January 1st – Age 11.
As the sun rose on a new year a small boy was packing up his threadbare blankets. He’d spent some of the night huddled up under it, fighting away the cold and attempting a small amount of sleep. The rest of the night had been spent trying to make some money. He was desperately hungry but he couldn’t remember a time in his life when he hadn’t been hungry. He was too thin and small in stature for a boy his age, a life of malnutrition stunting his growth, something little Jason Todd hated now he was on the street. His black hair was long and scruffy while his tan skin was covered in a thin layer of grime.
He looked around the alley and huffed a small sigh. A new year felt just like every other day to him, it always had. The only exception was when; aged nine, he and his Mum had rung in the New Year celebrating being free of his dad forever. Now he just focused on getting from one day to the next, hoping to find a small amount of shelter for the night. Gotham winters were unforgiving and he’d already nearly succumbed to the freezing temperatures.
The day was much like any other for the eleven year old. He searched for food; picked a few wallets; tried to find somewhere to shower for free or only a small fee; being a new year didn’t change his day at all. The hunger pains were getting stronger and, despite having a couple of cigarettes, he resigned himself to dumpster diving after restaurants closed. He felt he was too dirty to go into a diner or shop as his hunt for a place to wash had failed. It was as he was searching behind an Indian take-out that an explosion shook the ground and buildings, knocking him into the bin.
Shouting filled the air as the small boy ran closer to the incident. Purple beings that looked a little too much like blobs of jelly were attempting to fight their way through Gotham. They’d clearly not realised they were attempting to fight through the least fearful city in the world; Gotham went through city wide violence nearly every week. Add in that most of that would be caused by one of the super villains who’d escaped from the asylum only to be put back by two people dressed as a bat and a traffic light. It changes a person’s perception of danger.
He could see the main five members of the Justice League engaging and attempting to contain the blobs; the Batman was the only one missing. He had hidden himself amongst the worst of the fighting trying to get to their drop ship. It wasn’t Gotham’s local hero who’d caught the boy’s attention though. No, that honour fell to the most powerful woman he’d ever heard of.
Wonder Woman was fighting through the mayhem; sword swinging, lasso flicking out, and shield blocking blasts of orange. Jason was so engrossed in the fight that he didn’t notice when one of the purple aliens was reaching out for him until the lasso wrapped around him. Wonder Woman pulled the small boy into her arms and flew them a few buildings over, dropping into a deserted alley. He was so touch starved that he’d frozen in her hold unsure of the gentle contact.
“Go home.” The raven haired woman said crouched before him. “Ain’t got one,” he said. The lasso was still around him, compelling him to tell the truth. She looked the boy over, estimating him to be around eight. “How old are you?” He muttered out his age and her stomach dropped. She couldn’t understand how man’s world could be so callous that it allowed a child to get to such a state. No eleven year old should be as small as he was and she just wanted to help him, the desire almost swallowing up the need to get back to the battle. She tilted up his chin with one finger, her eyes meeting his striking blue ones. They shone so brightly with a spark she’d have expected to have faded.
“You should be safe here, stay here until I can return to you. I will be back for you okay?” She watched those cerulean eyes narrowed suspiciously. Realising her mistake, and feeling proud of his distrust knowing it’d kept him alive, she wrapped the lasso around her wrist and handed it to the small boy. “Ask your questions, the lasso will compel the truth.”
“I ain’t going back into the system. What’s a superhero gon’ do with me?” She considered her options. She had heard about what happened to the children of man’s world and knew it must have happened to him. Ignoring her heartbreak over such a formidable boy having to choose life on the streets over a place he should have been safe she knew there was only one answer she would give him. “I’ll look after you, even raise you in the same ways I was.” She continued to watch him as hope flashed across his face, disappearing as quickly as it came, only to be replaced with resignation. “Thought you were some hero but you want me to come with you. I ain’t like some of the kids here. I don’t sell myself, had enough of that in the foster home. So, knowing all that, what do you really want with me?” She felt revulsion at his implication and the confirmation of her previous suspicions. She quietly swore to every Goddess of children, youth, and innocence that she’d get justice for the boy. The answer to his question came far quicker than the previous had.
“I want the chance to be a mother, if you’re willing to let me that is.” She held out her hand and he grasped it with a surprising strength given his weakened state. “I’m Diana.” Jason couldn’t quite believe it. Wonder Woman had always been his favourite hero, even being a native Gothamite, as strong women were something he’d always preferred. His favourite hero was offering him a home, a future. He nodded once, introduced himself and promised to remain in the alley until she could return.
February 14th – Age 7.
Despite Gotham’s ability to attract themed villains the city had a love of decorating for every holiday. Hearts and other valentine’s paraphernalia could be seen in every area of the city, even the poorest areas where the city officials usually forgot about. Jason hated it all as the obvious declarations of love were driving his Mámá lower and lower. His dad was in prison for beating them both but Catherine still loved him. The seven year old had left school during the morning, a nagging feeling in the pit of his stomach. He raced home, the nagging feeling growing into such a doubt that he felt nauseous.
Jason slammed through the front door and felt his heart drop into his swirling stomach. He raced over to his Mámá’s side where she was slumped on the living room floor. A needle was loose on the floor and she was struggling to pull in gasping breaths. He pushed and pulled her into the recovery position, cursing his Dad for not being home in two weeks as he was off on a job for Two Face. His Mámá wouldn’t be in this state if his dad wasn’t away.
Jason ran out the door and down the street to Dr Leslie Thompkins’ clinic before his brain had fully caught up to the situation. He burst through the door and began shouting for ‘Aunt’ Leslie. His panic was obvious, the severity of the situation causing a nurse to immediately usher him back to Leslie’s office. He could hear her talking with a patient but the situation with his Mámá was too urgent to wait. He walked straight into the office, ignoring the patient and scolding look from Leslie.
“Jason, it’s always a pleasure to see you but I have a patient.” She said, finally turning to face the tiny boy. Jason shook his head. “It’s Mámá she ain’t breathing proper and you can help, can’t you Auntie?” He was so visibly shaken that Leslie found all her annoyance melting away. She shot the patient an apologetic look, grabbed her emergency bag and took Jason’s hand while calling for a nurse to follow.
The journey home was almost as fast with the young child’s fear propelling them along. The three people gathered around the Latino woman as Leslie pulled out a prefilled syringe of Narcan. She injected it into the unconscious woman’s veins as she counted out a slow three breaths per minute. Leslie slowly rubbed Jason’s back while they waited for the quick reaction the drug would cause.
With a gasp, Catherine was punched back into consciousness. The Narcan was stronger than any punch Superman could deliver to a criminal when it came to dealing with narcotic overdoses. Her pupils were still pinpoint and sluggish as she took in the three familiar faces around her. Realisation slowly dawned on her and she felt shame burn through her faster than the heroin had.
Catherine pulled Jason into a hug, pressing kisses to the top of his head. Leslie just smiled at the rare display of love from the woman and packed up her bag. With great care they escorted her back to the clinic so they would watch her until the heroin had passed out of her system. There was too greater chance of her overdosing again now she couldn’t feel the effects of the heroin. It was always a risk with Narcan but Leslie knew she had to use it to save her nephew’s Mámá.
Once they made it back to the clinic Leslie got the couple set up in one of the smaller rooms, ensuring the TV was on and Jason had a stack of books. She’d been expecting something like this to happen since Willis left for work and had been stockpiling a selection of things Jason would enjoy. What a way to spend a holiday Jason thought.
March 17th – Age 16.
Shouting filled the Clocktower as men came to verbal blows and Barbara considered her ability in kicking them all out. Dinah Lance was struck by the sudden realisation that both Robins were the opposite of what she’d been led to believe. Dick Grayson, the first Robin, has always seemed happy, friendly, caring. Tim Drake, the second, was supposedly clever, methodical, intuitive. Now she saw them for the spoiled boys their mentor had let them become, or perhaps they always were and Bruce just made it worse. They were attempting to tear chunks out of a boy who’s spent his first eleven years learning a side of Gotham they’d never understand and continually being rejected by those in his life.
Over the last five years she’d come to view the young Gothamite as her nephew and as such his mother had entrusted his care to her while she was off world. He’d grown into a formidable fighter while having one of the largest capacities to care that Dinah had ever seen. He enhanced Diana’s battles in ways the Robins never quite managed with the Bat. Theirs was more of a partnership while suited up and Mother and Son once out; whereas Robin was always just the Bat’s sidekick.
While the two students of the Bat hurled their venomous words Jason just stood with the poise of a prince, of the only son of Themyscira it’s exactly what he was. He was making Dinah proud, especially after hearing all the stories from Diana about how he’d been in the beginning. She was blaming herself for the eventual fallout however. For when the strong boy broke in her arms once they were safe from prying eyes. As she had been when the argument started, she was once again surprised. Considering the one surprising her now was Barbara Gordon, Oracle, the founder of the Birds of Prey and unstoppable force behind a computer; she really shouldn’t have been surprised.
“Boys you are both old enough to know better. Stop being bitter that the Birds prefer working with Spartan, you just sound like jealous children.” Barbara’s voice wasn’t raised but cut through the hostility in the room. “He is an exceptional fighter and respects every woman he works under.” Dinah saw the slight shift in Jason’s body language. He’d gone from attempting to mask his hurt to exuding pride. As she looked him over she realised that the gold accents on his blue and red costume couldn’t shine as brightly as he currently was at Oracle’s praise. The costume was an armoured bodysuit that looked like a vest and shorts with a skirt overtop that mirrored Diana’s own Wonder Woman suit. She remembered Diana being worried Jason wouldn’t like the suit her family made for him. The young boy had loved every aspect, including how traditionally Greek it looked thereby showing off that Diana wasn’t wearing a skirt because she was a woman but due to its traditional aspects in combat.
“We don’t even know him! He isn’t someone from Gotham and that’s dangerous. He’ll just get your girls injured.” Nightwing said without remorse. Barbara was about to respond when Jason held up his hand pausing her. “So there are two things wrong with your jealous presumptions.” Jason held up one gloved finger. “I was born and raised in the Narrows, round the corner from Crime Alley to be accurate. For nearly a year I lived on these streets until Mum found me, so I probably know these streets better than you even with not living in Gotham for the past five years.” He held up the second finger, face just as impassive as when Nightwing had spoken. “Do you really want to question the training Wonder Woman, our family, and,” he pointed over at Dinah, “my Aunt put me through and how you think yours is in some way superior?”
A silence followed his words. Despite his stubborn (and sometimes thick) Gotham accent, Jason spoke with all the poise and grace a Prince was expected to hold. The other two men were at a loss for words, mouths agape. After what felt like an eternity, but closer to five minutes, of silence a small but excited voice broke it all.
“WOW! Did you really train on Themyscira? Thought they didn’t allow men to step on there.” The blonde haired Batgirl asked Jason. He was grinning, his whole being lighting up at talking of his family. "Yeah 3.0. My Mum wrote to my Abuela, you probably know her better as Hippolyta, and told her about how she’d found me. She explained that it made her a Grandmother and she was worried that Themyscria’s laws would prevent us from ever meeting.” He gave a small shrug. “Abuela was excited to have a grandchild and the Amazons were excited to meet their nephew who also happened to be their new prince. They welcomed me with opened arms, teaching me much more than just combat. Abuela could see fighting came naturally to me, but so did many of the other teachings they granted me with.” He paused, voice going slightly quieter. “They’re my family; they loved and accepted me quicker than anyone ever has. They are the reason I feel worthy to wear my Mum’s colours.” Stephanie, the blonde Batgirl, was looking at Jason with something akin to worship and wonder. She’d not yet had the opportunity to meet Wonder Woman, or any Amazons for that matter, and felt like she was in the presence of a legend. The island of the Amazons and their expert training was something she’d always been fascinated with. To her they showed something that the male heroes of Gotham never did, they showed a grace and flow in their fighting that made the fighting style of the Bats look brutal and unnecessary.
Oracle pissed off that her boyfriend and his little brother had yet to apologise to Spartan, kicked the two men out of the Clocktower and banned them from patrolling with the Birds of Prey until Batman returned. She knew that Jason would be in the city until then and wanted her team to get to know him outside of their occasional missions. He’d always struck her as a staunch feminist and to hear him talk of his family just confirmed what she’d suspected. He’d already mentioned willingness to aid in Stephanie’s training; now having met her Barbara could see that Jason was even more eager to assist her.
The rest of the night was spent with the Birds of Prey, and their honorary male member, patrolling Gotham. The comm lines were filled with laughter and easy chatter, which both Batgirl and Black Bat (Cassandra Cain) found relaxing. Especially when compared to the usually tense or silent comm lines when working with the Bat Clan. Everyone ended up collapsed in the living room of the Clocktower, blankets and pillows everywhere for a movie night/sleepover. They gorged on pancakes and waffles while inhaling camomile tea with Barbara and Dinah determined that they’d all sleep after. Jason found himself consumed by a sense of bittersweet happiness. On one hand, he was happy that he’d gotten to know the Birds of Prey more and was going to get to spend the next few days with them; on the other hand, he missed his Mum so fiercely that he wished she returned early.
April 27th – Age 10.
All Jason could see when he closed his eyes is dulled greens and greyish blues. A cold had seeped into his bones and he wondered if he’d ever be warm again. His hands remembered holding his Mámá’s hand begging her to keep her promise. He’d known it was futile, that she was already gone but love and hope are funny things.
The day had started like any other since he was nine and Willis had been arrested for the last time. Jason had had to drop out of school as his Mámá needed him. As with every morning, Jason pressed two fingers against Catherine’s carotid artery while kissing her clammy forehead. Once he felt the ever reassuring thump under his fingertips he told her he’d be home by sundown. He hated to leave her but someone needed to leave their dilapidated flat to search for food and it fell to him now. Returning by sundown was an unspoken rule by all the families in the Narrows. It was best for anyone under eighteen to be home by sundown as even more dangerous things came out in the dark.
Jason picked pockets, rummaged through bins, and pawned all he could find. Food and rent money were in short supply, especially as he also had to account for his Mámá’s drug money. However, today he knew with the money he’d stashed in a cubby hole near his building; when combined with today’s finds; he had enough for everything. He hated her habit but he knew not to let her withdraw cold turkey as it could kill her.
As the sun was getting low he stashed away the rent money and went to a corner shop to get them both some bread, milk, and a couple of apples. He knew it wasn’t much but his Mámá never ate more than an apple or a couple slices of bread. He’d be left with the rest while she passed out into another drug induced stupor.
As he made his way home a deep chill ran down his spine. He shuddered so hard he stumbled in the street causing him to get wary looks from a couple of people. He clutched his bag tighter to his chest and carried on home, trying desperately to ignore the chill he’d felt. As he pushed open the door a feeling of impending doom washed over him.
Jason felt his stomach drop and tried desperately not to vomit; knowing all that’d come up would be stomach acid and bile; as he got further into the flat. He lost his battle with his stomach as he made it to the kitchen. There on the floor, curled up in a ball, was the bag of food slipped through his fingers as he was bent over retching. He managed to get over to her, his knees hitting the cracked tile floor.
Dull green eyes were looking directly at him but seeing nothing. He pressed his fingers to her carotid, just like he’d done that morning. This time though he could feel no reassuring thump, even as he pressed down harder. Her skin was freezing cold and a hauntingly pale greyish blue as he wrapped his arms around her. Tears flowed from his eyes and a scream tore its way from his throat. He begged her to stay, to keep the biggest promise she’d ever made him. She’d not broken it once in four years.
Jason blinked as he finally stopped crying. Darkness now filled the room and the realisation that he was fully alone hit him like a brick to the face. Both parents were dead, no other family to speak of, he was on his own. He found the bag of food and sat beside his Mámá. He riffled around the bag, pulling out the apple he’d gotten for her and placed it near her hand. He had one last meal with her, trying to figure out where he’d go. He knew the system wasn’t an option; it wasn’t good to kids like him.
Once he’d had his fill of the food and downed the milk, he found their largest rucksack and stuffed it with everything he’d need. A couple of changes of clothes, the last two blankets they had, the few mementos they had, and the two books Catherine had read when he’d been younger. Jason then layered himself in clothes, knowing life was going to be cold, while ensuring to grab a couple of pieces of Willis’ old stuff so he could grow into them. As he pulled on Wills’ old coat he let his fingers run over the Wonder Woman logo on the red hoody his Mámá had gotten him for his Birthday/Christmas. It was the last gift she’d given him, taking her six months to save up for it, and he knew he’d never part with it, no matter what state it ended up in. She’d surprised him with it, he’d not noticed she’d been squirreling away some of her drug money just to do something nice for her favourite boy. It was four sizes too big but he loved it.
As Jason finally pulled on his shoes, which were a size too big but fit with the socks he was wearing, he took one last look around his childhood home. The walls seemed to echo with all the memories they’d witnessed. The happy laughter, the pained screams, the gentle lilt of his Mámá’s singing. Memories of sadness were equal to those of laughter, but all just filled him with pain now. He whispered a goodbye to his Mámá and walked out. Jason left the key in the lock and the door open. He was on his own now as he disappeared into the night.
May 4th – Age 14.
Diana couldn’t hold in her laughter as her son told her of one of his many escapades with Donna Tory, a fellow Amazon. She loved how much her Jason could talk and how he managed to get on with all their family. He was skilfully landing the invisible jet on the roof of Queen Industries in Star City. It had been a few months since they’d last seen the Arrow clan and Jason’s ‘Aunt’ Dinah. They’d needed to get away from man’s world as Jason was struggling with his mental health, memories of his Mámá and Willis pulling him down. So they’d disappeared for six months with Donna joining them when she wasn’t standing in for Diana.
Her son was so much happier now as Epione had worked her magic and helped him more than any psychiatrist in man’s world had managed. Diana was excited to see Jason training with Dinah and her children. He’d trained with Dinah quite a few times over the years he’d been Diana’s son but it was his first time meeting the rest of the Arrow family. She’d tried to keep Jason away from the Watchtower, not wanting to upset him after the disastrous meeting with Bruce a couple of years previously. As such he’d only ever met Green Arrow, Olive Queen, in passing.
Diana wasn’t ashamed to admit she was nervous. She had quickly learnt when she’d first taken Jason in that he didn’t do well in crowded rooms. The people reminding him of bad nights on the street and he liked easy access to exits. For this meeting however, she figured that the involvement of Artemis, Mia, and Connor should make the meeting go smoother. The younger members should help temper the potential fire that Oliver and Roy could create.
Before long Dinah was sparring with Jason in the Queen mansion, being carefully watched by her children and Diana. Jason had been buzzing with excitement to show off the fighting skills he had mastered while on Themyscira to his Aunt. Seeing him so happy was a daily gift that Diana always thanked the Goddess’ that watched over them for.
It wasn’t long before the others started getting antsy, wanting to spar with Jason and watch Diana go a round with Dinah. Artemis was the first to go after the trio had pulled straws to prevent an argument. Diana and Dinah watched from the edge of the mats while their children got into their fighting stance. While Artemis’s showed how she’d been trained by both, her dad (Sportsmaster) and Oliver; Jason’s was a combination of his street fighting history and his Amazon family. Everything was elegant but he could easily switch it up to throw off those who’d studied the way Diana fought. Mia and Connor, who were both younger than Jason and Artemis, were awestruck by the way the pair came together. Neither was holding back but the joy was clear as day.
The rounds continued for most of the afternoon until everyone was worn out. They all showered and ended up in comfortable clothes, lying around the main living room the family used. Conversation was flowing easily around the group and Diana was happy to see her son so comfortable with other heroes around his own age. She’d yet to introduce him to the Robins and wanted to hold it off for as long as possible. However, it had led to her feeling like she was letting Jason down as he didn’t have friends who could understand his hero work. He was enrolled in school when they were in Paris and was popular there, but needing to return to Themyscira had delayed his return for the new school year.
A harsh laugh pulled Jason from the conversation and Diana saw his back tense. He was clearly at his limit with new people and had been managing his anxiety due to the endorphins generated from the sparring. Now though she could see how tense he was and that he was trying to hide the shaking of his hands. Wordlessly she raised her arm and he scampered to her side, burrowing in and apologising quietly for being so distressed. Diana pressed a kiss to his raven hair and gave his hand a small squeeze.
“Diana, I forgot you were coming over today. It’s good to see you again,” Oliver said brashly. His personality always grated against her. His public persona encompassed everything she despised about man’s world and, unlike Bruce, his fell into his persona with his family too. “This must be your boy. Jason wasn’t it? Nice to meet you.” He held out his hand and Jason dutifully shook it, trying to disguise how uncomfortable he really was with such a loud male. “Nice to meet you too Mr Queen, Auntie Dinah talks about you a lot.” He said his voice that of a Prince and hiding just how he felt.
Oliver settled down beside Dinah and the room filled with conversation once again. Jason rested beside Diana, trying to prevent a panic attack by remembering everything Epione had taught him. He was managing well until Roy entered. He ruffled Connor’s hair and quickly hugged the girls before realising Jason and Diana were in the room.
“Diana! I didn’t know you were coming!” His voice made Jason jump and Diana hugged him a little tighter. “This the runt I heard about through Nightwing? The one who stopped you dating the Bat?” She could feel her anger rise at his rudeness but was held back by the frantic breathing of her son. She squeezed his shoulders and kept her arm tight around him. “I think you’ll find that Bruce had it coming when he didn’t get on with my son, even just to be polite. I do not appreciate you speaking of my son, Jason, in such a way.” Her upbringing as a princess kept her voice level, despite wanting to run him through. “Roy that is quite enough. If you can’t speak to my Nephew with respect then you aren’t welcome to join us for dinner.” Dinah spoke up. She’d also stood and moved between Jason and the red headed archer. “There is no need to be so rude just because he didn’t want to be a Titan. I mean for God’s sake, they live in France and Themyscira! He can’t exactly get to New York at the drop of a hat to work with your friends; people who I doubt would be very welcoming to him.”
An uneasy silence fell across the room as Roy crossed his arms across his chest and glared at Dinah. Connor jumped up and slapped Roy on the shoulder. “Come on bro, he’s a good guy. Maybe after dinner we can have an archery competition. Jace was telling us about training with Antiope to get better with a bow and arrow. Might be fun?” He said trying to elevate the mood. Mia and Artemis both agreed to the friendly competition with Oliver eventually agreeing as well. “Fine, so long as Diana doesn’t join in. She’ll just wipe the floor with all of us.” Roy begrudgingly agreed.
June 30th – Age 6.
Screaming filled the small apartment in a dilapidated building in the Narrows. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence and most people would ignore the screams and shouts. This time however, there was a neighbour who felt terrible for the woman and small boy she could hear. The power behind the man beating them was loud enough for her to hear through her thin walls. Grabbing her house phone of the side table she quickly called 911, begging them to send police and paramedics. She knew the family would need medical attention if the shouts were anything to go by.
As police approached the apartment they’d been called to they could hear a woman obviously in distress. “Stop Willis! Please! He’s only a boy! Hit me instead, please” She was begging the man. A dark laugh was heard. Wasting no more time they smashed down the flimsy door and came across a scene of horror.
A dark haired man, they assumed was Willis, was standing over the crumpled, sobbing body of a petit ginger woman. Blood was running across her face and there were obvious fractures to her limbs along with many cuts and bruises. The worst thing the officers discovered was the small battered boy hidden behind his mother. He was in a similar state to her but he wasn’t vocal and his breathing appeared to be atypical. Only one side of his chest was fully inflating with each inhale, the other looking too disjointed pointing to multiple rib fractures probably the result of multiple kicks to the chest.
Quickly the police detained Willis Todd. He was still shouting obscenities at the two people he’d just tried to beat to death. His shouting stopped when the officer holding his cuffs and starting to read him his rights. “Willis Todd I am arresting you on suspicion of the attempted murders of Catherine Todd and Jason Todd. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. With these rights in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?” The officer started to drag him from the apartment when Willis started up again. He was shouting at Catherine while the paramedics started to treat her and her son. The officer was thankful that he and his partner were wearing body cameras, something provided by Wayne Enterprise, as it’d capture everything Willis was saying and provide safety for the woman and her son.
The paramedics rushed the pair to the hospital and handed them over to the emergency room staff. They had seen a lot in their careers but seeing a boy nearly beaten to death, if he made it at all, still shook them up. Jason and Catherine were wheeled straight to Resus, the staff knowing that the woman wouldn’t want to be far from her son. Both were quickly assessed and x-rayed. The nursing staff couldn’t quite believe it when the small boy came around.
Jason’s voice was small when he asked for his Mámá. The nursing staff were amazed by the boys’ ability to ignore his pain due to his worry for the woman in the bed over. They moved the pair out of the resus area and into a cubicle that could fit the two beds. The boy was still having to lay flat from the massive trauma to his chest and the chest tube they’d had to insert but, his relief and joy at seeing his Mámá comforted everyone present.
“I’m sorry Mámá, I’m so sorry.” He mumbled to her. She shook her head and looked over her son, her little man, her world. “No Jason, I’m the one who is sorry. I wish I’d had the strength to leave him, to provide for you properly. You shouldn’t have to be in the state you are. I failed you.” Her voice melted into his bones and continued to soothe the pain flaring through his broken body. “I promise you Jason, I’ll never leave you. I’ll be with you always.”
“You really promise Mámá?” He whispered. “I do my son. You are my world and I will not fail you again.” She reached across the bars of their beds and took his bandaged hand in hers. Ever so gentle she began reciting Pride and Prejudice in Spanish from memory. Catherine felt his hand go slack in hers as he slipped into an uneasy sleep.
July 19th to July 21st – Age 13.
The Watchtower was quiet as most of the heroes were at home asleep. Diana had tucked Jason into bed at home in Paris with Cydippe watching over him. Her faithful aid had agreed at the drop of a hat to join her in man’s world once they learnt of the amazing boy she’d adopted. Now the Amazon was like a nanny to him when Diana was needed on the Watchtower and a general aid to the pair when she was with her son.
Diana flicked through the view screens and checked Paris for the fifth time in ten minutes. She hated to leave him but knew that if Batman and Green Arrow could leave their children to do monitor duty then she could too. Even if she didn’t agree with their decision to let their son’s run off around the world with their own team of teenage heroes. She felt it too dangerous and didn’t want to risk losing the boy who’d stolen her heart in a grimy Gotham alley.
Batman appeared behind her, trying to approach her in his silent manner. Unfortunately for him after working together for over a decade she knew his tricks and heard him coming before he even got close. “Batman, to what do I owe the pleasure? Surely your children could use you at home?” She knew her sudden words had surprised the Bat. He still underestimated how well Diana could read him. He let a rare half smile form on his lips and pushed back his cowl.
Bruce cleared his throat and looked at the stunning woman before him. “Diana, I was wondering if you were free for dinner this week. I would like to take you on a date; I believe we’ve danced around it long enough.” His voice was only a few degrees softer than when he had the cowl on and was fully Batman. She let a simple ‘ah’ leave her as she thought about all they’d been through and how they’d spent years flirting. She knew if Bruce had approached her a couple of years ago then she’d have said yes in an instant. Now she had more than just her own heart to think about. “I would be honoured Bruce,” she held up a hand, seeing that he was about to talk. “However, I want you to meet my son before we agree to anything. He is my everything and I will not risk bringing someone into our lives who doesn’t understand that.”
“I believe I, more than anyone, understand that Diana. You’ve met my sons so it’s only fair that I give you the same consideration and meet your son.” He let out a small chuckle. “To be honest I thought the rumours of you having a son were just that, rumours. I hadn’t ever seen him on the Tower and he has never been photographed with you while in your Wonder Woman role.” She let out her own chuckle at that. While she knew that Bruce had allowed Richard to start in his role as Robin at the age of nine, she felt it was too young. She’d always argued against bringing children into their world. “That’s because he has yet to join me as Wonder Woman. He knows who I am, but I feel children shouldn’t be thrust into our world too young. However, he has already asked if he can start working alongside me within the next couple of years. I reluctantly agreed as I am under no illusions that he’d start fighting crime in Paris without me if I said no. He has been training with myself, my sisters, and Dinah since I adopted him though.” She couldn’t resist the small dig. She still couldn’t believe that Bruce hadn’t just let Dick become Robin at nine but that he’d repeated it when he’d taken in Timothy Drake. The newest Robin was only ten and she could see that he didn’t have the natural athleticism that Dick had possessed.
Two days later Diana and Jason sat outside a small café just off the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. She’d gotten herself a coffee and her son a hot chocolate. While they sat together, wondering about the lives of the people around them and chatting about his friends, Diana was glad for school holidays. She loved spending the day with her son and missed him dearly when he was in school but his love for learning and his friends made the separation made it worth the pain.
Over her son’s rapidly broadening shoulders she could see the dark haired man wearing a finely tailored suit they were waiting for. Diana took Jason’s hand and he moved to be seated beside her instead of opposite her. He saw Bruce Wayne walking towards them and Diana felt him tense beside her.
“It’ll be okay son. This meeting was inevitable with you wanting to become like me.” She smiled at him and he felt a sudden reassurance. He’d never had someone who stuck by him like Diana and his found family did. They’d made him feel wanted and included from the moment they’d all met him. It occurred to him suddenly just how loved he was and how far he’d come in the two and a half years he’d been with Diana.
“Diana, lovely to see you again; and this must be your son.” Bruce held his hand out and Jason shook it, surprising the older man with how strong his grip was. “Hello Mr Wayne, I’m Jason.” His Gotham accent was stronger than Diana had ever heard it. She supressed a chuckle at how Jason was acting; he wasn’t going to let the ‘Prince of Gotham’ intimidate him. It was a personality trait she loved in him. He never let people try to place him in a box or shove him into a corner, not anymore.
They sat back down and ordered another round of drinks, Diana also ordering her and Jason some cake. She didn’t see why her sweet tooth should be ignored just because Bruce adhered to a strict diet. Talk started to flow easily and Diana hoped it would continue that way for the remainder of the afternoon. If all went well she may finally get that date with the man she’d found attractive ever since he trusted her with his identity.
As the afternoon was dissolving into early evening the shit hit the fan. “From your accent I’m guessing you’re from Gotham,” he said, trying to learn more about the boy coming between him and Diana. “Well done World’s Greatest Detective, what gave it away?” He smirked. Diana could see that he’d changed; he hated his past being bought up, especially by people he hardly knew. Bruce gave a small chuckle into his hand, feeling awkward. “Where in Gotham are you from?” He tried again.
“I’m surprised you don’t know if I’m honest. My accent ain’t hard to hear. Then again anyone outside the Narrows never really knows what it’s like to live in Gotham.” Jason retorted. He’d never believed in Batman and Robin doing good for the city. How could anyone who could afford all the tech they did really understand what it was like to need crime to survive. “I know exactly what it is like to live in Gotham boy; I’ve never lived anywhere else.” Diana could see the rising anger in her teammates face but didn’t want to diffuse the situation. Their views were too important to ignore if anything more were to come of the afternoon. “Living in that big house mean you need to nick tyres or sell yourself to pay for food?” Jason asked, his voice dripping with contempt. “Like I ain’t got a problem with you having money, good on your family you know. You just don’t know what it’s like to live in that place. To struggle from day to day and get beaten down by the people with money who could actually help the area. More than just punching criminals every night and making all the crazies become super villains.”
Jason had always had a way with words and it’d only gotten better since his access to books had improved. He had a surgical precision when it came to defending himself and those in need. He never allowed anyone to get away with a distorted view if he had the ability to speak up. Diana had continued to foster it over their time together as she firmly believed in talking to resolve problems and undermine opponents before drawing weapons.
“Jason is right you know Bruce. Yes you went through a terrible trauma at a young age but so did Jason, more than one in fact. However, unlike you he didn’t have the financial resources to turn his life around and access those who could help him.” Diana placed her hand on Jason’s arm and smiled at him. She still couldn’t believe he was alive after all he’d been through. He’d told her everything not long after they’d met when he’d woken up screaming after a nightmare. It was clear to the pair that Bruce’s feathers had been ruffled by all they’d said.
“I expected more of the child you chose to take in Diana. I thought you’d have found someone who was respectful and as dignified as you. Clearly I don’t know you as well as I thought. I also know that I wouldn’t want a boy like that around my sons.” Bruce gave Jason a scathing look. Diana wanted to punch him in the face but knew it’d create too big a scene. “He would probably pressure them to smoke or worse.” He sneered at the young boy, his privilege showing though in spades. “I wouldn’t do that. I ain’t some scumbag. I only ever did what I had to survive and didn’t hurt no one in the process.” Jason rolled his eyes. “I thought you’d be different to your night job persona. Seems I was wrong.”
“What do you mean by that?” Bruce was seething and trying desperately to maintain the cool control he usually had. “I mean,” Jason emphasised, “that the Bat has done about as much good for Gotham as the Falcone family.” Bruce huffed in indignation and rose from his seat, his hands splayed on the table top. “It appears I was very wrong about you Diana. Consider my offer revoked, I refuse to be associated with someone who believes all of the vitriol he does.” Without waiting for a response Bruce walked away from them.
Jason hanged his head and curled his hands into fists. “Mum I’m really sorry. I know you liked him.” He looked like a kicked puppy and Diana could see the fear that she’d desert him. Running her fingers through his soft black and white hair Diana thought over the afternoon. It quickly became apparent to her that Bruce had been maintaining a fake persona until Gotham had come up. He’d finally shown his true face and she despised all that’d happened before. “No Jason, you have no reason to be sorry. He is the one who acted like an asshat but what else can be expected from a white man with so much wealth.” She turned his face so she could look him in the eyes. “He is everything I used to hate about man’s world before I left Themyscira. With everything he has access to he could do so much good for all the children and women of this world but he can’t think beyond his own pain and, unfortunately, his ego.”
Diana paid the cheque and they wandered back to their apartment. Despite his age, Jason held her hand the whole trip back and Diana loved how tactile he could be when he needed the reassurance. It’d taken them too long to get to a point where he would ask for affection or physical attention when distressed or just in the mood for it. Looking down at him and seeing all the ways he’d grown just helped reaffirm that no matter what happened in the world; there would be at least one man out there who was worthy of an Amazon’s love.
August 16th – Age 12.
It had been seven months since Diana had saved Jason’s life and taken him in. He still had days where he woke up and couldn’t believe it; today was one of those days. Diana had contacted Hippolyta to speed the adoption through as she knew she wasn’t letting Jason go. He woke up early and realised that it was his birthday. It had never been a very special day for him. He remembered multiple birthdays ending in beatings and his dad pawning the few gifts his Mámá had managed to find for him. As he lay in bed Jason couldn’t help but feel like the day was going to be different. He’d not mentioned his birthday to Diana or any of his new school friends but he knew she’d have found it out while sorting out his adoption. With no expectations, Jason rolled out of bed and went to investigate breakfast.
Due to how long Diana had lived amongst man’s world, and with some help from her Amazon family, they lived in a spacious two bedroom apartment near the centre of Paris. It offered Jason the opportunity to go to a good school and easy access to any landmark he wanted to learn about, while also being walking distance from the Louvre where Diana worked. He let his toes wiggle in the plush carpet on his room, enjoying the softness underfoot before finally going to the kitchen.
The apartment was divided into reasonable sized rooms with the kitchen being big enough to have a breakfast nook that ended up being where they ate most of their meals. This meant that Diana was able to turn the dining room into an office/library; Jason had been amazed by the sheer quantity of books she owned and had plans to learn multiple languages so he could read as many of them as possible. The living room was large enough to hold a full three piece suit that contained two three seat sofas and a large, comfortable armchair that had quickly become the spot Jason of ten fell asleep in.
As Jason walked into the kitchen he had to step back out and try again. His vision had been assaulted by a rainbow of bright colours and too much cheer for 8AM. Stepping back in he let the myriad of decorations sink in. Diana and Cydippe had strung up banners declaring his birthday which also had balloons separating the multiple strands. They’d covered the table in streamers, confetti, and a large pile of presents. There were also balloons that were the number 12, along with his name spelled out in balloons. He was shocked and felt frozen to the spot.
Jason was still trying to take it all in when Diana appeared from the living room beside the breakfast nook. She walked over to her son and pulled him into her arms tightly; pressing kisses to the top of his head and squeezing him. “Happy birthday my Son, I am very excited to celebrate this day with you.” She said after pulling back slightly so she could see his face. Jason felt himself blush, still amazed by the love that radiated from Wonder Woman for him. “Thanks Mum. I, uh,” he rubbed his hand over his face as she took his other one and dragged him over to the table. “I wasn’t, um, I haven’t. Fuck,” he whispered. Deep shame was trying to embed itself into his bones as he felt at a loss with the whole situation. “You’ve not had a birthday like this before have you?” Cydippe guessed. She was standing at the stove and Jason hadn’t noticed her in his shock at all the decorating. After flipping the pancake in front of her, Cydippe walked over to Jason and embraced him too. “Happy birthday Nephew,” she said softly while ruffling his unruly, curly hair. “Your Mum and I just want to spoil you as we figured this would be your first birthday in a safe place where you had nothing to worry about.”
Relief began to replace the shame as he slowly realised that his Mum and Aunt understood. They had been expecting his inability to comprehend such a birthday and didn’t judge him for it. Jason felt tears well in his eyes and, ignoring all the beatings Willis had given him because ‘men do not cry’, hugged Diana once again. She rubbed his back as the tears fell, leaving Cydippe to finish off the breakfast of Neapolitan pancakes. It was a careful process that involved spooning the three flavoured batters into the pan before the first flavour could burn.
Once breakfast was devoured by the trio Diana slid the first gift towards Jason. It was one of two envelopes that he’d be getting that weren’t cards. The rest of the gifts on the table were a mix of ones from her, their family on Themyscira, and Dinah. Jason raised an eyebrow at the envelope but still took it from her. She watched as he opened it with great care, his mouth dropping open in surprise as he read it over.
“Seriously Ma? This,” he waved the papers around and looked up at her, unable to believe what he was seeing drawn over the pages. “Seriously Jay, I’ve been working with the people who help redesign my costume back home. This is just a prototype design for while you’re training. Once you are old enough then we can tweak the design and you can join me officially.” Jason jumped out of his seat and threw his arms around her neck, ‘thank you’ falling from his mouth in a continuous stream. She scooped him up and sat him on her lap so he could continue opening his gifts without having to dive across the table to hug her. Whenever her arms were around her a pang of sadness hit her heart like an icy shard. He was still struggling with the effects of starvation, even with input from their local doctors and advice from Epione. He felt as light as a feather, despite the difference from January, to the Amazonian.
Jason was just as delicate opening his wrapped gifts as he’d been with the envelope. He studied each gift and placed them down with great care before moving on to the next. Cydippe was taking photos along with writing a list, at his request, so he could thank their family for what they’d gotten him instead of just generalisations.
When Jason had unwrapped the last of the presents Diana handed him over the second envelope. She was amazed that he was still managing to be so delicate after so many presents. He slipped his finger under the seal and opened it, pulling the pages out as if they were made of the most precious material. Diana was able to hear him reading the words quietly under his breath. It was a quirk he did when he was re-reading something to ensure he understood what he was reading. Diana found it endlessly endearing. “Do you like it Jay?” She asked, suddenly worried that he’d be too freaked out by the papers.
“I just, I never thought I’d get to see this so quickly.” He said softly. “Still can’t believe you want me as a son.” He added quietly thinking she wouldn’t hear him. Diana gave him a squeeze and a kiss to his head, reading the papers from behind him. She’d read them countless times but it still amazed her that they existed, that the boy in her lap was now legally hers. Jason was holding his adoption certificate that proudly declared Jason Prince as Diana’s son. They’d had the court date earlier in the month and had been told it could be a wait for the paperwork to be finalised due to the time of year.
Jason spun in Diana’s lap and burrowed into her shoulder. Her sleep shirt suddenly dampened as tears fell from his eyes once more and his hiccupping breaths filled the room. “Thank you Mum. Thank you for everything. I love you.” He managed to get out between gasps. Diana sat stock still. Jason had been calling her Mum for months, it was something that came quickly to him once the idea of adoption was fetched up, he’d never told her that he loved her however. Diana rubbed his back and pressed more kisses into his raven hair. “I love you too Jason, always will.” She said, her own voice wavering.
September 4th – Age 12.
Jason was more nervous than he could remember being. He and Diana were on the invisible jet going to visit Themyscira, for the first time. He could feel the twisting of his gut and the uncontrollable shaking of his fingers as they glided through the air. Diana had written to her mother and told her about finding Jason. She’d been expecting Hippolyta to be disappointed that out of all the street children in man’s world she could have taken in it’d been a boy and not a girl, she surprised the princess though. She’d been excited to meet her grandchild and had demanded they visit as soon as was convenient. Unfortunately this didn’t happen until the start of the new school year.
Diana had wanted him to get settled in after she’d found him and it seemed to end up speeding away. Hippolyta had sent Cydippe to help the new mother out, despite Jason being eleven, as she knew Diana would face struggles being a newly single mother. Everything had snowballed and Jason had found himself in a life he’d never expected, currently on a jet flying towards the home of the Amazons. He was trying to envision what it would look like, feel like, sound like, but his brain was too distracted by the fact he was meeting his first ever grandparent.
Willis and Catherine had either lost their parents or been disowned by them and so he’d never had the special relationship that came with a grandparent. Jason had gotten so distracted by his thoughts that he startled when Diana announced they were nearly there. As he looked out the window a large island suddenly came into view and he felt his breath leave him for a second.
Themyscira was beautiful. With its rolling hills, ancient Greek architecture, and beautiful weather Jason was slightly convinced he’d slipped into a dream world. Nothing he could have ever thought up would have come close to seeing his Mum’s home in real life; despite her showing him pictures Hippolyta had sent.
The jet was soon touching down and Diana glanced back at her son as they went to disembark. She could see how tense he was holding his shoulders and the sheen of sweat that was across his brow. “They’ll love you my son.” She gave his bicep a small squeeze and stepped out of the jet.
As soon as Diana’s feet touched the ground she was swarmed by Amazonians. Many of Diana’s family scooped her off her feet into hugs that’d be bone crushing to mortals. She was soon pushing them away and stepping back to Jason’s side as he’d finally gotten up the courage to climb to the ground. Hippolyta came forward and crouched down so she was eye level with the raven haired boy.
“Hello Jason, I’m so happy you’ve come to visit. I’m Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mum.” Her voice was soft and quiet, the queen showing just how perfect she was at talking with children. “Hey Abuela,” Jason threw his arms around her neck and she slipped her own around his waist, surprised that he’d given her physical affection. “I’ve never had a grandparent before.” He whispered to her as if it was a great injustice and he was embarrassed by his past. It was something Diana knew for a fact he wasn’t. Jason took ownership of his past and refused to let it define his future. “Oh well then, that just means that I’ve got some time to make up. You know, it is a grandparent’s job to spoil their grandchildren; sometimes even going against parents when it comes to things like food and gifts.” She gave him a small conspiratorial wink making the small twelve year old laugh.
Antiope stepped forward and crouched beside her sister. She introduced herself and ran her hand through his thick curls. “By the Goddess, Diana you’d never think he was adopted looking at the pair of you. He matches you all over, even down to his golden skin tone.” She remarked. They’d seen photos Diana had sent but nothing compared to seeing the pair side-by-side in the flesh. The women had been convinced it had been the lighting making them look related by blood; now they could see it was a happy coincidence. It hadn’t mattered to them, just as they knew it wouldn’t matter to either of the people in front of them, it was just one of life’s happy accidents.
Euboea moved to be beside Diana so she could easily introduce herself to the small boy. She’d been thrilled to find out her long-time friend had acquired a child. Diana had already informed the woman that, due to their close relationship, she saw Euboea as one of Jason’s aunts. She’d not mentioned the thought to Jason, letting him decide what he wanted to call each of his family. She’d never forced him to call her ‘Mum’ just as he’d never forced her to call him ‘Son’. It was something that had come naturally, like Hippolyta now being his Abuela.
“Auntie E! I’m so happy to finally meet you in person! Video chat just isn’t the same.” Jason pouted as he enthusiastically greeted the warrior. Diana watched as Euboea flushed a bright red, something that she’d rarely seen as the woman didn’t blush easily. “I’m glad you’re here too Jay. You’re right though, video chat isn’t the same. I can’t give you all the hugs I’ve been wanting to give you.” She then swept the Latino boy off his feet and showered his face in all the kisses she’d been waiting months to give him.
As the large group moved through to the large courtyard nestled in the middle of Hippolyta’s home Diana felt a few stray tears slip down her cheek. Her son was currently chattering away to Artemis, Timandra, and Donna. They were entertaining him with stories from both Donna and Diana’s childhoods, something that he was finding great amusement in. His bright, sunshine laughter was making her heart glow with warmth.
Everyone was seated around the courtyard when their queen suddenly stood, instantly commanding the attention of all those gathered. She raised her glass of wine and looked fondly at Jason and Diana. “I would like to officially welcome Jason to our home. As he finds his feet in his new life with my daughter I feel safe in the knowledge that we will all support them, however they need.” She smiled at the warriors before her, already sensing that this small child had them in the palm of his hand. “I’d also like to take this moment to welcome the first prince of Themyscira. As my grandson he is now Prince Jason of Themyscira, son of Princess Diana, and grandson of Queen Hippolyta. It is a title we never expected to give out but I am sure you’ll all agree with me when I say he’s a fine person to create such a title for.” As she raised her glass a chorus of ‘here, here’ went around the room while Diana chuckled at the look on her son’s face. She knew he was aware of her official title but that he’d not figured out it would make him royal too tickled her. He was an extremely intelligent boy but had such crushing self-doubt that she knew he’d not have thought himself worthy of the title; until his Abuela declared it as such.
October 31st – Age 12.
For the entire month of October Diana had been watching her son with a strange mix of amusement and fondness. It was their first Halloween together and she had no doubt in her mind that it was probably also his first one altogether; even more so after his reaction to his birthday. He’d been excited for the whole month, refusing to tell her his costume as he wanted to surprise her.
Diana had a feeling she already knew what it was but was letting him keep it a surprise. Early on in the month she’d decided to go as Black Canary, knowing Jason would get a kick out of seeing his Mum dressed as his Aunt’s alter-ego. Her fishnet tights, leather shorts and jacket, combined with the yellow vest and black leather boots. She’d just placed on her domino when a shout came from Jason’s room. “Are you ready Mum?” his youthful voice cried out. She replied in the affirmative and steps out of her own room. He suddenly asked her to close her eyes and she dutifully agreed.
Jason suddenly shouted a ‘ta-da’ and she let her eyes open slowly. A sudden wash of love, devotion, and pride flew through her as she took in her son’s costume. The twelve year old boy, who’d had very derogatory views beaten into him, was now stood before her wearing a Wonder Woman costume. As she glanced over they extremely accurate miniature costume she knew Cydippe had to have had a hand in making the outfit. The details were too on point to be a store bought outfit; in addition it fit his body perfectly so that nothing was baggy or too long.
Tears streamed down Diana’s face as she pulled him into a hug. “Oh Jay, you-” she choked up and took a deep breath trying to calm the happy sobs that were now getting too much. “You look amazing and I just,” she found herself at a loss for words. Diana pulled away enough to look over his face and the costume once again. A pink tinge appeared on Jason’s cheeks and he rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ve always loved Wonder Woman and to now have her as my mum, I just couldn’t turn down that opportunity.” He laughed sheepishly but Diana understood. She had gotten his Wonder Woman hoody from Catherine framed for his birthday; so it couldn’t get into a worse state of disrepair; after all.
“Well,” Diana suddenly said, tone changing as her tears had calmed completely. “I think that your costume is just missing one key thing.” She disappeared into her room where the suitcase that kept her costume and weapons lived so they were safe from potentially prying eyes. Jason stayed rooted to the spot very confused. He’d been sure that the costume was accurate but after her words, Jason now doubted himself.
Diana quickly reappeared with her hands behind her back and a smile on her face. “If you’re going out with me I think at least one of those weapons should be the real one, don’t you think.” She said, a wry smile now forming. As she moved her hands back in front of her Jason gasped. There in Diana’s hands was the real lasso of truth, the same very lasso that had started their new life together all those months ago. She’d never hidden it from him, unless his school friends or her work friends were around, but it was still a sight to behold. “Y-y-you sure?” He stammered, stomach suddenly in knots. “Of course Jay. We can’t have you wearing such a perfect replica of my suit and it be accessorised by rope you’ve painted gold.” He could see the happiness in her eyes and the joy on her face so it was clear she wasn’t insulting his attempt at recreating the lasso. He took the rope away and let Diana clip it to his belt. The magic of the lasso made it feel the correct weight for his size so he didn’t feel unbalanced. She guided him back into her room so he could see himself in the full length mirror. Joy was written all over his posture and face as he took in just how awesome he looked and Diana knew he could feel the pride radiating from her. It was going to be a very fun Halloween indeed.
November 15th – Age 13.
During the time they’d been a family Diana had wondered about the white streak of hair at Jason’s hairline. It was about two inches square and had less of a curl than the rest of his raven hair. He’d tried to dye it just after he came to live with her, due to starting school and fears of being bullied, it’d been permanent but faded at an alarming rate. After attempting twice more Jason had given up and now wore his streak proudly. She knew he didn’t have a scar to indicate any trauma to that area as he’d had a full medical in January back when he was eleven.
As they sat down for lunch on the chilly Saturday her curiosity finally won out. “Have you always had your white streak?” Diana asked as they tucked into their rib-eye steaks. Jason looked slightly startled by the sudden topic change but she noticed his body language remained relaxed. “Not always, it started to grow in after my Mámá died, like all hair growth after that was white there.” He flicked the offending lock of hair. Diana could only hum while she thought it all through. She knew emotional instability could cause hair to lose pigmentation when it grew but it wasn’t usually so specific.
It was after she’d dished up dessert that a story she’d heard during her childhood came back to her. As she sat back at the table she thought over just how she was going to approach the topic. She didn’t want to upset her son by reminding him of one of the most harrowing days of his short life but if she was right it could mean so much more for him. “There was a tale one of my sisters told me during my childhood. I think it might apply to you but I want you to tell me if anything strange happened before she died.”
“The day was same as any other but on the way home I got this really bad feeling, like I could almost tell something was wrong. I wasn’t far from home when I felt this sudden chill run from my head right through to my toes.” He shuddered at the memory. “It was really weird. It felt as if someone pressed a kiss to my head but like there wasn’t anyone there. Does that make sense?” Diana gasped her hand flying up to her mouth as what he’d said settled in. “Mum? Are,” Jason gulped, a lump suddenly forming in his throat. “Are you okay?” She nodded and ran her fingers through his hair, her nails scraping his scalp.
“I’m fine baby. I just, I’d always thought it was a story.” She took a drink of her water and laid her hands flat on the table. “The short version of the story goes that Death was wandering the Earth collecting souls to take to Hades. However, during her journey she comes across the child of someone who she’s just escorted downstairs. She is suddenly overwhelmed with grief and a longing she doesn’t understand. As she passes them Death decides to kiss them, wanting to make the pain less. However, what she doesn’t understand is that the child was forever marked. The pain of their loss and the strength they held was contained within the mark and they were unable to cover it.” Diana’s eyes had glazed with tears and as she blinked through them she noticed that Jason’s were already streaming down his face. Diana pulled him into her arms and the pair remained silent for a long while.
Once they managed to get their emotions settled; and reassured Cydippe that they’d be home in time for dinner; Diana and Jason settled into the invisible jet bound for Mount Olympus. Jason, despite his mother being the daughter of a God, still had a hard time comprehending that the Greek Gods and Goddess’ he’d learnt during elementary school were real. This was even more the case when it came to Mount Olympus having their home floating above the summit.
They touched down near the middle of the mountain where there was a beautiful white marble temple dedicated to the Gods. As Jason took the building in he realised it was in better repair than he thought it would have been. They walked in and the place was deserted but there was still a candle burning and the place seemed far too clean for somewhere half way up a mountain that no one occupied.
Diana knelt down and looked around at the statues. They were almost perfect carvings of her family and the close resemblance amazed her, even though she’d been there many times during her life outside Themyscira. “Family of Olympus I am sorry it had been so long since I last came. As I’m sure you’ve seen I have adopted a son and he is the most important aspect of my life now. However,” she took a deep breath and looked back at Jason, holding out her hand for him to join her. He walked over quickly and knelt beside her. “I believe he is a most special boy, especially after what he told me today.” She then repeated what he’d told earlier that day. He was unable to hide his confusion.
“Mum why are we here? Like, I really don’t get it. You think Death kissed my hea-“ Jason was cut off when a bubble of light appeared near one of the statues. As the light dissipated a woman of incredible beauty with an aura of power stood in its place. Diana jumped up and the two women embraced. “Jay, this is Athena.” Diana said. Jason just felt even more confused at the appearance of a literal Goddess. He stood and stumbled over to his mum and her half-sister. “Uh, um, uh, hi?” He ran a palm over his face at his sudden ineloquence.
“Hello there Nephew, your Mother has piqued my interest. Is it okay if I look at your white hair?” Athena said. All Jason could do was nod. Slowly the Goddess reached out, clearly not wanting to spook the young boy. He found himself holding his breath as her fingers ran through his hair. She tilted his head this way and that, even pulling a couple of strands of both his raven and white hair.
Ten minutes later, and after careful study of Jason’s hair, Athena smiled at the pair. “Well Sister it would appear you’ve found a very special boy indeed.” She let out a small chuckle and ran her fingers through his hair again. “Jason you are a mortal boy but have been touched by Death herself. She is older than even our family and has only done this twice before. Both of those went on to be remarkable people: one was Cleopatra, whose mother died only a few months after her birth; the second was David Lloyd George, whose father died while he was a year old. Both went on to lead influential lives. You have something they didn’t have however; you have a demigoddess for an adopted mother. If we go by precedent then we know you are going to be a power within this world.”
Athena held their hands in hers and seemed deep in thought. To Diana she wasn’t sure if Athena was deep in thought or if that was just the way the Goddess of wisdom naturally looked. Athena smiled at the pair. “I wish to bestow a gift upon your child so you do not have to go through the heartache of losing him, or watching him grow old.” The Goddess said, breaking the silence. “What gift Sister?” Diana asked. She was very wary as the Gods weren’t known for handing out gifts without some kind of sacrifice. “I know what you’re thinking Diana however; I believe my Nephew has sacrificed enough during his young life. As such I wish, if you agree of course Jason, to bestow upon him all the same powers you have. He would be a demigod such as yourself and, once he reaches adulthood, will age at the same rate any Amazon would.” Diana was about to respond when Jason cut in, “yes! Yes Athena! Yes please! If it means I won’t age quicker than my mum and will be able to enter battle with her without her worrying, then yes.”
“You have a very wise and intelligent son Diana. You are correct Jason, you would be a demigod just like your mum.” Athena looked him over and placed her hand gently upon his head. A surreal warmth, that felt almost similar in intensity to the cold he’d felt at his mother’s death, flared through his body. It left as quickly as it’d started and Jason felt no different than before Athena had touched his head. Diana pulled out a small pocket knife and tried to slice his skin but it refused to break; unlike the smile that broke across his face at the lack of blood. By the time the pair looked back up Athena had already departed so they started to make their way back home safe in the knowledge that Jason was invulnerable to mortal weapons. Diana did make sure to stress that he’d still need to complete at least another year of training before joining her in the field.
December 31st – Age 21
The Watchtower was calm as most of the heroes had returned to their families to ring in the New Year. Diana found Jason sat by the massive windows in the meeting room. He’d been part of the League for a couple of years and seeing him look so at peace reminded her that it’d been the right decision. Jason had struggled to work with most of the original team members due to their close associations with Bruce and his children. Now more of the Birds of Prey, and other heroes, had joined he had settled in and had found friends closer to his age within the hero community.
Taking a seat beside him, Diana handed over a chilled beer while sipping from her own. “You seemed deep in thought my Prince.” She said, following his line of sight out into space. “Just thinking about everything.” He said after a little hum. She tipped her head slightly, wanting him to continue. His eyes were watching her intently in their reflection. The glass on the Watchtower was specially designed so they could have the lights on and still look out at space without seeing their own reflections. Jason however, when he had the lights on a lower setting; such as tonight; preferred the reflection. It helped him stay in his own head instead of getting lost in all the disastrous thoughts too much darkness could bring.
“It’s ten years tomorrow since you saved me,” Jason reached out and took Diana’s hand. He’d grown a lot over the ten years but she hadn’t aged a day, something he’d also do once he finished growing by twenty five. She smiled over at him. “I believe we saved each other Pet. You have given me so much more over these ten years than I ever thought was possible, especially since I decided to move away from Themyscira during the Great War.” He huffed a fond laugh, “you’re one hell of a woman Ma. I still can’t quite get my head around how much you love me and how big our family is.” He smiled thinking of all the women in Themyscira and their found family in Paris. Somehow the small kid from the Narrows with two inattentive parents had ended up with hundreds of family and surrounded by love.
The pair had already planned to return to Gotham, as they had done every year they could, for January 1st. They liked to spend the day in the city they’d found one another just enjoying each other’s time and company. They’d also made a tradition of exchanging a small gift to mark how pivotal the day was in regards to their future. This year however, due to it being a decade since the battle in Gotham Jason had purchased the building they’d met on. He’d spent the year having it stripped out and turned into four flats with a rooftop garden. He had plans to rent them out to families struggling as the rent would be drastically below market value. He didn’t need the money; he just wanted to give back to the city that’d helped him find his true family. Up on the roof Jason had also had a plaque placed that explained how it was the spot where Wonder Woman found Spartan.
The duo was known around the galaxy and further afield for their partnership. There were only a handful of teams that could work as coordinated as they could (one being Batman and Robin). They’d done so much good wherever they went and Diana was always proud to hear the kind words different civilisations had for her son.
“It has been an eventful decade but I can safely say it’s been the most fun one.” Diana said causing Jason to laugh again. They clinked their beer bottles and fell back into an easy silence. She’d seen many heroes bring children into their work, some no older than nine. It’d always caused her to be more wary of those heroes as she couldn’t understand letting children into a business that would cause them to lose their childhoods so soon. Now as she sat with Jason, gazing out at the vastness of space, she realised she’d never want Jason anywhere else that night but by her side on the Watchtower. It was something he could only do as he’d followed her into the hero business once she finally decided he was old enough.
They were deep into one of the stories from Jason’s recent trip to Themyscira when a flash of green zoomed past the window. Neither tensed as it was easily recognised as a Green Lantern; as such the mother and son continued their conversation. Jason was just talking about how he’d nearly bested Antiope in a spar when the door hissed open behind them. Jason’s eyes flicked up the window and he saw a familiar face now without domino mask. He shot out of his seat and turned to face the member of the Lantern Corp.
“What are you doing here? I thought you were on the other side of the sector and couldn’t get back.” Jason asked. There was an undertone to his voice that Diana didn’t think she’d heard before. As she looked her son over she realised why, sure he’d had relationships like most young adults/teens but they’d never been serious, the Lantern stood awkwardly in the door meant so much more to her son than he’d previously let on. A wave of protection that only a parent could comprehend crashed over her and she wished she was alone with the Lantern. Sure the last ten years had been good to her son but he’d been hurt so much in the eleven years before all that that she refused to let it continue. That maternal need was tempered slightly as the raven haired Lantern gave her son a small smile and walked towards him.
“Jay,” his voice was almost a whisper, all soft and caring. “I couldn’t miss the chance to ring in the New Year with you.” Jason took his hand and squeezed it. “Kyle you’re a sap, you know that?” He said, laughter ringing through his words. His smile hadn’t faltered though and was just as fond, just as full of love. “Mum, this is Kyle.” Jason said, turning now to face Diana. “Kyle, this is my mum Diana.” Diana took Kyle’s hand in one of her own and kissed his cheeks; too many years of living in France making the greeting automatic. “It is a pleasure to meet you in this capacity.” Diana said, looking between the two men.
“What capacity is that Ma’am?” Kyle’s Southern Californian drawl replied. “Well we’ve met as colleagues before. Now I am meeting you in the capacity of Jason’s mother and you are his love.” Jason blushed a deep red wanting nothing more than to sinking into the ground. He’d spent the better part of a year hiding the relationship from Diana, as he learnt how to be in a relationship that he wanted to last. All his previous ones had been purely physical attraction, with Kyle he found himself attracted to every facet of the Lantern. He knew Diana wouldn’t have a problem with the relationship; she’d been the one to help him understand that he was pansexual like she was after all. He had just worried that it’d spook the other man into running and that was the last thing he wanted. “I have to agree with you there Ma’am. I’ve been wanting to meet you as his mum for a couple of months but didn’t know how to ask. He can’t meet my mum, I’ve not got any family left. Aside from all those idiots I work with in the Corp, obviously.” He said, a sadness filling his eyes despite the happiness lighting up his face.
Jason pressed a kiss to Kyle’s cheek and turned his face so he could look into Kyle’s green eyes. “Kyle I love you, you know that. If you wanted to meet Diana I wouldn’t have been annoyed or anything that silly head of yours is thinking.” He tapped his fingers against Kyle’s forehead. The sadness dissolved from his eyes, quickly being replaced by an exasperated happiness. “I don’t know why but I love you too, you idiot. I know my mum would have loved you.” Jason nudged Kyle’s shoulder and the trio sat down.
They fell into easy conversation. Diana was regaled with stories from their relationship. Laughter filled the room and for once the Watchtower meeting room was a place of happiness instead of stress. They ended up so engrossed with their conversation that they missed midnight on the Watchtower. As Jason looked at Kyle chatting with Diana he knew he had everything he could ever want in the two people in front of him.