Justice League does not belong to me. Just Cho and Company.
Sorry for the late update. My muse left me and didn't return until late last night.
Big thanks to mbembet, Tigress2929, and Cajun Strong Man 2 for reviewing!
And a special thanks to Cajun Strong Man 2!
Yes Diana could have used her superspeed and reached Tim before her husband, but she didn't. The reason behind that was Tim calmed down much faster if Bruce was the first one to comfort him. If anyone else tried, he would just fight them. And even though he was every much a mortal as Bruce was, and nowhere near as strong as Diana herself, Tim could still hit pretty hard. She'd once had a black eye for a few hours, thanks to him. Of course, once Tim had realized what he'd done, he'd been horrified. It had taken her days to convince him that she wasn't angry with him.
So the Amazon stood in the doorway as Bruce reassured his middle son that he was safe. Once she was certain that Tim was fully awake, then she came into the room to offer her comfort as well.
Tim was shivering, but he wasn't hysterical like he'd been after past nightmares. I wonder why... Diana sat beside him, exchanging a glance with Bruce. He shrugged his shoulders and she wrapped an arm around Tim. "Do you want to talk about it this time, Tim?" she asked him tentatively.
Timothy inhaled sharply, but nodded, "Yeah. This one was weird."
"What do you mean by that?" Bruce questioned, a concerned expression on his face.
"'Cause it wasn't about..." he trailed off, wincing. Diana knew very well what Tim was referring to. Tim's most recent nightmare hadn't been about the Joker and Harley torturing him.
Bruce raised his eyebrows, "What was it about?"
"Well, it was kind of about some murder," Tim paused and Diana and Bruce waited patiently. Tim took another quick breath, "A murder that happened about eleven years ago."
"Eleven years ago? Was it a case you'd looked up?" Diana asked. Bruce remained quiet, his face thoughtful.
Tim shook his head, "I'd thought so, at first. But I didn't recognize the people in my dream."
"Do you know who they were?" Bruce's face was still thoughtful and Diana could literally see the gears in his mind turning. He's gone into Detective mode again.
Tim shook his head, "No."
"Can you describe them?"
Tim winced, "Yeah." He cleared his throat, "There was a mother and a daughter. Both Asian, I'd say Chinese." He took another steadying breath, "There was a cloaked man. He came in with a sword and the woman stepped in front of the girl. He..." Tim went quiet, his face paling.
"What did he do, Tim?" Bruce asked seriously. Diana wanted to tell her husband to leave it alone. The eighteen-year-old looked horrified and the princess didn't want to traumatize him further by making him think of such terrible details. But there was no telling Bruce to stop when he got like this.
"He ran the woman through with a sword," Tim whispered, hugging himself. "The girl... Bruce, the girl looked like she was just five years old. And she saw the entire thing..."
After Tim went back to sleep, Bruce was again down in the 'Cave with his cowl pushed back, typing in the information Tim had given him. So far, there wasn't any record of a murder and kidnapping happening to a Chinese family in Gotham. He'd expanded his search, being careful to keep it within the time frame that Tim had told him.
"Do you really think that what Tim dreamed about was real, Bruce?" Diana walked toward him, Nathan again cradled in her arms. But this time, the four month old was out like a light. Alfred had already taken Barbara back to her apartment and Dick would be in soon from Bludhaven. After Barb's injury, Richard had gone to great lengths to improve the broken relationship between himself and Bruce. At least something's going right.
He turned his gaze to his wife, whose expression was still skeptical. "Yes, Princess."
"How do you know? For all we know, he could have seen it in a movie."
"That's possible, but I don't think so." Diana sat beside him in her chair and he held his arms out for their son. She handed him over and Bruce cradled baby Nathan to his chest. I still can't believe how fast he's growing. "Remember how Tim said that he got the date from the calendar hanging in the Asian woman's kitchen?"
She nodded, but didn't speak. Bruce continued, "In a real dream, it's impossible to read. You dream with only half of your brain, the half that's deals with creativity. The part of your brain that deals with comprehension is dormant while you sleep, which means that any letters and numbers you see in your dream wouldn't make sense. But Tim clearly remembers the month and year displayed on that calendar."
"What are you saying, Bruce?"
"I'm saying that it wasn't a dream at all, Princess."
Diana's eyes widened, "Are you saying that a telepath is reaching out to him? Like J'onn did with Clark?"
"That's exactly what I think."
The computer beeped, indicating that he'd gotten a hit. Bruce turned his gaze back to the computer so that he could read the file. Chicago, exactly eleven years ago. Asian mother and daughter... Mother died from single stab wound, five year old daughter disappeared without a trace and hasn't been seen since...
He froze when he read the names. Mulan and Cho March. March. "Di-"
"I see it, Bruce." Both were quiet as they read the file in depth. "Mr. March was married?" she finally questioned, "I didn't know that."
"Neither did I," Bruce said, thinking. Cho and Mulan. Not exactly original names. Hmmm... "I don't think those were their real names. The file says that Mulan was divorced." He turned to look at Diana, "She had her and her daughter's first names changed."
"But what for?"
"That's the question. I think it's time that Batman took a closer look at Lincoln March."
"And I'll call J'onn. We need to know what he thinks about this telepathic link."
Bruce nodded, about to rise from his seat and hand Nathan back to Diana when another link popped onto the screen from the computer's search. A picture file. He clicked it.
The first picture was a portrait of Mulan and her daughter, Cho. The little girl had red highlights in her hair. Just like March's assistant, Isabelle. He pulled up a picture of the teenaged girl and compared the two.
Diana gasped in surprise at the pictures, "That's definitely Isabelle."
Just to make sure, Bruce ran a facial construction recognition program. Diana's right. It's an exact match.
"I think it's definitely past time that I made a house call." He gave his son to Diana and made his way to the Batmobile, only to be stopped by his wife's hand on his arm.
"Be careful out there, Bruce," she said softly, worry in her eyes as she held Nathan securely with her left arm. She reached her right hand up and gently pulled his cowl back over his face.
"I will be." He kissed their son's forehead before giving her a soft kiss, "Love you, Princess."
"Love you too."
Cho ran the rooftops, grateful to be free. Even if it is just for a few hours. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to be content with that. It's better than nothing, I suppose.
But that wasn't the most important thing on her mind. The Talon had cornered her on the apprentices' floor and she'd been so sure that he'd kill her that she'd momentarily lost control of her telepathy. In the twenty minutes that it had taken to escape his grasp and realize that it was just a test, she'd realized that her mind had linked with someone else's.
She mentally recoiled from the memory of a white-faced and green-haired man leering over a teenaged boy around her age. She'd immediately known that the man was the Joker as she'd seen his pictures on the news a lot, even though he was believed to be deceased. The boy was another matter. He was wearing a domino mask. And, even though the image had been fuzzy, she'd assumed the boy was asleep when her mind connected to his, she could have sworn that she'd seen an 'R' on his chest. Robin? Could I have possibly connected to Robin?
What really worried her was the fact that she wasn't sure if she'd shown him into her mind or not. Only once had this happened before, when her mother had been killed by the Talon. That first time she'd linked directly with her father, had seen that he had sent the Talon after her. And, judging from the first letter he'd left for her, which she'd immediately ripped up and thrown away because she hadn't believed his sincerity, he'd seen what she'd seen. Felt what she'd felt. And she hadn't even been aware that she'd opened her mind to him like that. His letter had told her that he hadn't meant for her mother to get killed, that the Parliament was behind it. She'd only begun to believe that just recently. But that was the past and not as important as the situation that she'd unwittingly put herself in.
If I did open my mind to Robin, there's no telling what I accidentally showed him. Cho shivered. I'm not, definitely not, telling anyone about this. 'Cause if the Court of Owls finds out, Robin and Batman will both become the their newest targets. And I have no doubt in my mind that they'll send me to do that dirty work. And I will not give the Court any reason to make me become a murderer.
That was when the bead comlink in her ear beeped. A soft alarm sounded over the heavily encrypted channel and Cho froze. That alarm... Someone was breaking into her father's penthouse.
Wally lounged on the couch, Linda curled up against him with his arm around her as they watched some romantic comedy. Even though he'd promised himself three years ago, shortly after meeting Artie, Iris, and Jai, that he'd never watch a romance. I guess they're not all bad, though. That, and I probably was watching them with the wrong company. Beatrice, which was Fire's real name, had been real pushy about watching romance movies with him. So much so that he'd begun to dread even the mention of movies when they'd been 'talking' all those years ago. What did I ever see in her?
Linda, on the other hand... She's hardly ever pushy. In fact, it had been Wally who'd suggested this particular chic flick. Barb had made an offhand comment that she and Lin had gone to see it and loved it, so he figured that his fianceé would enjoy watching it with him.
Linda laid her head on his chest, snuggling closer. Definitely a good call.
"Let me guess, you didn't hear me?" she asked, a hint of amusement on her face.
"Sorry, babe. I was too busy thinking about how lucky I am to have you."
She chuckled, "Charmer. I said that it's almost hard to believe that we'll be married in just two weeks. The time's sure flown by."
"Flown? Are you kidding, baby?" She sat up and gave him an incredulous look, her eyes tightening with hurt. "Wait a sec, Lin. I didn't mean that I don't like spending time with you." Wally brushed his fingers across her cheek, "I meant that I still can't believe that I have to wait two whole weeks before I can really call you mine."
She rolled her dark eyes, "You should have said so from the beginning, hon. Don't scare me like that," she finished firmly.
"Scare you?" He gave her a confused look, "Why would you be scared? Linda Jasmine Park, you know that I love you."
"And I love you, Wallace Rudolph West."
Barbara was supposed to be back at her downtown apartment. And, as far as her father and the rest of the BatClan knew, she was. Instead, she was in the old abandoned clocktower in Gotham City's East End, working on the computer system she'd begun cobbling together a week ago.
I may be a cripple, but everyone else is wrong. I can still do my part to help Gotham. The systems down in the 'Cave just aren't cutting it anymore. I mean, the Metro Tower's systems are just as advanced. We need something better here, especially if Bruce wants to keep one step ahead of the rest of the superhero world.
"Thought I'd find you here," came a woman's voice from the clocktower's shattered glass window. Barb had heard her coming a mile away. But she is getting quieter, I'll give her that.
"What are you doing here, Helena? I thought you had a date with Q," the former Batgirl questioned, not even looking up from the diagnostics that she was running.
There was the sound of a cape snapping and Barb could practically feel Huntress looking over her shoulder, "Vic and I had to cut our date early, he was called away on League business. Since I was already on your side of town, I dropped by your apartment. You weren't there."
"And the first place you looked was here. I'm beginning to regret even mentioning this clocktower to you and Dinah."
Helena moved to Barbara's side, leaning her backside against the desk and folding her gloved arms across her chest, "Speaking of us, Dinah and I were thinking..."
I don't like the sound of this. Barb kept her mouth shut, hoping that her lack of response would discourage Huntress from finishing that thought. Who am I kidding? Helena Bertinelli is the most stubborn woman on the face of the Earth.
And she was proved right as Helena continued, "Since the big bad Bat has started allowing us to patrol in Gotham, Canary and I were thinking about the three of us working together more often. You know, start a team?"
"Like a mini Justice League," Barbara chuckled, amused. Is that what she's thinking of? It will never work.
Huntress rolled her eyes, "We were actually thinking about calling ourselves the 'Birds of Prey'. Ollie may be a spoiled rich brat, but he's good at coming up with names."