Justice League and Court of Owls does not belong to me. Just Cho & Company.
Short chapter, but an important one...
Big thanks to mbembet, Cajun Strong Man 2, The Dark Knight, and Tigress2929 for reviewing!
Cho was expecting the eerie hissing voice of the Talon speaking her name in her earpiece, not the sophisticated bass of a certain member of the Court's highest Parliament.
Most of the apprentices were under the assumption that the highest Parliament were the leaders of the Court, but Cho knew better. As they were the only members of the Court who actually looked human, aside from Cho and the other apprentices, they were nothing more than a front. The more owlish members of the Court were the ones who ruled. The highest Parliament may live a life of luxury, but their plush lifestyle isn't guaranteed. One wrong step, and they're dead, just like I'll be if I screw this up... "Yes sir." No doubt the Talon is listening in on this exchange. After I'm done talking with this guy, I'll have to check in with him before I make a move.
"Apprentice, you are to go to March's penthouse and find out who is foolish enough to break into his home. Watch, but do not interfere."
What? Don't interfere? Is he really suggesting that I let the intruder have free rein in one of the Court's own buildings?
Apparently, she was taking too long to answer. The Court member's voice became irritated, "These orders come from the Talon himself. You dare not disobey, Apprentice Cho." A small hiss, unheard by the Parliament member, came over the link, the kind that the Talon would usually give if she didn't follow orders right away.
"I'm on my way, sir." Just when I thought that I'd have a night to myself...
"You're late," Bruce stated, not even bothering to turn around.
"Sorry, I had some loose ends to tie up back in Bludhaven," Dick replied carefully. He didn't sound like his usual cocky self and Bruce actually glanced over his shoulder to make sure that it was Nightwing behind him. Right costume, right posture. Definitely not Clayface or some other shapeshifter.
He nodded, but didn't answer, too busy hacking into March's files. If only Barb was here, she'd have this figured out in no time.
"What'cha looking for, Batman?"
"Did you know that March was divorced?"
"Well, apparently no else knew either."
Dick walked up behind Bruce, peering over the older man's shoulder to get a better look, "Isn't that the kind of information that you're not supposed to hide from your potential voters?"
"Exactly. That, and Wonder Woman and I believe we've found his daughter. We think she's a telepath."
Batman could practically feel Nightwing's confusion, "How the heck did you figure that one out?"
"Because she's established some kind of telepathic link with Robin."
"Like J'onn did with the Boy Scout."
Bruce shook his head, "Not exactly. J'onn showed Superman where he was and explained what had happened to him that had landed him in the Invaders' custody. Cho March only showed Robin a single memory from her past."
"Cho? Sounds like a Chinese name to me." Bruce glanced over his shoulder, just in time to catch Nightwing's eyes widening. "You think March's assistant is actually his daughter, don't you?"
Batman turned his attention back to the file he finally managed to crack, "Isabelle Grandview's paper's are good enough to pass a quick examination, but they're definitely counterfeit. The thing that really worries me are completely different papers, ones that were issued before Mrs. March's murder."
Dick took a step back in shock, "Murder? What happened?"
"A cloaked man with a sword. Robin's description fits the ones that Huntress and Question gave of our resident 'C of O'.
"You think that the Marches are involved whatever this is, don't you."
Bruce shook his head, "I don't think, I know. And I'm also sure that Cho, or Isabelle or whatever she's calling herself, is an unwilling participant." Nightwing crossed his arms and didn't respond, so he continued, "Before Mrs. March changed her and Isabelle's first names, she had a restraining order issued against her husband. He wasn't supposed to come within five hundred feet of either of them, wasn't even supposed to call them. And when Mrs. March was murdered, Cho just disappeared."
"And then she shows up at her father's penthouse, pretending to be his secretary," Nightwing concluded, hands clenching into fists. "You really think she doesn't have a choice? I mean, the girl's about sixteen, right? Definitely old enough to make her own choices."
"Dick," Bruce said softly, "Cho's mother was murdered and she was kidnapped when she was only five. I think March and the C of O have been training her for something. Something big."
"Okay, I can see how the Marches are involved. But I still don't get how you've come to the conclusion that Isabelle is a victim here. If she really is so unwilling, wouldn't she have left?"
"Not if she feels threatened."
"And how, exactly, did you come to that conclusion?"
"A couple of months ago, I was fighting Ventriloquist and he-"
"Had you in his sights." Dick shrugged at the look Batman gave him, "Barb told me about it. She also said that a telepath saved you and then just ran..." He trailed off, eyes going wide.
After putting Nathan back in his crib, Diana decided to check in on Tim. She entered the young man's room just as J'onn's eyes changed from bright yellow back to their normal dull red.
Tim shook his head in an effort to clear it, looking more than a little uncomfortable. The Amazon sat beside him on the bed and the eighteen year old immediately latched onto her. J'onn must have brought up some of the bad memories...
Speaking of the Martian, he didn't seemed too concerned. Merely thoughtful.
"What did you find, J'onn?"
"Only a little more than you already know, Diana. The connection's no longer there, but I was able to find enough evidence of it to establish that it had been a two way connection. Unconsciously done."
Tim pulled away from her, "It means that Cho didn't know that she was showing me one of her memories."
"And she probably didn't know what she was doing until she saw one of Tim's."
Diana straightened, eyes widening, "She knows?!"
J'onn was already shaking his head, "The memory she saw was from..." The Martian trailed off, meeting Tim's eyes.
The boy sighed, rubbing his temples, "From the first night after Joker kidnapped me. Before he took my mask off and before I told him..." He cut off, burying his face in his hands.
"It wasn't your fault, Tim," Diana soothed, rubbing the young man's back gently.
"I just want to be left alone, okay?"
Cho couldn't believe what she was hearing. How the heck did they figure all of that out?! Unknown to either of the two men, she was situated in the hallway, right outside the door to the study. Batman and Nightwing were in discussion about her, and she couldn't help but be unsettled by how much the Dark Knight knew about her. No one's supposed to have access to all of that information. But the Batman apparently did.
They know too much now. At this point, the Talon would want her to interfere. And she knew what that would entail... He'll have me kill them. And I can't do that. I won't.
So caught up was she in her mental debate that she almost jumped when the Talon's voice hissed in her ear. Cho pressed her hand over the earpiece to hear better. "Let them take you, Apprentice," the assassin hissed again.