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Third Time's a Charm [Chapter 2.1]

by Jaybird

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: 

  • Damian al Ghul/Wayne is the son of Talia al Ghul and Batman. Talia is one of the people who helps bring Jason back from the dead. 
  • In the Under the Red Hood movie, Jason breaks out of the building by jumping through a window. This happens when he's just been brought back from the dead and killed by the Joker, so he's not in a good state of mind - he's not able to realize how dangerous it is. 
  • In some versions of Jason's story, he ends up working with Talia for awhile. I didn't like that version of events as much, so I opted out of following that particular plot line.

Third Time's a Charm:

A Jason Todd Story

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.

Chapter 2

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.)

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1329 Reviews

Points: 68307
Reviews: 1329

Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:08 am
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JabberHut wrote a review...

LOL that opening line. What a hook, dude.

omg I love how you worked in the window here!!

Okay, the whole thing with Damien was adorable. And the voice is just so spot-on. I love this character so much, I love how quickly he thinks, how creative he is in his solutions (like pretending to be a mummy to preserve Damien's memories), and how intelligent his decisions feel. Like, I can't help but think yeah, this is all entirely reasonable. Jason, you are a genius.

Also, I love the glowing green eyes thing. Unbeknownst to Jason, the kid would DEFINITELY remember that little thing. A mummy with glowing green eyes. That feature definitely sets him apart from the rest, though, and gives his character intrigue as he progresses forward. (I mean, the fact that Jason DOESN'T know he has glowing green eyes tells us a lot about how this might come up as a conflict for him later. An unexpected surprise for him! :D)

This also sets up Damien's future a bit. I feel like he's going to have some recollection of this moment or this is going to affect him somehow despite Jason's best efforts to make it seem otherwise. I'm interested to see how this comes into play later.

He found Ra's room! I am unfamiliar with the house layout, but hopefully his finding Ra's room makes sense in relation to where he had woken up previously and how he ran around the building already.

Ew why did he stuff the bandages in his pockets? Toss those suckers out the window. ;_;

Also interesting that there wasn't anything that caught his eye in Ra's room. There must've been SOMETHING that stood out to Jason to realize it was indeed Ra's bedroom, just as proof to the reader that this is indeed his room. And the grunts probably store their garb a bit further from Ra's room, but the house layout can be addressed later. I'm not sure why my brain is stuck on that right now. XD

The tie back to Batman sneaking around was awesome. <3 Why that is such a great way to describe how he's sneaking around is crazy, but it works. And it provides a chance at backstory more, so yes.

I love how this is moving along so far. And I'm just in love with the voice. GUH I love it.

Jaybird says...

Thanks for the review!

I had just watched the movie for the first time when I got the idea for this, so I just had to include the window! But I knew I'd never jump out of it, so Jason wouldn't, either. :P

I wish there was more about the house layout! I kept trying to reference everything I could find between the movie and some of my more knowledge DC friends, but it just didn't have the description I needed.

(The friend who I came up with this idea when talking to is actually the one responsible for Jason's glowing green eyes and Jason meeting Damian - both of them are her headcanons about canon!Jason, and they're how I picture his story now.)

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Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:21 pm
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EJL3 wrote a review...


What a great idea putting in some pieces of context before getting into the story, it really helped me grasp the story line.
Again the writing was good, I especially appreciate that the story doesn't linger. And your explanations are brief but appropriate, so the reader instantly understands what's taking place without losing their interest.

As for the story itself, I say it's still intriguing. I'm especially talking about Jason's glowing green eyes, like what's that about? I have my idea of what a meta might be and I think Jason has been turned into one, but then again I'm not sure.

Needless to say that I love the abrupt way the book's chapters always end. It never reveals what to expect in the upcoming chapters and to me, it's just the best way to cut a story short. It leaves the reader with a thirst to read further.

So keep it up.

Jaybird says...

Aw, thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying my fic. <3

The glowing green eyes are a fun little headcanon I stole from the friend who helped me come up with this AU - it doesn't mean he's a meta, necessarily, but it's just a fun way to show that his time in Lazarus Pit changed him physically.

(The glowing green eyes also look great with my favorite version of him in the comics - which should be mentioned in the next part. :))

EJL3 says...

Great, I'm just about to read it.

Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux (One must imagine Sisyphus happy).
— Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus