Sons of the Night
Epilogue: Thoughts of Beyond
"You know Bruce isn't going to be happy when he realizes I brought you here." Tim his helmet on the seat and helped the younger boy off his motorcycle. He and Terry had snuck to Titan's Tower without telling Bruce. With the other boy so small, hiding him under Robin's cape while they sped out of the cave was no trouble.
"He's already grounded me from joining any actual field work until I'm over twenty, what more can he do to me now?" Terry said dryly as he pulled off his own helmet.
"Be happy that's all he's grounding you with." Tim commented. After Terry's recovery, Bruce decided to recount the boy's time in Metropolis and Central before he came into his care.
"It's not like anyone died." He complained.
"Think of it this way, you'll have more time to perfect your witty banter." Tim smirked.
"Very amusing Tim, where do you get your material?" Terry drawled sarcastically as the other laughed.
It was quiet. The titans were either out in their civilian identities or patrolling. Twilight ghosted over the tower. They hadn't come to the tower to meet with the other titans. They came for another reason. Tim pushed the doors of the entrance open and led Terry down the pathway next to the waterfall. There, they jumped over the small ledge and onto a small island that hosted a statue of Superboy.
"Well, here we are." Tim sighed as he glanced up at the statue of his late friend.
"It's gaudy." Terry commented, but nonetheless he pulled out a single rose from a slender box. Alfred had taken one from his rose garden and given it to him earlier that morning. The butler was quite aware of what he and Tim planned.
"It's too bad that Metropolis is so busy and filled with tourists. We could have gone to his grave there." Tim said quietly as the younger boy set the rose down in front of the statue.
"The idiot probably enjoys it here more than Metropolis." Terry said as he glanced up to the clear blue skies. "Open space, sunshine, nothing like Cadmus."
"Want to stay for a few more days?" Tim asked. "I could call Bruce."
"I said he would enjoy it." Terry said bluntly. He stood and jumped back over the small ledge.
Tim shook his head in amusement as he followed the boy. "Spoken like a true bat." The darkness of the night was much preferred than the brightness of the day.
They headed to Conner's room for Terry to set his things down. It became a routine for them to house the boy in the room of his late friend. However, before they reached their destination Tim caught the sharp sound of metal before he tackled Terry to the ground. He pulled his Kevlar cape over him and the small body. Imbedded on the wall above them was an R-shaped shuriken.
"What on earth?" Tim started, but quickly jumped to his feet. He hauled Terry with him as he ran down the hall, the sound of metal whistled through the air again as more of these R-shaped shurikens imbedded the ground where they stood earlier.
"Let me go here." Terry whispered to Tim.
"You're going to get hurt!" The older teen hissed.
"Then you be the distraction." Terry said as he slipped out of the teen wonder's grasp.
Whoever the attacker was, he wasn't after Terry. The younger boy ran off to one of the modules and searched for the other titans. A quick glance over the cameras, he spotted all of them knocked out and sprawled on the ground in various rooms. They didn't seem to be in any danger, but that only meant they weren't the target either.
"He's after Tim." He concluded and sent a message back to his father. There was an instant response from the other man. He was coming.
He knew he was no match for whoever this was, but that doesn't mean he couldn't hide and study the attacker. With quick glide of his hands over the module's keys, he scanned over the cameras and spotted Tim and his attacker in the memorial for fallen Titans.
Tim face another person donned in a Robin costume. One that Terry recalled in the display cases in the bat cave. The one Damian wore quite frequently. However, the one fighting Tim in the memorial was not his brother. This stranger was much older, probably closer to Dick's age compared to Tim. He glanced through the applications and quickly turned on the sound. He raised the volume to the camera in the memorial hall.
"Just who the hell are you?" Tim's voice came through the speakers as he twirled his staff to block the other Robin's attacks.
"I'm Robin!" The other growled. "I'm the real Robin! I'm supposed to be at Batman's side! Not you!"
"You couldn't be…" Tim was startled as recognition crossed his face. "Jason Todd?"
The other took the opening and knocked the other to the ground. He pounded him furiously with every word he said. "How—" Punch. "Can—" Punch. "He replace me?" He slammed Tim to the ground. "Not only that, he didn't kill the Joker! That fucking bastard is still running around harming other people!"
Tim kneed the other off him before he rolled aside. He spat blood as he crawled to him knees. "Where are the titans?"
"They deserved whatever I gave them!" The other growled as he thrust his arm angrily at the other statues. "He wasn't the only one that replaced me! I was a fucking titan too! But no! Apparently, they're all happy with you! You stupid replacement!" He snarled as he kicked Tim soundly in the chest. The teen wonder flew and coughed violently. No doubt something had fractured by now.
Terry frowned as he grabbed the microphone and flipped on the intercom system. If this continued, Tim would die. "And what are you? A dead reject bent on getting revenge?"
"You idiot! Don't—" Tim was silenced with another violent kick to the chest.
"Seems like a missed one, who is this?" The young man Jason said as he glared up at the camera.
Terry ignored his question and continued. He needed to drag this on as long as he could until his father came. "I read your file Jason Todd. The one who caught Batman's attention by stealing the tires off his bat mobile. The one who eventually took over the Robin mantle after the first Robin became Nightwing." He paused briefly to study the other. "The one who Joker kidnapped and beaten to death with a crowbar. Your sob story isn't the first I've heard. Joker killed plenty more, some even more grotesque than yours."
The other visibly tensed and growled. "And who the hell are you to judge me?"
"It's not a judgment it's a statement." Terry said bluntly. The hot-headedness of the former Robin reminded him very much of his homicidal brother. "If you're angry over that poor excuse of a clown, get in line. You're not the first and you won't be the last."
"What do you know?" He snapped. "You weren't beaten and left for death!"
"And that gives you the right to act as a petulant child?"
"Child?" Jason barked out a harsh laugh. "You don't sound all that old yourself sunshine." He snarled. "Why don't you show yourself and we have a little fun?"
"Don't!" Tim latched onto the other's legs. "Stop baiting him and hide you idiot!" Jason kicked Tim roughly in the side.
"Taking your anger out on him won't help you in the least. He's merely fulfilling the role you failed to uphold." Terry said coldly.
"Failed!" Jason growled. He paused as if he heard something. "Tsk." His anger cooled, but signs of irritation still showed. He kneeled down and grasped Tim's head by his hair. "You think you're better than me in being a Robin?" He tightened his grip on the other's hair. "Well?"
"Yes." Tim answered despite his bloodied face.
Jason growled and ripped the R off Tim's costume. He turned to the cameras with a glare. "You're next brat."
The camera shorted out after the camera was destroyed. Terry wasn't stupid to stick around when the other was likely coming after him next. He made a mad dash to Conner's room and locked himself in the lab Tim built below the super's room. The security features were considerably better than the last time her was there. Not only that, the cloning equipment were offline and in the process of being dismantled. Fortunately, the underground lab had access to the security cameras. The reason Jason left so hastily wasn't to search for him. It was because Batman and Nightwing arrived.
Even so, he made certain to watch the cameras until his father asked for him to come out. He was not risking a confrontation with the former Robin.
Tim was once again kept from active duty until his injuries healed. This made it the second time he seen the teen wonder out of commission.
"How are you injuries coming along?" Terry asked as he set the tray of medical supplies down. Jason's attack on the tower was a week ago.
"Fractured bones tend to crack more easily on repeated assaults." Tim commented as the other helped him with the bandages. Alfred left to pick Bruce up from the company an hour ago. Tending to Tim's injuries was his job until he returned. "It seems like you're always there when I get beaten to a pulp."
"Hmm…" Terry hummed in response. "Look at it this way, you can use the time to perfect your witty banter."
Tim chuckled, but regret it when he winced in pain. "At least you can still joke about it."
"Don't laugh too hard, you'll agitate your injuries." Terry said as he gathered the old bandages and tossed them into a rubbish bin.
"How's Bruce coping?" Tim asked after a moment of silence.
"He told Alfred this changes nothing." Terry responded. "So I assume you'll be returning to patrols once you've recovered."
"And Jason?" Tim asked.
Terry shrugged. "Hasn't appeared since his attack at Titan's Tower. Dad's still searching." He turned to leave he room.
"Terry." Tim called out from his bed. The other glanced back. "What you did at the tower was really stupid. You could have gotten yourself killed."
"I am aware of that." He replied.
Tim smirked. "Then you are aware that you just did something very stupid without merits right?"
Terry said nothing as he turned to leave again.
"For what it's worth. Thanks Ter. I owe you one." Tim said before the other closed the door.
No merits? Terry walked down the halls with the tray of remaining bandages. Did he really do something so foolish without any gain?
The halls were quiet. His footsteps were trained to be silent, which made his thoughts so much louder in his mind. He set down the tray at the study and opened the grandfather clock.
"Ridiculous." He muttered as he walked down the steps. He didn't save Tim for nothing. He gained the trust of the other and a favor.
He stopped at the base of the stairs when he heard footsteps. Someone was in the cave. He maneuvered about the upper level in an attempt to spot the intruder. To his surprise, the intruder was none other than Jason Todd, the former Robin. Terry quickly slipped towards his stash of weapons he hid around the cave. Whether it was to deal with Damian or another threat like Cain, he was prepared. But he was not insane to face Jason head on. He pressed on the distress signal on the pendent tracer to alert his dad to come home faster.
"You have issues JJ." Terry drawled as he stayed on the upper levels of the cave. "You do know you can be charged with breaking and entering, along with vandalism. You're not selling yourself as a former Robin very well."
"You again." Jason growled. "Why the hell are you everywhere? Shouldn't you be at the tower, Titan?"
"I never said I was apart of the Titans. You just assumed I was." He commented dryly.
"So you're another one of Bruce's sob-story wards." Jason snorted. "Well, seems like you're the Robin in-waiting. Too bad you were too stupid to just let that replacement die. Or else you would've gotten the Robin mantle already."
"I have no interest in that useless title." Terry responded. "Why do you assume I want to dress up like a walking target and pretend to be useful?"
"Useless?" Jason snarled. "Come out here coward and I'll show you useless!" He stormed about the cave searching for him. Terry knew the echoes in the cave made it difficult to pinpoint where he hid.
"Tim could've beaten you if he wasn't preoccupied at the tower. He's definitely the better Robin compared to you." He antagonized the young man. It was the only way hotheads like him and Damian would listen.
"Who the hell are you to judge which of us is better? You're nothing more than a snot-nosed brat!" The former Robin snapped furiously.
"Tim didn't became a Robin because of Batman's kind heart to take in strays." Terry interrupted him. "Tim became a Robin because Batman was terrified him. He was intelligent, a mad scientist in the making. He scared Batman into thinking he might turn to the ways of crime if he turned him away."
Jason growled furiously. "He's nothing but a replacement!"
"Hmm, hmm, ha, ha ,ha!" Terry let out a dark laugh. "Weren't you a replacement as well?" The other became silent. "You replaced Dick, the first Robin because he quit. Tim replaced you, the second Robin because you gone and got yourself killed. Do you want to know how Tim got the mantle or Robin?"
"..." He got the older boy's attention.
"He figured out who Batman is and decided he needed a Robin. You can probably blame Dick for being such a showoff during his Robin years that Tim figured out he was a circus boy Bruce Wayne adopted. Anyone holding the Robin mantle should know they're going to be replaced someday. No one can be the boy wonder forever."
"Hmph." Jason snorted. "Then you're probably going to be the one replacing him. Your voice still cracks."
"No, there's already someone stupid enough in line for the title. This idiot had the galls to point a sword at Batman's neck on their first meeting." He drawled. He found out this little tidbit about Damian during one of their many death tags. There really weren't much they could talk about while trying to kill or run from the other.
"Why are you telling me this? To rub in it my face?" Jason growled as he walked up to the upper levels.
Terry swung down to the lower levels to access the security cameras on the bat computer. "I think I'll rub it in Dick's face too." He allowed the echo carry his voice.
"Come out you brat!" Jason snapped.
"You're wasting your second chance in life with something as ridiculous as revenge." Terry said before he left the bat computer. Staying in the open for too long was an unhealthy risk. "What you're doing is pointless. It'd only serve to amuse the Joker without him needing to raise a finger to do a thing. You're doing his job for him. Is that what you really want? To succeed Joker in making Batman miserable?"
"You know nothing." Jason snarled quietly.
"You pitiful little bird." Terry drawled as he hurried to the next shadow. "It's nothing personal, but it seems all five of you Robins share the same mindset. You know nothing, how could you ever understand, and of course, you don't care."
"Five?" Jason frowned as he cautiously walked back down to the lower levels.
"You, Dick, Tim, the idiot that will be replacing Tim eventually and a dead girl named Stephanie. You're not the only Robin that died in Batman's service. I must say. Even she's a better Robin than you were. Though it was due to her own screw up that she ended up dying, but at least she died trying to help Batman, unlike you who foolishly went off chasing the woman who abandoned you as a child. Then getting killed by the likes of the Joker."
Jason ruffled his head in frustration. "What are you interested in brat, if you're brushing off the Robin mantle like that? I doubt you can hang around Bruce and not want any part of his work." He was trying to make him talk more in an attempt to find him.
"I am interested, don't get me wrong on that." Terry said as he glanced over to the screens of the bat computer. "Just only the position I'm interested in won't be open for a long while."
It took a moment, but the former Robin finally realized what position he wanted."… You want the mantle of Batman?" He said in disbelief.
"So there is a brain buried in all that hotheadedness." Terry commented dryly.
Jason snorted. "Don't make me laugh kid, what makes you think that old bastard would give you the Batman mantle?"
"You really want to know?" Terry found his thoughts drifting to Damian with an amused grin. Both he and Jason were so easy to bait. Jason was silent. Terry had him completely concentrated in his search. "True, dad won't give me the mantle now. I wouldn't be able to handle Gotham on my own yet, but I'm sure I'll be able to convince him to retire in the future when I'm ready."
"Bullshit! He doesn't have any sons!"
"You've been dead for quite a while little bird. Unless you can prove otherwise, I am the son of the night." He said.
"That old bastard couldn't keep a woman for his life! It's not possible!" Jason snapped furiously as he tossed his R-shaped shurikens about the cave, not caring for accuracy. He just wanted the chance a stray shuriken would hit the boy.
"Time's up little bird, dad's home." Terry said cheerfully.
"Bluffs won't work with me brat! You can't mess with me!" Jason snarled.
"But I'm not lying." Terry chirped. "If you turn around and look at the bat computer, you can see that Alfred is coming back with dad in the limousine." And indeed coming in from the front gates in a speedy manner was the limo.
Jason cursed loudly before he dropped his bag and hurried to the lower levels. He stole Tim's motorcycle. The motorcycle revved up loudly before he sped down the runway. Terry waited in the shadows until his worried father came rushing down from the study. He was scolded yet again for his recklessness. However, their attention on him quickly shifted as they reasoned to why Jason was in the cave.
In the bag Jason dropped, they found spray paint and various vandalizing equipment. It was very likely Jason came to destroy the cave. However, what caught their attention the most was the bloody crowbar. That was all they needed to know what the other was planning.
"He's going after the Joker." Terry concluded as Bruce hurried to the computers.
"Joker is still in Arkham." He muttered. "But not for long."
"Master Bruce, you don't think…" Alfred trailed off.
"Terry, you stay with Tim. Call if something happens." Bruce ordered before he suited up and hopped into the bat mobile.
Terry said nothing as he done as he was told. The chance of Jason returning was unlikely. He could recall that look of anger on his face. Galatea shared that same look, that look of determination, that look of certainty. It was right before she left to attack the Watch Tower.
"Something wrong Ter?" Tim asked when he walked into his room and plopped down in the chair next to his bed.
"It's nothing, dad just thought I should keep you company." He answered.
Tim raised a brow, not believing him in the slightest. "Something happened?"
"Jason was here a while ago." Terry answered truthfully.
"What?" Tim jolted but regretted immediately at the sharp pain in his side.
"Don't worry, dad's dealing with it now." He said while the other settled back down under his covers.
Tim gave a sigh. "I don't know how you stay so calm with all this excitement. You don't have to stay here if you rather go to the cave and—"
"It's fine." Terry responded bluntly, there was nothing else he could do. He was grounded from active duty. "Is there anything you need?"
Galatea was definitely not the first he saw with a lasting expression in their final moments. The Ultimen and Project Meta both showed their own share. Whether it was depression or anger, he could remember them all clearly. The only ones he hadn't gotten a chance to see were Anna and XIII's last moments. Though… he probably never noticed or learned to notice these things if not for the Joker. How many people had he killed that day in that facility? How many people has he ruined?
It doesn't change the fact Jason is vengeful or the fact he was grounded from joining any active duty until he was twenty. He could get why Jason reasoned the way he does, but as for his dad—no, his dad grounded him because he didn't want him to get hurt like Jason and many others. Though, he has to ponder if his dear idiotic brother is having as much trouble with his mother with such matters.
It doesn't matter. Terry thought as Tim chattered away about dismantling the cloning equipment. When the time comes, the time comes. Rushing into things was pointless.
TO BE CONTINUED IN "Nights of Tomorrow"
CM Aeris: And here's the end of this story. Sorry about the long wait, my laptop just died a few weeks ago and I had to wait until my new one came. Thanks for sticking around for so long! But this isn't the end! There's still plenty of growing up for these brothers. So, please keep an eye out for the sequel: Nights of Tomorrow! Thanks for reading!