... I think this is the longest chapter i have written in my life.

L.L.A.P

~Laces

Chpt.17

Indira wanted Bruce to like her, but was too afraid to talk to the man. She had only seen him on several occasions. Once when she had dinner at Jason's house, and another time when he picked Jason up from Indira's house. Plus there was the countless times she saw the man on television.

Jason had always told Indira that what Bruce said and thought didn't matter. However, Jason didn't understand how much family meant to Indira, so she would always wish the Bruce at least approve of her relationship with Jason. Every time she saw Bruce, she got the feeling that he saw her as a distraction or liability for Jason. Sure, the man would smile at her and give her compliments, but she still got the feeling he didn't like her too much. The smile he'd give her just never reached his eyes like he meant it.

"Don't worry about what Bruce thinks, Indi." Jason said as he kissed her on the forehead. "He's just paranoid and stupid, like most spoiled rotten trust fund babies."

Indira tried to let it go, and she pushed the thought to the back of her mind. She hadn't seen Bruce personally in a while anyway, so maybe he thought different of her since her and Jason were still dating.

At least, it was a nice thought.

Indira walked home from school, her backpack heavy on her shoulder from all her text book she lugged around.

She hated school. She hated the test and the people who looked down on her. She was looked down on a lot. She had been put into the lower levels of classes because she couldn't comprehend things very quick. She couldn't handle fast paced math courses, and English was difficult to her. At times she would completely forget the language and the page in front of her looked like a bunch of gibberish. She was decent in History, but again, that had her doing some reading which would hurt her head after a while as she tried to understand it.

She struggled, but maintained a strong B average. It was difficult with her having to also raise Ramon and take care of the house while studying, but she managed.

If she had more time, she would be doing more chorus things. She liked singing and it made sense to her. But with her schedule she couldn't do much singing after school.

The teachers looked at her like she was stupid, along with the students. And even the students in the same classes as she was looked at her as if she was one big joke.

Indira often tried to save the money her parents bought her, so clothing wise she didn't have much extravagant or things that were in fashion which made her the butt of fashion jokes.

There were only a handful of students who liked her, but they were either smoking in the bathroom or skipping school. Indira felt very lonely at school, but every minutes that went by made Indira excited to get home. The clocks on the walls were what brought her hope.

"Hey sweetie." Indira didn't respond to the voice. It wasn't one she immediately recognized and she didn't respond to sweetie.

There was a loud honk from a car horn making her jump.

"I'm talkin' to you!" Indira looked over to see one of the cocky boys from school in his nice red sports car that pulled to the side of the curve next to her.

"I wouldn't know. My name isn't sweetie." Indira retorted.

"Aw, don't be like that. I was wonderin' if you wanted a ride and we could go for a bite to eat." He smiled at her.

"No thanks." Indira started to walk again, but she could hear the car door close, making her turn around.

"C'mon sweetie. I recognize you from school. You don't seem to do much at school, you could use a bit of a social life, right?" Indira glared at the boy.

"I'm doing just fine. Thank you for your concern." She informed bitterly. He grabbed her shoulder roughly.

"Listen-"

"No you listen." Indira didn't move but her voice was deadly. "I'm not interested. And if you don't release my shoulder, I'm going to break your arm." The guy looked at her in shock, but removed his hand.

Indira walked away, not saying a word. However, she heard a voice exclaim from behind her,

"That was a threat!"

"Of course it was!" Indira shouted from over her shoulder as she rolled her eyes.

"I have friends! Strong friends!"

"Good for you!" she shouted back.

Indira could care less if she had just managed to piss off a very popular boy. She could care less about school altogether.

~*~*~*~*~*~The Next Day~*~*~*~*~*~

Indira didn't see it coming. The first strike was cheap. She was walking back home from school when she felt a harsh kick to the back of her kneecap, making her fall.

"Dios." She grunted.

"I told you I have friends." She recognized the voice as the guy from the day before. He was surrounded by several brawny guys who were his friends.

"Well, that's great for you." Indira informed as she stood back to her feet. One of the guys pushed her off the main sidewalk and into an ally.

Indira dropped her backpack as she backed away from the group.

"So, what? I don't tell you what you want to hear and you get all pissy?" Indira questioned, crossing her arms.

"You spoke to me with disrespect." The guy stated. "And nobody does that." Indira rolled her eyes at the response.

"You don't deserve my respect, now beat it." she grunted.

"Mess her up, guys. Show her why she should respect me." he stated, and the teens ran at her. She flipped the first guy and she easily blocked the punch of the second.

These guys were so untrained at fighting that Indira felt like the fight was too easy. However, she felt a sharp prick run up her side.

Pocket knife. Indira thought as she winced in pain. She kicked the guy in the face, but another slice ran up her back.

Do they all have knives? Indira thought as she punched the other boy in the face and elbowed another that was coming up from behind her.

However, she was losing a lot of blood from both the places she was cut. Her reflexes slowed and she was kneed in the stomach. She dropped to the ground where the teens kicked at her body.

I can't call for any of the gang. I'm on my own. She thought as she continued to try to fight back, but to no avail.

"Shit, someone's comin'!" one of the guys exclaimed, and the group left her beaten and bloody on the ground.

Their lesson was completed anyhow. They wanted to teach Indira that she needed to respect their leader. However, they didn't succeed in the least. If anything, Indira had more disrespect toward them.

Someone's coming. I need to get up. I need to go home. She thought, but was too weak to stand to her feet. She tried to lift herself up, but her arms gave out. She meant to drag herself to the wall of the ally and use it to help her up, but it was too late. She was already spotted.

"Indira?" she froze at the voice.

No… no it's not him. she thought, but looked up to see the face of Bruce Wayne. She stared at him for a moment.

"Don't…" Dios, my voice hurts. She thought sourly. "Don't tell Jason."

Bruce didn't say anything. He reached out his hand, offering it to Indira, and she took it as he helped her to her feet.

"Thank you, Mr. Wayne." Indira said in a quiet voice, looking down at her feet.

"What happened?" he questioned.

"It doesn't matter." She whispered as she limped over to her backpack. He wouldn't understand. What's he doing in an ally way anyhow? She thought.

Bruce was quickly at her side and lifted up her backpack.

"Of course it matters. You're hurt." Bruce stated.

"Mr. Wayne, I don't want to waste your time." Indira stated, but Bruce shook his head.

"Nonsense. You can come back to my house, and I'll have Alfred bandage you up." He informed.

Indira wanted to decline from his offer, but Ramon was staying over at a friend's house and Josh could care less when she got home.

"I don't-"

"Indira, you are hurt. Please, let me help you." Bruce said in a gentler voice.

"Thank you, Mr. Wayne." Indira whispered.

"Head to the limo, it's on the curve. Just give me a moment." He informed.

As Indira started to walk out of the ally she couldn't help but look behind her to see what Bruce was doing.

He was bent down, laying two red roses on the ground. Indira knew what that meant. She used to lay a rose at a playground where one of her friends was shot.

Indira continued to limp toward the limo, and Bruce was quickly at her side. He helped her into the limo.

"Hello Alfred." Indira gave a shy wave to the driver.

"Hello, Miss Indira." Alfred nodded, then looked over at Bruce.

"We're taking her back to the Manor, Alfred." Bruce informed, and the limo was off.

"Was it those boys who I saw running out of the ally?" Bruce inquired. Indira quickly shook her head.

"It's alright, Mr. Wayne. They didn't know what they were doing." She informed.

"It looks like they knew exactly what they were doing." Bruce informed, eyeing the blood that was dripping onto the car seat. Indira looked at the car seat and her eyes widened.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Wayne. I didn't mean to mess up your seat…"

"Indira, I don't care about the seat." Bruce stated. "Why did those boys attack you?" Indira sighed heavily, nervous speaking to the man.

"I ticked the leader off. He wanted me to get in his car for a bite to eat yesterday. I told him I wasn't interested. He then grabbed my shoulder and I threatened to break his arm. I guess that wasn't a smart move." Indira gave a weak smile, but Bruce didn't respond. The car fell to quiet.

"Jason speaks very highly of you." Bruce informed, breaking the silence.

"Wh-what?" Indira questioned. She wasn't paying attention when Bruce spoke. She was too busy trying to not have a panic attack.

"I said that Jason speaks very highly of you." Bruce repeated. "He always talks about how strong you are."

"I'm not weak Mr. Wayne. I'm sorry that I got beat up, but I'm not weak." Indira stated firmly.

"I wasn't questioning your strength, Indira. I was just saying what Jason says." Bruce said innocently.

"I'm sorry." She whispered, looking down at her lap.

"Indira, I know that you're a strong person, but I don't want you to getting into fights that you can avoid."

"But I couldn't-"

"Jason cares for you. You're his world, and I don't want you getting hurt."

"I don't want to get hurt, Mr. Wayne. It just happens. I'm a magnet for trouble." She informed in a low voice. "I never want to worry Jason, and I have to support Ramon."

"Ramon is your younger brother, right?"

"Yes."

Bruce raised an eyebrow.

"And your parents don't stop by to even raise him?"

"Of course not." Indira laughed, but the laugh held some pain. "The bastard child has to be of some sort of use." She added in a small mumble.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing." Indira whispered, but Bruce had heard what she had said. Bruce knew some facts about the girl, but he hardly knew her at all. He knew she used to be in a gang in Puerto Rico. He knew that her parents were never around much. He knew that Jason loved her. He knew she had a brother named Ramon. He knew that a boy named Josh also lived in the house.

However, he hardly knew what type of person she was. But calling herself a bastard child showed that there was some obvious tension in the family. Perhaps she really was one, but that shouldn't matter. At least, Bruce thought that being one shouldn't matter.

"Is it considered bad in your family?"

"What do you mean?"

"Being a bastard child… Is that considered bad?"

"According to my father, yes. It is very bad. Y'know, holding the shame of being the child born out of wedlock. Obviously it's all my fault that I was born and they weren't married." Indira's tone was bitter as she spoke. However the tension in her shoulders released and she sighed.

"I'm sorry. Forget I said that." She didn't want to seem that bad in front of Bruce Wayne, but she was beaten head to toe and talking about how she was a bastard child.

Bruce must think I'm some mistake. She thought to herself. However, Bruce looked at her with concern and…

Is that respect?

"It doesn't matter when you were born." Bruce stated. "Whether it was before or after your parents were married doesn't matter at all. What matters is that you were born. And there are people who are happy you were." He informed, giving her a small sincere smile.

"Thank you, Mr. Wayne." Indira grinned.

The limo reached the house and Alfred opened the door as Bruce helped the girl out of the car.

"How deep did they cut you." Bruce inquired and Indira shrugged.

They entered the house, and Alfred quickly took her to the bathroom where he kept a medical kit.

While Alfred was bandaging her, Bruce was downstairs in the living room, where Jason was doing his homework.

"Hey Bruce." Jason said with a small smile. "You don't know how shocked I was to get home and find this place completely empty. I mean, I thought it was actually kinda creepy-"

"Indira's upstairs in the bathroom." Bruce stated, and Jason's eyes widened.

"What happened? Is she okay?" Jason questioned, immediately standing to her feet.

"Calm down, Jason. Some boys from her school that she angered decided to attack her. I found her in an ally, but she was still trying to stand up. She has a lot of will." Bruce informed and Jason's eyes narrowed.

"Do you know their names?"

"Jason, don't go looking for them."

"And why the hell not, Bruce?"

"Because you can't go around beating up people you don't like."

"They hurt her, Bruce! I'm not just going to sit by and do nothing!"

"It's fine." Bruce and Jason looked over at the voice to see Indira. She was bandaged up and limping into the room with Alfred behind her.

"Indira." Jason whispered, his eyes wide at the site of her battered body. He ran up to her and tenderly grasped her hands.

"Who hurt you? Who were the guys?" Indira shook her head.

"Jason, they were just a bunch of idiots. They weren't gangsters or criminals, they were just guys who I managed to piss off at school." She informed calmly.

Jason didn't know much that went on in Indira's school. He knew that she hated it there, and that she struggled. Jason would often help her study, but Indira never spoke about how people treated her at school.

"That doesn't give them any right to hurt you. Especially like this." Jason stated as he gently ran his hands over her bandaging.

Jason had hoped that Bruce would be gone by then to give them some alone time, but Bruce stayed put, watching the interaction.

Jason tried to block Bruce out of his mind, and focused on Indira. Something seemed off about her.

"Indi…" Jason whispered. "How long has it been since you took your medication?" she looked down at her feet.

"I forgot to take it yesterday and the day before… and today." She informed in a guilty voice.

"So three days?" Indira nodded, and Jason sighed.

"You have to remember to take your medicine, Indi." He kissed her on the cheek, then turned to Bruce.

"I'm going to run over to her house and pick up her medication." Jason informed, and was off before Bruce could say anything else.

Bruce turned to look at Indira to see she was staring at the ground.

"What does he mean by medication?" Bruce inquired. Indira didn't look up at him.

"My depression medication." She whispered.

Depression? Bruce was shocked at this new information. He would never have thought that Indira would be depressed. Jason always talked about her and depressed wasn't a word that he would use to describe her.

Bruce walked over to Indira, but she still looked at the ground.

"Indira, do you want some tea? Alfred can…" he trailed off as he noticed Indira wipe her face with her sleeve.

"Indira, are you cry-"

"No." she stated sharply. "I'm not crying." She was still looking at the ground.

Bruce placed a hand on her shoulder.

"It's okay." He said in a softer tone. Indira looked up at him, her eyes puffy and red.

"I didn't mean for this to happen. I didn't mean to get beaten up, I didn't mean to get blood in your fancy car, I didn't mean to have Alfred fix my wounds, I didn't mean to worry Jason, I didn't mean to forget my pill, I don't mean to cry because crying solves nothing, I didn't mean to cause any of this trouble for you…"

"This is not trouble for me." Bruce stated firmly. Indira didn't say anything, she only looked at the man in shock.

Bruce gently pulled Indira to one of the chairs in the kitchen and had her sit. He then sat across from her.

"Besides your medicine, is there anything else that helps with your depression?" Bruce questioned.

Indira shifted in the seat slightly.

Well, when I'm feeling down I love it when Jason kisses me and takes me to walk around in the park. But I always love when he does that… and I can't tell Bruce that!

"I like listening to music and going on walks." She informed. "I also like being around Jason, but I always like being around Jason." She said with a sheepish smile.

"What kind of music do you like?" Bruce questioned, and Indira was taken back a moment, not expecting to hear that question.

"I… uh… well, lots of random things. I like Celtic women. I'm not a bit Irish at all, but I like the music. I like some show tunes, like from Newsies, or Aida. I like Disney Music. I like Linkin Park, and Sarah Bareilles. Lie I said, just random things." She explained.

Bruce nodded, and Jason ran into the house with the pills in hand.

"Got them, Indi." He smiled as he handed her the pill. He knew that the moment she swallowed it, she wasn't going to immediately feel better, so he planned to take her on a walk.

Indira smiled at the offer and accepted it. Going on a walk with Jason was always great.

"Thank you, Mr. Wayne." Indira smiled at the man, and he grinned back.

"Not a problem Indira."

~*~*~*~*~The Next Day~*~*~*~*~

Indira came with a pocket knife to school the next day, and sassed the boys in the hallway when they tried to mock her.

When she left the building, Jason was waiting for her to walk her home.

"Jason, you don't have to…"

"I want to." Jason smiled, and they held hands walking home.

"Hey sweetheart!" the group of boys from the day before were behind her and Jason. Jason glared at the group of boys.

"Were you the ones who hurt her?" he questioned, his voice gruff.

"Maybe we did, maybe we didn't." shrugged the leader. Indira pulled out her pocket knife, but continued to hold Jason's hand.

"I don't want to deal with shit from you. Now beat it." she growled.

"What's a small pocket knife like that supposed to do? Scare us?"

"I dunno. I could cut out your eyeball. Done it before. Trust me, it's not a pretty outcome. Such a shame, all that blood." He voice got high, and slightly crazed, making the boys back up.

"You didn't…"

"of course I did. My buddies held him down and I carved into this guy's eye. He pissed me off, so I didn't care much. He screamed though. He screamed a lot as I pushed the blade in. It was such a lovely sound."

The boys backed up, and ran off.

Indira chuckled and put the knife back into her pocket while Jason stared at her wide eyed.

"Did you really do that?"

"Of course not." Indira laughed. "But, I figured they'd leave me alone if they thought I was mentally unstable." Jason couldn't help but laugh at that, and kiss Indira briefly.

When they reached Indira's house, there was a small package on the door.

"What's this?" Indira questioned as she picked up the package.

To: Indira

From: Bruce Wayne

Was written onto the package.

Indira opened it to see several cases of CDs.

"Did you and Bruce talk about music choices when I was out?" Jason inquired.

"I… I guess." Indira whispered. She smiled slightly, grateful for the gift. Maybe Bruce liked her after all.