One could say... I'm sort of addicted to Red Hood and the Outlaws. Thus, I wrote this while bored. I hope you enjoy this! I'm not sure if I love it or hate it yet...
I do not own Jason, Roy, or Kori. Or anyone else who are mentioned in this story. Well, except for any of the kids. They I made up. As well as Olivia... Oh, forget it, I don't own anything DC does.
Jason Todd was not amused.
Harper apparently thought that if they were ever going to be accepted as heroes, or even anti-heroes, by society, they had to do public services. Jason, in his time as a crime fighter, either with the Bat or otherwise, had never felt the need to volunteer for anything. When he was younger it was because Bats just did not do such things, and now It just kind of ruined the dark image he was going for.
However, Roy was very consistent with his begging for this to be done. To avoid going insane from too much time with Roy saying "please" every five seconds, Jason allowed the idiot to sign them up for some sort of project.
Thus, he found himself in some small city near Metropolis, at an.. orphanage.
Needless to say, he was not looking forward to this.
Currently, they were speaking with the oddly young and pretty woman who ran the orphanage. She had crystal blue eyes and long, straight black hair. She didn't more than a couple years older than Jason, when the normal age for this type of place was somewhere in the 50s.
"So, you three are superheroes?"
As she asked this, the woman was eying Kori's outfit warily. The question itself made Jason nearly snort.
"Well, Star used to be a hero, though she is heading back that way, I'm sort of a recovering hero, and Hood... is sort of an... anti-hero."
The tight grin on the woman's face started to shirk slightly.
"This mean what exactly?
Now slight annoyed, Jason pulled a rifle out and cocked it, causing a gasp to come from the young woman.
"I'm willing to kill, unlike 'heroes' who just throw the same scum in jail or asylums over and over again, allowing them to continue hurting innocent people."
The woman paled suddenly.
"Well... I may tell the children you are superheros. Also... Ms. Starfire, would you please change your clothes? I don't mean to be rude, but there are some very young children..."
Mumbling underneath her breath, the princess grabbed a bag from Roy's hand that held more modest clothing that the archer had tried to convince Kori she should have been wearing to begin with. Jason had agreed with Roy, but knew it was a useless gesture, so did not aid him in convincing her. She now had to change anyway, so it was completely besides the point, and it was now only Roy that wasted time on a useless argument.
It was situations like this that made Jason glad to see he had much more logic than the archer. Admittedly, that was not a very challenging goal.
As Kori left the room to change, Jason turned back to the young woman.
"If you really feel the need to lie to the kids, go ahead and tell them we're superheroes. Don't go and expect us to act as such, though. I'm no Batman, and there is no way in hell I'm Superman."
An annoyed sigh left her lips, as if she could see this was going to be a very long morning. A weak glare was sent at the rifle in Jason's hand, her blue eyes sparkling in slight anger.
"Would you at least put that gun away?"
Underneath his helmet, Jason rolled his eyes while putting the rifle back in its holster.
A slight twitch developed in her left eye.
"Olivia. My name is Olivia."
A smirk formed on the lips of the anti-hero.
"Okay, Olivia, I put it away."
Olivia's twitch appeared to be getting worse as she cradled her forehead in her right hand.
"What exactly are planning to talk to them about?"
Roy shrugged, obviously not putting much thought into it. Jason had not wasted a second thinking about possible discussions because this was Roy's idea and thus his responsibility. Of course, the idiot planned nothing in advance...
" Normal stuff, I guess. Don't do drugs, stay in school, don't kill people or you'll end up a grump like Hood, that sort of thing."
A very fierce glare was soon resting on Roy.
"How to avoid being a grump like me is not very normal, Arsenal."
The red head shrugged again.
"Well, it is an important lesson. Every child should be taught how to avoid being like you."
Though Roy had meant this playfully, Jason completely agreed. Any child should be taught how to avoid anything even resembling his hell of a life.
It was then that Kori stalked back in, obviously uncomfortable. Despite the purple shirt and shirt were both cut extremely short, the princess obviously was not very fond of the metal platting scattered throughout of her outfit and the thigh-high purple boots. It was much less light than what she was used to, so one could easily see that she was not very comfortable in the outfit.
However, it was noticeably more modest, causing Olivia to sigh in relief.
"You three look ready to talk to them..."
Olivia stalked into the room where the children were. Upon following her, the trio saw the woman standing in front of a small clump of children, maybe 20 kids overall, ranging from about 4 to 17 years old. She had started speaking when they came within earshot of her.
"Today, we have three... two heroes and one anti-hero here to talk to you. Please be polite to our guests."
A teenage boy with long brown hair that covered his deep green eyes rolled said eyes in annoyance.
Olivia sent a warning glare at the boy. When he looked away, she stepped to the side in order to allow the children see the three fully.
Upon seeing the kids up close, Jason regretted allowing Roy to sign them up for this. The young sitting in front of him all looked hurt, broken, just completely... lost.
Exactly how he had when he was a young child. He already had trouble talking in front of people, but with these scarred children... Jason wasn't sure he could get a single word out. It brought back too many painful memories, of before Bruce found him, when he was Robin, when he found he had been... replaced...
He had literally no idea how he was going to muster a single word. Damn Roy and his dumb ideas about establishing them...
His fear was interrupted by a small hand being shot into the air. The hand belonged to small boy, couldn't be more than five years old, who was clutching a worn down Superman plushie. His raven hair just barely covered his bright blue eyes. The color was one of the brightest shades Jason had ever seen. In fact, the only brighter blue eyes he'd ever seen was Di-
Damn Roy's stupid idea that brought back unwanted memories of so called brothers...
"What's an anti-hero?"
On a normal day Jason would have answered with a bluntly truthful answer that would have mentally scarred the poor boy. However, The child was obviously already hurt. He could not bring himself to say what an anti-hero really was.
"It means I'm a little meaner than a normal hero to the villains."
Though dying down what he really did was a good idea, going that far down only brought a raised eyebrow from the teenager from earlier.
The kid was on to him. He could tell. He could tell he was lying...
Then again, it was not that hard to tell. He was literally forcing a smile on his face.
"Right. So, I'm Red Hood, the archer to my left in Arsenal, and the alien princess to my right is Starfire. We're here to talk with you kiddos, so you had better listen up."
The teen snorted suddenly, earning a glare from Jason.
"May I ask what you find so amusing?"
The kid started smirking as he moved from his position leaning against the wall into a normal standing pose.
"The fact that while the other two look old enough to have plenty of experience that might help us, you look only a few years older than me. I can tell even with that dumb helmet that you are much younger than you teammates. I really doubt you'd have much to tell us that we don't already know."
Anger started to boil up in Jason and before he even knew what he was doing, he found himself walking slightly towards the kid.
"Okay, kid. You're about 17, right?"
The boy rolled his eyes.
Jason was only a few feet away from the boy now, and his voice had a warning tone.
"Admittedly, I am not much older than you. However, since when does age show how much experience you have?"
Another eye roll occurred. This kid sure had an attitude.
"Well, naturally you learn more the longer you've been around."
This just made Jason think of his "family". All learning way too much at way too young an age. This kid was insulting him, and those he really did not want to think about, by saying that knowledge came with age. Of course, he was not upset about the insult sent at them, but he did not appreciate himself being doubted.
"I guess one could assume that, but I would have to disagree. Have you ever been sold by your own freaking mother to a complete psychopath?"
The boy's eyes widened.
Jason couldn't answer, he was too far into his rant.
"How about replaced by someone you saw as a father? Damn, have you freaking died?"
Looking around at the shocked faces of everyone in the room, including Roy and Kori, Jason realized he may have overdone it. Plus, he revealed way more about himself than he preferred to with literally anyone.
However, he had proved his point. That was the real goal here. Now the kids all knew to not mess with him.
"That's what I thought. Still think that I don't know much more than you?"
The boy slowly shook his head. The defiance from earlier had almost vanished, but it was obviously still there.
The boy actually reminded Jason a bit of himself. A bit bitter at the world, obviously thinking he's always right, completely defiant to anyone older than him... Yeah, he was totally like Jason at that age.
"What's your name, kid?"
...Well, that was really ironic.
"...It fits you."
Roy suddenly stepped in front of Jason with a tight grin, obviously afraid of another blowup.
"Heh... right.. Don't do drugs, stay in school, ummm... What are those other stereotypical things to say to kids?"
No one was really paying attention to Roy. A little girl with bright blond hair and clear blue eyes raised her hand, looking straight at Jason.
"Mr. Hood? How are you here if you died? The police said my mommy and daddy died, and they never came back..."
Jason swore underneath his breath. Why did he have to talk about... that? Now there would be questions that he really would not want to answer...
"Damn it... Stupid... I had a... special situation. Most people who die don't come back. My parents sure as hell didn't."
A few of the kids looked up at him slightly, and the little kid clutching the Superman toy brightened instantly.
"You're an orphan also?"
Though Jason didn't see why this was something to be excited about, he answered the young boy.
"Yeah. Arsenal here is also. In fact, you'd actually be surprised how many capes are orphans. Some of them it is even the thing that started their 'war on crime'."
Some of the other children started to brighten up as well. A few even genuinely smiled. The kid Jason stepped forward a bit.
"So, a lot of heroes are... like us?"
Despite himself, Jason smiled a bit at the hope in the boy's eyes. The kid really is so much like how how he used to be... Hoping that being like heroes would save his future... There was no way he could face the guilt of crushing that dream.
"Yeah. Real life proof that just because you don't have any parents, it doesn't mean you have literally no future."
The kids all looked so happy now. The thought of actually possibly having a life past the orphanage must have cheered them up.
The team spent about an hour more with the children. Jason was surrounded with kids asking random questions, Roy was showing a small cluster how to use a bow and arrows, and Kori was conversing with some of the teenage girls. Some of the conversation that Jason managed to hear over the near nonstop questions included asking how she kept her hair neat when it was so long, if she'd ever had any really good boyfriends (he did his best to not listen to the vivid description of Nightwing she gave, despite the fact she could not remember his name. How did she manage to remember everything but the name?), and if Jason was handsome underneath his helmet.
He tried really hard to not hear the answer to that question.
Overall, Jason actually... sort of enjoyed himself. He had not seen such pure.. hope in so long, that it was so surreal. In fact, these may have been the only children he'd spoken to in years that didn't have only crime fighting in their future.
Really, it was a nice change of pace. Maybe Roy's idea was not the worst ever.
As they left the orphanage to enter the ship parked in the alley next to the orphanage, Jason realized this may have actually been one of the archer's better plans.
Once seated, Roy turned to Jason.
"So, Jaybird, was that as much a waste of time as you expected?"
After removing his helmet, a deep scowl was sent at the archer, along with a glare obviously learned from his old mentor.
"First off, I warned you about calling me 'Jaybird'. Second, that was not... quite as bad as I thought."
Roy whooped in success while Kori lightheartedly rolled her eyes.
"I knew you would like it, Jayb- Jason. We should totally do that again! Who's up for Bludh-"
Just because Jason had enjoyed the experience, it did not mean that he would want to do it again anytime soon.