Summary: Dick and two others are locked up in a bank vault. Jack (?) to the rescue!!

Disclaimer: All the characters (except Twitchy and Jack) are owned by DC Comics and Time/Warner; this is an original story that does not intend to infringe on their copyright. Feedback is welcome!

Copyright: August 2000

Somebody Up There Hates Me!
By Syl Francis

"I recognize that man!" Alfred announced, pointing at Jack.

Jack looked up from where the EMT was treating his shoulder wound. His eyes opened wide. It was the old guy from Wayne Manor! The one who waved the dust mop under his nose when he and Twitchy tried to kidnap Superman, Jr. The old guy had waved that horrible, dust-mite laden weapon right in his face, throwing the allergy-prone Jack into a sneezing fit that almost killed him!

"What have you done with him, you villain?" Alfred demanded dramatically.

"Done with *who*?" Jack asked. "I had nothing do with nothing! Honest!"

"You know whom I mean," Alfred said imperiously. "I mean Master Dick. The same child whom you and your brother attempted to kidnap several months ago."

"Waitaminute--!" Jack said, a light bulb coming on. "You mean the kid! The kid who was here with the pregnant dame. Hey, I didn't do nothing to him. *That* guy tried to plug the kid and lady." He pointed at the unconscious bank robber. Their violent struggle over the weapon resulted in the both of them being shot.

"Me and my brother saved them." He looked suddenly outraged, his complexion instantly taking on a dangerous shade of purple. "Hey, you should be *thanking* me for saving your kid, not yelling at me. I got shot trying to help him."

"*Thanking* you?" Bullock sneered. "We're *arresting* you."

"On what charge?" Jack demanded, suddenly going pale and then purple again. He could almost hear Twitchy warning him to be mindful of his blood pressure.

"Try attempted bank robbery. Assault with a deadly weapon. Possible kidnapping." Bullock rapidly ticked off the charges with his fingers. "And that's just for starters. I'm sure we'll be adding parole violation to the list soon."

"Parole violation--?" Alfred spluttered. "Do you mean to suggest that this--this 'child predator' was released on parole?"

"Hey! I ain't no child 'pred-pre'--what you called me. I ain't never hurt no kid in my whole life."

"No, you just try to snatch them from their bedrooms," Bullock said in disgust. "Montoya! Read 'im his rights and get 'im outta here. Scumbag makes me sick."

"Wait!" Alfred called. "Master Dick! He still hasn't told us what he's done with him."

"I told you that I didn't do nothing with him!" Jack protested. "We was trying to help him and the pregnant lady. That scuz bucket was about to plug 'em both, when me and my brother stopped him."

"Oh, yeah?" Gordon said, his tone dripping sarcasm. "Let's just say for the moment that I believe you. Just what were you two doing in the bank if you weren't part of the robbery, and you weren't following the boy with intent to commit kidnapping?"

Jack sighed and covered his eyes. Somebody up there hates me, he thought bleakly. "You're not going to believe me," he began.

"Try me," Gordon said flatly. Shrugging, Jack related the events to the best of his ability.

"As to why we came in the bank. Your guess is as good as mine," he finished. "We're walking down the street when suddenly Twitchy grabs me from behind and carries me in here. He was acting very weird. And believe me. For Twitchy that's really weird." He paused gauging their reactions. He swallowed hurriedly and continued.

"Next thing I know the bank's being robbed and before I can say 'What the f--'" At Alfred's disapproving glare, he stopped himself from uttering the expletive. "Well, anyway, there's Twitchy crawling away. Saying that we have save 'him.'" He shrugged helplessly.

"I had no choice. Twitchy's my brother and he was putting himself in danger. I promised Ma a long time ago that I'd watch out for him. So, I followed. I heard the lady scream and that's when I just sort of starting fighting with *him*!"

He pointed at the bank robber with his chin. The guy's eyelids began to flutter open. Jack kicked him in his injured leg. The guy groaned and reverted to unconsciousness.

"What'd you do *that* for?" the EMT shouted.

"Creep was gonna shoot a kid and pregnant lady. What do want me to do? Kiss it and make it better? Scum like that gives guys like me a bad name."

"You're breaking my heart," Bullock said. "Enough happy talk. Tell us where you stashed the kid, or so help me, I'll--"

"Bullock--!" Gordon warned.

"Stashed the kid--?" Jack protested. "I told you already. We were trying to save him."

"If you're such a hero, then tell us where he is!" Bullock pressed.

Jack shook his head. "He should be--" He vaguely waved his arm around the security area. "I don't know where he is." He turned to the others, looking desperate. "I swear, I don't know. My brother was fighting with the creep and he got hurt. I shouted at him to take the lady and the kid. The guy had a gun."

The others stared at him impassively.

Jack shouted in exasperation. "I was just a little bit busy, okay? I told Twitchy to take 'em to safety. I heard a door clang shut, and next thing this creep *shot* me!"

In frustration, Jack again kicked the injured bank robber who was just beginning to regain consciousness. The guy went under once more. The EMT called for a stretcher.

"Commissioner, I've gotta get my patient out of here, before this other guy kills him!"

Gordon nodded. "Go ahead. He's not doing us any good anyway. What about this one?" He nodded at Jack. The EMT glared at Jack while shielding the injured bank robber. Finally, he nodded reluctantly.

"That shoulder wound needs looking at," he admitted. "I'd recommend we transport at the earliest--"

"'Clanged' shut?" A dazed voice interrupted the EMT's report. All eyes turned to Alfred who was currently looking as sick as he felt.

"You said you heard a door 'clang shut,'" Alfred repeated dully while staring horrified at something in front of him. The others' eyes followed the direction in which he was staring.

"The vault," he whispered. "Heaven help us. They locked themselves in the vault."

Sarah absolutely glowed with happiness.

"A boy," she whispered. "I have a son." Her newborn baby was swaddled in Dick's soft, Cashmere sweater.

"He's beautiful, Ma'am," Twitchy said awed.

"What will you name him?" Dick asked. "Nicholas or Noel on account of he was born so close to Christmas? How about Christopher?"

Smiling, Sarah shook her head. "No, sweetie," she said, running her finger tenderly along her baby's soft cheek. "My last name's Levy," she explained. "I'm Jewish. We don't celebrate Christmas."

"Oh," Dick said, embarrassed. "I didn't know. I'm sorry."

Sarah looked up suddenly. "Oh, Dick, there's no need to apologize. There's no way you could've known." She looked at them both thoughtfully. "But there's no real reason why I couldn't name him after you two. What's your full name Dicky? And yours Twitchy?"

"Richard John Grayson," Dick said. "My first name is after my grandfather and my middle name is after my dad."

"Hmmmm. 'Richard' isn't biblical, but 'John' *is*. It means 'gift from God' did you know that?"

Dick solemnly shook his head.

"It's actually a fairly common name in the Bible," she said turning to Twitchy. "And how about you? Please don't take this wrong, but I don't think that 'Twitchy' is biblical."

Twitchy grinned embarrassed. "My brother, Jack--he gave it to me when we was kids. I used'ta have a real bad twitch."

He didn't tell them that he'd developed a nervous twitch because Jack's favorite game when they were kids was called, 'Ambush.' And Twitchy was usually the victim. Poor Twitchy was terrorized as a little boy, never knowing out of what dark corner his brother would jump out from and yell, 'Boo!'

"So, what's your *real* name, Twitchy?" Dick asked.

"Awwww...You wouldn't want to name your baby after an ex-con like me--" he began.

"--Ex-con?" Dick asked, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "I've been thinking that you look kind of familiar. Have I seen you before?"

"Uh, um, uh," Twitchy stuttered, scooting away from them and trying to make himself invisible. "I-I--" His body began shuddering. "I didn't mean to scare you that night," he said. "I told Jack it wasn't right, but he's the leader of our gang and--well, he's my brother. So, I said okay on account of we was really down on our luck. But we never woulda hurt you, honest. We're not very good kidnappers, see? Our Papa raised us to be bank robbers, not kidnappers."

Dick and Sarah gaped at him.

"You tried to kidnap Dicky?" she asked.

"That was *you*?" Dick asked indignantly.

Twitchy nodded miserably. "I'm sorry."

"What are you doing out of prison?" Dick demanded. "Did you escape? Were you here to rob the bank?" Twitchy shook his head, 'no.' Dick's eyes widened. "Were you following me? To try to kidnap me again?"

It was Twitchy's turn to look shocked.

"No! That's not true. We was paroled fair and square," he said. "I spotted you on the sidewalk and recognized you. I guess I got kinda scared and panicked." He somehow managed to explain the entire story, in a slow agonized stutter.

Dick looked at him skeptically. "I don't know..." he said, his voice heavy with disbelief.

"Dicky," Sarah said gently. "He did save us from that other horrible man," she reminded him.

Dick nodded reluctantly. When the gun had gone off, he'd expected to be dead. He'd never been so pleasantly surprised to still be alive.

"We-ell..." he said. "Maybe you're right." He looked around the vault and shrugged. "It doesn't matter right now, anyway," he said, and immediately regretted his words at Sarah's sudden look of fear.

"Do you think they'll get us out of here?" she whispered. "Before--?" She didn't finish her sentence.

"Aw, Ma'am," Twitchy said in quiet reassurance. "You don't have anything to worry about. This here vault is a Mosby Elite Model 370. Your bank sure picked one of the best in the business. It's fire rated up to two hours, and has an anti-theft rating of three hours. But it also comes with a failsafe in case anyone gets locked up in it, its own ventilation system that's earthquake rated."

"What does all of that mean?" Sarah asked confused. "I know that I should know all of that, but really, my training only includes what I need to know about the safety deposit boxes."

"He means that if the bank caught fire," Dick eagerly jumped in, "that the vault's contents would be safe for up to two hours. And that it's been tested to withstand a theft for up to three hours." He sat back in his heels. "Of course, that means that we have a long wait. But since it does have its own ventilation system, we're not really in any danger."

"Sure, ma'am. The only thing that could maybe go wrong is that the power to the ventilation system might be accidentally cut off and the chances of that happening are one in a million--!"

The next instant, the lights went out. And in the sudden darkness, they noticed that the comfortable background hum of the ventilation system had also gone still.

"Mama," Twitchy whimpered.

"I can't believe you cut the vault's power cable!" Jack shouted at the hapless security technician. "You're an idiot! Where'd you learn how to break into bank vaults? From a correspondence course in bank robbery?"

"I-I'm sorry," the technician stammered. "This is only my second time doing this."

"For the love of--" Jack glared at the group of police officers and bank supervisors who'd gathered around the security area. "Amateurs! I'm surrounded by amateurs!"

He looked around for something to kick, but the EMT had already taken the injured bank robber and Twitchy was currently locked up in the vault. Jack stomped over to where the technician was kneeling in front of the vault's steel door and shoved him out of the way.

"Give me that thing," he growled, taking a burglar's tool (or rather a Mosby Security System's certified tool) from the technician's hand. Jack stared at the unfamiliar tool and tossed it aside in disgust.

"Where's my tool bag when I need it?" he muttered.

"Sir...?" Alfred began uncertainly.

"Yeah?" Jack asked distracted, digging through the technician's tool kit.

"Do you think you can open the door?" Alfred asked.

"I don't think. I know," Jack replied immodestly.

"I protest, Commissioner!" a new voice broke in. Jack looked up annoyed. The speaker was one of the 'Suits' who'd gathered round. A bank supervisor, Jack surmised. Jack didn't have much use for 'Suits.' In fact, Jack hated 'Suits.'

"I won't have a-a *bank robber* break into one of my safes!" the 'Suit' protested. "What will our depositors say should they hear of such a thing?"

"What will your depositors say if they find out you let a pregnant dame and a little kid suffocate?" Jack shot back. He was beginning to hate this particular 'Suit' even more than usual.

"And never mind your depositors," he added. "What do you think I'll do to you if my brother suffocates inside your lousy safe because you wouldn't let me get him out?"

"He threatened me!" the 'Suit' cried, his eyes wide with fear. He turned to Alfred, grabbing him by the sleeve. "You-You heard him! He threatened me! Commissioner, I demand--!"

Alfred coldly clamped his hand on the panicking bank supervisor's wrist and squeezed. The man gasped in pain and released his hold on Alfred's sleeve.

"If you don't cease your histrionics this instant, I'm afraid that I might have to punch you in the teeth." The supervisor's eyes widened in shock.

"My young master is in that vault," Alfred continued evenly. "And if this gentleman has the skills and know-how to get Master Dick out then, by George, you're going to let him. Heaven help you should any harm come to my boy. And you needn't worry about Mr. Jack threatening you. You'll have *me* to answer to. Not to mention Mr. Wayne, whom if memory serves correctly, happens to be your bank's largest single depositor."

Jack had been leaning on the vault door impatiently observing the turn of events before him. The bank supervisor nodded at Alfred and turned to Jack.

"Please, sir," he said, his voice close to desperation. "Whatever you can do. Just hurry." The man turned away without waiting for a response from Jack. "Bruce Wayne's kid is locked in there," he muttered. "I'll lose my job..."

Jack grimaced in a sour scowl, but he got down to business.

Sarah was leaning comfortably in Twitchy's arms. She was crooning softly to her baby. Dick was huddled next to them, not wanting to be farther away than arm's reach in the dark.

If only Bruce wasn't in Japan, he thought. His guardian would've had them all out by now. Dick wracked his brains, trying to think of a way out, but he didn't have any equipment with him, and he wasn't familiar enough with the complex electronic locking mechanisms of these high security vaults.

Twitchy had already confessed that while he knew how to break *into* a Mosby safe, he'd never tried to break *out* of one. Dick noted that the air inside was growing stale.

"Twitchy," Sarah said, breaking the silence that had grown between them.

"Yes'm?" he asked.

"You never told me your name."

"You promise not to laugh?" he asked, the irony of someone being nicknamed 'Twitchy' asking her not to laugh at his name completely lost on him.

Sarah smiled in the dark. "I promise," she said.

Twitchy sighed. "Abner," he said. "Ma named me after her favorite cousin once removed. Cousin Abner. He used'ta run with the Darrows gang, before the Texas Rangers caught up with 'em. Never made a lotta money, but he sure did have fun holding up small stores and stuff. Did you know that Texas is so big that Cousin Abner's gang never once had to leave the state when they were on the run?"

"Abner..." Sarah mused. "That means 'Father of light.' What a lovely name, Twitchy. You shouldn't be ashamed of it."

"Really?" Twitchy asked, pleased. "I never knew my name meant anything."

"I don't understand," Dick said. "How come your family are all--" he stopped.

"Crooks?" Twitchy finished. "Bank robbers?"

"Uh-huh," Dick said.

"I don't know," Twitchy admitted. "My Papa robbed banks. And his papa before him. Ma ran one of the best bunco games of her time. They raised us to follow in their footsteps." He shrugged in the dark. "I guess I never really thought of it as being 'right' or 'wrong.' Just the family business."

"Oh," Dick said, not quite sure what else to say. "So, are you gonna continue in the 'family business' if we get out?"

"Nah. We promised Ma we'd go straight this time," he said.

"That's good," Dick said. "Batman doesn't much like bank robbers."

"Batman--?" Twitchy shivered.

"Uh-huh," Dick said. Twitchy didn't say anything, just tensed at the thought of the Dark Knight coming after him and his brother.

The silence was suddenly broken by a high-pitched whine above their heads.

"This won't work," Jack said flatly. The others looked at him. "This is a Mosby Elite Model 370," he explained impatiently. "It's been tested by *experts* to withstand a determined burglar for up to three hours. Since *brainless* over there just cut off their air supply inside, we don't have three hours."

"What do you suggest?" Gordon asked, turning away from Montoya. She'd just reported that the missing bank robbers and stolen money had been recovered. Idiots had been stopped by a patrol car for failing to signal a left turn.

"The back door," Jack said, picking up the tool kit. At their blank looks, he sighed and explained. "Mosby Elites have a weakness. Mosby Security Systems doesn't make it public, of course, but those of us in the 'business' are pretty much aware of it. While the vault door has an anti-theft rating of up to three hours, the sides are only rated up to half that. And Papa showed me once that the rating is too high, 'cause he was able to break-in in less than half an hour."

He began making his way to the elevators. "This vault," he said sharply, pressing the elevator 'up' button, "it's used for safety deposit boxes, right?"

The bank supervisor nodded. "Thought so," Jack said. "I suppose they're lined up along the walls and bolted to the floor?" The supervisor nodded once more.

"Thought so," Jack said as the elevator doors slid open. He stepped on without saying anything further.

"Wait! Where are you going?" the bank supervisor called.

"To whatever room is above the vault," Jack replied.

The supervisor's eyes widened. "But that's *my* office!" he protested. "What are you planning to do?"

Gordon, Alfred and Bullock crowded into the elevator with Jack. The supervisor was shoved aside. As the doors closed in his face, Jack replied sharply, "I'm gonna tear your floor open and break into the vault, you idiot!"

"By why through *my* office?"

"It's the only section, except for the floor, that isn't blocked by safety deposit boxes. And I sure ain't pulling no Michelangelo!"

When the doors closed, he added, "Too bad it's not your frigging skull!"

Afterwards, things went fairly quickly. Jack proved he was his father's son, and in fact, he did his father one better--he broke into the vault in under fifteen minutes--to the cheers and relief of the onlookers and the people trapped inside, but to the worry of the bank supervisors and the Mosby Security Systems representatives.

The fire rescue squad gently lifted Sarah and her baby out of the vault in a stretcher. However, she refused to be taken away in the ambulance before Twitchy and Dick were pulled out.

"Jack!" Twitchy cried out, hugging his brother unashamedly to him. Jack almost passed out from the agonizing pain shooting up from his shoulder wound. "You *did* it, bro! You broke Papa's record! He'd be proud, man!"

Jack blushed in embarrassment, and then looking up momentarily, gave a brief prayer of thanks. Maybe their guardian angel wasn't off on a drinking binge after all, he thought.

"Alfred!" Dick cried, leaping into Alfred's waiting arms.

"Master Dick!" Alfred said, tears of relief streaming down his cheeks. "This is indeed a Christmas blessing. Thank you Master Jack," Alfred said gratefully. "For giving my boy back to me. If you'll give me a number where we can reach you, I'm sure that Mr. Wayne will wish to thank you personally."

Twitchy thumped his brother on the back. "You're a hero, Jack!" Jack grinned goofily. Yep, things were definitely beginning to look up.

"Twitchy? Dick?" Sarah called. She was lying on the gurney ready for transport to the ambulance. Both Twitchy and Dick walked up to her. She looked at them both and then at Jack. Dick smiled broadly in understanding.

"I think that it's a *super* idea!" he said, nodding in enthusiastic agreement. Twitchy and Jack looked at her blankly. Sarah smiled at Jack.

"Is Jack your real name?" Sarah asked.

"No, ma'am," he said respectfully. "My real name's John, after Papa."

"That was *my* father's name, too!" Dick said proudly. Sarah smiled happily and very carefully held her baby up for all to see.

"Everybody, say 'Shalom!' to 'Abner John Levy.'"

The End

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