Richard would spend the next two days in the hospital when it was observed that he was indeed peeing blood. KGBeast had really hurt him, but Cassandra on the other hand only needed stitches for her arm where she had been cut up by Hellhound. The wound was clean and her muscles were solid enough that most of the damage was merely superficial, but it was nevertheless insisted that she mend before putting the suit back on.
Barbara would worry herself over Richard, but it was down to her, Kate, and Tim to keep up the patrols now. They didn't have enough experienced hands to run two patrols like they were, and what was nagging at Barbara was how it seemed now that Cassandra was being stalked on two fronts. Richard had observed this. It had started with sniperfire and arson, now it was a direct assault and noone believed the two were over the same thing.
Three days after the attack, a strange thing happened that had everyone on edge. Alfred directed their attention to the evening news report. Someone dumped KGBeast out on the front of the Gotham Metro headquarters. He'd been bound hogtied, a knife through his right forearm, and was beaten nearly to death.
According to James, someone had found where he was staying and gassed him. The only thing the person kept telling him as he was tortured was 'Hush, this is for interfering.'
Barbara noted with a chill that Cassandra's right arm was cut, and Dick had been beaten to a pulp by KGBeast. She couldn't shake the ominous feeling over who she now knew was behind the burnings and the shooting, and now that the League had stepped into his firing line there was going to be blood.
Thomas Elliot had sent his message to all parties. It was clear, this was his war and he would brook no trespass. He had waited years for this opportunity, he had shown his hand sooner than planned but it would make no difference. He knew the Wayne children's home and had shown them that there was no sanctuary, through this act he had shown Bruce that his legacy was vulnerable and thereby had scored his first victory. No amount of money or influence would save him. His bullets could not reach him where he was, but this was so much sweeter. He could watch powerless.
Thomas was concerned nevertheless. He didn't know who these intruders were, the dogfaced ninja and his accomplice that he had tossed wounded to the police as his messenger. They had nearly stolen his moment, and for that he intended to become familiar with them. Their methods were obviously harsh, and for this they had his admiration. Had they been less forthright they might have been successful.
The serial killer known to the Bat Family and Gotham as Hush had taken trophies from his victim, but not of the sort for which he had gained notoriety. A cellphone, laptop, and assorted odds and ends. Trying to extract information from a man whose head had just been nearly reduced to an overripe melon is pointless, it merely cuts down on the screaming and anesthesia.
The laptop proved a bust, literally as his efforts to investigate it resulted in the hardrive wiping. The cellphone had been more worthwhile though only marginally. He would become aquainted with the recent numbers therein, expecting fully that they were burners but not leaving anything to chance with this. His observations had shown curiosities about his quarry, his investiagations into them had not revealed nearly as much as he thought.
Idley he lay back in a recling chair, covering his eyes with his palms as his mind swims with possibillities and options. He would put things on hold for the time being between he and the Wayne children. The art of vendetta requires patience and subtlety, and in these he considers himself a master. Rising to his feet, he reaches for a card and envelope from his nightstand and a doctor's outfit hanging on the door. Time to pay Mr. Grayson a visit.
That evening, Barbara and Kate went to check on Dick. He had finally stopped having blood in his urine, but the doctors didn't count him out of the woods yet. They still feared the possibility of sepsis if he wasn't adequately hydrated to keep him flushed or was too active.
The duo were let right in, but informed that they didn't have long before visitting hours were up. The two had to make their way up to the second floor of Gotham General, a big building amidst a sprawling medical complex. Nothing was out of sorts as they made their way down the hall to his room.
Dick was was watching TV in a patient's gown, his bed leaned up so he wouldn't have to lean forward for anything and put strain on his abdomen. When the two walked in, a big smile crossed his features and he offered a wave.
"Hey there, was just wondering if I was gonna be stuck here all by my lonesome,"greeted Richard.
"Not a chance," replied Barbara as she set down a package of chocolates and a get well card. She noticed another one laying there,"Hey, has someone already been by to see you?"
Dick gets a confused look on his face as he takes it from here to open up and see. He reads it aloud as he notes,"Huh, a get well card,'Be seeing you soon.' What's this..." He takes a slip out of the envelope then and the color drains from his features. It was a picture of Cassandra's school, it was an action shot of Cassandra squared off against Hellhound while Jesse clobbered KGBeast with the chair. They were all in this one photo that had been marked with little x's over KGBeast's eyes and a circle around Hellhound's, whoever sent this was telling him the next move.
He hands the photo to the other two, Barbara immediately asks the most pertinent question once she's processed what she's looking at,"Do you think this person knows?"
Dick shrugs at that,"I think we have to assume to be safe that they do."
Barbara heaves a sigh,"I'll ask Cassandra if she hears anything from dad. Better yet, I'll have dinner with them."
Richard smiles wanly,"I'm sure he'd appreciate that anyway."
Kate just stands off to the side, staying out of this as she takes the photo and studies it for herself. After a long moment she observes,"He had to have literally been right across the street for this. The quality isn't great, but still. He had to be surveilling full time to be on the spot for this." After a moment to consider this, she asks,"You're sure noone has been by?"
"If they had been, I was asleep. I've only had doctors and nurses." Dick just shakes his head then and takes a sip of water.
He refused to show it, but he was unnerved by the thought that the one who had been terrorizing them had stood over him while he was asleep. Had been watching him the whole time. He needed to get better and rejoin this fight, laying around was killing him.
"Well, we'll be back soon. Get better, you hear?" Barbara says, they needed to get this to the bunker where she could check it. She knew better than to hope for fingerprints or DNA with this person, but who knew? She could get lucky. She slipped the whole thing into her jacket pocket.
The duo wouldn't stay nearly as long as they liked, the mood being killed and suddenly finding themselves back on assignment with this. Thirty minutes later they were at the bunker. They wouldn't find a thing, Hush was far too careful. His meticulousness was diabolical.
Hush would be outside in the parking lot, continuing his review of the cellphone as he waited for them to finish their visit. He'd go through the internet memory, recent calls, everything. Presently he was searching through his text messages.
He'd come across a phrase that made him question the professionalism of this man who called himself KGBeast. He already did just for a name like that, but what League was he in contact with? These costumed types were sloppy as a rule, in his view. Excepting the Bat and his associates, they let their theatrics interfere with everything and seemed to think their masks make them something more than the flesh and blood beneath. He knew the truth, that that very flesh and blood was the greatest mask of all.
He had put the man's own knife through his arm for cutting on his quarry after hog tying him. He then gave him the beating of his life for what he'd done to his other quarry. While thrashing the bigger man, he'd given him the message he hoped would reach their ears. The name of their predator. He knew every detail of every execution he had made that was worth remembering, and not executing that one was as important to him as any of those.
Thomas Wayne owed Thomas Elliot a life, and he'd failed to deliver. He'd failed to collect with Bruce once, now he would enact the three fold law. First thing was first though, he would settle up once the playing field was cleared. Whoever had such poor timing needed to understand just whose turn it was, thought the former plastic surgeon. Watching the two girls walk to their car, he turned over the engine in his own ride and moved along. It was time to find out where that dog faced ninja stayed when he wasn't cutting on little girls.
Whoever he was, he was more crafty than his costume suggested. He couldn't bring himself to respect the whole dog mask thing, even if his skill with knives was prodigious. He figured it was a cultural reference of some sort, and that wasn't his area of expertise. He knew that the hound laired in the subterrane of Gotham somewhere. This wasn't good for him because all sorts of shifty types laired down there, and he recognized that they all seemed to know each other.
The next best option was to figure out how he was coming and going, then he would have an idea how to go forward. Hush had an appreciation of his own for technology. He wasn't a martial artist, not even really a sniper though he knew how to shoot straight and figure out a good place for a shot. He had invested in his career as a murderer by acquiring an arsenal of information gathering techniques. He'd also learned the art of patience through the quiet nursing of grudges.
He had learned from his old career as a neuro surgeon the importance to some people of what seemed frivolous to outsiders. You could learn everything about someone from what they want rid of the most. The silliness of what people would invest for a new nose is no different from the insanity of what they will pay for Onstar for their car, and says just as much. Watch that person's house for two weeks, observe how much they put out on trash day, make note of their company, see where they go when they aren't at work, soon you will know them better than their best friend. In his experience, the more you know about someone the less there is to respect and the easier it is to plunge the knife or pull the trigger.
He'd figured the night that he observed the two attack Cassandra's little dojo that Hellhound likely entered the sewers through the bay side entrance near lowtown. He wasn't keen to skulk around there because it was Catwoman's turf. She was a strange sort for the costumed community, didn't seem overly concerned over who knew who she was. She didn't advertise that she's Selina Kyle, but she didn't take very many precautions either. He might have to intrude, but that part of her turf wasn't her favorite so he figured it would likely be safe.
In the deepest part of the subterrane, Bane is less than pleased. He had sent two experienced hands with a simple retrieval mission and had been thwarted by a woman in a business skirt wielding a chair and a young man. He knew this was a dim estimation of the report, but the simple fact was they failed. He took consolation in the fact that they had succeeded in injuring them, and while this was small consolation it was something.
Hellhound was terrified of the man to whom he now reported. It was surprising to him to learn what had befallen KGBeast. Stabbed, beaten, then tossed hogtied onto the police doorstep? That was extreme by any measure.
"He is a loose end," observes Bane.
"He was injured in the course of a mission we hired him for," counters Hellhound.
"And now he needs to be put down," replies Bane with a tone of finality.
"Very well. I will see to it myself," breathes Hellhound, reluctant but he knows better than to argue.
"Do not disappoint me twice. You may find redemption on his behalf, and your own, in discovering the identity of who shamed your comrade in arms," intones Bane in a rare moment of what passes for an offer of consolation.
Hellhound recognizes this olive branch. He knows the wisdom of this course, someone was responsible for this and had targetted them that night. It had not been the Bat, this wasn't his style or that of his associates. He needed to find out whose it was. He mentally apologizes to his comrade for what he needed to do, and then promises vengeance on his behalf against whomever now forced his hand.