Loosening his tie, Bruce got into the elevator and complained to Alfred, “Remind me again why I’m friends with Brost. This is the fifth time he’s told he that story about his swimming in the Caribbean during a storm. At this point I know the events of that night better than he does.”
Pressing the button for the penthouse, Alfred said, “It might have to do with the fact Mr. Brost is one of the few people at the event who have no connections to any of the various mobs in the city or because he always offers you courtside tickets to the young masters’ favorite basketball games.”
Bruce considered the memory for a moment before they stepped into the penthouse and stopped caring about anything other than his family. As soon as he walked in, Bruce took off his loafers, spread his coat over the closest chair, and called out to the quiet room, “Boys. I’m back.”
The two adults listened for a moment before going around to investigate why no one was calling out back to them. Alfred knew that Dick had been awake when he left but going into the room he shared with his little brother they found it completely abandoned. The room was much messier than it had been a few minutes ago and Bruce immediately recognized the broken ceramics, doors swung open, and cloths resting on the floor were a cause of worry.
Bruce rushed to his own room to see if the two had decided to wait for him in his bed instead, but he found the door completely broken and off it’s hinges. He looked around calling out their names frantically and went into a state of shock when he found the door to the bathroom in a similar state.
Running in, he could see the door to the cabinet swung open and the obvious signs of a struggle. Things were thrown everywhere, the blanket Tim always slept in was lying on the floor, and the shower curtain laid abandoned on the tub.
Bruce immediately made his way to his laptop to look over the security footage, but he found the critical moments missing. It wasn’t everything, just the few minutes after Alfred left and before they returned, but Bruce knew better than to trust something that had obviously been broken into. Looking around the hotel room again more thoroughly, Bruce realized there was absolutely no record of who the unwanted visitors were, but he could tell there had been more than one when he considered just how much ground they would’ve had to cover in the few minutes Alfred was out. The trackers he had in the boys’ shoes were placed on his nightstand, a sign of just how much the kidnappers had in their work. Whoever had taken his boys definitely knew what they were doing.
Unsure of what to do, Bruce dug out his phone and he called for backup from the Justice League while immediately getting into his uniform. He didn’t care how long it took or how much ground he would need to cover in London, it would never be too much.
He didn’t know what kind of threat they were under, how scared they were to be away from him, or whether or not they were still alive, but he knew he would get back his boys as soon as possible.
Dick woke up to the feeling of pain shooting up his back. While he had been asleep someone had kicked him hard enough for him to fall out of the mattress and start groaning on the floor. He immediately tried to fight back against whoever it was and see what was going on, but he soon realized someone much stronger was standing over him.
Dick tried to go back to Tim and hide him underneath the blanket in a futile attempt to keep him away from whoever had attacked him, but a hand reached down to hold him to the floor.
Groaning as his side hit the concrete, Dick opened his eyes ready to attack anyone who touched his brother. Before he could even prepare a proper stance, a shoe held him to the ground on the same place where a bruise was now growing and he could do nothing but watch as a woman reached into the sheets to pick up his little brother.
Tim was still asleep, too tired from staying up last night to wake up to everything happening around him, so he blindly curled into the person holding. He unconsciously thought the body could have been Bruce’s and he imagined himself back in Gotham in the safety of the Manor’s master bedroom.
Dick wanted nothing more than to take him out of her arms, but any movement from his part meant the person on his back used even more force to keep him down.
He could only watch as the lady pushed her hand through Tim’s hair and stroked his cheeks. “Aww, look at this one here. We got an extra and he’s very cute.”
Dick couldn’t see her face through the mask she was wearing, but he took a mental note to never forget that voice for when he got back at her for laying her hand his little brother.
“We only needed this one,” the man on Dick’s back said while he reached down and lifted his head by pulling on his hair. Dick tried his hardest not to groan at the pain shooting throughout his body and it only made the man push his head back down against the concrete to hear the whimper he couldn’t hold in any longer.
The lady didn’t seem interested in the display happening a few feet away from her, but she looked down at the two year old to say, “So what should we do with the squirt?”
“I could take him to the boss. Maybe he’d find something useful for him to do.”
At the thought of them taking his little brother away, Dick struggled against the hold and growled out, “Don’t touch him. Don’t you dare touch him.”
The lady kneeled down before him and held his brother just far enough for him to make out the little rise and fall of his chest as he slept on without a care in the world. Reaching into her boot, she pulled out a little knife and goaded on, “He means a lot to you, doesn’t’ he?”
Dick watched as she put the knife to his cheek and began dragging it along. She didn’t use enough force to penetrate the skin, but her point was made. She controlled everything in the room and he couldn’t do anything but hope that she didn’t hurt his little brother.
The man behind him said, “Don’t. If you leave a mark, the boss won’t like it.”
He didn’t sound worried about Tim at all, just uninterested at the thought of getting into trouble for taking things too far.
Feigning contemplation, she dragged the knife along Tim’s lips before saying, “We could always tell him it was already there. Then we could do whatever we wanted.”
He couldn’t see the look on her face, but Dick knew she had a shiteating grin and crazed look in her eyes that would remind him so much of the Joker. Even though he knew it was useless, Dick still tried to fight against the hold on his back and defend Tim from everyone in the world if he needed to.
Laughing at the display, the lady finally pushed down deep enough for Dick to see beads of blood trailing the blade of the knife. Tim whimpered at the feeling, he tried to move back away from whatever was causing him the pain and in turn closer to the person he didn’t know was hurting him, but Dick couldn’t help but feel glad he still hadn’t woken up. He had absolutely no idea how he would explain the situation to him without causing him too much worry.
Dick didn’t know how long he stared at the worst right in the world, but he had to look away when he heard the door to the room swing open and someone else walked in.
As soon as the older man saw her with a knife to a three year old, he kicked her in the side and reached down to pick up Tim before he hit the ground. She was left in the same state Dick had been in when he woke up, but she knew better than to try and fight Ra’s al Ghul.
Happy to be away from the pain, Tim nodded off into his chest and tried to fall back into his sleep while the blood on his cheek was cleaned off with a handkerchief.
Dick was even more confused about what was going on, why they were here and why Bruce hadn’t been able to find them yet, but he settled for having his brother free from the crazy lady.
Ra’s motioned for the other two to leave the room and without the massive weight on his back, Dick could sit up and see him clearer. He was a large man, almost as big as his dad, but he looked much older. The hair around his head were graying and his face was more defined, but the didn’t look as docile as some of the older people Dick had seen. The cloak he was wearing was long and green and Dick wanted to make some jokes about him, but he didn’t want to risk him hurting Tim too.
Once they were alone, the man turned to look Tim in the eye and used his finger the clean off the remaining blood still leaking out from his face. The mark wasn’t deep or large, but Ra’s could understand why the older boy would be afraid.
Trying to make himself look larger and more intimidating, Dick stood up and asked, “Who are you and what do you want?”
The man looked back at him uninterested but answered, “You are nowhere near important enough to know that.”
Dick tried again, “Do you want money, because my dad will give you as much as you ask for.”
He knew it was true, there was no limit to how much Bruce would give up to get them back, but again he was ignored.
Instead, the man walked back to the old mattress they had been sleeping on and laid Tim down so he could go back to sleep.
Turning back to Dick, he gave him a wicked looking grin and said, “It’s not money I want, but something a little more versatile.”
Very uncomfortable, Dick put the feeling aside to say, “Okay fine. Just stay away from Tim.”
Ignoring him Ra’s look down at the sleeping boy and moved some of his hair out his eyes before whispering, “Timothy John Grayson.”
“No?” For the first time the man turned around and let himself look confused. It was emboldened for Dick to see him look even slightly bewildered; it made him feel as if he had more control of the situation.
“Our last name isn’t Grayson anymore, it’s Wayne.”
The grin was back on Ra’s’ face when he said, “After Bruce Wayne?”
Trying to frighten the man, Dick said, “Yes. He’s our dad and he’s going to kick your ass when he founds out you took us away from him.”
The old man slowly got up and made his way to Dick before his arm snaked out and held him against the wall. He smiled as Dick grasped for breath as the hand constricted and Ra’s said, “There is absolutely nothing that waste you call your father could do to me and there’s no way he’s going to find out where you are.”
He held Dick against the wall until he could see the pupils of his eyes begin to dilate at which point he threw him against the adjoining wall and watched him fall to the ground limp.
Circling around the room, the man said, “You aren’t here to get me money, you wouldn’t be worth that much anyway. I will admit the initial intent had been to retrieve you from London, but the two who were here before me weren’t even capable enough to do that properly. Now, I’m in the difficult situation of not knowing what to do with Timothy when he’s far too young to do me any good. There might be some people willing to take him off of my hands, and I could ask for a high price, but then I risk altering your father and the rest of his friends. I guess I’ll have to keep him around and find some use for him.”
Against the strain in his throat, Dick said, “Don’t touch him again.”
The man laughed at the idea that the nine year old could do anything to him, but not before he bent down next to Dick to say, “You, my boy, are much more important. I am going to train you and soon you are going to join my army.”
Slitting his eyes, Dick said, “Why would I do that?”
Taking Dick’s chin into his hand, Ra’s turned his face to look over at Tim who was still blissfully unaware of the situation around him. Holding him in his place, Ra’s said, “Because if you don’t, it’ll be your brother who has to pay for it.”
With a ruffle of his hair, he left the room and Dick immediately ran over to Tim.
As soon as he was sure Tim was safe, he curled up around him and tried to think of what Bruce would want him to do. He definitely wouldn’t want him to cry so Dick made sure none of his tears spilled out as he tried to think of a way out. There was no way he would be able to take on the people keeping them in here and Superman hadn’t responded to the sound of his voice so the room must have been lined with lead. Dick chastised himself for not thinking about calling for him in the hotel room, but it would do him no good now. His time was much better spent trying to find a way out.
Looking around the room, he didn’t find anything that could help. There were no windows in the room, only a small skylight with thick glass he couldn’t reach. Dick could tell that it was almost morning, but he wasn’t sure how long he was asleep. It couldn’t have been for too long, Bruce would’ve found them by then. Dick didn’t want to think about what the bucket was for, but he knew had no leverage in this situation to make things better for them. He didn’t try to think about it too much, hopefully they would never actually have to use it.
Pretty soon, the lady came back in and dropped a tray of food on the ground and broke him out of his deep thoughts. She didn’t saw anything but he could see she didn’t have any of the same pride she’d used to hurt Tim.
As soon as she left, he decided to wake up Tim so he could get some food in his stomach, especially when he didn’t know when they would get their next meal.
Softly shaking him, Dick whispered, “It’s time to wake up, Timmy. I’m going to bet you’re hungry, right?”
Tim tried to kick his older brother away from him, but pretty soon he had to open his eyes to the light in the room and face the day. He loudly groaned so Dick could know he wanted to keep on sleeping, but he stopped when he realized his older brother wasn’t in the mood to play around. Tim decided to follow his instructions and he sat up to find out if everything had been a dream or not.
Stretching the sleep out of his bones, he asked, “Dick, why are we hewe?”
Trying to distract him from their situation, Dick said, “I don’t really know, Babybird, but you should probably eat something.”
Looking at the sad looking tray, Tim immediately thought that there was no way this could compare to Alfred’s cooking. “How does it taste?”
“It doesn’t taste like anything Alfred made, but it’s something,” Dick offered.
“Did you already eat?”
Dick smiled down at his little brother. Even when he didn’t know how to, Tim wanted to look out for him. He couldn’t feel bring himself to feel bad when he said, “I ate before you woke up, don’t worry.”
Helping Tim sit up, Dick put the tray in front of them and started putting the food in his mouth. At first Tim didn’t like it, but he realized just how hungry he was and ate most of it. It helped to look up at Dick and see that him eating was making him feel a little better, but Tim wanted to try some more. He offered Dick the stale bun, he actually forced him to eat it, and when the tray was cleared Tim asked, “What are we going to do now?”
Dick knew Tim wanted something to distract him, some of his toys and family here to keep him busy, but wrapping him up in his arms, Dick couldn’t help but think about the old man’s words and say, “I don’t know, Timmy. I really don’t know.”