#6: READY OR NOT...
Somewhere in her head, because that's where the interface was for her future-tech, there was something like a blinking indicator light (it wasn't really like that, it was more like a thought, just a certain kind of thought, laid out among other thoughts in a remarkably fluid and intuitive sort of way), it told her that she had a message waiting to be listened to on her 'phone' (it wasn't really a phone, she'd just set one of her future apps to monitor her phone number and record the messages. She'd known it was from Holly of course, but she'd had... other things on her mind, with kitty at first, then the James of it all, but she was back to eating a cookie, so she thought she should check what it was.
"Um, hi... Hailey?" Holly Robinson's voice spoke in her head. "It's, um, it's Holly. You said I could call, and well, you, um... I don't really think you did, but I guess, anyway, I guess I just have to ask... Jason... When he got home last night, his adopted daughter, Kelly, was killed and his son, Zane, was kidnapped... He got a note saying that if he didn't kill himself by noon today, Zane would die... He thinks you did it. But um, you didn't right?"
Hailey stopped listening. "James, darling? We have to go." She went over to him and grabbed his hand, pulling him up to his feet. She activated her teleport app and was in Holly's living room in the blink of an eye.
"Hailey, what the?" James started to say.
"Shush. Important stuff." Hailey scolded him.
Holly was there, and so was Jason. When Jason saw her, he grit his teeth, stood up, and asked. "Was it you?" With a parent's barely contained furry and terror.
"Nope." Hailey answered. "I've never hurt a kid in my life, and I didn't kill or kidnap yours... nor have I clubbed any poor defenseless sea lions to death with a baseball bat for kicks either by the way in case that was your next question." She looked to Holly and smiled a little, then looked back to Jason. "I will, however, happily hunt down the soon to be diseased people who did this bad, bad thing and get your son back for you if you want?" She offered brightly. This would also (probably) win points for her with Holly and lock in their friend status for sure... Not that she wouldn't have helped the little kid anyway, but it -was- a happy fringe benefit, wasn't it?
"...Yes." He spoke.
"Stay here, you. Find out stuff in case I don't." She told James, activating her app and teleporting away again, appearing in Jason Todd's apartment (which one of her apps had searched out in less than a second once she'd asked it to). There were two cops there, who were startled by her appearance. She touched their foreheads in quick succession though, and they fainted at her touch. She went down on her knees by Kelly's dead body, touched her forehead and, after about thirty seconds, her body healed and she came back to life with a start. It was another app she had. Bring back the dead app--very nifty (standard stuff in the future, apparently). It worked as long as the head was in fairly good shape and hadn't been dead too long.
"What on... ohh, my head..." Kelly sat up and rubbed her head, looking around. "What's going on? Who are you? Cops... Ohmygod, Zane!" She got up and looked around.
"He was kidnapped. Mind if I look in your head to see who did it, please?" She asked solicitously.
"I what... Who are..." She closed her eyes. "I... I was dead, wasn't I?"
Under other circumstances, Hailey might have asked her if she'd seen a certain Hell queen hottie while she was away, or maybe some scantily clad women with dove-like wings dressed in white perhaps, because she was a little curious, but she put that thought aside for now. Her new friend's friend needed her help, and so did a little kid. "Yup, I brought you back to life. I'm handy like that. Now, head looking? Yes? No?" She asked, feeling impatient but trying not to show it too much.
"Um, yes?" Kelly offered, confused.
"Good girl." Hailey smiled, touching her forehead with a finger again and looking through her brain's visual and auditory memory for the last bit of time before her death. It actually startled her a little when she saw who it was. Not that she recognized him, but there was just something... hollow--cold--about him. She scanned him though, and then took her finger away from Kelly's head and let her info search app work, looking through every scrap of information available to it in the world today and in her future archive, while she also scanned the apartment for an energy signature. The results cross-referenced with each other and came back with one result: "The Untitled." She spoke the word.
Only a few vague references of them had survived to the time her future-tech was from, but there was more info on them from a few government servers in the here and now. Still, not much. They were magic, and immortal (though obviously killable if they'd died off long before her tech's time). They were body jumpers--secretive and hard to track. They did damage and moved on. They were apparently very dangerous, and she had no info on how to kill them. "Oh well." She tapped Kelly on the forehead again and teleported her back to Holly's place.
She didn't have enough info to track the Untitled who'd done this, but she had a complete bio imprint of Jason Todd and used it to geo-lock his only living close biological relative. She didn't even have to use satellites, he was here in the city. She teleported to his location.
There was a man on a chair, his arms on his knees, hands dangling in the air. He was looking at the floor, but slowly looked up when she appeared next to his (thankfully still alive and mostly unharmed) hostage. Their eyes met.
The man must have kept the child alive in case his father didn't go through with his suicide, for leverage. Looking into his eyes, she couldn't believe he would abstain from killing the boy just because he'd said he would. "Damn. You are one ugly ball of monster gunk, aren't ya fella." She smiled to him.
"You should know: coming here like this, you've just gotten yourself killed." He spoke, tearing out of his chair and coming at her, inhumanly fast. He promptly vanished through a hole in the air she'd made that lead to, um, somewhere in outer space. She didn't really care where particularly.
She did kind of smile a little though, 'cause it -was- kinda funny. "Bye now." She spoke to the empty air. See, she'd had no idea if she could have won against him in a fight or anything, so the sensible thing was not to fight. Especially 'cause there was a kid in the room an all, and it wouldn't be quite as heroic seeming to Holly if she accidentally traumatized the poor boy after all. "Annnnywaaay..." She turned around on the spot and went over to Zane and knelt down before him so their eyes could meet. "Hey, Zane. Has anyone ever nicknamed you 'Zany' by they way? Never mind, not important. Daddy yours sent me. Here, he's probably really worried." She tapped his forehead lightly and teleported him back to Holly's place. She stood, activating her app, and she was back at Holly's too. Her and Holly's eyes met first. "There, all better. Anyone want cookies?" She asked, looking around the room. "What?" She asked a silent Holly.
"Um, thanks?" Holly replied.
"You're welcome." Hailey smiled brightly. "So, is that a no on the cookies?" She asked. She looked over at Jason who was hugging his family.
"Thank you." He told her.
Hailey sighed. "Whatever. Bored now." She looked over at Holly again. "Call me sometime, we can hang out. Preferably without all the bothersome kidnapping stuff. James? Darling? Stay here and seduce the happy dad or something. He's hot. You could do a lot worse... And he's got scruples and then some in that head of his, so he's -probably- not a prince of hell in disguise or anything like the last one." She teleported away again before he could answer, leaving darling James with them for now. She couldn't have friend time with Holly at the moment with all the Jason drama obviously, and she really wanted to figure out that ruby, and people kept interrupting her. It was getting annoying! ...She did tag and geo-lock them all before she left though, just to be safe, so she'd get an alert from one of her apps if any of them got into anymore trouble while she was off playing kitty's dating game.
Bright side? She seemed to be making friends and meeting people. (Emotionally healthy! Yay!) Bad news? They apparently were the kind that got into trouble a lot, and might be a little on the needy side. (Not a deal breaker by any means, but it was obviously less than ideal.)
She went home and got cookies. For some reason she was craving them today. She didn't usually. Was it some odd, random, and yummy side-effect of falling in love with Selina Kyle? If it was, it was... well, no, never mind, odd, random, and yummy basically covered it...
"What's that about?" She wondered absently to herself as she pondered the ruby.
It surprised her that she hadn't figured it out yet, even with all the distractions. It meant either kitty was smarter than her (which would be awesome, unlikely as it was), she was being hugely obscure (even more unlikely, give what she knew of Selina's personality), or the clue was some place she had to go to figure it out (like a treasure/scavenger hunt maybe) and not a riddle or puzzle by itself.
She smiled happily. Kitty was clever, and very fun. She liked that. A lot.
She ate the cookie and stared at the ruby, using a self-guided info search instead of an automated app to research where the gem could have come from.
It took a over a minute, but she found out that it was part of a crown that had been in a downtown museum. Surprise, surprise: Stolen two months ago, the thief unknown and never caught. That meant kitty was the thief for sure. It also meant it was a treasure hunt like she'd thought for almost sure.
"In other words: Fieldtrip." She spoke to the ruby.
She put down another half-eaten cookie, changed clothes from the jeans and tank-top to something more for everyday walks about town, and teleported there. Not inside, outside. It was open today. She bought a ticket and went in to look around with the rest of the art aficionados that were visiting that day. She had plenty of time to figure it out, and this was really putting her in an extra good mood... The thought of kitty being so thoughtful to come up with this, just for her. She didn't want to rush it.
"Hailey!" That James guy called in protest as the woman he'd come with disappeared before their eyes.
The Harlequin. Or, Hailey, apparently... He never thought she would... It had only taken her, what, five minutes? Fuck... "Kelly? I, uh..." He looked at her and spoke with care, hardly believe what, who, he was seeing. "Can you tell me what happened? I mean..." He felt shaky just looking at her. More absurdly grateful that he'd ever felt for anything in his entire life, but he still wasn't quite sure he believed it. She'd been dead. He'd checked her pulse. Dead. How on Earth...
"I died, yeah... I know..." Kelly replied quietly. She looked up and met his eyes. "She um, she brought me back to life... I guess..." She told him.
He looked over to 'darling James', who'd taken a seat in a chair and was watching them with what he'd describe as mild curiosity. "She's your friend, I guess... Can she do that?"
"I don't know. Probably. You'd think she would have brought Len back if she could've though. So, who knows?" James replied.
"Who's Len?" Holly asked.
"Len. Leonard Snart. Her ex's dead brother. She accidentally got him killed. Broke them up, too. Bad times, those." He told them soberly. "Even I steered clear of her for a week or so after it ended with them. Seriously, heartbroken Hailey is -not- a woman you ever want to meet, even if you do happen to be her friend."
"Huh..." Jason replied. "Kelly, Zane... what, um, what can you tell me about who..."
"Killed me?" Kelly asked. "Freak broke down the door like it wasn't there. I tried to hide... Went for the gun." He kept one in the apartment and had taught Kelly how to use it. "Shot him. Didn't work though..." She related in a quiet, almost shy voice. She tried to sound tough, but the act wasn't very convincing. She was still scared. Of course she was. Kelly had been a twelve year old runaway when they'd met. He'd been a high-class whore who'd been stuck with a baby by a Jane who didn't want the kid they'd accidentally made together. He'd needed a baby sitter, she'd needed a place to stay that... well, a place that would be safe. And she'd impressed him right off with how much help she'd been. Over the years, it just... kind of started to feel like he had two kids, not one. He was ridiculously relieved and happy that she wasn't dead, however it had happened. "He had these eyes, see... I don't know how to describe... Looking into'm though, felt worse than when he hit me in the head and I died." She admitted softly. "He never said anything but 'Bah!' and 'Annoyance' before he whacked me over the head... Who even says 'Bah!' anyway?" She muttered.
"Only a truly uncouth individual, I'm sure." James provided unhelpfully. Damn he could work a smile though.
"Duh." Kelly told him mockingly, but smiled a little when she did it.
"They call football 'soccer' in the rest of the world." James replied.
"Huh?" Kelly asked.
"I was on a role. You know, being duh." He smiled.
"Really." Kelly told him.
"Anyway." Holly interjected.
"Now you're imitating her. That can't be good." James put in before Holly could say whatever it was she'd planned to say.
"Huh?" Holly asked.
"Hailey. It's a thing with her. 'Annnnywaaay', she says it a lot. Of course you know this means you're probably soul buddies or something." He answered.
Holly just looked at him oddly. "Anyway. You know, we really don't even know what happened. What Hailey did... You three should stay here with me. At least for now. It's safer."
Jason looked at her in question.
"Look, I know we're not -exactly- friends or anything, but say yes anyway. I'm trying to help out here." Holly told him. "So don't let your pride make you an ass or something."
"Fine." Jason told her. It kind of grated him, but she was right. He needed a safe place to stay. Safer anyway. His apartment was probably a crime scene by now, he'd have to assume. He had that jewelry stashed of course, but if there were people still after him, going back to his old neighborhood was a -bad- idea. Holly was an opportunistic murder. And by staying with her, it was pretty close to him saying he was okay with that. He wasn't. But his kids... And Harlequin had saved them, even though she was probably the worst person, on paper at least, that he'd ever met. Fuck though, he hated being associated with murderers. It felt like he was betraying his family or something... Not the family he had now, just the one he -used- to have...
"Well, I, at least, should probably be going." James put in.
"What? Why?" Holly asked.
"Kids on the premises. Not sure Hailey really thought this one through... I'm not exactly safe to be around right now. Cursed by the queen of Hell as I seem to be." He told them.
"The queen of Hell?" Kelly asked, clearly doubting it.
"Believe it or not, some people find me even more annoying than they probably find you." He smiled charmingly to her.
She was quiet and actually blushed a little at that.
"If I get un-cursed though, I might just take Hailey up on her suggestion and give -you- a call." James smiled very flirty to him.
Jason smiled back, a little flattered actually. James was really something to look at, he had to admit. And that smile was a heart-stopper for sure. "I'm not exactly dating material, you know." Jason told him. "And your best friend -is- a murder. Maybe you are too, for all I know."
"Being a little judgy, aren't you? After what she just did for you?" James countered, opening the door. "Ta, all." He waved, and was gone, the door closing behind him.
"He's got a point, you know." Holly put in.
"Maybe..." He allowed. Still not liking it one bit though.
"Hey, come on... Zane... What's wrong, kiddo?" He heard Kelly saying.
He looked over at Zane, who was crying in Kelly's arms. Jason felt well and truly frozen in his tracks.
"Has he said anything since Hailey brought him back?" Holly asked in concern, sitting down on the floor next to him and looking at his kids now too.
"No..." Jason spoke, feeling his mind kick into gear again, and he went over to his son. "Zane?"
It felt like the world had been kicked out from under him all over again.