Jason's got his gun pointed to the asshole's head when he hears the victim behind him screaming. "Wait! Stop! Don't do it! Please, don't do it."

Jason knocks the guy out before spinning around to face the woman behind him. He knows when the victim wants him to stop so that they can get a piece of the guy themselves, and this isn't that type of screaming. He's about to ask the girl what the hell her problem is...the guy did just try to rape her and all, but when he sees who the victim is he stutters. "Ev-Evelyn? Evelyn Pezzo?" It's been years since Jason has seen her. They're both older now, and from the looks of it, they've both been through a lot over the years, but he'd recognize this girl anywhere. When they were kids, he'd often let her crash with him, so she could avoid her asshole parents for a few hours. It wasn't much, but Evelyn always seemed to appreciate it.

This isn't the first time that Jason has seen someone from his old neighborhood since he became the Red Hood. It's just the first time that he's seen someone he actually cared about. Not to mention that most of the people he sees from back then are on the other side of his gun. She stares at him for a moment...looking him over...clearly trying to figure out how the hell he knows her. Against his better judgment Jason takes off his hood. He's still wearing his domino mask, but it's Evelyn, so he's reasonably sure that she's going to recognize him anyway.

She gasps in surprise when she gets a good look at him. "Jason? Jason Todd?"

He nods once. "Yeah, the last time that I saw you, the left side of your face was one large molten bruise."

She just blinks at him a few times before she recovers. "And the last time that I saw you you were in a coffin."

Jason wants to wince at that. He never expected Evelyn to bother going to his funeral. "Yeah, well, I got better."

Evelyn looks him over for a moment. "Yeah, me too."

There's this moment of awkward silence between them, and Jason is about to make some excuse and leave when Evelyn gives him a hard stare. "Wait, if you're the Red Hood, doesn't that mean that you were the second Robin?"

Jason's not sure if he should be surprised that she made that connection or not. "What makes you think that?"

Evelyn shrugs again. "People talk...they speculate, but that's beside the point. You didn't hang out with me because I was a half wit, Jason."

It's true that hanging out with Evelyn was great because she was a nice refresher from the stupidity that he had to deal with from most people, but that doesn't mean that Jason needs to admit to that. "No, I hung out with you because you needed a place to hide out when things got bad at your place."

She glares at him harshly. "I don't remember you being such an ass, Jason."

Jason rolls his eyes behind the mask. It figures that everyone from his past is just a waste of time to talk to. "Yeah, well, maybe getting beat to death with a crowbar and blown the fuck up changes someone a bit." He's waiting for the horrified expression and the 'oh, god, I'm so sorry' bullshit that he gets from pretty much everyone who finds out about that. However, Evelyn doesn't deliver. She's never been one for giving people what they expect.

"Okay, yeah, that sucks. So does spending every night of your life getting the shit kicked out of you when you were a kid just because you weren't perfect, but I digress." Jason blinks a few times. Evelyn has always had a bigger vocabulary than him, and she's definitely been reading more since he got picked up by Bruce-but before Jason gets the chance to make a snide comment about it, she continues. "That doesn't excuse what you're doing."

Jason growls at her. "Oh, fuck you! I can't believe that I'm going to get a morality lecture from you too." It's a lie, and Jason knows it's a lie. It didn't matter how bad things got with Evelyn's family, she always had this weird moral code; and while it was certainly more skewed than Bruce's, it sure as hell wasn't as lax as Jason's.

Evelyn folds her arms over her chest, and glares at him some more. "So, what? You died and somehow came back, and now you think that you have free reign to run around killing others? What kind of sense does that make?"

Jason really wants to pinch the bridge of his nose, or possibly punch himself in the face for not just leaving when he had the chance. He knew that it was a bad idea to take off the hood, but there's always been something about Evelyn. He always has done things that he probably shouldn't have around her...like give a damn. "I don't know if you noticed, but that scum was trying to rape you! He deserves to die."

Evelyn shakes her head at him ruefully. "No, I noticed, and thanks for the save. But you know me, Jason. You know that I could never hurt anyone more than is necessary to get away, and I sure as hell can't let anyone I care about do that either. I don't believe we have any right to decide who lives and who dies."

Jason folds his arms over his chest. "Yeah, well, some assholes just don't deserve to live."

She shrugs at him. "Maybe so, but that's not really up to us."

"It should be."

Evelyn's eyes widen at that. "I...I really don't think so."

Jason looks away from her. "Yeah, you wouldn't, because you don't know what happened to me."

Evelyn's facial expression softens at that. "Well, then, why don't you tell me?"

Jason wants to say something along the lines of 'well, I won't even speak to Batman about it,' but there's really no reason to go into that. "I...there's no point."

Evelyn steps closer to him, and for some reason, Jason is acutely aware of the gun that he's still holding. "Come on, Jason. There used to be a time when you and I shared everything."

It's true, of course. They used to sneak out together when neither one of them could handle their home lives. They sat around one place or another talking about all of the things that they couldn't say to anyone else. Evelyn used to get library books, and stash them at Jason's place, because her parents saw reading as a waste of time, and so did Jason back then, but he never said any of that to Evelyn. It didn't matter though, because she always knew how he felt about it-but none of that means that he actually wants to open up to her. Especially while their in this dark, dirty, and extremely open alley.

Unfortunately for Jason, when he opens his mouth to tell her, 'maybe some other time,' what actually comes out of his mouth is a string of sentences that sounds exactly like everything that he's been trying to get away from since his return. He keeps trying to shut himself up...stop himself from saying anything more than he already has, but he can't. Jason finally manages to run out of words after he distinctly hears himself say, "And when I finally managed to get my mind back, I also got the pleasure of learning that, not only was I never avenged, but I was also replaced."

Jason isn't sure what response he's expecting from Evelyn, but he knows that it's not what comes out of her mouth. "Okay, so you're pissed that you were replaced. I can understand that, but what's all of this never avenged bullshit?" Jason just stares at her for moment. He's not entirely sure how to answer that question, but before he can come up with something she continues on. "What did you expect him to do, Jason? Kill him? Come on, you knew when you got into the whole Robin gig that that wasn't his thing."

Jason glares at her. Maybe he wasn't expecting Evelyn to be on his side. After all, her morals would never allow for that, and Jason would laugh at the irony that he seems to always surround himself with that type of person-if it wasn't for how sick it makes him. "Are you honestly telling me that he couldn't have done a little more than just sticking the bastard back in Arkham?"

Evelyn shakes her head. "No, but can you honestly tell me that you expected the man to act completely out of character? That doesn't make any sense, Jason."

Jason turns away from her. "You don't get it."

Evelyn places her hand on his shoulder and tugs until he turns around to face her. "Maybe I don't, but is this really what you want to be?"

Jason shrugs off her hand. "Sure, why not?"

Evelyn looks outraged at that, and Jason is actually considering taking a step back before he remembers that he's not a little kid anymore, and there really isn't anything that she can do to him...at least not without him letting her. "Sure, why not? What the hell do you mean, 'Sure, why not?' Do you honestly think that I don't recognize false bravado on you of all people, Jason?"

Jason shrugs nonchalantly. "I do what needs to be done."

Evelyn just looks sad now. "No, Jason. Come on, don't do this."

Jason glares at her again. "Let me guess. This is the part where you tell me not to disappoint you, right?"

Evelyn shakes her head remorsefully. "No, this is the part where I tell you not to disappoint yourself, Jason." Jason's eyes widen at that, because he's gotten a variety of lectures from many people on this subject, and not once has a single one of them said that to him. He doesn't know how to respond, but luckily he doesn't have to-because Evelyn continues speaking instead. "We always talked about getting out and getting away. We always said that neither one of us would end up like the people in our lives who we despised. We always said that we would be different. Don't you remember that, Jason? Have you honestly forgotten all of the nights that we spent huddled together behind the pizza shop listening to the screaming and promising never to end up like that?"

Jason had actually, but he doesn't tell Evelyn that. She doesn't need him to say it though. He knows that she can see it. "Well, I guess you're the only one who made that little dream a reality."

She smiles at him sadly. "Only because I knew that you had done it first."

Jason finds that, once again, he doesn't know what to say, and that's getting annoying, so he changes the subject completely. "You don't seem freaked out about this back from the dead thing."

Evelyn shrugs. "Eh, it's Gotham. I've seen weirder."

Jason raises an eyebrow at her, because now he really wants her to elaborate on that. "Like what?"

She smirks at him. "Can't think of anything at this moment, but I'm sure that there's something."

Jason smiles at her. This he can do. This feels like old times. He remembers sneaking into the back of the movie theater with her on her birthday to see a horror film, and then heading over to their favorite doughnut shop afterward. He remembers helping her slip back into her bedroom window that night before her parents noticed that she was gone, and it all feels so right. "You know, I used to come down here as often as I could manage when I was Robin to check on you."

Jason isn't exactly sure why he said it, but it doesn't really matter. It's the truth, and it makes her smile...big and bright. "Yeah, I know. You used to leave coconut doughnuts on my window ledge...you were the only one who even knew that I liked them."

Jason grins even wider at her, but before he can say anything there's a groan coming from behind them. Jason turns to the asshole that he knocked out earlier, but he doesn't miss the way that Evelyn tenses. He isn't sure if she's afraid of the guy-or what Jason will do to him-but she hasn't moved away, so he thinks that it's okay. He still wants to shoot the bastard, but he can't help letting everything that Evelyn said affect him. It's true that he never wanted to become this, but that was before he knew that this was necessary. Jason knows better than most people what can happen if he doesn't pull the trigger. He doesn't bother explaining it to Evelyn, though, because while she may understand exactly what he's talking about, she also would never agree with Jason that the only real way of stopping scum like this man is to put a bullet through his brain. Before Jason can make a decision about what he intends to do, Evelyn's hand is on his arm-the one holding the gun-tugging him closer to her. "Don't do it. Please, don't."

Jason's anger is suddenly flaring up again. "Are you about to add on a 'for me' at end of that request?"

Evelyn shakes her head, but doesn't let go of Jason's arm. "No, but if you want, I can add on a, 'for yourself, Jason.' You know that it doesn't have to be this way. You know that..."

Jason rips his arm from her grasp, and points the gun at the man's head again. "It's not like any of them would ever take me back anyway."

She moves closer to him again, and wraps her hand around his wrist. "Maybe they won't, but you know that I would."

Jason doesn't know what to do. He can't think right now. Not with that scum lying there, and not with her hand wrapped around his wrist...her eyes pleading with him not to pull the trigger. He can't deal with this...any of it. This wasn't how his night was supposed to go, and he's not ready for any of it; and he probably never was going to be, no matter what he tells himself. Evelyn's grip tightens for a moment before she releases his wrist. She looks sad, but accepting. "Do what you feel you need to, Jason, but know that I really wish that you wouldn't." She doesn't cry, but Jason is pretty sure that it's just because Evelyn has spent years teaching herself not to show the tears.

He doesn't want to see her cry...doesn't want to hear her voice cracking when she speaks to him, but he really doesn't want to let this scum walk away, either. He tightens his hold on the gun for a moment, and watches out of the corner of his eye as she takes a step back. Evelyn is looking at him the same way that she used to look at her father when he came home livid and looking for a punching bag. Jason can't actually believe that Evelyn would ever think that he would hurt her, but then again, Evelyn clearly never thought that she'd be seeing him holding a gun to some dirt bag's head. Jason lowers the gun before turning to her. "Call the cops, and make sure that you get home safely." He doesn't give her a chance to respond before he shoots off a line, and leaves.

XYZXYZXYZ

A week later Evelyn wakes up in her apartment, opens her curtains for her houseplants, and finds a small white paper bag on her window ledge. She pushes the window open, grabs the bag, and peaks inside to find one coconut doughnut and a note. The note simply says, I'll be looking out for you. -JPT. Evelyn can't help herself...she has to smile as she shuts the window, and walks into her kitchen. She hopes that next time he'll bring two doughnuts, actually use the door, and stay a little while. Evelyn has a feeling that that won't happen though, but she knows how important hope can be. She sighs to herself as she bites into her doughnut, and wonders if Jason feels the same way.

The End