A Momentary Lapse of Judgement

Story One: Sons of the Bat Series

By Aussie Nightwriter

Part 2 of 2

Jason smiled at the young woman who was sitting in the middle of his bed dressed… or more correctly, undressed down to her bra and panties. He picked up the empty wine glasses and shifted them to the bedside table.

"And what do you do again? Night security?"

Jason drew her in to him and nibbled her ear. "Something like that."

She giggled and pulled away. "I've never had wine for breakfast."

He smiled. "I am hoping to have you for breakfast." The cell phone, sitting on the bedside table began to vibrate. Jason ignored it and pulled off his t-shirt.

The cell rang loudly.

Todd cursed, knowing it had to be Oracle. Only she would bother to hack into his phone and change the settings wirelessly. He picked up the device, without taking his eyes off Carole. "I'm busy." He stabbed the phone, ending the call, and tossed it onto the bedside table. He may be temporarily back in Gotham, but he was well out of the hero business. He certainly wasn't at Batman's beck and call… never again. Never!

Carole eyed him curiously, tracing the line of his tight jaw with her finger. "Okay? You seem tense."

"All good." He leaned forward. The phone rang again, but this time, Oracle's voice sprang from it without him answering.


"I have company," he growled. Why he was protecting their identities he didn't know.

"Jason, Dick's not answering his phone."

"Your problem." He snatched the phone, ended the call and slammed it down with such force, the bedside table toppled, the wine glasses smashing as they crashed to the floor.

Carole rolled off him, a spark of concern shadowing her face at the anger he was displaying.

"Sorry," Jason apologised.

She forced an uncertain smile. "Make it up to me." He grabbed her and they rolled over, the woman giggling. The phone rang once and self-answered again. "Jason, something's wrong."


Carole recoiled, got up and scooted out of the bedroom, wrapping herself in a blanket.

Jason ground his jaw, leaned over and scooped the phone off the floor. "Call one of the others who give a damn." He stabbed the end button and called out to Carole. "So, how about…"

A single ring. "Jason, you're the closest."

Todd swore again. He didn't owe anyone anything – certainly not Batman or any of the Bat Team. If Grayson was in trouble, so what? "GO TO HELL."

"Something's wrong!"

Jason shut his eyes, doing battle with himself. He could hear the desperation in her voice. From what he remembered; Oracle normally held it together. Which meant… "Damn him." Todd leapt off the bed, raced to wardrobe and pulled out his trousers. "He supposed to be at his apartment?"


"He better be half dead, Oracle, because if he's not, I'm going to #$% !ing kill him… Carole, Sweetheart. I just need to pop out for a moment."

- Sons - of – the - Bat - - Sons - of – the - Bat –

Jason jogged up the stairs to Dick's unit three at a time. He had discarded his helmet and had opted to use the stairs rather than the elevator. These days, he tended to avoid closed-in spaces.

Arriving at the very average looking door, Jason slid the false panel on the wall revealing the sophisticated locking system that required a palm print to disarm it. He pulled his phone to his ear. "Give me access."

"You already have it," Oracle responded. "He wouldn't let me remove it."

"You're a trusting idiot, Grayson." Todd shed his glove and laid his hand on the panel, the door unlocking instantly. Walking into the room, Jason noted that it looked exactly as he remembered. His mind flashed back…

'Use this as a safe place, Jason, any time you need it.'

'Algebra? Yeah, I can give you a hand with that.'

'Don't be so hard on yourself. You've only been wearing the costume a few months.'

'Yeah, I know how he gets. I'm here if you need me.'

The memories faded and for a handful of seconds, Jason stood contemplating why on Earth he had come.

"Grayson?" he paused and listened, the sound of running water filling his ears. "He's in the #$% !ing shower!" With a string of obscenities, Todd spun and headed toward the exit.

"Dick?" Oracle's voice echoed in the apartment, emanating from the computer speakers in the main room. "Then why isn't he answering!"

Jason rolled his eyes. "Grayson, you really need to manage your women." He strode through the bedroom and entered the compact master bathroom. In front of him, the shower was running, the air in the room thick with moister. However, the cubicle itself was empty. Jason looked to the right… Grayson was lying in a crumpled heap, on his side, dressed in grey sweatpants and t-shirt.

"Oracle, he's down." The switch flicked 'on' in Jason's brain and his training took over. Red Hood shot forward, discarding his left glove as his hand darted to the fallen man's neck to check for a pulse, his revolver snapping into his right fist. "Is the apartment clear?"

"Yes. Is he…?"

"He's alive." Todd thrust his gun back into its holster and rolled Dick onto his back. "No visible injuries." He removed his other glove and felt Grayson's brow. "Slight fever." Condensation on the ceiling… the shower had been running for a while. "What time did he get in last night?"

"About 2:00. He was headed in for a shower when I said goodnight at 2:30."

He'd never made it, so he'd probably been on the floor for three hours. Quickly and methodically, Jason ran his hands over Dick's body trying to identify the reason his former partner was unconscious. His fingers stopped as they reached Grayson's abdomen. It was rigid. "Internal injuries. Call an ambulance."

His elbow connected with the wall as he tried to reposition himself. The bathroom was too cramped to work on the injured man. While moving him may not be wise, he had no choice. Without knowing the extent of the internal injuries, Jason couldn't afford to throw Grayson over his shoulder and unlike Batman, Red Hood didn't have the upper body strength to cradle an adult male so that only left… Looping his arms under Dick's armpits, Jason lifted him carefully and then unceremoniously but with care, dragged the prone figure out of the bathroom and into the bedroom.

"You weigh a #$% !ing tonne." He lowered Dick to the carpet and knelt beside him.

"Ambulance on its way. ETA 17 minutes. There are protests choking all roads." Oracles distressed voice drifted in from the main room.

Jason leaned over the unconscious man and lowered his ear to his chest to assess his breathing. "Oracle, his vitals are jumpy. Breathing is shallow."

Jason patted Dick's face firmly. "Grayson. Grayson, time to wake up."

Surprisingly, Dick stirred. "Jason?" he asked weakly.

Todd smiled despite himself. "Yeah, your knight in shining armour."

Dick blinked and searched above him, finally focusing on Jason in confusion.

"You collapsed in the bathroom," Jason offered, dragging a blanket off the bed. "Looks like internal injuries." He laid the blanket over Dick. "Did you take a heavy hit last night?"

"Um… Yeah." Without warning, Dick's body started trembling.

"He's going into shock," Jason informed Oracle, his voice lacking any discernible emotion.


All of Alfred's medical tutorials from years past, kicked in. Jason examined Dick's pupils and again took his pulse. "We don't have time for an ambulance. Call in some favours. He's got about ten minutes." Even as he said it, Jason knew all the 'super bodies' were off planet or out of the dimension. He made it his business to know those things.

Todd wrapped the blanket around Dick and rolled him onto his side. "Grayson, stay with me. Die and how the hell are you going to save me from myself?"

"So, you reckon I'm fighting a losing battle with you?" Dick asked weakly, his body raked with tremors.

"I know you are."

"Won't abandon you to the rage of the Lazarus Pit." The husky intake of air was becoming more laboured. "I've been doing some research…" Jason adjusted Dick's head to make his breathing easier. "Think I may have found a therapy that could help."

"Yeah? What have you come up with Solomon?" Jason pulled back the blanket and lifted Dick's shirt, finding where the girder had struck him. His lower back was blue, purple and red.

"It won't… be easy… but…you need… to…" Dick's eyelids fluttered as he struggled to stay conscious.

"No. Stay with me, Grayson." The longer he could keep him conscious the better chance he had. "What won't be easy? What is this new therapy?"

"You… need…" Dick was fighting with determination but there was no way he was going to win this battle. His eyelids sank.

"Open your eyes! Grayson?" Jason checked his pulse again. It was weaker. He was losing him. "Oracle?!" For the first time, emotion punctuated the word.

"I'm trying. Everyone's off planet! Ambulance ETA is 13 minutes."

"He needs help now!"

"Red Robin and Robin are already enroute. Alfred is firing up the Batwing but he's at least…"

Abruptly the trembling stopped, and Dick's body went limp. "Oracle! He's crashing!"


Jason leapt to his feet, raced around the bed and opened the wardrobe. In a single movement, he pushed the hanging shirts to the side, exposing the electronic security panel he knew was there, thrust his hand against it, and yanked open the costume safe hidden behind the back wall. Grabbing one of Nightwing's gloves, Jason accessed the emergency injector pen concealed in it, raced back to Grayson, pulled back the blanket and rammed the Bat cocktail into Dick's thigh, hoping it may give the injured man a few extra minutes.


Jason rolled Dick back onto his back and listened again. Grayson's breathing was no longer laboured – it had stopped. "Staring CPR!" Todd shouted.

In that moment, the world around Jason slowed. He tipped Dick's head back and blew life-giving oxygen into the slack mouth and then started pumping the still chest. "Come on, Grayson. You are not dying on my watch!... My life is #$% !ed up enough without everyone… blaming me for your death… Come on, Dick… Please…. Don't #$% !ing die!"

"Help's coming. The Titans are back on the planet. They got my message a few minutes ago."

Even before Oracle finished the statement, Jason was dragged back - thrust out of the way. The Flash, Troia and Starfire crowded around Dick seeming to materialise out of thin air. Donna moved in and easily lifted the unconscious man. "Kory, keep up the CPR," she ordered. Starfire started pumping Dick's chest as Donna carried Dick from the bedroom, Wally wrapping the blanket firmly for the flight.

Jason climbed to his feet and jogged after them, watching The Flash open the window. Troia and Starfire leapt from it with their precious bundle cradled in Donna's failsafe arms. Jason watched them stunned as they flew off into the distance and disappeared in seconds, his elevated breathing the only sound in the room.

The Flash turned, eyeing Jason carefully. "You saved his life." He looked and sounded stunned, Jason's reputation clearly preceding him.

"A momentary lapse of judgement," Jason muttered, spinning and walking away.

- Sons - of – the - Bat - - Sons - of – the - Bat –

Red Hood gunned the bike through the streets of Gotham, allowing the frosty air of the winter's morning to blow out the cobwebs. His hands were trembling on the handlebars – the excess adrenalin from what he'd just experienced causing the muscles to twitch.

Needing time to sort out his head, Jason headed out of the city. Why the hell had he listened to Oracle… responded… helped? It made no sense. He didn't care if Grayson lived or died. Didn't care what Batman thought. He owed them nothing!

- Sons - of – the - Bat - - Sons - of – the - Bat –

An hour later, Jason re-entered his apartment. "Carole?"

She was gone. He really couldn't have expected her to wait. He had seen the fear in her eyes when he'd lost control.

Todd grabbed the milk bottle from the fridge and drained it. Fishing his phone from his pocket, he eyed it for a few seconds before discarding it on the bench and heading for the sofa. Squeezing the remote, he flopped back to watch the morning news.

For several minutes, Jason tried to focus on the speaker, but his mind refused to settle, images of Grayson's pale face resurfacing. With a string of curses, Todd checked his watch, got up, grabbed his phone and called the last number.


"Jason, we're at the hospital. Ruptured spleen. A small tear. He probably wasn't even aware of it until it was too late. He's in surgery, but the prognosis is good and…"

Relief flooded Jason. His eyes grew wide as he registered the emotion. RELIEF?!

Reeling at the solace he felt at hearing Grayson was all right and furious at himself for getting involved, Todd hurled the phone at the wall, stormed into the spare bedroom he'd set up as a gym, pulled on the boxing gloves and savagely attacked the punching bag.

- Sons - of – the - Bat - - Sons - of – the - Bat –

18 hours later…

A map of the Johnson Technology compound filled the computer screen. Blue eyes narrowed. It wasn't going to be easy. The security was top notch, but then, so was he. Jason smirked with satisfaction. His very specific skillset was proving valuable. There were dozens of faceless men willing to pay handsomely for his services.

Eight cameras, twelve guards, sensors and at least one dog. He would need to…the hair on the back of the young man's neck rose. There was no sound, but he sensed… Bile rose from his stomach.

"A royal visit. I am flattered." Todd swivelled the chair slowly to find exactly what he expected - Batman standing in the middle of the small second bedroom that doubled as both an office and workout space.

Jason glared. This was the first time he and Batman had been in the same room since…

The ticking of the clock on the wall was the only sound in the uncomfortable silence.

Curtly, Batman's chin dipped once. A split second later, the Dark Knight spun, his cape flying out behind him.

"I take it that was your version of thank you?" Jason called after him. Todd rose and followed. "What, so that's it! Nothing to say about…" The outside room was already empty. "You #$% !ing bastard!"

Jason's rage awakened and built with such speed he felt dizzy. It was like an uncontrollable furnace inside him - like the molten lava that had given him back his life after the Joker had stolen it. And the ignition point was always the same - Batman… anything to do with Batman and very specifically, Dick Grayson. Batman's voice filled Jason's mind, drawn from a time he had tried to forget.

No. You need to get higher. Dick would spring off the wall to..

Go left, damn it… Why? I'm on the right…. Dick would go left because…

Dick was able to…

It hadn't mattered what he did or how hard he had worked, in Batman's eyes, he was never as good as Dick Grayson. Not even close. Dick Grayson had been the Boy Wonder. Everyone said so. Jason, on the other hand, had been nothing more than the Boy Blunder. His aversion for Dick Grayson festered like an infected wound that refused to heal.

To add fuel to the intense inferno, it had been Nightwing who who had dutifully tracked Jason down and they had fought - fought a battle for their 'birth right'... The Cowl.

Todd's stomach did a slow roll as his emotions descended into the pit of loathing he'd resided in for so long. His defeat at Nightwing's hands still stung, for it appeared to confirm what Batman had continued to tell everyone; Grayson was better than Todd. Jason had been more than prepared to kill Dick Grayson to prove them all wrong… something the other man knew and yet 'Goody-Two-Shoes' still showed no malice towards him. Dick seemed to be the only person on the planet who had actively refused to give up on him… who had repeatedly tried to get him help. Help Jason didn't want and had rejected, but help all the same.

Why? What was in it for Grayson? The confusion and darkness fed Jason's gnawing hatred of Dick in a way he simply couldn't control.

Knocking on the front door dragged him back to here and now. Jason tore it open, almost pulling it from its hingers. Standing there looking a little shocked was Tim Drake.

"WHAT?" Jason demanded harshly.

"Can I come in?"

Todd grunted, willing himself to calm.

Tim entered and turned to face Jason. The last time the two had crossed paths, was twelve months earlier. "He's conscious. He… he knew you were there. Said you fought hard to save his life."

Jason stared back, his chest heaving a little as he continued to wrestle for control of the darkness that lived inside him.

"He wanted me to give you this." Tim held out a folded piece of paper.

Jason snatched it and then tossed it onto the table. "Anything else?"

Tim shook his head in disgust. "I don't get it. What did he ever do to you?"

Jason glared at him. "None of you damn business."

"He is my business. He's the best man I know… A better man than either of us will ever be. What did he do that lit a firecracker up your arse?"

Jason's anger rose, threatening to consume him. "Nothing."

"Nothing?" Tim studied Jason's face, his cheek twitching with raw emotion. "What, so this hatred you seem to have for him is just to punish Bruce… or is it to punish yourself?" Jason lashed out. Tim flipped backwards out of reach and landed in a crouch.

They glared at each other; muscles tensed; the situation ready to detonate.

Jason clawed back restraint and his voice lowered to a lethal whisper. "Get out before I do something I'll regret."

"Read the note. He insisted I brought it here personally," Tim growled, rising slowly.

Jason scooped up the note, screwed it into a ball and pelted it at the wall.

"That's really mature. You're an arsehole, you know that." Tim blasted out of the apartment and into the hall but paused, his back to Jason. "He trusts you. God only know why. But…" Drake swallowed. "You saved his life. Maybe… maybe he is right about you." The teenager glanced back over his shoulder. "He believes there is a place for you in our team, Jason, once you get a handle on your temper."

"I don't #$% !ing want anything to do with any of you!"

Todd slammed the door and then punched the wall beside it, pain exploding through his fist. On one level, Jason knew it wasn't Grayson's fault that he had never lived up to Batman's expectations. However, on another level… hatred of Dick so black it burned.

Abruptly, the rage subsided as quickly as it had developed, leaving him feeling disoriented… but the darkness lingered, prickling his very soul.

With a long, tired sigh, Jason stalked across the room, scooped up the ball of paper and unfolded it. For a moment he stared at the words. Then, an amused smile claimed the young man's face as he read the single sentence aloud.

"Thank you for your momentary lapse of judgement. Dick."

Aussie: And so starts my new series. 😊 As stated earlier, it was only going to be one story – "His Boys" – but I found myself wondering how they had got to that point and so, this is one of the 'stepping stones.' I hope you enjoyed it. I would love to know what you thought. Dick will feature more prominently in future stories – I promise.