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Fic: Purple Arrow Chapter 13

Title: Purple Arrow
Author: Brokaw22
Rating: T
Summary: Roy encounters a 15-year-old Lian from a different Earth.
Spoiler Alert for Cry for Justice 7
Thanks to Kathy for the beta work.

Previous Chapter: Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve

Roy isn't sure how Bruce is going to feel about him taking this particular car. He doesn't have any delusions that Bruce won't find out, but, after everything else that he's done on this trip to Gotham, Roy figures that whatever Bruce's reaction is it can't be that bad. He still doesn't feel like taking any chances with this extremely expensive property of the Bat, however, and given the way that his week/life has been going lately, Roy thinks that the speed that he's going is completely justified--even when an enraged older gentleman passes him and the teenager beside him starts mocking him. He doesn't mind, though. After all, it's a nice change from all of the drama that's been going on lately. That thought makes his stomach drop slightly, because he still has to break it to this girl that Batman and his psychopath of a sidekick are on their way home. Still, Roy figures he can put on a good show for her.

He enjoys the laid back drive, in spite of the impending doom, and when they finally get to the ice cream parlor, Roy's not the least bit surprised to find that she loves the exact same combination that his little girl did. It stings in a way that he's almost getting used to, even though it doesn't feel as though he's had enough time to become acquainted with this particular pain. However, he is slightly taken aback with how well she's taking the news of Bruce's and Damian's return. He's fairly certain that that's only because she's never met the demon spawn. Sure, the kid isn't as bad as when he first arrived, but that just means that he keeps his homicidal tendencies directed solely at Tim.

After their ice cream, Roy takes them back to the manor. He pulls into the garage, and braces himself for whatever fall out there might be to Dick's conversation with Tim. The truth is, he's had a pretty good day, all things considered, and he really wants to avoid going further into the manor. He's so reluctant to have the relative peace broken that he almost misses the slight tension running through Lian's entire body. He glances down at her, and has to almost physically stop himself from putting his hand on her shoulder. “What's up?”

She bites her lip uncertainly before heaving a small sigh. “I...um...just wanted to say thanks for the ice cream, even though you really didn't need to soften me up for the 'Batman's coming home talk'.”

Roy grins brightly at her as he shakes his head. “Yeah, sorry about that, but it wasn't just that. I didn't think either one of us wanted to be here for Dick's talk with Tim. Besides, you had fun, and that's all that counts.”

Lian stares at him with a raised eyebrow. “Speaking of which, what's the likelihood that they ended up killing each other?”

Roy chuckles lightly at that, because that exact thought has been running through his mind every second since they left. “Well, I'm pretty sure Alfred wouldn't let them. I mean, you can't really blame the guy for not wanting to clean up that mess, but I guess the only real way of knowing for sure is to go find out.”

Roy isn't too enthusiastic about that prospect, and, from the looks of it, neither is she, but it's not as though the two of them can just continue standing in the middle of the garage. After all, Roy knows that eventually Alfred will find a reason to drag them out of here, and that's never as pleasant as it sounds. He takes a moment to prepare himself, and then heads towards the door. Lian is following behind him at a fair distance, as though she's covering his back and they're walking into something far worse than just the manor. Roy would laugh if it didn't feel so much like he was entering the unknown. They both tread lightly and peer around every corner as though they are just waiting for something or someone to jump out at them at any moment. The hallway is clear, and there doesn't seem to be any mysteriously demolished priceless Wayne family heirlooms littering their path, so Roy thinks that it's safe.

However, as the two of them make their way up the stairs, it's clear that the second floor didn't fair as well as the first. There's a throwing knife sticking out of the wall by Tim's bedroom door, and the door itself looks as though it was used as a shield for a flash grenade. Roy edges his way into the room, only to find it in complete shambles. Tim's books are all over the floor, and the set of shelves that they clearly came from is lying in pieces. His desk is in complete disarray, and what was once a laptop is lying scattered around the room. The giant window looks as though something crashed through it, and there's glass littering the entire floor. Roy knows that, no matter what their fight was about, there's no way that this carnage was caused by Dick and Tim, at least not against each other.

He leaves the room, grabs the throwing knife out of the wall, and gestures for Lian to silently follow him. She looks just as concerned as he feels, and now Roy is really wishing that he had come in through the cave. At least then they would both be armed to the teeth. As it is, Roy just hopes that they find Dick, Tim, and Alfred in one piece and that the cave hasn't been compromised. They silently move down the hall, checking rooms as they pass, all in a similar state to Tim's. When Roy reaches Dick's room, the door is shut, and there's definitely blood on the doorjamb. He motions for Lian to stay where she is as he tries the doorknob. It's locked, which is just his luck. With a shaking hand, Roy reaches for the set of lock-picks that he always keeps on him. It takes him longer than he'd ever care to admit to pick the lock, but he doesn't hesitate to open the door.

Roy doesn't even get a chance to tell Lian to run for it before he's hit with a solid weight that knocks the wind out of him. He sprawled out on the floor, and there's something being pressed against his throat, but before Roy can really start panicking he hears Lian scream. “NO! Wait, stop, it's us!”

Suddenly, he's being pulled off of the floor and into a standing position. It's then that he realizes that the weight that hit him was Dick, and that the object that was being pressed to his throat was an escrima stick. Roy clasps Dick on the shoulder and lets out a sigh of relief. It's then that he notices the blood running down Dick's arm. “What happened? Where's Tim? Where's Alfred?”

Dick shakes his head and motions for them both to get into the room, and then he practically drags them both through the threshold before shutting the door and barricading it. Roy glances around the room, and immediately spots Alfred sitting on Dick's bed, tending to a wound on Tim's side. He can't tell how bad it is from where he's standing, but Alfred doesn't seem too concerned about it, so Roy guesses that it's not that bad. “I repeat what happened?”

Dick's still barricading the door, when he tosses a, “We were attacked.” over his shoulder.

Roy huffs out a breath as he folds his arms over his chest. He swears that sometimes dealing with the Bats is like dealing with children, except getting information out of them is infinitely more difficult. “Yeah, I kinda got that, Dickie-bird. Anything else you want to fill me in on?”

Dick stands and backs away from the door. He promptly falls into a chair beside the bed. “It was Harley...at least I think it was Harley. She sure looked different, and kept spouting something about seeing ghosts. I didn't see Joker anywhere, but she wasn't alone. There were some damn good fighters with her, and, quite frankly, I didn't think that she could be quite so...” Dick glances down at the sluggishly bleeding wound on his arm. “vicious.”

Roy's eyes widen at Dick's explanation. He's not actually sure what he was expecting, but it sure as hell wasn't this. “Wait, let me get this straight. You got your ass handed to you by Harley...as in Harley Quinn?”

Dick glares at him, before glancing over to make sure that Tim is okay. “No, we just decided to hole up in my old bedroom for fun.”

This makes absolutely no sense to Roy. There's no reason for this. Harley rarely ever attacks on her own, that he knows of, anyway. Not to mention, attacking Wayne Manor. It just doesn't match what he knows of her normal behavior...not even a little bit. “Did she say what she wanted? I mean, isn't there usually some giant scheme?”

Dick shakes his head, and looks just as lost as Roy feels. “I don't know. One minute Tim and I were talking in his room. The next thing we knew there was a bright green flash of light, and a bunch of red and blue checkered-clad women were crashing through the window. For a moment they looked just as confused as we were, and then all hell broke loose. I'm telling you, I’ve never seen anything like it before...at least not from Joker and Harley. We're talking Ra's level assassin training here, and I don't even know how many of them there are.”

“Wait, red and blue checkered-clad women?” Lian looks extremely worried and pale.

“Yeah, why?” Dick doesn't seem to like that expression anymore than Roy does.

Lian suddenly begins wringing her hands together, and Roy thinks that she's about two seconds away from clawing at herself. He's honestly starting to panic. “Harley--the Harley from my world--always keeps a group of red and blue checkered-clad women with her. She calls them her Checkered Dolls. No one knows where she found them or who they are, but they're fiercely loyal to her, and only care about one thing.”

Dick raises an eyebrow at her, clearly not liking the implications of what Lian is telling them. “And what's that?”

Lian shuts her eyes tightly and takes a deep breath before answering. Roy's sure that whatever her answer is, he's not going to like it. “Causing pain...they serve no other purpose but to play with Harley's victims. Some people refer to them as Harley's henchwomen, but if you ask me, it's a far too innocent term for them.”

Roy glances around the room, and it's clear that everyone is just as unnerved by that as he is, which, while reassuring, isn't very helpful. Tim sighs as he pulls down his shirt, now that Alfred has finished stitching him up. “What else do we need to know about these women?”

Lian shrugs. “We don't know much about them. I mean, other than the fact that they're all really well trained in hand-to-hand combat, as well as with an array of weapons. They seem to be just as agile as Harley Quinn and just as dangerous. We don't even know how many Checkered Dolls she's collected over the years, but she never seems to go anywhere without at least a handful of them present.”

“Yeah, we noticed.” Dick grinds his teeth as he takes Tim's seat on the bed, and Alfred begins cleaning his wound.

Roy wants so badly to just bang his head against a wall. They really aren't prepared for this...not even a little bit. Dick has his escrima sticks, but not much else in the way of weaponry, and if Tim has any weapons on him, Roy certainly hasn't seen them yet. Roy still only has the throwing knife he picked up earlier, and Lian doesn't have a single thing on her that could be used in a fight. Roy feels certain that Alfred doesn't have a soup ladle or anything hiding on his personage, and from what he's hearing, they are probably out numbered and definitely severely out-skilled. “Okay, so where are they now?”

Tim shrugs, and suddenly looks very exhausted. “I don't know. I lured them away from this section of the manor and set off a diversion in the east wing before doubling back here, but I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before they figure out that little trap. We didn't want to risk compromising the cave, thus why you found us here.”

Roy nods once at that little piece of information. It's good to know that they've bought themselves this time, at least. “Well, we entered from the garage, and clearly didn't run into any trouble on our way up here, so that's something. I think our best option now is try to make our way to the cave.”

Tim and Dick both seem equally displeased with that plan of action. The two of them have one of their silent conversations that involve a lot of eyebrow raises and a few hard glares. After a few minutes of this, Dick turns his attention to Roy and shakes his head. “I really don't think that's the best idea. If they get into the cave, there's no telling what they could do.”

Roy rolls his eyes at them. He can't honestly believe that he has to have this fight with them, but he guesses he shouldn't be surprised. They are Bats, after all. “We're probably out numbered. We don't have much in the way of weapons, and, from the sounds of it, these aren't the run-of-the-mill crazies we're dealing with here. I, for one, would feel better about taking on the nasty highly-trained insane women from another world with some damn Kevlar between me and them...hell, some weapons probably wouldn't be remiss, either.”

Dick looks as though he's about to argue, but Tim puts his hand on Dick's shoulder, and that alone seems to quiet him. “Roy's right. Our best bet of containing this situation, and, more importantly, surviving it, is to get down to the cave.”

Roy scoffs at that. “Best bet? Hell, kid, it's our only bet.”

Tim glares, most likely at the kid comment, but doesn't argue. “As soon as Alfred is done patching Dick up, we'll unbarricade the door. Roy, you and Dick will take the front. Lian, you're with me, bringing up the rear. Alfred stays in between us at all times.” Tim turns to face Lian. “I assume you've worked with staffs before, right?” At her nod, Tim continues. “Then you'll take this. Don't let anyone get between you and Alfred.” He tosses her his collapsible Bo staff, and then moves towards the door.

Lian catches the staff easily, and then extends it to it's full length. “But what will you be using?”

“I think I can help with that.” Dick gestures to the bottom drawer of his desk. “There's a false bottom.”

Tim walks over to the indicated drawer, and removes the bottom. He smirks slightly before pulling out an extra pair of escrima sticks and a set of throwing knives. He hands the knives to Roy--for which Roy is eternally grateful--and then turns back to Dick. “You can never be too paranoid, huh?”

Dick grins in return. “Rule number one.”

Roy tilts his head to the side slightly before grinning mischievously. “Funny, I thought rule number one was no communication with your allies...ever.” It's nice to see these two interacting on more than just a professional level, and Roy can't help but mock them a little.

Dick rolls his eyes at him, but there's still a smile plastered on his face. “That's lesson five.”

Roy laughs lightly at the joke, but the laughter is short lived. Alfred finishes with the few stitches to Dick's arm, and then they all move to unblock the door. They fall into their aforementioned positions, and prepare themselves for the worst as Roy reaches for the doorknob. Dick exits the room first, and then motions for Roy to follow. They both have their weapons in hand as they inch further into the corridor. Alfred follows, with Tim right at his back. Lian is the last to leave the room, and then the four of them form a barrier around Alfred as they make their way down the hallway and to the stairs.

There seems to be no sign of Harley or her Checkered Dolls, but Roy knows better than to breathe a sigh of relief just yet. After all, they still have a long way to go before they reach the relative safety of the cave. They're halfway down the stairs when two of Harley's Checkered Dolls attack from behind. They all turn to take on the new threat, but Tim breaks away from the group to fight them on the upstairs landing. Roy watches as he flips over one, and kicks out at the other. He's using the escrima sticks to block blows from both of the Dolls, but that doesn't stop one of the girls from clipping him in his already wounded side. Tim lets out a hiss of pain as he dodges another strike, and moves to sweep the legs out from under the other one.

Roy sees Lian make a move to go help him, but they have to keep moving. “He'll be fine. Stay close.”

He can hear grunts of pain, and the distinct sounds of escrima sticks impacting against flesh, but Roy knows better than to focus on the fight at his back, especially when the four of them reach the downstairs landing and three Checkered Dolls appear in front of them seemingly out of nowhere. Roy immediately engages with the one directly in front of him while Dick takes on the other two. “Stay close to Alfred.” Roy calls back to Lian as he blocks a blow with one of his knives. He ducks under a particularly vicious punch to his face, and then knocks a blade away with his robotic arm. It's times like this that he almost doesn't mind the metal limb, but he doesn't get much time to think about that, because out of the corner of his eye he catches Dick jumping up onto the shoulders of one of his opponents, using her as a spring board to launch himself at the other, thus sending the women careening towards Roy with twin flailing swords.

Roy jumps out of the way, and back onto the steps, and that's when he notices that both Lian and Alfred are suddenly missing. He can feel panic welling up inside of his chest--and if he wasn't in the middle of trying to fend off two psychotic females, he'd be searching frantically for them. As it is, however, his quickly overwhelming hysteria has to take a backseat to his need to survive. He takes a heavy solid boot to the chest, and lands with the hard edge of a stair digging into his back, but Roy doesn't have time to register the discomfort before he's rolling to the side and flipping over the banister.

He almost feels as though he should mourn the undoubtedly expensive wood of the banister that now has a sword sticking out of it, but Roy doesn't get a chance before he's back flipping out of the way of a sister sword that is now embedded into the floor where he was standing. He takes a second to reorient himself after that near miss, and comes face to face with a boot that sends him to the ground once again. Roy tries to scramble to his feet, but before he can, there's a very deadly looking Checkered Doll standing over him with a blade in his face. She pulls back her arm to strike, but just when her hand is coming down she's hit from behind, and knocked to the ground. Roy quickly gets to his feet, and turns to find Alfred holding a shotgun, which he clearly just used the butt of to save Roy. “Have I mentioned lately that I love you?”

Alfred, looking as prim and proper as always, gives a very slight nod. “I believe you have, Master Roy. Now, might I suggest that we focus on the task at hand?”

Roy shakes his head as he watches Alfred strike out with the butt of his gun once again, this time catching one of the ladies in the ribs before Lian appears beside her and sweeps the Doll's legs out from underneath her with the Bo staff. Roy doesn't hesitate to leap back into the fray, with Lian at his side. They make their way over to where Dick and Tim are fighting back to back with a small group surrounding them. Roy throws one of his knives to get some of the attention away from the other two, and then it's just him and Lian working side by side.

He'd love to just take a moment and enjoy this, but Lian wasn't lying when she said that these women were highly trained. It takes all of his effort and concentration just to keep from being sliced to pieces. They've been fighting all over the the upper and lower floors, and yet they still haven't seen a glimpse of Harley. However, Roy doesn't really have time to worry about that either, because right when he dodges a handful of throwing stars, and manages to throw the last of his knives, he sees one of the Checkered Dolls grab Lian by her hair and throw her into a wall. The woman is just about to follow that move with an elbow when Roy leaps over the Doll he's been dealing with--ignoring the feeling of blades slicing through his skin, and blood dripping down his legs and arm as he slams into the one attacking Lian.

Roy turns to make sure that Lian is okay, and then pulls her to her feet. His opponent is down, but not for long, and she takes advantage of Roy's moment of distraction. She rushes him, and knocks into some piece of priceless...something. Roy doesn't know what, and now's not the time to worry about it. He's back on his feet, and reaching for a most likely equally priceless vase when Lian swings the Bo staff into the back of the woman's knee, and proceeds to kick her in the face. Roy can't help the small amount of pride that runs through him at that move, and together they move back towards the other three.

They make their way over towards the study with Dick and Tim leading the pack. They're tired and really just want to get into the cave, which is why Dick is caught completely off-guard when he opens the door, and two more Checkered Dolls tumble out and barrel into Dick and Tim. Lian is sticking close to Alfred, which leaves Roy face to face with Harley Quinn. She's standing in front of the grandfather clock with her arms folded over her chest and her hip cocked out to the right. Roy now understands where the red and blue motif is coming from, but he still doesn't get the weird corset. Still, he guesses it could be worse...at least she's fully clothed.

She gives him a once over as she starts moving around Bruce's study, and Roy has no idea how to play this. He's never really dealt with his world's Harley...not to mention a world's where she's more dangerous than The Joker. “You know, I had plans for tonight. It was going to be great. I was going to crash Wayne's party, let my Checkered Dolls have some fun, and enjoy the screams. It was going to be glorious, and then something strange happened. My Dolls and I ended up here instead, and imagine my surprise when I found out that the Wayne brat is still alive here.” She's holding up a small frame with a fairly recent photo of Dick and Bruce, and Roy's stomach abruptly drops, because she's looking just as crazed as Joker when he gets into a rant about Robin. “To think, my counterpart failed so spectacularly. I mean, really, one of my greatest achievements was putting that chatty bird and all of his little friends out of my misery. If only I could have made that idiot Joker follow. Oh, well, I guess I'll just have to show her how it's done.”

Harley suddenly throws the picture at Roy as she's leaping across the desk. He ducks under the frame, and has to shield himself from the broken glass falling down on him as it smashes into the wall behind him. She's got a letter opener in her hand, and she's definitely aiming for his eyes, but Roy knows how to duck and roll...years of sparring with Dick has taught him one thing at least. The others are still outside of the door fighting off Harley's Checkered Dolls when Roy is sent flying into the old grandfather clock. It chimes and rattles as he clings to the sides of it, trying to get his barrings. He sees Harley attempting a flying kick towards him out of the reflection of the clock face, and spins away at the last second. Roy reminds himself to commend Alfred for his impeccable polishing job, because if it wasn't for that, the back of Roy's head would probably look something like the clock face, now that Harley's boot has gone through it.

Roy knows that he needs to get them out of this tiny room. He needs more space to work, and he'd love to see how the others are fairing outside. Plus, he's quickly running out of lose objects to use as projectile weapons, and he's really not looking forward to explaining to Bruce what exactly happened to that particular paper weight. Roy tries to dive towards the door, once again, but she's refusing to follow, and despite the cramped space, Harley is still just as agile as Lian described her, so he doesn't have much hope of just forcing her out. Roy is just about to dive under the upturned desk for cover, when Harley starts grinning manically and laughing. “Finally!” She breathes out as she pulls a knife from seemingly nowhere, and throws it with a force Roy honestly didn't expect her to have.

The knife goes sailing past him, and for a split second Roy thinks that he got lucky. That is until he hears a distinctive thud and a scream behind him, and Harley's insane grin suddenly kicks up a notch. Roy doesn't want to turn around...he doesn't want to see who's lying on the ground behind him, but he has to know. He tries to block out Harley's maniacal laughter as he turns to see Dick lying far too still with the dagger sticking out of his chest. “No, no, this can't be happening. Dick, no.”

Tim slides under one of the Dolls, knocking her legs out from underneath her as he glides past, and is beside Dick in seconds. “Don't you dare die! We weren't done with our conversation. You can't die! Do you hear me?”

Tim glances over at Roy for some sort of reassurance that everything is going to be okay, when his eyes widen. “Roy, behind you!”

Roy spins out of the way of Harley swinging the grandfather clock's pendulum, and he's not exactly sure how she managed to dislodge it without him noticing. He figures it was probably while he was trying to convince himself that his best friend isn't dying. He keeps sliding, rolling, and dodging the wild swings, but Roy is truly getting sick of being on the defensive. He moves out of the way of another strike, and then throws the nearest object, hitting her in the face with it. He nearly laughs or cries...Roy's not sure which, when it turns out to be the Father's Day present he helped Dick pick out last year.

He rushes her, and bashes her into the nearest wall. He's about to follow it up with a punch from his robotic arm when Harley slams both of her feet into Roy's chest, and then dives on top of him. She's got both of her hands wrapped around his throat, and she's still grinning like the maniac that she is...especially with the blood coating her teeth. “I'm going to enjoy every second of this.”

Roy doesn't get a chance to throw her off, because the next thing he knows, there's the sound of two bodies colliding, and Lian is kicking Harley as hard and as fast as she can over and over again. “You leave him alone. You vile, evil, depraved...” The insults continue, but Roy doesn't hear them. The sound is drowned out by the vision of Harley reaching for a canister that's attached to her belt. He doesn't have a single clue as to what could be in that canister, but he knows whatever it is, it can't be good. Roy scrambles to his feet, and grabs Lian around the middle, hauling her up into his arms. He practically dives out of the door, slamming it shut behind them. There's a loud whistle, and suddenly every single last one of the Checkered Dolls clambers to get out of the manor. Roy is honestly expecting some kind of explosion, which would be why he's lying on top of Lian, protecting her. But the explosion never comes. He's just about to move off of her when suddenly there's a flash and a bang and the sound of glass shattering.

They both stay completely still for a long moment, before finally Roy lifts his head to see Tim practically sprawled over both Alfred and Dick. Tim lifts his head as well, and glances around the room. He puts a hand on Alfred's shoulder, and Alfred nods. “I will take care of Master Dick, go.”

Roy and Tim slowly edge their way back over towards the study, and Roy stands back as Tim kicks in the door. They both peer inside to see a cloud of smoke, the window shattered, and no sign of Harley or any of her Checkered Dolls anywhere. Roy glares at the destruction all around him before turning back to Tim. “Well, this just got personal.”

The End (for now)