Originally, I didn't know what to write for this chapter. I wanted it to be something awesome because ″Meet the Team″ is coming back after such a long hiatus, and I knew the chapter I left you guys with was really, really crappy. I hope people are still interested in this story anyways... But, besides that, I began reading through the reviews for this story and realized just how much you guys missed Jason. Ergo, you shall have Jason. Second off, a particular review caught my eye.
Hi, Batmanlover! I was happy to see your review: ″I love your story can I be in it my name is Laura″. Your message really got to me because a) I know you're new to FF ((I visited your page and saw that it's completely blank)), b) it shows how much you love the story, even with such few words, and c) I saw that I was the only thing on your page. No favorited stories or anything written, just one favorite author: Scotty1609. Lil' old me! I felt so blessed to have impacted somebody, even if in such a small way.
So, Batmanlover, this chapter is dedicated to you! (Keep your eye open for a surprise!)
I do not own Young Justice. :*(
The nighttime air of Gotham was sticky with the growing humidity of spring. The night sky was littered with stars and a full moon, offering enough light, along with that of the flickering lampposts all around the streets, to make your way around.
A tall figured kicked up a stone in the park, smirking as a worm appeared from beneath it. He squished the worm with the boot of his armored toe before walking towards the sidewalk, making his way towards the center of town.
Towards Wayne Manor.
He was tall and rugged, thick-necked and thick-skinned. His sky blue eyes were foggy and hardened from all he had seen and done. His hair, a bright scarlet, had a thick streak of white in it, and grew down to his shoulder blades, curling around his ears. The young man wore a black shirt with a red bat logo on the chest under a tan leather jacket. Combat boots and tight black pants were weighted down with numerous guns, ammo, and knives. Under his arm was a helmet, bright red and shiny, with no facial features but two white lenses for the eyes.
Jason Todd groaned and rolled his head around on his neck, bones creaking and muscles popping. He was tired, but not just physically. Mentally, too. After all, it had been nearly two months since he had been in Gotham, and now here he was- ready to face his littlest brother once more.
Jason had been thinking and thinking and thinking about who he would face. He knew he had to face one of them. Even though Jason Todd was a badass assassin-slash-vigilante and an amazing gun-for-hire (very picky hire, mind you), he was still human. He still felt a pang in his chest every time 'Bruce Wayne' was announced on the news on his run-down apartment's TV. His heart lurched whenever he saw Barbara Gordon-Wayne's and Roy Harper-Queen's engagement announced in the papers. His stomach dropped when he heard about the most recent kidnapping attempt on Dick Grayson, stopped only when Batman showed up at the last possible moment.
Jason lit a cigarette, taking in a long swig to calm himself. He decided to come back so that he wouldn't go insane- so that he could hold onto what little reality he had left of his ex-family. He had left in an angered rush. No, no, he wasn't regretting his choice- he just regretted not saying goodbye.
So, now, Jason Todd was making his way back to Wayne Manor in order to sneak in and see his baby brother. He had decided that Dick would be the easiest to say 'hi' to. The boy was emotion, overemotional at times, and would be enthralled to see his oldest brother again, despite the man's... unusual new choice of job. He hoped.
Jason's eyes flashed towards a bright light in the cloudy sky, and he chuckled, tapping his cigarette butt and dropping ash on the ground, as he looked at the Batsignal in the sky. ″Really, B? Kinda cliched to still be in use... Huh...″ Jason thought back, frowning. The last time someone used the Batsignal was... ″Back when Commissioner Gordon was alive...″ Jason grunted. His eyes narrowed as he thought back to the old, abandoned light. It shouldn't even be in use anymore. The police station had moved halfway across the city, for God's sake!
Pulling his helmet on, Jason darted towards the old police station to investigate.
It was the small thud that echoed over to rooftop to let him know someone was there. Now, he just hoped it was who he wanted it to be and not Batman.
He had seen Jason roaming Gotham Memorial Park almost an hour before and, after contemplating whether or not to tell anyone, had confided in Sparrow. The girl was uneasy about seeing her oldest brother again, but agreed to help her little brother talk to him.
Now, Robin hid behind the broken Batsignal, started only by his amazing mechanic skills (learned from Jason), as he heard heavy footsteps walk towards him. Sparrow was supposed to be keeping Batman busy on the other side of Gotham, but you could never know-
″Kid? What the Hell?″
It took Robin only a moment to bolt out from behind the Batsignal and hug-attack his brother. Jason stumbled back, laughing under his breath as he tried to grasp his balance, and hugged the boy back. ″What up, Kid?″
″Why are you calling me- What is that?″
Jason smirked as Robin looked up at his helmet. ″This, Kid, is my new face. Like it?″
Robin frowned slightly, and Jason scowled. ″Well, well, no need to jump with joy.″
″Hey! I'm just... trying to get used to it. Not seeing your lips moving when you talk is kind of disturbing, believe it or not.″
Jason chuckled, and Robin grinned. After a moment, though, the boy's smile dimmed exponentially. ″W-What is that, Jason?″ he asked softly, brokenly. A black gloved hand shakily pointed to Jason's hip, and the man swore. Robin's mask lenses were wide, showing how his eyes were open with shock, as he stared at the handgun on his brother's hip.
″Never seen a gun before, Kid?″
″Stop calling me kid- and you know we don't use guns!″
Jason snorted, drawing the weapon and inspecting it lightly. ″Don't like 'Kid', huh? How about 'Birdie'?″
″It's a gun, Birdie. For shooting things.″
Robin shifted from one foot to another. ″For shooting... people?″
Jason's eyes watched his baby brother as the skinny thirteen-year-old squirmed. His hands twitched towards his belt on instinct at seeing the gun, but his toes played with each other as he tried to remind himself that this was his brother. Jason would never hurt him... Just like how Bruce would never hit me?..
Jason beckoned to his brother, showing the boy the gun. ″Look,″ he said encouragingly, pointing to a small lever on the side of the gun, ″safety's on, alright? No shooting anybody. Not right now.″
″Not right now? So you do shoot people!″
Jason flinched at the boy's tone. It wasn't accusatory, but shocked. Shocked and... scared.
″I only shoot the bad people, Birdie. Mob bosses, murderers, pedos and rapists, bastards like that.″
This time the tone was accusatory. Jason snorted, a hand on his hip. ″Oh, please, Birdie. Don't tell me you've never heard the word 'bastard' before-″
″Yeah, but... Not from you.″
Jason tensed at this, looking away from his baby brother. He felt oddly... ashamed. ″Yeah, well, there are a lot of things I've been doing lately that you wouldn't expect.″
The hard glare from the Boy Wonder was enough to make anyone cringe, much less his own brother. ″Dickie-″
″Don't call me that.″
The coldness in the boy's tone surprised Jason. He even took a step back. ″Birdie-″
″Jason, why are you here?″
Jason snorted, crossing his arms over his chest as he stepped back up. ″Hey, you were the one who was just hugging the shit outta me-″
Robin groaned, putting his face in his hands. ″Why are you like this? What made you change-″
″You know very well what, Birdie.″
Robin snarled at his brother. ″A girl-″
″This has nothing to do with Coraline-″
″This has everything to do with Coraline! You were pissed that she betrayed you and took it out on Bruce, and both of you in turn took it out on us, on me.″
Jason let out a breath, as if the air had been punched from his gut. ″Birdie...″ he spoke darkly. ″That... was a low blow.″
″Not low enough.″
Jason growled, about to snap back, when a scream cut through the air. Robin's head snapped towards the right, facing a few alleys down. The bird turned to his wayward brother, grabbing his grappling gun. ″I've got a job to do.″
Jason grabbed his arm. ″We've got a job to do.″
″You care about Gotham now? Why?″
The real message was clear: You care about me now? Why?
″Maybe I'm homesick.″
I missed you.
Robin shook his head, scoffing. ″Whatever.″
Go %$ # yourself.
Jason snarled and grabbed a grappling gun from his hips, aiming it in the direction of the alley. ″You're still my little brother, Birdie. I'm not letting you go out by yourself when backup is an option.″
Robin said nothing, simply darting off.
Robin landed in the alleyway, his heart lurching with his stomach. Jason was back. He should be thrilled, right? He was! He was! He was just... worried. After all, seeing his brother with a gun and a startling new outlook on crime and life in general... it was all unnerving to Dick. He was worried about his brother's now-questionable sanity and internal balance. After everything... A girl and an argument with Bruce can change... well, everything? What is he thinking in there?
It didn't take long to locate the screams. A young man and his little daughter- maybe five or six- had been on their way home, it seemed, when a gunman came out and demanded cash.
″The Misfits,″ Robin growled under his breath from behind a trashcan. Jason landed next to his little brother.
Robin glanced sideways at his brother, unsure. It only took a moment before he was explaining, though. ″The Misfits, a gang of thieves and robbers. Like to use guns and explosives, when they can snatch them from weapons cartel. They showed up on the grid just about the same time you disappeared.″ Jason winced. ″They're nothing special- Spar and I can take out ten of 'em on our own in under five minutes- but they're like a Hydra. Cut down one man-″
″And three take his place?″
″More like ten.″
Jason's eyes widened behind his helmet, and he looked back at the group of men with new eyes. ″These guys could have backup and we don't even know about it.″
Robin nodded. ″Right.″
″So what's the plan?″
″Punch and kick and don't get shot.″
Robin darted off, leaving Jason sputtering curses behind him.
The Boy Wonder took down four of the men with ease, knocking them out cold. One Misfit pulled out a gun and aimed it at the father, who was curled around his daughter. There was a loud gunshot, and Robin screamed, ″NO!″
The Misfit fell, and Robin's eyes widened with surprise. His head whipped around to Jason, who was aiming his gun- straight at Robin.
Robin gasped as the bullet impacted with a man's skull right behind his shoulder. The man fell, instantly dead and eyes wide open. Robin whirled around at two more gunshots, seeing his brother standing over two more dead bodies.
″What- what the Hell?″
Robin turned to see the frightened father. He held his daughter closely to his chest. The little girl looked up at Robin and Jason from beneath choppy blonde bangs. She wore a big Canadian flag sweater and had glasses falling down her nose. Using her father's shock, she wriggled out of his hold and ran to Robin, hugging his knees. ″Thank you for saving me and Daddy!″ she cried happily. Robin thanked the lord that she didn't seem to notice- or understand- that there were four dead men in the alleyway.
Abruptly, the little girl ran over to Jason. She hugged his knees, too, burying her face in his pants. ″Thank you, Mister!″
Jason chuckled, lowering himself into a crouch. He ruffled the girl's hair. ″And what's your name?″
″Laura!″ the girl piped, her glasses falling down. She pushed them back up, opening her mouth to talk again when she was suddenly whisked away by her father. The man gazed fearfully at Jason before hissing, ″Who the Hell are you?″
Robin looked over to his brother, waiting for the answer.
Jason studied the scene: four dead bodies- dead by his hands- and a furious little brother. A giddy little girl and a terrified father. A smoking gun in his gloved hands. There was even a slight drizzle of rain starting to come down.
″I'm the Red Hood.″
The man shook his head, running off with his daughter. He gasped over his shoulder, ″You're no superhero- superheroes don't murder!″
Jason watched as the man ran off, fuming. ″THEY WERE GONNA KILL YOU AND YOUR KID, ASSHAT!″ he shouted at the man.
Jason's eyes flickered over to Robin, or at least where Robin had once been standing. Now, there was only empty space.
Jason's heart dropped.
Dick refused to tell Blaine what happened that night. She didn't know why, but she accepted it with the simple fact that her oldest brother was healthy and- supposedly- happy. Dick sat in his bathroom, eyes full of tears as he glared at the hand-held mirror sitting between his feet. He sat on the cold tile, his legs out in front of him and bent, his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands. He blinked, a single tear dropping down his face even as he willed it to stop.
The boy's throat gave an odd noise that combined a whimper and a snarl. Thoughts ran through his head at a rapid speed. Red Hood? Red Hood, really? After the Joker? Just to get at Bruce! Jason, you jerk! You left us- you left me... You left me. Why do you hate me, why? I bet you only felt obligated to come back. You didn't want to. You didn't even want to save me from that Misfit, did you? You wish he had killed me- slit my throat or shot my head! Dick couldn't think of any real reasons Jason would want his baby brother dead, but it made sense to his overwhelmed and anguished mind. Dick curled into himself, his whole body shivering and heaving as he wept. His brother hated him. Why? Why did everyone hate him?
Blaine was spending more time with Kaldur and less with him- he was losing his twin. Terry was always looking at college pamphlets or spending time hacking something for the League. Barbara was busy with Roy and preparations for the wedding. Wally was always with Artemis, leaving him out of the picture. Connor and M'gann- not even an option. Bruce was... Bruce. Even Alfred had been busier recently, constantly helping Barbara or Terry or Bruce with whatever they needed. Dick couldn't think of the last time he had come home to a warm plate of chocolate chip cookies.
With an anguished cry, Dick threw the mirror across the bathroom. It shattered in the small room, chunks of glass bouncing back towards the teenager. He swore as sharp pains went through his ankles and feet at the small scratches left by the glass.
Baby blue eyes watched as a slow trickle of blood left a particularly deep scratch on his right ankle. With a wicked fascination, Dick watched the blood flow until it hit the floor. Almost on autopilot, the boy picked up a piece of the broken mirror, watching it in his hand. His heart was leaping into his throat, his head pulsating as his brain banged against his skull.
Slowly, shakily, Dick placed the shard of glass along his forearm. He hissed at the first shallow slice, watching as blood pooled at the white, torn-up skin. It gathered, but didn't flow. He hadn't cut deep enough. Dick blinked harshly before moving to a different spot on his forearm, this time digging the glass further into his arm. A shallow breath left his lips as he pulled the glass down and out, creating a deep and thick line that easily gathered blood and dripped onto the floor.
The pain was terrible, but what was even worse was that he had done this to himself, by himself, of his own accord.
Jason screamed in anger as he lashed out at the punching bag. Punching, kicking, hitting, thrashing- he went at it like crazy, letting his anger flow through his limbs. His neighbors protested loudly, but Jason ignored them. He had Led Zepplin blaring, beer bottles (only recently emptied) all around his feet. He snarled, raising a bottle and hitting it against the wall, breaking it in half. Taking the sharp shard of a top, he stabbed the punching bag.
Again and again and again, viciously and wildly, like a psychopathic maniac, Jason stabbed the bag. Over and over and over, Jason roared with anger and let sand filter out through the enormous holes in the leather sack.
With one loud, final roar, Jason tore the bag off its perch and lodged the beer bottle neck in it. Breathing heavily, covered in gleaming sweat, dark eyes lifted up to look over his brow at an old, drawn poster of the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder.
Jason tore it off the wall, grabbing his gun and firing into the wall.
When he was done, the bullet holes spelled two words:
***The next chapter is a MISSION chapter... BUT I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THE MISSION SHOULD BE! PLEEEEEEEEASE TELL MEEEEEEEE!