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Protective Custody

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It was only supposed to be a temporary arrangement the four of them living together. It all started when Jason once again had been fired from his job.  With things the way they were, and with Jason’s past record it was hard to maintain a steady job. People found out sooner or later his background and they saw him as a liability. Jason still tried hard to make money wherever he could. He and is best friend Roy had been living together at the time. Roy didn’t mind at all sharing an apartment. He just like the company. However, that all changed when Roy had his accident. There were no longer any safety regulations or health concerns. Everyone was already pretty desperate for jobs and would take whatever they could get. Roy had been doing some dangerous factory work when his arm had gotten caught in the machine and was cut clean off a couple inches above the elbow.

The company had fired Roy after that and refused to give Roy any kind of compensation. With Roy out of work and Jason only able to do under the table work they risked being thrown out on the streets.

Jason’s brother Dick and his wife Barbara without even hesitating let them both move in with them. Even though they were struggling almost as much. Babs was only able to work part time shifts due to the fact that she was in a wheelchair.

It was the same problem Roy was having. Someone with a “disability” was to much of a risk. Even though Roy had a Masters degree in electrical engineering, and Barbara had the skills and knowledge of someone with a PhD. It was too much of a liability to take Babs on full-time.

Things were starting to catch up with them. Dick was the only person with a full-time job, so he was providing most of their household income.

 

Jason walked into their small two-bedroom house, Babs was sitting at the table muttering to herself while flipping through piles of bills while Roy was asleep on the couch.

“Hey Barbie” Jason grinned “How’s things?”

She didn’t look up just continued muttering. “Past due, past due, final notice, oh look we have one first notice” she said as Jason sat down beside her. “So how was work?”

Jason flipped few bills and the loose coins he had earned onto the table. “That’s it?” Barber exclaimed “I would’ve thought you would’ve made more than that.”

“Shhh” Jason said gesturing to Roy. Ever since losing his arm Roy just didn’t have the same energy he used too. “I’m lucky to have that” Jason started “the bastard tried to back out after I had done all the work. I ended up having to take out two of his goons before even being able to grab that amount.”

Babs quirked an eyebrow “take them out?” she questioned.  

“Just rough them up a bit Babs” he said smirking. “How bad is it?” he gestured to the mountain of papers piled on the table.”

“Bad” Babs stated bluntly “if we don’t find some way to make a little bit of money we risk losing the house.”

“What if we sell the car?” Jason asked.

“Jason you know we can’t sell the car. We live in the middle of nowhere, and Dick has a 30-minute drive to work every day and it’s not safe for him to walk in that part of the city. Especially with him being a police officer”.

Then she sighed bringing her voice down to a whisper “I’m also worried about Roy” that arm of his has not had proper medical attention. He really needs to be properly looked at.”

“And you need a proper wheelchair” Jason pointed out.

Her wheelchair was constantly breaking down and falling apart making it difficult for Babs to go anywhere.

“There is must-have and nice to have Jason, having a house and medical bills must have, fix wheelchair Nice to have.

“What we really need is a big score” Roy said sitting up from the couch and walking over to sit with them at the table. “If I could just get a stable job” he said “this is ridiculous I have a Masters degree for heaven sakes.”

“Or Me?” Babs said “all they are able to give me is a few shifts here and there. Too much of a risk” she snorted as she reached over and ruffled Roy’s hair. 

Then she continued looking through and sorting the bills, and Roy opened a newspaper out on the table then rested his chin on it casually reading.

Jason decided that it was about time to start dinner. In not too long Dick would be home.

“Unbelievable” Roy exclaimed.

“What?” Jason asked with only mild interest.

“Just that the entire economy goes up in flames and this guy” taking the paper and showing it to Jason “can afford a three-month trip to the Cayman Islands.”

Jason turned around to look at the paper. There was a small article about Drake industries with the picture of the owner Jack Drake himself. Apparently, this guy Drake owned multiple residents around the world not to mention several in Gotham. Could afford a private jet and apparently decided it was a good time to take a trip.

“So what?” Jason said bitterly.

“Oh come on Jay, this guy probably spends more on a haircut then we do in a month.”

“Apparently” Babs began “he’s been linked to all kinds of black-market and criminal activity. But no one’s been able to prove it” she said without even looking up from her papers.

“Wait!” Jason exclaimed somewhat angrily “are you telling me this guy” pointing at the newspaper “makes millions in a legal business and I can’t even make enough to pay rent by myself.”

Babs did look up “life’s a bitch isn’t it”.  

“I’m just amazed nobody is robbed any of these places yet” Roy casually said “I mean; he probably has money just laying around.”

It was at that moment they heard the telltale sound of the car pulling in the driveway signalling that Dick had arrived home. It was the only car they had. Roy and Jason had worked together to fix it so Dick didn’t have to walk an hour and ½ every day to work. They thought it was the least they could do after they had taken them in.

Dick walked in looking exhausted but still smiled happily.  

“Hi honey I’m home” Dick said brightly, to which Babs replied “welcome home darling” in a sarcastic tone “how was your day?”

“Five more people got laid off today” Dick said hanging his coat by the door.

Everyone looked up after hearing that. “I’m fine for right now” he said quickly raising his hands up in a surrendering motion. “but I honestly don’t know how they think they’re going to keep up with all the rioting and violent outbreaks if they keep letting people go. All they’re doing is increasing crime rates.”

He came over kissing Babs on the cheek and taking the seat beside her. He then rested his head on the back of the chair. “We can barely keep up as it is.”

“They wouldn’t fire you would they Dick?” Roy questioned.

“Honestly, I don’t know. There aren’t that many people who have seniority below me.”

Dick looked up looking around at the three of them. “Don’t worry will make it work. For now, I still have my job. that something.”

 

Tim was used to being left alone. Even as a kid his dad would go away and leave him for weeks on end. But it didn’t really bother him he actually preferred when his dad was gone. Less stress of doing something wrong and potentially angering his father. I mean yeah sometimes he got a little lonely, but it was nothing he couldn’t deal with.

He was sitting on the floor in front of the TV working on his studies. From the very beginning Tim’s dad had not permitted him to go to school like other kids. Instead he received private lessons.

Tim sighed deciding that anything that was not done could wait until tomorrow. He got up and walked towards the kitchen.

He looked through all the cupboards and in the fridge. Everything was fully stocked but nothing really appealed to him. He could order something but that just seemed like too much work. In the end he opted to just head toward his bedroom. He didn't really feel like dinner tonight.