I couldn't get this idea out of my head… so here it is, please review. If not I'll probably just discontinue this story… Thanks for reading!
It was just over a year ago when the invasion began. The creatures were as powerful as a kryptonian and they showed the unity of the JLA. Together they came in their little punk-ass spaceships and, under the guise of friendship, they gathered all the league members and collared them. Now the collars were probably the funnest part; they sapped any and all meta-humans of their powers. The flash, Superman, Martian Manhunter… all of them rendered powerless in a single day. Soon after they were all rounded up and placed in prison camps. Some were work camps, others were simply prisons. Why? Apparently humans seeing all their heroes rounded up like common criminals had some sort of psychological effect on the species. Go figure.
Unfortunately for them, they hadn't counted on all the heroes scattering into the wind only to disrupt the creatures' whenever they could. So far they'd gotten the bigger heroes. Very few still existed outside prison walls. Luckily, most of the Bat family hadn't been perceived as a threat so most were still masking their activities with the help of Oracle. Jason Todd, of course, was exempt from that list. He'd been caught trying to save a bunch of kids… Lucky, lucky, lucky.
As he stood now there was very little chance for escape, still, like always, Jason had a plan. He'd just need more muscle than he could scrounge up presently. So, he sighed, flipping a quarter between his fingers. Money was worthless now. All that mattered was the goods left in the dying husk of a world. The sun was brutal, the rain hardly ever came, and the heat was scorching. His jet-black hair stuck to his forehead wetly, white streak and all.
He almost wished he hadn't gotten every Meta to hate him, then maybe he'd have at least a couple of allies in here. As it stood he had one: a simpleton muscle head by the name of Barracks. True, not his real name, but nicknames kept you alive. Jason's blue-green eyes were analytical as he watched yet another prison fight break out. In a run-of-the-mill prison these types of battles were fought solely on a racial basis. The inmates would join together based on which side they joined. Now everything was based on Meta or human. There were no lines of grey.
The prison system was different. The guards were volunteer humans that didn't care if the inmates killed each other, in fact if a few Metas were killed in the process it worked to their advantage. So… barring a prison riot, the guards would do nothing. Well, that wasn't actually too different from normal prison anyways.
Every day was the same. Wake-up call, mess, yard, mess, showers, back to the cells. The monotony led to the fights, the fights led to distractions – and that led to a possibility for escape, if you know what to do, that is. Since coming to the prison there had been a total of eight attempts on his life. So far he'd been shocked by the guards' electrified prods three times, stabbed twice, beaten down, and as of yesterday he'd narrowly avoided being gutted.
All in all, he was a pretty lucky bastard.
Regardless of the chance (it was pretty high) that he was going to be killed, Jason still only had a limited amount of time at this particular cage. Every prisoner in here was transferred at some point or another, either to a work camp a torture home, or simply killed. Why? It meant any heroes still out and about would not know where their friends were staying at any given time. Jason's number was coming up in a few months.
Barracks was steadily following him to the stairs, first stop: mess (AKA, breakfast slop). Jason got his "food" and moved to the far corner of the food hall, taking his usual seat – the single table from which an experienced set of eyes could spot violence stirring up anywhere in the room. Something was off today, the inmates were hasty, anxious. That only meant one thing. A new bus was coming in today, fresh blood. This would be interesting. The Metas would line up to see who would be joining them, the regulars would be waiting too. Then there would be Jason, waiting to see if maybe – just maybe – an old ally would appear, perhaps Roy or Kori…
The new blood filed out of the grey bus slowly, each one more bedraggled than the last. This was new. It looked like these prisoners had been tortured… Jason's frown deepened. That's when he spotted them. Four raven-haired men. Bruce, Dick, Tim, and… oh shit. Those assholes were sending Damian into the cage. A kid… Jason was on his feet in moments.
"I think we just found our way out, Barracks." Jason's eyes were still focused on the four members of his "family". He'd have to ally himself with them quickly before any of them ended up in the ditch of bodies lining the property.
They stood in a tight line, hands chained, collars attached. One of the guards, red haired and muscular, was talking, explaining the "rules". Meaning he was explaining that they could be killed at any given moment and the guards wouldn't lift a finger to help. His deep blue eyes instinctively rolled towards his partner, Damian. His son. Tim and Dick too… they'd caught all four members of the Bat clan. Minus Jason… It was a possibility that because he'd ceased being a hero and so never caught… Though they hadn't seen nor heard from the boy for months. Bruce found himself praying that Jason was safe, despite their troubled past.
The ginger-haired guard was showing off now, shocking the inmates that were either too slowly or to quickly. The indigent populations of inmates were screaming lewd comments, one of the favorites being "Fish". He supposed it would do. He and the boys had already been stripped of their nightly aliases, now they were just… the Wayne family.
So far the other inmates hadn't recognized the billionaire or his sons, but Bruce knew it was only a matter of time.
As the new prisoners filtered through the thick, metal doors of the entry building a guard could be heard in the distance. Apparently it was chow time. Guess they were just in time.
Their chains were removed, they were told to walk. He pushed his sons in front of him, keeping Damian close.
There was an old man in the lineup, overweight, yet muscular. His posture displayed his panic. He was going to make a run for it. Bruce knew the moment he started fidgeting, he knew it when the man's feet started stepping out of line. When he ran, it was no surprise. However, it was a surprise when he hit the ground in convulsions grasping desperately at his neck…
The red haired guard was talking again, "And this, my friends, is what happens if you step out of line." He gestured to the cameras, "if our men see you misbehaving… well, unless it looks like a simple 'misunderstanding', they may fidget over the kill switch," He smiled wickedly and the old man stopped his spasms, presumably dead. Definitely dead when they dragged him away.
Bruce kept his eyes forward, even as Tim flinched visibly over the death of the man.
He sighed deeply, feeling the uncomfortable scratch of the collar as they were shoved into the mess hall.
The detective rolled his eyes over the mass of inmates inside. All were eyeing the new troupe, something about their grins made his skin itch they were looking too closely at his sons.
"Welcome home, fish." The red-haired guard spat before dispersing his guards.
They were alone now. Alone with about two-hundred and fifty-five inmates that were nearly all criminals and villains the Batman had faced in his past.
Bruce ushered his sons into the room. They were given trays full of… some sort of food by-product. The inmates were cat calling and hooting Three of them stepped forward, blocking the small family's access to the tables. The father stepped forward, instinctually slipping into a defensive pose.
The three grinned sardonically, "well, well. Lookie what we have here." The biggest of the three stepped forward. He was tall, maybe six foot. Maybe two-hundred and thirty pounds. Nothing his family couldn't handle.
Bruce's muscles tensed, ready to fight if it came to it.
It never did. The man stepped back, suddenly wary. When the hand landed on Bruce's shoulder, he was ready to break a few fingers before he recognized the jet-black hair with the single white streak. He recognized the shit-eating grin. The familiarity of his features, the set of his jaw… Bruce's eyes widened.
"We got a problem here, Jackhammer?" He said, the grin still spread wide across his face. Dean took the bait. He stepped forward, anger apparent on his face. That was Barracks' cue. Jason's muscular friend walked between them, cracking his knuckles absentmindedly.
The popping from Barracks' set them on edge. "Sorry, my friend here gets a little… Jumpy." He chuckled humorlessly before gesturing to his family, "They're off limits, Jack-o."
The Jack turned about eight shades of pink, it would actually be obscenely funny to anyone that wasn't standing about three feet away. Nonetheless, when the rage began to fade the man's greedy black eyes cleared. "Look, why don't we talk about this. I run the market in this hell hole. Maybe you and I could… y'know… split the profits." He gestured to Damian who responded with disgust.
Jason nodded his head, smiling sweetly. Abruptly Jason was in motion, he kneed the filth right in the place that makes boys cry. Jack crumbled to the floor and Jason turned, "We need to leave. Now." He pulled Bruce with him, his brothers followed.
"You're dead for this, Jake! Dead!" Jack stuttered out.
As he walked away he spat over his shoulder, "Yeah, yeah, death and destruction. Yadda yadda. Number 7 gang. Keep moving." He pushed Bruce forward to his usual table. Barracks trailed behind blankly.
Dick's eyes held a spark of curiosity, but no conviction. Tim and Damian glared. Bruce watched impassively as all four sat down. Family bonding certainly was a beautiful thing.
Jason opened his mouth to speak, but Damian cut in, "We could have handled ourselves against that perv, Tod-" This time he was interrupted by a smack to the head.
"Shut up you idiot!" Jason hissed, "There's a reason everyone here calls me 'Jake', and it's not a coincidence." The brothers were all glaring now.
Jason took a deep breath before speaking again. "Never let them know what you can do. They will kill you like that," he snapped his fingers, "and that perv over there is Jack Laurell, a serial rapist who kidnapped, murdered, and raped over sixteen kids. Not always in that order either. He owns the market down here. That means he owns a lot of guys that will gut you if you so much as look at them the wrong way."
Damian swallowed. Dick watched Jason carefully, "If that's the case then why did you step up for us, Jake?"
Jason took a moment before looking at each of his family members individually. "Because, if I die it makes no ripples. If the goddamn Batman dies, the world is screwed. Well, more screwed than it already is," Jason smiled.
Bruce actually looked a little horrified. That was unexpected, worth it, but unexpected. His brothers were avoiding eye contact. All but Damian, who simply looked.. like Damian. "Look, we don't have much time here, so I'm going to give you the facts straight up. It's three to a cell, if you're late to your cell the guards won't hesitate to activate the collars. By the time they stop you'll be too out of it to fight back against any wayward hands. So… be in your cell." He let his words sink in. "so far, I've got Barracks in the cell next to mine, we've both got singles so it works out perfectly," He smiled deviously, "Besides, the other prisoners were starting to get grabby." He waggled his eyebrows.
If it were possible, Bruce's expression deepened.
"Let's go Ladies!" It was the red-headed guard again.
Jason followed Bruce's eyes to the man. "His names Border. He won't hesitate to shock you, just for the fun of it. Steer clear." With that, he stood up. "My full names Jake Forester. And you are?" He held his hand out to Dick first.
"Just call me Dean Burrows," Dick said, loud enough for the surrounding tables to overhear. Jason turned to Tim.
Jason nodded and turned to Damian.
"You may call me Daren Burrows." Dick smiled at his brother softly.
Bruce sighed before letting the name roll from his tongue, "Byron Bowen."
Jason let his gaze shift over all of them. "Welcome to prison, boys."