How? How was this happening to her? Why now ?
Of course she was the only one on hand when Solomon Grundy decided to start causing chaos.
Bats was out, big bad Justice League business, above her pay grade. Robin and Red Robin we're doing some Titans thing. Thanks for the invite, boys. Nightwing had more than enough on his plate in Bludhaven, and Black Bat was off being a total badass somewhere else. Probably involving stabbing Shiva.
That left her.
Little ol’ Stephanie Brown.
She talked a lot of sh*t, and often backed it up. She fought a lot of things she probably shouldn’t have, but this call out genuinely made her worried.
She didn’t really have the luxury to think about that though, because she was already en route.
“Now you have to stay focused, Steph. If he gets his hands on you you're-”
“Yeah, I’m as dead as he is. I know, O. Stop reminding me. It doesn’t help. We both know you’d rather it be anyone but me out here for this but we drew a sh*tty hand tonight… now please. Let me focus.”
She scowled, her hands gripping at the handlebars of the Ricochet, resenting how much she sounded like /Him/ just then, but the sentiment remained.
She needed to be fast. Smart.
Gritting her teeth, Stephanie caught sight of the wreckage of what was East End. Grundy had hit it like a hurricane. She felt sick to her stomach.
“Oracle, are there GCPD in the area?”
The clicking of a rapid search came over the comms, then her response, “Yes,but they’re pinned down in the library, trying to help keep people safe. They can’t help you.”
Steph normally didn’t tut. That was normally a Damian thing. She tutted.
“I wanted them to get people out, so I don’t have to worry about that too. Tell them to start evacuating on my signal…”
“Wait, what will the signal be?”
“They’ll know it when they see it…”
She mutters, and floors it, heading for the Gotham Library.
She could hear him, roaring, tearing up street lamps.
Oh god she hoped this worked.
Lining up the hulking, grey frame on the sidewalk, she pressed a few buttons on her console, then released her grip on the handle bars.
‘NOW EXITING THE RICOCHET. GOODBYE.’
Batgirl was launched out the top of the vehicle, as it continued at top speed, slamming into the back of Grundy, spinning away, sparking on the asphalt.
Turning to find what hit him, he spotted the blonde bat, making a three point landing from her hasty ejection, her eyes on Solomon. The comms crackle.
“That was your signal?”
“Part of it… yep..”
She mutters, then throws one of her electro-rangs at Grundy, finding her mark as it sunk easily into his rotting flesh, jolting him. Normally, it would have dropped a person, like being hit with a taser, but all it seemed to do was make him mad.
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
She took off at a dead sprint, across the plaza, away from the library.
Behind her she heard him start after her, along with the dragging and scraping of something heavy.
Whatever it was, he just threw it at her. She couldn’t risk glancing back.
Taking out her grappling gun, aimed, fired, and started towards a building across the plaza.
The Ricochet crashed down on the line as she was mid-take off, Grundy's long range depth perception either terrible, or much better than she expected, cutting her off hard, jerking her heavily into her bike, knocking the wind out of her sails, only just managing to roll aside, to not be pinned beneath it as they both bounced to the ground.
“You’ve got his attention. Now what?”
Oracle asked, somewhat wearily, as Steph groaned slightly, rolling away, trying to regain momentum, feeling the heavy footfalls as he closed in.
“That was the signal… they better be moving…”
She pushed herself up off the ground, and started towards the nearest inclosed building.
“They are… but who is going get you out of there when this goes south?”
She vaulted though the window, feeling fingers brushing her cape, twisting and slamming the pane shut on the offending arm, taking a minute to look around her surroundings.
A tiny, ten seater coffee shop.
Yeah, no. Last stand worthy this was not.
“GRUNDY SMASH BAT!”
Steph scrambled over the counter and out the back door, to the horrendous sound of the front of the building being bulldozed by the revenant, trying to make good on his word. The back of the coffee shop lead to an alleyway, feeding down between the back of office buildings, with trash, dumpsters, fire escapes, and back entrances, and locked gates. basically a bullpen. Or a dead end, if played wrong.
“Steph! I’ve got Nightwing flying in to help you out, if you can just hold out until he gets there.”
“Sure, because I was just taking it easy this whole time….”
She would have rolled her eyes, but she was too busy using them to scope out the alleyway, looking for ways in which to maybe get an upper hand, maybe only come away mauled, only maimed, not murdered.
The only real answer she kept rolling back around to were the fire escapes, and dumpsters. She’d have to plan on the fly.
Keep Grundy in this alley, with her, until D*ck got here. No big deal. Then the two of them could die together.
No, that kind of thought was gonna help. She fiddled with a set of buttons, the remote call for Ricochet, on her belt as she ran to the middle of the alleyway, hoping it still worked, turning to face the advancing Grundy, drawing her collapsible bo staff.
“Alright, Brain Dead Fred, come get some!”
Taking up a defensive stance, the Batgirl waited as Solomon Grundy barreled down on her. She knew hitting him would only wear her out. It would be best with energy conservation in mind. Especially since her vehicle in scuffed and thrown around armor seemed like it wasn’t capable of coming to her rescue.
That was fine. Better to know now then if she needed it.
With Grundy swinging wildly at her, trying to swat her like an annoying gnat, she circled around him, ducking, dodging and weaving like her life depended on it. Because frankly, it did.
She propelled herself from the ground onto a dumpster using the staff as a pole vault, taking a running leap across the chained shut lid at the fire escape ten feet away.
Instead of swinging for her, Grundy knocked grabbed the fire escape, and pulled, leaving half the metalwork hanging loose, and another five feet away.
“Stop being so slow then, Rotbrains.”
Skidding to a stop, dangerously close to his grasp, she tried to reposition, ready to begin her defensive dance again, starting to wonder how far out Nightwing could be now.
Unfortunately, Grundy may have been dead, but he wasn’t as stupid as Steph has hoped. He started circling her now too.
Once they had switched sides in the alleyway, without breaking eye contact with her, he dragged the dumpster that was just used as a launch pad into the middle of the thoroughfare, cutting her directional movement in half, unless she vaulted again. While theoretically not a problem, it wasn’t a whole lot of distance between them for her to have her back to him comfortably.
She hisses, taking a half step back, running a quick inventory on what she had on her. Some smoke pellets, bo staff, magna-rangs, goopa-rangs, shock-rangs. She ditched her grapple before when she ate a face full of pavement before, which, was undoubtedly going to leave a mark.
“BYE BYE BATGIRL….”
Not likely. Not today.
Shifting her weight she got low, ready to start moving one way or the other.
It was a standoff, between the walking dead, and a dead man walking. Which was which? Who knew.
Steph went to the left, slipping under his arm. She was faster. She was faster. She was thro-no.
She had a cape. And now Grundy had her cape.
Before she could reach up to hit the safety release on the cape, she had been jerked backwards, off her feet, and straight into the brick wall, like a ragdoll.
Everything went white, as she lost all her air.
Sinking down the wall, as the ringing started fading from her ears, her realised she could hear laughter. Grundy was laughing at her.
Struggling to push herself up, Stephanie let out a weak gurgle, then shook her head, trying again. Her mouth tasted like metal.
Ok, new plan. Getting up wasn’t going to happen. C’mon Steph. Think.
Grundy was looming over her now, a crooked grin on his stinking face, she looked up at him, up. Up. The fire escape. Hanging loose, rockng from the force of her hitting the wall.
“SQUASH LIKE A BUG!”
Both fists, poised readys to slam down on her almost immobile body, Steph flung all her batarangs skyward with a yelp of pain, falling to her side.
She coughed slightly, blood splattering the concrete before her.
“Wasn’t aiming for Grundy….”
DEETDEETDEET GOOOOOP! KERRRKRACKKK!
That was her queue. She rolled away, under the dumpster, as the force of the good dozen specialised batarang pods explosively discharged, knocking the precarious mass of metal loose, falling onto Grundy.
Stephanie wasn’t sure if she could hear the hum of a jet overhead, or if she was imagining hearing Oracle yelling at her to stay awake.
But everything went black.