Chapter 1: Beginnings
It all started with a portrait. Bruce had been pestered by Alfred for the past few months about getting a few done of their newly grown family. Dick had been with him for almost two years now, and Alfred was insistent that they continue the tradition of having a professional portrait done. Alfred had set it all up, hired someone to come in, and gotten his boys all dressed up. Dick was excited, Bruce wasn't looking forward to having to make the kid sit still for several hours on end.
However, the person who came to the manor was not exactly who Bruce had expected. It was a young woman, with strawberry blonde hair and bright green eyes. She was a few years younger than Bruce, probably placing her at around 23.
"Mr. Wayne, it's very nice to meet you, my name's Lily Harrison," the woman introduced.
"Please, call me Bruce," he said.
Lily smiled at him, and then smiled wider when the little ball of energy Dick was at the age of 8 came bounding down the stairs.
"And you must be the young Mister Grayson, I'm Lily," she said.
"I'm Dick, it's nice to meet you!" He said with a big smile.
Once everyone had been introduced, and the two men had taken up their poses, Lily began to paint. Occasionally, Dick would wiggle out of Bruce's grasp and run over to see what the painting looked like. He'd talk to Lily about it, telling her to paint his muscles bigger than Bruce's, or to make him three inches taller. Lily would laugh and send him back to Bruce.
It was nearing dinner time, and Lily was still only halfway done. Alfred came out from the kitchen and invited her to stay for dinner, and no one refused Alfred's cooking.
So that was how she found herself listening to Dick tell wild stories of his life in the manor, the thrills of sliding down a freshly waxed bannister, the scolding he got from climbing onto the chandelier.
Bruce quite admired the wax the young woman never seemed to show any sign of annoyance towards Dick, as if she would be more than happy to listen to him jabber on for an entire day, which is practically what he had done by that point.
Alfred watched the exchanges between the three with great interest, everything was going according to his plan.
Lily was almost finished when she decided to call it a day. She said she would return tomorrow afternoon, and left her things at the manor. When she was going to leave, it had started to pour, and she had to walk to a bus stop.
"Please, Miss Harrison, allow me to drive you," Alfred offered.
Lily just smiled and shook her head, "That's alright, Alfred. I like the rain. If I didn't, I wouldn't live in Gotham."
Bruce watched her go with a hint of a smile on his face. Dick was standing beside him, "Can she stay here forever?"
Bruce furrowed his eyebrows.
The next day, at the conclusion of the portrait painting, Dick played his hand.
"Wait! Miss Lily? Can you go on a date with Bruce?" Bruce and Lily were both about to interject, but Dick continued. "I know Bruce thinks you're pretty, and he doesn't really have any friends, and I really like you! Pretty please?!"
Lily blushed while Bruce spoke. "Dick, what-?"
"Please, Bruce? Ask her!" Dick said.
"Dick, that's enough, go upstairs, we'll have a talk about this later," Bruce said sternly.
Dick sighed and made his way to the stairs, "Will you at least ask her?!" He called.
"Go upstairs, Dick!" Bruce called back. He then turned to Lily, "I'm so sorry he can be very excitable, and he likes you."
Lily smiled, "That's perfectly alright. He's a great kid, just must get lonely in the big house is all." She cleared her throat. "Thank you, Bruce, for having me, maybe I'll see you again sometime."
Lily was about to leave the manor when Bruce suddenly realized something, "Lily, wait." She stopped and turned to him questioningly. "Would you? Like to go on a date... with me?"
Lily blinked for a moment, "Uh... okay, sure." Lily opened her phone to a new contact, "Here, put your information in my phone and I'll call you."
Bruce nodded as he typed in his number, "Thanks."
Lily smiled, "I'll talk to you later then."
"Of course, have a good day," Bruce said.
From there, things moved forward quickly. He and Lily had been dating for two months when Bruce realized that he truly, deeply, cared about her. It was actually when he had walked in on Lily and Dick interacting without him that it set in that he wanted her there with him in the manor.
"What's wrong Dickie?" Lily asked gently as she knelt down in front of the boy.
Dick shrugged, "I dunno, just school I guess."
"What's wrong at school?"
"... some of the other kids are mean to me sometimes," Dick answered hesitantly. After he realized Lily wasn't going to interrupt him or make him feel bad for being upset, he continued. "They call me a gypsy."
Bruce made a mental note to find out which kids were doing this later.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Dickie," Lily started. "I think kids who say things like that are just jealous."
"Why would they be jealous of the stuff that they're making fun of me about?" Dick asked with confusion. Bruce also didn't know where this was going.
"Because you're really special, Dickie. You're unique, and they're never going to be. You're from a rich culture with an amazing history, and that's nothing to be ashamed of," Lily said.
Dick looked at her a little shyly, "You... know about Romani history?"
Lily smiled, "I have a really good book I think you should read. I'll bring it for you the next time I'm over."
Dick smiled, "Thanks Lily."
Lily stood and ruffled his hair, "Of course Dickie, any time. And if those bullies keep giving you trouble, just tell your teacher, maybe they can help, okay?"
Dick nodded and ran off. Lily turned to see Bruce leaning in the doorway.
"You're really good with him," Bruce said.
Lily walked up to him and pecked his cheek, "You're better." He just stared at her, realizing exactly what he wanted all at once. "-ey Bruce? Earth to Bruce Wayne?"
Bruce blinked a few times, "Sorry, what?"
"I'm going to go, but we're still on for our date at that outrageously fancy restaurant in a few days, right?" Lily asked.
Bruce nodded, "Yes."
Lily smiled at him, "Okay, I'll see you then. 'Night Bruce."
"Goodnight Lily," Bruce said.
Their date the next day was going well as always. Lily was the perfect match for Bruce. She was comfortable with long silences, she read his expressions and body language very well so he didn't often need to verbally communicate his emotions which was helpful for him, she was calm when Bruce was constantly paranoid, he could go on and on.
"Lily," Bruce started. "I've been thinking about this a great deal. I know that traditionally, relationships would take this step after much longer a time, and so I will not be offended in any way should you refuse. I wanted to know if you'd like to move into the manor."
Lily smiled slightly, "That's what's had you on edge the whole night? Of course, I want to move in with you, Bruce, I love you."
Bruce had not been anticipating that response, had not been anticipating the declaration of love. Though... the deep emotions he felt for her likely were love, they just hadn't quite come into focus.
"You don't have to say it back, I know how you feel about me Bruce," Lily said with a kind smile. "I just thought I'd make my feelings clear because you don't seem to be able to figure me out quite so well."
Bruce smiled at her, and then the pit in his stomach formed. He was going to have to tell her. Because even if she didn't notice the marks on his body, or him coming and going from the cave, she was going to notice that most nights, him and Dick would be gone for several hours at a time, and he was going to have to explain that to her.
He wasn't certain how she'd react. She was right, he did have a hard time reading her. She seemed like the type of person to dislike violence, but he didn't know for certain, and that uncertainty nagged at him.
They left the restaurant, and Bruce invited her to stay the night at the manor. Batman could have a single night off, after all, and crime had been quiet for the past few days. Goodness knows that both he and Dick could use the sleep.
Lily had just agreed when she turned to look at something in the sky, Bruce turned and saw the Bat-signal was lit up.
Lily turned to him and kissed him before stepping back as her cab pulled up, "Another time then. I'll call you tomorrow."
Bruce's eyes widened and Lily laughed at him a little before she got in the cab and it drove away.
So... she already knew?
It was on his mind all night, and when he finally got back to the Bat-cave, he decided to tell Dick and Alfred.
"Really?!" Dick's eyes were about to pop out of his head, "So I don't have to lie to her about it anymore?"
"That's right Dick," Bruce said.
"When did you tell her, Master Bruce?" Alfred asked. He surprised Bruce hadn't told him that he was going to tell her before he had done it.
"I didn't. Jim put on the Bat-signal, and she said we'd have to postpone the rest of our date," Bruce said. "Also, I have... invited her to move into the manor, and she agreed."
Alfred smiled and placed a firm hand on Bruce's shoulder, "I am very happy for you, Master Bruce."
"Lily's moving here?" Dick asked with a smile.
"Yes, she is."
"Awesome! I love Lily!"
"Well, I believe Miss Harrison is quite fond of you as well, Master Dick," Alfred said.
The next day, Lily came to the manor and she and Bruce had A Conversation.
"How did you know?"
"I draw you so much I would recognize your body anywhere," Lily told him. "The cape threw me off for a while, but I saw a photo of you a while back that was oddly well lit, and I figured it out."
"How long have you known?"
"About a month."
Bruce blinked, "Why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I didn't want you to have to make a hard choice, Bruce. What you're doing for this city is important, and if you had to choose between it and me, I'd want you to choose it. I figured you would tell me when you were comfortable, and asking me to move in was you telling me that you trust me. I also didn't want you to have to lie and make up an excuse."
Bruce stared at her, "So you're going to be okay with me not coming home until the early morning?"
"And you're okay with knowing that I'm going to have to cancel things or reschedule or leave in a moment's notice quite often?"
"Yes, Bruce, I know, I've thought about it. I'm okay with it," Lily interrupted.
Bruce nodded, "Well then... want to see the Bat-cave?"
Lily had been living in the manor for five months when Bruce proposed. She accepted, of course. Alfred was delighted, Dick almost fainted.
A couple of nights after that, Lily and Bruce were sound asleep after Bruce and Dick had come back from a particularly gruelling evening of patrol. There was a knock on the door before it opened and the young boy came into the room. Oddly enough, Lily woke first.
"Dickie? Are you alright?" She asked quietly. She could barely make out the boy shaking his head. "Did you have a nightmare?" He nodded. "Climb in kiddo."
He hesitated for a moment, but then he climbed into the bed with Bruce and Lily. It was then that Bruce cracked open his eyes. When he saw Dick, he pulled the covers over the boy and laid an arm over him. Lily laid on her side facing the boy.
"We got you, chum, go to sleep," Bruce said.
Dick dutifully shut his eyes and fell asleep to the fuzzy feeling of Lily running her hand through his hair.
The next morning, Alfred went to wake up Dick first, as his room was closer to the staircase. He was puzzled to find it empty. He then went to Bruce and Lily's room to see if they too had woken and somehow avoided his Butler-sense for when people were up and about in the house. What he found was far more heartwarming.
He can neither confirm nor deny that he has a photo that he keeps tucked in a drawer in his bedside table that lies alongside other such photos.
Lily and Bruce got married in a small, private ceremony. Alfred walked Lily down the isle, Dick was Bruce's best man, and Barbara Gordon, one of Dick's best friends and also the daughter of Bruce's good friend Commissioner Gordon, was Lily's bridesmaid.
Their honeymoon was a family vacation to Santa Prisca, needless to say that it was a good thing Bruce had brought the suit with him.
Everything seemed to fall into place then. They were a real, complete, traditional (sort of), family. With a father, a mother, a son and a grandfather/butler, you know, the usual. What could go wrong?
The first few months after Lily and Bruce got married, Lily and Dick did not exactly have a conventional mother-son relationship. While Dick might adore her, and while she would do anything for the boy, Dick called Bruce dad, and he called Lily, Lily.
So when Gotham Academy, Dick's school, couldn't get in contact with Bruce, they called Lily. She had been curled up on the couch of the library when her phone rang. It caused her to jump slightly, not many people had her number, and she rarely got phone calls.
"Hello?" She answered.
"Hi, this is the principal of Gotham Academy, is this Mrs. Wayne?" An older woman's voice answered.
Lily smiled at that, she was still getting used to being Mrs. Wayne. "Yes, this is her."
"Well, your son, Richard has gotten into a fight at school. I'm going to have to get you to come in for a meeting with the other parents and pick him up."
"A fight? Is Dick okay?" Lily asked immediately.
"He is fine."
"I'll be there right away," Lily said.
She raced to the school and quickly walked into the office. Dick was the only child waiting outside, as Lily was the last parent to arrive.
"Dickie?" Lily asked as she crouched in front of him. "What happened?" A quick visual scan of the boy didn't bring up anything useful.
"There were some boys picking on one of the younger kids, and I told them to stop, but then they started coming towards me..." Dick trailed off. "I didn't really mean to hurt them. It was just a reflex. I'm really sorry."
Lily hugged him, "Oh kiddo. It's okay. Let's just go inside and see what they have to say. But no matter what happens, I want you to know I'm not upset with you, alright?"
Dick nodded and they went into the principal's office. There were three other boys in there, their uniforms were all dirty, and one of them was nursing a bruise.
"Mrs. Wayne, thank you for joining us. Will Mr. Wayne be coming?"
"No, he's out of town on business," Lily replied. Of course, this meant that he was with the Justice League. Dick looked at her with concern, since he usually had time to tell them he was going before he left, so it must be an emergency.
Looking around at the other parents, it would seem they were the sorts to have far too much time on their hands, as both the mothers and fathers of the three boys were present.
"Alright then, this shouldn't be long," the Principal started. "It seems quite clear that Mr. Grayson attacked these other boys. Do you deny that, Richard?"
"He's feral!" One of the mothers cried. "He hurt my poor boy!"
"Only because they provoked him," Lily defended.
"My boy would never! What are you implying?"
"I'm not implying anything. I'm stating a fact. This was self-defence," Lily said.
"They were making fun of Stanley and I told them to stop but they tried to attack me!" Dick exclaimed.
The principal sighed, "And do you have any evidence, Mr. Grayson, Mrs. Wayne?"
"Any evidence? As I recall, the burden of proof falls on the accuser," Lily pointed out. "And you can't honestly tell me that every inch of this school isn't constantly under surveillance."
"Well, Mrs. Wayne, this isn't a courtroom, I decide what happens here. That being said, I'll pull up the footage," the Principal said.
While the principal was working on that, one of the father's sneered at Lily and Dick.
"I honestly don't know why that's necessary. It's our children's words against his. Our kids are good kids, and we all know that orphans can be troubled, especially gypsies-" He didn't finish before Lily was out of her seat.
"I'm glad you think insulting the heritage of a child and mocking his parent's murder is an acceptable thing to do," Lily said. "So I suppose you won't find it unacceptable when I ensure that your company, Maguire Industries, isn't it? Never signs another contract with Wayne Enterprises again."
The man's face went white for a moment before becoming enraged, "You have no right, you gold-digging whore!" He took a menacing step toward her, but Lily stood her ground.
The room froze when Dick cried, "Leave my mom alone!" And lept in front of her. She quickly had to hold him back from jumping at the man.
"Don't you see?! He's an animal!" The father cried.
"Dickie, calm down, it's okay," Lily said softly in Dick's ear to try and get him to calm down.
"It's not okay! He doesn't get to be mean to you!" Dick protested.
"Dick, sit down, it's okay," Lily said. Dick stopped struggling against her grip and allowed her to push him back into his seat.
"Alright! That's enough!" The principal shouted. "I've just reviewed the footage, and Mr. Grayson was telling the truth. I'll need a moment to think of what I want to do, take yourselves and your children home. I'll be in contact."
Lily rushed Dick out of there quickly, before the other parents had time to catch up to them and give them further pieces of their minds.
They sat in the fancy car for a moment in silence before Lily spoke, "Dickie... do you want to talk about what happened?"
Dick looked at her, and she could tell he was debating pulling a Bruce on her and not verbally communicating. But he wasn't Bruce.
"I just... I'm sorry, I should have tried to control my emotions better. Dad always tells me that." Dick looked downcast.
"Dickie, this may or may not come as a shock to you to hear, but Bruce isn't exactly the model for dealing with emotions healthily," Lily said. "It's okay that you were angry, so was I. But... there are times when words can get you further than fists."
Dick nodded, "I'm sorry."
"No, no, Dickie, this wasn't your fault, not at all. There's nothing to be sorry about, okay?"
"Okay... do you think Bruce will be mad?"
Lily gently ruffled his hair, "No, I don't think so. If he is, he'll have to go through me first."
Dick was quite pleased with that answer, and they drove in silence to the manor.
"Dickie?" Lily asked before they got out of the car. "I just thought... I'd let you know that you can call me whatever you'd like, okay?"
Dick nodded and then turned to her with a shy smile, "Is it... is it okay if I call you mom sometimes?"
"Of course, Dick, and if you don't want to, that's fine too, okay?" Lily said.
Dick hugged her awkwardly from the passenger seat and then ran out of the car to expend more of his seemingly endless energy.
When Bruce came back later that night, Dick was already passed out in his room, and Lily was reading in their room.
"Anything happen while I was gone? I saw the school called."
"Dick got into a fight at school, but it wasn't his fault. I handled it," Lily replied softly. Then she smiled, "He called me mom."
Bruce smiled as he took off the dress-clothes he was wearing. "I thought he would. Dick loves you."
Lily smiled, "He loves you too, you know. It's just that sometimes Batman confuses him."
Bruce nodded, "And I can live with that."
Bruce crawled into bed and Lily put her book down and turned off the light.
Dick's teenage years were... tumultuous. He had a lot of anger in him, and it just kept getting worse. Batman and Robin's fights started bleeding over more into Bruce and Dick's fights, and Lily found herself more and more pressed to pick sides by the two of them.
And then, it finally happened, the day that Lily was terrified of.
"I'm leaving!" Dick shouted at Bruce, who was still wearing the Batman suit but without the cowl.
"And where will you go?!" Bruce shouted back. "This is ridiculous Dick!"
"NO! It's not! I'm not a little kid anymore Bruce! I don't need you over my shoulder constantly critiquing and judging. I'm not your side-kick anymore, I'm your partner, your Equal!" Dick shouted back. Then he left the cave and ran into Lily.
"Dickie, are you okay?" She asked gently.
He couldn't bring herself to yell at her. "Sorry mom, I gotta go."
"What? Where?" Lily asked.
"I don't know, I just... I can't stay here with him anymore."
Lily watched him scurry into his room to pack his bags, she waited a moment and then knocked on the door. "Dick?"
Dick opened the door so that Lily could come in, "Mom... I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Dickie. Just... let me help you pack, okay?"
Dick nodded. They packed up his clothes and Lily snuck a few family photos and some other things that she hoped would remind him of them into his bags as well.
Lily then walked Dick to the door, and she cried as he left.
"Call me when you get wherever you're going," Lily reminded him.
"I will I promise," Dick said. He hugged Lily tightly, "I love you, mom."
"I love you too Dickie," Lily said. Then they parted and Lily watched Dickie drive away.
Bruce came upstairs as Lily was getting ready for bed.
"Lily, I-" He stopped as he realized she was completely ignoring him. "I'm sorry, I just wanted to keep him safe."
A bit of the anger Lily had fell off her shoulders, "I know, Bruce. You just had a strange way of showing it."
Lily's phone ringing in the morning woke her up. Bruce was already gone.
"Hello?" She answered.
"Hey mom," Dick spoke.
"Where are you, are you okay?"
"I'm in Bludhaven, and I'm fine."
Lily breathed out a sigh of relief. "And where are you staying, somewhere safe?"
"Yeah, I'm okay mom. I gotta go, but I'll call you later, okay?"
"Okay Dickie, be safe."
Dick hung up and he sat on his bed. He was holding a picture that he's certain Lily packed for him. It was of him and Bruce and Lily when he was 13 years old. Bruce was actually smiling, and so was Dick. Lily had her arms wrapped around him and her chin was resting on his head.
For the first time since running away from his family, Dick cried.
It was only a few weeks after Dick had left when Bruce brought Jason home.
He was a scrawny boy, with mischevious eyes, but everyone took quite a liking to him.
He had been staying with them for the past week while Bruce decided what exactly he was going to do.
"I want him to stay here, but I just don't know if... if bringing another kid out there with you is a good idea," Lily said.
Bruce shrugged, "Dick handled it fine."
"Being Robin ruined his relationship with you and you know it," Lily pointed out. "Jason needs a family, he doesn't need a mentor or a task-master." Bruce was silent at that. "What happened between the two of you... it wasn't anyone's fault. You did what you had to to make sure he was going to be safe. The question is, are you willing to risk the same thing with Jason?"
Bruce thought about it for a moment, "He already has it in him. The fight. Dick came with the skills, Jason... is raw. I'll train him, then I'll decide."
Lily nodded, "Okay. I'm glad he's staying. I like him."
"Me too," Bruce said with a smile. He pressed a light kiss to Lily's forehead and they went to sleep.
It took a while for Jason to warm up to Lily. He was so excited to train with Bruce, that a lot of other things fell off the radar for him.
But it was when Jason was exploring the manor further that they found their own harmony.
Lily was sitting on the best couch in the library, reading when Jason wandered in. He hadn't noticed her, so she watched him with a smile as he looked around with awe written on his face.
"Do you like to read, Jason?" Lily then asked. She could tell she startled him for a moment.
Jason looked at her and nodded, "Yeah, but... I mean I never got many chances."
Lily put down her book and stood, "Here, let's find something good then."
Eventually, Jason settled on Harry Potter. He sat on the other side of the couch and they both read their books in silence, occasionally punctuated by Jason asking her about how to say a word, or what something means.
The next week, Jason moved a little closer to her, and the next he got a little closer, and then eventually, he would rest his head in her lap, and she would absentmindedly play with his hair.
One day, Jason came to her with a peculiar request.
"Can you read this to me?" He held out Pride and Prejudice. "It's just... I'm not very good with older English."
Lily smiled, "Of course, Jay. And then you can read me Emma after, how about that?"
Jason smiled a little, "Okay."
Over the next few weeks, Lily discovered Jason loves cheesy romance. And when the time came for Jason to read her Emma, she also discovered his amazing laugh.
That was the first thing the two of them had something that was just theirs. Ever since then, Jason would always curl up on the couch beside Lily and they would read something together. Sometimes Jason read, sometimes Lily read. It was peaceful, it was a high contrast to the violent, intense training Jason went through with Bruce.
The next thing Lily and Jason had together was school. When Jason started school at Gotham Academy, Lily helped him with his homework, she came in and spoke to his teachers when he got into fights with the other kids, which happened pretty often. They would stay up late doing science projects in the kitchen, they would think up ideas for book reports, for social studies papers. She would help him with math, well, she would try, and then they'd both have to go bother Bruce in his office.
So when Jason came home with a family tree assignment, he wasn't really sure what to do.
"Hey... Lily?" Jason asked.
"Hey kiddo, what's going on?" Lily answered, looking up from her sketchbook.
"Well... uh, we have to do this family tree project, and... I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about your family."
Lily smiled, "Of course, come, sit."
Jason sat next to her and she started telling him about her family.
"My father was a firefighter, and my mother was a nurse. I had five older brothers, one of them was a firefighter too, and the others... well I'm not sure what they do."
"Why don't you ever talk about them?" Jason asked.
"Well, my father died when I was very little, in a fire, and my mother died a few years before I met Bruce. I was never really close with my family. I don't think I've spoken to any of my brothers in... well about ten years, I'd say," Lily said.
Jason wrote down their names, and then he hesitantly asked about Bruce's family.
"Oh kiddo, does Alfred have some stories for you," Lily said with a grin.
Bruce came home to find Alfred, Lily and Jason sitting around the kitchen, laughing about silly things Bruce had done as a child.
The first time Jason called Lily mom, he wasn't exactly Jason.
You see, the Riddler had captured Lily in an attempt to prove that Bruce Wayne wasn't very smart.
This was far from the first time Lily had been kidnapped because of her connection to Bruce, so she knew what to do. Cooperate, give them whatever they want, etc.
Batman and Robin had gone through all of Eddie's complex Riddles, and then there was just one left... and they were stumped.
"Robin, go around the back. I'm going to answer, and if I'm wrong, I need you to swing in and grab Lily before the charges go off."
Robin nodded and swung into the night.
As it turned out, Batman's guess was wrong, and Jason swung in and grabbed her. But they were a second too late leaving, and the blast threw them both out of the building.
Jason's ears were ringing and he groaned as he rolled onto his side. But then he shot up. "Mom!" Was the strangled shout that escaped his lips. She was a few meters away from him, laying on her side. He scrambled to her side just as she was trying to get up. "Mom, mom are you okay?" He was crying.
"I'm okay, are you okay?"
Jason nodded, "I'm so sorry, I should have been faster, I'm sorry mom."
"No, Jay, you did great, you got me."
Robin hugged her tightly, and she hugged him back, her hand rubbing circles over his shoulders.
"Robin! Mrs. Wayne!" They heard Batman shouting.
"Over here, Batman!" Jason called.
Batman came running over and breathed a sigh of relief as he saw his son and wife together, seemingly unharmed.
"Are either of you hurt?" He asked. They both shook their heads and Batman nodded. "Good. Mrs. Wayne, wait for the police here. Your husband and your son are very worried about you, I'm sure they'll be here right away."
Lily smiled, "Well I'll be very glad to see them, thank you, Batman and Robin."
They left, the police came, and then Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd came.
Jason launched himself at her.
"Hey, Jay," Lily said as she hugged him tightly.
"Mom, I was scared, I'm so sorry," Jason said softly to her.
"Oh, Jay, there's nothing to be sorry for, okay?"
He nodded his head and buried his face in her shoulder.
"Love you, mom."
"I love you too, Jay."
Bruce was watching the two with a small smile, when Jim Gordon came up to him.
"That's a nice family you got there, Mr. Wayne," Jim said.
Bruce smiled to himself, "Yes, they are."
Lily and Jason finished hugging and came up to Bruce.
"Thank you, Commissioner Gordon," Lily said.
"Eh, it was all Batman."
Bruce's smile twitched slightly further upwards.
"Well, let's go home then," Lily said.
Lily tried to go out to Bludhaven to visit Dick at least once a week. Sometimes she'd bring Jason with her, and today was one of those times.
"Mom, Little Wing, come on in," Dick greeted with a smile. At first, Dick hadn't been very kind to Jason, and he regretted that now. "I tried to cook something, but it was terrible, so then I just ordered pizza."
Lily laughed and hugged Dick, "Well pizza is more than fine."
They ended up playing Trivial pursuit, and both her boys teamed up against her. They won just by a little bit, but Jason never let her live it down.
Jason passed out on Dick's couch later in the night.
"He's a good kid, I shouldn't have been so hard on him in the beginning," Dick told Lily.
"You're a good big brother, Dickie," Lily said proudly.
"Do you and Jason want to stay the night, it's a little late," Dick offered.
"No, that's okay, Jason has school tomorrow."
"You're a really good mom, you know that too?" Dick asked. "Really, I mean it."
Lily hugged him again, "Thanks, Dickie. I'll come by again next week alright?"
Five months later, Bruce and Jason had an explosive argument.
"He doesn't deserve to be alive, Bruce! He's killed thousands of people! You just think that one day Arkham is magically going to fix him and he'll become an upstanding citizen?!" Jason shouted.
"It's not about what people deserve, Jason! It's about what's right! If we start killing criminals, then where do we draw the line?! Are we going to start killing people over stealing a watch?!"
"I don't want to kill everyone! Just the Joker, he deserves it!"
"I'm not having this argument again! There are lines we don't cross! That's it!"
"Oh! So we're talking about crossing lines?! I read your files on me! You knew who my real mother is and you never said anything?!" Jason shouted back.
"I-" Bruce stopped, he didn't really know what to say. "Jason, I was waiting for a good time."
"A good time?! You were never going to tell me!"
"Boys?! What's going on?" Lily then asked. She had been upstairs asleep, but she had heard all the shouting.
Bruce and Jason stared at each other, both daring the other to tell her what they had been talking about.
"Nothing," Jason spat. "I'm going to sleep."
He stomped upstairs, and Bruce was left there, furious.
"Bruce. What happened?"
"He nearly killed someone tonight. He's out of control."
Lily stared at him and sighed, "Just... go to sleep Bruce. Arguing when everyone is sleep deprived is a prime time for people to say things they don't mean."
Bruce slinked upstairs and Lily knocked on Jason's door.
"Jay... are you alright?" Lily asked softly.
Jason opened the door, his eyes were red. "Go away, you're not my mom," he snapped. Then he slammed the door in her face.
Lily stood there with shock on her face. "Jay... I love you. Have a good sleep."
Then she walked back to her room and went to sleep. When she woke up in the morning, Jason was gone.
Lily went to wake him up for school. When she knocked and there wasn't any answer, she frowned. Usually, Jason was always up for going to school. He liked it, he was a huge nerd at heart.
"Jay?" She called. "I'm coming in."
She opened the door and saw that the room was empty. She frowned, looking around to make sure he wasn't just hiding from her. Then she went downstairs, maybe he had gotten up early.
"Alfred? Has Jason been down already?" Lily asked.
"No, Miss Lily, he hasn't. I thought he was simply sleeping late," Alfred said.
A pit started to grow in Lily's stomach. She went to the secret entrance to the cave to see if he was down there.
"Jay? Are you down here?" She called to the expansive space.
There was no response. She looked around, and then she noticed something, his Robin suit, it was missing.
She sprinted upstairs to where Bruce had come down.
"Bruce, Jason's gone. His suit is missing!" Lily said frantically.
Bruce froze and then ran down to the cave. "Jason?!" He shouted. Lily and Alfred followed closely behind him. He went to the computer to check the security feed, and sure enough, about seven hours ago, just after everyone had gone to sleep, Jason had snuck down there, put on the Robin costume and left.
Lily was now freaking out, "Bruce, you have to find him. He wasn't okay last night. He- oh God what if he's hurt?"
Bruce simply grunted and went to put on the Batsuit. Alfred was trying to console Lily.
"I'm sure Master Jason is alright. He can certainly handle himself," Alfred said.
"Oh God Alfred, he's just a kid," Lily said.
"His tracker says he's in Ethiopia," Bruce said.
Lily froze, this wasn't good.
"Lily, I'm going to get him. I'll bring him back. I promise."
Lily nodded, frozen. She watched numbly as Bruce flew off in the Batplane.
"Miss Lily, please, come upstairs, I'll get you some tea and breakfast," Alfred said.
"No thanks, Alfred. I just... I need to stay here," Lily said.
Alfred nodded and walked back upstairs.
Lily waited in the cave for 12 hours. She didn't eat, she didn't sleep. She paced, she cried, she tapped her fingers.
Then the hangar doors opened and the Batplane landed in the cave. Lily waited for Bruce to come off, possible hauling an absolutely furious Jason. Or maybe he would run up to her and hug her tight like he used to do when he was younger. Either way, she didn't care, she just wanted to see that he was okay.
Bruce stepped out, carrying him. Lily frowned at first, he was hurt, badly. But then she realized... it was so much worse than that. Both hands covered her mouth and she fell to her knees.
Alfred who was bringing some tea down to try and get Lily to drink something dropped the tray.
"No, Jay, no," Lily chanted to herself between sobs. The moment Bruce set down Jason's body on the table, he removed his cowl and broke down.
The funeral was difficult for everyone. Dick drove in, and he held Lily's shaking figure up for most of the ceremony.
"I'm so sorry, mom," Dick whispered into her hair as he held her close to him. Everyone was... freaked out by Lily's current state. Bruce was the only person among them to have ever seen her cry like this before, and that was after Dick left. Even then, it was only for an hour and had stopped when Bruce reminded her that she had Dick's number.
No one knew what to do, not with Lily, not with themselves.
No matter what Dick said, no matter what Bruce said, or what Alfred did, Lily just slipped further away from them.
She had a new routine. She woke up early in the morning. She drove to the graveyard and sat in front of Jason's grave and she cried. Every day.
After the first month, she stopped crying. After the second month, she starting bringing Jason's favourite books. She would read to his grave. Sometimes, when she read parts she remembered Jason laughing at, it started the cycle over again.
After four months had passed, she started eating better again. Started looking less like a ghost. There was only one day that she didn't go to Jason's grave, and that was about five or six months after Jason had died. There was a bad storm, some trees had fallen in the graveyard, and it was closed. Coincidentally, that was the day Jason clawed out of the ground.
Tim came to them, looking to be Robin. That was the difference between Tim and Dick and... Jason. Tim didn't come looking for a family. He did find one though.
Lily first met Tim when he was upstairs in the house after training with Bruce.
"Oh, hi, Mrs. Wayne," Tim had said awkwardly.
She had smiled softly at him, even though she and Bruce had been fighting about him taking another kid out there with him.
"Hi Tim, how are you doing?"
"Well, Bruce runs a pretty tight ship, but I can handle it," he said proudly.
Her eyes said she was in pain, but she smiled at him anyway. "That's good, Tim. Be careful."
Then she had gone to Jason's grave, cried a little, read to him a little.
In the following months, Lily realized that Tim was terrible at taking care of himself. He rarely slept, didn't eat enough, and had the coffee addiction of a 20-year-old college student, not a 13-year-old boy.
She found Tim slumped over his desk in the room he spent most of his nights in. His parent's lived nearby, but they were rarely home, so he mostly stayed with them.
"Tim, sweetie, you've got to get to bed," Lily said softly to him.
"Hmm? No, no... I gotta... finish this..." He was almost asleep again by the time he finished his attempted explanation.
Luckily for Lily, the boy was quite slight, and she half carried, half dragged him to his bed and pulled some blankets over him.
"Have a good sleep Tim."
When he became Robin, after a year of hard training, it became even worse.
"Tim, sweetie?" Lily asked one day.
"What's up?" Tim asked.
"When's the last time you've slept?"
"Uhh..." Tim had to think about it, which wasn't a great sign.
"If you have to think about it, that means it wasn't last night," Lily said, echoing his thoughts. "You need to sleep more."
"Yeah, but I also need to finish this report, and then I have some homework, and then I was thinking about updating a few of the security measures in the cave, and-"
"Tim?" Lily asked with concern. "You do know that you don't have to do all of this? You know you can say no when Bruce asks if you can do things for him? He's not going to kick you out."
"I... yeah of course I know," Tim said uncertainly.
"I'm going out, I'll be gone for a few hours. If you aren't taking a nap by the time I get back, I'm going to drug your coffee, okay?" Lily threatened with a caring smile. "You're part of the family Tim, I'm not letting you run yourself into the ground. If Batman has a problem with it, he can take it up with me and Alfred, okay?"
Tim nodded and mumbled, "Okay..."
"Okay, I'll be back in a few."
Of course, he knew where she was going, to visit Jason's grave, like she did every morning. Begrudgingly, he went to take a nap.
She woke him up when she got back, and then she helped him with his homework. He hadn't been expecting that, but he was grateful for it.
That night, when he got back from patrol with Batman, he headed upstairs, dead on his feet, and fell asleep as soon as he hit the bed.
He woke up with a scream caught in his throat and a presence beside him. Lily was sitting on the side of his bed and had a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"It's okay Tim, it was just a bad dream," Lily said quietly.
He looked up at her, still afraid, "Thanks."
Lily smiled at him and brushed his shaggy hair out of his face, "No one goes through nightmares alone in this house."
It was a surprisingly reassuring statement. The implication was that someone would always be there, and right now, it was Lily.
"Can you... stay with me for a little bit?" Tim asked hesitantly.
"Of course Tim, I'm not going anywhere." Lily adjusted herself on the bed so that her back was against the headboard and her legs were on the bed.
Tim's head rested against her thigh, and her hand rested on his shoulder. Eventually, they both drifted off to sleep.
Alfred found the two of them like that the next morning and made a note to remind Master Bruce that everyone in the house needed to sleep more often.
Dick started coming to town more often after Jason had died, mostly to hang out with Lily. And at first, he was mad at Bruce for seemingly replacing Jason with Tim. But then he got to know the kid better and the anger dissipated.
He tried to make it over for dinner at least once or twice a week. And unless his parents were in town, Tim was always there too.
Tim was easily the smartest person Dick knew, maybe besides Barbara. He rivalled Bruce's intelligence, but he was also an idiot. He constantly feared that Bruce and Lily were going to reject him if he wasn't perfect, and Dick was determined to get him to snap out of it.
"Timmers, come on, you really think Bruce is going to stop letting you be Robin if you relax a bit? You're the most stressed-out person I know and you're 14!" Dick exclaimed.
"Why wouldn't they though? Bruce only needs me to be Robin, and I can tell, sometimes, when I say or do something that Jason used to do, it makes Lily upset."
Dick shook his head, "No, Tim. Lily loves you, I can tell. Even if you didn't want her to, she's taken you in as hers. And she's fiercely protective of her kids, Timmy."
Tim shrugged, "I dunno, Dick."
Jack and Janet had the gall to suggest that Lily and Bruce weren't good influences on Tim. If they thought that the Waynes were just going to let Tim go, they were wrong. Or 'The Time Tim Realized Dick Is Always Right'.
"We don't want him staying with the two of you anymore," Janet Drake said.
Lily was livid, Bruce was trying to placate the two of them, but Lily had had enough.
"No. He's not going with you," Lily had stated.
"Excuse me?! He's our son!" Jack Drake had shouted.
"No, he's not! You leave him alone twice as much as you're with him, and even when you're with him, you don't know him. You've been negligent parents, you're selfish and you aren't good for him." Tim was looking up at Lily in shock, Dick was right, she was protective. "You haven't even bothered to ask what he wants to do!"
Jack Drake then looked at Tim, "Son, what do you want to do?"
Tim looked between his real mother and father, the ones who constantly abandoned him and made him feel like they didn't love him, and Lily and Bruce, who have given him everything he thought he would never have. People who cared about him.
"I..." It was an impossible choice, how could he just leave his real parents like this... but all he really wanted was for Lily to hug him. "I want to stay with you," he said to Lily. There were tears in his eyes.
Lily quickly hugged him and took his hand, "You're sure?" Tim nodded. "Okay, Tim, let's go."
Bruce stood still for a moment, "Lily, you can't just take him, that's kidnapping."
Lily felt Tim grip her hand, "Then Jim Gordon can arrest me. Tim doesn't want to stay with them." Lily and Tim got into the car, and Tim broke down.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly. He was crying.
Lily leaned over and hugged him tightly, "Oh Timmy, it's okay. We love you, and we'd still love you if you'd wanted to stay with your parents. But I just... I don't like the way they treat you. You deserve better."
Tim sniffled into her shoulder as Bruce got into the car.
"Do I have to go back?" Tim asked.
Bruce took one of his hands, "No, Tim. It'll be okay. Your parents agreed to let you stay with us until we can get everything sorted out, alright?" It was times like these when Bruce was violently reminded of how young Tim was. 14, he was just a kid. "We love you, Tim."
Tim nodded, "I love you guys too."
Janet and Jack Drake left Gotham once again not long after. One night, Jack called the manor and wanted to speak to Tim.
Lily listened to what Tim was saying discretely from another room. If Jack Drake said something that upset him, she was ready to intervene.
"Hey," Tim said awkwardly. There was a pause as Jack was speaking. "I know. You... you did your best. I don't blame you for anything." Lily was surprised, it seemed that Jack was... apologizing. "Really? Thank you. That... means a lot to me." A pause, "Goodbye, Jack."
Tim hung up and Lily walked over, "Everything okay Timmy?"
Tim nodded, "He just... he said I can stay here for however long I want."
Lily rubbed his shoulders, "I'm sorry that they can't see what an amazing young man you are."
"Thanks, mom," Tim said. The words slipped through his lips without him thinking. He then looked up at Lily to see what her reaction to that was.
"You can call me whatever you want Timmy, I'll always consider you my son. And I'll always love you."
Tim was 15 when he formed the Teen Titans. They became the best of friends, and Tim trusted them enough to tell them his secret identity.
So naturally, that was how Lily found four teenagers having a sleepover in her house.
"Timmy? Are you going to introduce me to your friends?" Lily said as she leaned on the doorway of the main living room.
"Oh, guys, this is my mom, Lily," Tim said. "Mom, this is Donna, Garth, and Conner."
Lily smiled at all of them, "Well it's very nice to meet all of you. If you need anything just let me know." Then she left the kids to themselves.
"Dude... I can't believe she's married to Batman," Garth said.
"Why not?" Conner asked.
"Because she's so nice," Garth said.
"She can be scary when she wants to, trust me," Tim said.
"Yeah, I was pretty sure she was going to kill me when I mentioned that sometimes I take Tim flying in the upper atmosphere," Conner said.
Tim laughed, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that."
Lily came home after a very cryptic text from Tim.
"Tim, what's going on?" Lily asked.
"Uh... I think it'd be easier if I just showed you," Tim said. He lead her down to the cave where Bruce was standing there, staring a boy... who looked just like him.
"Bruce?" Lily asked.
Bruce turned to look at Lily and she could tell he was very, very confused.
"Lily, Tim, this is Damian, he's... my son."
Damian and Lily's relationship started off very rough. Damian was full of self-righteousness and had a massive superiority complex. She didn't like how he talked to Tim. But yet... there was clearly a softer side to the boy.
One day she was sketching in the library when Damian came up to her and looked over her shoulder.
"That is... very impressive. I thought father might've been lying when he said you were a talented artist," Damian said.
Lily turned to face him. "Bruce told me you like drawing. Want to come with me to get more supplies?
Damian considered this for a moment, "Tt. Fine, I will accompany you."
They went through all the aisles, discussing the items they saw. Eventually, they picked out some materials that suited Damian's purpose.
The woman at the checkout was insufferably polite for Damian's tastes.
"Oh, Mrs. Wayne, I see you've gotten another boy," she said.
"Yes, this is Damian," Lily said with a smile.
"Well, he's adorable," the woman said.
Lily had to keep from laughing, "Tt. I am no such thing!"
The woman laughed, "Have a nice day you two."
"Thanks, you too," Lily said.
They went back to the car, but instead of going back home, Lily drove to a flower shop, she picked up a bouquet of pink carnations and two bouquets of pink roses. And then she started driving again, but still not to their home.
"Where are we going?" Damian asked.
Lily didn't answer, but it was obvious enough when they pulled up to a graveyard.
Damian silently followed her to three graves. Thomas Wayne, Martha Wayne and Jason Todd's graves to be specific. Lily gave the roses to Thomas and Martha, and she placed the carnations in front of Jason's gravestone. She placed a hand on it and smiled sadly.
"I love you, Jay," she whispered.
Damian watched with a deep feeling of confusion.
"Why do you still love him? He's been dead for years."
Lily didn't seem mad, or upset at all by his question. "Because he's my son, and I'll always love him, whether he's with me, or not."
Damian blinked as he realized the very obvious differences between Lily and his mother Talia.
"My mother once told me that if I were to disappoint her and my grandfather that she would simply replace me with a clone," Damian said.
Lily stopped cold in her tracks, "I'm- I'm so sorry you had to hear that from someone you care about. That must've felt terrible."
Damian looked at her with confusion, "Tt. Why do you care?"
"Because we're family, Damian. I know that that means a lot to you, and it means a lot to me too."
"Grayson, I am not an idiot, unlike Drake."
They were having a family dinner at the manor, Dick was in town from Bludhaven, and Tim had taken a break from his studies and his work with the Teen Titans.
"Damian, don't be mean to Tim," Lily chided.
Bruce, Tim and Dick were all shocked when Damian listened to her.
"Uh, thanks Damian," Tim said with shock.
"So, how was school?" Lily asked Damian.
"It was, as I expected, completely useless. The other students are witless and the teachers hardly seem qualified..." Damian trailed off as he saw the expression on Bruce's face. "However I will do my best to keep up appearances regardless."
"Thank you," Bruce said.
Damian spent a lot of time drawing and painting with Lily. He also took his more... emotional issues to her.
"I think I disappointed father last night," Damian said quietly to her one morning.
Lily frowned slightly, "Damian, Bruce loves you very much, I know he doesn't say it often, but he could never be disappointed in you."
Damian shook his head, "I went too far. I nearly killed someone. He was... I've never seen him look at me like that."
"Come here, Damian," Lily said. She was sitting in front of the fireplace. Damian sat next to her, "He'd never tell you this, I'm sure, but the last time Bruce spoke to Jason was a fight about whether or not killing was okay. It just makes him worry for you, about you, because you remind him of Jason."
Damian was silent for a moment, "Oh." Was all he said. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay Damian, really."
Damian sat there with her in silence for a moment, "Why are you so nice to me?"
Lily looked at him with confusion. "What? Why wouldn't I be?"
"Because I'm your husband's son with another woman?"
"What happened between Bruce and Talia was... complicated. Bruce said he doesn't recall what happened because he'd been drugged, and I've never doubted that. And even if he had cheated on me, that isn't on you, that's on him. Just like how I would never hold you accountable for anything your mother has done."
Damian blinked at her, "Oh, I see... that is... very admirable of you. I don't believe many others feel that way."
"I think you'd be surprised Damian, we all care about you very much."
"You don't even really know me."
"That doesn't matter, not to me. You're part of this family now. We'll have your back, always."
Damian nodded, "Thank you."
The first time Damian has a nightmare in the manor, Grayson was there to comfort him. The second time, it was Drake. Both of them had said the same thing to him, which was: "No one goes through nightmares alone in this house."
Damian knew what that came from when the third time he had a nightmare, Lily was there.
"It's okay Damian, no one goes through nightmares alone in this house," Lily said.
"Have you told Grayson and Drake that?"
"Of course I have, I've told everyone that. Even Bruce."
"Father gets nightmares?" Damian asked hesitantly.
"Of course he does," Lily said. "Bruce has a lot to lose, Damian. Me, his sons, Alfred, his friends. He's always worried, he just does a bad job of showing it sometimes."
Damian nodded and looked down, "It was about father and my mother. He gave me back to her."
Lily brushed through his hair with her hand, "Oh Damian, he would never do that. Ever." Damian was about to open his mouth to contradict her. "Even if he did, which he never would, I would never allow it. Never." Damian looked at her with uncertainty. "I know you don't think I'm a match for Bruce, and you're right, I'm not. But I would still do anything to make sure my boys are safe, and that includes you."
Damian wasn't sure what to say to this. He had literally never encountered anyone who would have put themselves on the line for him, and now suddenly he was surrounded by people who acted as if they would, though he wasn't certain about anyone except for Lily, because she was the only one who said it out loud.
"You remind me of your father so much," Lily said. "You don't really understand how to read emotions on people. You need to be told. I love you, Damian, I would do anything in my power to keep you safe and happy and healthy."
Damian was starting to feel his emotions well up. "No one has ever said anything like that to me before," he said softly.
"And I'm so sorry about that. If I had known about you... Bruce and I would have done anything to make sure you were with us."
"It wasn't your fault."
"And it wasn't your fault either, Damian. Nothing that they ever did to you was your fault. Do you understand that?" Damian nodded, Lily kissed his forehead, "Okay, if you ever have another nightmare, don't hesitate to come to our room, alright?" Damian nodded again. "Goodnight, Damian."
"Goodnight," he said softly.
Damian didn't really have any doubts that Lily meant what she said. That she loved all her boys, but he never really got a firsthand example of exactly how much she cared about them until Drake was severely injured.
Lily raced home. Her heart was pounding. She barely stopped the engine of her car as she jumped out of it. She ran downstairs to the Batcave and then she froze.
"Not again, not again, please not again," Lily kept murmuring under her breath.
Tim was laying on the medical table. Alfred had just finished stitching up Tim's fairly severe wounds.
Damian was standing beside Drake's bed, just staring at the older boy's too-still body.
"Oh God, Tim," Lily ran to his side. He was hooked up to so many machines, and he was still unconscious. Bruce was sitting next to him. "Who did this, Bruce?"
"Someone going by the Red Hood. I don't... I don't why," Bruce said.
Lily grabbed one of Tim's hands, "Is he... Is he going to be okay?"
Bruce nodded, "He'll be okay."
Lily released a breath she didn't know she was holding in, she collapsed into a chair next to Tim's bed and started crying into her hands.
Bruce stood and tried to calm her by reassuring her that he was going to be okay, but she wasn't particularly receptive to his words. Eventually, he went to the Batcave to try and get any more information on the new Red Hood.
Then Damian surprised himself by pulling a chair up beside Lily's.
"Drake is one of the strongest people I know. He will make a full recovery," Damian said.
"I know, Damian," Lily said.
Damian looked at her with confusion, "Then... why are you so upset?"
Lily wiped her cheeks, "When you really love someone, Damian, you feel their hurt like it's your own. I'm hurt because Tim's hurt."
Damian thought about this for a moment, "So... is that why I'm feeling... sad now? Because you're sad?"
Lily looked at him with a small smile, "Maybe, or maybe you just admitted that you care about your brother."
Damian leaned over so that his head was resting on her shoulder. Lily gently took his hand.
"Drake will be alright, mother, I promise," Damian said.
Lily tilted her head so she could kiss Damian's head, "Thank you, Damian."
Bruce, who was watching from the computer was a little surprised, but he never really had a doubt that Lily would eventually be called mother by Damian. She had a way of wiggling into even the most closed-off hearts.
Over the next month, Lily helped Tim recover from his injuries. The Red Hood had been spotted hanging out in Crime Alley in Gotham sporadically, but he hadn't made any other moves against the Bat-family since his attack on Tim.
However, they soon had a bit of a different problem. Talia had returned to Gotham.
Damian was on edge constantly. He didn't really realize how afraid he was of going back to his mother until the possibility was right in front of him. He spent more nights in Lily and Bruce's bed than he'd like to admit. Bruce also felt a little more jealous of Lily than he'd like to admit. He had hoped that Damian would have warmed up to him a bit more in recent times, but yet every time he climbed into their bed after a nightmare, he curled up close to Lily.
Bruce knew he had to do something about Talia's presence in Gotham, but he didn't expect her to make the first move.
Lily took Damian to school every morning, Alfred was busy driving around Tim and Bruce most mornings, so it was just Lily and Damian in the house.
The doorbell rang, and Lily called to Damian, "Get into the car, I'll be down in one second!"
Then she opened the door, and there was the tip of a sword at her neck before she really knew what was happening.
"Mrs. Wayne, isn't it?" Talia asked. "Where is my son?"
Lily's blood turned cold, and she discreetly pressed the hidden button on the bracelet she always wore that would send an alert to Bruce.
"He's at school, I'm the only one who's here," Lily lied.
"You would dare lie to me? I could kill you now where you stood," Talia spoke sharply.
"You're going to have to kill me anyway if you want to take Damian," Lily replied, just as sharp.
Damian had been hiding in the formal living room, listening to the exchange. When Lily said that Talia was going to have to kill her to get to Damian, his heart beat painfully in his chest. He activated his emergency beacon, and he waited, hoping desperately that his birth mother wouldn't cut his real mother's throat.
"Damian?!" Talia called. "I know you're here! Come to your mother!"
Damian didn't know what to do. On one hand, the thought of seeing his mother again made him feel sick, but on the other, who knew how long it would take Bruce to get back to the manor.
"You don't deserve to be called that, not after what you've done to him," Lily said.
Talia snorted, "I do not understand what my beloved sees in you. You're weak, you can't even defend yourself. It would be so easy to just cut your throat, it would be a mercy to Bruce, I'm certain. To not have to be weighed down with someone like you."
"Stop!" Damian said, coming out from his hiding space.
"Damian, don't, just run!" Lily called.
Talia pushed just the very tip of her sword into Lily's neck.
"Stop! Don't hurt her!" Damian cried.
"Well, I see you've worked your little magic on my son as well," Talia snarled at Lily.
"Damian, go, please," Lily said.
"Let her go, what do you want?" Damian asked desperately.
"I was wrong to send you here. I thought that training under your father would make you strong, but I was wrong, they've made you weak. You will be coming back with me to your grandfather."
Damian was nearly trembling, he didn't want that, he was terrified.
"Mother, if you've ever held any love for me at all, then you won't send me back, please."
"Love?!" Talia scoffed, "I gave you life, I gave you a purpose. I trained you to perfection, and I let you out of my sight for a year and you've become soft, simply due to love? How childish." She regarded Lily, "I suppose she'll have to die to reharden you."
"No! Please, I'll come with you, just leave her alone," Damian begged.
Lily was now crying, "Damian, don't-"
"Enough out of you," Talia snapped. "Fine, I will not harm her." She lowered her sword and took a few steps toward Damian, no longer thinking Lily was a threat.
Unfortunately for Talia, Lily was not quite as defenceless as she had first appeared. Lily wore two black pearl earrings, one of them was a smoke pellet, but the other one was more of a shocking mechanism. She unclipped the shocking device and threw it at Talia, who was momentarily stunned. Lily ran towards Damian and pulled him away.
They ran downstairs towards the garage, Lily shouted for Damian to get in the car, and he did, just closing the door and looking over to see that Lily wasn't getting inside herself... because Talia was there. Lily locked the doors and pressed the emergency protocol button that didn't allow any of them to be opened except by voice command. The windows were all bulletproof, there was no way for Talia to get inside. But there was no way for Damian to get out either.
"Bruce, the security measures on one of the cars have just been activated," Tim said as they raced to the manor.
Bruce had a sick feeling in his stomach, "We're almost there, just hold on," he whispered to himself.
They pulled up to the manor to see that the front door was ajar. Tim and Bruce ran to the garage where they both froze for a moment.
Lily was laying there in a pool of her own blood, and Damian was in the car, banging on the windows trying to call out for Lily.
"Tim, call 911, we need an ambulance!" Bruce shouted. Tim made the call and let Damian out of the car while Bruce tried to keep Lily from slipping into unconsciousness.
"Lily, stay with me Lily, keep your eyes open, please," Bruce said.
"Damian... D-Damian..." She kept gasping.
"He's okay, he's-"
"Mom!" Damian threw himself to the floor beside Lily. He was sobbing, "Why did you do that?"
"Are-are you... okay?" Damian nodded tearfully. "Good, good..."
Lily's breathing was getting shallower, "Lily, Lily, stay awake, please," Bruce said. "I know it hurts, but I need you to stay awake."
Tim was then at their side, "They'll be here in five minutes."
Bruce nodded, "I need the two of you to keep her awake."
Tim nodded and Damian looked like he was going into shock.
"Mom, hey, you're going to be okay. The ambulance is on its way," Tim said to her.
"Thanks, Timmy," Lily said through clenched teeth. Bruce was applying more pressure to her stomach, where Talia's blade had stabbed her clean through.
"I'm sorry we didn't get here faster," Tim said.
"'is alright, Timmy. Not... your fault."
"I'm so sorry," Damian said.
"Not your fault either... Damian."
"I should have just gone with her!"
"No," Lily said strongly, despite the pain she was in. "No... I'd never let her... take you."
"What happened?" Tim asked.
"T-Talia, she came here looking for me!" Damian cried. "She did this."
"Where did she go?" Bruce asked.
"I don't know I didn't see," Damian said. He sniffled, and he grabbed Lily's hand. "Thank you."
Lily smiled at her youngest despite the pain, "I'd do... anything... both of you."
"Mom?" Tim asked with concern, "Mom, come on, keep talking. What are you reading right now?"
"... Shelly, Frankenstein... Jay loved... cheesy horror... didn't like Dracula... he got scared... I hope... I hope... he wasn't scared..." Lily's lucidity was fading fast. Luckily the ambulance arrived, and Alfred directed them inside.
They were bombarded by questions, "How long ago did this happen?" "What's her blood type?" "Does she have any allergies to medications?"
Bruce answered all of them, then got in the back of the ambulance.
Alfred took Damian and Tim, got them changed out of their bloody clothes, called Dick, and took the two of them to the hospital.
Dick met them at the hospital and they all waited in relative silence, punctuated by Damian's sobs into Dick's chest.
After four hours, a few doctors came out.
"Mr. Wayne?" One of them asked. Bruce stood. "Your wife is out of surgery now. Everything went very well, she'll likely be awake in a few hours. You and your family can wait in her room for the time being."
Bruce nodded and shook their hands, "Thank you."
Damian held onto Dick like a koala as Bruce followed a nurse to Lily's private room.
She was peacefully asleep, the sound of the heart monitor reminding them constantly that she was alive was oddly comforting.
They sat there for twenty minutes before Bruce spoke. "Alfred, why don't you take the boys home?"
"No, I'm staying," Damian stated.
"Damian... you need to sleep, eat something maybe," Bruce said. Damian shook his head adamantly. Bruce sighed, "Dick, Tim, why don't you-"
"No, B, we're not going anywhere," Dick said. Tim nodded in agreement.
"Fine... Alfred, could you get some things from the house?" Bruce asked.
"Of course, Master Bruce, I'll be right back," Alfred said.
Damian detached himself from Dick and climbed into Lily's bed. He curled up beside her and began his watch over her. It did not last long. He quickly fell asleep.
A few hours later, Lily hadn't woken up, and Alfred had convinced everyone to go to the food court to eat something.
That was when a silent figure came in through the window. He placed a bouquet of pink carnations on her bedside table. He held her hand.
"Please... mom, you gotta be okay," he whispered.
Jason was hood-less, he wasn't even wearing a domino mask. He knew it was risky, but he just couldn't bring himself to hide his face from her.
"Step away from my mother!" An angry voice growled from the doorway.
Jason froze. How quickly did this kid eat? He stood, his back was still to Damian.
"Slowly, turn around," Damian instructed.
"Damian, what's-" Tim's voice spoke from behind Damian. "That's him... the Red Hood."
Damian pressed the emergency button he always had on him for the second time that day.
"Don't move," Tim instructed.
Jason was torn between leaping out of the window and confronting his family here and now.
"I'm sorry about attacking you earlier, Timothy, I wasn't right in the head," Jason said. The words felt weird coming from his mouth. But they were the truth, he didn't have the same anger running through his blood as he did.
Tim and Damian looked at each other. Then Dick and Bruce came running up behind them.
"Who are you?" Bruce growled.
"I didn't mean for you to find out this way, really," Jason said. "I'll show you who I am, but you have to let me explain first."
"You have thirty seconds."
"When I came back via a Lazarus pit, I was insane, I wasn't myself. Everything I did in that first year, it wasn't me, but I'm sorry anyway."
"You used a Lazarus pit?" Damian questioned.
"Talia dumped me in one, she twisted my mind, made me believe things about you that weren't true. That's why I attacked Tim. I'm sorry."
Jason's hands were shaking as he turned to face his... family.
Bruce took a few steps forward into the room and then he froze. "Jason?"
Whatever Jason had been expecting... it wasn't this. It wasn't that Bruce was just going to come right up to him and hug him and... was he crying?
"Little wing?" Dick asked, and then came forward and joined Bruce in hugging Jason.
Tim and Damian looked at each other with equal amounts of shock and confusion. But then a thought occurred to Damian.
"You've been alive for over a year, and you didn't tell her?" Damian questioned.
Bruce and Dick gave Jason a bit of space as they turned to look at Damian.
"I wasn't myself," Jason repeated quietly.
"She would have wanted to know," Damian said with quiet fury. "She cries at your grave every day."
Jason seemed genuinely surprised by that, "I'm sorry."
"Damian, lay off him, alright?" Dick said.
Jason relaxed for a moment until he made eye contact with Tim, "I'm sorry, I... I nearly killed you, I didn't mean to."
Tim didn't really know what to say, "Well... uh... I mean, it's not okay, but... I guess, you weren't yourself. I remember Ra's telling me about the Pit Madness. That's probably what was happening."
Jason nodded, "Thank you."
"Jay," Bruce spoke, his voice was rough, "You're going to stay with us, right?"
Jason nodded, "Yeah, if-if you'll have me."
Bruce hugged Jason again, "It's your home, Jay, you're always going to be welcome."
"I... I should maybe pick a better time to break to his her," Jason said as he looked towards Lily. "I'll come to the manor once she gets out."
Jason made a move toward the window, but Bruce caught his arm, "Wait. How can we get in touch with you?"
Jason held out his hand, "Give me your phone."
Bruce complied, Jason punched in a number, and then he grappled out of the window.
It took Lily another few hours to wake up, and when she did, all her boys, minus Jason, were at her side.
Damian had curled up beside her on the small bed, Tim was pacing, Dick was sitting in a chair, and Bruce was leaning against the wall in the shadowed corner of the room.
She felt Damian beside her first, then she saw Tim, then she turned to look at Dick, and then she locked eyes with Bruce, who had noticed the second she had woken up. He looked like he needed to speak with her, though he would have to wait until their sons had finished swarming.
"Mom, how are you feeling? Any pain?" Tim questioned.
"No, Timmy, I feel fine," Lily replied as she stroked Damian's hair.
The youngest Wayne had started crying when she woke up.
"I thought you wouldn't wake up," Damian sniffed.
"It's okay, Damian," Lily said. She then looked at Dick and smiled, "Dickie... you didn't have to come all this way."
Dick shook his head and gripped her free hand, "Mom, it's a 45-minute drive, and of course I would come. We were all so worried."
Lily squeezed his hand, "I'll be alright."
Dick saw her glance towards Bruce, who was to full of tension that Dick could practically feel it. He could tell they needed to talk, and he was going to suggest that he and his brothers clear out for a moment, but Lily beat him to it.
"As much as I love you all, I'm not going to listen to complaints about sore backs and necks because you're all sleeping here. Why don't you get Alfred to take you home and you can come back in the morning, alright?"
"I'm not leaving," Damian said.
Lily looked at him and suppressed a sigh, "Fine, you can stay and sleep here, but you have to sleep."
Damian nodded, hanging onto Lily tighter.
Dick had obviously made some gestures to Tim that told him not to fight her on leaving.
"Okay, mom. We'll be back in the morning. Do you want anything from the house?" Tim asked.
"No, not that I can think of, thank you, Tim," Lily said.
Dick and Tim left with Alfred, and Lily ran her hand through Damian's hair until he fell asleep.
Then, and only then, did Bruce approach her.
"How do you feel?" He asked.
"I feel fine, Bruce, really." He then sat down and pressed his hands together over his mouth. "Bruce... this was not your fault."
His eyes flicked to her, "I've completely failed you, Lily. You allow yourself to be open and vulnerable, and you trust me to keep you safe and I-" Bruce stopped and swallowed, "I failed you."
Lily narrowed her eyes at him, "Bruce, it's not your job to protect my... vulnerability. Our relationship isn't based on that exchange and you know it."
Bruce looked at her with shining eyes, "You're right, I don't... I don't know why you stay with me, Lily. What do I give you? Because you give everything to me and our children."
"It's not about giving and taking, Bruce. I love you, and I love our children. And you love us all too," Lily said. Bruce looked at her, and for the first time in a while, his mask was off. "You look tired Bruce. I know you feel like you always have to be this image of strength, but you can let it go every once in a while."
So Bruce did let it go. Lily could count on her hands the number of times she had seen Bruce cry.
"I was so afraid, Lily. Losing you... it would break me. It would break all of us."
Lily reached out and wiped a few tears from Bruce's cheek, "I'm not going anywhere."
"I love you, I don't say it enough, but I do," Bruce said.
"I love you too, Bruce. And I know."
Bruce then looked over Lily to where Damian was curled up. "You're so good with him, with all of them, really, but... I was worried about Damian."
Lily smiled at Bruce, "Well, he's just like you, Bruce. He doesn't understand his feelings, and he bleeds a need to be accepted. And if there's anything I'm good at, it's understanding emotion and accepting people for who they are." Bruce smiled at her slightly, and she could tell that he was far less on edge than he had been before.
"Go home, Bruce. Comfort Tim, hug Dick. I'll get Damian to call you in the morning," Lily said.
He knew better than to argue with her. So he stood, kissed her briefly, and then he left, leaving just Lily and Damian.
Throughout the night, Damian scared the crap out of the nurses trying to check on Lily by subtly watching them move around the room. Then they would notice him and get startled. It wasn't exactly his fault, but he instinctively woke up every time someone opened the door and he thought he may as well make certain none of the nurses had insidious motivations. Then he would curl back up against Lily and would repeat the action roughly every few hours.
The family pretty much carried on like this, with Bruce, Dick and Tim all coming to see her during the day while Damian was at school, and then Damian coming to sleep at her side at night while the other boys went home or on patrol.
Then, a week and a half later, Lily was cleared to go home. Bruce was very much looking forward to her reaction to who else was now at the manor.
"Okay, mom, there's a surprise waiting for you, and it will be a big shock, but it's not a joke, and it's not... well, I guess you'll just see," Dick said to her.
Lily raised an eyebrow in Bruce's direction, "If you've brought home another orphan..."
Bruce smiled, "Not another one."
Lily narrowed her eyes at his strange wording. She walked up the steps, helped by Tim, and she opened the door. Alfred was there, and then she saw Jason.
Jason walked up to her, "Hey mom," he said softly.
Lily stumbled and Jason lunged forward and caught her, she stared at where he was touching her and then she broke down completely.
"Jay... oh my god you're here. You're all grown up," she murmured into his shoulder.
"I'm so sorry mom," Jay whispered.
"Oh Jay... there's nothing to be sorry for, just... just don't ever do that again," Lily said.
"You're not upset?" Jason asked hesitantly.
"I'm so happy, Jay, I'm so happy you're alive," Lily reassured.
They pulled apart, "Mom I've done so many things... terrible things."
Lily was about to ask him about what he was talking about, but then Tim stepped forward, "You weren't yourself, it wasn't your fault." He held out his hand, "I'm Tim."
"Jason," Jason replied.
"Miss Lily, it is a pleasure to see you up and moving again," Alfred said. Jason was currently being swarmed by Dick.
"It's good to be back, with the whole family."
Jason and Lily fell back into their routines, instead of going to his grave every morning, they met in the library and read. Sometimes Damian would join them, just sitting and listening, or sometimes he would sketch. Then Lily often went to check on Tim, make sure he had slept, had eaten something. If he needed anything she would help him, or if he just didn't want to be alone she would sit with him in the office room in comfortable silence.
Dick came over for dinner at least once a week, and unlike Bruce, who still didn't like that he had become a police officer, Lily loved hearing his stories.
Damian was still very clingy and nervous. It became very common for Damian to come home from patrol and curl up beside Lily rather than go to his own room.
Months passed, Lily convinced Bruce to find a way to make Jason a real, legal person again. He went to university for literature.
Tim became co-CEO of Wayne Enterprises, which Lily tried her best to support, but he was so stressed and so wound up, she was worried about what was going to happen when it became too much for him.
But then... something unexpected happened.
Bruce had a habit of bringing home little boys with black hair. This time, he brought home a girl.
Okay, what did you guys think of the reunion with Jason? Was it not enough? As you can tell, I'm not certain about it. I might come back and rewrite this later, but I've been sitting on this chapter for a while so I figured I'd just post it.
Cassandra Cain was a lovely young woman, that was Lily's opinion.
Lily Wayne was someone Cass could completely trust, that was Cass' opinion.
Lily took every opportunity to learn better ways to communicate with Cass. She started to learn ASL, she watched Cass carefully to figure out what her body language said, and soon, as with all the other children in the house, Lily was the one who could best communicate with her.
The boys took to Cass pretty quickly, especially after she kicked all of their asses in training the first time she was cleared by Bruce to practice with them.
After Cass had decided she could trust Lily, she let the older woman braid her hair sometimes. Cass would slip into the library when Jason was reading and she'd sit cross-legged on the ground in front of Lily, who would absentmindedly start to braid it.
Sometimes, on the very rare occasions that Cass needed to be patched up after patrol, she only let Lily do it. It wasn't that she didn't trust Bruce or Alfred, but the memories of her cruel father would come creeping up on her and she would run to Lily.
Lily liked to take Cass to the ballet, Tim would sometimes come with them, Bruce even came a few times. Cass liked it so much that she got Lily to enroll her in a class. She was very good, actually. Many of the teachers were quite astounded by her progress. 15 wasn't old, but it was older for the average ballet beginner. Not that Cass needed to really worry about that, because she was pretty quickly catching up on her peers' level.
Later that year, Bruce had done what Lily never really thought he would do, he had revealed his identity to the Justice League. Clark had known, so had Diana, but the others had been shocked. So Bruce invited them over for a dinner party.
The kids, minus Cass and Jason, had met the League before, so they weren't at all concerned. Lily wasn't worried either. In fact, the only person that was worried was Bruce.
Clark arrived first, along with Lois. Lily had already met the two of them, so they began to chat like the old friends that they were. Lily introduced them to Cass, who she could tell had unnerved Clark, but Lois quite liked the girl. Then Diana arrived, and Lily introduced Jason to his favourite superhero. The young man followed her around for most of the night, and Diana seemed to like him.
Then Hal Jordan showed up, and he was absolutely shocked when Lily greeted him at the door.
"Oh my god. You're married to Batman?" Hal asked.
Lily laughed slightly, "Yes, you must be Hal. Please, come in."
Damian then came up to her, "Mom, I need you to tell Tim to stop acting like a buffoon."
Lily smiled at him, "Damian, this is Hal, I'm certain the two of you have met."
Hal looked down at Damian and his blood went cold. "Wait... you're Robin?" Damian glared at him, "Oh my god, you're even more terrifying like this."
"Okay Dami, stop scaring Hal," Lily said with a barely contained laugh.
"Tt. It is hardly my fault the man is intimidated by my presence," Damian said. He then left, presumably to do something about whatever Tim was up to.
Hal was just staring, watching him go. "Um... Hal? Are you alright?" Lily asked gently.
"Yeah... yeah, I'm... I'm good." He didn't seem too certain, but he entered anyway.
Then Barry Allen showed up.
"Hi, sorry I'm late," he said, just appearing at the door.
"You're just on time. You must be Barry."
"Yeah, and you're Lily, right? Clark mentioned you."
"That's me," Lily said with a smile. "It's nice to meet you."
"Mom," Tim said from behind them, "I need you to distract Damian."
Lily raised an eyebrow, "And what's going on?"
"He keeps threatening all of the alien guests," Tim said.
Lily smiled apologetically at Barry, "Timmy, why don't you show Barry to where the others are, I'll go talk to Damian."
By the time Lily got to the library, which was where many of the children were hanging out, she could see what the problem was.
"Don't think I haven't seen you molesting my brother!" Damian snapped. "You will keep your cloned alien hands off of Drake!" Lily saw Damian threatening Conner, then she saw him turn on his heel to Starfire, "And you, I don't know what plans you have for Todd, but I know you're up to something and-"
"Damian," Lily said. The boy froze and looked at her, "Come take a walk with me for a second, okay?" They went to a more quiet part of the house. "What's going on, Damian?"
"I witnessed Conner taking advantage of Tim and I thought I should step in on his behalf, since it is obvious Drake cannot handle anything himself," Damian stated.
Lily had to suppress a laugh, "Dami... why do you think that Conner was taking advantage of Tim?"
"Because he is much stronger than Drake, who is constantly not in the right state of mind to make good decisions."
"So you're worried about Conner hurting Tim?" Lily asked with a smile.
"Tt. I am no such thing."
"There's nothing wrong with that Damian, he's your brother." Damian was silent. "If it would make you feel better, I can talk to Conner about it?"
Damian looked up at her and nodded slightly, "That would be... acceptable."
Lily ruffled his hair, "Okay, now please stop threatening our guests, alright?"
Damian walked off and Lily went to find Conner.
"Hi, Conner, can I just talk to you for a moment?" Lily asked when she saw him.
Conner gave Tim a look and Tim shrugged. Conner followed Lily.
"I'm sorry about Damian, he can get a little excited when it comes to threats," Lily said.
"Oh uh... yeah, I noticed." Conner was nervous, she could tell.
"He's just protective of his brothers, and he knows that you're a lot stronger than Tim and he worries that if Tim didn't want to do something, he couldn't stop you."
"Oh, Mrs. Wayne, I would never-"
"It's okay Conner, I know. Tim completely trusts you, and so do I. Damian just has a... strange way of showing concern."
Conner nodded, now blushing like crazy, "Right."
"Okay, well, that's all, sorry for interrupting," Lily said. She walked back to the room with a now embarrassed Conner. "Oh, and I'd actually like to talk to you and Tim when the party is over, so don't go flying off anywhere."
Suddenly, Tim was nervous. He hadn't exactly made his relationship with Conner a secret, but he hadn't really told anyone either. So what did Lily want to talk to them about?
He told Dick about this, and his older brother had started to laugh wildly.
"Oh Timmy, you better prepare yourself, tonight is going to be so awkward," Dick said in between laughs.
"What?" Tim asked, his eyes wide. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, a similar thing happened when I briefly dated Starfire..."
Lily had gathered Dick and Starfire after dinner one night.
"So, I have something important to talk to the two of you about," Lily started. "I'm not here to question you about your... activities, I just want to make sure you're being careful okay?"
Starfire and Dick had both nodded hesitantly.
"Starfire, you're a lot stronger than Dick, and sometimes when two people have sex things can get-"
"Mom!" Dick cried in protest. Starfire looked mortified.
"Sometimes things can get intense, and you have to be careful with him," Lily finished. "Also, just because the two of you are not the same species does not mean that you don't have to use protection. In fact, it means that you probably need to use it more than if you were. Not much is known about inter-species STI's which means if either of you caught one, it could be dangerous. So use protection." Dick had both his hands covering his face and Starfire was almost too afraid to look away from the woman. "Now, if you are having sex with multiple partners at once-"
"Mom," Dick groaned, "Please stop."
"You always have to change condoms between partners. And don't be afraid to use lubricant if you need it. There, now I'm done."
Lily had then left and Dick and Starfire were so mortified that they could barely look each other in the eye for a week afterward.
"Yeah, so... good luck I guess," Dick said.
Somewhere else in the house...
Clark started laughing loudly, causing the others around him to turn and look. Lois, Bruce, Hal and Alfred.
"Sorry, your wife is just amazing," Clark said.
Lily then walked into the room and Bruce raised an eyebrow.
"Well, you're not too bad yourself Clark," she said with a smile. "I was just stopping Damian from threatening our guests." Bruce sighed, he really wasn't surprised. "Also, is Starfire dating Jason now? Does anyone know?"
Bruce shook his head, "I'll investigate."
Hal looked at them with a little bit of fear, "Oh god, they're all like this," he said under his breath. This caused Clark to start laughing again.
Okay, I'm a sucker for TimKon or KonTim, idk which way it's supposed to be. What did you guys think? Also, next chapter I plan to be focusing more on the girls, Cass, Steph and Babs if any of you were disappointed that the Cass section was too brief on this chapter.
The past few days had been a little uncomfortable for everyone. After Lily had given Conner and Tim The Talk, Tim had complained that no one else had to have that done to them except for Dick, so Lily set out to rectify that.
"Hey, Jay?" Lily asked one day when they were reading.
"Are you and Starfire seeing each other right now?"
Jason's eyes widened, "What? No. Why would you think that?"
"Damian seemed to think that you were, he was threatening her the other night," Lily replied.
"Well, I'm not. I actually... well I'm trying to get Artemis to go on a date with me," Jason confided.
Lily smiled, "Excellent, I'm going to invite her over for dinner."
"Mom, no. Don't," Jason insisted.
"Oh come on, it'll be fine..."
Five hours later, Jason answered the door and Artemis stepped into the house, "This is a beautiful home."
"Oh... uh... thanks," Jason replied awkwardly.
"You must be Artemis, it's very nice to meet you," Lily said.
"Oh, you're Jason's mother?" Artemis questioned. Lily nodded. "He's told me much about you."
Lily smiled, "Please, come in, dinner's ready."
Bruce, Lily, Tim, Cass, Damian, Jason, Artemis and of course Alfred were all there.
"So... how did the two of you meet?" Lily asked. Jason was sending her death glares.
"Jason attempted to best me in combat, he failed, of course, but I admired his techniques," Artemis started. "Then we stumbled upon Bizzaro and I discovered that anything Jason lacked in skill and strength, he made up for in instinct. So I took him and Bizzaro on as my sidekicks."
Damian and Tim were both grinning, "So... how is Todd's abilities as a sidekick?" Damian asked.
Jason turned his glare to Damian.
"Oh he does good work," Artemis replied seriously, not understanding the joke. "Sometimes he can be rash, but his plans usually work very well."
Cass nodded at this, "Jason good fighter, good thinker."
Artemis looked towards Cass, "I can see from the way you hold yourself you are the quite the warrior, and Jason has told me of your talent for battle." Cass shrugged. "It is very impressive for someone your age to have such skill."
"Thank you," Cass replied quietly.
"You're Amazonian, right?" Tim then asked.
"Yes, I am," Artemis replied.
"You all age slowly, right? So... how old are you?" He asked.
"I am nearly at my second millennia," Artemis replied.
Tim sent a pointed look at Jason. Jason was about three seconds away from throwing down with Tim and Damian right there when there was a loud thud from outside.
"Red Him!" Bizzaro yelled as he suddenly appeared in the house.
"Bizzaro? What are you doing here bud?" Jason asked.
"Red Him no wear Red?" Bizzaro asked with confusion.
"Well, not right now, why-"
"Red Her! Red Her and Red Him together! And Bizzaro!" Bizzaro proclaimed.
"Biz, focus buddy, why are you here?"
"Need Red Him," Bizzaro said. He grabbed Jason and then he flew off, leaving only Artemis and the rest of the Wayne family.
Artemis frowned, "If you need to go, we completely understand," Lily said.
"No, I believe everything is fine. Bizzaro probably just wants Jason to play with him."
Cass then looked up, "Bizzaro... like baby."
Artemis nodded, "Yes, quite infantile."
"Jason, like father, you... like mother?" Cass asked.
Artemis thought about this for a moment, "Yes I suppose that is accurate."
Lily did not get the opportunity to give Jason and Artemis the talk, though since Artemis was almost 2000 years old Lily figured it was likely unnecessary. That left Damian and Cass.
As it turned out, Damian fairly quickly met Jonathan Kent, aka Superboy, and became close friends with him. Lily was tempted to sit them both down, but she figured that they were still a little too young.
But then something happened no one was expecting.
Stephanie Brown had only ever met Lily once before, and that was back when she was dating Tim. The woman had seemed very nice though, which was why she was not really surprised when, the second time she met, upon discovering that she lives on her own, was outraged and invited her to move into the manor.
"Um... that's really nice Mrs. Wayne, but B-man doesn't exactly like me," Steph said.
Lily waved her hand, "No, it's not that, he just gets a little intense when it comes to safety and you remind him of Jason. You're more than welcome to stay here, actually, I insist."
"But what about Tim, won't that be... awkward?"
"I'm certain he wouldn't have a problem with it. And if anyone does, they can take it up with me. Besides, I'd love to have some more girls in the house."
Steph still wasn't certain this was a good idea, but eventually, she gave in. Lily Wayne was almost as stubborn as her husband. She moved in the next day at Lily's insistence.
That week, Lily began a new tradition. Girls Night. They would go out for a nice dinner and go to the ballet or a play or musical, or sometimes they'd go to museums or galleries. Just Lily, Cass and Steph.
It was not originally Lily's intention for them to start dating, but when it happened, Lily was very pleased with herself.
It was before their second date that Cass came knocking on her door.
"Mother?" Cass asked quietly.
Lily smiled as she was putting in her earrings. "Hey Cass, need anything?"
Cass nodded and held up two different dresses. One was black, and the other... was also black. Lily would be lying if she said she had an eye for fashion. Honestly, Bruce picked most of her clothes.
"That one, I think," Lily said, pointing to the one on the left.
Cass smiled, "I like this," she said as she ran her hands over the lace.
Lily could tell the girl was a little nervous, "Hey, just have fun, okay?"
Cass smiled and then left.
15 minutes later, Steph knocked on her door.
"Hey... umm... I know this is a little weird to ask since I'm going on a date with your daughter, but-"
"Stephanie, you're a part of this family too. You can ask me anything."
Steph swallowed, "Do you think this looks nice?"
Lily looked over at Steph, who was wearing a purple dress.
Lily smiled at her, "Stephanie, you look lovely."
"Really. You're a beautiful young woman Stephanie," Lily said sincerely.
Steph was taken aback by Lily, as she often was when the woman said things that she wished her own mother had cared enough to say.
"You two have fun tonight, okay?"
Steph nodded, "Thanks."
Lily met the two girls downstairs before they went off and kissed both of them on the forehead.
"Have fun, and if you need anything, call me."
"We will," Steph said as Cass nodded.
"Okay, drive safe," Lily said.
She watched the girls leave and then Damian and Bruce came down the stairs. They were going to a charity gala. They would have brought Tim too, but he was also on a date.
"Well, don't you two look handsome," Lily said. Bruce wrapped an arm around her and she kissed his cheek. Then she took Damian's hand and they went out to the car.
It was a pretty boring event, but it was funny to see Damian subtly insult several of the guests there. The media was insane. It was fairly rare to see all of the people with Wayne as a last name in the same place.
"Mrs. Wayne! Is it true that Timothy was turned into a vampire by Bruce?!" Lily heard someone shout.
She just couldn't resist. "I'm sorry, what was that?" Lily asked.
Two younger people came forward, "We have compelling evidence that Timothy Drake is a vampire, and that he was turned into one by Bruce Wayne. Are any of your other children vampires?"
Lily had to suppress a laugh because they were completely serious.
"Well... what are some defining traits of vampires?" Lily asked.
"Well, they avoid the sun, drink blood, dislike garlic, avoid crosses, that sort of thing," the boy replied.
Lily laughed at how accurate that was. "You know... you might be onto something there. I certainly haven't seen any of my children besides Damian and Stephanie out in the sun for at least a few days." Lily had recently started lumping Steph in with the rest of her children.
Their eyes widened and they started taking down notes. Lily then left. Little did she know what she had just started.
Steph and Cass came back to the manor at about the same time Lily, Bruce and Damian came back from the gala.
"How was your night?" Lily asked them.
Cass smiled widely and grabbed Steph's hand, who then blushed.
"That's good," Lily said. "Are you both going out tonight?" Steph and Cass nodded. "Okay, be careful everyone. I'll see you all tomorrow."
Lily didn't actually go to sleep, she actually got changed into more casual clothing and went to the Clocktower. She tried to visit Barbara at least once a week.
She stepped off the elevator and saw that Babs had already made them some tea.
"So, how was Steph and Cass' date?" Barbara asked.
"I think it went pretty well," Lily said. "I always worry about them, but I have a good feeling about this. How about you? Jason told me that you're going back to university."
Barbara nodded, "Yeah, I... I'm just not really sure what I should do. I mean... I'm 23, I don't really have any plans. I'm just feeling a little pressure to get my life going, you know?"
Lily nodded, "I do understand, really. I was your age when I married Bruce and I basically dropped everything else. For a while, I felt really uncertain about who I was, because I barely left the house and I stopped doing art professionally. But I had Dickie, and I realized that all I wanted to do anymore was be a mother to him. Before I met Bruce, I never thought I ever wanted kids. Sometimes things just fall out of nowhere."
Barbara nodded and then sighed, "Do you... do you think I really hurt him?"
Lily smiled and shook his head, "Babs, Dick loves you, I think he's always going to love you. If you're not ready, you get to say no. It doesn't matter what he feels about it." Lily leaned back, "That being said, if you asked, he would literally marry you tomorrow, and Bruce and I would be lying if we said we didn't want grandchildren."
Barbara laughed, "Come on, Bruce and babies?"
"No, really, one of his biggest regrets is not getting to hold any of his kids when they were little. Bruce loves babies." Barbara laughed again, just the image of Batman holding a child was a little ridiculous. Lily then looked at Barbara with that Mom-Look. "But really, Babs. You are an amazing woman, you should never settle for anything other than exactly what you want. I don't care that Dick is my son. If he's not good enough for you, kick him to the curb and find someone who is."
Barbara laughed, but it was cut off when they heard the sounds of the door being opened.
Lily stood immediately, prepared to fight off whoever decided to mess with Barbara, but then released her breath when she saw that it was only Commissioner Gordon.
"Dad, hey. I didn't know you were coming over," Barbara said.
"Oh, sorry, if I knew you had company, I- Mrs. Wayne?"
"Hi Jim, please, call me Lily I feel we've met each other enough times."
"Right, of course," Jim said awkwardly. He held up a bag of Chinese food takeout. "I'm sure we can split this among the three of us."
"No, that's alright, I should probably get going anyway," Lily said. "Oh, right, Babs, do you want to join the book club?"
"Sure," Barbara replied. "Thanks for tonight."
"Any time Barbara."
Lily left, and Jim looked at his daughter with confusion.
"Why was Lily Wayne in your house?"
Barbara shook her head at her father, "Girl time, you know? She's really easy to talk to."
Jim nodded, "Alright... is there anything you want to talk to me about?"
Barbara swallowed, "Well, Dick and I broke up. Again."
"Oh... uh... I'm sorry...?" Jim said uncertainly.
Barbara shrugged a little sadly. "He asked me to marry him."
Jim's eyes widened, "He what? You're both children!"
"Dad, I'm 23, he's 24. We aren't kids."
"He didn't even ask for my blessing!" Jim looked around himself, making a show about it. "Where'd I put the shotgun?"
"Dad! Stop," Barbara pleaded.
Gordon sighed and sat down at the dinner table. "So... you don't want to marry him, and Mrs. Wayne was here to try and convince you?"
Barbara raised an eyebrow, "No, she just wants me to be happy. She's a genuinely nice person, dad, why do you have such a hard time believing that?"
Jim sighed, "I don't know, it just seems like she's hiding something."
Barbara tried to not let any surprise show on her face, "Well, she's not."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Let's eat before this gets cold."
Okay this chapter is going to focus more on Bruce and the boys, specifically Jason. Next chapter there's going to be more of Lily and the boys (and girls!). A theme I'm starting to explore in this work is Bruce aging, and how he might (ideally, in my mind) retire and pick a successor.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The past few weeks had been exceedingly entertaining for Lily. She was stoking the flames of the rumour that Bruce and Tim were vampires and it was starting to pay off.
Alfred came up to her one day with a newspaper. He had the hint of a smirk on his face. She saw why when she saw the headline.
Popular Rumour That Waynes are Vampires Spreads: Cassandra Wayne the Next to Turn?
Lily almost snorted her morning coffee. She continued to read the article. There was a priceless picture of Tim stepping out of Alfred's car sipping what was likely some sort of fruit punch, but what the article claimed to be blood.
By the time Lily was done, she was laughing quite loudly, and even Alfred was chuckling to himself.
"Alfred, this is amazing," Lily said.
"Indeed it is Miss Lily," Alfred replied with amusement.
Then Bruce came downstairs dressed for work and raised an eyebrow at the two of them. "What's going on in here?"
Lily slid over the paper and watched Bruce read it.
"I... I don't have any words," he said.
Lily giggled, "Isn't it hilarious?!"
"This is terrible reporting, they're just using anecdotes from a strange online source named bat-mom and-" Bruce stopped and turned to look at Lily with an irked expression. "Why would you do this?" He asked, pained.
"Because this is maybe the funniest thing to show up in a newspaper about us I have ever seen?"
Bruce sighed, "Do we have any more of that fruit punch left Alfred?"
Alfred smiled, "Right away, Master Bruce."
Quickly, Alfred had put some in a clear plastic travel mug. It was dark enough that it really could be passed for blood at a glance to those not familiar with it.
Then Bruce went off to work, alongside Tim, who was still half-asleep. Alfred drove them, and the media mob that was waiting for them was not disappointed. Tim was wearing sunglasses and instinctively held up his hand in front of his face to shield his eyes from the flashing of the paparazzi's cameras, but it looked like he was cringing away from the sun. Bruce simply did the same thing and sipped his dark red drink.
"Mr. Wayne! Mr. Wayne! Do you have any comments on the recent vampire rumours?!" One of the reporters called.
"Mr. Wayne! Is it true you've recently turned Cassandra Wayne into a vampire as well?!" Another shouted.
Then Bruce and Tim had to pick up the pace as some people started throwing garlic at them.
Tim was breathing heavy when they got safely inside.
"What the hell was that?" Tim demanded.
"Your mother has had too much free time on her hands," Bruce said.
Tim just stared at him.
Lily was driving Damian to school and then Jason to university. She smiled at waved at Damian as he got out of the car and headed towards the school.
She looked over to Jason, "Are you doing okay, Jay?"
She started driving while Jason thought up his response.
"Yeah, I'm alright, it's just... I never thought that I could have all this back," Jason said quietly. "It's nice, to remember all the little things."
Lily reached over and grabbed one of his hands and squeezed it. "I'm sorry you ever forgot." They reached the university. "Have a great day, Jay. Call me if you need anything."
"Thanks, mom," Jason said.
Now Lily had some time on her hands, she'd had nothing planned for the day. So she started to work on her idea to surprise Bruce for his 45th birthday. She had contacted a few of the people who she would consider his friends but would never actually admit to calling friends. He was a lot like Damian that way.
Speaking of Damian, she needed to remember to get in touch with Lois to find another good time for Jon to stay over.
She managed to get in contact with everyone who she considered Bruce's friend, even Jim Gordon. They were all coming over to the manor in a week's time.
Little did Lily know, Bruce had some plans of his own...
Over the past few months, he had been going around to his kids, checking up on them in his own way, which of course meant stalking them and then appearing in their homes in the middle of the night. He had gotten Dick first.
"Holy privacy invasion Batman!" Dick said. "What's up B? Is something wrong?"
"No... but there's something I need to talk to you about," Bruce said. "Sit down."
Dick frowned, "Mom's okay, right?" He interrupted.
"Yes, this is about something else," Bruce said. He removed the cowl. "What are your plans, for the future?"
Dick raised his eyebrows, "My... plans? What do you mean?"
"What are your plans for the future of Nightwing?"
"I... don't know, I haven't really thought about it. Why?"
"Have you ever considered... taking over the mantle of Batman someday?" Bruce asked.
Dick looked at him, "Honestly... no, I don't think I want that. You... you told me that you took me in and taught me how to do this so that I wouldn't end up like you... and you did it. I'm not dark or angry or full of vengeance. I want marry Barbara, and I want to play with my kids, maybe go out a few nights a week, but I- I can't be Batman."
Bruce smiled slightly, "That's good, Dick. I... I don't say it enough but I'm very proud of you, very proud."
Dick then frowned, "You're okay, right? You're not sick or hurt or anything?"
"I'm fine, I just thought I should check-in."
The next night, Batman did the same to Tim. He appeared beside him on a rooftop during one of Tim's stakeouts.
"Red Robin, do you have a minute?" Batman asked, crouching next to him in a way that he knew was going to have his knees screaming at him in the morning.
"Yeah sure, I'm pretty sure they're not going to be doing anything tonight. What's up?" Tim replied.
"What are your plans for the future, Tim?" Bruce asked.
Tim raised an eyebrow, Bruce was usually very strict about using names in the field.
"Uhh... I don't know, applying for university is coming up. I still haven't really figured that out," Tim replied.
"And what about all this, Red Robin, vigilantism, all of it?"
Tim didn't really know what to say, "I... I like where I'm at now. I like being Red Robin."
Bruce smiled at him, "You know, out of all of my children, you're the most like me. Have you ever thought about taking the mantle once I'm done?"
Tim was clearly surprised about this, "The thought has crossed my mind." He paused as if he was debating something with himself. "I never told you about this but... once, when I was with the Teen Titans, we found an alternate version of me. I was... I had taken the mantle, I was an adult, I was... it was horrifying. I think that being Batman changed me, dad. I don't want to be like that."
"There's no guarantee that you would be," Bruce said.
Tim shrugged, "I like what I'm doing now, I like being Red Robin, I like my team. I don't really want that to change."
Bruce nodded and squeezed Tim's shoulder, "There's nothing wrong with that. I'm proud of what you've become."
"I... thanks Batman, thanks dad," Tim said.
Bruce then went off into the night. A few days later he approached Damian when he was out with Titus in the yard.
"Father," Damian acknowledged.
"Damian, having a good afternoon?" Bruce asked.
"It has been pleasant," Damian replied. Bruce smiled at his youngest, he watched with a small smile as Titus came running back with the ball Damian had thrown. Damian threw it away again and Titus took off. "Do you need me to do something?" He asked.
"I can't just spend some time in your company?" Bruce asked wryly.
"You can, you just don't," Damian responded.
Bruce's smile faltered. Did he really not spend that much time with his children? "I'm sorry, about that. I should." Damian looked at him strangely but made no reply. "I just... I wanted to tell you something."
Damian's eyes then quickly flicked to him, "Something's wrong. I knew it. Grayson and Drake had been saying you'd been behaving strangely."
"No, really, there's nothing wrong. I just-" Bruce stopped. "I just have been thinking a lot about the future. And I wanted you to know that you don't have to be Batman." Bruce gauged Damian's reaction. It was surprised, very surprised. "I know that that is what Talia raised you to be, my successor, your grandfather's successor, but you're your own person, Damian, and you can be whatever you want."
Damian stared at him for a moment, "I... I understand. Drake or Grayson would clearly be better choices and-"
"No, no, Damian, I'm not saying that I don't want you to be Batman someday," Bruce said quickly. Damian was now confused, "I just... you don't have to be, if that's not what you want."
Damian considered this, "But... that's my purpose to you, isn't it? To be your successor."
Bruce frowned, "No, Damian, you don't-" Bruce stopped, he had to be careful with how he said things to Damian. "I love you because you're my son. I would still love you if you didn't fight at all, I would still love you if you wanted to give this all up." Damian was frozen, staring at Bruce. Bruce knelt down and hugged Damian.
"So... if I do not wish to take over your mantle... you will be okay with that?" Damian asked. He sniffled a little, and Bruce knew he was hitting something he probably should have dealt with a long time ago.
"I'd be more than okay with it Damian," Bruce said.
After his heart to heart with Damian, it was time to talk with Jason.
"Jason," Bruce said as he passed him in the halls of the manor. "When you have a minute, can you come down to the cave?"
Jason looked at him strangely, "Uh, sure."
About 15 minutes later Jason went down to the cave in sweats and a t-shirt, he saw Bruce wearing training clothes.
"What's up B?" Jason asked.
"Just wanted to spar with you," Bruce said.
Jason looked at him and could tell that there was definitely more to this than that, "Alright, whatever you want, old man."
"Don't hold back," Bruce said with a grin.
"Don't worry, I won't," Jason said.
It started off light, and Bruce didn't want light, he wanted to see exactly what Jason was capable of. He increased the tempo, using skills he knew he had never taught Jason to see how he would react. And to his surprise, Jason responded with a move Bruce had never seen before. This was very interesting.
They traded blows, they were shockingly evenly matched, which was a surprise to Bruce, who thought that he was going to have to hold back. In no way was he going full tilt, but then, neither was Jason.
Bruce's train of thought was cut off by a punch right to the face. He staggered backward and looked up at Jason with confusion.
"Oh shit, B, I'm sorry, I thought you-"
"No, Jason, it's alright, you got me, I didn't see it coming."
Jason blinked. "So... you weren't...?"
"Holding back? No, I wasn't."
Jason took a step closer to Bruce, "What's this about, really?"
Bruce looked at him, "It's a surprise for your mother... call it an early anniversary gift. I'm going to- going to retire. And I need someone to take over the mantle." Bruce looked at Jason seriously, "And you've just shown me that you're the right man for the job."
Jason was frozen in place, "What?" He whispered.
"I'm offering you Batman, but it's your choice," Bruce said.
"Why me? Why not Tim? Or even Dick? And don't even get me started on Damian, the brat it going to be furious that you're giving this to someone else," Jason started. "And you don't want me there, you don't. I've killed people, remember?"
"Jason, you're a good man, I have complete faith in you."
Jason studied Bruce closely, "You're only asking me because everyone else said no, aren't you?"
"No. Jason, you want me to be honest, and I'm being honest. You were my first choice, I just had to make sure that the others wouldn't be... offended by my decision."
Jason looked very shocked, "I was your first choice?" He echoed.
"Yes, and you don't have to say yes, but I wanted you to know that the position is yours if you want it."
Jason looked up with a small smile on his face, "I do, want it, if you're being serious, that is."
"I am, there are a few things I'm going to need you to do first," Bruce said.
Jason rolled his eyes, "Alright, hit me with it."
"You and me, we're going to train, hard, every day."
"You and Cass are going to train hard, every day."
"And you are absolutely not going to tell your mother."
"Okay, I take it you want to surprise her?"
"And the others, so this is just between you, me and Cass."
Jason nodded. "Have you... thought about what Damian might feel about this? Will he still want to be my Robin if it's not you under the cowl?"
Bruce shrugged, "What Damian wants is up to him, I'm not going to force him to stay, and I'm not going to force him to leave. When the time comes the two of you can discuss that."
Jason nodded, "Bruce... this, this means a lot to me. Thank you."
Bruce clasped Jason's shoulder, "No, Jason, thank you."
I hope you guys all like this chapter!