Being a new step-parent comes with many hurdles.
One of them is the approval of the other parent, especially if that other parent is a trained assassin.
Jason is at the weekly market,
comparing two pumpkins to find the perfect one for Lian to carve into a
Jack-o-Lantern, when he feels it.
The hair on his neck standing up in
warning, the crawling sensation under his skin, the sudden jolt running through
his system telling him that he is being watched.
Jason has relied on his instincts
to keep him alive longer than he can think, had trusted them while he was a
homeless kid to tell him which guys he should stay away from, had honed them
under the tutelage of Bruce, had lived by them while he was with the League,
and now he knows to listen to them when they are screaming that someone is
Jason is experienced enough not to
give away that he has caught onto his stalker and casually continues to examine
the pumpkins until he deems one better and puts the other one back. He makes
his purchase, exchanges a few pleasantries with the vendor and then turns to
head back towards the street.
While he does so his mind is
cataloguing every person around him, scrutinizing everyone for the tell-tale
signs of a secret operative, anything distinctive that gives them away. He
doesn’t spot anyone, can’t find any suspicious shadows on the roofs or in
neighbouring buildings, but the insistent feeling that there is something watching him stays.
The fact that he can’t identify
whoever it is that is watching him increases his concern, because that means
they are good…really, really good. Paparazzi stalking Jason Todd, the famously ‘resurrected’
son of Bruce Wayne, are never that skilled, which means whoever it is is most
likely following the Red Hood. And shit, if his cover has been blown, that
could spell disaster not only for him, but also Roy and Lian, every Bat and
Bird in Gotham, the Arrows in Star City…everyone he is close to basically.
He has to find out who is after him
and how much they know.
Jason makes his way down the street
walking at an even pace, still scanning his surroundings. He hadn’t taken his
bike or the car - the market wasn’t really that far from their apartment and he
had wanted to enjoy the last sunshine Gotham would most likely get before
As he makes his way away from the bustling
shopping district the streets become less crowded. He still can’t spot anyone,
so three blocks away from home he turns from the main street onto a shoddy
little alley that leads in the wrong direction. Jason isn’t stupid enough to
lead someone straight home to his boyfriend and step-daughter. The alley also isn’t
as open as the street, so whoever is following him will have to come closer or
risk losing him, which gives Jason the chance to spot them.
He is nearly through the alley and
still hasn’t caught a glimpse of his stalker, starting to consider whether he
should call for backup or at least let Roy know that he won’t be coming home for
a while if he can’t get this sorted soon, when he finally sees it.
A shadow moves across the roofs on
his left side and that is all the warning Jason gets before projectiles hiss in
his direction. He drops down and rolls behind a large garbage container on instinct,
expecting the sound of bullets impacting the wall where he just stood, but
instead there is only a soft metallic plink.
Confused, he allows himself the briefest
moment to study at the projectiles, still crouched behind the container. On the
floor he sees two tranquilizer darts, and somewhere in his mind dots are
starting to connect, but he doesn’t have the time to really consider what this
means because in that moment he hears the faintest whisper, telling him that
the shadow has come down from its lofty perch and joined him on the alley
Dumb move, Jason thinks, grinning.
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