This is one of the projects started by a forum I'm on, we are making background stories for our main characters :) I hope that you enjoy. IF you enjoy this, check out the other stories in the forum
It's strange enough term with multiple definitions but one that is used more often. "A place or location where one feels safe and or comfortable."
It didn't seem sane to anyone to use such a term to describe Gotham City. Few did, one of those was Allen Thomas. Then again he didn't live like most of the residents did, few were as rich as his father Bruce Wayne.
But even if he didn't have such a nice life, he was sure he'd still love his city. Even now, as the rain poured down on him as he left the downtown Thai-food restaurant he loved so much. Well, maybe it wasn't the city so much as the people. They were a persevering bunch. Everyone here had to grow a thicker skin. Almost like evolving. Allen had grown such a evolution, despite his joyous smile. He peered up at the sky from under his hood, the rain was coming down pretty good. He hoped that the food inside would stay dry until he got back to the manor. He dropped a couple of bucks into a street musicians case before hurrying forward. Up ahead was the glint of his black car, his pride and joy. He hurried forward and slid in, appreciating the dryness of the interior. He leaned back and enjoyed the sound of rain against the frame . Now when most people saw his car, they automatically thought his dad paid for it. But the fact was he worked HARD for this car, all summer in a construction site to pay for it. That's how he got his new muscles, that and years of gymnastics and high diving (and his father's training). And from trying to jump Dick, his adopted older brother ( and running away from Dick when said jumps failed)
Allen brushed his bangs out of his face before starting up his car. He knew a lot of other folks that were rich, most of them got their money from their parents. They were also quite snobby, he never hung or talked with them. They were fine with living off there families coattails, but he wasn't.
That was something his dad had taught him. And , with a grin to his face, he had passed with flying colors. The pounding of water on metal increased to a constant drone. Luckily, through the water, he could see the gothic "Dark Shadows" gate that indicated the Wayne property. He pulled to a halt by the intercom. Risking getting drenched by the rain, he rolled down his window and pressed the red button, "Alfred! Mind opening the gate?" and he paused, waiting for a moment, but nothing happened, he pressed the button again, "Alfred-"
"So Sorry Allen, the gate seems to have broken again."
"Seriously?! Its freaking wet out here!"
"If you would like, I can go open the gate by hand."
"Nah, I can handle it. Just stay inside." he rolled back up the window and took off his jacket, wrapping up the bag of delicious food. He tucked the bag under his arm and paused for a sec. Before opening the door,
Immediately cold rain started pouring, drenching his clothes and going in ever nook and cranny. Spitting out liquid he stumbled out of the car, taking care lock it behind him, (It was Gotham after all) and hurried for the gate. He leapt forward, grabbing the bar of the gate with one hand and securing the bag with the other, bracing his slipping feet he yanked up and flipped over the gate. With his eyes blinded he awaited the solid earth beneath his feet to signal his landing.
Water swelled up around him, his instincts brought the food up over his head before he was completely submerged in a puddle, the water reaching well past his head. He blew out a couple of bubbles in frustration before awkwardly climbing out. Loosing his flip-flops in the process (not that they were really helping anyway).
With that he started running as fast as he could, bag high over his head, "STAY DRY STAY DRY!" he ordered the food, despite lack of vision he knew his way back pretty well. It was only a matter of moments before the dark shape of the manor came into view, the door opening.
With a wide grin he leapt forward out of the downpour , sliding through the open doorway on the slick surface. With a grin he raised the bag even higher as though it was a trophy , "HAHAHA! I DID IT!"
"Very good Allen, you have broken the record again. And managed to turn the front room into a pool."
Glancing over at the door Allen saw Alfred, probably one of the few people in the world he considered to be family. He was a kind old man , who served many roles over the lives of him and his father. He was a mentor, veteran, nurse, doctor, referee, chef, surgeon-well. Lets just say it would be easier to list the things he wasn't. He also saw that the water he had brought in (mostly from his clothes) had indeed drenched he floor, "Heh heh, sorry." he shook his head from side to side to get the water out of his hair, then he peeled off his shirt and wrung it out in the bucket that Alfred had brought over ( he knew him so well), "What about Dick and Dad? Are they -"
"still here?" came a familiar voice
Allen turned around to see the familiar site of Dick Grayson walking down the stairs, his face grinning. Which Allen shared, " Brought the food!" he held up the soaked jacket, "Authentic Thai Food from Kurry-ville!"
Dick smiled and took the jacket, draping a arm over his neck, "Just like old days right Ally?"
Allen grinned (of course anyone else without special permission would get there face pounded in) glancing behind him then frowned for a moment, "Hey, where's-"
"In the Bat-cave, he said he'd be out when he's done. He's working on a Justice League building project"
Allen frowned, then grabbed the bag again, reaching into the bag and reaching in and picking up the package marked "Older Wayne", "I'll be right back." then hurried down the hall. Walking up the old Grandfather clock. He pressed his hand against the side of it, touching the small crack. With a grinding of stone, the clock swung away, which revealed the entrance to the bat-cave. "Dad?" he called before making his descent, the only response he got was the echo of his own voice. He remembered the first time he had found this tunnel, back when he was just a kid. The feelings when he discovered his father's secret, the hurt, the confusion. But he got over his feelings, no point in dwelling ( especially after his dad took him for ride in the bat-jet).
He made it down to the end of the tunnel, over the years since then, same enormously expensive toys (well, his dad never referred to them as toys, but how could he NOT get enjoyment out of it?). And there was the Dark Knight himself, sitting at the large computer. Dressed in civilian clothes (a rare sight indeed), he had his elbows propped on his desk, fingers intertwined against his chin. Eyes in a dead stare.
Allen grabbed a rolley chair and slid over, "Hey Dad, having fun?"
Bruce glanced over at him before glancing back at the computer screen. Which meant 'leave me alone.' Fortunately , Allen was known to get past such attitudes. He took out the bowl and peeled back the paper lid, a soup of spices and chicken sitting in almost a heavenly arrangement, "Such a shame, it smells really tasty, and its still warm."
Another glance, this time with a glare. That was actually a good sign
"mmmmhmm. Sure smells good. " he used the lid to waved the warm steam in Bruce's direction, " too bad its going to go waste cause someone is putting something as minute as a building project over this delicious meal." he sighed stirring around the soup with a plastic spoon, allowing even more of the herbs to come out, "Maybe, maybe I shouldn't let this soup go to waste. After all, this is a masterpiece….I guess I'll have to be the hero here." he scooped up the soup in his spoon and slowly started to rise it up to his mouth, ready to take a bite. Suddenly something incredibly sharp pinched into his finger from either side with such force he dropped the spoon, "OOWOOWO!" glancing up he saw his Dad looking at him, eyes grinning as he held his bat-a-rangs like chopsticks, the two sharpest points digging into Allen's sensitive knuckles, "Hands. Off. My. Tom Yam Gai ."
"Got it got it!" he wiggled his finger until Bruce let it go, Allen yanked his hand away, rubbing it. Though his no skin was broken. He glanced up at his Dad, who had taken the soup, "does this mean you're going to take a break?
Bruce sat back in his seat, as though thinking for a moment then glanced over, his eyes smiling "I supposed."
Allen grinned brightly, that worked every time. "Lets hurry before Alfred and Richard eat without us."
That was always something he had been able to do, it wasn't much. But was always able to get his dad out of the cave for food. Even if it was Thai-food (after-all, even Alfred needed a break). So as he watched his family eat out of disposable bowls around the lit TV screen, it made him smile behind his Singapore noodles. As he thought of the journey it took to get here….it all started 15 years ago…with the death of his mother. He didn't have a lot of memories of her, but he remembered her voice…warm, funny…but after she had died (in labor to his premature little sibling) the memories became faded. But he remembered his father, how he had gone from laughing and smiling to cold and distant. For months he didn't even talked. Allen was only 3 at the time, but he worked so hard to break his father's prison….it took a while…but Allen finally made him smile. And eventually Allen had his father back. And that was the last time that had happened, except recently. It was about 6 months ago when he had fallen into another speechless depression. That time, though, Bruce had locked himself in the Batcave, staying under his cowl for 10 weeks straight. Allen couldn't coax him out for nothing, but Bruce eventually left himself. But never speaking about what had done it. But Allen was just happy to have it past.
Allen blinked in mid-spoonful/shovel and blinked for a sec, he saw his father glancing over at him, and realized Bruce. had been trying to talk, he slurped the Singapore Noodles, "Yeah? What?"
Bruce laughed softly ,he was used to this, "I was asking you how you're classes are going, you know, at Gotham University?"
"They're ….going…..going. The business classes are a little boring, and the trig makes me want to pull me hair out."
"Business?" his face furrowed and he set the bowl aside. Allen could already feel a lecture coming on," I thought you wanted to do art, graphic design or whatever."
"That's right!" came Dick, his face had a smile (not exactly out of curiosity). Now it was like when he and Dick were kids again, growing up, and one of them was about to get in trouble. Especially as he leaned forward on his elbows. Allen glared at him, trying to kick at him from under the coffee table, which met retaliation (for being one of the most respected heroes in the world, Dick was not about a 'under the table' kick fight'). Dick nodded back for Allen to pay attention to Bruce. Who was now glaring suspiciously.
"I do…." he put his head close to his bowl, slowly shoveling in beef and noodles, "Well-"slurp, "Its like this, " slurp, "I want to create a living on my own, "slurp, "And I might not like," slurp, "Business," slurp, "It does guarantee me a job, "Slurp Slurp, "And security, "slurp slurp slurp- he tried to take a sip but he once again found a block in the form of a bat-a-rang. Allen glanced up at hi father before slowly setting the bowl down, wiping his mouth, "Sorry, I just would rather use my college time to do something that would waste my time…."
"And WHO said it was a waste of time?' The grin on Dicks face was practically growing its own face. If course HE'D enjoy this conversation, he and his adopted brother had this same talk many times. Even though it was nice he was trying to be supportive, Allen couldn't fight the urge the reach over and punch Dick in the face, (or try).
Bruce's eyes narrowed, "Mr. EIVEN?" he glared at Alfred, "As in Paul Eiven?"
The elderly butler nodded, "Apparently he's teaching at the Gotham University, a last minute replacement professor. He's teaching Biology.`
Paul Eiven was a famous scientist, and a famous artist. Allen had admired his work growing up. He had started putting up Eivens' work on his wall when he was just 3 . So, for his 12th Birthday, Bruce took Allen down to one of Eivens' exclusive exhibits. Allen had been so excited that he had taken all of his best personal pieces and brought it down. And when he had told Eiven it was his dream to be a artist 'like him'. Which ended with the guy laughing in his face because, in his words 'what idiot would actually dedicate their LIFE to art'. To Eiven, it was nothing but a soulless mindless hobby that paid for his gas money. He also added that Allen's art would be very beneficial. As toilet paper.
Which, of course, resulted in Bruce punching Eiven in the face so hard that Eivens facial bones ( and even the back of his skull) were shattered. Bruce even cracked his knuckle. After that, Allen never stopped drawing but it put a hindrance on his dream of a art degree.
Bruce looked over at his son again, "did he talk to you?"
Honestly sometimes Allen wondered if his name really was 'Ally; "No, but that doesn't mean that his words weren't true, its just safer this way."
"Safe?" Dick couldn't shut up, not for one moment. "Allen, the word doesn't exist around you. You almost broke your neck on a string of yarn."
Bruce raised his hand, to silence his protégé, "Allen, if you want to pursue a Business major, that's fine, ,but don't do it because some idiots making you feel insecure."
Allen nodded, slowly returning back to his meal. He knew his dad was right. But he didn't like to admit it…he'd think about it. And with a nod, he told his father that same message. And with that there was silence. It lasted a little bit and Bruce and Alfred eventually left till it was just Allen and Dick. Allen kept eating until his spoons were scraping paper. He moved his spoon around the empty space till his spoon hit something, automatically he scooped it into his mouth.. That's when he realized that it was NOT edible That Dick, in true essence of his name, he thrown a smoke bomb into his Singapore Noodles when he wasn't looking. And now he had touched it.
And put it into his mouth.
Which activated it
Which meant he had 2 seconds until-
As soon as he spat it out of his mouth, smoke shot in his face, putrid pepper spray smell entering his nose, his eyes and his mouth. He threw his arm over his mouth and coughed uncontrollably, yelling out, 'I'M GOING TO KILL YOU DICK!" but his voice was muffled by Dicks' wild laughter, now receding as he ran away. Yeah sure, it was probably his way of trying to get Allen to lighten up, but THIS.
Dick seemed to forget, Allen didn't just get revenge. He got revenge in a unholy amount of time. His secret?
He was the son of Batman.
Do the math.
So within the minute, he had a special present for Dick. So, as soon as Allen heard Dick's door open, his revenge was in place. There was a muted explosion, and pink paint smoke flowed down the hall. Of course, it was harmless to the priceless treasures that made up the Wayne Manor.
It was, however, extremely staining to skin. Which was followed by the squeaking sliding of shoes and the unholy scream
Of course, by this time Allen was on the run. Climbing up the staircase he ran down the hall. According to their speed differences, Allen only had 1.3 seconds before Dick caught him and tried to beat the light freckles off every inch of his body. He hurried down the hall and made several quick turns. At the last one he froze and slid back around the corner.
But his father had not seen him. (at least if he did, he didn't acknowledge him). He was standing just outside a door, though the wood of it was dusty, the doorknob that he had his fingers wrapped around was practically dust free. But his hand simply hung there, as though contemplating going in. His face was heavy with sadness, as though he had gained 50 years in the short length of time. After a few seconds, Bruce turned and left, ready to return to his true existence. Allen waited till he was gone before creeping out and walking down the hall. He remembered this hall well, While most rooms had changed over the past 16 years. His father had refused to change it….he remembered when he had first found it….
It was in a situation much like this, he could hear Dick running behind him screaming out his revenge. Of course back then he had simply filled up Dicks pillows with frogs.
"ALLEN I'M GOING TO KIL YOU!"
Of course , 8 year old Allen was much faster then 12 year old Dick. But 12 year old Dick had a lot more endurance. And the only way Allen was going to survive this experience was if he found a place to hide. He ducked down a previously forgotten hallway that lead to his fathers room, a lone door sitting there. Allen instinctively slid up to it and started to pull on the door knob with urgency. But it didn't give way, fearing his older brothers wrath he pulled a paper clip out of his pocket and wiggled around in the knob till it clicked (he didn't' know why his father taught him this skill, but it sure came in handy) before running in and slamming the door shut. Allen smiled to himself (as he heard Dick run past yelling about the numerous noogies he was going to endure), thinking himself the smartest little brother in the whole world. When it occurred to him that he had never been in this room before. Which was odd seeing as he had made it his mission to memorize the layout of the manor. He felt the wall and flipped the light-switch. He found himself in a light pink room, a white crib against the wall and several high priced baby care products, one shelf was covered in stuffed animals dusted with (well) dust. Allen walked forward, looking around. What kind room was this? He walked over to the crib looking in but the little bed was stiff and unused. For some reason this made his heart grow heavy . There was a small embroider white pillow, hand sewn with light silver letters, he struggled with the strange arrangement "Sa-Say-Sam-" the sound of creaking wood brought his attention to the door, he saw his father poking his head in. "Allen? What are you doing in here?"
"Hiding from Dick," he looked around the room again for sec, "Dad what is this place?" when he glanced at his father, he saw the sadness. But at the time he was unable to understand why, "Dad?"
Bruce sighed and walked over to him, kneeling down to get at eye level, "Allen, do you remember your mom?"
"Mom?" it was faint, but it registered a nice feeling. It made him feel warm. He smiled and nodded.
"Remembered what happened to her?"
"She went to heaven, with Dicks' parents, right?"
"Right son…well, before she went to heaven, she was having a little baby. A little girl."
"Like a little sister?" he looked at the pillow in his hands, "Sam?"
"Samantha, it was my mothers middle name. And she was supposed to live in this room."
"She was?" he looked around, confused his mom had died a long time ago, "where's the baby then? Why isn't she here with us?" He watched his fathers face , he didn't understand why he was so sad. Of course at the time he didn't understand death at the time, its what made it so hard for him to relate to Dick.
"She…decided to go with your mom to heaven. She didn't want her to be lonely."
" are you lonely Dad? Do you miss adults? Do you miss Aunt Jonas?"
His father smiled at him sadly. Also at the time, he had no idea that Bruce had so greatly disliked his wives sister. Allen didn't' understand it at the time (after all, she always brought him presents) but older, looking back, he now saw his aunts rudeness. Always trying to push his parents apart. But his uncle had always seemed nice, but he always made Allen feel uncomfortable. But that was another story all together. Bruce ruffled Allen's' black hair, "of course not Allen, I have you, Alfred, and Dick."
It was such a simple answer that Allen smiled immediately. Suddenly the door swung open and Dick was standing there, his face flustered at first then it faded, as though he could sense Bruce's feelings, "Bruce? Is something wrong?"
Allen watched his father stand back up, wiping the dust off his knees before gently pushing Allen in his direction taking the small pillow out of his hands and setting it back in the crib, 'Go help Dick clean up the frogs, and Dick, don't' kill your brother."
Dick's face frowned for a moment, as though that was his EXACT plan. But sighed, grabbed Allen's' hand, "Come on, "Before dragging him out the door. Allen stole one last glance. In time to see his father close the door behind him, pause for a moment, his fingers touching the knob one last time before walking away.
Allen touched the door, it as though nothing had changed in the 15 years it had taken to get here. He could tell from the dust less doorknob that his father had visited this room many more times. Of course, now he understood his mother had died in labor and so had the baby. He had even visited the graves….Ever since he realized their deaths, and the impact it had on his father, he had worked even harder to be a good son. It wasn't even till last year when Alfred told him how much he had in common with his mother. Their jokes, their laugh it was all similar. At first Allen thought it was causing him pain. But his fathers' smile ensured him otherwise.
Allen stepped away from the door for a sec, smiling sadly. He wished he had known his little sister, 'Samantha' even for a moment…but he had Dick…and even if it wasn't the same, he wouldn't trade Dick-
Dick came out of nowhere and slammed into Allen with the force of a freight train and into the ground. The two bouncing off the carpet, he felt his "brother" press something against the back of his head and then his face into the ground. He heard Dick run way laughing as he coughed for a moment before reaching up with aching muscled to feel the back of his head. His hand immediately stuck o something sticky. When he tried to yank his hand away, he found it unsuccessful. At first Allen sat their fuming, then laughed slowly, standing up, took a deep breath then propped up on his elbows and bellowed, 'IM GOING TO KILL YOU DICK!"
And so the race was on.
In New York City, there were a lot of legends born. In any type of uniform. But very few had caught the level of Wildcat. Making his story from 60 years against crime. During the time he trained many heroes, most of which found their way to the Justice League which he was very proud of.
He had to admit though, as he pounded away against the leather punching bag in his gym. It was hard when he never heard from those heroes again. He understood though, and wasn't' petty. Batman was pretty good about it though. Many times a week he'd come by and they'd box together. Wildcat even managed to give his old student a run for his money. He didn't just enjoy winning though, he enjoyed the fighting in itself. The old hero found himself smiling as he thought back to all those fights (not so much the ones in the ring). He enjoyed boxing so much that he moved into gym and closed up his house (it was still his, but he didn't live there). Now it was just him here, and his students he found off the street. After a few seconds, he let the bag swing on its own and called up to the stairs, his newest student sure was taking her time., "you coming kid? The bags getting cold" he hadn't had a student live in the gym for a while, but he wanted to give children off the streets a chance. They deserved happiness and a chance at life. He heard light footsteps and turned around to see the young teenage girl hurrying down the stairs, tying off the bandages on her wrists. Her black hair tied off with old shoe-strings and a thick pair of metal glasses against her face, "Sorry sorry!" she hurried across the woven floor mat
"Kid, honestly what do you do in your spare time?"
"you know…write down equations, new ideas and such.'
Wildcat smiled, his student was pretty young. But she was pretty smart, her level of intelligence was up there with those mad scientists. But luckily she was anything but wild. He offered her a smile before walking around the punching bag and gripping it tightly, "Alright Sam, let's go over what we did yesterday."