Final chapter. I have to say, its been great fun sharing this with all of you. To everyone who has followed this story, thank you. You have no idea how much you inspire and influence the plot. What started out as a small ficlet, would never have become this without you all.
I was thinking of trying to make a cover page for this story (from what I understand, that is going to be the new thing here) but since I have no skills when it comes to art, I don't think that will be happening.
Oh, and since everyone has been begging for a sequel, I thought I would just let you know, I may be back in this universe some time. I have an urge to write about Dick introducing Tim to Jason. Don't know why, I just do. If anyone else has ideas for stories, I would love to hear them. Can't promise that I would use them, but I would love to get some ideas. Anyway, on with the last chapter.
Three weeks had gone by, three weeks since Batman had brought his boys home. Dick's injuries had been extensive, several cracked ribs and serious head trauma. Bruises littered the teen's body and face in a black and green map of flesh and several cuts had required stiches. Needless to say, Bruce couldn't send the boy to school in his condition and had been forced to pull out one of his prepared excuses to explain Dick's absence from Gotham Academy. This time it was a getting thrown by a horse. It wasn't the most original excuse he had ever had to come up with (That still belonged to the time he had told the principle that Jason's concussion was the result of him dropping one of Alfred's metal mixing bowls on his head during a prank gone wrong. Alfred had not been pleased with that one) but who was really going to judge him? Bruce was a valued contributor to academy's funding and no one had yet been able to pin any evident of child abuse on him.
Jason's injuries on the other hand, had been less serious. A dislocated knee cap and bruising around the head and shoulders. And well….the teen had been quiet. Possibly quieter then Bruce had ever seen him, not saying a single word as the Dark Knight herded both of his boys onto the javelin, holding his delirious little brother against his chest. The trip from Taipei to Gotham had also been quiet, Bruce musing on the actions the boys had taken while Jason muttered softly to Dick, keeping the boy awake.
Arriving back in Gotham, Bruce had handed his boys over to Alfred who had done what he did best, give Bruce a disappointed look and attend to both the boys.
Bruce had immediately left the older man to his work, getting on the comm to check the situation back in Taipei.
Clark had taken charge of the clean-up, alerting the proper authorities and handing over the captured Shadows for interrogation while the media swarmed over the site, looking for a story.
Black Canary had on the other hand, had taken control of The Young Justice, checking their injuries and giving them all a stern and very public lecture before herding them, along with the young alien Starfire and Red Arrow (who complained loudly) onto the Bio-ship.
The teenagers had been sent back to Mount Justice where their individual mentors would either take care of, or discipline them accordingly. (Ollie had already sent Bruce a message informing him that Dick owed Roy a new ipod. Bruce hadn't yet figured out what the hell that meant.)
After a brief talk with the other Leaguers, Bruce had received all the information he could and was starting to fit the pieces together, to try and understand what the Shadows had been doing. Jason's team hadn't just stumbled on something in Taipei by accident; they had been the target of the Shadows.
Bruce made a mental note to visit the prison and talk with the captured assassins. He wanted to know why they had attacked. What was their end game? What had Ra's Al Ghul been planning by attacking the Outlaws? Of course, Bruce knew the Shadows would be silent but the Dark Knight was persistent. He would find out in the end.
Three days later, Alfred had pulled Bruce from his work to inform him that Jason had disappeared, leaving nothing but a note behind. Dick had been upset but Bruce hadn't been surprised. He did however, wish that the teenager had at least said goodbye to his younger brother. But Jason hadn't done anything bad recently and Bruce knew that he would be doing more harm than good if he tried to force the teen back. The Detective did however; go down to the evidence vault and pull out the brown package, the dictionary Jason had left for Dick after their first meeting and visited Dick in his room, giving the package to his youngest.
The two had talked for hours, starting with the reason why Dick had felt he couldn't come to Bruce about his problems and spiralling off into nothing as the two talked about whatever came to mind. The two had smiled and laughed until Dick had finally fallen asleep. Bruce had smiled down at the boy and decided that for the next few days, Gotham was taking care of herself. Bruce Wayne was staying at home and taking care of his son.
He had told Dick this when the boy had woken up from his doze and asked him why he was still home. Dick had smiled softly at his adopted fathers answer. It seemed to ease the young bird's pain a bit and Bruce knew he had made the right choice.
And now, three weeks later, Dick was in the cave, dressed in his repaired uniform and ready once again become Robin, the Boy Wonder. It would be the first Young Justice meeting the young hero would attend since Taipei, not including the afternoon the boy had spent at Mount Justice with the rest of the team, discussing everything that had happened under the watchful eyes of Black Canary. The rest of the team had been apologetic, well aware of the part they had played in driving their youngest member away and determined to see everything returned to normal. Kid Flash has seemed to be the worst but a few small jokes from Robin had softened the atmosphere, the team realising that their Boy Wonder didn't blame them.
It would be difficult. There was going to be weeks, if not months of counselling but the team would look after each other in the end.
Pulling his jacket closer against his body, Jason carefully balanced his pack against his back, his boots sliding against the slippery rocks as he trudged uphill. The wind was cold, stinging every piece of exposed skin as the young man made his way through the rocky terrain and towards his final destination. Jason welcomed the pain. The bite of the cold, the rubbing of his boots, the phantom pain in his knee. The pain was the only thing distracting him from his guilt at once again leaving his little brother and friends
Jason had almost felt like a criminal as he left Gotham. He hadn't been able to stomach another goodbye, instead stealing away into the night, leaving only a note to Bruce to explain. Maybe Dick would be angry, maybe he would decide to never talk to Jason again. In a way, Jason hoped Dick would be angry, would ostracize him for leaving. Maybe the kid would finally accept the truth.
That Jason was dangerous. Too dangerous it seemed, for even a team. He had almost gotten his brother killed. He had almost gotten Roy and Kori, his friends killed.
Thankfully they seemed to be better for parting from him, Roy going back to his solo hero work as Red Arrow while Kori had been given refugee states and had decided to explore the earth on the Justice Leagues suggestion. Both would be ok, as long as they avoided trouble. And avoided him.
And Jason….Jason was going back to the All Caste. Back to Ducra and her teaching. Maybe in a year or so he would once again venture out into the world as the Red Hood. Once again deliver his own personal brand of justice.
But for now he would wait and learn.
The screens formed a perfect arch, surrounding the figure before them. Each screen was alight, too bright to see anything other than the shadow of a watching figure.
"You promised us a new agent Al Ghul. A hero turned towards the light." A male voice said, breaking through the silence. "Instead you give us this….media circus!"
Standing before the screens, Ra's Al Ghul gave a small smile.
"But I have delivered, as promised." He replied.
There was a pause.
"How so?" This voice asked, clearly curious.
"The Detective's oldest, the Red Hood, is on his way to meet with his teacher Ducra. Little does he know, Ducra and the All Caste are my agents. I directed him to her keep long ago, trusting her to train him in ways worthy of the Light. This incident has made him question his abilities and in his foolishness, he has retreated to his teacher, unaware that with every step, he binds himself tighter to us. Soon, he will belong to the Light completely."
The room fell silent again.
"I have been reviewing your reports and I admit, it is an ingenious plan." A female voice said finally. "But as you have demonstrated, the Detective's protégé seems to hold sway over the Red Hood. This could become a problem."
"It may be, but then again, heroes die so easily these days. And with our own agent on the inside, it shouldn't be difficult to eliminate the child should the need arise. We have made our move. Let us see how the heroes react and plan accordingly."
Ra's Al Ghul smiled to himself, clearly enjoying a joke only he could see.
"After all, sooner or later, everyone sees the Light."
And that's it. Shows over. Yes, I did leave it open. All the episodes do it so I think I can too. Just means if I do write a sequel, I have somewhere to go.