Chapter 1: Family
The rain pelted hard on the roof-tops. Not an unusual thing in Gotham. The air was thick with smog and the warehouse district grew smaller as I made my way back to the safe house. It was a pretty ordinary night. Some guys who think they're 'all that' had been trying to deal drugs in my territory; but let's just say they won't be capable of making the same mistake twice. Sirens sounded in the distance and the occasional helicopter made its way over head. Just another normal night on the bad side of Gotham.
I slowed my pace to a fast walk once the safe house was in sight. This wasn't really a safe house anymore, but more so my permanent residence. Moving every couple of weeks hadn't been so difficult in the beginning, but as circumstances changed we had to make compromises. The compromise being we spend more money on a very good security system. It was probably 6 years ago now when I met Lisa and I can remember the day like it was yesterday.
I walked into one of the strip clubs I frequented more than others and made my way over to the bar. The usual bartender, Andrea, was there. She had long brunette hair, green eyes and, probably the best feature, good sized breast. Not to big but still more than enough to fit in you're hand. As I surveyed the room I saw a new face. She was dazzling. Soft blonde hair, tied up in a braid, and blue eyes that would put Grayson's to shame. She was small and dainty; petite. She moved with grace and purpose. I motioned to Andrea and she made her way over with the usual smile. "Hey baby J. Can I get you you're usual?" She asked with a wink. "You know me to well Andrea. But I'd also like to know who the cutie behind the bar is." I replied as I looked to the graceful blonde. "Firstly, I think you mean 'other' cutie. And secondly, her names Lisa. She started here a few days ago." She leaned in closer to my ear and continued in a whisper "I heard the boss found her outside of mavericks place all beat up. She wouldn't say anything, about but if you asked me I'd say 'I think he was selling her to those disgusting freaks that maverick calls customers."
Maverick was a guy a few blocks down. He owned a whore house. And not a good one. His customers were brutal pigs that deserve to have their intestines dragged out through their oesophagus. Andrea made her way over to make my drink. I saw her exchange some words with Lisa before she thrust my drink into her hands and made off in the other direction. Lisa turned and looked towards me. She had a look of uncertainty as she made her way over. "Um, sorry. Here's you're drink sir." She said nervously in a voice that must have been a gift from the gods. I stared at her dumbly for a second before managing to get out a thanks. With a little giggle she turned and made her way back to the sink where she was cleaning some glasses. Andrea re-appeared from wherever she snuck off to and made her way back over to me. "I see drool on someone's chin" she pointed out mockingly. "Sh-shut up. Can't a guy think a girl is hot these days?" I defended. Andrea hummed and simply waved off my comment "Chelsea's waiting in the back for you. Said she's expecting a better performance than last time." I rolled my eyes at there and made my way to my conduct 'night activities' with Chelsea.
By the time we were done it was late. Andrea and Lisa were finishing their shifts as I walked out of the strip club. I made my way back to my current safe house, which was only a few blocks away, and changed into red-hoods get-up. Slotting the last gun into its holster I made my way into the streets of Gotham. It was a quiet night. The same dank smells, the same shitty weather, and the same old thugs biting off more than they could chew. I was sitting on the ledge of a building listening to a police scanner when I heard it. I scream slicked through the drone traffic and faint beats of music. Jumping to my feet I took off in the direction it came. Grappling onto an old apartment building I'd found the source. A woman wearing jeans, a backpack and a black hoodie that covered her face was backed into the alleyway with no where to go. "Wrong turn little kitten." The mans voice was grotesque. It sounded as though he had marbles lodged in his throat when he talked. "The boss isn't very happy. He wasn't you back, no matter what." His tongue wiped itself over his lips. The young woman screamed at him "No! Get away from me you monster!" As the creep made his way forward, I made my move. I landed right behind with a thud loud enough to get his attention. Startled, he spun to face me. My gun was already in his face. "Now now, its not nice to scare the ladies, so why don't you just leave." I moved my finger to the trigger and the guy flinched, but he stood his ground. "This isn't any of your business. This whore belongs to maverick. She bears his mark." Everyone knew that maverick had a sick fetish for branding his prostitutes as his own. He'd burn the image of a bound snake curling in on itself into their left shoulders. I'd seen it before. "Look. You and I both know it's only a matter of time before that boss your yours ends up a John Doe so why don't you just hand the girl over to me and you can live." By now I was getting very impatient. Grayson had been on my case about the whole 'don't kill people' thing but that just isn't my style anymore. The man moved his mouth to speak and that's when my patience snapped. I pulled the trigger. The bullet ran straight between his eyes. A look of shock and horror ran across his face before he fell backwards into the ground in a lifeless pile. I looked to the woman and said "you're safe now." I turned to walk away but stopped when she said "no I'm not." I turned back to face her. Her voice was familiar. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes; her beautiful blue eyes. "As long as he's alive. I'll never be safe."
Her name had made it out of my mouth before the filter could stop it. My tone of of shock and disbelief. She looked up at me with a mixture of fear and confusion. "How do you know my name?" She asked shakily. I stood still, eyes wide and my mouth resembling a fish, not that she could tell with the helmet. I heaved a sigh and exclaim a quiet "oh fuck it." My head she reached for the helmet slowly lifting it to reveal my secret identity; that far too many people knew form my liking. Her eyes went wide and she took a few steps forward. She raised her hand to my face but I flinched back before she could touch me. We stood still for a moment, completely focused on each other's eyes. After a moment she continued musing her hand until it came into contact with my right cheek. "You're the man from the club... um Jason... wasn't it?" She talked softly. Shocked that she new my name i nodded my head slowly. She smiled, oh god her beautiful smile, and said "I knew there was something special about you."
After we met it was like we were meant to be. Nothing felt right if she wasn't there. And now here we are 2 years later and expecting the third member of our little family any day now. With the house in sight I check my surroundings to make sure no one was following me. Satisfied that I had no pursuers I made my way to the fire escape of our second storey apartment. It was small but it was home. It had two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open area living space that was decided into a kitchen, lounge and office space. There was no need for a dining space as there was a breakfast bar conjoined to the kitchen, and we may be one of those households that just eats in front of the TV.
As I made my way in through the living room window my head spun towards a smash coming from the bedroom that Lisa and I shared. I bolted to the room bursting through the door in fear that some drugged up lunatic had followed me home. What I saw made my heart sink. Lisa was on the floor clutching her stomach and looked in more pain than I'd ever seen her. I ran to her side and kneeled down next to her, immediately grabbing her and holding her close. I feel a wet substance underneath us and my panic grew. "What happened sweetie!? Who did this!? Where are they!?" My mind went into overdrive with all the possible horrible things that could have happened to her. "This is all you're fault Jayhole." She yelled through clenched teeth. I looked at her confused, she only used that nickname when she was really pissed. She looked up at me again and barked "don't just sit there, help me! This baby isn't going to wait!" Realisation suddenly dawned on me. She was in labour. She was about to give birth to our child. I suddenly lost all ability to think. I started to ramble nonsense which only earned me a a loud "JASON GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!" Right in the ear hole.
I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the house keys making my way out into the hallway. I pounded my fist against the neighbours door. Mr Jenkins opened the door what seemed like hours later. Lisa had become good friends with the elderly couple and they had agreed to lend us their car to get to the hospital if needed. Mr Jenkins looked at me in worry. "Baby's coming!" I half yelling in the old mans face. He turned and grabbed his keys bore instructing me to carry her down the stair and place her in the back seat of the car. I did as he told me and before we knew it we were off. I held Lisa close to me, hoping that I'd somehow take away some of the pain she was feeling. She nuzzled her head into my chest and grabbed my hand. She looked up at me and said one of the things that always made my heart ache "I'm scared." I whispered "don't worry it'll be fine," Into her ear like a mantra; trying convince myself more than her. Mr Jenkins turned into the hospital and parked outside the emergency room. Turning off the ignition, he got out of the car and assisted me in getting Lisa out. Once we were safely up on two legs he ran ahead to the emergency room and explained to the staff that Lisa was in labour. The staff rushed out to help, placing Lisa in a wheelchair, and rushed her off to emergency all the while she still held my hand in a death grip. "It hurts Jason. Make it stop" she complained. Her forehead was covered in sweat and her face was paler than normal. I was dumbfounded. I didn't know how to help her so all I could do was reassure her. "It'll be okay baby, just breath." "Jason, I think I'm going to be sick." She said as the nurses moved her to a bed.
The nurse had kicked me out of the room to prepare for the delivery, but she had assured me that I could be present during the delivery. It felt like hours since I had been forced into the hallway and I was beginning to worry. Had something happened? It was as I began to think the worst that the nurse came out and said "would you like to come in?" I gave a nod and tentatively made my way in into the room. The nurse told me to be calm, quiet and to try not to distract Lisa too much as it could lead to delayed labour labour and make her more uncomfortable. I silently sat next to her and held her hand. She gave it a tight squeeze and I copied in reassurance. The doctor had told Lisa to push and she complied using all her might to bring our child into the world. She continued to struggle, her full attention on breathing and pushing. Then without warning a shrill cry filled the room. All I could do was stare. The doctor moved the tiny baby in his arms to a bench, where the midwife wiped it down and wrapped it in a blanket before handing the small bundle to Lisa. Lisa gladly took hold of the tiny being, holding it close to her, taking in its very being. She moved the blanket down to reveal the gender. Our baby boy. She smiled and looked up to me. My eyes were wide with wonder. The last time I'd felt anywhere near this much joy was when Lisa had agreed to love. The doctors continued their work as we silently enjoyed the feeling of being a family.
4 years later (3rd person)
"Elliot it's time to go!" Lisa called to the little boy that was occupying the booth of the pizza restaurant. The little boy sprouted dark hair that curled slightly at the ends and was as unruly as his fathers. His bright blue eyes, just like his mother, looked up in protest. "But mummy, I don’ wanna go to daycare. I wanna stay here with daddy." He pouted looking to his father for permission. His father moved out from behind the counter and kneeled down in front of his small child. "Maybe next time okay buddy. Besides you're friends are at daycare, you'll have heaps of fun." The tall, dark haired man stated messing the small boys hair. "Daddy stop!" Elliot giggled. Jason laughed at his son's protests. His wife moved to his side, giving him an affectionate hug. "Come on buddy, mummy needs to get to work." Jason lowered his head and connected his lips with his 'wife's'. While not legally married, they'd exchanged rings and promised their lives to each other. "Okay Elli, taxis waiting for us." Lisa commented as she ushered the small boy out the door. They gave one last wave to Jason before they clambered into the taxi and made their way to daycare and work.
It was just after lunch rush when Jason finally took his break. Martinez, Jason's boss and now family friend, had joined him. The two talked about trivial matters. The weather, where they were going for drinking night this Friday and how Jason's family had been doing. It was a pleasant conversation, but was interrupted when Jason's mobile rang. He gave a looked to Martinez. Martinez raised a hand as silent permission and Jason answered. "Hello?" He asked unsure. The only people with his number were Lisa, Martinez, Mr and mrs Jenkins and Elliot's daycare. "Hello, is this Mr Jason Todd?" A lady was on the other end, her voice held an unplayable emotion. "Yes." Was his short reply, still unsure of who he was talking to. "My name is Hollie and I'm calling from Gotham East hospital." My heart sank at that moment. "I regret to inform you that Elliot Todd and Lisa Fine have been involved in a car accident and are currently undergoing treatment here." It was like Jason's whole world shattered into a million pieces. He felt his breath hitch, and before he lady on the other end of the line could finish talking he was on his feet and running.
Chapter 2: Loss
Lisa and Elliot are in hospital
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Running into the hospital I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. My legs felt heavy, and I couldn't move them the way I wanted to. I ran to the emergency rooms reception and while stumbling over my words, demanded to know where my family was. A small girl with short brown hair, dressed in scrubs made her way over to me. "Your Mr Todd correct. I'm Dr Hollie Andrews, we spoke on your phone." She said in a calm voice.
"Yes, my family, are they okay?" I asked her my, anxiety reaching new heights.
"Let's talk over here sir, where there more privacy. She led me to a small room, kind of like a doctor’s office. She closed the door and sat down pulling out some papers and envelopes form a folder.
"Please take a seat." She said as I moved to the chair across from her.
"Your wife and son were involved in a serious car accident. This has left them with multiple injuries and I regret to inform you that your wife condition is critical. She's currently undergoing emergency surgery and our doctors are going to do everything they possibly can to get her back to you safe and healthy." Dr Andrews stated. I could feel my whole world collapsing beneath my feet.
"My son, what about Elliot." I asked fearing I might have already lost him.
"Please don't worry, your son is currently in a stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery." It felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my chest with those words and I could finally breath again.
"But while he is stable he does have multiple injuries." Dr Andrews pulled out a few X-rays from an enveloped and placed them against the light. "Your sons major injuries include a broken collarbone and an ulna fracture in his left Forearm. His more minor ones include whiplash, 2 cracked ribs and then a few cuts and bruises. He's already undergone surgery for the break in his arm. So, if you go through airport security, don't worry, your kids not carrying a gun, it's just the pins holding his arm together." She tried to joke.
"How long will his recovery be?" I asked.
"Well, well get him back in after 3 weeks to check how everything is going. We will take the cast off at 3 weeks, then we'll put him in an arm brace. He'll probably have to wear that for about 3 weeks." She informed me. Nodding I moved onto my next concern. His collarbone.
"How’s this going to work with the collarbone. Won't the weight of the cast alone annoy that?"
"Yes. That's why we’re going to put him in a sling for about 3 weeks. The fracture wasn't severe, and it should heal without any need for surgery. The most you can do for that is pain medication, maybe some icing and just being careful with his shoulder. He's going to be a very uncomfortable little boy for a few weeks." She stated turning back to her papers. "These are his prescriptions, you won't have to worry about them until he's discharged, which should be tomorrow morning."
"Should be?" I asked.
"As Long as there's no complications tonight he'll be fine to go."
"What about his ribs and the whiplash?”
"Both very minor. His neck should feel better in a few days, and his ribs will heal on their own just fine, as long as he rests properly." She finished placing the various papers back into her folder and filing it away,
"Okay, now your wife should be out of surgery within the next hour. Until we know more how about we go and see this little boy of your." She stated rising from her chair and opening the door.
"Hey doc, what are my wife's chances?" I asked in a serious tone. Dr Andrew's sighed taking a seat again,
"I'm going to be honest with you. Your wife has come in with serious chest trauma, severe bleeding multiple fractures. I think it'd be best if you did prepare for the worst; but it's not hopeless. Our surgeons will do everything they can. Also, I just want you to know, when they were found, your wife had your little boy wrapped in her arms. There's no doubt in my mind, that she saved that boys life today." She said in a serious tone. I could feel a strong burning sensation flare up behind my eyes, but I choked the tears down. She wasn't gone yet.
Walking down the hall, we made our way to room A24. The stark smell of disinfectant filled my nose, making me feel uneasy. I've always hated hospitals. I peeked into the room to see the small figure, that was my son, engulfed by shite sheets. The oxygen mask making him seem so much smaller than he was. I took a seat beside his bed. He had a bruise on the side of his head, and a small cut underneath his left eye. Whatever happened in that car, it's clear that his left side was the one that took the blow. "The nurse will be in shortly to check on him. I'll be back later to inform you on any changes to your wife's condition." Doctor Andrews said before she took her leave. I decided to focus on my boy for now. I absentmindedly stroked his hair, as I waited for his clear ocean blue eyes to open and look at me. I decided i should probably call Martinez and let him know what's going on. I also really needed a cigarette. I'd been trying to give up since Lisa didn't like it, but I think this situation would be an exception. I walked out the back door of the hospital. There was a small garden and a few sitting areas. Making sure I was well enough away from the building I lit my cigarette. I breathed in deeply holding my breath, before releasing. After a few minutes I found myself slightly more relaxed and took out my phone. I dialled the number for the shop and waited for it to connect. "You've reached Martins pizzeria this is Marco Martinez how may I help you?"
"Hey Marco, it's Jason." I said unsure of how to proceed.
"Jason, my boy. Are they okay?" He asked, concerned evident in his voice.
"I... I don’t know if she'll make it." The tears swelled up in my eyes as I tried my damnedest to hold them back. There was a moment of silence before Martinez spoke again.
"I'm on my way over. It'll be okay Jason." He said, before handing up.
I was in Elliot's room when Martinez came running into the room. "Oh, Dio" he whispered to himself as his eyes fell over Elliot. "Is signora okay?" He asked concerned.
"I don't know, they haven't told me anything. “I sniffed pathetically. "They said she should be out of surgery in half an hour. That was half an hour ago." I turned back to Elliot and began stroking his hair again.
"I'll go ask, you just stay here with Ellie." He said before walking down the hall.
Martinez came back about 5 minutes later with Dr Andrews.
"Mr Todd, may we speak privately?" She asked, her eyes darting over Martinez.
"He's family, he can hear this." I said as she motioned for us to sit down.
"In the accident your wife sustained multiple life-threatening injuries, and while our surgical team was working on them they noticed that your wife also suffered a partial aortic disruption; that unfortunately wasn't found until it was too late. I'm afraid that despite the surgical teams’ best efforts your wife has passed away on the operating table." She said in a way that was somehow calm, sad, and sympathetic. I felt oddly numb. I didn't cry. I felt like I should be crying, but I wasn't. I felt Martinez place his hand on my upper back.
"What do you mean? She can't be gone, she was just here." I asked her.
"I’m very sorry for your loss, I'll give you time to process this as a family." She stated before making her way out of the room.
I turned back to Elliot and stroked the back of his hand. A strange anger built up inside of me, it was different or any anger I've felt before. It was different from my anger towards joker, or Bruce, or even that guy that short-change me at the grocery store. It was like i was angry at myself. For not being there. If I was there then, maybe this wouldn't have happened.
"Jason." Martinez said, bringing me into a hug. His arms engulfed me, making me feel so small.
"We'll figure this out my boy." He said, as I finally felt my emotions come forward, and cried until I couldn't cry anymore.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter. smash the Kudos and feel free to leave a comment (I love feedback, including constructive criticism)
pls note that I don't actually speak Italian, so if google translate didn't work please let me know and I'll fix it.
Martinez had gone to my house to collect some clothes and necessities for Elliot, so it was just me sitting beside my son, who was still sound asleep. How was I supposed to tell him that his mum was gone? That he would never see her again? I don't even think I've had enough time to process the information. The police had paid a visit and told me that the car had been t-boned. Whatever that car was it must've been armoured because by the time emergency services had made it to the scene it was gone. The only evidence that there were two cars involved was that grainy CCTV footage from a small store across the road.
There was a small stir besides me followed by a low whimper. I rushed to my feet and lent over my small son, gently urging him to stay still. His hand went for the oxygen mask that covered much of his face.
"Hey kiddo, its okay, just look at me." I cooed stroking his hair gently.
"Daddy" it was quiet and sounded strained.
"It's okay, I'm here kiddo." He stared straight into my eyes, at first his face held an expression of confusion. However, it quickly twisted into a pained wince.
"hurts daddy." He cried, now laying perfectly still to avoid causing any more pain.
Before I could reassure him a nurse, followed by Dr Andrews walked into the room. "I see we're awake now, that's good." Dr Andrews said cheerfully. "how about we get Nurse Trish to have a look at you?" she spoke as if asking Elliot but turned her head to me at the end of her sentence. I gave a nod as if giving them permission.
"Are you in pain sweetheart?" the nurse asked after seeing the look on his face. Elliot gave a small nod. "Where does it hurt the most." She continued as she pulled out a syringe that I assumed was filled with a pain killer. "arm" was his pained reply.
"okay, why don't you look at your daddy for a moment and ill give you something that'll make the pain go away?" Elliot gave a small nodded and looked over to me. Behind the pain on his face was fear. He was sacred, and I couldn't blame him really. One minute it's a normal day and the next he's in a hospital bed and in pain. "There we go." The nurse commented while giving Elliot's arm a light rub where she had given him the shot. The nurse began checking Elliot's vitals as Dr Andrews asked to talk to me in the hall.
"So, it looks like he should be fine to leave in the morning, however I think it would be best to tell him about Lisa as soon as possible." She stated. I took a deep breath and held it for a moment before releasing it. "how the hell am I supposed to do that?" My Anxiety was beginning to show. My fingers where becoming shaky. Damn I needed a smoke. "If you want I can tell him, but I think it's vital that you're present. As you know this is some of the worst news that he'll ever receive, and it'll be better if he has someone that he loves and trusts there. If he becomes too distraught and It looks like he's going to hurt himself more, we can give him a sedative that'll hopefully calm him down.
The Nurse left as we re-entered the room. Elliot had been moved into an upright position. "Hey daddy?" the small boy asked.
"I'm Hungry." I gave a small half smile, but it didn't reach my eyes.
"Soon kiddo, but first we have to have a talk."
"am I in trouble? I didn't mean to do it." Elliot stated, as if he was in trouble for something. Jason wasn't sure why he'd think he was in trouble, unless it turns out that Elliot was the reason that my coffee cup went missing a few days ago.
"You're not in trouble kiddo." I sat down beside him and held his hands in my own. They were so much smaller than mine. Mine were calloused and scared. His soft and smooth."
"You know how you and mummy were going to school?" Elliot gave a small nod.
"Well you were both in a car accident kiddo. That's why your arm is so hurt." Elliots face was beginning to fall, as if he was realising that something bad had happened but his brain wasn't able to discern what it was.
"Well... Mummy was really hurt kiddo." I took a moment to breath, Dr Andrews had landed on my shoulder as if it were trying to encourage me to continue.
"Where's mummy." Elliot asked in a strained voice.
"She's gone kiddo." Now I could feel it. The sharp burning behind my eyes. The wetness on my face that was almost foreign to me.
"Where did she go?" Elliot, now beginning to panic asked.
"You know how grandma and grandpa went to heaven?" I never believed in heaven, especially after my death, but if that's what it took to help Elliot understand what was happening then he was going to use it. Elliot gave a small nod. His breathing uneven.
"well mummy had to go to heave with grandma and grandpa." There was silence for a moment before the cries broke out. Dr Andrews moved as if to give Elliot a sedative, but I held my hand out topping her. I sat on the right side of the bed, holding my boy as his body was wracked by sobs. He held onto my shirt as if I too were going to leave him. The only thing I could do was hold him tight and whisper small assurances in his ear as tears silently made their way down my face.
To say It had been a long night would be an understatement. The patrol had mainly consisted of back alley drug deals, muggings, and a few assaults. While they weren't anything that the bats couldn't handle, that fact that it has now been three nights in a row of what seemed to be rapidly increasing drug related crime and that I was stuck babysitting two robins that constantly tried to kill each other was enough make me want to collapse in a bed for a few days. "Report." There was no emotion behind the voice, something that the great Batman has perfected even before I knew him, "Just the usual street crime tonight be. Nothing serious. Although it feels like drug crimes are on the rise." I reported the events of our night while taking some biscuits off a tray Alfred had left. "Yeah I agree with Dick." Tim started, breaking away from an argument he was having with Damian. Something about how Tim took down more, but Damian did it better. "Especially in the more problem locations. Normally we'd interrupt maybe 2 or 3 drug deals each, but there's been a steady increase as of late. Tonight, alone I walked into at least 4 on one street alone. Don't even get me started on crime ally." He huffed removing his cowl and walking towards the locker room. It was certainly strange that drugs were becoming more prominent. It reminded dick of how it was when he first became robin. "I thought Todd had control of the drug market in Gotham, guess that means there only a few reasons it's getting out of hand. 1. Todd finally gave up and is selling to everyone, 2. He was weak and now no one listens to him, or 3. He's dead." Damian sauntered over. "Don't talk like that Damian." I scolded. "But he has a fair point," I conceded turning back to Bruce, "Jason's the one who's been controlling Gotham's drug market, that's why it decreased If it's increasing, then maybe something has happened to him." Bruce ceased his typing for a moment before continuing again, bringing up a map of one of Gotham's, "not so great" residential areas, there was red marker spooking from a small apartment you could clearly see the small red dot move about the house, as if completing household chores. "What that?" I asked, "I've left him alone because he's been controlling the gangs in our favour. He's defiantly alive, that marker is a tracker that I implanted beneath his skin while he was unconscious once. If he's alive and the crime increasing, then maybe Damián's right. maybe he is inciting more crime." I stared at the bat computer, not even surprised that Bat's has known where Jason's been all this time. After all, since when has Batman cared about our privacy. "What are we gonna do?" I asked. "Well pay him a visit." "I really don't think he'll take 4 bats showing up at his house too kindly." "That why it'll only be us. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson." Batman stood suddenly and turned to the change room. He was most of the way there when he turned around and said "well, are you coming Dick?”
Hope you enjyed the chapter.
I apologise for any spelling/grammatical errors.
Feel free to kudos, comment etc.
Chapter 4: Nightmare
"Thank you for the lift home Mr Jenkins." I sighed to the older man.
"Don't fret son. Cant let the little one walk home in good conscious." He replied, giving Elliot's hair a small tousle.
"If you two need anything, you know where to find us. And I mean anything, ok?" The man held a stern look, as if telling a child what to do.
"Yeah, I got it." I gave a small wave before entering our small apartment and depositing the brown bag that was filled with Elliot's pain meds and sleeping pills. It felt different. The air felt thicker, the rooms colder and the light a little dimmer. Elliot was kept in hospital for a few more days as the doctors were worried about his mental well being. But what can you expect when A kid looses one of its parents; of course they're going to shut down a bit. Elliot's shut down came a little more literally. Literal in the way that he hasn't spoken in 3 days now. His communication has been diminished to body language and the disturbing sounds he makes while he sleep. The small fits of what is probably panic attacks and small noises of discomfort or unease thought the day. Honestly a part of me is glad for it. I've been so preoccupied with trying to keep Ellie calm that my own brain hasn't had time to process what's happened and react accordingly. It almost as if I'm on auto-pilot.
I was broken from my thoughts when my phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out, not prepared to talk to anyone at the moment. The caller ID read 'MARCO MARTINEZ' in bold white letters.
"Ellie, why don't you go watch some tv for a minute?" A small nod followed as he walked over towards the tv.
Turning my attention back to the phone I slid the green answer circle to the right.
"Jason my boy. Did the two of you make it home safe?"
"Yeah. The old man gave us a ride." There was silence es for a moment before I continued "hey, ah. Look I don't know when I'm going to be able to come back to work. I'll-"
"Don't even worry about that my boy. I don't expect you to be able to come back right now, besides you have plenty of paid leave. I was actually calling to ask about signora's funeral. Do you need help?" Martinez question was followed my more silence on my end. A part of me wanted to instantly reject the idea that i couldn't even organise my own wife's funeral. But the other part of me knew that in reality, i needed help.
"If you could Marco. That'd be great." The words came out somewhat hoarse. How was that even remotely great? My wife is dead. There's nothing great about that. It was like someone suddenly dropped a 2 tonne truck in my chest as I let go of a breath I didn't know I'd been holding my brain finally registering the fact that my wife, the mother of my child, was gone. And she was never going to come back. The one thing that had kept me grounded and sane for the last 6 years was gone. Tears fell down my face as I took in shallow breaths. I was scared. How was I supposed to do this without her? How was I supposed to look after Elliot?
"Jason?" Martinez sounded alarmed through the phone.
"Are you there? Jason!" I tried to answer but all that came out was a sob. A sob that gained the attention of the small injured boy on the couch. His eyes bore into my own. I couldn't read the emotion but he resembled a small animal trying to gauge a larger distressed animal.
"I'm coming coming Jason." The phone line went dead after that. Elliot made his way over slowly, as if not to frighten me. He grabbed my larger hand and urged me to follow. To tired to protest I complied and we made our way to the small couch, that could now be considered too big. He crawled into my lap rested his head on my chest. His familiar scent and the eyes that held the same blue as his mother, calming me exponentially.
It was a small funeral. The only people to attend were myself, Elliot, Martinez and his family, and the Jenkins. There was the usual mourning, the stories of her life and long speeches about god from the priest. I could only hope that my experience had been hell and that a heaven really did exist. Because the thought of her being were I once was, was to difficult.
Elliot didn't look through most of the service. He spent the time curled into my side, trying not to listen. His nightmare hadn't gotten any better in the last week. Even worse, he still want talking. He used to talk all the time. Talk to the point of you wishing he'd stop. But right now I'd give almost anything for him to talk my ear off.
The priest ended his speech and as 'somewhere over the rainbow' played, Lisa was lowered into her final resting place. Some may consider the song overused, but it was her favourite she'd use the song for every situation; whether it be a celebration, to lull Elliot back to sleep after a dream or just to fill the silence.
A week after the funeral and things were trying to get back to some semblance of normal. Elliot had begun talking to me, even if it was sparse; but he still wasn't talking to anyone else but at least it was a sign of progress. I'd tried sending Elliot back to Daycare a few days ago so I could go back to work, however the staff had called and requested that I pick him up early as he was 'in a distraught and inconsolable state'. It wasn't easy but at least Elliot was a good distraction from my own problems. I hadn't been able to go out as Hood lately; too afraid that Ellie would have another night terror. I didn't even want to think about what might happen if he had one, only to find that he was home alone. I could tell that the absence of Hood had a knock-on effect. Drugs, trafficking, all the grit and grime in crime ally had been gaining momentum.
"Daddy! Daddy where are you!" Elliot's screams ripped through the apartment and pulling me from my sleep. My feet had hit the carpet before my still asleep brain could process the current events.
"Hey hey! Im hear kiddo." Tears stained his cheeks as he hyperventilated. I quickly folded him into my arms, rubbing soothing circles on his back and rocking him.
"Come on kiddo, just breath. In them out." He continued his unsteady breathing his shoulder heaving with each inward breath.
"Come on, follow me."I took a deep breath in and watched as Elliot did the same before slowly releasing. I lost time as we continued the routine of beep breaths but somewhere along the line Elliot had worn himself out and fallen asleep again. Too tired to return to my own room I decided to sleep where I was.
It was early when a knock sounded in the door. I wasn't expecting visitors and the only people that ever came by were the Jenkins and Martinez. Seeing as Martinez hadn't called it must've been Mr or Mrs Jenkins. They'd probably heard Elliot's outburst last night and had come to check that everything was ok. Again. Setting the bowl of cereal down for Elliot I went to the door and answered, without checking the peep hole. I quickly regretted doing so when it revealed to mean, one in a very familiar business suit and another in a black top.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" I snarled, perhaps a little too loud.
"Jason Please. We just want to talk." Dick moved forward with his hands out stretched and I took a step back, denying the gesture. It was then that Mr Jenkins came out, no doubt hearing the commotion. He gave a sour look to the two men before asking "Is there a problem here sirs?"
Bruce's eye contact never left my own as dock tried to explain that they meant no harm. "It's fine Mr Jenkins. I know them." I said, as Bruce's star intensified. "I'll handle it." I looks to the older man, my facial features relaxing some. The man gave a small nod and headed back inside.
"What do you want." I spat in Bruce's direction.
"Like Dick said, to talk." Was his flat reply.
"May we come in, Jason." It almost sounded as if he was challenging him and I wasn't going to backdown. Even if it was The Bat.
"Please Jason? We're just worried about you." And there's the break. Saying no to a begging dick Grayson was about as hard as ignoring a kicked puppy.
I heaved a sigh “Fine you can come in. But Bruce leaves”
“Jason-“ dick started
“No! I don’t want him in my house.” Bruce and dick shared a look before Bruce complied with the request and left. Though I had no doubt that he’d listen in somehow given his lack of boundaries.
Once Bruce was out of sight I moved aside to allow Dick entry. His eyes wondered around the small apartment no doubt memorising every detail.
“It’s a lot cleaner than I expected.” He stated.
“Excuse me, but my stuff is always clean.” There was an awkward silence for a moment, before his eyes landed on the bowl of sugary cereal.
“Interesting breakfast choice. I took you for more of a health nut.” My muscles had become stiff and my jaw locked in place.
“What are you doing here Dick.” I spat.
“Well, We came because we noticed that drug related crime was on the rise. Bruce wanted answers...” l he trailed off.
“And what are you doing here?” Dick gave a small, not even quiet a laugh but an enthused huff.
“Can’t a guy worry about his little brother.” He looked me in the eyes, my muscles instinctively relaxing slightly.
“I’m bigger than you if you hadn’t noticed.” Dick nodded in agreement, staring at me as if sizing me up.
“You don’t look great Jay. You’re pale and you seem exhausted. What’s wrong?” All my will to fight left me at that. Dick was a genuine guy, if he said he was worried then I could probably take his word for it.
“It’s been a tough few weeks.” I began explaining.
“How so?” Just as I was about to continue, Elliot’s bedroom door opened. His hair had formed into a birds nest throughout the night and his sling has been put in haphazardly. Still sleep ridden, he failed to notice the presence of another person in the room.
“Daddy, can you fix my arm?” He said quietly. He stopped in his tracks when he looked up and finally realised Dicks presence. He resembled a deer in the headlights as he stiffened and then ran to my side as if to hide.
“Daddy?” Dick asked suddenly very confused.
“Jason, please don’t tell me you stole a kid.” To tired to even argue about that sentence my reply was simple.
“It’s a long story, but he’s my son.” Dick stared at the small boy, a look of confusion morphing between excitement and a hint if worry.
“Well, good thing I’ve got plenty of time.”