I don't own Batman
Let us thank L. VanDattae for Betaing!
It was cold.
The darkness of water surrounded him as he sank farther into the depths of the sea. His lungs burned with the need for oxygen, yet his body had stopped struggling a short time beforehand.
At least he would get to see his parents, since they'd died a few months earlier. It was too bad too. Dick had been so excited to go to America and join his best friend and his family.
Dick wished he had a family. Someone who would be there for him. Even now he wished that he had some sort of family with him before he died in the sea.
It seemed his wish was answered as strong arms wrapped around him, pulling him close, and something powerful washed through his soul before darkness took hold.
Dick jerked awake at the memory.
Shaking his head, the now twenty-one-year-old yawned, stretching before settling back down, curled up against his father and his brothers, tail swishing happily before Jason's tail came up to hit him. Huffing, Dick looked at his younger brother, who was bigger than him (sadly Jason has grown taller than him at fifteen and now the twenty-year-old Jason could push Dick around) and swatted him back, and soon the two were seeing who could hit who, and one of them hit the youngest and shortest of the family, causing him to wake up. Tim was fifteen, but he passed for about ten. For some reason he didn't grow normally. Instead of joining into the spat, Tim nudged his way under their father's arm, seeking safety before trying to go back to sleep.
Dick and Jason continued to swat each other, and started to push and shove when a deep growl was heard. It was a warning, and the two glared at each other before settling back down and trying to get back to sleep.
After all, that morning was going to be Sun Day!
A few hours later Dick was woken by Tim, who shook his arm before shaking Jason awake. Stretching again, Dick noticed that Bruce was gone.
"You two overslept," Tim said, before swimming out of the cave. "Come on, Bruce already went hunting."
"Food!" Jason swam past Dick and nearly ran into Tim.
"Wait for me!" Dick laughed, swimming after him. "Come on, Timmy!"
"Wait for me!" Tim cried, struggling to keep up.
The three of them swam towards an underwater rock where they normally ate and where a school of fish was waiting for them that Bruce had caught. Their father looked at them before waving at the food for them to eat.
Grabbing one, Dick bit the fish to kill it before taking a bite, squealing at the taste. Bruce always found the best food.
"Eat as much as you can," Bruce said. "We're leaving in a half hour."
"Sun Day?" Tim asked, swimming over to sit in Bruce's arms.
"Yes. It'll be a long swim."
Dick grabbed another fish and glared at Jason, who was already on his fifth fish. Jason smirked at him. Jason was the biggest child of the famous Bruce Wayne, one of the strongest merfolk in the world.
The only thing a bit odd was that Bruce had adopted all three of his children. Dick and Jason had once been human before he'd saved them, turning them into merfolk. Tim was a merchild, but his father had been very abusive. One day Bruce had come across them after Tim had been beaten so badly that the child was bleeding to death. Bruce had saved Tim and had thought the boy was five, but he was ten. Shocked, Bruce took the boy in as his own. Feeding Tim was difficult. He couldn't eat like his new brothers and ate so little because his stomach had shrunk from Jack's neglect.
Now Tim ate more. Still too little, but a healthy portion nonetheless, and he was a good boy. Good, sweet, kind, loyal, but very insecure about himself, and he was terrified about being left behind or forgotten.
Tim was never too far from Bruce or out of sight, but Dick and Jason often took off for a couple of hours before returning. Oh, they knew Bruce hated when they did that, but they wanted to explore.
"Tim, you need to eat more."
Dick looked up from his eleventh fish to see Tim barely nibbling on his third.
Tim nodded before taking a bit more.
"Bruce, can we go now?" Jason complained, tossing away the bones from his twentieth fish.
Jason glared at Tim and Tim ignored him.
After Tim's fifth fish they headed out. It would take a day to reach the little island where no land dwellers were. It was exciting, and Dick could hardly wait to feel the sun again.
When the evening came, they went hunting for more food, and after eating, continued on through the night. Twice Tim had to ride on Bruce's back and once for Dick, but only because he wanted a ride.
When they got to the island, the sun was coming up. They reached the surface and breathed in the air. They swam to a little cove that had sand and large rocks to rest on. Dick hauled himself onto a rock, laying flat on his stomach and sighing happily as warmth filled him. Eyes closed, he drifted off into a peaceful sleep.
Bruce had chosen to rest on the sand, lying on his back, using his hands as a pillow. Tim was next to him, curled up happily, and Jason was on the rock next to Dick.
They would rest for a while.
Slade couldn't believe it.
There on a rock lay two mermen. The smaller one had a beautiful bright blue tail with silver scales that ran all the way up his spine. The larger one had a deep crimson tail. Both had inky locks of hair and seemed to be asleep.
He had to have them.
No one had seen a mermaid or a merman in almost thirty years. He would make a killing if he brought them back and trained them to be in a show.
They sailed the boat to the other side and Slade took twenty of his men with him. When they got closer they saw two more. A large merman with great muscle mass and a black-as-night tail. He must have been the leader. Next to him was a small merchild with a green tail. The young one had yet to gain his grown color. It was dangerous with that large male around, but a few hours later the leader rose and went into the water, most likely to eat. Slade frowned when the little one followed. Slade had been hoping to catch the three younger ones all at once.
Well, two would have to do. "Get them into the nets."
Bruce and Tim gathered a small school of fish for their family to eat when they heard Dick and Jason screaming.
"Stay hidden!" Bruce yelled at Tim, before racing to the surface. "Jason! Dick!"
"Get these damn things off us! Bruce!"
To his horror, men had his sons in nets and a ship was hauling them on board. They struggled and screamed. Jason slashed harshly at the net, growling and hissing in anger, his teeth bared. Dick hissed, trying to get the smaller nets off his hands.
The worst part was he saw the humans throwing bombs into the water. They were trying to find them. Soon the bombs drove out Tim, who was swimming as fast as he could away from them. A net snagged him, but Bruce ripped it open and grabbed his son, making a run for it.
Tim's tail had a cut in it, leaving a small trail of blood floating in the water as his son looked up at him. "Bruce...? What do we do?"
Bruce was going to find his older sons if it was the last thing he did.
Dick huddled in a corner of the tank he'd been put into. Jason wasn't anywhere he could see, and he was scared to death, but he had to think of a plan and think of it fast. It was when someone started to come up to the tank that it hit him.
Slade heard his son laughing. "What?"
"Look at this, pops. This mermaid likes to copy." Jericho laughed and waved dramatically into the tank. The merman with the blue tail copied. "See? I think he likes the attention. Watch this. Roll."
Slade watched as his son swung his arm in a circulation motion and the merman started to go around in circles.
"Yes. It seems like these beasts can be tamed."
"This plan is stupid," Jason grumbled as they both swam around the large swimming pool that was their new home. "I ain't going to roll over and play dumb."
"Jay it's not like we have a choice. If we gain their trust then maybe we can go home."
Jason hated the idea.
But really there was no other option.
Dick hated it. He forced himself to smile sweetly as some human petted his head like a dog. He cooed though, pretending he liked it as his trainer kept his attention while others examined him. They took blood, and he turned to watch them.
Both of them were on a platform that only had about three inches of water. They had things around their necks that had poles attached to them in order to keep them from leaving. It reminded Dick of when he used to live on the land and they would take stray dogs away with these things on their necks. However, Dick was sticking to his plan much better than his brother was.
Jason was growling at the human who was handling him. He didn't mind the blood too much, but he smacked the man in the face with his tail when he tried to pull off a scale. It wasn't hard enough to kill but just enough to make the man bleed. Jason hissed when they tried again and tried to jump back into the water only to be pulled back.
"Let him go," a voice said suddenly.
Everyone, including Slade, looked up at the strange old man walking towards them with a plastic bag filled with strange looking fish. Dick tensed and looked at Jason, who was frowning at the man.
They knew the story.
A human man who brings mers delicious fish and used to catch and train them to do tricks for the land dwellers.
"Sir, it took us awhile to catch him…" the man said, looking unsure. "If we let him go, it will take us hours to catch him again."
"Let him go," the man said, and waved his hand as if shooing something.
They took off the restraints and Jason hissed and looked at Dick. "Screw this, you handle it."
"No!" Jason swam away.
Dick hissed when he felt someone trying to pull a scale off.
"Stop. You can't get the scale that way," the man said. "It's rather painful for mermaids. Let me show you."
Dick tensed as the man came closer and gently hovered his hand over his tail before carefully taking hold of one scale and pulling it off gently. Dick frowned when he didn't feel pain. That was strange.
"You see? You have to take the ones that are falling off. Now, let him go."
"I want them trained right away." Slade glared.
"Then you'll need to starve them for a week." The man chuckled lightly. "Hungry mermaids come to you and there is no need to chase them."
Slade smirked as he stared at the two mers at the bottom of tank, their blue eyes watching, and for a second he wondered if they understood.
Little did he know they both understood just fine.