Chapter 44: The Next Generation

"Please no!" A woman screamed, clutching her purse to her chest.

"Come on lady! Either pay the toll with money," a man replied, licking his lips while holding a knife in one hand, and the woman's wrist in the other, " Or pay with your body. You were wanting to use my alley as a shortcut home right?"

The rooftop right above the alley a group of shadowy figures watched the exchange. The clouds blocked the moon and Gotham's lights, while bright, always had shadows for things to lurk in. One of these shadows hiding in the darkness sighed loudly to others.

"You would think after years of the Batman and other heroes patrolling the streets of Gotham low level thugs like this wouldn't show their faces anymore." Harley said, rubbing her temples through her cowl.

"I could say the same for Gotham's supervillain community." Batman countered, never taking his eyes off the exchange below in the alley, making sure things would go bad quickly, " Took awhile for you to learn that after all."

"Hey!" Harley growled through gritted teeth, trying not to be too loud, "Unless you plan on romancing all of Gotham's criminal underground like Penguin I think I was a special case!"

"Indeed you were." Batman said, smirking a bit. He turned his attention away from Batwoman to the two other individuals beside them. Their two children, Thomas and Abigal. "You two ready? We won't interfere with your first mission so don't mess it up."

"Geez dad you suck at pep talks you know?" Thomas pouted, looking down nervously at the thug,particularly at the very sharp and very big knife he had.

"Out in the field I'm not your father. I'm Batman." Bruce replied harshly, "We've been over this. Never let criminals know even a sliver of information about your private life. They will use it against you."

"Do you think we are ready for this da-I mean Batman." Abigal asked nervously, her cape clutched nervously in her hands.

"You two have been training for months now and should know enough to be able to take down a common street goon." Batman answered, placing a comforting hand on his daughter's shoulder.

Both Thomas and Abigal were wearing matching outfits, both dresser as Robin to be exact. Their red and green outfits contrasted greatly with Batman and Batwoman's costumes, something Harley always teased Bruce about dressing his sidekicks in such odd colored clothing. He would never admit that his Robin color scheme made no sense, especially since Batman's whole gimmick was shadows and stealth. After the last Robin grew out of Batman's shadow and made his way in the hero community Harley had convinced Bruce to retire the Robin outfit. It was only brought out of retirement to help train their children. The kids weren't too excited about the outfits but were promised if they were successful in their first few missions they would be allowed to design their own crime fighting outfits. That helped motivate their training greatly, with both Abigal and Thomas drawing their costumes and trading hero names in their downtime from school and training.

"Batman's right you two." Harley said encouragingly, placing her hands behind their backs and patting them gently, "and despite what Mr. Stoic here says, if you guys get in over your head down there we will step in. Now hurry up!"

With a small shove Harley pushed the two forward towards the edge of the roof. Looking down at the alley below before at each other, Thomas and Abigal gulped nervously. They took a deep breath and carefully and silently jumped down onto a fire escape. They had to be quiet buy quick. After all, the goon would soon get bored with toying with the woman and would soon just take her purse...or worse. Taking a baterang in his hand, Thomas aimed at man below before throwing it. As soon as Thomas threw the projectile, just as practiced, Abigal flipped over the fire escape's metal railing and into the alleyway below.

The training seemed to have paid off, with the baterang sinking into the man's hand, which was the same hand that was holding the knife. The mugger screamed out in pain, dropping the knife and stepping away from his victim. He clutched his injured hand and before he could even look around to see who threw the weapon, a kick was delivered to the side of the man's face. He let out a grunt of both pain and surprise as his body hit the brick wall. He coughed and a small spot of blood landed on the brick wall.

"What the-" the criminal exclaimed but couldn't even finish his sentence before Abigal landed another attack. This time to his legs. She swiped his legs out from under him, this time causing the man to fall to the ground into a crumbled heap.

Thomas then dropped down from above onto the man's back.

The man yelped and was once again caught off guard as Thomas quickly put the thug's hands behind his back and tied his hands together using the handcuffs from his utility belt.

"Dont move dirtbag!" Thomas growled, trying his best to imitate Batman's gravelly voice.

"Yeah...dont use that voice." Abigal replied as she went to check on the woman. "It doesn't work with that squeaky boy voice of yours."

"Sh-Shut up!" Thomas shot back, blushing furiously.

Watching intensely from the rooftops above still, the parents smiled at their children's success. Batman had already alerted the police to come to area to pick up the would-be mugger. Their family would be long gone, as per usual, by the time they would arrive. Harley places her head gently on Bruce's shoulder as she watched her kids below.

"Well besides Thomas' awful voice acting the two of them did their mission flawlessly." Harley said, nuzzling Bruce's shoulder against the cold Gotham night.

"I had no doubt those two would do fine." Batman replied, a smirk on his face. "They were trained by me after all."

"So arrogant for a man who dresses like a flying rodent." Harley quipped at him.

"With how good you look Batwoman I would have assumed you would know what you're wearing. I think the phrase is "Pot calling the kettle black"." Batman retorted, wrapping his arm around Harley's waist and pulling her close.

The pair watched in silence for a few minutes before They saw Thomas and Abigal pull out their grappling hooks and shot them at the fire escape, before getting pulled to it by the hook and rope. Just as silently as they made their entrance, the two made their escape, their boots never making a noise as they ran back up onto to the roof.

"Wow what a rush!" Thomas said excitedly, "did you seem my aim Batman! I hit him right in the hand as you told me to!"

"And mom-I mean Batwoman, di you see how quickly I took down that loser!" Abigal added, smiling widely, "Two hits and he was down!"

"You two did amazing!" Harley squealed in delight. Hugging the two hard, "We're so proud of you!"

Bruce nodded in agreement, " Passable for your first time. However you two should have been back up on this roof quicker. You spent too long down there for just a lowly mugger."

"Well that was semi-praise I guess." Thomas replied, his cheeks puffed out.

"We will have to work on how quickly you two get in and out of fights. Let's continue patrolling this section of the city tonight." Batman stated, and without another word, turned and made his way to the other side of the roof, surveying the area.

"He really sucks at conversion when he's dressed like that." Abigal said, watching her dad.

"Dont be silly." Harley answered, "He has terrible social skills whether he's dressed like that or not. Part of his charm I guess?"