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Fic: Trapped Chapter 13
brokaw22 wrote in batfic
Title: Trapped
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: It's been years, Dick, Tim, and Jason are the only ones left, but Tim's not really himself anymore.
Thanks to Kathy for beta work.
Previous Chapters: Chapter one Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve

He stares down at the water below, waiting for Jason’s body to resurface. He’s patient, but after half an hour with no sign of the other man, Tim turns away. He has more work to do. The deaths of the first and second Robins are only the beginning. It took until Jason hit the water for Tim to realize that, but now that he has a plan, he doesn’t have time to go searching for Jason’s body. After all, if the man somehow survived -- and Tim’s smart enough to know that there’s always a chance -- then he’ll come to Tim in time. Hopefully, by then, it’ll be too late to stop him, but that’s all for later. Right now, Tim has to get reacquainted with the cave and its upgraded systems. He knows that he’ll have to start working on his lack of funds, because he’s more than a little sure that a mostly dead Robin doesn’t get to stay in the will.

It takes longer than he anticipated to hack into the new bat computer, but that’s mostly because Tim is still getting used to how much technology has changed since he was last able to touch a computer -- not that he’s surprised. It turns out that he has a lot of catching up to do. A lot has changed since the ‘incident,’ for lack of a better term, and not just the technology. There are still old players around, making life in Gotham worse for the vast majority of people. Cobblepot, of all people, is still here, but there are new ones Tim knows nothing about…yet. Unsurprisingly, there hasn’t been any sign of Harley since The Joker died.

Tim doesn’t know how to feel about that. A part of him feels as though he should be relieved that he doesn’t have to deal with that part of his past; another part of him feels as if it’s something that he has to do. Either way, it certainly doesn’t matter right now. After all, he has much bigger plans that will require his attention. He has to focus, even if there is an insistent voice whispering that the only way to keep himself safe is to deal with anyone and everyone who’s ever hurt him before they can do so again. He ignores that voice for right now. After all, his current plan will ensure not only his own life but others as well.

It takes him hours to read through all of the information that he needs. There’s still more to learn about everything that’s happened since his days as Robin, but there’s no need to get bogged down by all of that right now. His plans have allotted him enough time to pace himself with all of the information he still needs to absorb. He has his first target and even knows where to find him, so now it’s just a matter of figuring how exactly he wants to enact his plan. He’s not like Jason. Jason wanted to take over the crime in Gotham as a way to control it. Tim has no need to control anything but his own life. However, he’s well aware that, in order to safeguard that life, certain people will have to be dealt with. It’s simple logic and Tim has always been logical.

While Tim was out of commission, Cobblepot managed to amass a fortune to rival Gotham’s elite. Tim has some ideas on where that money can be better spent. It’s just a matter of figuring out the quickest and most efficient way to get his hands on it. Hacking into Cobblepot’s accounts and moving the money to where Tim needs it will take time; perhaps more time than Tim really wants to devote to this portion of his plan. Not to mention a more long term solution would give him the resources he needs for his future plans. After all, Cobblepot’s fortune is only a stepping stone in the grand scheme of things and there’s no need to waste his time with someone like The Penguin when he needs to focus on his true adversaries.

Still, he lacks name recognition, given that he currently doesn’t have one. However, if Cobblepot’s ego has remained the same over the years, it shouldn’t be too hard to convince him that a business partner like Tim could be extremely useful -- especially when the man’s life is on the line. Tim’s lack of contacts won’t do him any favors in that arena, so amassing the type of intel and allies that he needs should be his first priority at the moment.

He sighs heavily as he starts changing all of the passcodes for everything. The last thing he needs right now is for old associates to barge in because he forget to change security protocols. It takes time, but Tim knows that it’s time well spent. The next thing on his to-do list is to hit the streets and start making friends. He’s already wearing all of the gear that he needs with the exception of a mask. He refuses to add anything that would leave anyone believing he’s associated with the Bats -- or anyone else, for that matter. Tim’s not stupid enough to run around without something covering his face, so he reluctantly takes one of the plain black domino masks lying around the costume vault. He refuses to wear anything that resembles someone’s symbol ever again. That said, it doesn’t stop him from restocking with some of the nondescript weapons while he’s at it.

It takes him almost an hour of just wandering the city rooftops to get reacquainted with Gotham. It’s been so long since he’s been able to stand on a rooftop and let the wind sweep through his hair that he’s almost forgotten what it feels like and how much he’s missed it. Tim breathes in deeply. Gotham has changed a lot since the last time he stood overlooking this spot. A lot of the buildings have been replaced, but the streets are pretty much the same, and, from what Tim has seen so far, the people haven’t changed much either. At least that makes some of what he intends to do easier.

It’s the same old, same old, really. Tim watches a guy threaten some old man for his wallet, waiting for the perfect opportunity to make his move. When he sees his opening, Tim leaps down into the alley and kicks the guy’s gun away. He slams the guy into a wall as he presses a dagger to his throat. Tim tosses the old man his wallet and gestures for him to leave quickly. The older gentleman doesn’t need any more incentive to run. Tim focuses his attention on the man he has pinned against the wall. “Name?”

The guy spits at Tim. “Fuck you!” It’s good to know the criminals of Gotham still have some bite to them.

Tim smiles as he presses the blade into the man’s throat and draws a line of blood. “Be that way. I’ll just call you Jimmy.”

“My name’s not Jimmy.” The guy is still being defiant, but he very carefully doesn’t move too much.

Tim uses his free hand to grab a fistful of the guy’s hair and bang his head against the wall. “Now, now, Jimmy, I’ll let you know when I want you to talk, got it?” At ‘Jimmy’s’ nod, Tim continues. “I’m new in town…well, new to you, anyway, and I could use some friends. So, you gonna be my friend, Jimmy?” He can see the guy gearing up for not-so nice reply, so he digs the blade in a little deeper. “Before you answer, keep in mind, this is Gotham. Jimmies are a dime a dozen.”

The guy glares at him as he tries to move away from the knife. “And what does this friendship involve exactly?”

Tim smirks as he leans in closer, putting just the right amount of pressure against the man’s neck with the knife. “Well, for me, I get information, and you…well, you get your life, but, like I said, Gotham is full of Jimmies, so if that’s not good enough…”

‘Jimmy’ shakes his head as much as he can without injuring himself more. “No, no, that’s good enough.”

Tim pulls away from the man as he nods. “Good, now tell me everything I need to know about the major players in this area.”

‘Jimmy’ rambles for a good long while, mostly telling Tim things that he already knows, due to his earlier research, but, then again, that was to be expected. Still, Tim does garner a fair amount of new information that he’ll be able to build upon later. He lets ‘Jimmy’ go with a promise that he’ll be back and a threat that he should have more information for him next time. Hopefully, the guy will turn out to be useful, but Tim knows that there’s only so much a guy like him can learn. He’ll need to persuade some people higher up the food chain later.

Tim makes his way to the docks next. Things haven’t changed enough for that not to be a great source of information, and this time he doesn’t even need to talk to anyone. The right bugs in the right places, and now that he has control of the cave, he also has the equipment. Hell, his work is practically done for him. True, he’ll need to eventually make some contacts here as well, but there’s no reason for him to choose a bottom feeder here. Unfortunately, this is Gotham and things never really go as planned.

Before he’s done placing the last bug, there’s the deafening sound of an explosion from one of the nearby warehouses. Tim is thrown into the bay by the force, and nearly chokes on the foul tasting water. He fights his way back to the surface, ignoring the unhelpful images his mind brings forth of the agony of returning to life. When he can finally take a deep breath of air, all Tim can see is flaming debris and smoke everywhere. He coughs and ignores the tightness in his throat as he dives under the water. He hopes the old drainage system he used to use to escape the docks is still in place, because there’s no way he’s getting through the burning docks without being seen. Tim might need to make a name for himself again, but this isn’t the right time, place, or circumstance for that.

He makes it to the old passage way, and is relieved to find it clear enough for him to get through. He’s not looking forward to the time he’s going to have to waste trying to figure out what went down at the docks. After all, chances are it’s irrelevant to his own schemes, but he can’t have Gotham’s criminal element getting in the way. He doesn’t intend to take down anyone he doesn’t have to in order to serve his greater goal, but if someone is going to end up getting in his way, it’s probably for the best to take them out now rather than later. Still, this is just one more thing that he didn’t need right now.

When Tim emerges from the old passageway, he’s not far from one of Jason’s old haunts. He’s not sure if this area of town will hold anything worthwhile for him, but Tim can always use another contact, even if it’s just another drug pusher. He wanders through the neighborhood, looking for just the right kind of idiot. He needs someone who’s desperate enough not to give Tim too hard of a time, but not desperate enough to spout useless information. He finds exactly what he’s looking for near a park, but Tim doesn’t feel like playing nice this time.

The drug pusher is trying to offer some of his product to a teenager with a black eye. The kid turns him down and keeps walking, but the drug pusher follows him. Tim doesn’t have time to watch how this plays out, especially now that the rest of his night is going to be spent looking into the docks incident when he gets back. He waits just long enough for the drug pusher to pass under the building he’s on, and then Tim drops down right between the kid and the guy. He kicks him full force into a fence. The kid turns at the sound of clinking metal and the man’s groan. “Thanks, dude, you’re a real hero.”

Tim growls as he reaches for one of his knives. “Heroes don’t exist. They’re just liars pretending to be better than the rest of us. Now get lost.” Tim makes sure the knife flashes in the street light and the kid runs for it. He breathes out a laugh. He honestly wasn’t expecting the kid to be that smart.

He turns back to the guy he’s got shoved up against the fence. “I’ve had a rough night and I’m done playing games, so here’s the deal. You’re going to play nice and tell me what I need to know or this knife is going somewhere very unpleasant, got it?”

The guy holds up his hands in the air and nods. “Sure, man, whatever you need.”

Tim’s interrogation starts with what the man knows about what’s been going on at the docks. Unsurprisingly, the man only knows a few names of some smugglers. However, he is able to name a few rivals, none that he knows who would be stupid enough to start a turf war by blowing up warehouses, but it’s a start. None of the information he gathers is something that Tim can act on without verifying it first, but it gives him somewhere to begin. The man is extremely forth telling, though Tim isn’t exactly sure if that’s a good thing. Still, he now knows who to come to when he needs to spread information instead of gaining it.

“Well, Zack, I’ll be around.” Tim turns to leave, looking for a good alleyway to disappear in.

“Sure, see ya around, Shadow Wraith.”

Tim spins around and stares with a raised eyebrow. “Shadow Wraith?”

Zack laughs as he slips his hands into his pockets. “Sure, you wear all black, slink around in the shadows, and you move like a wraith…thing…all quiet and deadly.”

Tim nods as he turns away once more. “True enough.” He can think of worst names, especially those bestowed upon him by criminals. Hell, he even knows some people who go by worst names, though most of them are dead now…some even by his own hands.

The End (for now)

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