dontvotemeout: (comic: dark profile)
[personal profile] dontvotemeout
The one good thing about the superhero showdown in Washington D.C. was that it quickly spread to every television station, which made breaking out of the hospital rather easy. Getting back into the Manor, on the other hand, was a little more complicated.

Jason wasn't even halfway up the stairs before Alfred was right behind him. Bruce might have been the one with the awesome toys, but Alfred had skills of his own, and he could be scarily stealthy when he wanted to be.

"Master Jason, what a pleasant surprise. I thought you would be at the hospital for at least a few more days," Alfred said mildly.

"Yeah, well, plans have changed," Jason said, continuing up the stairs knowing full well that Alfred would follow him.

"Are you certain you should be moving around so quickly?" Alfred asked. There was genuine concern in his voice, and it made Jason finally stop short and turn around.

"I'm feeling a lot better, I swear." It wasn't a total lie. He'd ditched most of his bandages on his way out of the hospital, and really only had the cast on his arm to contend with now. Sure, he felt like if he didn't sit down soon he might fall over instead, but he could sit and pack at the same time. "I've got to catch up with Bruce."

"It looked to me as though he had plenty of help already," Alfred said. "You know that if he were here, he would order you to stay, where you can be safe."

"He already told me to stay at the hospital, but that was before he ended up in freaking D.C.," Jason said. "I can't just lie around and watch him go up against Godfrey. I have to do something."

"I suspected you'd say as much," Alfred said, before turning and going back downstairs. Jason hadn't been able to read his expression, but he didn't have time to worry about it now. As soon as he got to his room, he grabbed his cell phone, frowning when he realized the battery had run out. He set it aside, not having enough time to charge it, and picked up the phone in his room to get a ticket for the next bullet train to D.C.. He'd deal with Bruce and the credit card bill later - his next task was to pack his backpack as lightly as he could, while still making sure he'd have everything he might need to help Batman. Once he finished, he headed back downstairs and went straight for the door, only to find Alfred in his way again, holding a foil-wrapped package.

"What's that?" he asked. He wondered what the package might do to help Alfred stop him, until Alfred handed the package to him.

"The food on trains is dreadful. If you insist on running off to fight, then I insist on you eating properly," Alfred said. "Do try to remain in one piece, if only for Master Bruce's sake."

Jason grinned at Alfred, and gave him a one-armed hug. Alfred never seemed to know how to deal with hugs, which made sense after spending, like, a minute and a half with Bruce, so it was always amusing to hug him and watch his reaction. Even though Jason didn't have a ton of time to spare, there was always time for this.

"Yes, well, you had better get going," Alfred said with only a hint of awkwardness. "You wouldn't want to be late."

Jason tucked the food into his backpack, and gave Alfred a grateful smile before heading out. He had a train to catch, after all.

***

The train ride was fast, but Jason was still worried about not making it to D.C. in time. Luckily, the televisions in the train station were showing the press conference, which had apparently turned into a battle between the superheroes and some scary looking machines. Things seemed to be far from over, so, in a move that was both dangerous and scary, Jason found a place to change into his costume, and stashed his backpack in one of the station lockers. The train station was fairly deserted, so no one seemed to notice Jason until he went outside and headed for the memorial where everything was going down. He'd barely gotten across the street when he found himself being pounced upon by a little girl.

"Robin! Oh boy!" the girl said excitedly, wrapping her arms around his waist. "I'm so glad you're here."

"I, uh, I'm glad I'm here too," Jason said, recovering quickly and patting the girl gently on the head. "What's your name, sweetheart?"

"Lisa," she said, pulling back a little to look up at him. "What happened to your arm?"

Glancing at his cast, it took Jason a moment to think of what he could say that would be safe for a child's ears. "Well, some bad people tried to hurt me, because they're mad at all the superheroes. But I'm okay now," he finally said. "Where are your parents?"

"I don't know. I think they're listening to that awful Godfrey man. They're mad at all the heroes! It's not fair!" she said, looking like she was on the verge of tears.

There were quite a few things that instantly pushed Jason's buttons, and children being abandoned was one of them. "You're not mad at the heroes though, are you?" he asked, crouching down to be at Lisa's eye level.

"Of course not!" Lisa said, shaking her head emphatically. "When I grow up, I want to be a hero too! Me and my friends are gonna be a whole league of heroes!"

As Jason listened, he started to get an idea. If Batman and the others won their fight against the creatures that were attacking, it wouldn't do any good in the end if the people Godfrey had stirred up still wanted costumed heroes dead. If the people were going to be brought back to sanity, Jason was going to have to play a little dirty. "Lisa, are your friends nearby?"

Lisa nodded. "We all live a few blocks away. I think their mommies and daddies are gone too though."

"That's okay," Jason said, smiling and offering her his hand. "How'd you like to help me save some superheroes?"

***

With Godfrey's creatures dealt with, Batman and the others barely had a moment to recover before they found themselves surrounded by civilians, forming a bloodthirsty mob that was growing more furious by the moment. Protest signs and torches turned to weapons in their hands as they glared at the heroes they'd grown to hate so much.

"People, please stay back!" Superman said. "We don't want to hurt you!"

"No! Don't listen to them, my friends!" Godfrey yelled. "They are trying to deceive you! Stop now, and everything we've fought for today will be for nothing! To insure our dream of a new society, you must kill those cursed superheroes, my friends! YOU MUST DESTROY THEM ALL!"

Jason only caught the tail end of Godfrey's rantings, but that was more than enough to hear. "Come on, we have to hurry! Get to the heroes!" he said.

With Lisa's help, Jason had managed to track down nearly a dozen children, all of whom were ecstatic to see him, and were even more excited to hear that Robin needed their help. Jason ushered the kids toward the crowd, and sure enough, they began weaving through the spaces between people, squeezing in where no adult could, until they reached Superman and the others.

"Stop!" the children yelled, just like Jason had instructed them. "You can't do this!" Almost immediately, the mood of the crowd shifted, and people began to stand down, if only for the moment. The children circled around the superheroes, forming a human barrier as they began to plead with their parents and the other adults.

"Please folks, you've gotta stop this!"

"We're not gonna let you touch these heroes!"

"It's crazy Mom, and it's wrong!"

It took a little longer for Jason to get through the crowd, partly because he was bigger than the kids, and partly because his stomach nearly bottomed out as he became pressed between so many people. He had to swallow hard to not fall into flashbacks, and he pushed forward to stick to his plan. "You've got to listen to them. They're making sense," he said, putting himself in front of the kids. "No matter what Godfrey says, you can't really believe Batman and the others are menaces! Stop and just think for a second. Remember all the good they've done for this world."

Taking a chance, Jason glanced over to Batman. He looked worried, like Jason was getting in over his head again, but he also nodded almost imperceptibly, and the knot in Jason's stomach loosened considerably.

"We believe in these heroes, and in what they represent!" Lisa said. "You told me we could all be heroes, Daddy, if that's what we wanted. Please, Daddy, be my hero now!"

Godfrey had been watching and getting angrier by the second, but Lisa's cheesy impassioned speech seemed to push him over the edge. "No! You mustn't listen to her, my friends! See how these masked monsters have twisted her impressionable young mind?! You must stop this ranting child!" he said. "You must stop it now! Stop it!" Godfrey's ranting became more and more frantic until finally, in a single, sharp fit of motion, he backhanded Lisa across the face, knocking her to the ground.

The crowd gasped almost as one body, and for a moment, the only sound was Lisa starting to cry. Then, just as quickly as Godfrey had struck, the crowd turned on him.

"Did you see that?"

"He slapped that kid! Who slaps a kid?"

"What kind of an animal is he?"

Jason started to move to Lisa's side, but he stopped in his tracks when she looked at him, winked quickly, and then started to cry harder. "Please, mister, don't hit me again!" she wailed. The kid was a natural, and Jason wasn't about to break her scene.

Godfrey took a step back, murmuring to himself about losing control and his persuasive powers not being strong enough. Reaching into his coat, he pulled out the helmet of Doctor Fate, clearly intending to use it to regain control of the people who'd so eagerly followed him only moments ago. But mere seconds after he put the helmet on, he began to scream, and collapsed.

"I'll be taking that back," Doctor Fate said, and as he closed in on Godfrey, the crowd finally began to disperse. Parents joined their grateful children, and everyone began to slink away, caught somewhere between confusion and embarrassment. Just as quickly as Godfrey had taken control of them, the people had come back to their senses, and Jason almost felt bad for them. Almost.

"What part of 'You're going to stay at the hospital' did I not make clear?" Batman said, coming up behind Jason and putting his hand on Jason's shoulder.

"The part where you took an interstate trip without me," Jason said. "I'm pretty sure I just saved all of you, so you can't yell at me."

"You used children against an angry mob." Bruce said stoically.

"Yeah, using kids as sidekicks in my fight against evil. I can't imagine where I got that idea from," Jason said sarcastically. "Are you pissed at me?"

Bruce was quiet for a moment, before he graced Jason with another smile, and really, two smiles in so many days was going to give Jason a complex if Bruce wasn't careful. "I don't think I've ever been more proud of you than I am right now."

Jason practically beamed, and ducked his head. He realized that, in the grand scheme of things, he'd been right to come home. He knew better than to say that to Bruce though. For now.


[Dialogue and story - especially the cheesy lines - adapted from Legends #6. NFI, NFB, OOC okay, y'all know the drill by now!]
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