So this story wasn't as dead as I thought it was. Yeah, I know. I'm kind of shocked by that too. Anyway, this idea was going around my head for a while now and I finally decided to get it down.
Title: In Darker Days
Summary: An AU one-shot where the Lord's won against the League and the Young Justice ended up in the wrong reality. I am thinking of posting it as a seperate story but for now, it is going here.
Warning: This is a dark chapter. In fact, I am kind of surprised how dark it is. There is mention of the imprisonment of children and murder of at least one main character. You have ben warned.
The young man, only 19 years old, strode through the gates and paused, scanning the roses climbing across the metal structure and the bushes clinging to the edge of the road. A red haired woman was sitting in the middle of the self-made forest, singing softly to herself as she watered and caressed her flowers. The young man smiled.
"Hello Ivy." He called.
The woman turned to look at the new comer, her face blank.
The young man's expression froze, his gaze fixed on her forehead and the twin burns on her green skin.
Ivy's face remained blank as she regarded him.
"Hello Mr Wayne." She said in an emotionless voice, the tone as dead as her green eyes.
The young man swallowed, one of his black gloved hands forming into a fist automatically. Taking a breath, the young man forced himself to relax once more.
"How are you this morning Ivy?" He asked, fighting to keep his voice soft.
The green woman shrugged and turned back to her flowers.
"I am well. And how is your father, Mr Wayne?"
Again, the young man felt his hands form into fists. Only this time, he could remember the warm, almost gelatinous substance as it splashed across his palms, painting his crime on his hands.
"He's ….busy. Won't be around for a while." The young man replied.
"Oh." Ivy replied, not looking away from her work. "That is a shame. He always liked my flowers."
The young man nodded, unsure what else to say. But the woman was happy for the silence and continued working. Finally, the man turned and begun his walk up to the main building. As he walked, he reached into the pocket of his black jacket and pulled out his ID. Quickly, he clipped in onto his jacket, displaying it to the world.
Written in red on the card, was the name Robert Wayne. It was the name the young man had used for the last six years. A name which held no history, no suspicions, no connections. But it was not the name he had been born with. No, the name on his birth certificate was that of a dead boy. A boy who was murdered almost 10 years ago. In another world, in another reality, he had been known as Richard 'Dick' Grayson.
Reaching the door, the young man now known as Robert Wayne raised his hand and knocked. There was a moment of silence before the door was pulled open, a horribly scared and grinning face peering out into the sun.
"Yes?" It said in a long, drawn out voice.
"It's me Joker." Dick replied, trying not to look at the man who had once been the self-proclaimed Clown Prince of Crime.
"Oh hello Mr Wayne. Welcome back to Arkham. Password?"
The young man rolled his eyes.
"Circus." He replied.
The Joker opened the door, nodding happily.
"Same as usual, Mr Wayne?" He asked, peering at the ID on Dick's chest.
The Joker smiled. It wasn't his usual, insane and often deadly smile. It was a smile of happiness, of an easy job done well.
"Right this way."
Dick followed the former Clown Prince through the halls. He kept his eyes on the Jokers back, refusing the look around or meet the eyes of any of the other inmates, who watched as he walked past. The young man knew from experience, that if he looked around now, he would never make it to his destination.
Finally, he couldn't stand the silence of the faint soothing music and the muttered conversations of the inmates.
"How are they today?" He asked the Joker.
He didn't need to tell the criminal who he was talking about. Everyone knew why he was here.
"They are rowdy today Sir." The Joker said as he turned to final corner. "And here we are."
Dick glanced at the door for a moment, his eyes settling on the engraving before waving the Joker away. The clown turned without comment and walked away. Opening the door, Dick stepped through and allowed it to close softly behind him, the light of the hall flashing off the engraving and the word 'Juvenile'.
This room was just as quiet, just as calm as the rest of the asylum, the inmates gathered around the television or the window or talking quietly to each other. The only person standing was the nurse, a middle aged woman named Emily, who moved around the room, watching her patents. Dick nodded to her before his eyes fell on the group he had been looking for, the four 15 to 18 year old kids who he had failed.
Their crimes may have all been different, but their sentences were all the same. 'Treatment' followed by rehabilitation in Arkham's juvenile care centre. A harsh punishment, even by the Justice Lord's standards.
Finding a spare chair, Dick sat down with the group.
"Hi." He said in a low voice.
The four kids regarded him quietly before the little blond female climbed out of her chair. Carefully, she placed her hands on Dick's shoulder, silently begging to be allowed to climb on his lap. The young man gave her a soft smile before helping her climb up.
"Hello Steph." He muttered.
Like every time he visited, Dick remembered the circumstances which led to the girl's imprisonment.
Stephanie Brown, daughter of the villain and later rebel Cluemaster, was one of the many innocent who lived their lives under the Lord's rule. And like so many, was one of the unlucky ones, who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her father, a natural coward who only looked out for himself, had dragged his wife and daughter into the rebellion against the Lords and when it had failed, had abandoned them to their fate. Although Steph had never been charged with any crimes, her connections had earned her punishment for her.
Resting a gloved hand on Steph's back to help her balance, Dick looked across at the rest of the group. His eyes fell on the other girl.
Cassandra Cain was one of the earliest inmates of Arkham's juvenile ward, her arrest coming shortly after the Lord's takeover. Trained as an assassin by her father, Cass had been attempting her first solo job when Batman had found her. Her capture and punishment had been the first of someone under the age of 18 and had sparked several riots across America, leading to mass arrests and the creation of curfews in many states. The incident had ultimately cemented the Lord's rule and left the population in fear. Dick was glad he hadn't been around in those early years. But then again, had he been around, those riots, those arrests, that terror, would never have happened.
Stopping those thoughts before they consumed him, Dick looked to the dark haired boy next to Cass.
At 18, Jason Todd was the oldest of the group and soon to be moved out of juvenile care and into the adult section of Arkham. His crimes were simpler then the others. A street orphan struggling to survive, Jason had been caught vandalising cars only a few months after Dick's arrival. Because it hadn't been the first time, the Lords had handed down the highest sentence, despite the protests of their children. Jason's punishment had been then first time Dick had witnessed the heavy hand of the Lords, but it hadn't been the last time.
Dick almost couldn't look at the remaining member of the group.
Little Tim Drake was a dark reminder of the first and only time Dick had tried to fight against the Lords. Too smart for his own good, Tim had been a child when he had worked out the identity under the Batman mask and subsequently Robin. He had come to Dick one day, when Dick himself was still new to this world and begged the older teen to do something, to talk to Batman and stop the Lords. Still recovering from Jason's punishment, Dick had stupidly acted on Tim's suggestion, confronting the Lords. It hadn't taken long for the World's Greatest Detective to figure out what had happened. Dick had panicked, taken Tim and run, hoping against hope he could reach the rebellion before the Lord's decided to act. He didn't make it. Batman (Dick refused to call him Bruce.) had cut the pair off before they even made it out of Gotham. Tim had been arrested and handed over to the Lords and Dick had been locked in the Cave, cut off from his friends for weeks until the sheer loneliness and guilt had broken something inside him.
But that hadn't stopped Dick from visiting Tim in the hopes that something in the boy had survived. It hadn't but Dick refused to give up, visiting the child every week for as long as he could. Slowly, the meetings had been extended to include Jason, Steph and Cass. Slowly, the meetings had become story telling sessions, where Dick would remember happier times and tell the group stories and for a moment, just forget everything.
Dick was midway through his story, a tale from his time in the circus, when his phone rang.
Adjusting his hold on Steph, who had fallen asleep, her blond head on his shoulder, Dick reached into his pocket. Opening his phone, the dark haired former hero held it up to his ear.
"Yes?" He asked.
"Oh. You're alive. I owe Wally a drink. Have you done it?" The voice asked.
Dick rolled his eyes.
"Yes Artemis. It's taken care of." He replied.
"Well get your ass up here. Unless you want us to start without you."
Dick groaned softly.
"Alright. I'm on my way." He replied.
Closing the phone, Dick looked at his audience.
"Sorry guys. Looks like I'm out of time." He said, trying to smile. The three teens nodded their understanding. Dick quickly looked around, spotting the nurse who had just started her shift. He indicated to her, watching as she walked over.
"Hello Helena." He said, quickly handing the girl over to her.
Helena Bertinelli, one of Arkham's most prominent nurses, nodded her greeting as she re-adjusted her grip on the girl.
"Hello Mr Wayne." She replied.
Standing, Dick quickly made his way out of the room, refusing to look back at the children. Unguided, he walked through the Asylum which had once been one of the most feared places on earth. Ignoring the Joker, Dick quickly stepped outside and into the sunshine, fighting against his sudden desire to run.
Making it back to the gate, Dick found his bike where he had left it unguarded. People were punished too easily these days for theft to be a problem. Taking his ID off, Dick slipped it on his pocket and climbed onto the bike, kicking it into gear.
Sticking to the main roads, Dick made his way to the outskirts of the city, towards the house which had been both his home and his prison for many years.
Wayne Manor stood desolate and alone, a tribute to another time. Not for the first time, Dick thought back to the last time he had seen Bruce, his Bruce. The day the Lords had ripped a role in reality to claim the Justice League's children as their own. Was Bruce alright? Did he miss him? It had been six years now. Did he have another child? Was he still Batman?
Dick pushed these thoughts aside as he coasted up the driveway and halted his bike at the door. Not caring about his bike, Dick opened the door and entered the house.
Wayne Manor was all but abandoned. Alfred had gone in the Lord's first year, or so Dick had been told and Batman had been so engrossed in his work, he hadn't bothered with the upkeep of the house, the Lord choosing to live in the Cave instead.
Even when Dick had arrived, Batman hadn't bothered with the house. In fact, apart from the very few events which required his secret identity, the Dark Knight never saw the sun, choosing to work by night. Well, at least that wouldn't be a problem anymore.
Stepping into the study, Dick ignored the many portraits of long dead family members in favour of opening up the Cave's secret entrance.
Quickly removing his jacket, Dick entered the cave and stepped over the dark lump on the floor, ignoring the puddles surrounding it. In front of him, the main computer flickered to life. It showed the list Dick had been working on before.
He looked at it, reading it aloud.
"Superman…. Imprisoned in the Fortress of Solitude. Wonder Woman….Exiled to Themyscira. Martian Manhunter….Exiled to Mars. Flash…..Forced Retirement. Green Arrow…..Treatment."
Dick winced at this last bit but continued on.
"Black Canary, The Hawks, Green Lantern." He muttered as he scrolled down the list. Finally he found what he was looking for.
"Batman." Dick paused before looking over his shoulder. The pool of blood was almost black in the dim light but there was no mistaking what it was. Dick could feel the drying substance flaking as his skin rubbed against the leather of his gloves. Reaching for the keyboard, Dick quickly typed in the remaining information.
Saving the list, Dick turned from the computer and walked towards the change room. Stripping himself of everything, Dick quickly washed the blood off his hands before changing into his costume. Exiting once more, he made his way over to the personal Zeta Beam and set the co-ordinates before stepping into the light.
The first person he saw as he rematerialized was Roy. The archer was waiting by the entrance and ignoring the computer voice as it announced Dick's arrival.
"About time." The Archer grunted.
"Shut up, Arrow Head." Dick replied.
Roy just glared before turning and moving out of the room. Dick followed him.
The two made their way through the halls and into the briefing room. A long table had been set up and many people were seated around it. Dick quickly looked around, noting Wally, Artemis, Conner and Megan in their seats. Zatanna Zatara, Donna Troy and Kyle Rayner were also seated, as well as a few people Dick vaguely recognised. Slowly, his gaze travelled to the figure seated at the head of the table.
"Kaldur." He greeted.
The Atlantean glared at him as Dick took his assigned seat.
"Arsenal. Nightwing." The leader greeted. "Now that you have arrived, we can begin."
Kaldur cleared his throat.
"I welcome you all today." He said, rising from his seat. "It has been many years of planning and indeed many years of danger for us all. More than one ally has fallen for our cause, more than one friend lost. But today, the wait is over. Today, I am honoured to welcome in the reign of the New Justice Lords."
A cheer erupted from the group as Kaldur fell silent. The Atlantean scanned the team, his silver eyes meeting Nightwing's masked ones.
"And may we be competent rulers, where so many before us have failed." Nightwing replied.
Everyone nodded. This was what they trained for. This was what they fought for. The first Justice Lords were gone and the team formally known as the Young Justice had survived.
Well, that's enough morbid writing for me. I was trying to show that the Young Justice team is no longer really sane. I really hope I managed to get that across. Also, and I am sure some people will mention this, I know Jason and Dick are now of the same age. I am working on the idea that there is about 4 - 5 years difference between them and Dick was pulled forward through time around 4 years.