All is quiet, until it's not. Swords clang and guns fire as the Batman and his teammates attack the League compound.
Talia jumps from her bed and grabs a nearby sword. She pushes back the curtain of her balcony window and calls down. "Cease this! I want to parlay with the Batman!" Her soldiers stop, but she sees some look quizzically at her.
Bruce raises a gloved hand, and his fighters stop as well. Though the former circus boy steps forwards and whispers something to him. A concerned look on his face. Bruce ignores him.
He takes a step towards her. Looking up at her on her balcony. The wind softly blowing her hair. Her nightdress brushing against her ankles. "What do you want Talia?"
"I could ask you the same thing. You're the one breaking into my father's compound."
"I've heard rumours."
"Rumours?" She raises a brow. "You have to be more specific then that Beloved." His jaw slackens slightly at the endearment, and she smiles. He still cares for her. Even after abandoning her years ago to keep his crusade in Gotham, he still cares.
"They saw you've taken a member of the Justice League as your own. We want the traitor." Based on his behaviour, he doesn't know about Jason. He must think he has a turn cloak in his mitts.
"You know you shouldn't listen to rumours." Talia chides with a grin.
"I want the traitor Talia." The rest of the League looks weary at the exchange, but none act. Knowing this is outside their control.
"There is no traitor." She waits a beat. "Per say."
"Talia." She notices him grind his teeth in frustration.
"Beloved." She responds. Playing down everything that's happening.
"Give them to us and we'll go. Our fight isn't with you. Not now. It's with the Light."
"You have more pressing matters Beloved." That's a lie. Jason is as important to Bruce as any traitor, if not more.
He takes another step forward, and Talia reaches for the curtain beside her. She pulls it back completely, and reveals a sleeping Damian in his crib. "Your son is of upmost importance."
Bruce freezes and his mouth drops open. Dick, Tim, and the Cain girl's eyes go wide behind their masks, while the rest of the League looks extremely worried and bewildered. Apparently their past relationship never reached their ears.
"What? How?" He sputters, or at least as much as Batman can.
"I'm sure you know how. I believe you understand anatomy. Now do you wish to speak in private, Beloved?" He nods and walks up the stairs leading to her balcony. She closes the curtain behind them, and she hears a cry of protest from the new Robin.
He looks at her blankly, not speaking a word. Eyes shifting between her and their son. Damian seems to notice the attention and makes a cooing noise. Alerting his mother that he's awake. Talia plucks him from his crib, and cradles him in her arms.
She brushes his thick hair from his face. Giving Bruce a better look at him. "His name is Damian Ibn al Xu'ffasch. Son of the Bat. He is six months old."
He hesitantly reaches a gloved hand towards their son, and gently touches his soft baby cheek. Damian's looks up at him with his bright green eyes, but seems unfazed by the stranger in the bat costume.
"May I hold him?" He asks so softly she almost doesn't hear him.
"Yes." She passes Damian into his father's arms, and the infant remains calm. Babbling happily. Grasping for Bruce's cape.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He keeps Damian pressed to his chest, but his eyes are fixed on her.
"Based on the way things were left after our last meeting, I didn't think you'd want to hear from me." Leaving someone alone in the Quraci desert after passionate love making, tends to give them the impression you're not interested in another interaction.
"Talia, you'd know I'd want to know about this. Even if things weren't the best between us." She blinks at him. Not visually reacting to any of his words.
"What will you do know?" He comes closer to her, the babe still in arms.
"I want Damian in Gotham. I've known him for only moments, but I don't want to be parted from him."
"I won't let you take him from me." Talia cuts in. Her voice firm. Her stance solid.
"I wasn't suggesting that." She cocks an eyebrow at him. She's doesn't believe him. Not completely.
"I don't want him raised in the League. As a weapon not a child." There it is.
"Because you don't want me to have him. Not because you want him. This is all spite." She states drily.
"Damn it Talia." He growls lowly, and elicits the first reaction from Damian. He lets out a small whine with a pout on his lips. Telling his parents he isn't happy with the change of conversation tone. "It's not about you. It's about your father and the way your League operates. I want you in his life. I wouldn't try to take him from him. You're his mother."
Bruce lets out a frustrated sigh and changes the way he holds his son. Damian's furrowed brow goes away, and he releases a spit bubble. "Move to Gotham, or at least nearby. We can make a shared custody agreement."
Talia watches him for a moment. Reading him. He could've ran with Damian by now. Called the Justice League down on her head, but he hasn't. He's remained as calm as he can in this situation, and has tried to hear her out.
"Fine, I'll move to Gotham under a pseudonym. Call your men off. I'll bring the traitor to you." Bruce blinks in surprise at how easily she agreed, but she wants the best for her son, and that ultimately is Gotham. Not the League of Shadows.
"In an hour. I'll need to act before word reaches my father." Bruce briskly nods.
"I'll keep Damian with me while you do. He can meet his siblings." Talia's lip curls, but she says nothing. Trying to keep the peace. She's not going to run with Damian. If she had wanted to keep him away, Bruce never would've met him.
And the others aren't his siblings.
Her chin juts up as she stalks out of the room. "Rabia, get all of Ibn al Xu'ffasch's things packed, and Saba, prepare the basic necessities for me." The two maids nod and scuttle away.
She hears Bruce's footsteps leave the room as she heads down the hall. Taking their son to his plane. There's a moment of panic when he steps out of the room, thinking he'll bolt and steal her son, but he doesn't. Simply stepping outside of the plane with Nightwing, Robin, and Orphan, while he waits for her.
Jason sits in the corner of his small stone walled room, dressed in his battle attire. "Why didn't you come when we were attacked?" Talia asks cooly.
His eyes shift to her, but he says nothing. He can now only speak in short spurts, but he understands everything now.
A bald man she recognizes steps forward from the hall. "Your father commanded that he stay in his room if the Batman came." She nods.
"Come Red. We have business."
"Lady Talia-" She dismisses him wth a wave of her hand and leaves the room. Jason trailing behind her. His mask still affixed to his face.
She meets her maids in the entryway. Her things in hand. They walk into the courtyard, and she spots Bruce on the ramp of the plane. Damian still in his arms. Dick looking down at him with a goofy grin. Trying to make him laugh.
Jason continues to follow her as she rejoins them. Her fingers reaching forward and brushing Damian's cheek. "We are ready Beloved. Are you?"
"Who's this?" He nods towards Jason. An untrusting look on his face.
"Your..." She hesitates. "Traitor." Robin springs into action, and Jason easily dodges. Rendering him defeated as he stumbles past. "Stop! You can deal with him later."
"Who is he Talia?" Bruce holds Damian closer to his chest. Resting in a protective stance.
"Remove the mask Red." She commands and Jason wordlessly listens. Revealing his face.
"Jason." Bruce breathes. Grief, anguish, and regret seeping from his very form. Dick chokes on a startled sob, and Tim is at a loss. Cain's girl watches them all. Processing the various emotions bouncing off everyone aboard.
Jason stares at him blankly, though his eyes shift to Dick for a moment. "Gray.... son." He speaks choppily, then goes silent again. Dick looks ready to collapse.
"His memory is returning, but very slowly. He remembers few things. The name Grayson is the first thing he's remembered about his life after Crime Alley." Talia speaks calmly. Her own emotions tucked away. This isn't about her.
"What? How?" Bruce barely manages to breathe, and for the first time tonight, she fears he may drop Damian.
"I came to Gotham several years ago, looking for you. You were nowhere to be found, and the Joker was in a coma. What I found in your stead was Jason, though I wasn't aware it was him at first. I had only met him once or twice, and he looked nowhere near the same teenage boy."
Her eyes stay trained on Damian. Unable to take the pain in Bruce's eyes. "I brought him back with me. He was in an awful shape, barely responsive, but I thought there was hope. He had survived on the streets for an undetermined amount of time, and I thought with the proper care, he could be of use to the League."
Talia can't help but reach for Damian as Bruce's arms begin to shake. He responds by holding Damian tighter, much to the baby's annoyance. He pouts and stares back at his mother.
"It wasn't until he was looked over by a physician, did I learned that he died. How he died. Then it all clicked. It was Jason. I was even more determined to help him. To return him to you when he was better. So, without Father's knowledge, I put him in a Pit."
She lets out a shaky breath as Bruce goes even whiter. All the colour draining from his face. Leaving him like a ghost. Dick and Tim look no better.
"He came out screaming." Emotions choke in her own voice. The memory haunting her. She's become attached to Jason since he's been in her care, and she views him as another son.
"My Father wasn't happy when he learned what happened, but he allowed him to stay. Jason's physical state improved greatly, and he began to train again. He is a great warrior, but as I said earlier, his memory and speech is only now returning."
"Why didn't you tell me last year? When we ran into each other in the desert." The Batman voice is gone, and in its place is a broken man. A man destroyed by the various deaths that cloud and define his life.
"It's not an easy thing to bring into a conversation, and I wanted to return him to you as he was before. I thought it would pain you too much to see him as he was." Damian decides at this moment to squawk for his mother like a baby bird. Bruce reluctantly returns him to her, and she kisses his head.
Jason looks down at his brother for a moment, before brushing a finger against the baby's fine dark hair. Damian coos in contentment, then snuggles against Talia's chest. Ready to sleep again.
Bruce finally breaks at the sight of Jason being gentle with his baby brother, and falls into his chair. His face in his hand. She's sure if he moved it, she would see the same tears on his cheeks that litter Grayson's face.
"I'll fly us back." Cain's girl speaks, knowing no one else is in the state to. Talia nods and climbs into a seat with Damian. His things on the floor beside her.
Jason stays on guard as they take off, and she pats the seat beside her. "You may rest Red. Come. Sit." He silently follows the order, and curls up in the chair like a cat, despite his large size.
The plane ride back to Gotham is eerily and stifling silent, apart from a few noises from Damian mid dream.
When they arrive, they all file out and into the cave. The other League members pulls Bruce aside, and speak in hushed tones. Eventually when they're content with whatever he's said, they hop into a zeta tube and vanish. A robotic voice reading out their names as they disappear.
Alfred descends into the cave a few moments later, having heard the noise. For the first time since she's know him, he drops his silver plate at the sight of Jason. The contents scatter, and the noise rings throughout the Cave.
"Master Jason." He puts a hand over his heart, and all of the Batman team runs to his aide. Helping him take a seat.
"He's alive Alf. He's alive." Dick mutters as he begins to cry again.
"How?" He stares at the former Robin, hoping he'll look back. He doesn't. His eyes trained on the bats in the distance.
"I still don't completely understand it, but mostly thanks to Talia." Alfred follows his head jerk, and his eyes land on her and Damian.
"And who is the baby?" He pointedly looks at Bruce. Her Beloved has enough sense to look uncomfortable, and rubs the back of his neck awkwardly.
"Uh- he's mine. His name is Damian." He looks sheepish. Like a teen boy having to tell his parents he knocked up his girlfriend. It's an odd contrast to his earlier grief and shock.
"Will he be staying with us?" Alfred asks as he returns to his feet. Pulling himself back together.
"Yes." Talia speaks for him. Knowing Bruce is forcing himself to say anything at the moment. "As will I." Bruce's eyes jerk back to her. Surprised. She had only said she'd be staying in Gotham. Not with him.
She changed her mind.
Alfred nods. "Very well. I will have rooms prepared for you all." He trails out of the Cave, and she follows with Jason holding her things. Damian still asleep against her breast.
She hears as the clock shuts behind them distant conversation.
"She's staying here?" Dick asks. Flabbergast.
"It would seem so." Bruce responds. He's monotone, but there's a hint of almost... amusement at her sudden announcement.
"Oh!" Dick suddenly exclaims. "I have to tell Babs about Jason!"
"I think she probably already knows from the comms Dick." Tim speaking is the last thing she hears as the clock door shuts tight.
"Come Miss Talia. Master Jason." He leads them to the east wing, near Bruce's room. He assigns her a room beside Jason's old room, and unlocks the door on the other side. "I am unsure which room he would like." He looks hesitantly at his surrogate grandson.
"Jason, you may pick a room." She tells him kindly, and he nods as he hesitantly steps forward. He sticks his head into his old room. Keen eyes taking it in. Then he puts a foot inside, then another. Soon he is standing beside his old bed.
He runs a hand over the undisturbed comforter, then the used flat pillows. His fingers trail over the headboard, then the lamp on the end table. He wordlessly turns down the blanket, and slips under the sheets.
"It seems he has reclaimed the room." Alfred is clearly choked up as he quietly shuts the door. Allowing Jason privacy. "Then the other room will be Master Damian's."
Talia nods. "It would seem so. He will sleep with me tonight though. I wasn't able to bring a crib."
"I can put what you brought into the room tonight." He takes the bags that Jason set down, and places them in beside the bed. "I can unpack and provide a crib for you tomorrow."
"Thank you Pennyworth. It is all much appreciated." She smiles softly at him.
"It is simply my job Miss Talia." He smiles back, then bends down. Picking up the folded playpen. "I assume Master Damian will sleep in this tonight."
"Yes he will." Alfred wordlessly sets it in her assigned room by the bed, and she places a still sleeping Damian in it. He smiles at Damian with his butt in the air for a moment, before stepping back.
"Goodnight Miss Talia."
"Goodnight Alfred." He leaves the door open a crack, and she slips out a moment later. She places an ear to Jason's door, and hears no noise apart from quiet sleepy breathing. No nightmares. Not yet, and hopefully not for awhile. He deserves a rest from it.
She then slides into the room that's soon to be Damian's, and opens a baby bag. She grabs out his favourite plushie animals and blankets, then tiptoes back into her room. Not wanting to wake either of her sons.
Talia drops the elephant blanket over Damian's tiny shoulders, and places the plushies in with him. Knowing how he loves to play with them in the morning.
She places her ear to the wall and listens once more. All is still silent and calm, and she's content for now. She climbs under the sheets herself, and rests her head against the feather pillow.
As she drifts to sleep, she hears the sound of footsteps moving towards Bruce's room. Bruce no less.
He stops three times. First, in front of Damian's room, but doesn't stay when he sees he's not inside. He moves onto her room, and listens for a minute. It's the longest minute of her life. If he realizes she's awake, he'll disappear down the hall, and act like it never happened.
His last stop is in front of Jason's room. He stays there longer then he did with her, but she understands. It's not everyday your dead son turns out to be alive. Talia is sure he almost believes this to all be a dream, or that with one wrong move it will all disappear.
Eventually his footfalls carry down the hall, and she lets out a gentle sigh. He's so tormented. He’s been like this long before everything with Jason. He's a man whose suffered every single day, since his parents were murdered before his young eyes.
Talia can't help but hope, even a little bit, that with them now here, maybe it'll help him. Ease his pain. Even for a moment.
It might be a childish and naive, but a lovesick girl can dream.