Somewhere deep in the mountains, a scream split the still night.
Hours later, a light flickered in the northernmost room of the abbey. It was old, had been there long before the group currently calling it home had taken up residence and it would be there long after they abandoned the structure. A woman leaned across the tangled sheet on the bed and dipped her soft cloth into the cool water on the nightstand. She wrung it out with brisk efficiency and straightened up once more. Slowly, with the air of one well acquainted with the motions, she began to dab the boy's warm forehead.
Fever. Night terrors. The reaction was standard, as far as she knew. No one but her father had ever truly used the pool beneath the abbey's floors and emerged whole, sane, human once more, but this boy had done it. Unwillingly, but that was no matter. The genetic material was stored the moment he died in the ambush, but strands of DNA were not enough for the Lazarus Pit. She'd needed the body, broken and beaten as it might have been.
It took her a week of tense nights and stressful days before she managed to sneak away to Gotham and collect what she needed. Her had to leave her little shadow at the abbey, taking him would have drawn unwanted attention. Her father had eyes everywhere. Besides, there was only so much an eight year old could do to assist with the excavation of a grave and the exhuming of a body. The sight was grisly, the bodie half decayed from the nine months kept under ground. It didn't matter how decayed the body was so long as the dip in the Pit was long enough.
She kept him submerged for three weeks, checking each day that the boy's body had healed just a bit more. Her little shadow followed her down to the pit and back up to the abbey each time, drawn by his curiosity to go where ever she went. It was that curiosity that was going to get her little shadow killed very soon. He was too clever for his own good, and her father's greed knew no end.
Her son was not safe here any long. There was only place left in the world where he would be beyond the Demon Head's reach. She could not take him there without Father knowing she had learned of his planed betrayal.
"When will he ever wake up Mother?"
"Hush, my son. He will wake soon," she said.
"'M wake now," the boy muttered. One hand lifted to push weakly against the cloth dabbing at his forehead.
She smiled. Bruce knew how to choose his little warriors. Risen from the dead and only half conscious, but the boy was already fighting. He would be the perfect one to guide her child to Gotham.
One hazy blue eye cracked open and squinted up at her.
"Talia? Al Ghul?"
"Hello, Jason," she said softly. "How are you feeling?"
Jason Todd tried to lift his head from the pillow and failed. He blinked up at her, eyes fluttering like mad. A small hand pulled at her shoulder. Talia glanced at the demanding look on her son's face, and then smiled back down at Jason.
He blinked past her shoulder, staring at her little shadow.
"Kid?" Jason muttered.
"He is my son, Damian," Talia said. She leaned close to Jason, watched his eyes as they slid in and out of focus in their effort to follow her motion. She cupped his cheek and stroked one finger across his newly healed, soft cheek.
"I brought you back for a reason, Jason," she whispered. "I have a task for you."
The end. Hope you enjoyed!