Stepford Bat: Part II

August 27, 2016:

Jason Todd, missing his memory, is caught up in a Stepford life. (Note: Timelocked until entire arc is completed).

Quaker Heights

A 'perfect' little down.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The clicking sound behind the clock has been niggling at Jason for several days. Mr. Smith, junior attorney, was not the handiest of fellows, but the clicking— it was starting to niggle at him. To the point that he was considering fixing it.

But oddly, every time he'd gone at it, SOMETHING had happened. Barbera, his wife, had cut herself abruptly with a knife while he was examining it. A day later, a screwdriver in hand, his kids had broken a vase in the living room. Then just yesterday, as he was settling his mind to get it fixed, the postman had arrived with a package that'd turned into a horrible mess of uncapped liquid soap the moment it was opened.

But in the middle of the night, kids abed, Barbara snoring softly, that noise came to Jason like an itching wound— a festering boil he couldn't leave alone.

*tick tick tick tick*

Even if it meant just plain stopping the clock, it would mean that the gosh-darn clicking would stop! The reality is probably that there's a Barbie shoe or a GIJoe gun stuck in it, causing one of the cogs to hit it every time it turned. So, with everyone asleep, he's tiptoed his way downstairs. He grabbed a couple of flashlights as he didn't want to turn on the overhead light…instead, it's a few lamps and the flashlight so that he can see. No need to wake everyone else up.

Jason moves with a stealth that belies his identity— instincts hammered so deep into his very fiber and being that the less he thinks about being cautious, the closer he comes to approaching a near-Zen of silence.

No one stirs. Nothing even whispers in response— water gurgles in the pipes, a heater coughs and goes off again. It's an idyllic evening outside, perfect for catching fireflies. A peculiar thought to strike a grown man, but Jason would find it impossible to ignore.

The clock, an heirloom mantle decoration, looms at him when he approaches— and then Jason would notice there are /two/ clicks. The steady *tick tock* of the clock, normal and correct, in time with a pendulum.

But staring at it, he'd realize that there's a second set of clicks that are so quiet that evening in the lowness of the evening, they were difficult to discern. Some instinct, some human instinct, had pegged to that 'off' second sound, leading him to the clock.

He's just at the point where he'll cross the carpeted floor and into the clocks' face, and then a weight slams into him. He staggers sideways and sharp, snapping hands swing around, blocking his panicked strikes.

A hand clamps to his mouth, and Bruce Wyatt's sharp blue eyes stare into his very soul.

"Shh…" he says, the words softer than silk on a zephy. His eyes go left, and then right, pointedly. His lips move in over-exaggeration. 'They're listening. Quiet?' He cocks a brow at Jason… then slooowly removes the cupped hand from his mouth.

"What the heck are you doing?!" is hissed…because no one curses in his house! Jason tries to shove the Judge off of him, "What kind of Judge are you? You…" he looks around, "You are so getting disbarred." Debenched?

Such threats.

He tries to catch his breath after the rush of adrenaline, although it does feel kind of nice. It's almost like it feels -right- for a moment. "What are you doing in my house, Wyatt?"

Wyatt claps a hand on Jason's mouth— /again/— and his eyes widen into a very pointed glare.

"What part of 'they're listening' confuses you?" he says, in that same breathless voice that weaves itself behind the cover of wind gusting against the panes. He looks left, then right, then tugs Jason along in a 'come along' hold, doing something to the man's wrist that makes escape temporarily impossible.

They duck into— of all things— a restroom, and Bruce shuts the door behind them and turns the water to a gurgling trickle.

"They're watching you," he says, his voice still barely audible. "You mentioned the clock at work. I didn't want to intervene, but you'll be killed if you're caught tampering with it."

Jason Todd's own blue eyes widen as he's shut up and then dragged into the downstairs bathroom. He starts, as soon as his mouth is freed, "I don't know impression you got of me, but I'm not into that…" but he then blinks as the older man's words sink in. "What? It's just a stupid clock."

Isn't it?

"Who is watching me? I didn't do anything wrong…why would anyone want to kill me?"

"Listen— you're not ready. Not yet," Bruce says, his words fast and pointed. Despite the urgency of the situation he's… calm. Not relaxed, not 'feigning' concern for Jason. He's just unspeakably well balanced despite the singing tension in the air.

How Jason can tell the difference is another question entirely.

"You've noticed it," he whispers. "Little things. I know you have. Listen— just listen. You know the koi pond. Everyone calls it that, the City Hall koi pond. But there's no marker, there's no sign— it's just a koi pond."

"But if there have /never been/ any koi, how do you know it's a koi pond?"

He backs away from Jason, a shadow in the night, and reaches back to unlock the window with a flicker of his wrist. "You'll see more. Little inconsistencies. Wrong things. Problems. But don't engage. Don't let them /know/ you see the cracks."

He starts climbing out the window with a shocking dexterity for a man his age, and then pauses once he's outside, his lantern jaw partially illuminated by the moon.

"Look for the pictures, Jason. Look for the ones you can't find."

"It's a koi pond…" Jason repeats, unsure as to what the question actually is. He then watches as the man climbs so easily out the window…but he darts over as a memory hits him, "Like the man outside the courthouse? The one they took away…he was looking for his kids." Did he find them? Did he really have kids?

The mention of the pictures has him looking thoughtful, though. He -has- been thinking about that…just earlier tonight he asked Barbara for pictures of the kids he could take to work. She just sort of chuckled and changed the subject.

"You saw him?" Bruce's brows lift a tenth of an inch in surprise. "Good to know. They're slipping," he murmurs, holding the window open with one hand. "He's been disappeared by now, I'm sure. " His eyes flicker to Jason, and though he doesn't say anything, something about him demands that Jason hearkens to him.

"You've got friends in town," he tells the man. "We'll help you as best we can. I'll try to be there but I— well. I'm only human," he says, with a rueful expression.

"You know the sound a robin makes?" He flickers his tongue against his lips, and with surprising ease imitates it.

"They'll whistle it. Or you might hear someone mention a robin, or even flash the color red. Anyone who does that, you get somewhere private— secure— and wait for them to find you there. It'll be a message from me."

"But the first thing I need you to do, Jason, is trust me. I know you've got no reason to. I'm not asking you to be logical. Just— just for now— I need you to take a leap of faith."

"He ran up to me," Jason clarifies and offers as an explanation. "Disappeared…you mean, killed? Why? What did he do?" But then the rest is explained and, well, he looks confused a moment before asking, "What is going on? Why are you sending me messages? You need to give me -something, dammit!"

It's a start.

There's a brief turn away as robins and the color red are mentioned, as if that's tugging at him. "I don't -want- to trust you," he starts, "But I do." Sort of.

Bruce nods, and then— something tugs at the corner of his mouth. A bit sardonic? Pained, even? It's gone in an eyeblink, and the attached emotions evaporate along with it before they can be catalogued and stored.

"It's a start," he tells Jason.

And then he's gone.

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