Sorry ahead of time guys, you're all going to hate Tim. Or me… but preferably Tim. Lol. Thanks for reading guys. Your reviews keep me encouraged to write more each day. Just for reference, Jason is about an inch and a half taller than Jaxon, this minute detail should be hard to spot, but not to a very good detective. Kay? Cool.
Jason blinked. The boy was… no, but the timeframes matched up… how had Talia let this little one out of her sight though? It didn't make sense to him. Bruce had gone to Talia for comfort? Jason let out an irritated snort.
"Looks like you might be coming home with me after all, kid." The child's eyes lit up with excitement and hope.
"I promise I won't do anything to screw this up, I won't make you hate me too…" Jason winced. The kid sounded like him. Just waiting for the shoe to drop… But now was not the time for this. He scooped the boy up in his arms and walked to his brother – well, his other brother. Jax stared at him, obviously waiting for him to start.
"I'll explain later." He whispered noncommittally. A knot formed in his stomach, something didn't feel right. Kaiser was there beside him, licking his fingers in silent encouragement. Rather than voice his discomfort, Jason began pacing. The boy in his arms soon fell into a deep sleep against his chest. It had a rather soothing effect on him. He was glad for the mask now, the children would not see his brow furrowed with worry, and they would not be inclined to feel afraid.
Just then the billionaire of the hour arrived. Along with Dick and some other kid. Jason felt his heart soar at first site and the child in him wanted to run to Bruce and kiss him right there. The child in his arms simply shifted to watch these next spectacular moments unfurl.
As Bruce walked through the double doors of the rented out lobby, he was struck immediately by a dual set of teal-green gazes. Both held a passion and fury and power that could go unmatched, in Bruce's mind, to anyone but Jason Todd. The weight of that broke something inside him and suddenly Bruce was no longer The Billionaire here to help, he was the Batman here to bring justice.
His glare was out and ready immediately, he was simply surprised that the boys did not flinch away from it. Instead the ones with the masks stepped forward, their eyes returning the glare two fold. One of the men, the taller, the one with a surreal white streak that was a stark contrast to his black hair, was holding a small child in his arms. The boy was no older than four or five by his estimation and when he turned a deep blue gaze on Bruce… well, the Bat, thought he was looking in a mirror. Shaking off the feeling he returned his steady gaze on the masked figures. They wore armor. The design was high tech and well reinforced against bullets and most likely a wide variety of daggers. It was probably on par with what Batman would wear. Telling by their stances the two had probably served in the military or otherwise served under some strict and higher service, though the younger of the two looked to be more relaxed yet somehow more ready for attack, more expectant of it… it reminded him of someone…
"Your names. Now." No time for formalities. The mission would continue no matter what continent he was on. Around the two men stood children, bedraggled but dressed in suits somewhat similar to the two men's. It seemed eerily similar to some sort of prison break…
The two looked taken aback, but the older (by his calculation twenty-eight) recovered first, stepping forward. "My name is Jaxon Smith and this is my brother Jake we're-"
The Bat cut him off abruptly, "How is it you came upon these… young ones."
"We rescued them-"
"From what?" He did not allow them the chance to formulate lies, the fewer pauses left for their scheming minds, the better. That was, until his eldest stepped forward.
"I'm sorry, boys, my father has been feeling ill as of late and…"
Tim stepped forward next, "Yes, our father been having some trouble with trust as of late…" Tim continued on, but Batman had noticed something that would have been lost on his weaker alter ego. At the mention of "our father" The taller of the two had visibly flinched. The man had recovered quickly, but the split-second of pain was obviously a reaction to the information… "our father"…. Why would a man his age (The Bat approximated twenty-three by his stance) respond to those words in particular? Perhaps a falling out with his own parents had led him to some darker path. Perhaps a nefarious path.
He would need to do some digging on this one. Jason Smith, eh? We shall see…
Jax was speaking now. "We may have a bit more to discuss than originally settled on in our phone call. Plus there was an unforeseen… complication."
"What unforeseen complication?" he demanded.
The two before him exchanged a wary glance. "You did not come alone, as expected. This would be easier if you had…" It was all clicking into place. The downtrodden and confused looks on the children's faces, the two's obsession with privacy and hidden identities. This was a trafficking operation, he concluded.
The taller of the two stepped in front of Jax who nodded silently as he did so. He placed the child on the ground and then lifting his hand to his face as if to remove the mask.
As the two groups stared each other down, tension quickly began to escalate, their senses were dulled. Not one of them heard the glass being broken upstairs, nor did they hear the quiet steps of numerous uniformed men surrounding their location.
Jason could not the shock that had taken him when the unknown boy had stepped forward claiming familial ties to his father. But he had gotten over that, had accepted it. After all, Jason would be a hypocrite to say that Bruce should not be allowed to replace him in the Bat's makeshift family when Jason had formed a family of his own without Bruce. Nonetheless, as he stepped forward now to reveal himself he noted the knot in his chest had tightened and vaguely, just on the edge of his mind, he noted that the air pressure in the room had changed and that something was very wrong. Kaiser was nowhere in sight. In hindsight, that should have been his first clue, but you know what they say. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
The bullet entered his chest and then all Jason could see was red and black. He remembered thinking how glad he was that he had put Damian down off to his left rather than straight in front of him.
The chaos of the moment set in quickly, Jaxon was in movement without thinking. He screamed at the children to take cover before pitching several throwing knives toward the source of the shooting. He caught sight of their uniforms and his mind was filled with a sense of dread. Kor Hol was still alive. The organization had sent men to retrieve them.
Jax spared a glance back at the door where the Wayne family had been standing only to see it vacated. He let out a battle cry of pure rage before lashing out his twin semi-auto handguns. They would pay for this. He noted that Kaiser was weaving between the men, taking them down swiftly, that meant headshots would be safest.
Jax let each kickback lead to the next shot and his targets fell like flies to the swatter. The older children that had recovered from their initial shock had joined the battle as well and began blocking off the stairs. One less point to watch. He continued to loose bullets with almost imperceptible speed until he glimpsed green and red out of the corner of is eye. A metal object inserted itself into the barrel and suddenly he was glad the suite came with gloves. The barrel exploded and he shrieked in surprise more than pain. His anger took hold and he looked for the source of the metal. Before him stood Batman, Robin, and Nightwing fully prepared for battle.
"Whose side are you on, assholes?" He roared over the fighting. Holding his injured hand Jax finally spared a glance at his brother. The kid was putting pressure on his wound, trying in vain to slow the bleeding. He gasped a ragged breath as the image of the crumpled form he had found on that warehouse floor danced before his eyes.
He turned back to the caped crusaders and let out a cruel smile, tossing the ruined and empty guns in his hands. " s'okay. I got more." Swiftly he withdrew two more guns from the cases below the others. And shot at the feet of the Bat family. He'd have to kill – or rather, take down – the men under their code from here on in. Now more kill shots. What a damn shame. Wasted bullets, if you asked him.
The family eyed him suspiciously, "Help me fight them you fools! I promise, no more KOs." They nodded and collectively both families turned to face the attackers. Except there were none. The men had disappeared as quickly as they had come.
"SHIT." Jax turned to his brother and knelt before him. "Call an ambulance!" He snarled. Batman approached him cautiously. "Damnit, Bruce, stop stalling!" He screamed, the fear creeping into his voice now that the adrenaline and blood lust had filtered out. The man stepped back, obviously stunned that this stranger knew his identity.
"They are on their way." The youngest, the one in the… oh shit. The robin costume. Jason would probably be upset about that. If he lived…
Jax felt tears running down his face and the mask was in his way now. He ripped it off and threw it away from the general area. "Kid, I need you to move. Now." He scooted the child towards the Bats who took him up immediately and handed him to Dick. Jax moved closer to Jason, he applied pressure to the wound. That's when he heard it. He heard his little brother's chest heave one last labored breath before collapsing into utter stillness.
Bruce stood awkwardly behind the man, Jax, as he shuffled closer to his brother. The little boy had been taken away to stand with the other children as Tim and Dick corralled them together.
The boy screamed and began to cry great and ragged sobs. "NO! We were supposed to be a family. You promised! You Promised, Jay!" Bruce's heart connected with the child's. Conceivably the two were related. The man's son, perhaps…
Nonetheless, When Jax had hefted his mask off to the side the father in him had come forth. That face… the eyes… they were Jason's. there couldn't be a mistake. Could there? After so much time He was ashamed to say the face of the lost Robin had gotten foggy… That pain, however, had not. Perhaps he was just projecting what he wanted (needed) to see on this man. The Bat knew it was not so, Jax genuinely had features too similar to Jason's to be coincidental. Bruce Wayne, still grief-stricken, would not see this though and chose instead to ignore the incessant voice of his alter.
And then the boy stopped breathing… The room seemed to still and the world stopped turning. The bullet had gone to the upper left of the heart; it should have missed anything vital. Why wasn't he breathing.
Jax turned back to Bruce and screamed at him and his family to wait for the ambulance. For once, the Bat did as he was commanded and left just as the brother began CPR. As the Batman walked out the door, Jason's mask was lifted off and cast aside. His father had just narrowly missed the view of his wayward son.
As they stood outside Robin pulled the Bat's attention to him. "We need to be gone when the ambulance arrives. Perhaps we will arrive at the hospital later, but Batman, Robin, and Nightwing cannot be in London the same time the three of us are." Tim whispered quickly. The Dark Knight nodded stiffly.
Of course, he knew that simple fact, had thought of it much earlier on when they had rushed to the car to don their suites in the first place. Something inside him wanted to stay with the boy, the one who had been shot, but overall Tim had knocked that paternal instinct to the back of his mind. The three moved to the rented limo quickly and began to change into their civvies. When they emerged from the seats the ambulance had arrived. After slyly asking to which hospital the vehicle belonged, the Bat family was off. Again, the father resisted the urge to look back on the scenes. The two brothers had certainly piqued his interest… and the protective predisposition of both Bruce Wayne and his darker alter.
If Mr. Wayne had looked in the rear view mirror he would have seen the ambulance pack up to leave empty handed. If he would have looked in the building he had just occupied he would find nothing but sickening blood stains. If he had been the Batman just then, the billionaire would have seen men cloaked all in black carrying a fallen Robin farther away from him.
He he, well, what did you guys think? I've got so much more planned yet…. *evil laugh*