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New Gotham City ICU, Friday / The Clocktower, Saturday
[ooc: aka I had less access than expected, so you get one large jolt of Bat-clan at once.]

"Ms. Gordon's condition is stable," the doctor was telling them. Barbara's dad was sitting next to Dinah, one hand in hers. Helena was behind her, vibrating in place. Jesse was hovering, wanting to comfort Helena but reading her don't touch me vibes the same as Dinah. Alfred was sitting in the chair across from Dinah and Jim Gordon. "We've induced a coma, and she's responded well. But we can't tell if there's any new damage until the swelling goes down, hopefully by tomorrow. Can I ask," he said hesitantly, "where she got the device she was using on her spine?"

"No, you can't," Helena snapped out.

"Helena." Dinah gave her a tired look, and tightened her fingers on Uncle Jim's. He didn't say anything, just stared at the tile floor, so she finally answered, "It's experimental, Doctor Martin. Barbara designed it, and had the parts manufactured to order. If you want, I think we can find the specs for it at home."

"That would be helpful. It appears there was a surge of power, and the shock she sustained was the same as a minor contained electrocution." Helena made a small despairing sound, and Dinah swallowed, closing her eyes. "However, it's far too early to say if that diagnosis is correct. Tomorrow should bring us more information." The doctor gave them a sympathetic look. "You can go in and see her now. One at a time."

Uncle Jim first. Then Helena. Alfred. Then Dinah.

"Hey." She took Barbara's hand, slipping her fingers between hers, careful not to dislodge the IV. Barbara was as pale as the sheets, skin stretched tight with pain. "This was the stupidest thing ever. Dumber than anything I've done. And I almost walked off a roof on Tuesday." She cleared her throat. "Yes, I did. So you have to wake up and yell at me about that, about playing with my powers without proper supervision, and..." Her voice dropped off when her invention ran out, and she just squeezed her sister's fingers, eyes burning with tears she was willing back. Barbara?

Far down deep, as if from inside a canyon: Dinah?

Rest. Come back soon. Get better!


A sleepy feeling of exhaustion, effort, pain, someone reaching for her--

--Dinah reached back, and suddenly Barbara was standing in front of her in her mind. Standing. She always stood as tall as Dinah in her mind.

Don't ever do that again! Dinah was hugging her, putting every emotion she had into it. Helena wants to kill you! You scared the hell out of everyone!

I'm sorry.
Barbara hugged her back, and laid her cheek against Dinah's. I panicked. I couldn't let Helena down.

You'd never do that. Next time, you call me. I'm never that far away. I heard you this time, didn't I?
In her mind, Dinah never cried, but she could feel tears pouring down her cheeks in the real world as they spoke.

I know. Don't let Helena do anything stupid. Tell everyone I'm okay--

--You're not okay. You have to rest!
Dinah shook her head. I'll keep an eye on Helena.

Barbara's mental image was starting to fade around the edges as she fell deeper into sleep, but she did ask Dad?

Him too. Sleep.


Dinah opened her eyes, and wiped at her cheeks. Then leaned over to kiss Barbara on the forehead. Sleep.

Then she headed out to the Waiting Room, and got a surprise.

"This is Richard Grayson," Alfred said, the only unruffled person in the room. Jesse and Helena were glaring at the guy standing behind Uncle Jim, holding onto his shoulder. Very cute, dark hair, body language strung taut. "I called him in Bludhaven, to inform him of Miss Barbara's condition."

"Bruce Wayne's ward, that Dick Grayson?" Dinah checked, blinking. Okay, way to bring the complicated family relationships into the hospital sickroom, Alfred.

"Could there be another Dick?" Helena asked, her voice edged, still glaring. "Well, there can always be more dicks. But this is the one and only Dick that counts. Right? Dick?"

"Good to see you too, Helena." The voice was sarcastic, but the smile he gave Dinah was warm and trustworthy. She remembered Alfred had said that 'Master Richard' was working as a police officer in Bludhaven. Helena said there was a thing still between Barbara and Dick, which was why he hadn't come back to New Gotham in ages.

Well. Interesting. "Nice to meet you, Dick. Um." She shrugged. "I'm Dinah."

His mouth quirked sideways. "I guessed. Alfred's told me all about you."

"The rest of this discussion should take place back at the Clocktower," Alfred said firmly, keeping his voice down while Uncle Jim talked to the doctor. Dinah gave him a wide-eyed look, Dick a disturbed one. "Since everyone here should be informed of the current investigation."

"Everyone?"

"Everyone." Alfred sighed, looking very old. "And I am counting on both of you to keep Miss Helena in check."

Both of them? Dinah blinked at Dick.

"Master Richard, you haven't been properly introduced. Miss Dinah, this is Nightwing." Eeeep. The Bludhaven crimefighter who took on huge gangs all on his own? That Nightwing? "Master Richard, Miss Dinah is Miss Helena's partner in crimefighting when she's not at school."

Dick Grayson put his hand over his eyes, laughing helplessly. "Should've known."

Helena stormed over to them and said in an undertone, "We don't need your help, Dick. Dinah and I can handle these illegal casino operators without someone else swooping in."

"Uh, Helena? Let's not be hasty."

"Master Richard, why don't you go visit Miss Barbara?" Alfred said, giving him a glance over his glasses before walking over to converse with Jim Gordon in low tones.

"That's probably a good idea." Dick shot Helena an exasperated look, saying under his breath, "I'm doing whatever it takes to help her. Whether you want it or not." And then he stalked over to Barbara's door, pausing to catch his breath before he walked in.

"I don't want him here," Helena hissed. "He's got his own city, get him out of mine and away from my friends!"

"Cut it out." Dinah gave her a grim look. When Helena opened her mouth again, Dinah swatted her shoulder. "No! Not the time. Not the place. And you're wrong. We need help. You can't do this alone, or even just with me along. Someone has to run the Delphi Circuit so no one gets cut off again. And no going in without back-up. So just... deal."

"Fine." Helena glared at Dinah. "I better not regret this."

"You won't." Dinah let out a breath. "C'mon. Alfred's waiting on us."
~


"It has to be Nightwing." Dinah sat down at Oracle's humongous computer array of doom, took a breath, and cracked her knuckles. "He can cover your back when you go back in for the evidence in their casino vault."

"I don't trust him. I don't want to work with him," Helena said, mouth set in a line. "He left Gotham years ago, he shouldn't be back. You can do this. You're my partner, not him."

Dinah traded a look with Jesse over Helena's shoulder, then said, "And you know I want to get these guys too. But Nightwing's better for the fieldwork. And I know the Delphi circuit well enough to direct you guys through any basic problems, even if I'm not Barbara. We couldn't get him up to speed on it fast enough to do this, and he doesn't have the passwords."

"Jesse can do it."

"No, Jesse can't do it," Jesse said for himself, arms folded. "I have to be ready to be officially called in, in case something goes bad. I have to be available for anything else that goes down. And I can't go in there with you," he added, heading off Helena's next objection. "They'll spot me in a heartbeat. I don't like the guy, but he's supposed to be good. Is that a crock, or does he have the balls to back up the rep?"

"He's willing to show off his balls, if you can convince your girlfriend to show off hers," said a voice from the balcony above. Dinah resisted the urge to pound her head into the keyboard.

"Guys," she protested. "Not helping. Time-wasting. Bad guys escaping. Helena?"

Helena was still glaring upward, to where Nightwing balanced on the balcony rail, looking like she wanted to jump up there and knock him off it. "Yeah?"

"Time to go." Dinah held her breath, and then slowly let it out as Helena turned to stalk to the elevator.

"C'mon, bird-boy. Last one to the top of the casino is a rotten egg."

"Cute, Huntress. This is why no one ever thinks you're the funny one...."

Dinah rolled her eyes at Jesse, and he smiled as he reached for his jacket. "You sure you'll be okay to do this?"

"If I can keep from killing them with my brain, yeah," Dinah said dryly. "Go. And I'll ... stay on comms." Which was supposed to be Barbara's line. Jesse squeezed her shoulder as he went by, and Dinah braced herself to be Mission Control on the investigation caper.

~


"Left! Left!"

"I went left!"

"The other left!" Dinah said into her comms, frantically trying to keep the program that Barbara automatically used to divert security and police up-to-the-minute. "The angled left!"

"That's straight ahead!"

"It looks left on the plans, yes, that one," Dinah told the little dot that was Helena moving on the screen. "That way!"

"Control, I have visual on our main suspect in the office. Security status?"

Too long, too long, too long-- "Three minutes. You've got a three and a half minute window there, if you can get past him in that much time--"

"Already done. Better order a bus while you're at it, Control," Nightwing said nonchalantly.

"Oh. Hunh. 'Kay." Dinah took a gulp of her coffee, and said, "Incoming, Huntress! Duck!"

"I think I'd rather rumble with these guys," Helena growled.

"No no no stay on mission, we don't have time," Dinah objected frantically. "You can beat them up later! I promise!"

"I have the target, Control," Nightwing said, checking in. "Got an exit for me?"

Dinah fed in the GPS codes and crossed her fingers, begging the computer under her breath, "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon...." The route popped up just like Barbara would've laid it out, only twice as slow. "Yes! Hallway, fourth left, then up the stairs to the roof!"

"I've got the security footage," Helena checked in. "And I'm taking the express down."

Dinah checked the plans, and then shook her head. "Helena, there's no elevator--" Then she got what her sister meant. "Noooo, Helena, there's traffic---"

THUD. THUD. THUD. "Taxis are convenient when I don't have to pay for them."

Rolling her eyes, Dinah muttered, "You're not Arachnid Guy. Try not to fall off, okay?"

"Easy!"

Dinah lay back in the chair, and blew out a long, slow breath. "Dude. Barbara has to get better soon. I'm too young to have her aneurysm watching you do this."

Laughter from Helena, and an amused comment from Dick. "Nicely done, Control. See you back at the nest."

"Tower. Doofus," Helena muttered over the comms, then said, "See you back there in ten, Control."

"See you then." Dinah put her head down on the desk and tried to remember to breathe.

[ooc: NFI, and Dinah returns tomorrow.]

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