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[personal profile] munnin
Title: A Bird in the Hand
Author: Munnin
Rating: PG-13
Verse: Mended Wings. Previous chapters:
Characters: Superman, Dick, Bruce, Jim Gordon.
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history
Author’s notes: 100% organic. May contain minor flaws and imperfections that beta-treated slash wouldn’t.
Bingo card: H/C. Bullying.
Masterlist here.

Superman comes looking for the dangerous vigilante Batman. Set pre-series during Dick’s time as Robin.

I haven't written in a while so please forgive my mistakes.

Superman disliked this city. Gotham had a darkness to it, a gloom that permeated its very stones. He hovered, his head cocked for any sign of the so called Dark Knight. The League had deemed this vigilante, whoever he was, a threat to justice. Superman had been sent to find this man, if he was one, and convince him to end his crusade. By whatever means necessary. Clark wasn’t terribly comfortable with the idea but from all accounts, this Batman could not be reasoned with.

The sound of a woman’s scream caught Clark’s ear and he flew towards it without a thought. The woman huddled in the corner of an alley, her cheek grazed and her bag strap broken.

“Ma’am? Are you alright?” Superman called, floating down beside her.

The woman blinked at him a couple of times before nodding and pointing down the alley. “He tried to mug me but...Robin stopped him.” She muttered, a little dazed. “You’re Superman right?”

Clark smiled, pleased to be recognised even in this dark city. “Yes ma’am, I’m here to help.”

Someone grunted in pain down the alleyway and he followed the sound.

The sight that greeted him stopped him dead in his tracks. A heavy set man with the muscle of a thug was being trounced by a young man in black and red suit. The youth’s eyes were hidden behind a black domino mask, his cape floated and fluttered, the lining flashing gold in the darkness. The boy leaped over the man with almost preternatural grace, landing behind him to knock him to the ground with a thud.

“That’ll teach you for mistreating young ladies, won’t it?” The youth’s voice was high and young but not at all breathless as he zip-tied the would-be mugger’s hands. “Captain Gordon’s men will be along soon to pick you up so you just sit there and think about what you did wrong.”

The man growled something in Russian that sounded insulting but the boy just chuckled and answered in kind, albeit far more politely.

But then he looked up, seeing Superman for the first time and froze, one hand reaching for his belt.

Clark put his hands out, trying to show he meant no harm. “You must be Robin?”

Robin frowned, looking less than convinced. “Is the young lady alright?”

“She looked a little shaken but-”

Robin pushed past him to check on the lady in question.

Superman kept a respectful distance, watching as the boy checked on the victim and made sure she had cab-fare to get home and walked her back to the main road.

“May I speak with you?” Superman called softly, following the youth towards as he turned away from the road. “I’m seeking information about Batman.”

“I need to finish my patrol.” The youth kept his back to Superman, firing his jumpline and leaping into the air.

Clark followed, floating at the boy’s side. “Please? I need to speak with him. It’s imperative I discover his identity.”

Robin twisted and shot of another line to veer away from Superman.

But Clark followed him, as much worried about the youth as anything else. Robin’s heartbeat had been smooth and even when he was tangling with the goon but now...

The boy landed on a roof edge, reeling in his line as he sighted his next jump.

Superman hovered in front of the him. “Please, you must have had dealings with Batman. Do you must know how to contact him?” The equipment, the way the boy moved and flew – everything matched the footage they had of Batman.

Robin took a deep breath and centred himself, his racing heart slowing to an even rhythm. “I can’t help you sir. You need to leave now.”

Clark let the boy swing away from him, scanning the youth with his x-ray vision with vague hope of catching something that might help him find...

And then he saw the boy’s legs. Through the layers of armour that covered his lower body, the young men’s legs were a shattered mess, more steel than bone. A great rush of anger ripped through Clark. Had Batman done this to the boy? Was the Dark Knight so cruel that even a child must suffer? He swept in, meaning to catch the youth, desperately wanting to help but...

Robin swerved mid-air, dodging out of Superman’s reach. Despite his injuries, the youth’s lithe body twisted away, slipping through Clark’s grip.

But at the cost of his grip.

Robin’s jumpline slipped from his hand and the youth plummeted towards the street below.

Superman dived, trying to reach the falling child but...

Robin had his own plans. He reached for his emergency line, spooling it out of his belt and tossing it towards the nearest building.

Just as Clark caught hold of his arm, completely throwing him off his swing. Robin’s line when astray and he wrenched painfully, gasping in pain as he crashed against a fire escape.

Clark dove again, trying to save the falling boy but Robin managed to catch hold of a rail, swinging himself up to jump, leaping for the nearest ledge and scrambling for a new handhold.

“Please Robin, I only want to help.” Superman tried one last time to stop the boy from falling but the youth was off again, stumbling and favouring his right arm. “Stop.” He didn’t mean to shout it but...

The boy miss-judged his jump and tumbled off the ledge, bouncing off a parked car below.

Clark landed at his side, panicking as he crouched over the boy. He raked his x-ray vision over Robin, trying to check for injuries when the smell of gun powder and anger came to his attention.

A police officer stood not ten feet away, his service sidearm drawn and pointing at Superman. “Step away from the boy.” The man spat, his gaze and his aim steady. “I doubt these things’ll do much to you but, so help me God, if you don’t step away from the boy I’m willing to find out.”

“I meant no harm, officer.” Clark lifted his hands slowly. “I only wanted to ask him about Batman.” He stepped back as the officer advanced.

“Why?” The man growled, crouching to check on the youth.

“This vigilante is a menace to justice. I came here to stop him.” Clark reasoned. “Surely we are on the same side there.”

“Can’t say I’d side with anyone willing to hurt a man’s child to get to him.” The cop spat, lowering his gun slightly as he ran a gently hand over the boy’s arm. “He’s out cold but he’s alive. Don’t reckon he’s too badly hurt considering.”

“I’m so glad.” Clark stepped forward, contrition in his eye. “You must believe I never intended to harm him.”

The cop’s eyes shone with amusement. “Wasn’t talking to you.”

A kryptonite enhanced punch lashed across Clark’s jaw before he was even aware he had company. He staggered back, catching the briefest glimpse of black armour and furious eyes before another punch knocked him backward.

Superman threw his arms out, desperate to get away from the kryptonite. His fist connected briefly with something soft and human that grunted. For a moment the green poison lessened and he blindly took off, seeking higher ground.

But it didn’t last.

Before he could clear his head, something flew past him and connected with a shattering kick laced with kryptonite. Clark plummeted back to the street, hitting hard enough to crack the concrete. He tried to lift his head but a hard hand had him by the collar, glowing green and painful.

How dare you come onto my city!” Batman growled, deep and enraged. “How dare you lay hand to him!

The next punch sent Clark flying, hitting a street light hard enough to make it bend.

If you or your so called League come near us again, I will make you pay. Now get out of my city.

Clark took this as his cue and took off, too sick with kryptonite poisoning to do anything but fly for a break in the oppressive clouds and seek sunlight.

He drifted, somewhere over New Zealand, letting the yellow sun clear his head but somehow his focus kept drifting back to those voices – once raised in anger and now soft and laced with worry.

“How bad?” The scrap of Kevlar against concrete as the Dark Knight knelt at the boy’s side.

The cop sighed bitterly. “Concussion, a fair bit of bruising by the look of him and I’m gunna guess the arm’s broken by the way he was favouring it when he fell.” There was a rustle of cloth as the officer shed his jacket and wrapped it around the boy. “And he’s going into shock pretty fast. We should get him to the hospital.”

“I’ll look after him.” Batman’s voice was calm and flat but his heart pounded from halfway across the world.

The officer tisked. “He needs medical care.”

“And he’ll get it, better than Mercy General can give him.” There was a stifled grunt as Batman lifted the boy, the softest rustle as the youth’s dark hair brushed against the chest of Batman’s armour.

“What will you do about the League?” The cop asked. “Can’t have this sort of fight on the streets of Gotham, it’ll tear the place apart.”

“I’ll deal with it, but I want nothing to do with any group that would hurt a child like that.” Batman’s voice was heavy with concern.

Skin against armour as the cop patted Batman’s shoulder. “Get the lad home; he’s more important right now. Let me know if there’s anything you need?”

The slither of cowl on armour as Batman nodded. “Thank you, Captain.”

Clark rolled onto his back, letting the sunlight drench him. Maybe he misjudged the man? Maybe there was more to the ruthless vigilante than they thought? Clark hoped he hadn’t ruined his only chance to find out.

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September 2017


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