Chapter Seven: In The End
Author Notes: I don’t have a beta so please forgive the mistakes I missed.
I would like to thank Davee and LetsRandom for the recommendations. And thank you to everyone who reviewed. It means a lot.
Chapter Seven: In the end.
What? What happened? Tim wondered as the haze started to lift from his mind. He pulled slightly at his arms but was unable to lift them. His head was pounding. He had been in the alley with Liz when they were attacked. Joker! Tim opened his eyes a slight crack while carefully modifying his breathing to mimic sleeping. The Joker was to his right tightening one of his bonds.
The Joker grinned. “This is going to be so much fun.” The Joker stood and stretched. “Family reunion and I have all activities planned.” He would rather pass. Thanks.
Subtly, he tested his restraints. Rope would make it easier to escape, but they were on tight. He doubted he could slip them off even if he dislocated his thumbs. The knots were underneath the armrest. Crap.
He closed his eyes completely as the Joker started to circle to the front of him. “Not sure about this one.” The Joker stated as he lifted Tim’s chin and turned his head one direction before turning it to the other. “She could have done better.” The Joker lifted his chin up again. “Easy on the eyes, though, huh Jeannie?” The Joker released his chin and took a couple steps away.
Tim cracked an eye opened. Jeannie was to the right of him. Her mouth was gagged, but she was glaring at the Joker as he patted her cheek. “Our girl certainly caught herself a handsome one.” To a couple feet to the left was a small table. On it was several tools, but one of them was a scalpel. If he could get that…
“Leave them alone!” Elizabeth growled. She was tied to the chair in front of him. He could feel the dread building in the pit of his stomach. There was so much anger in her eyes. But there was something else to it. It was like a hunter that was stalking its prey. But why did she have that look? He needed to get them out before something happen that she couldn’t walk away from.
The Joker turned and smirked at Elizabeth. “Now why would I want to do that?” Tim closed his eyes completely again as the Joker turned towards him. “Your boy thought he was so clever.” He walked behind him and bent down and whispered in his ear. “I know you’re awake.”
Batman swung to the next rooftop. He paused on the ledge and studied the city around them. There was nothing at east and southeast locations.
“We should check out the last location.” Robin stated as he stopped next to him.
He shook his head. Something wasn’t right. Where was Tim? He had left hours ago to retrieve Elizabeth, but there had been no contact since. He activated his com. “Red Robin, come in.” Silence met his order. “Red Robin.” He shared a glanced with Robin who scowled at him. He switched frequencies. “Alfred, I need you to activate the homing signal in Red Robin’s suit.”
“Certainly sir.” Alfred answered. “He at Jackson’s bar northeast from your location.” And near the last site, Dick thought as his worry grew.
“Pennyworth.” Robin spoke after he glanced at him again. “Send the Batmobile.”
“It’s on course, young sir.” Alfred replied. “It should be at your location in two minutes.”
He smiled at him. Perhaps, just perhaps, Damian was finally starting to see Tim as family. Robin glared at him before scowling and crossing his arms. “Don’t bother reading into this, Grayson. Drake was bound to need saving, second rate that he is.” It might need some several large nudges still.
Five minutes ago the Joker had left. Tim glanced at the door. He had taken Jeannie with him. It didn’t make sense. He hadn’t hurt any of them. What was the Joker playing at?
“You lied.” Elizabeth stated flatly.
He glanced at her. She was taking this remarkably well. She was sitting calmly in her chair. It was worrying him. “I didn’t mean for this …” He pushed his chair back towards the table with the tools.
“Not that.” She interrupted. “You’re not injured.”
Here is where it starts to backfire, Tim thought. He pushed his chair again. If he could get the scalpel he could get free. There had to be a trick somewhere. The Joker wouldn’t make it that easy. “Is this really the time for this?” He questioned. But he had been expecting this. “No, I’m not.”
She looked down at her arms and sighed. With a single yank the armrest of her chair broke and she ripped her arms free. Tim’s eyes widened in shock. He wasn’t shock about the strength, Dick warned him about her possibly being a Meta. But… He studied her as she quickly ripped the ropes from her ankles. She wasn’t surprised. If fact, she seemed to be comfortable with it. Why?
She walked towards him and stopped before him. “Why?”
Questions for another day, he decided. He looked her in the eyes. “It was faked.” He leaned back as she glared at him. How can she have a glare that rival Bruce’s?
Several moments passed before she snorted. “Gathered that.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Mind freeing me? I can finish the explanation.” With a curt nod she ripped the ropes off. Standing he continued his tale. “Before I was attacked, I was contacted by Red Robin. This madman enemy of his, Anarky, I think it was. Though, he did refer him by another name, Ulys—something.” Ulyssess Armstrong, he corrected in his mind as he walked towards the door. He studied it, looking for traps. There had to be one. “Anyways, this guy had been killing off those who had the possibility for being Robin. I was to be his next target.” It would have been true if he hadn’t faked his injury first.
“Lucky for you, boy mascot, obviously managed to prevent that.” She replied as she crossed her arms.
“Boy mascot? Never mind.” He shook his head. She was never going to let that go, was she? He glanced at the door again. He didn’t see anything strange. “But, yeah, he managed to save me.” But five died because of him. He tried the door handle. It was locked.
“Why pretend to still be injured?” She questioned as she nudged him aside.
To lead Vicki Vale away from their secrets, he answered in his mind as he stated aloud. “Red Robin surmised that unless I was out with a long-term injury that I would never really be off the list of possible Robins. Next time he might not be there to save me. He told me a little to make me understand just how serious it was. It may be inconvenient and a pain to deal with but when I think what could have happen… It’s something I can live with.” Or more like something that he had no choice but to live with it.
Elizabeth kicked at the door and it flew from its hinges. He spotted something flying out of the corner and tackled Elizabeth to the ground causing the darts to fly harmlessly over their head.
“Kids, these days.” The Joker stated over the intercom. “Always in a hurry. Not the game I was going to start with…” The Joker paused before he laughed. “Who am I kidding? Time for good old fashion hide and seek. You two knuckleheads hide, I’ll seek. One…”
Tim glanced at Elizabeth from his spot on the floor. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine.” She pushed herself up and started to make her way to the door.
He stopped her with a hand on her arm. “Liz, if we get out of this alive…Please, don’t tell anyone my secret. I know I probably broke your trust, but I do value your friendship greatly. However, if this gets out, it can put what little I have left of my family in danger.”
She looked him straight in the eyes. “I won’t tell.” She gave his hand a slight squeeze and slowly started for the door again. “But while we’re in the mood of sharing, where did you learn to fight?”
He chuckled and followed her to the door. “It’s been a hobby of mine for years. I learned most of it from dojos and some from friends. But can you blame me for learning to fight when we live in Gotham?”
He stopped her from stepping outside and together they carefully peered around the corners. Tim took a step outside. The floor tile sunk down an inch. Crap. He glanced up and spotted the liquid coming towards him. He tensed and Elizabeth threw him across the room and dived to the side, barely dodging it. The ground sizzled as the acid ate at the floor.
“Oh and watch for traps!” The Joker warned, laughing. “Wouldn’t want the game to end too soon. Three… four… “
Elizabeth glared at the ceiling. “I’m so going to kick his ass.”
Tim glanced at her and frowned. “We need to get out of here.”
“You might want to find mommy dearest first.” The Joker commented. “I don’t think she likes her game.”
The cameras needed to go Tim decided as he pulled Elizabeth towards him and gestured to the right corridor. Slowly they made their way through the maze of hallways avoiding several traps until the tenth time they turned.
It was too quiet, Tim thought as he glanced over his shoulder. “Dammit, Liz.” He was right. She was gone.
Batman and Robin jumped out of the batmobile and onto the roof of Jackson’s bar. Robin quickly made his way into the alley as Batman scanned the area around them. They weren’t here. But… There in the corner was something concealed. Quickly he made his way over there and pulled it out. It was the Red Robin suit. Damn. There was no way Tim would have willingly left that.
Minutes later, Robin climbed back onto the roof. There were two darts in his hands. “They were taken.”
“I know.” He frowned. He activated the com again. “Alfred, Tim had placed a tracker bug on Elizabeth. I need the location.”
“Of course, sir.” Hopefully they weren’t too late.
Carefully, Elizabeth stepped around the corner. She hopped Tim would be alright, but he seemed to handle himself pretty well. Inside the room was the Joker. He was standing on the other side of the room behind a table with a laptop sitting on it.
He grinned at her. “Bad daughter, you’re supposed to be hiding.”
She shrugged. “Never cared much about hiding.” She reached underneath her shirt and grabbed Red Robin’s throwing star from the small of her back. She pulled it out and twirled it around.
The Joker cocked his head to the side. “Mmm apparently, I should have searched you.” He shrugged as his grin grew. “Where did you get that?”
“Souvenir.” She replied as she took several more steps into the room.
“Good daughter.” He crackled as he pulled several card like objects out of his pockets.
“I’m not your daughter.” She threw the throwing star at him. The fight was on.
Tim could hear the clashes of conflict as he swiftly made his way through the corridor. Darting in the open doorway he paused a moment to take in the situation. Joker and Elizabeth were fighting in the middle of the room. Elizabeth dunked one of the Joker’s punches and countered with a side kick. The Joker flew several feet before he picked himself up and ran to the other side of the only table in the room laughing.
Elizabeth had a few cuts on her upper arms and a burn on her right leg but seemed otherwise fine. The Joker was worse off. He was favoring his right side. Blood was dripping from his nose and mouth. Tim shook his head confused. Elizabeth was winning against the Joker. How? How did she know how to fight at this level?
Elizabeth kicked the table forcing it to fly towards the Joker. The laptop and the three knifes clashed to the floor. The Joker’s eyes widened and he dived sharply to the right to avoid it. Dick was right about one thing, Tim thought as he shook his head. She was certainly someone you didn’t want angry at you.
The Joker reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun. Quickly Tim glanced at the floor around him. There were several broken chair pieces and three feet to his left was his birdarang. He ran towards it. He threw himself in to a roll, grabbed his weapon, and hurled it as he came up. It pierced the Joker’s hand, forcing him to drop his weapon.
Elizabeth grabbed the knife of the floor. She tackled the Joker and pinned his arms to the floor with one hand while she held the knife to the Joker’s neck.
Batman and Robin swiftly made their way through the corridors of the building. Elizabeth tracker signal was a little to their left. As they passed an open door on their right Batman froze and glanced inside.
There was a woman; he assumed was Jeannie, gagged and tied to a chair. Below the chair was a canister with a timer on it. There was forty seconds left. He ran into the room with Robin following at his heels. He scanned the area quickly for traps before using a batarang and slicing through the ropes on her right as Robin took care of the left. He lifted her into his arms and darted out of the door towards the way they entered.
He and Robin shot a grappling line and swung up towards the window as the timer hit zero. He glanced back and saw the green like gas spilling into the hallway. Not an explosive but just as deadly.
They carefully made their way to the ground. As her feet hit the pavement, Jeannie ripped the gagged out of her mouth. “You have to find the boy that was captured with Elizabeth!”
“Don’t worry Jeannie.” He stated. “Everything will be alright.”
She narrowed her eyes and grabbed his left arm. “No! You don’t understand! He was going to force her choose who to save! Me or him! It’ll snap her mind! You have to save them! Now!”
He nodded bristly and forced himself to ignore the dread building in his mind. He shot a grabbling line to the window again while slipping on a mask. Robin followed his example.
His brother was good. He was well trained. He just prayed that it was enough. And if he wasn’t, the Joker would pay.
“Liz, don’t!” Tim yelled as he stopped a few feet from them. “You don’t want to do this.”
She kept the knife pressed steadily at the Joker’s neck. He was grinning at her. She glared at him angrily. He was no different from a vampire. “He won’t stop.” No, he was worse than a vampire.
“But could you live with having blood on your hands?” Tim questioned as he slowly made his way towards her.
“Don’t come closer, Tim.” She ordered. “I doubt he is out of tricks. I don’t want you hurt.”
“Then don’t do this, Liz.” Tim countered as he paused in his movement. “If I lose you to this I will be hurt. Don’t you see? This is what he wants!”
The Joker smirked. “Do it!” He pushed his neck towards the knife and she pulled it back slightly. “Is someone scared? Did I miss anyone?”
She glared and pushed the knife back towards him causing a small cut on his neck. “Shut up.”
She heard several footsteps coming towards her before they stopped. “Liz, please, he’s not worth it.” Tim pleaded. She glanced out of the corner of her eyes and spotted Batman standing next to Tim with a hand on his shoulder. To her left was Robin.
Robin crossed his arms. “A sword would be better suited.”
She snorted as Batman and Tim yelled in unison. “Robin!”
“I think I like him.” The Joker whispered with a grin.
Batman took two steps towards her and then stopped as they starred at each other for several moments before he nodded and stepped back. “Do it.”
Joker’s and Robin’s mouth dropped opened in shock. Tim shook his head and tried to move past him. He glared at him when Batman stopped him. “Let go.” Tim growled.
Batman shook his head and looked back at Elizabeth. “He put you through Hell. I get it. So go ahead.” He yanked Tim back when he tried to go for Elizabeth again and then duck a punch. He glared at Tim before turning back to Elizabeth. “If that is that type of person you are. Then you’ll truly be his daughter and he would have won. Your freedom would be lost. Is that what you want? Would your parents want that?”
She glared at him. She was not the bastard’s daughter. Never. She looked back at the Joker. She hated him. She glanced at Batman again. “Should he escape and kill again?”
Tim glanced sharply at her. She refused to look at him. Batman took a couple more steps towards her. “Then the blood falls on my hands.”
She turned away. For several moments she glared at the Joker. Then swiftly she flipped the knife around and slammed the handle down onto the Joker’s temple, pulling her strength at the last moment.
As the Joker fell limp she rose from her crouch and faced Batman. She held out the knife. “Thank you.” He replied as he took the weapon.
She grabbed his wrist and stopped him from turning away from her. “I’m not done.” Once Batman turned back towards her she continued. “One day, if I have a family again and he goes after them. I won’t stay my hand again. Do you understand me?”
“I do. It won’t come to that.” He replied.
She snorted. “I doubt that.” She wrapped her arms around her waist and looked around the room before pausing at the discarded throwing star on the floor near the Joker. “Where’s boy mascot?”
“Boy mascot?” Batman questioned.
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. “My stalker of late, Red Robin.”
Robin paused in his securing the Joker and smirked at Tim as Batman answered “He’s busy on another case.”
“Another case…” Elizabeth repeated and shook her head. “What a time to get over his obsession.” She glanced around the room and stopped and stared at Tim before returning her gaze to the throwing star. Or did he? How did Tim find her in that alley? She had half expected for Red Robin to show up. But he never did. The fake injury… The fighting skills… The reflexes….The throw…
Weren’t they around the same height? And didn’t Tim appear at her school after her room was search? He was definitely too calm for the situation. She never figured out how Red Robin planted those bugs things on her, but if he was Tim there would have been plenty of opportunity. And why didn’t Tim go back to his old school to finish his senior year?
Was she grasping for straws? She had no proof. This could all be coincidence. Really. And leprechauns could be dancing in the streets come morning. She frowned and shook her head. This could wait. She walked towards Tim and gestured to Batman and Robin. “I’m guessing they already know.”
“Liz?” Tim questioned confused. If he was Red Robin, he was one heck of a good actor.
She wrapped an arm around Tim’s waist. “Lean. You don’t have your crutches. I doubt you want your secret blown wide open due to a stupid mistake. I can hear the police sirens. Now lean.”
Tim smiled and carefully leaned against her. “Thanks Liz.”
“Yeah yeah.” She paused in her walking and glanced at him. “You call that leaning? Can you put some of your weight against me? Nobody is going to be fooled if I’m not having any problems at all in helping you out.”
“I don’t want to crush you.” Tim argued, fighting a smirk.
She glared at him. “I could bench press you. Lean.”
“This just in the Joker has been recaptured by GCPD. They had found three victims at the scene of the crime and they seem to be in good health…”
“Well. Well.” Nick smiled. He glanced up at the TV as the news continued. “Look like she survived after all.” He cocked his head to the side, causing his dark brown bangs to fall into his eyes. In the background, there was Tim being supported by Elizabeth as they headed towards the ambulance. “Did he try to protect her?” He leaned back in his seat on the couch. “Well Miss Winters, Mr. Drake-Wayne, you two, just became prime candidates.”
He stood as the phone ringed and quickly answered it. “Nick Shadoway.”
“She’s fading. We need two sacrifices before the end of the year.” The other person stated his voice deep.
Nick smiled as he moved to the left wall of his living room. He pulled back a hidden switch causing a small part of the wall to slide to the side and revealed a hidden cabinet. “I found them. They have surpassed several hardships. Their souls should supply enough fuel to sustain her.” From the second drawer he pulled out two folders.
“All agents are to be on the lookout for a new chosen.”
“But we have all the potentials of the line.” Nick argued, tossing the papers to the table. “We control who is chosen!”
“A new line has been started we know not how, but our line no longer responds to the call.”
He shook his head. “Then the predictions of old are coming true? Can the Priests not find the head of the new line?”
“Their sight is block by a symbol, a circle emblem of a golden bird head on a black background.”
“The heir.” Nick whispered as he grabbed the laptop sitting on of the cabinet before concealing it again.
“The heir is to be killed on sight. He cannot become aware. He cannot be allowed to interfere.”
“Why is the heir so feared?” He questioned, confused. He sat his computer down and turned it on. “He has no mystic powers unlike the Chosen.”
“The last one, his plans nearly destroyed us. I will not give this new one the chance to do the same. The new line must come under our control or all our plans will be for nothing.”
Nick punched a few commands into the computer. “I will see it done.”
Elizabeth stared out of the car’s window. She could see the sun starting to rise, casting different hues of color. Four hours had passed since they had been taken to the hospital. Both she and Tim had been questioned by the Police Commissioner briefly after they had been treated for their wounds. She smiled slightly, before it faded. She might actually had found a cop that she possible get alone with. He had been very kind.
She sighed and glanced at Tim from the corner of her eyes. She really didn’t know what to make of him. He had secrets. A lot of them. She was pretty sure she only scratched the surface. There was only one doctor that was allowed to treat him. The doctor name was Leslie Thompkins. Seemed like a nice lady. But since she didn’t drill Tim about the lack of a back injury, she was probably in on the secrets.
The car stopped and she closed her eyes. She really didn’t know what she was going to do. She wasn’t going to depend on Tim’s support forever. She needed to get a job. She had to find a place to live. And that was if she didn’t have to deal with the state. She wasn’t of age just yet.
Alfred opened the door and she glanced at him. She smiled briefly. “Thanks Alfred.”
“You’re quite welcome, Miss Elizabeth.” Alfred replied.
She exited the car and walked up the steps to the entrance of Tim’s apartment. She leaned against the wall as Tim made his way towards her using the crutches that the hospital gave him. She frowned. He was a really good actor. Even now she had to remind herself that he didn’t have a back wound.
Tim unlocked the door and gestured for her to enter. She took one step inside and froze in shook. “Mom? David?” It couldn’t be, she thought as she stared at her parents standing in the leaving room. Batman stood behind her parents by the window. He nodded at her.
Joyce took a step forward. “Elizabeth…”
A tear slid down her face. “Oh god…” She lifted a hand briefly to her mouth. “Mom. Mommy.” She ran forward and pulled her mother into a tight hug. “You’re alive.” She pulled back briefly and glanced at David before pulling him into the hug as well, relieved at seeing them alive. “You’re here. Really here.”
She pulled out of the hug again and glanced around. Batman was gone. She didn’t even hear him leave. She frowned for a moment. She really needed to up her training. But that could wait. She spotted Tim leaning against the far wall watching them with a small smile on his face.
She shook her head and turned back towards her parents. “I need to do something, real quick. I’ll be back.”
Joyce glanced behind Elizabeth at Tim and smiled, before teasing. “Do I need to get David started on the background check?”
“Mom!” She exclaimed, laughing. “Not yet. We’re just friends.” She turned away and made her way towards Tim, stopping in front of him.
“I’m glad you got your parents back.” He stated.
“So am I.” Part of her felt like punching him. If her suspicions were right and he was Red Robin then he was in on the plan to fake her parents’ death. It hurt.
She doubted the decision was made lightly. She placed a hand on Tim’s cheek. It kept them alive. She could understand the decision. A choice between life and death, she would’ve chosen the same. She had before.
“Liz?” He asked, confusion coloring his face.
She could be wrong. There was no proof. She leaned forward and kissed Tim gently on the lips before pulling back. “Thank you.” But it reminded her greatly of her past life. It was never easy to keep a secret. It could be very lonely. She knew that better than anyone.
He shook his head bewildered. “For what?”
She step back and smiled. “For being you.” She would find the proof eventually. Right or wrong, she would know. She wasn’t sure which one she wanted it to be. Besides, she could kick his ass the next time he played dress up.
Tim watched from the window as the Winter family walked down the street towards the cab waiting for them. He was glad that Elizabeth could be happy again after everything that she had went through. But he really didn’t understand her and there was a lot that wasn’t adding up.
Dick exited from the door of his secret lair and stopped beside him. “Boy Mascot.”
“Short Shorts.” Tim countered
“She is safe now.” Dick commented as he leaned against the wall.
He allowed the curtain to fall back into place and turned to face Dick. “From the Joker.”
“The leads didn’t pan out?” Dick asked as he crossed his arms.
“No.” Tim sighed. “Elizabeth said that threat was over. That she would never try it again. But…” There had been no traces that he could find. It was frustrating.
Dick laid a hand on his shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. “But it doesn’t sit right.”
Tim nodded. “The psychological attack that put her into the hospital could almost make scarecrow look like an amateur. Every direction I look in ends in a dead end.”
“Are you positive that the attacker isn’t dead?”
Tim nodded. “Fairly sure. Liz’s not the greatest actor. She seemed shock and repelled by the question.”
Dick gave Tim’s shoulder another squeeze before he pulled his hand away. “All we can do is keep watch. If she makes a move, we’ll catch her.”
“Yeah.” Tim replied as he walked towards the kitchen. “Now all I need to do is get some pig headed bullies to back off from her and everything will be fine for a while.”
“Sounds like fun.” Dick chuckled as he walked after him. “So, when are you going to ask her out?”
Tim briefly stumbled before spinning around. “Dick!” Brothers! He smirked as he countered. “Ask Barbara back out, yet?”
Elizabeth stretched her arms above her head as she entered her parent’s hotel room. They were going apartment hunting tomorrow. Strangely, she was looking forward to it. She walked up and gave her mom a hug from behind. “I love you.”
Joyce twisted around and returned the hug. “I love you too, honey.”
She pulled back and glanced briefly at David who was watching them with a smile on his face. “We need to talk and I’m pretty sure neither of you are going to like what I have to say.”
“Elizabeth?” Joyce questioned as she followed her over to the beds. “What is it?”
“I have my powers back.” She stated as she leaned back against the bed.
David pulled a chair over to them and sat down. “You mean your slayer powers.”
She nodded. “I’m going to help fight crime.”
“Elizabeth…” Joyce took a step towards her, shaking her head. “No. It’s too dangerous.”
“Hear me out.” Elizabeth stated. “This is who I am. It doesn’t matter whether I have powers or not. This is always who I’m going to be. I suck at staying on the sidelines. It something I haven’t been able to do since I first became the slayer. And I’m alright with that.” She leaned back on her hands and glanced at ceiling. “I was so tired at being the slayer at the end of my last life. I felt so alone even when I was surrounded by friends. At the end I more or less welcomed death. It was an escape.”
David placed a hand on her knee. “Then why do you want to go back to that type of life?”
“It’s different now. I don’t have to shoulder the burden of defeating the big bads. I’m not the only one who can now.” She smiled at him and shook her head. “The decision is mine to make. I’m not locked into this one path with an unavoidable end. I’m free and it made realized that I want to do this. I can make a difference. Not because I’m the slayer, but because of I’m me.”
Joyce sat next to her on the bed and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “We not going to talk you out of this, are we?”
“Nope.” She replied, popping the p.
David sighed. “It’s dangerous, Elizabeth.”
“I know.” Elizabeth agreed. “I have a lot to learn before I can do my part. I’m not going to rush in blindly or untrained. It would just get everyone killed. I may have my skills as a vampire slayer, but it’s not going to be enough.” She looked David straight in the eyes and smiled. “So watcher-mine, start teaching.”
The End. That’s it for Hidden Joke. Thank you for reading and hopefully you enjoyed it. Please review and tell me what you thought of it. Feel free throw in your thoughts or ideas that you would like to see in the next story.
It shall be continued in Winter’s Child.
Summary: The world’s origin had been lost. Though similar to her past world’s it is vastly different. The return of power will have consequences. Can she handle the price or be lost in the hunt?
Till next time!