“John, could you please just track the demon?”
Dick was exhausted. They’d spent the last twenty hours chasing a girl possessed by a demon around LA, found out John Constantine was also hunting the demon and realized how unhelpful he could be.
Constantine shrugged and spoke a few Latin words - except they weren’t Latin, not really, because Dick was fluent in Latin and that wasn’t it. Then he closed his eyes.
When he opened them again, Dick looked at him expectantly: “Tunnels under the city. Demon magic is strong down there. Why do they always have to make it so bloody difficult?”
“Where’s the entrance?”
“I can do you one better, mate.”
Another spell and Dick felt himself dissolve. He solidified in pitch blackness. Dick’s mask automatically switched to night mode just in time for him to watch Lilith throw up.
“A little warning next time”, she croaked. Dick handed her a small water bottle he kept in his utility belt. “Thanks.”
The tunnel lit up suddenly and Dick turned around to the source. John grinned at him.
Dick rolled his eyes: “Lead the way. Donna and I will go last.”
“So, since when has he been John?”, Donna grinned mischievously.
“Probably since I fought vampires in my boxer shorts and I would have died if I had been anyone else. He failed to save me rather spectacularly.”
“Ah, so you’ve been in your underwear in front of him?”
Dick sighed: “Donna, I think I have enough problems without adding a magic boyfriend with magic enemies.”
Garth’s shoulders shook twenty meters in front of them. They were talking quietly enough that none of the others should be able to hear them but Garth had Atlantean ears. Sometimes Dick was really glad they had no Kryptonian on their team.
“Stop eavesdropping, Garth.”
“I was trying to listen for danger but you’re more interesting”, Garth called over his shoulder.
Roy looked over his shoulder: “What are they talking about, anyway?”
“That Dick has problems.”
“I think we’ve all known that for a while.”
“You’re not any better”, Wally piped in.
John turned around to them: “Are you lot always this loud?”
That quieted them down and Dick was glad that Donna’s relationship interrogation had stopped.
“Or is it possible that you aren’t hitting on him because you’re crushing on a certain redhead?”
“One. We’re twenty eight, not twelve. Two. When you’re trying to tease me, at least be specific enough so I know who you’re talking about.”
Garth’s shoulders had started shaking again but when Roy apparently questioned it, he just shook his head.
“Fine. Is it possible that you’re crushing on a certain speedster?”
“I’m not crushing.”
Garth turned around: “That’s a pretty weak defense.”
“Shut up!”, Dick hissed.
Garth raised his hands but definitely continued grinning.
“Are you trying to tell me that you’re not crushing, you’ve fallen in love?”
Dick was glad that the lighting wasn’t good enough for real colour distinction because his face sure had gotten warm.
“Oh my god, you are!”
That was loud enough that all of the others turned around to them.
“Sorry”, Donna said loud enough for the others to hear. Then, quieter: “Don’t worry, interrogation is over for now. I think we’re getting close.”
Dick nodded. He felt it, too. The air was humming with energy. Everything in Dick yelled at him to run away. Still, he quickened his step to catch up to the others - a tighter formation was usually better in tunnels like these.
John stopped: “There’s a cavern ‘bout fifty meters from here. The demon should be there. You see the tunnel to the right”, he pointed at where another tunnel met the one they were in. “Leads around the cavern to enter from the other side.”
Dick quickly worked through a few plans in his head before deciding on one: “Flash, Troia and I will go to the other side. We’ll attack in five minutes.”
At this point Dick was pretty good with being carried by speedsters. He hadn’t vomited in five years. Fifteen if you didn’t count the times when he had been injured or sick. They were hiding right at the cavern entrance.
In the middle of the cavern stood the possessed girl, her eyes closed in what seemed like concentration but could have been talking to demon friends for all Dick knew. The cavern was just wide and empty enough to make an ambush difficult if not impossible. Dick gave the others some information in sign language - they were all pretty fluent in it because of Joey and it came in handy a lot - and saw Roy nod.
A few seconds later a sonic arrow was lying at the feet of the demon screeching in a manner that would have been unbearable if not for earplugs. They all converged on the demon simultaneously and then a bright green wall hit Dick.
When Dick woke up, he was pretty sure he’d been thrown against a wall. How did he know? Lots of practice. Oh, and the wall he was half leaning on.
“Dick, come on. Wake up”, a voice said urgently.
Something was repeatedly touching his face. Dick groaned and swatted it away. The movement made a more precise pain flare up on his side.
“Thank god”, Wally said - that was Wally, right?
Dick opened his eyes carefully: “What happened?”
“The demon magic-exploded all of us against the walls. Well, all of us except for Constantine because of some ‘bloody demon protection, mate’. Roy, Lilith and you were knocked out cold and the rest of us took down a major demon.”
Dick laughed at the bad impression and gasped in pain right after.
Wally lost his smile: “Are you okay?”
“I think I cracked a few ribs.”
Wally hummed while looking Dick over.
Dick looked over the cavern. Donna was helping Roy up, Garth seemed to be checking for a head wound on Lilith. John Constantine was standing next to the unconscious girl and smoking a cigarette.
“What happens now?”, Roy asked leaning against the wall and gesturing to the girl.
“I’ll drop her off at the hospital.”
Donna shot Dick a questioning look. He gave her a gesture to go for it.
She took a step forward: “We need to get these three to the Tower. Can you teleport us to the jet, Constantine? Or is there anything else we need to do?”
Dick was glad Donna had taken over. His side hurt with every breath now that he was sitting up - it had been worse when he’d had to stand and walk - and he wasn’t quite sure anymore that those ribs weren’t broken.
Donna walked in after five minutes: “Everything’s taken care of. Constantine will call us if the demon reappears - said something about it possibly wanting revenge - and he was most definitely hitting on Dick earlier.”
“Don’t tease me. I’m in pain.”
“Was that what you were talking about earlier?”, Roy asked obviously very interested.
“No”, Dick said.
“In parts”, Donna shrugged - there was a grin playing with her lips, though.
“You’re undermining my authority.”
Wally raised his eyebrows: “What authority?” He playfully poked Dick’s side and Dick gritted his teeth at the pain. “Ohshitsorry!”
“Ribs?”, Roy asked sympathetically.
Dick nodded: “Cracked if I’m lucky, broken if I’m not.” He paused for a moment. “Does anyone know if we filled up the painkillers after the mission from hell?”
“I do”, Donna said from the pilot’s seat. “And we did.”
“Wally…”, Dick whined
Wally rolled his eyes: “Fine. Roy, Lilith, do you need anything?”
“We don’t have any ice packs here, right?”, Roy asked without any hope.
“No, but we should have ice spray.”
Wally looked like he was about to ask Lilith again when he realized she was sleeping. Two seconds later he pressed ice spray into Roy’s hands and a water bottle and pills into Dick’s.
“You’re an angel”, Dick grinned.
“So, your ribs are definitely broken and the magic scanner says you’re getting a cold.”
“Wally, it’s not a magic scanner. It’s alien technology that Mr. Terrific and Doctor Mid-Nite managed to modify for humans.”
“Could you hand me the magic scanner, Wally?”, Donna asked and stuck her tongue out to Dick.
Garth, Lilith and Roy laughed and Wally grinned while handing her the scanner. Donna took it, pressed a few buttons and pointed it at Roy.
“Sprained ankle”, she read aloud. “And a few cuts and bruises. Otherwise you’re fine.” She lightly the newly bandaged foot.
“Why did I get broken ribs and you just a sprained ankle.”
“Don’t forget the cold”, Lilith threw in.
“The further away from the caster, the weaker a spell like that becomes”, Garth explained. “Since Roy was firing the arrow, he wasn’t as close as you when the spell hit.”
“Huh, I thought I was just complaining and here I am, getting an actual answer.”
Donna handed the scanner to Garth.
“Was Donna teasing you about having a crush on me yesterday?”, Wally asked grinning.
Dick groaned: “Shut up.”
“Haha, you have a crush on me”, Wally kissed Dick’s cheek.
“So do you.”
“Oh, yes. I have a massive crush on me.”
“You know what I mean.”
Wally laughed: “I do. And you know what? I do have a crush on you.”
Wally shifted so his head was curled into Dick’s neck and his hand was lying across Dick’s hips - far enough down so he wasn’t going to accidentally touch the broken ribs.
“We should probably tell them”, Dick said thoughtfully.
Wally hummed: “But it’s so much fun when Donna teases you.”
“You know she’ll continue to do so when she knows.”
“It might even get worse.”
“And it will definitely include you.”
Wally laughed and Dick shifted his neck away from Wally.
“Hey”, Wally protested.
“Oh, sorry. I’ll try not to laugh anymore. Now give back my pillow.”
Dick snorted but moved back to where he was lying before.
They lay there in silence for the next five minutes or so. Then, there was a knock at the door.
“Dick?”, Donna called. “Are you awake?”
Dick sent Wally a mischievous grin.
“Don’t…”, Wally began.
“Come on in!”
The door shifted open and Donna stared at them for a moment before laughing loudly.
“Morning”, Wally mumbled. His face and ears were trying to camouflage.
“Did Dick fall from his bed or something?”, Roy’s voice asked in the hallway. There were fast, irregular footsteps and then Roy appeared next to Donna. “Please tell me you didn’t have sex.” Donna started laughing harder and Wally hid underneath the blanket.
“Roy, I have three broken ribs. Do you think we had sex?”, Dick rolled his eyes.
“I don’t know! You patrol with broken ribs. What am I supposed to think?”
“Yeah, but patrol isn’t supposed to feel good.”
Wally slid the blanket down so it didn’t cover his eyes anymore: “Could we please stop yelling about my sex life?”
“I wasn’t yelling”, Dick said.
“You would have if your ribs wouldn’t murder you.”
Donna cleared her throat: “Come on, Roy. Let’s go join Garth and Lilith for breakfast, so these two can get out of bed.”