed terrified," Nightwing said.

"Most animal are when they are hunted down," Talia said. "I'm going to ask you to move."

Nightwing folded his arms together. Talia stared at him.

"You can choose to believe what you wish," Talia said. "She will feed off of innocents in the city you protect."

"I know I'm going to regret allowing the League unchecked," Nightwing said. "Batman wouldn't have done….."

Talia put a hand up. Her commanding presence caused Nightwing's words to falter.

"If you ask yourself what Batman would have done, you will never become your own man," Talia said. She stood as close to him as she would allow. The Daughter of the Demon looked into the eyes of a man who had matured since the last time she laid eyes on him. "And you have a potential to be a better man because you have less baggage."

Nightwing allowed the League passage towards the alleyway. The woman long since vanished.

The creature sensed her pursuers closing on her. She tried not to draw attention to herself.

"Need to feed…so hungry."

The creature staggered a half of a step. Each meal left her less fulfilled. The feeding time needed to be soon and needed to be now. Her teeth mutated into fearsome fangs.

Gotham City, why did she end up here of all places? She had been turned into some hideous monster.

Now these shadowy people hunted her down. The creature lost sense of her humanity and sense of herself.

A pair of gentlemen made their way outside of the club. Their necks looked so succulent. Just one bite, and she could go into the shadows for a few more hours.

The creature restrained herself for a moment. She knew she shouldn't be. Primal survival instincts told her she needed to feed. The few bits of humanity lingering deep within her being told her she was better off dead.

The two gentlemen left into their car and the temptation left her. The desire remained. Each time she fed, it detached her further from the person she was.

The creature barely recalled of a life before the blasted pit. It changed her and not for good reasons.

Nightwing wrestled with some severe misgivings he had regarding the League of Assassins. Talia's explanation seemed sincere enough, but something about this situation sounded rather off.

He bit the bullet and realized he needed information. Dick Grayson knew one person who could dig it up. Fiddling with his earpiece, Nightwing took the plunge.

"Nightwing to Oracle."

"I was wondering if you ever were going to call in," Oracle said. "You've been back in town for six months and I swear, Batman at his broodiest was far chattier than you are."

"Just trying to figure out some things," Nightwing said. "I'd ask how you are….."

"Can the small talk, Boy Wonder," Oracle said. "You obviously had to swallow a lot of pride to ask me for help. And I'm glad you did….I feel bad how we….well no one handled that situation well."


"It's Oracle when we're doing the cyber thing," Oracle said.

"You have one of the most dedicated and secure connections in Gotham City," Nightwing said. "I'm pretty sure if the NSA wants to know who you are, they would have known a long time ago."

"It's the principle of the matter," Oracle said. "So what's on your mind?"

"The League of Assassins are in town and they're hunting down some pseudo-vampire lady," Nightwing said.

"It's not even in the top ten of strangest things I've heard in this job," Oracle said. "The League always has one foot in Gotham. It's worse now when the League has been split up into factions."

"Talia said….."

"Wait you talked to her?" Oracle asked.

"Oracle, would you let me tell you what she told me?" Nightwing asked. He sounded equal parts amused and annoyed.

"Sorry," Oracle said. "Please continue."

"She said some of the Lazarus Pits have gone bad…well worse," Nightwing said. "The consequences are far worse. She had been destroying the Pits which had gone bad."

"You know if she's sincere about not being her father's daughter, she should be toasting all of the Pits," Oracle said.

"Do I really want to know why you're so salty about her?" Nightwing asked.

"Sorry," Oracle said, evading the question. "So….are you saying bad Lazarus Pit causes vampirism?"

"It sounds stupid…"

"Possible though, maybe," Oracle said. "Magic really isn't my bag….but I remember hearing those Pits contain echoes of the souls of all who have passed through them. You are restored to full health in exchange for a tiny bit of your soul….at least it's the theory. I don't know if it's for sure."

"Well, it's…." Nightwing said. "It's really the best we can come up with."

Nightwing leaned back for an instant and frowned in response. He continued to scope out the scene around him. The dark clad vigilante used the lessons drilled into his head for years to keep in the shadows.

"Is there any weird figures I should know about?"

"You mean in Gotham City?"

Nightwing realized in an instant how it sounded. The tone in Oracle's voice made him smile. It was almost like old times ago. With all of the insanity which went along being a hero in Gotham City.

"You were gone for three years. What happened?"

"Come on, don't you have an idea?" Nightwing asked.

"Humor me," Oracle said.

"Maybe you can tell me if the rumors about our mutual friend are true," Nightwing said. "When's the last time you've heard from him?"

Oracle had been saved from having to answer by a beep in the side of her ear.

"I hacked into one of the security cameras in the subway," Oracle said. "Picked up some of your new found friends in the League of Assassins lurking around in the shadows."

Nightwing needed to protest the words she said. Especially when they sounded like an accusation.

"They're not really my friends," Nightwing said.

"Whatever helps you sleep better at night," Oracle said. "It's the subway, the one where you'd want to get on if you wanted to go to Old Gotham from New Gotham. Or vice versa I suppose."

"Right, I'm on my way."

Nightwing didn't really know what to say now. He didn't know how much he trusted what Talia said. The League always had their shady little fingers into something.

"And thanks for helping me."

"Hey, it's what I'm here for," Oracle said. "I have another call on another line….so if you need anything, just give me a call."

Nightwing smiled. Old wounds healed slowly. Time also healed many wounds no matter how deep or no matter how slow.


The creature isolated herself from the humanity. She leaned into the darkness, wishing it could end. The hunger pangs filled her body even more.

'Not a monster. Can control this. Not a monster.'

A sense of hopelessness filled the young woman. How could she control something when she barely had a sense of who she was?

The door slid open. Three college students made their way in. They chatted. The creature did not hear any words they said. All she did was smell blood.

Their necks beckoned her and teased her. So succulent her mouth watered. The woman's sharp finger nails reached forward.

"Hey, lady, are you okay?" one of them asked. The young man turned towards his two friends. "She doesn't do any good. Maybe she needs a doctor."

"Man, she doesn't need a doctor," another of them said. He stepped in to see her pale face. "Think she needs a mortician."

"Get away from me!"

The woman lashed out for the attack. The two gentlemen backed off. The third tripped over his feet and found himself back on the ground. The creature prepared to feed.

A wooden bolt nailing her in the side of the neck caused her to back up. A second bolt nailed her right in the chest. The shadowed figures stepped in. One of them carried a sword. The woman stepped and only stopped for the barest of seconds to look down at the gentlemen on the ground.


They didn't need any further encouragement to flee. The two of them rushed out of the side exit about as fast as their legs could carry them.

"Stand back!"

The woman staggered to her feet. Two of the bolts impaled in the side of her neck. Her breathing increased. The woman removed one of the bolts from the side of her neck. A feral groan followed as she stepped towards them.

"No effect."

Talia braced herself for a moment.

"You…did this!"

"We're fixing it," Talia said. "Your soul will be set free."

The primal instinct of survival racked through her body. Talia raised her sword into the air. The creature rushed towards her. Talia avoided the attack with swift precision.

Two more wooden bolts impacted the woman's back on Talia's signal. The woman's knees buckled down on the ground. The air had been knocked out of her.

"You shouldn't have been," Talia said. "We're fixing it….before it spreads."

Nightwing dropped down in between Talia and the creature at this particular moment. Talia stepped back and clutched the sword in her hand.

"Stand aside," Talia said.

Nightwing turned his attention towards the creature who had been stunned by the bolts. The haunted look in the girl's eyes caused Nightwing to shiver. The look would be with him for the rest of his days. She was no more than a teenager.

"I told you, she needs to be put down," Talia said. "Now's not the time."

"There are people who can help her," Nightwing said. "Find out what went wrong. We don't have to put her down like some animal."

"She is some animal," Talia said.

"She's just a child," Nightwing said.

"So were you when you waged war against gangsters and the freaks in Gotham City," Talia said. "And so was I when my father tasked me with killing my first target. Age has little to do with malicious intent. She will kill everyone to ease the pain. And it's getting worse."

"If I stand aside…"

The creature sprung off the ground. With lightning fast ability the creature slammed Talia into the wall.

"Calm down, we can get you help!" Nightwing yelled.

The young woman didn't hear him. She grabbed Talia by the hair and slung her across the train.

"Made me!" the young woman yelled.

Nightwing caught the infected girl by the ankle and pulled her back. The woman landed on the ground with a thud. She snapped the steel cable. The creature slid back on her hands and knees. A feral expression danced in the woman's eyes. Nightwing watched her as she climbed to a standing position.

"Must feed!"

Talia rose to her feet and prepared to decapitate the creature while she had her sights on Nightwing. The creature turned to smoke to avoid the attack.

Nightwing blinked with the moment of indecision Talia had. For the first time ever a look of bewilderment spread over the face of the daughter of the Demon.

"Did you know she could do that?"

No answer came as the creature appeared in the smoke. The creature bounded down on top of Talia. At the last second, Nightwing pulled her out of the way!

The creature grabbed Nightwing and pinned him down onto the ground. Her fangs bared at him for a second moment. He grabbed onto her head and blocked it.

"Listen, we don't have to…"

The creature broke through Nightwing's grip, digging her nails into his neck! Before she could sink her fangs into his neck, her head ripped off of her shoulders.

Talia decapitated the creature and put the poor girl out of her misery.

"I don't recall asking you to stick your neck out for me," Talia said.

"Very funny," Nightwing said.

"I wasn't trying to be."

She decided to take pity on the young man. Talia gripped Nightwing around the hand and pulled him up to his feet.

"The League's business in Gotham City is finished," Talia said.

Nightwing nodded for a brief second. The young man's rush of adrenaline spread through his body. He could barely hear anything around him.

Suddenly a pounding sound resounded through the top of his head. Nightwing collapsed down to one knee on the train and blacked out completely.

Dick Grayson's mind started to buzz. The last few hours grew into a blank. The former circus acrobat stirred himself awake. He rested on a lavish bed in a room surrounded by torches.

The twenty one year old man realized he had been stripped of his costume and put into bed clothes. He rose to his feet and stepped forward.

'Okay, there's something really wrong going here.'

Had the League captured him and taken him prisoner? Was this entire Lazarus Pit vampire thing some kind of plot? The young man staggered over towards the dresser. His costume had been folded and put on the dresser nicely. The young man looked into a mirror.

Other than his hair being slightly more unruly than normal, Dick felt fine. A little hungry mind you, but he was fine never the less.

He realized the door was about three steps away from him. The former circus acrobat made his way to the door and tried to push it open.

'Locked, of course,' he thought. The young man walked over to grab his belt from his costume, only to find the belt had been removed. 'Of course, why wouldn't it be?'

Dick Grayson looked. No windows, no vents, one door, locked completely. He noticed food set out on a table across from the bed. The scent of the food enticed him, but he hesitated. No matter how hungry he seemed.

He found it hard to accept food from a group called the League of Assassins.

"Good, you're awake."

Nightwing heard Talia's voice. He assumed she stood on the other side.

"I'm afraid to tell you, you have been infected," Talia said.

To say these words slapped Dick hard would be an understatement.

"I…infected?" Nightwing said. "She never sank her fangs into my neck though."

"Yes, she didn't infect you in the traditional sense as creatures of the night do," Talia said. "But she scratched you. Some of the venom in her fingernails escaped into your blood stream. Small, trace, amounts, but you have been changed. To what extent I will determine in time."

"So, I blacked out on the train because she infected me?" Nightwing asked. "So, am I going to turn into a ravenous beast the League has to put down for the good of humanity? Because, you did have a good chance to kill me….not I'm complaining or anything."

"It's difficult to say," Talia said.

"What do you mean?" Nightwing asked.

"The effects on males who carry the virus are unknown," Talia said. "None of the carriers have been male."

"What do you mean none of them?" Nightwing asked. "There's more than one?"

"Yes," Talia said. "Twelve, all of them females. And all of them had to be put down by the League. Our final carrier escaped into Gotham City. Which you saw we put down."

"And I sleep better at night seeing you killed someone," Nightwing said.

"Do you not think the League explored every avenue possible before we put down the beast?" Talia asked. She grew annoyed at his high and mighty attitude. "I told you, it's a monster. And monsters should be put down, especially if they save life. If Bruce learned the lesson years ago regarding some of his enemies, there would have been a lot less victims."

"Sorry….I should have….you're not your father," Nightwing said.

"No," Talia said. "My father had great ambitions for a perfect world. His methods to carry them out veered towards an unsettling extreme."

Nightwing minded his tongue.

"Eat, you need your nourishment," Talia said. "I have not poisoned your food."

Nightwing took a few bites. When he didn't drop dead, Nightwing knew it was fine to keep eating.

"I will need to keep you here for seventy-two hours under observation," Talia said.

"Don't I get a vote?" Nightwing asked.

"Do you want to be responsible for anyone dying if worse comes to worse?" Talia asked.

"No, I see your point," Dick said. "But my friends, they won't….."

"Yes, Miss Gordon is persistent," Talia said. "I agree….but you need not worry. No one will find you here."

Nightwing flinched at her casual words. No need to worry? Being in a League of Assassins base with no aid and no way to leave didn't exactly ease his fears.

He wished the door vanished and he could see Talia. She was extremely easy on the eyes. From what he saw from her elite guard, they weren't too bad looking either. The League had an eye for talent.

'They put the ass in assassin,' Nightwing thought.

The young man shook his head. Dick Grayson never had any shortage of female companionship, both in and out of uniform. So why was he feel like he had been in a cave for five years with no sexual fulfillment other than his own hand and his imagination?

"I will return later," Talia said. "I will have some tests run and will let you know of the results. Let you know if you're a danger in turning."

"So, you think I'm in danger of turning into a vampire?" Nightwing asked.

"I wouldn't know until the tests are run, Mr. Grayson," Talia said.

"Maybe you should come in here and give me complete physical, just to make sure."

Talia did not rise to the bait. She had a good look at him when she was removing his uniform to change him into regular clothes and the suggestion wasn't as repulsive as she might believe at first.

"There will be no need, Nightwing," Talia said curtly. "Tell me of any side effects if they hit you. I will be back in a few hours."

"You don't mean I'm going to start sparkling, am I?"

"If that's the case, I will have no chance to put you down for the good of humanity."

Nightwing almost thought she cracked a joke, but he wasn't sure. Regardless Nightwing waited and decided to eat the meal left for him.

'Too bad she didn't stay for dessert.'

Dick slapped himself down at the perverted thought. If Talia heard his thoughts, she would castrate him with a rusty sword.

All Nightwing could do is wait.

To Be Continued.

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