Author's Note / Explanation: This fanfiction is a combination of multiple stories set in the fictional city of Gotham, but especially Jason Todd's - the second Robin that becomes the anti-hero/occasional villain Red Hood following his death. But this version of Red Hood's story has a little twist: Jason Todd was replaced with an original character from our world moments before appearing in the Batman canon. As with other fanfictions following the "original character replaces a canon character" trope, OC!Jason's goal isn't to find a way back home. It's to fulfill his role in the story.
But things don't always go according to plan, especially when there's so many different "canons" to choose from when shaping his story.
(This specific version of Jason Todd is mainly based on the Batman: Under the Red Hood movie, but with a few tweaks - namely, Dick Grayson and Jason Todd aren't the only two Robins who run around in Gotham. I'm currently just focusing on Tim Drake and Damian Wayne, but I definitely plan on adding more of the Batfam in the future.)
For anyone reading this who doesn't really know much about DC, here's some important pieces of context before reading this chapter:
The first time he died, it was a metaphorical death: the end of one existence and the start of another.
The second time he died, it was with a crowbar to the gut and an explosion that rang in the man he had come to see as a father's ears for countless months afterwards.
And the third time he died, it was because of Damian Wayne.
Waking up close to naked in a watery pit was not Jason's favorite way to wake up.
It was his least favorite way to wake up, actually. He hadn't ever done it before, but the Lazarus Pit officially sucked. It was cold, and disgusting, and he really wished someone was smart enough to give him clothes instead of wrapping him up in bandages that made him look like a mummy. Come on, Talia and Ra's. At least one of you should have had the brain cell that made you realize that this was a bad idea, and not just because the victim of a very traumatic murder was probably going to have some mental health issues after being brought back to life without warning.
But Jason was prepared for this.
There was a panic and a rush of terror as he popped back into the world of the living, but he reigned it all in. He could breath again. His body didn't feel like it was on fire. And he was totally going to freak out the villains by acting as crazy as he could, because he had to make them think that Jason Todd was just a pale, possibly dead imitation of his original self.
He leaped out of the water and lunged for one of the guards lining the pit. The guard tried to dodge, but he never stood a chance. He had been trained to be Robin since he was a kid – Jason's limbs had reflexes that most could only dream of at this point. A little graceful kick in the face here, a wild jab in the throat there (just meant to temporarily incapacitate, not meant to kill) and a mad, frantic scramble for the nearest exit. The bandages obscured most of his face, but he kept a crazed expression on his face. Alfred, thankfully, had never gotten why he practiced that look so much in the mirror.
Talia and her dad were too stunned by his escape to really send any after him for those first few minutes that followed. Jason knew that they weren't really doing it out of their kindness of their hearts; they knew Bruce would be pissed if he found out the two of them were involved with his death at the hands of Joker, and this was just an attempt to save their skin when Bruce inevitably put two-and-two together.
Batman: Under the Red Hood hadn't really given a floor plan for this place, but Jason let instinct guide him. It was how he had tried to take the tires off of bat-mobile when he had first ended up like this; he hadn't had any idea how to go about doing that in his last life, and still wasn't entirely sure how he did it in this one. And, like then, instinct didn't fail him. He found himself standing in front of a window that was a perfect replica of the one that Jason had jumped through in the movie, and all it would take was a little jump through it for canon to be on the right track.
He looked out the window.
...It sure was a long drop.
And it did look cold outside...
He glanced down the hallway.
As long as they thought he was lost to the wilderness, things would be alright. Plus, he could feel that his body had changed since being dumped in the pit: he felt like he was on the verge of being a meta, something he definitely wouldn't let Bruce know about once he made his appearance as Red Hood. That would bring up an entirely different set of angst that he didn't even know how Bruce would deal with.
Jason grabbed the nearest piece of furniture he could find – a chair up against the wall – and swung it right into the window. The glass shattered into millions of little pieces, and the chair was swiftly returned to its rightful place. He had to move quickly now. The noise was definitely going to set off some kind of alarm, and he was sure that they would come running when they realized he had escaped.
He turned to dart away.
And found himself looking at a little boy.
A very, very familiar looking little boy, with features that he knew all too well. The boy had his face, and his hair, too, even though the only pictures of Bruce that he had been able to dig up were hidden in the corners of the very expansive attic and with Alfred. Jason wasn't good at putting ages to faces, but the kid couldn't have been much older than five or six. He stared up at him with wide, green eyes – eyes that were as green as his own had become, though he currently hadn't realized that yet.
“Mummy,” the boy said, with all of the fear he expected from someone that little. Jason froze up. Meeting Damian this early was never part of the plan. He wasn't even supposed to know that he existed, right? Talia was good at hiding him, and he wasn't supposed to spend enough time lurking in this building to see him no matter what the continuity was.
His eyes, though Jason didn't know it, glowed bright green.
And Damian's eyes widened a little more in response.
Torn between comforting Damian and finishing up his escape, Jason came up with a compromise: he'd make things seem just a little bit better by hamming things up. Damian wouldn't remember him years from now if he did things right. He'd just remember that he met a mummy when wandering around his old home. That was something he could handle.
Jason stuck his hands out in front of him, some of the bandages slipping off of his wrists and dangling in the air above the floor below. Damian just kept staring. He let out a low moan, inching towards Damian with a slowness he really couldn't afford at this point. Part of him hoped that Damian would run off or even faint, but instead, he just kept staring right where he was standing.
Jason let out a groan that felt perfectly in character at the moment.
It was time for a change of plans.
He kept shuffling right past Damian, the boy's gaze never leaving him as he turned down the next hallway. When he was finally sure he was out of view, he booked it, running towards the first room he could find. He need some kind of outfit to wear. Sneaking around wasn't really a problem, though part of him did want to go with the cliché and wear some of the outfits the villains here wore. But those clothes definitely weren't going to help him in the cold outside. He needed something thick and cozy.
It took a little bit of searching, but he managed to stumble onto Ra's room. The villain was still presumably out looking for him – his room was entirely unguarded. Jason wasn't sure his outfits looked much better than the bandages Jason had taken off and stuffed into his pockets, but he was already feeling warmer. All he needed was to sneak by a room where the grunts had to store their winter clothes, and he'd be all set for his escape into the cold.
He slipped back out into the hallway, lurking in the shadows like he had seen Bruce do as Batman a hundred times before.(And as Bruce, too – there was more than once that Bruce had surprised him by popping out of seemingly nowhere when he thought he was alone. Part of him was convinced Alfred had taught him that trick, since the butler could do the same thing, but Jason had been too afraid to check.)