Red Hood stood over the cowering man, a man who thought he could rob the formidable anti-villain, "Marty, Marty, Marty… Marty."
"Hey Red Hood, what's this guy's name?"
"Ruining my shtick, Freak."
I rolled my eyes and motioned for him to continue.
"Marttyy. What made you think it was a good idea to mess with my funds?"
"Stupidity if I had to guess." I tried to help the cowering man.
The man nodded with a fearful expression, "Stupidity, stupidity." He let out a panicked breath as he tried to crawl away, "I'm sorry, Red Hood. I promise I won't ever screw you-" Red Hood cut him off by clamping a hand around the man's throat.
"Red Hood." I sighed.
Which he returned, "You're lucky, Freak ain't one of mine, but the big bad Bats. All bluster and fury, but with a pussy ass moral code."
Not a code in my case. Just a fucking precaution, so I don't become a raving horror movie psycho or comparable to an inmate that fits well with stark raving lunatics in Arkham.
"Leave. Leave for good because if I do see you in my city again, ain't nobody going stop me from putting a slug in between your eyes." Red Hood eased up, allowing the man to slip past us and into the darkened streets of Gotham.
The murky skyline whistling along with the wind. The sounds of three beings trying so hard to blend in with their environments.
I sighed yet again, "Fuck."
"Colour me impressed. The nerd wouldn't have noticed them till one of them had a fist up his ass."
"Hey, leave Red Robin alone." I weakly defended my sort of friend.
Red Hood ignored me, "Hey mouth-breathers. We know you're there. Come on out."
The three of them didn't waste their or our time as they dropped to the ground in front of us. A hulking bulk of a man. A lean man with a glowing double end bo stick. Finally, a slender woman with a similar glowing katana.
"Is that a-"
Red Hood almost sighed, "No, it isn't a lightsaber."
"I was going to say darksaber, but speaking of which do you think Batman would make me one if I asked?"
"Nah, he keeps all the cool toys."
"You, swine. You think you can kill Shot and then ignore us?" The woman roared in a fury, cutting our idle chatter.
"Well, yeah." Red Hood put out an air of indifference, "It's what I'm doing now, ain't it?"
The woman growled as she rushed towards Red Hood.
I arched my shoulder back as Red Hood leapt back to avoid her strikes. I looked towards the other two, "If I said I don't have a horse in this race, would you believe me?" Their resounding answer was for the bo wielder to send an overarching strike to my head. My teeth clenched as I blocked the strike with my forearm, "A simple no would've sufficed."
"Why didn't you dodge?" Red Hood called out as he weaved around, deflecting the woman's blows with his knife.
"Testing my limits," I said. I shook off my arm as I proceeded to dodge and weave around an onslaught of blows.
A massive hand clamped onto my shoulder. I twisted my upper torso and landed a series of blows to the exposed parts of the huge man's armour. He grunted in pain as he released his hold, allowing me to hook my leg behind his knee, and as he toppled, I threw the man into the path of a bo strike.
The electrified bo sent sparks through the shaded green armour coursing along the man's body, knocking the bloke out, or at least I hoped.
"Dammit, Baton." The woman cried out to her teammate.
"Wait, who's Baton?"
"The jamoke, you knocked out." Red Hood supplied as he backflipped away from yet another sword swipe.
"He's using a bo staff." I uttered out in bewilderment, turning to the woman, "What's your name Sai?"
Red Hood let out a sound that could've been mistaken for a snort.
Focusing back on my opponent. I gave the man a grin taunting him. He once again tried to strike me with an arching overhead attack. If I had to guess, he was putting more power into it. Hence why it was slower this time around, perfect.
I caught the non-glowing part of the bo with one hand, and I slid to my side using my right arm. I bumped it into his stance, forcing him to loosen his hold on his weapon, allowing me to grip it and sweep him off his feet.
As he laid on the ground, I slammed the tip of the bo into the centre of his chest, tasering the man, and for good measure, I hit the edge of the staff against the man's head, striking him across the jaw.
I turned around and dropped the bo on the ground, zeroing on Red Hood taking down the woman.
"Huh, impressive. You let him hit you so you could excess his stance and defence first hand. Ballsy. Stupid as well."
I shrugged my shoulders, "Kind of my wheelhouse."
"Got a good one here, Batman." Red Hood said offhandedly.
"Red Hood," His pupilless eyes narrowed onto me.
"Hey, Batman." I greeted the man with a slight pang of nervousness entering my voice.
"We're calling him Freak on the field." Red Hood snapped his fingers as he pointed to me.
"No, we're not," Batman said in a slight growl.
"Eh, I don't mind it." I shrugged my shoulders, certainly not the worst thing I've been called in either life.
Batman sighed in defeat; he cocked his head to the side, looking at the unconscious bodies, "You didn't kill." His pupilless eyes glowed blue for a brief moment before flickering back to normal.
"Don't get your hopes up. He took down two of them, and plus, Freak didn't want me spilling blood in front of him, probably squeamish."
Batman turned his attention back to me, "Eh, not like we had time to get into my backstory."
"Just enough time to join him on whatever crusade this is?" Batman bites back at me.
"It's better than being cooped in the cave. Constantly being watched like I'm some time bomb on the verge of imploding."
Batman took my words with a nod.
"The remaining members of the Fearsome Four escaped Blackgate hours earlier today." Batman stated as he turned towards Red Hood, changing the subject almost instantly, "It was easy enough to figure out they were seeking you for revenge."
"Simple enough to figure," Red Hood snarked, "seeing how I iced one of theirs and beat the rest of them like chump change."
"With my help." Batman grunted in response with a hard edge to his voice, "Luckily, you had backup tonight as well." Batman turned his gaze to me as he gave me a slight nod.
"Really, B? give the kid some credit. A friggein' nod, are you kidding me?"
"He shouldn't be out here and fighting." Batman intoned.
Red Hood snorted, "Why? Worried he's going to be beaten to death?" Wounds are definitely fresh, but hey, he ain't trying to kill Batman, and Batman ain't trying to take him down. I'm guessing they have an uneasy agreement not to mess with each other, though knowing Bruce, he's just waiting to either bring back Jason into the fold or take him down when he goes too far. Just once again lamenting, I may know these characters, but I do not know what's to come wholly.
"No," Batman said, nothing else.
I'm pretty sure Red Hood rolled his eyes under his helmet, "Care to elaborate?"
Batman didn't budge, causing me to let out a huff, "I want to know as well."
He turned his attention to me, "Not now. Not here. Let's head back."
I could tell the Gotham Knight wasn't going to say anything else on the matter, "Red Hood, thanks for this."
He let out a snort dismissing my thanks, "See ya around, brat."
"Young man, do you have any idea how worried we were?" Alfred gave the young teen a withering gaze. All the while, Damian gave his cousin a thinly hidden look of amusement.
Only when did Alfred stop his guilt trip did the young boy bowed his head, "I apologise for worrying you Alfred, I did not realise you'd worry so much." The apology slipped out of him with a hint of a robotic tone, as if the idea of apologising for something was a mundane task, no I've Two being sincere, this was a reflex, but to what?
Alfred sighed, "I understand you may not be so used to couped up, but you must understand that you cannot simply walk off on your own, especially not in a city like Gotham." Alfred is not wrong for worrying, the man taking an instant liking to the young boy. Two has an air about him, something similar to Dick, an underline kindness. Sure all the kids have been kind, even Jason, but with Two and Dick, they just seem like the type of boys who would shoulder the world so that others could live comfortably.
"Two is the third most skilled warrior in Gotham." Damian scoffed with the arrogance apparent in his voice. A stray thought amused me, the idea of all previous Robins hearing that and their reactions. Dick would just give a cocky condensing grin aptly gained from years of experience, Jason would probably throw a punch in anger, and Tim, Tim would scowl and then force himself in a bone-breaking gauntlet to close whatever perceived gap he believes there is.
Yet there's Two, someone made to kill The Justice League and I, a being made for the sole purpose of being unbeatable in a one-on-one fight, and he simply shrugs in response. It wasn't him simply being humble or even giving his cousin a boost in not needed confidence. I don't think he realises the level he is on.
To catch an arrow in mid-flight, to on the fly taking down a speedster, taking down four assassins in a beat of a minute after being ambushed, all that has set apart Two from the Red Robin and his team, but what truly cemented his skill for me was taking down Nightwing twice.
Nightwing the embodiment of everything I want for Gotham's protector. Thankfully he lacks all of my flaws, taking in everything I had to offer like a fish to water. I could die soundly knowing he'll be there to take my mantle, yet the younger boy dismantled Nightwing, quickly to boot.
The first time purely out of instinct, showcasing the raw, unfettered skills he had at his disposal. The second I had tasked Nightwing to gauge his aptitude to a one-on-one where he showed restraint. The results confirmed what I had initially concluded.
Two was engineered perfectly, except for one flaw the League of Assassin's considers it just that, his humanity. He was made to kill and only to kill, but he took his purpose and denied it.
I'm thankful that a half-demon teenaged boy made to be one of the most deadliest beings on this earth, and yet the thought never once came across to him that he's a natural-born or, I supposed I should say, natural made killer.
"Alfred, Damian. I would like a word with Two." My son gave me a suspicious look, but he slinked off, but knowing full well neither myself nor Talia would ever show restraint, I could guess that Damian would be somewhere in the shadows. Alfred just gave me a warning look.
The man loves me with every fibre, but it is not unconditional. No, that type of love is fictional fairy tale nonsense. No, he loves me enough so that he calls me out on my bullshit whenever he needs to. Usually, the bullshit is always concerning the children and their safety, well as much safety the likes of Dick, Jason, and Tim can muster. Now added to the litter, my son born for the purpose of taking over Ra's position and the lab-grown half-demon hyper assassin.
I walked over to my workstation and pluck the gunmetal coloured belt, I tossed it over to the boy, and he plucked it out of the air without looking, "I knew inevitably that you would want to go out on patrol, but I wanted you to start your training with Raven."
"Are you worried that I will kick the bucket?" He asked, knowing both of us already knew the answer to that, or well, I hope he understands. If not, I may need to broach the subject of his lack of self-assurance. Being overly cocky is a problem that I would see Jason or Damian having, but on the latter end, I don't want Two to always kick himself down like Tim.
"I was worried, to put it simply when sparring against Nightwing, you moved excellently, but the undertones of it all spoke that you are not quite used to combat."
He nodded his head in agreement, "I know how to fight sure, my mind tells me how to act, and my body reacts."
"You're currently reactive, not preventive. It will take some time for you to be able to switch between the two on the fly, but your fight with the formerly Fearsome Four, proves to me, at the very least, I do not need to put on some training wheels, so to speak."
"Thank you, Bruce." Yet again, he proves to be a different breed to the other boys, they all would've reacted differently at the fact I was barring them from patrol and just now removing it, but none of them would've thanked me.
The absence of punishment, well, maybe not a punishment in this case, but still the lack of it, and he is simply thankful for it.
He's a child of abuse, but Damian doesn't show the exact extent of Two's damage. Should I be thankful for that? Hopefully, Dinah can figure out the enigma of my newest ward.
The green-skinned heroes slurped his drink, a goofy smile on his face as he looked at me before his gaze going over to an alabaster skinned woman, "Don't see much of a resemblance." He snapped his fingers as if a sudden lightbulb appeared over his head, "Maybe that's what you'll look like if you got some sun."
She turned her gaze from me to the man, "Shut up, Gar. I told you, you're not allowed to stick around if you're going to keep making jokes."
"Why you're worried that I'll make you laugh and ruin your image of the stoic teacher." She gave him a flat look.
"Why are you even here?"
Garfield's expression didn't lose an inch of his happiness, "Because you're amazing as heroin, as a person, and now I get to see you be awesome as a teacher."
Her passive visage cracked, and the corner of her lips quirked up.
"So, should I leave the room, give you two a minute or…."
"No." I wouldn't call it a mask, but whatever the correct word is, it slipped back into place, "We train."
I sighed as my stalling tactic failed, "You've read the file about me."
Garfield snorted, "There's no actual file."
I shrugged my shoulders, "I meant it in a metaphorical sense."
"Stalling." Rachel said with an annoyed expression.
"Yeah." I didn't bother denying it, "I'm scared." She gives me a nod, and Garfield gives me a look of pity, "I'm not exactly stable." I ran a hand through my hair, "Sure, the meds are helping, and I'm learning to tune out the voice."
'Fuck you.' One chimed out.
"But what happens if…." I trailed, trying to find the right words.
"What happens if you're as broken as me?" Rachel Roth, my fellow half-demon, finished my question.
"You're not broken," Garfield stated while losing his smile.
"Yes. I am." She touched his hand, "But I'm lucky enough to have someone like to keep me anchored." The green-skinned being looked away with a shy smile. Rachel turned her focus back to me, "Our emotions are linked to our powers. It's the basis of demonology. Our negative ones greatly affect us."
"I don't even know my powers. Do demons have different powers, or can we all do the same things to an extent?"
She shook her head, "No, but we'll find out yours together." She waved to the training. I spotted Tim glance my way. When our eyes met, he gave me a cheery grin while Artemis scowled indifferently.
"Are you okay, Two?" Damian poked at my side as I buried my head in the book.
Though it was to no avail as I could feel Dick's Cheshire like grin being sent my way, he really is a cock-sandwich.
"Oh, is someone in love." He whispered to me.
I closed the book and used the spine of it to hit the fleshy part of his thigh.
The drop-dead gorgeous woman stopped her wheelchair with an amused shake of her head, "As much as things change, more the things stay the same."
The blonde girl let out a huff as she regarded me with an angry expression, "All I see is changes."
"Steph," Barbra Gordon placed a hand on Stephine Brown's forearm, "play nice."
"Yeah, Two." Dick said with a playful tone rubbing his thigh, "Play nice."
I gave him a blank look, "I will put you in a body bag."
"Alright, Cobra Kai." He just simply grinned.
"Cobra Kai never dies," I replied with a slight grin which only caused the older man to give me a toothy grin.
"You watched them! Did you watch any other movies on the list?" Dick questioned as he referred to the list he made for Damian and me when he figured that the both of us didn't have access to a wide range of movies and shows with the League of Assassins.
"Dick," Barbra snapped a finger in front of his face, "Focus."
He gave her a sheepish smile before turning his attention back to me, "Your first patrol, nervous?"
"I would be lying if I said I wasn't." I shrugged.
He gives me a calming smile, "Don't worry, you'll be fine. You'll kill it," The redhead, the wheelchair-bound woman let out a groan as she rolled her eyes, "oh wait, poor choice of words."
A/N - 30/05/2021