Birds of Prey Chapter 14: Escape Apr 22, 2015 22:59:27 GMT -5
Post by adrini on Apr 22, 2015 22:59:27 GMT -5
Birds of Prey
With thanks to Cross for the crossover.
"If he stays here he dies, Thomas." She was not going to bury her son. Her sister could save him. She kept packing, making sure to take his favorite toys for the drive. "If I take him to Di he'll be cured and treated in a month, tops. I will do what I have to."
"Jade, I'm not losing my son to your cult like friends. I'm his father and I'll be damned if you or anyone else is taking him away from me." Thomas crossed his arms in defiance and stood in front of Jade. She wasn't impressed by his sudden valiant behavior, it was about two years too late.
"The same cult-like friends who bothered to visit us after he was born? The ones who actually showed up to help me through labor? Bought the bulk of his toys and clothes? That openly volunteered to watch him or help out at the drop of a hat? Or the same ones that waited six weeks to be forced to show up and then ran in the opposite direction." The bag packed she stood up and started refilling the diaper bag, ignoring him entirely. "No, that's right. The last one was you. I forgot. They're called family, and it’s very easy to tell who your family is. They make a point of actually showing up."
"I love Tommy just as much you and a billion times more than those people you call friends! Don't you ever tell me that I am not family to our child!" Thomas ripped the diaper bag away from Jade's hands.
"Would you even know him if these worthless friends of mine hadn't forced you to step up?" Jade's eyes were stilted. "What is this, some machismo thing? Your little man friends with make fun of you if a woman takes your son? He's dying! Whatever he has is getting worse, not better. Maybe you haven't noticed but for kids eating isn't optional, and he can't eat."
"Oh please! He will get through this. It'll toughen him up and build his immune system or some shit like that." Thomas leaned in close to Jade and lowered his voice to a growl. "You ain't taking my kid. I'm not the one with a fucking secret society tailing my ass. You need to take a long look in the mirror before telling me that I'm a danger to my kid you psycho bitch. Now go run to killer mommy like you always do."
Thomas glared a moment longer and left, bag in hand. Paralyzed, his words echoed in her head. He was right, it was him or her mother. She was trapped, Tommy was trapped. She had to be welcomed into a house, not run to one.
She heard the sound that stalked her nightmares and rushed to her son's room to see the little boy once again throwing up his meal. It had been the first real meal he had been able to almost keep down in almost a week - this was going to finish him. Tommy, panicking at the hunger he knew this meant, saw his mother and cried. Rushing to him she got him cleaned up and held the trembling body close. To rescue him she had to be welcomed, formally part of the family. Once she had a place he could be claimed, taken if need be. Her sisters would help, they were used to missions. They would run this one, they would get him out.
Tommy, safely held by his mother, calmed down and crashed. His body once again weak from the sudden attack. Thomas was in the tv room, still pissed, and Jade took the chance to take a moment.
Placing the toddler in his bed she made sure that he was asleep. Once he was out she took the plush toy he always slept with and sat down with her sewing kit. It only took a moment but she opened up a small part of the seam and removed the charm from her neck, looking at it before tucking it into the soft toy and sealing it inside.
"All I can do for you for now." She said, tears falling, to the sleeping form as Tommy grabbed the toy in his sleep and fell deeper into rest. The note had said that the charm had been blessed somehow, that it could keep someone safe. Maybe it would help him last long enough for her and Di to make it back in time. "I won't be gone long, we have friends that will help us, but I need to find them first. You'll see, it'll be perfect. You'll be okay. Please, just stay alive for me. I can’t loose you."
Her own bags already packed it didn't take long to find the note, Thomas had tossed it in the trash, and grab her jacket. Taking a moment to grab his new born picture she tucked it into her purse and steeled herself. The only escape she had ever had was Mrs. Lance and the house. The only chance of escape she and her son had now was Di and the home she was forming. To save her son she had to leave him, and there wasn't time to loose.
“I didn’t know anyone had this much family.” Oliver asked as his fiancée led him to the back rooms where she was getting ready to go. She grinned slightly but looked at her watch. “How many ‘Uncles’ do you have?”
“I wouldn’t try anything.” Di said and smirked as she led him down the hall. “They buy it?”
“We’re busy, they don’t ask anymore.” He grinned and she blushed, it was really Thea’s fault for not knocking first. “That’s a coat closet, Di.”
“Is it?” She asked before she opened the door and looked inside. “I don’t think so, what do you think?”
Oliver, thinking this was a whole other kind of game, looked inside for a moment before his eyes went wide and he stepped back, startled. Di only smirked and grabbed his hand, pulling him inside.
“Di, where are we?” It was a carpeted hallway, old, almost another world. Di was suddenly nervous, and turned to look at him, biting her lip.
“I choose you.” She said simply, which didn’t help his confusion. “It’s a rule, I can only choose one, and there’s really no one else I would even consider anymore-"
“He’s a deer in headlights, Di. Give the poor man a moment to catch up.” A second woman walked up, he knew her from somewhere.
“Zatana, Di and I go way back.” She said as she shook his hand. “What your lady here means to say is that she has a special spot in a super-secret magical society and she can only bring one person in – and that’s you. You should be flattered. He’s expecting both of you.”
They followed into a room where several books were sitting on the center coffee table and a pot of hot coffee was already waiting for them. Getting less shaken Oliver sat down, Di hurrying to make him a cup.
“It’s actually not that complicated. We’re servants of Fate, doing various jobs. I watch and Lady Bird here is a linchpin. Things just happen around her, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. She changes things.” Something clicked and Oliver look at the woman at his side.
“Yes she does.” He smiled, he didn’t seem to mind the change. “What does this mean for us? What about kids or Thea?”
“I’m a magnet, people show up, change, leave – whatever Fate had planned. But it’s a tradeoff, I also get protection. Anywhere I am does, my line is guarded. It’s a role that Mom passed on to me.” Di seemed relieved that he wasn’t angry. “She did the same thing.”
“And then some, actually.” An old man had appeared in the lounge chair. “She could turn the tide of anything, she had a will that I have never seen the equal of. You, my dear, just have to hang on for the ride. Fate is far more exact in what he wants now, I’m so sorry.”
Oliver had stood up at the sudden appearance, and was looking at the old man while moving to stand near his newly found better half. The old man laughed.
“Perfect, exactly what I wanted.” He said, a wide grin on his face. “No need to worry, I mean no harm to her. Another of her ‘Uncles’, I suppose. Hector Hall, the current host to the helmet of fate.”
“Sit, love.” Di said and he settled in closely. “He’s a friend.”
“The book is yours, Mr. Queen.” The man said, pushing a volume to the couple. “You’ll know the story, I think.”
Unconvinced Oliver opened the book to a scene, one of the parties he had camped for ages trying to find this person he couldn’t forget. It was the Kane party, and in the next several pages the theme was unchanged. Di was always a few feet or one room away. He knew it. Another page was his parents passing, his first day at the head of the company, even Thea’s breakdown.
“Even fate can be blocked, but you’ll know the next one. I got it to work.” The man said and the next page was something he still couldn’t quite believe. That first sunrise actually together, it almost felt wrong that someone else knew about that. It was a moment he would have preferred to belong to them. Di saw the same page and grabbed his hand, wearing a misty smile.
“Welcome to the family, Mr. Queen.”
Stepping off the grayhound bus and onto the curb Jade adjusted her bag and looked around. Star City looked nice. Average, understated but nice. She knew that Di lived here once, it had come up once or twice, but she never really said more. Maybe there wasn’t much more to tell.
The note said that she was living at Queen Manor, which should be close. Everyone on the bus had looked at her like she was nuts when she asked to be dropped off here. Was there something wrong with the manor? Shaking it off she look around and took out the map the bus driver had given her. It was to the right, close. She wasn’t far.
There was a metal gate with an ornate ‘Q’ on it, and she could make out a large house beyond. It had to to be the place. Popping to the other side she took the shadows to the house main and stuck a look in the windows, there were people, but the room on the other side was empty.
It was a nice, but warm, living room of sorts. Voices could be heard from the front rooms, but they seemed to be focused on something. Jade took stealth form and walked over, looking inside. They were teens, four of them. They were playing a video game and eating pizza, laughing. The sight made her heart ache, friends over a hot meal. It was almost hard to remember. There was a box of pizza on the island, after the ten hour drive she had forgotten how hungry she was. Once the girls went to bed she would eat what was left.
The stairs were easy enough but there was too many rooms upstairs to guess. Trying not to panic she looked for clues, Di needed to introduce her. Someone who knew her needed to meet her.
“She’s the first door on the right, but she’s out of town right now. He’s not with you.” She heard her father’s voice from just down the hall. “What happened?”
Ted saw that his daughter was about to cry and pulled her into the hall where they wouldn’t be seen, grown or not his little girl held tight. He pulled them into Di’s room. She would want proof that her sister was really alright.
“The court.” He said and she nodded. His grandson was still in ‘haven. “And he’s still sick, what do you need to get him out?”
“Everything.” She said dryly and sank on to the bed. “Where am I?”
“Di’s room. What’s everything?” He asked as she jumped up and rushed to the hand carved dresser. “Money, valuables?”
“A home. I need an official home, one with paperwork and fingerprinting and stuff.” This was DI’s stuff, classic. The woman tried to collect the world one bauble at a time, she seemed to be favoring Africa at the moment. She was also sharing the room with a man, maybe she had found green eyes after all. “I would actually be okay with an arranged marriage if that was done anymore. Soon as I have a place to call my own, official and everything, I can get him help. They won’t take less."
“Always a catch.” Ted sighed as Jade sat next to him again, this time playing with a picture of her sister with a green-eyed man. She rolled her eyes and muttered ‘of course’ before grinning. It had been Oliver the whole time, who else? Kate was going to hate this.
“Or twelve. Look, about before-“ She started but he cut her off.
“If I had done my damn job as a father it never would have gotten this bad, blame me. I deserve it.” Ted said and sighed. “You have a shot. There’s a man that lives in the house, actually a good guy, you can see if you like him. If you have any interest in my two cents he’d make a damn fine father.”
“Who?” She asked, interested.
“The one there, the red head.” He grabbed a photograph from the night stand. “He’s working late, not much else going on. Might be something. Once Di gets back she can nudge him your way, has some pull in this place.” He grinned as he saw Jade very much liked what she saw, it was fine by him.
“Think she still wants us?” Jade asked, she hadn’t seen anything of them in the room, a photograph would be nice. Maybe the letter was being polite. Ted only rolled his eyes and walked over to the closet, opening it.
“Just a little.” He said sarcastically, and she couldn’t help but tear up at the sight. Inside the large closet was a cork board with photographs, articles, and news stories. Under were small statues and items. Allowed to contact or not she had been tracking them all, and Oliver had helped if the handwriting was any indication. Di had Tommy’s birth announcement with his picture, and at least a third of the items were jade cats of various sizes – including several mother and child pieces. There was even a box of toys. “What do you think?”
Hector walked the corridors of the Tower with his long term friend by his side, as much as he liked his students this was too much for them.
“What did you think?” Hector asked Zatara as they made their way to the door. “You like him?”
“Incredibly protective, thank goodness.” The Magician said, grinning. “And she’s happy, that’s over due.”
“Well overdue. It’s in here. I really hoped we were done with this.” Hector said, weariness in his voice.
“We never are, old friend. You know better.” Zatara, looking old himself, grinned wryly. “But the kids don’t need this right now.”
The room was as Barbra and Zatana had described it, only they had no idea who it was that was trapped inside the pulsing mess. He was fighting his bounds, waking up. He shouldn’t be waking up so soon.
“It took seven people to get this far. If we want to really deal with this we need at least as many. Are we close?” Zatara asked, concern clear on his face. He remembered the battle, it had been hard.
“Not as far as we used to be.” Zatara could see Hector running through his threads and games, his friend was getting too old to do this anymore. “Not as close as I’d like. Ready?”
Hector looked behind him and saw the copper helmet following him. Moving with it’s own power it lowered onto his head and Dr. Fate flashed into existence.
YOU SHALL NOT AWAKEN, THE LAWS OF ORDER COMMAND IT.
At Outreach. Ted filled me in. Get your ass over here! Jade read on her phone, for the hundredth time. It was from Di, in person. Her father had said Di would be happy to see her, but that was hardly the word. From the second she had found out Jade was in town the text messages had been constant.
“Miss Grant?” She heard and turned to see a suited man at the desk as arrived at the Outreach “Your concierge ticket. Miss Lance is inside, a map.”
Jade arrived at the greeters desk, but found it empty. Instead she hurried to the following hallway, where the sound of familiar music was faint in the air. As she ran she made out other things, the soft lilac scent of the perfume that she still remembered Di would wear when Mrs. Lance could afford it.
The door was ajar, just slightly open, and Jade too slow steps to it. There was the sound of paperwork inside. Movement, soft muttering.
Looking inside she saw Di, she was thinner then she remembered – paler also. She looked worn compared to days past, the days of the brawls had left her changed. But she was alive, and for now that was all that mattered.
She must have made some noise in her focus as Di looked up and they saw each other. Time stood still, and for a moment they did nothing but take in the sight of the person they had missed for so long. After a moment the stillness broke and Jade could not stop herself from poofing to her sister, it was faster then running.
Wet kisses peppered her cheeks as Di held her no less firmly. It took mere seconds for both to dissolve into tears, sinking onto the nearby sofa. Taking a good few minutes to calm down Di grinned at her as she wiped tears away.
“I’m so sorry, please forgive me. I wanted you as soon as I woke up but there were people after me and-“ Jade’s tears renewed with hers. “I would have given anything to be there, please believe me.”
“You’re alive, I don’t care.” Once again resting her head on the much missed shoulder. “Just never do that to me again.”
“Are you moving in with us?” Di asked and Jade nodded wordlessly, soon after getting the kiss on the forehead she remembered. “Then you’re never getting away. Now tell me, I want to hear it all. We have a mission and I don’t want to waste time.”
“Tommy.” Jade said and Di held her tighter. “I don’t know how long he has without help.”
“And you need an unquestionable tie to the house.” Di was thinking, plotting. Ted had filled her in, including that his daughter had hit it off with the red head rather well already. “Roy is a lot like you, you know. Ollie rescued him, got him out of a bad place. I think we can catch him easily enough. I’ve been thinking he might be the one you’ve been looking for.”
“That would be you, Di.” At peace, a feeling she had not felt for some time, she closed her eyes. “You scheme, I’ll be here.”
It was early morning, not even eight but Renee saw her phone go off. Still in hiding that wasn’t a good sign, only a few people had her new number. Moving to check who was calling she gently shook Kate awake as well. She’d want to be here for this.
The woman, now notably round, blinked the sleep out of her eyes and looked at the name before taking the call herself, though Renee turned on the speaker option.
“Jade!” Kate said, looking eager. She had run off to Star City a month ago and had been keeping in touch, while Di was out on honeymoon. “How is she? Does she need help? Do you? Did they let you in?”
Laughter came out of the phone, but not Jade’s. It was a voice neither of them thought to expect.
“I’m fine, and we’ve been working on something for Jade for weeks now. She had a room before she even got here. So do you.” Dinah’s voice said as they sat up and smiled at each other. If they were having a group conference this early in the morning then the gang was back together. “She said congratulations were in order and you might need a way out.”
“My father.” Kate volunteered. “He’s smoked our location out twice.”
“We’re scheming for me anyway.” Jade said, she was happy, it was like Thomas had never happened. “And it’s working. Di has all the resources now, she can do anything.”
“Well, I can try.” Their friend protested, still not used to her new life in the one percent.
“We’d like that.” Renee said dryly. “Not going to lie.”
“I can get you to a safer house at least. There’s a townhouse not far, it’s owned by us. Your father will know he touches you there he messes with someone bigger than he is.” Di said, she had clearly already looked into it.
“Once Gage is born and everyone is cleared for travel tell me day of. I’ll send out the Arrow V and get you here same day.”
“Told you she had this covered.” Jade said as Kate and Renee looked at each other, already breathing easier. “Just wait till you get out here, Birds of Awesome assemble!”
“One more thing, and I mean this.” Di said, now serious. “Your father is insane when it comes to family obedience. He’d be an idiot but he still might pull something. If he does call for extraction, flying might not be the safest thing but it’s better than open bullet holes. I want you both here safe and alive, not in boxes. Clear?”
Looking at each other Renee and Kate took a deep breath and gripped their hands tightly. They were the last ones out, they just had to trust they’d get there.
“Perfectly, we’ll call if we need anything at all. And Di-“ Kate said. “Thank you.”
“Thank me by getting here, I won’t take less.”