Another Outlaw verse story. This idea has really taken on a life of its own. Set after both Return of the Outlaw and The New Outlaw.
Summary: Tim needs to complete three steps to become a well adjusted hero. A pity the third step is meeting Jason Todd.
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, own anything in this story. This fact saddens me.
Oh, and just quickly, since keeps threatening to delete my stories, I am thinking of moving everything to either Tumblr or Livejournal. But since I have never used either, I was wondering what everyone would recommend as a good place to harbour my stories. I still plan to keep posting here but in case I do lose my work, I want a backup. My new work is still safe but I don't want to lose some of my older stuff.
To say that Dick had expected it would have been a lie. He was a teenage detective, a crime fighter and a hero. He should have seen the signs. But still, the moment he had stepped back into the cave for the first time in two years, he admitted, there was a moment of confusion on seeing the young teen standing in his place. The new Robin.
Of course, Dick should have known. Tim Drake, the quiet boy next door, had always been clever. Even back when Dick was young and had accepted a few baby-sitting jobs for the Drakes, he had noticed it. Little Tim was bright, and he adored his mysterious neighbours. Every time they met, Tim had shown off, naming tricks he knew Dick could do and asking him about his life as an acrobat. He questioned Bruce about his charity work. He had even come close to charming Alfred out of his secret cookie recipe. He took photos of everything and anything, carefully labelling and dating them for future reference. The kid collected information as other kids collected trading cards, storing them away in his mind like some sort of insane hoarder. If anyone was to figure out the secret, it would have to have been Tim.
If anyone had the guts to confront Bruce about his reckless behaviour, knowing that he was the fricking Batman, it would have to have been Tim.
If anyone could win over the heart of the Dark Knight, it would have to be a blue eyed, dark haired little boy like Tim.
Dick was impressed.
Of course, they hadn't been introduced to each other in their secret identities. No, Batman had carefully introduced the new Robin to Dick's new identity Nightwing, watching the older boy carefully to gauge his reaction. Dick had been stunned by the sudden introduction, but surprisingly, not angry. He had long since gotten use to the idea that Bruce needed someone by his side. It was a position he had claimed long ago, and before him, Jason. This was simply the next logical step. And truthfully, he and Bruce had just ended a serious rough spot in their relationship, effectively cutting ties to one another for over a year. Bruce had every right to replace him. It just would have been nice if someone told him that and avoided the tension of that first meeting.
Still, it wasn't the kids fault. Tim didn't deserve to be caught in the middle of Batman and Nightwing's arguments. And to be fair, Bruce was being overprotective to a fault, refusing to let Tim patrol with anyone except himself. Dick quickly did the calculations in his mind. If he was correct, working with another member of the family was the first of three steps Tim would need to take to become the well-adjusted young hero like Dick had been at his age.
So Dick had spent his first few weeks home working hard to reach out to the newest member of their little crime fighting group, teaching him fighting stances and hacking tricks. And realised just how awesome being an older brother really was.
His next few weeks were a little more difficult but after a lot of arguing with Bruce, Dick managed to gain permission to take the new Robin out patrolling. The two had a great time, Dick teaching Tim several tricks he had learnt in Jump City and spinning tales from his early years at Batman's side, all the while establishing himself as a hero in his own rights.
Step one of adjusting Tim. Check.
Patrol had been….well, interesting. Bruce's overprotection had certainly impacted on Tim, Dick finding himself bombarded with questions about the Justice League, the Titans and the many other heroes Dick had met during his career. The older teen was happy to answer, enjoying reminiscing about his past.
After a while, Dick even found himself opening up about the Young Justice, the first team he had ever worked with.
Tim loved those stories over all others, asking Dick all about his friends and the secret missions the covert team undertook.
In fact, it was because of Tim's questions that Dick found himself calling Wally, wanting to see how his best friend was doing.
Wally had had an interesting few years, first with his relationship with Artemis and then, when they had broken up and Wally had briefly joined the Titans, with Jinx. Of course, by Dick's understanding, Wally and Jinx had broken up now too, leaving the now 20 year old speedster a bachelor for the first time in years.
Wally had been ecstatic to hear from Dick; almost immediately challenging Bruce's no meta-humans rule to storm into Gotham and see his friend. Dick had introduced Tim to the speedster, happy that the new Robin was finally meeting some other heroes.
Of course, then Wally had happened to mention the Young Justice. According to the speedster (who it turned out, had gotten back together with Artemis) Conner and Megan had taken control of the team, keeping it running with a lot of help from the Justice League, through the last few years. The stress of all this, almost with seeing all their former teammates grow up around them, had put too much of a strain on their relationship and the two had split, causing more tension for the current team members.
Dick knew he had to step in and help.
A quick call to Black Canary (who was now the permanent Den Mother) had sorted everything out. Dick Grayson, the former Robin, now known as Nightwing, was returning to his first team. But not as a member, as the leader (And also the new Den Mother, since Green Arrow was fed up with sharing his girlfriend with the team)
A quick talk with Bruce, and another with Conner and Megan, had been enough for Dick to take up the new role, joining the team and immediately reorganising the roster.
The former Boy Wonder had immediately put out a call to the Titans, inviting everyone to join Young Justice. Like he had expected, many had declined, but a few had surprised him, joining the team.
While the rest of the original Titans had chosen to remain and protect Jump City from their base at Titans Tower, Beast Boy had immediately jumped at the opportunity to work alongside new heroes. And to work with his surrogate sister, Miss Martian.
Bumblebee had also followed, pointing out that Happy Harbour was closer to her home (And boyfriend Herald who had also joined the team, even if it was in a non-combative role) the Steel City and leaving her team in Garth's capable hands.
Wally and Artemis had seen this change of roster as the time to announce their retirement from the hero world, choosing to instead focus on their studies (and relationship) while Zatanna and Rocket had both accepted invitations to join the Justice League instead.
Roy had refused membership, once again falling into solitude as another series of clues suggested that Speedy may still be alive. Nightwing was saddened by this, since Roy had worked so hard to put everything behind him when he joined the Titans.
But as much as losing all his old friends from the team had saddened Nightwing, it had made room for a whole new generation, Blue Beetle, Wonder Girl and Lagoon Boy (on the advice of Garth) quickly joining the team.
And then Batgirl arrived.
Dick had to admit, he may have been slightly responsible for that one.
Barbara Gordon, Dick's oldest friend, had been an active hero for years, keeping Batman on his toes and helping out in Gotham. When Dick had started inviting people to the team, he couldn't imagine not including her. He had just been surprised that Babs had accepted the invitation.
And then of course, there was Robin. Bruce hadn't been happy that Dick had included the new Boy Wonder, reminding Dick that Tim had a family and couldn't just disappear to Happy Harbour every time the team needed him. Dick had argued that Tim needed to work with other heroes and develop relationships which he could rely upon later in his career.
Dick had won that argument, but only just.
Step two of adjusting Tim. Get him to work with other heroes his age. Check.
Now for the third and final part. Dick was dreading this part.
It had been a long time since Dick had seen his older brother. In fact, the last time Dick had seen Jason was back with the Titans, when Slade had played on Robin's insecurity to try and turn his head. Dick had left Jason on the roof of Titan's Tower to see Cyborg, and come back to find the vigilante gone, leaving no evidence he had ever been there.
Dick had no idea what Jason was doing, which side he was on at the moment or if he was even alive. Although that last one was only in thought. Dick refused to believe that Jason was dead. He was not the sort to get himself killed (again)
So Dick started searching, looking through incident reports and even hacking into the Watchtower (he was still a hacker after all) trying to find any evidence of Jason.
But it never occurred to him that Jason might be looking for him.
A cold night in Bludhaven was what started it all.
Dick had decided to patrol Gotham's sister city, following up a rumour about a shipment of weapons supposedly being housed in the slums. Tim had joined him, Bruce honestly looking thankful that the younger hero was out of the way as he looking into the Jokers latest attack.
Dick and Tim had been sitting in the dark for ages, watching the suspected building for any signs of trouble.
"It's really quiet in there." Tim commented, pulling his cape around his body to protect against the cold. "Really quiet."
"What are you thinking?" Dick asked, raising his binoculars to his eyes. He had learnt not to ignore Tim's comments. The kid tended to notice things everyone else missed.
"Just wondering if your intel was right." Tim replied.
"Rumours aren't always right Robin. Doesn't mean we should ignore them. That's the point of recon." Dick replied, lowering the binoculars again. He turned to look over at his little brother. "Are your parents still out of town?"
Dick tried not to shake his head. He liked the Drakes, he really did. But he couldn't understand why they would willingly leave their son for long periods of time to fend for himself. Tim may not be an orphan like the rest of the male members of the Batfamily, but sometimes it felt like he was.
Dick opened his mouth, ready with a reply when a gunshot echoed through the dark. The two heroes looked at each other before jumping into action, diving across the roof and towards the sound. Gunshot after gunshot echoed in the gloom as the two snuck into the building through an open window.
The two heroes looked down from the ledge. Three men were lying on the floor, guns scattered around, knocked from the crates which they had been stored in.
Soft moans were coming from the men. They were alive. Well, that was something at least.
"Wow." Robin muttered from his place next to Nightwing. "Do you think they got into a fight?"
Dick remained silent, looking down at the scene. A shadow was moving in the corner, slow enough that it was unnoticeable to an untrained eye as it headed towards the exit. Silently, he indicated to it. Robin fell silent, nodding.
Quickly, the brothers jumped down to the floor, keeping to the shadows as they followed the figure. Suddenly, the figure broke into a run, crashing into the door and disappearing into the street. The two heroes broke cover, running across the room towards the shadow.
Exiting the building, Nightwing bolted into the alleyway, Robin on his heels, the older heroes eyes fixed on the fleeing figure. The figure slowed, a brick wall blocking his escape. Quickly, the figure turned, raising something towards the two heroes. Under his mask, Dick's eyes widened, skidding to a halt, Dick grabbed Tim's shoulder and pushed the younger hero behind him. The figure stepped into the light.
"Oh no." Dick muttered as Jason lowered the gun. The Red Hood grinned. Dick shook his head slightly, annoyed that he hadn't realised who it was earlier. It hadn't helped that Jason's trademark helmet was missing.
"Well…." Jason muttered, shoving the gun back in its holster. "Look at you Dickie-bird. You grew up."
"Red Hood, what are you doing here?" Dick questioned, still keeping a grip on Tim's shoulder as the younger hero studied the vigilante from behind his brothers back.
"Last I looked, it's a free country little bird."
"I mean, what are you doing here in Bludhaven Jay?" He replied.
Jason took a step forward, crossing his arms as he lent to the side, resting his shoulder against the brick wall.
"I came to see if the rumours that you have returned to the nest are true. Oh, and meet the replacement."
Dick couldn't see Jason's eyes move, but he could tell they were now fixed on Tim who had gotten bold enough to step out from behind Dick. Tim was tense, not sure how to handle the situation he was now in.
Dick looked between the man leaning against the wall and his brother, standing on guard. The older hero sighed. During all the times he had envisioned this meeting, he hadn't expected it to go like this.
"Red Hood, meet Robin. Your new brother." He muttered.
Another Outlaw verse story completed. I am having a lot of fun with these. Oh, and just so everyone knows, I am currently taking suggestions for more one-shots in this universe. I know when I enjoy a story, I often have plot ideas. I would love to see what everyone else is thinking. I can't promise I would write them, they may give me a few ideas. Or even be worked into the sequel.