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Fic: Near Misses

Title: Near Misses
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Tim's injured, but keeps going anyway, despite the fact that he probably shouldn't.
Thanks to Kathy for the beta work.

Next Chapter: Chapter Two

Tim's tired…so damn tired. He's had a long night -- longer than most -- and he's not done yet. He still has two gangs he needs to at least check on before he heads in for the night, and his arm hurts like hell from an earlier hit. Tim is staying off the lines so he doesn't strain said arm any more than he has to -- or, at least, that’s his plan. If this were a normal night, and those two gangs weren't a real concern, he would probably consider calling it night now. However, as things stand, Tim refuses to slack off just because his shoulder decided to betray him. Making his way on foot has its advantages. After all, when a guy -- who clearly just snatched that bag -- ducks into the alley which Tim just happens to be making his way out of, in an attempt to escape, Tim’s in the perfect position to cut him off. The guy smacks right into Red Robin, and Tim can’t help but think that the guy's face is priceless with his wide eyes and mouth hanging open.

He takes the guy out with a swift kick and an elbow from his good arm, before handing the bag back to the lady who was running after the guy. Tim doesn't wait for the heartfelt thank you before continuing on his way, but he does stop when he hears someone drop down behind him. The guy -- he can tell from the heavy set of the person’s footfalls -- is on the side of Tim's bad arm, which means his flip and spin kick is a little off, but good enough to take out anyone who wasn't trained by the Bat. Since his foot gets caught by a black and blue gauntlet, Tim can't do much more than huff out a breath. “A simple hello would do, Nightwing.”

Dick laughs as he drops Tim's foot. “You got a little fancy there. Feeling a bit adventurous, were you?”

Tim shakes his head. “Actually, I was just...” He was about to say avoiding straining his arm when Dick grabs his other hand and drags him further into the shadows.

“I know you’re heading over to go check on those gangs, so let’s go.” Dick pulls his grapple and is up on the roof before Tim gets a chance to tell him why he was heading there on foot. Tim sighs and follows suit, knowing there’s no point to telling Dick about his arm. After all, it’s not as though he can’t swing.

Dick is moving rapidly across rooftops, making this into a race, and Tim isn't about to let Dick get there first and take over the investigation, when the gangs were Tim's responsibility in the first place. He tries to favor his right arm as much as possible, but he can't rooftop hop without the use of both of his arms. He can feel his left arm tremble every now and then, but it's nothing Tim doesn't know how to work through.

He lands on the roof adjacent to the first gang's hideout shortly after Dick, and crouches down to see how things are progressing. If his intel is correct, then this gang shouldn't be making any moves for a few more days, but Tim knows better than to trust intel alone, thus why he's made the trip here. They're side by side, not speaking, and so far everything looks to be in order. Tim takes the time to relax his arm muscles as much as possible without alerting Dick to his injury. It isn’t hard, considering Dick is more focused on the hideout and releasing his excess energy by gently bouncing on the balls of his feet. Tim is about to ask Dick if they can head towards the next gang’s hideout on foot when Nightwing turns toward him. “Nothing seems to be happening here. I mean, that one guy is watching reruns of The Nanny. I think it's safe to move on, don't you?" Dick doesn't wait for a response before jumping off the roof, twisting and tumbling mid air to land on the next one.

Tim merely sighs again before taking off. His route involves far less fancy moves, but that's no different from normal, and it's clear by how far ahead Dick is that he doesn't notice Tim using a far more economic and efficient route than normal. Nor does he notice Tim favoring his unhurt arm, which Tim figures is all for the best. Dick shouldn’t have to worry on one of the few nights that Damian is patrolling with Bruce -- not that Tim suspects Dick really worries about him anymore.

It takes him twice as long as normal to get to Dick's position, but Dick doesn't mention anything beyond a small jibe about Tim's need to double-check everything. Tim doesn't correct him, and settles in to watch this gang's activities. It's about twenty minutes into their surveillance when Tim notices movement near the southeast corner of the building. Suddenly, there are a handful of men surrounding that portion of the building, and before Tim can figure out what they're doing, a truck pulls up from the side alley and parks in front of them. Three men with guns get out of the truck, and one heads toward the back of the truck. Dick glances over at Tim with a smile on his face. “It looks like there's a drop going down tonight. How do you feel about busting some heads?”

Even if Tim wanted to say no, he doesn't have a choice. This gang mostly deals in drugs and guns, which means whatever is in the crates the men are unloading from the truck is not something that they want on Gotham's streets. Tim grits his teeth and gestures for Dick to take out the guys closest to the truck. He waits for Dick's nod of approval with the plan, and then makes his way over to the southeast side of the building. Tim makes sure that he’s in a good position, and then waits until he sees that Dick is in place as well, before he signals for Dick to move.

Dick drops down on top of the truck, and once all the guns are trained on the roof of said vehicle, Tim leaps down onto the nearest guy, taking him out hard and fast. The guys with the guns spin toward the new noise, and Nightwing drops down on the center one, knocking him out, and moving before anyone can get off a shot. These guys aren't idiots. They aren't about to shoot their own men, and they won't shoot at whatever cargo is in the truck, which only makes Tim's and Dick's job easier. They move around the group, taking the guns out of play. It's fairly simple since there are only three of them. The rest of the guys are just heavy lifters for whatever is in the crates.

The two of them work the rest of the guys into the middle, forcing them into a tight circle. It would be a difficult task if the gang members had any idea how many people they were up against, but as it is they think it's safer to fight back to back. Clearly, the gang is trained, but not well enough. Dick and Tim lay down smoke bombs, and then start kicking and punching until everyone is down. Tim still isn't using his left arm as much as he normally would, but Dick's too busy to notice, and Tim has been meaning to work on his kicks more anyway.

They both end up taking a couple of hits, but nothing too serious. They'll both probably have bruises in the morning, but for a night in Gotham that isn't so bad. Tim takes another hit in his already sore shoulder, but he doesn't do more than grunt before knocking the guy out and moving on. Once all of the guys are down and out, Tim goes over and opens a couple of the crates. It turns out to be quite a few guns. He leaves calling the cops up to Dick, before making his way back to the roof. He'll eventually have to figure out where his bad intel came from and work on making sure it doesn't happen again, but that's not something he can do tonight.

Tim thinks over what's left on his to-do list, and comes up with some research that needs to be taken care of and some files that need to be updated, but those are all things that can happen after he gets back to his apartment and ices his shoulder. He's about to call it a night when Dick lands in front of him. “Cops should be here soon, and it's still early enough that you and I can patrol the rest of this area together.”

Tim is about to decline, but he hasn't had a chance to patrol this area in almost a week, and he knows the area could use it -- not to mention, he hasn't spent time with Dick since he returned to the black and blue suit, and that was months ago. Tim shrugs, testing his shoulder as much as answering Dick. It twinges, but it's nothing Tim can't deal with. After all, the last thing he needs is for Dick to think that he's avoiding him or worse that can't handle his work load. Tim gets to hear Damian tell him how useless he is enough without giving him any ammo, and Dick probably already thinks Damian has a point without adding fuel to the fire.

Tim gestures for Dick to lead the way, and follows. He's using his bad arm just as much as his good arm now that there's nothing to distract Dick -- besides, he doesn't want to wear out his good arm. There are spikes of pain, but Tim is good about ignoring them. After a few blocks, they drop down to convince a carjacker to find a different line of work, and then stop again two blocks away to stop a thug who is roughing up some poor drunk. They continue moving at a fast pace, as Dick always does on patrol, and Tim does his best to keep up.

After an hour of constantly moving, pausing only to correct a few less than socially acceptable behaviors, Tim's exhaustion creeps in and he pauses on a rooftop. Dick lands beside him with a truly exuberant flip. “Come on, it's still early. You can't be ready to call it a night yet.”


Tim doesn't get a chance to finish before Dick slaps him on the back. “Tag!”

Tim shakes his head. “Not tonight. I think I'm actually going to head home.” It feels like a failure to say, but they have actually been at this for a while now.

Dick huffs out a breath, but before he can say anything they both hear an alarm go off nearby. “You still going to head home?”

Tim merely sighs and shakes his head again. He really shouldn't have neglected this area as long as he did. The criminals have clearly been emboldened by his absence. The two leap off the building, heading in the direction of the alarm. It turns out to be a jewelry store not too far away. The guys robbing the place have some heavy artillery, which complicates things. Tim is just grateful that it's after business hours, and there’s no one else in the shop. It takes a lively distraction from Dick, some smoke pellets, and some truly creative moves from Tim to take out both thieves without any injuries. By the end of it, Tim feels like just falling into bed, and forgetting the ice for his shoulder, which is now throbbing.

Dick and Tim head for the roof again, and Tim nearly flubs the landing, not that Dick notices, thankfully. “That was nice how you slammed that one guy through the display case. I thought you'd be more worried about property damage, though.”

Tim clenches his left hand repeatedly, before shrugging. His fingers have started to tingle, which is never fun. “I figured that place, specifically that case, could use some security upgrades. Now the owner has no choice.” It's not exactly a lie. Tim did think that the case wasn't exactly secure, not to mention being outdated and ugly, but it was really the only move Tim could make without straining himself too much.

Dick laughs, looking far more at ease than Tim has seen him in the last couple of months. It makes the pain surging through his arm worth it. He's about to call it a night for real this time when a car alarm goes off, which is something never to be ignored in this part of town. Dick tumbles off the building and is about three rooftops away before Tim even has his grapple out again. Tim shakes his arm twice before shooting his line. He makes three jumps, before his fingers slip and he's careening towards the ground. Tim knows that Dick didn't see him fall, and there's nothing for him to latch onto. He's fumbling for something…anything, when a body slams into him

“Why didn't you tell me about the arm, little brother?”

Tim tries to shrug, but the pain is too great and he ends up sucking in a sharp breath. It figures -- the first time that Dick uses that phrase in…he can’t remember when, is right after Tim almost becomes sidewalk pizza. “There wasn't a point.”

He can see Dick's pained expression, but Tim doesn’t know why it’s there. It probably has something to do with Tim failing once again. “Of course, there was a point.”

Tim shakes his head, but doesn’t get a chance to argue further before his pain spikes again. He does manage to whisper out a tiny, “Sorry,” before blacking out.

The End