Takato attempts to boost Batman's tires. It doesn't go very well.
Disclaimer: certain dialogue belongs to Judd Winick. Don't own Teen Titans or Digimon Tamers.
Takato Matsuki stood in his Ms. Asaji's classroom. "I'll be going away, Ms. Asaji. I'm not coming back to school."
"Why, Takato?" Ms. Asaji asked. "How will you get an education if you don't come to school?"
"I don't know, Ms. Asaji. I'll keep learning things, I promise, but I have to go."
"Take care of yourself then, Takato," Ms. Asaji said.
"Thanks Ms. Asaji," Takato replied, sincerely. "I'll do something good with my life, I promise." Takato turned and left. He had to go, he would never be able to explain why, but he felt he had to leave. He had to do something good with his life.
Six Months Later...
Cold. Gotham City was always cold. Takato shivered as the icy wind whipped across his shoulders, slashing his faded blue T-shirt. He had flown into Gotham City, remembering his Mother's bedtime stories of a supposed creature of the night, "The Batman". She said he could swoop down on criminals from the sky and could fight ten men at once. He had always thought it was just something some adult made up, like the Digimon. But here he was in Gotham City, it was a real place, perhaps this Batman was real after all.
Slumping down against the side of the wall, Takato stared out into the dingy streetlights that did nothing to illuminate the roads in the dense smog that seemed to settle down Gotham at night. The boy rubbed his shoulders but nothing he could do would keep him warm.
Takato got to his feet, he decided he was going to try and find a warm place to sleep that night. Maybe there was an empty building he could sneak into. Perhaps he would get lucky and find a homeless shelter with an empty bed.
He began looking around, he turned around and headed toward a warehouse he had spotted while exploring Gotham. He made his way there and found that it was abandoned. He slipped in the door hoping no one had seen him go in. Curling up into a ball, Takato fell asleep.
When he had first arrived in the city, he thought he could use his money to stay in a hotel. Little did he know how soon it would run out. With no family or friends or a job, Takato couldn't get home to Japan.
He began living on the streets. It was hard at first, not having a real home or a warm bed to sleep in. However, as time went by he became used to it. He learned to survive without help. He stole food so he could eat, though inside he hated himself for it.
Stealing food didn't generate money, and when he learned how to do it, he began to boost tires. He tried to find cars that were headed for the junkyards, but he didn't have much luck finding them.
He took every opportunity to boost tires off various types of cars, trucks, and vans. It brought in money, enough for him to survive; he now lived in a shabby, worn down apartment.
He didn't have enough money for a computer so he couldn't contact his friends back home. Takato would have been too ashamed to tell them t hat he was stealing for a living. It was better that way, as long as they thought he was doing well everything would be okay.
It was on a rainy and stormy night that Takato would first catch a glimpse of a mysterious figure. Takato was headed home; he had just walked out of a grocery store with a five-pound turkey in his arms without anyone noticing until the alarm went off. He easily evaded the security guard, having familiarized himself with Gotham's streets and alleys.
"Huh, what's /that?/" Takato said, spotting a strange vehicle parked in the notorious street known as Crime Alley. Rumor had it that a billionaire lost his parents when a robber shot them and ran off with their money and jewelry.
Takato moved closer to the strange looking vehicle he saw parked in Crime Alley. The car was shaped like a missile. There were long black wings on the back and they were shaped like-like a /bat/.
"No way," Takato breathed. He couldn't believe it. The Batman was real. "Bet these would be worth a fortune." Takato moved closer to the Batman's car, what was it the press called it, "the Batmobile," Takato said out loud, "Who thought up that corny name? I bet even Batman doesn't call it "The Batmobile" he probably calls it "the car", or something like that."
Takato had been carrying a jack looking for tires to boost. He also had a brick in a backpack to place under the car so it wouldn't lean over to one side. Takato began to unscrew the wheels from the car.
Shouldn't the alarms be going off right now? Takato thought. You'd think a car that looks that teched out would have the alarms blaring by now. He wondered why the Batman himself hadn't come swooping down from the sky already like in his mother's stories.
"I guess I must be lucky," Takato said to himself. He removed the tire and carried it to his apartment, which ironically, wasn't too far from Crime Alley.
Takato put the tire away and headed back to the "Batmobile". To his shock and horror, there was a man standing not too far from the car staring at the spot where the front left tire had been.
"I don't believe it..." Batman said, bending down to examine the jacked hubcap. "Unreal." He looked up to see a young twelve-year-old boy walking toward him, carrying a jack in his right hand. Takato stopped when he saw the Batman staring at him.
"Whoops," he said sheepishly. He was deathly afraid, but he decided not to show it. But along with that fear, there was a sense of awe. There was a real life urban legend standing in front of him.
"Well...I see you came back to finish the job."
Takato looked up at him wide-eyed and Batman just stared at him intently, a slight smile pulling at the corner of his lips.
The boy was very good at what he was doing. He was also very brave, not many would have the audacity to try to steal the wheels off his car. For some strange reason, Bruce felt pity for the boy. He also had a feeling that the adolescent before him was not a criminal by choice but became one out of necessity.
"What's your name, son?" Batman asked gruffly.
"Takato," Takato replied nervously. "Takato Matsuki, sir."
"Why did you steal my tire, Takato?"
"If I tell you, are you going to take me to jail?" Takato asked.
"Depends on your answer," Batman replied.
"I boosted your tire so I could sell them to pay for my food and rent. The apartment manager thinks my parents always work, I had to lie to him so he would leave me alone-"
"What do you mean you lied to him? Your parents are dead then," he stated it, he didn't ask. He knew.
"Yes sir," Takato replied.
"How did they die?" the Dark Knight asked.
That's an odd thing for him to ask me. Takato paused for a moment. "They were murdered. Gunned down right in front of me when a man robbed my parents' bread shop."
"Show me where you live," Batman said. Takato couldn't believe the man had just asked to see where he lived. Takato thought about it and realized he didn't have a choice. Show Batman where he lived or go to jail. Going to jail was not on his agenda and maybe Batman could help him. He had not forgotten the promise he had made to his parents. He still wanted to find a way to help others; Batman might understand that and help him.
The Caped Crusader followed the young boy back the dingy, dirty apartment Takato called home. The boy wasn't lying and Batman could tell, because he knew where he was going and by the way he acted that he was telling the truth.
Batman took it all in with a stoic look on his face. He turned to Takato. "Why did you come to Gotham City?"
"I came here because I wanted to find a way to help others, I wanted to learn how to fight criminals. And I have to admit, I came here because I'd herd stories about you."
Beneath his mask, Bruce raised an eyebrow. The boy certainly knew how to flatter him, but he never fell for flattery. "Really? Or are you just saying that because I'm here?"
"No, my Mom used to tell stories about you when I was younger. I always thought you were something she made up, like the Digimon. But I guess you're real after all."
"You want to learn how to fight criminals, what if I could offer you that chance, would you take it, Takato?" Batman asked.
"What do you mean by that, sir, seeing you've just met me and that I stole one of your tires, it doesn't seem like that's something you should ask me." Takato stared down at his shoes.
"You're right, but had we met under different circumstances what would your answer be?"
"I would have probably said yes, but right now...you'd probably want to rethink asking me something like that."
"I already have thought about it, there aren't many boys like you. You're one of a kind. You have a strong will and you know what you want to do with your life. You are not a criminal by choice, but you want to give your life purpose, but you don't know how. I can show you how to do that and give you the means to bring criminals to justice."
"You-you'd help me do that? I mean if I were you and you were me, I'd haul you straight off to jail," Takato said. "I don't understand why you're being merciful to me."
"It's what separates me from criminals, compassion and justice, they make me what I am," Batman said.
"Then teach me, I want to learn!" Takato pleaded with the Batman. He wanted to know everything there was to know.
"Even though I've made up my mind about you, there are things that I must see to before if you want to join me in my fight."
"Things? What kind of things?" Takato asked.
"Some personal matters. We'll discuss this later," Batman said flatly. He turned to leave.
"Wait-how will I find you?" Takato said, stopping him with a hand on his shoulder.
"I'll find you, Takato," Batman walked out the door. Takato ran after him, but by the time he got though the front door the Batman was long gone. He stared out at the empty street.
"He sure moves fast," he said to himself, then he closed the door. He had to wonder what all of it meant, and what would happen to him now.
Bruce entered the Batcave and exited the car. He made his way over to where he could change into civilian attire only to be stopped by Alfred. His butler was surprised when he informed him of the incident in Crime Alley.
"How could he possibly steal a tire from the car?" Alfred asked in awe. "There's-"
"We put on those new tires," Bruce Wayne interrupted, removing his cowl. "But I hadn't finished redesigning the hub caps-"
"-Leaving the lug nuts exposed. Oh, and the car's sensors were still down from the electrical surge you had last night...no alarms," Alfred amazed. The boy had actually stolen a tire from the car.
"Thereby, creating the perfect opportunity-" Bruce began.
"-To "jack" the wheels off the Batmobile," Alfred finished the sentence for him.
"Yes," Batman said, putting his mask away. The old butler could see the amusement in his Master's eyes. What was it about this boy that made him different from any of the other criminals he dealt with? Perhaps Master Bruce felt connected to the boy somehow.
When Bruce filled him in on Takato's background, Alfred understood. Fate had sent Bruce a son who needed a path, and he didn't want Takato's life to be consumed by revenge, like his was.
"It seems you two were fated to meet," Alfred observed.
"Yes..." Bruce said, his voice trailing off. Fate was a funny thing, really, it and sent a light to shine in his dark and brooding world. He had always felt alone in his war on crime, now he wouldn't have to be. The Dark Knight had found a Squire at last...