Rating: PG 13
Summary: A body gives Tim a peek into Jason's past.
Warnings: References to drug use, prositution, child abuse, domestic abuse and dead bodies. sorry. Spoilers for Batman 422
Author Notes: I got merelymine for shiny_glor_chan Remix challenge., She wrote a nice story called Fishnets and Malice, I tried to write a nice story like it, but it didn't work out. Sorry.
He bent over to get a better look at the body. Same MO as all the others, strangled with their own tights. Or at least a pair of tights, DNA has been a little thin on the ground.
Can’t even tell if the attacker is male or female.
He reaches down, searching for ID, pausing when he comes to an open shirt.
“Her name was Dayla. Dayla Layson” Tim jumped and just managed to control himself as he looked up to see...
Jason ignored the greeting, jumping down to stand next to him.
“Lived 221B House Street. Three kids, all different fathers. No long term boyfriend or pimp in the picture, Dayla was just a girl who made what she could when she could.”
“You knew her?”
Jason aimed a kick at the dumpster. “Met her a long time ago.”
Before Tim could do or say anything more, Jason was gone.
“Does the name Dayla Layson mean anything to you?”
It did. He could tell by the way Bruce’s back stiffened, the slight pause, the battle for control that enviably occurred whenever anything to do with Jason came up.
“I met a...woman of that name some years ago.” Bruce’s eyes had never left the computer screen, but his fingers had frozen still. “Jason and I encountered her during our investigation into a killer who dumping women in garbage cans. After death of course.”
Tim nodded. He knew all of this, of course, he’d hacked the files as soon as he got back to the cave. What he wanted to see was whether Bruce would lie to him.
His mouth was open to tell Bruce about the run in with Jason, but instead he heard his own voice saying,
“She’s the latest victim of the Stocking strangler. Wondered if there was a connection.”
Bruce raised an eyebrow. “The number of working girls we encounter in a night, Robin, is huge. I highly doubt these women were targeted for that reason.”
Tim nodded slowly, but his mind was racing. Was it his imagination or was Bruce a little quick to dismiss his suggestion of Batman and/or Robin as a link?
“Alfred.” Tim said, carefully sitting down at the kitchen table. “What does the name, Dayla Layson mean to you?”
Alfred froze, his fingers clutching the feather duster like a dagger. After a couple of moments frozen in that position, he made his way over and sunk into a chair next to Tim.
“A missed opportunity to recognise and save a deeply troubled young man.” He sighed and looked at Tim. “Dayla Layson was the name of a prostitute. She worked around Crime Alley.” Alfred sighed, gripping his hands together. “It was during a case that was extremely trying for Master Bruce and affected him personally more than he would like to admit.” Alfred looked pained. “During that case, Master Jason came across Ms Layson. She was unwell, and her pimp was threatening to cut her. Master Jason felt this was wrong and remonstrated the young man forcibly.”
Tim grinned. He knew Jason well enough to imagine how that had been managed.
“Master Bruce, for reasons of his own, let the beating go on more than he should have. He failed to recognise it as a mark of the path Jason was on, something he will never forgive himself for.”
Tim nodded, slowly, as Alfred resumed his dusting.
“You knew her.”
Jason didn’t react, his eyes focused on the horizon as Tim landed next to him.
“Dayla Layson. You met her when you were Robin.”
Jason snorted. “Knew her before then.”
Tim nodded. “Yeah, she lived in the same block as you for a couple of years”
Gotham’s social services system might suck, but they were good at the bureaucracy side of things. It had taken Tim less than three hours to locate Jason’s file, which had included a list and criminal records of the people who lived in the apartment.
Dayla Layson was third on the list and viewed as a kind of babysitter. Two arrest for solicitation and one for procession. Tim thinks it says a lot about Jason’s early life that social were alright with her looking after him.
“She was a working girl.” Jason’s voice is soft. “But it was better than hanging around the flat with Mom’s latest boyfriend.”
Something dark passes across Jason’s face when he mentions that, and Tim wonders what Social didn’t find out in its very thorough investigation.
“And later on, you found out she was in trouble.”
Jason snorted. “Charlie Ellis. Got her hooked, sent her out, and then threatened to cut her when she was struggling cause of the stuff he’d given her.”
“Poorly cut.” Jason shook his head. “Poor Cow was coming down before she’d even withdrawn the needle.”
There’s no malice in his voice, only a bitter sort of inflection.
“She got clean.” It’s a statement, not a question, but Jason still nods.
“Once she knew the baby was on the way. Said there were enough Junkies in Gotham, and she didn’t want to add to them”
Catherine Todd’s medical records lie next to Dayla Layson’s, in a filing system that only Leslie could have worked out. Both tell a story.
Catherine’s speaks of a young woman fleeing a violent home into the arms of a more violent man. He’s not sure how none of them figured out that she couldn’t be Jason’s mother (there’s no record of a pregnancy), but the record of her life with Jason, the violence meted out to both of them is recorded. It grows worse for Catherine after her husband leaves (although with Gotham that may simply be that either she stopped taking her son to the clinic, or that Jason was already living rough). Then the records of drug abuse, the overdoes, the trips to hospital, the arrests are all stark in the emotionless language of hospitals. Then the diagnosis, and the drugs that this time were to prolong her life. Whether she picked up the virus from a client or an infected needle was impossible to say, but the records did say that Jason had been tested and found to be free of the disease. Sometimes Tim wondered if that was where the sort of friendship with Mia came from.
Dayla’s early life wasn’t in the files. She didn’t show up there until she was 16, so maybe she was a runaway, or maybe her home life had just been even worse than Catherine’s, he couldn’t tell. He wondered if Catherine had taken the young scared girl under her wing. If Dayla had watched Catherine and ultimately learned from her mistakes.
He wondered if she’d cried when she heard what happened to Jason, if she worried about what Bruce had wanted a boy that young for. He highly doubted she had guessed the reason, had probably never recognised her rescuer.
Had she been unhappy when Jason died?
Slowly, he glanced up at the young man watching the horizon and got the answer to his question.
“I think I know who killed her.” He said, slowly, “But I need some help bringing them down.”
There’s a pause before Jason’s normal devilish smile breaks though at him.
“O.K. baby bird, but you’re wearing the dress.”