1999 – J17 T16 Ba26 D23 Br29 K16
'82 '83 '73 '76 '70 '83
He leaned back on his elbows and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. It smelled as if he were rich. Filthy-fucking-rich. Which he was. They were. He opened an eye to look at his consort.
Tim was sprawled over their huge mahogany four-poster bed, petting the satin blue sheets.
"Baby," he called from the floor, where he had been appreciating the plush purple carpet. "Come here."
"Jason," Tim replied. It was muffled in the feather pillows, until Tim rolled over to stare at him. In the silence of his pause, the merry bubbling of a fountain filtered through the air. "If you honestly expect me to get off this bed, then you are, sadly, insane."
"You'll have plenty of time to appreciate that bed," Jason said with a well-defined leer. "Now get your ass over here!"
Tim sighed as if he were some kind of tragic hero. He took his sweet time in getting up and walking over, then he straddled Jason's outstretched legs, settling on his thighs.
"There's one more bit of business to be done," Jay murmured, grasping Tim's bony, angular hips.
"Jason. You know I am very—"
"—driven, but I need a break. We just ejected Bats from Blüdhaven. It's ours!"
"If we plan on keeping it—"
"Get someone else—"
"I don't trust anyone else—"
"Do it yourself then."
"We need to recruit a meta."
Been - 1999
Barbara stared him down. Her glasses gave a little flash, which he was sure she calculated. Everything she did was calculated, meticulously. How much expression should she allow her face to show? How hard should she make her eyes? How tense should her shoulders be? He was much the same of course, but not so much with the tedious counting of variables.
"I won't publicly announce a merge," she declared at last.
"With the rise in metahumans and minor gangs in Gotham we are facing a serious problem, Barbara." He used the name on purpose. She had never really given him permission to call her by her first name. He did it to rile her up, to make her angry.
"Well, Dick." Touché. "Maybe we should take a different route all together. Perhaps we should expand. Have another round of recruiting."
"How many more jobs do you have?"
She scowled. "We could branch out into other cities. Keystone, Star, Opal."
"Because, of course, the Arrows will take kindly to that."
"That isn't terribly ladylike, Bab—"
"Watch it," she growled. She leveled a gun at his right eye. "Take me seriously. God damn it, Dick, this isn't the time for our vendetta. This city is being spread too thin. It could give at any moment."
He pressed his knife gently to her stockinged thigh as a warning. "I know that just as well as you do."
"Help me think of a viable solution then!"
"I gave you my suggestion. We join our gangs."
"That won't help. They're not at war, but there's a divide. Not just of sex."
They both put away their weapons with painstaking care.
"We should take out the smaller gangs," Dick said and shrugged.
"You have the resources for that? I know I do, but I don't want to waste them taking out some 3rd Street teenagers who think it's cute to rob the Minit-Mart," Babs sneered.
"Stop calling me that."
"Metas would be valuable."
"I bet I can get five of them faster than you can."
"Oh, grow up."
"The usual amount?"
Thus ended a meeting between the two. Gotham had two main gangs: the Birds and the Bats. The sex divide between the two groups was not due to a gang law. However, should a young lady be interested in a future with the mob, she made her way to the Birds, vice versa for a young man. One Barbara Gordon publicly ran the Birds. Babs: a red haired beauty rumored to have a bit of a Black Widow complex.
Since the early days, when everything was simpler, a nameless boss, who conducted from behind the scenes, had run the Bats. In the beginning, the Bats had only been a few people who joined forces to bring order to Gotham's chaotic underground.
They provided jobs under the radar, set a good example for the misfits from the slums.
Over time, it acquired a number of followers. Factory workers, housewives, policemen, and orphaned kids, there were representatives of every walk of life and social status within the ranks of the Bats.
Then someone came along and fucked up the relative—at least there aren't bus bombings every day anymore—peace. Two-Face made his triumphant debut, killing here, and blackmailing there. Things stopped being the 'earlier, simpler' days as soon as he was shot.
That was when the Birds first formed.
Was – 1995
His stupid father had gotten on the wrong end of Two-Face. When Two-Face said 'your company is going to support me' that meant 'your company is going to support me, or else'. But his stupid-ass father hadn't understood that. He'd even tried to skip town.
Well, Two-Face broke down the door to their lavish house, the one a couple houses down from Bruce Wayne. Two-Face came right on in, grabbed his mom by her hair and bashed her face against the great oak dining table until it wasn't really her face anymore. It was more like pulp, gooey and nasty and bleeding all over. Ms. McIlvaine made a funny noise where she was sort of laughing and crying and screaming all at once. They shot her with silenced guns. They really did make those soft little 'pew' sounds, like in the movies.
The air in the house tasted coppery and wet and the blood and the screams permeated. Tim sneezed on the scent of hysterics as he looked up at Two-Face with watery eyes. He was a child, not a moron. According to his teachers, he was one of the smartest in the class, but, for some reason, he didn't think that applied here.
"You tell your daddy that Two-Face stopped by."
He nodded passively, because he wasn't one of those cheeky kids.
Were - 1997
He moved through the streets with his attitude half cocked. He was a teenager of about seventeen and he had the kind of jaunty step that let everyone know just how much of an asshole he could be. If incited. There was a sharp little cry from a nearby alleyway and that was all the incitement he needed.
"Hey! Not on my turf, fuck-faces," he snarled.
A couple of kids froze at his voice. One was in the midst of removing the victim's nice looking shoes. The prey let out a vicious kick during the moment of ensuing distraction. The unlucky assailant released a whoof of breath and stumbled back a pace.
The little kid growled, rolling to his feet and elbowing the remaining punk. Then the boy backed up to the wall and stared as they ran off. Jason watched from behind his domino as well.
"You too?" the rumpled teen asked quietly.
"Oh, excuse me, do I hear a scrawny ungrateful bastard?"
"It isn't an unreasonable question. You look like a Bat."
"Good guess, cause I am."
"You're Jason Todd, aren't you." That wasn't a question at all.
"How the hell do you know that?"
"Mmm, maybe we should talk about this where the locals can't hear every word?"
"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me who you are."
"I'm Timothy Drake."
"You're a liar."
"Two-Face wasted the Drakes."
"Ms. McIlvaine messed up Harvey's plans."
"She made two dead. I would have made three."
"Drake and you made—you know Harvey!"
"Can we go talk now?"
Being – 2000
Barbara Gordon in a wheelchair would have been more shocking, if it hadn't been for Dick Grayson and the two women who suddenly appeared at her back. (Not to mention one mercenary: Helena Burtinelli, who'd, apparently, been offered enough money to convince her to settle down for a little while.)
Barbara had finally obtained two metas. Black Canary and Power Girl and they were, from that moment on, always seen by her side.
Babs was still behind in the race though. The Bats and Metropolis were covalently sharing Superman, and then they also had Starfire, Troia, Tempest, and Cyborg. She'd lost a hundred dollars to Dick.
Now the bastard was using her injury as a way to garner more support to his gang! He was sure to offer money and support and condolences and the people ate it up. They didn't really care about the meat of the ordeal, just the sugary coating that pretty-boy Dick Grayson was offering up. Joker had been running rampant in the city for months. So, when he shot Babs and then ended up dead a few days later…it wasn't even half as interesting as Grayson's professions of undying love for the injured Boss Lady.
Within the higher ranks of both gangs, however, there was a bigger issue.
"Jason, you know I don't approve of what you did." The voice came through the speaker box: loud and clear, with only the most minimal of static.
"I know you don't approve. You don't approve of much I do, but nobody else seems to have a problem with it," Jason snapped back.
No one in the room agreed and the box remained silent.
"Well," Jason continued rolling his eyes. "They have a problem with it now because you're 'here'."
"I'm your fucking son."
"You can always be my son."
"Oh, fuck you."
"Let's take a vote then. Speak up if you think we should just ignore this whole incident."
No one, not even Dick, so much as breathed. Then Tim sighed, as if this whole thing were a great chore, and stood up from his chair. He was not a member of the council, he was only allowed to view because he was Jason's—a belonging.
"He shot Barbara," he murmured, because that summed it all up and explained everything. "If Joker hadn't been killed he would have continued to undermine your power. Maybe next time he would have shot Dick. Everyone knows who our public faces are, that's why they're so powerful. When the faces we present to the public become weak, fallible, mortal…our power goes with them."
"That is a valid point," the voice agreed. "But we don't kill."
"Barbara kills," Jason growled.
"That's why she isn't a Bat."
Are – 2001
Dick had gone with them to Blüdhaven because he was Jason's older brother. He'd taken them in one of his nice cars, with a couple of motorcycle escorts.
"Bit much, Dickie?" Jason had muttered. He'd been moody and no one could blame him. His father had exiled him—his father, by a legal technicality only, and his boss and his friend and—Exiled.
"Don't sulk like a bitch, Jay," Dick had replied pleasantly. Then he'd looked over at his little brother's crony, the kid had just given him a bland smile in return. Dick had a feeling somewhere between affection and irritation for Tim.
See, of course this hadn't fucked up Tim. He hadn't been the one losing his whole life. Jason Todd was his whole life and he was with Jason, so what-the-fuck-ever. There was that irritation Dick sometimes felt for him. Too devoted to Jason, who, if Dick was honest with himself, didn't deserve it.
They'd gotten Jay set up in the nicest apartment down-town and gone out to dinner and...Jason hadn't so much let Dick hug him goodbye, as not been given a choice. Then Dickie had taken off in his nice car and Jason had started plotting how he could take over the Syndicate in Blüdhaven.
He had money, yeah. He was still the Boss Man's son, even if he wasn't part of the gang anymore. But he couldn't use that money to kick the Bats out of Blüdhaven. That just wouldn't fly.
So, he started buddying up to cops and sending Timmy down to the local high schools. They went to clubs at night where they flirted and seduced anyone who looked like they had even half a brain. They spent their time making little promises about how much better things could be. They talked about how the Bats treated Blüdhaven like a dingle berry hanging off the ass-end of Gotham and said 'doesn't Bludhaven deserve to be a proud city in her own right'?
They had a little celebration when they reached the fifty-boys mark; their first move against the Bats was sneaking up on a crew delivering several cases of ill begotten Cuban cigars. Jay ran the raid personally, so that once the crates were secure, he could go back and put an envelope into the front pocket of one of the unconscious Bats.
Inside was a picture. At the foreground were Tim and Jason. Jason was kissing Tim's cheek while grinning. Tim's face was scrunched up in mock disgust. In the background, which was blurred in contrast, the growing gang stood. The picture was autographed in black sharpie.
'To the Batman with love from Red Hood and Black Mask.'
Jason had always found the use of codenames and masks odd. Batman said it was because they had to at least pretend to respect the law—Barbara disagreed and that's why her Birds were an entirely different breed. She figured the only people who needed code names were her Metas. Bruce, on the other hand, felt the members of his gang should have civilian lives to go back to during the day. Anybody who broke his rules regarding this was severely punished. Everyone, but Dick, had been called something else. Then again, Dick was the public face. He made everything look legit and kept all eyes far, far, away from Bruce Wayne. Sure he was 'legally' Wayne's son, but uh…how many people knew that? Barbara, Alfred, Bruce, himself and then Tim. Jason could hold all those names in one hand.
Now Jason used his codename as a way to bite his goddam father in the ass.
And it was damn good fun.
Note: That's where, if I were sane, it would end. But, I actually wrote all that to lead up to this crap underneath. The plan was to turn Tim into a girl, have her get close to Kon, fuck around with him, recruit him. Then angst when they get back to Jay. But, then I realized not only was that stupid, but I had no interest in writing it. So, continue at your own peril.
Before - 2003
Hood was a big guy. That was how he'd managed to get his own gang going at nineteen. He was an intimidating figure and if he wanted something done, it pretty much got done or someone was sent to the hospital. There was only one exception to the rule and that was Black Mask.
Jason rubbed his thumb against Tim's pelvic bone. "We need him."
"This…how do you plan to pull this off?" Tim asked, exasperated and a little terrified by Red's proposal.
"I'll borrow one of Batman's favors." The plan still wasn't selling well.
"Jason, this is ridiculous, you are not a feudal lord."
"Well," Hood actually thought about that for a minute. "I kind of am. Bruce and Babs kind of are too. Metas are the hot item, if we expect to compete we have to get one."
"Jason…" Tim continued to protest.
"Come on, this is like to ultimate costume exercise."
"You hate disguise work," Mask pointed out.
"True," Jason grinned. "But it gets you off."
Tim's cheeks flamed a little. "I still don't like this idea of yours. Couldn't I just observe him covertly?"
"Baby, we're hoping to work closely with this guy. You need to interact with him, see how he responds to stuff." Red was pretty tired of trying to be convincing, he wasn't going to change his mind on this.
"You expect me to sleep with this guy, don't you?" Tim accused, wriggling with obstinacy.
"Sure, why not. I have no idea what his orientation is, that's why I'm playing it safe and assuming he's a traditional kind of guy."
"Jason. In case you've forgotten, I've been in a completely exclusive relationship with you for six years," Tim growled.
Jay blinked. "Why should that change?"
"God!" Tim tried to pull away, but Hood held him still. "What if he develops some kind of feelings for me? How am I supposed to bring him back here and then explain not only am I not who I said I was, but I'm also this gang lord's boyfriend?"
"You think he'll be pissed?"
"Yes. I do. In fact. Think he will be pissed."
"Just do it for me, Black. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, you get to rub it in my face for the rest of forever."
"I hate this, Jason," Tim muttered. He usually made it a point to keep his personal feelings out of things. But he really hated this.
Hours later, they stopped in front of room 206 of an old apartment complex. Jason had been carrying Tim bodily, slung over his shoulder. He set him down and then knocked on the door four times. It opened almost immediately to admit their entrance. Inside it was kind of like Mardi Gras on crack. The place was bedecked in gold, purple, and green and there were bright colored beads, doohickeys, and feathers lying all around them. They mostly distracted from some of the more grotesque decorations, such as the cluster of chicken feet hanging in the far corner. The place was much bigger inside than it looked out.
"Hey? Zee? Where are you?" Jason called, stopping Tim before they accidentally set of some kind of spell.
Now, Zatanna officially worked for the Birds, but she owed Bruce a few favors for things she really didn't want anyone to know about. Jay knew and she would give him what he wanted in order to keep it quiet.
The spell caster appeared in the doorway, looking surprised and suspicious.
"Who's your friend?"
"This is Tim."
"Oh. Your boy-toy."
"Zee, be fucking polite. We've been fucking for six years, he's a bit more than a toy."
"Oh, my apologies, Jason." She couldn't have been more sarcastic if she tried. But she sobered quickly. "What do you need?"
"Well…you know how Bruce paid off some officials to stop that witch hunt and…"
"What about it?" Zatanna cut him off tersely.
"Yeah, well I need a favor, you know, to keep me quiet about that."
"I could just erase your memory."
"Bruce wouldn't be happy about that," Jay cackled.
"What do you need."
"I need you to disguise Tim as a college girl, temporarily."
"If this is just for some kinky fantasy of yours I am going to refuse," Zee muttered in disgust.
"Nothing like that, good idea though." He shoved Tim toward the witch. "We're recruiting."
"This is a serious conflict on interests," she groused, even as he set Tim down on the barely visible couch and began to hunt for the materials she would need for this act of mysticism.
A few unintelligible chants later and Jason had his very own girl-Timmy, a very sour and irritated looking girl-Timmy. Jason reflected that it was kind of like a drive through gender-swap.
"Hey, baby, wanna come home with me," Jason purred, sidling up behind Tim, caressing newly rounded hips.
"I hate you, Jason Todd," Tim replied.
"C'mon, we gotta go buy you girl clothes for your trip. Later Zee."
Zatanna glared after them both. "You can come back to have to spell reversed, but after that I never want to see your face again, Jason."