Number 76: The "Talk"
Bruce is conveniently away on a business trip in China when he instructs his eldest ward to teach his youngest about the birds and the bees.
Initially, it makes a lot of sense because Dick is the only one so far who's made it through college; Jason dropped out of high school and became a delinquent in every sense of the word, and with Tim's advanced brain he'll probably graduate early from high school and breeze through college. All the girls made it through post-secondary as well, and somehow also skipped town just in time for this conversation.
It's terribly ironic, giving Dick's actual name, and the strange implication that he is somehow the most dignified person to be imparting the mysteries of sexual reproduction. Even Alfred would know better but the butler was busy preparing for a grand Wayne Manor party upon Bruce's return, and it would arguably introduce little Damian Wayne to Gotham – still no word if Bruce would also somehow whip up a believable mother that wasn't a wanted terrorist.
But what's more astounding is how Damian keeps nodding his head during the entire talk, more agreeing with Dick's choice of wording than actually learning anything. As Dick goes about explaining the various parts of the reproductive system, Damian finally seems to have enough, raising his hand and shutting his eyes as if he was forty instead of ten.
"I know all of this already, Grayson, but thanks for the refresher." He rises off the seat and meanders into the kitchen. Cosmas stretches out against the top of the bar and nods.
"Me as well, very interesting subject matter." His tone is too convincingly sincere that Dick flushes.
Damian arches an eyebrow and shares a look with his twin.
Dick flounders, glancing around the room as Cassandra glides into the living tiredly. She spots Damian with a plate of cookies and instantly pulls him into her lap, resting her chin on his shoulder and opening her mouth expectantly. Damian rolls his eyes and dips one chocolate chip cookie into a tall glass of milk, he holds it out for Cassandra to take, ignoring the crumbs that fall on his shoulder.
"They're ten and they already know everything about sex, doesn't that seem strange?" Dick asks of Cassandra, flopping into an armchair, his entire life thrown for a moment.
"I knew as well," Cassandra admits. "Mother was quick to inform me in the case that I ever had to – "she stops herself, holding onto Damian tighter and shaking her head.
"In case you had to abort a child?" Cosmas asks innocently. Damian shoots him a glare; Dick mentally reminds himself to teach that child a little more about social cues.
Number 77: Playing Nicely
Nightwing gets a call from Starfire as his way home from busting gangsters in Gotham, she isn't quite hysterical but it sets him on edge as he strips out of his suit and sits in front of an open laptop. Starfire appears moments later, dropping her phone on the couch, and her big green eyes are tearful and her long red hair is in a tangled mess.
"Kor," he begins softly. "What happened today?"
Starfire sighs deeply, smoothing her hair back from her face before speaking, and its in a small, small voice.
"Damian got into a fight with Jamie today…he…nearly died."
Dick leans into his sofa with a groan, already anticipating his conversation with Jason – something along the lines of his younger brother saying "I told you so."
"Is everyone alright?"
"Yes, Raven healed him. I have spoken with Jamie and the others…your little brother is…"
"Difficult? Rude? Defiant?" Dick growls. "What was the fight even about? Please tell me he didn't spout some nonsense about being a better soldier or something."
Starfire doesn't respond immediately, prompting another groan from Dick.
"What should I do?" Starfire asks, leaning forward and perhaps unintentionally exposing herself. "He is so unlike you."
"Honestly? I'm not sure. Look, I'll have a talk with the Big Bat about this and get back to you. Hang in there."
Number 78: Telepathy
Whether its because Damian and Cosmas have reached some form of truce, or because the building is collapsing around them, Robin knows his twin is unconscious somewhere in the inferno. After pulling out the factory workers, waiting at least five minutes for the cops to show up, he ducks back into the flames just as Commissioner Gordon yells for him to stop. Batman is on the side of the building that isn't burning, he likely doesn't know the extent of the situation, it makes Robin move faster through flame and smoke until he spots his twin's white-blond hair in the midst of a pile of rubble.
Robin dashes towards it, hissing as the material burns his hands, reducing the pile down until he shoulders Lightning on his back and struggles out of the building. He finds an alleyway nearby and drops Lightning to the ground, peering out for Batman who has thankfully found Gordon. The Commissioner sees Robin first, pointing him out before Batman stalks towards them. Lesser men would've wet themselves; Robin just glares.
"That was reckless," Batman scolds.
"He was unconscious, I had to go back for him."
The response startles the Dark Knight as Lightning coughs, his eyes blinking open and staring almost blindly around the alleyway. Robin kneels beside him, another peculiar feeling coming over him as Lightning sags into his shoulder. For a brief moment, he senses a presence far older than him, something once so familiar and even a little bit nostalgic, but then its gone. Lightning shudders, the mask over his face distorting his groans. Robin grimaces.
"I think his legs are broken."
"Right. Batman sighs. "I've called for pickup. Stay here."
Robin nods, hoisting Lightning into his arms and waiting for the Batmobile to pull up. They sit in the same seat together, waiting for Batman to finish up. And then Lightning wakes up again.
"He and I were fighting." He mumbles.
"I didn't see anyone in there." Robin grumbles.
"You wouldn't, only I can see him."
"Are you…" Robin falters as Lightning curls into him.
"It's fine. I'm glad you heard me calling."
"Excuse me?" Robin raises an eyebrow and Lightning giggles.
"Twin telepathy, haven't you heard of it? We're such extraordinary twins, perhaps Mother enhanced that within our minds."
"…maybe I just sensed your stupidity. Everyone in this family seems infected with it."
"Except our sisters," Lightning defends sleepily.
"Fine, except our sister."
Number 79: Unconventional
The newest Robin, many criminal's note, starts carrying a samurai sword with him.
The newest Robin, many criminal's note, is not afraid to kill is necessary.
The newest Robin, many criminal's note, is a mere boy.
The others that came before him for striplings, probably taken from the streets and raised into decent fighters, but this one; this kid knows how to break man with a look and word. This child has a pain resistance unlike most grown men, his voice is small but harsh, and he moves like a snake or a shadow along the floor.
For some, he is to be pitied for such an implied tough life.
For others, he is merely another mark, another stupid youth being used for some wider aim.
He isn't any different from them, but he's certainly unconventional.
Number 80: Dancing through Life (for Vongolafan16)
The party at Wayne Manor is excessively crowded, loud, and much too bright.
Damian decides early on that he will not participate in any ridiculous party events, sticking to Cassandra like a lost child as cameras flash in his face. His face is a controlled mask of childishness; he hates the tiny suit and he hates how the women coo at him. It expected of him to not enjoy the party but it would be mean to reveal the full extent of his immense dislike of it all.
As for the rest of his siblings, they have melted into pairs and mingle with the guests with an air of almost detached happiness, the smiles are too large to be actually real.
Dick and Barbara have perfected this art even if Barbara isn't really a sister; they speak to every guest as warmly as a mug of coffee. To compliment Dick's blue tie, Barbara dresses in a dark blue sleeves gown with yellow glitter decorating the small train trailing down her back.
Tim and Stephanie are shyly dancing in the middle of the crowd, pretending no one else is around and at least attempting to enjoy themselves. Despite Tim's yellow tie, Stephanie chose a black and white skin-tight leather number with one sleeve – no doubt she'll hear it from Brue later in the evening.
Jason and Cosmas are the only ones not in attendance, instead patrolling the streets together as Jason is still technically dead and Cosmas is cosplaying as the Man in the Iron Mask.
Damian and Cassandra linger on the outskirts of the crowd like elegant shadows, both dressed impeccably in black and making everybody feel just slightly outclassed.
And knowing that, Damian stills feels Cassandra shrink when people come near them. He positions himself slightly in front of her, more as protection but everyone else just finds it cute, and puts her hands on his shoulders. He feels her relax behind him and allow a small smile, which causes another flurry of camera flashes. Damian briefly wonders if it would be so bad if he flipped them all the bird at this point, and seeing a large open space on the dance floor he finds just the right way to loosen up.
Grabbing Cassandra hands, he pulls her through the crowd and onto the dancefloor, spinning her around to face him. He looks over at Alfred and the elderly man nods, leaning over and whispering something to the DJ. Cassandra eyes him curiously.
"What are you planning?"
"I can't attack anyone outright, so I'll just make them feel inferior."
El Tango de Roxanne starts playing.
"They'll be talking about this for weeks." Cassandra steps out of her shoes and tosses them to Stephanie. "Imagine if we go viral."
Damian smirks. "Like father, like son."
Hold up real quick!
Before you start requesting stuff, I just putting this here to preface an upcoming conclusion to my Cosmas storyline. I've been teasing something for a while and I'm finally getting enough creative juices flowing to write it. It won't be happening anytime soon, and when it does it will be a separate story.
In other news, it's been two years since I've updated this. Inspiration is largely due to the Son of Batman movie and then the upcoming Teen Titans vs Justice League, which is where Number 77 comes from.
This story is still on hiatus though, updates here will be sporadic if I even update at all.
A huge thank you to everyone who has reviewed despite the lack of action going on here :)