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Fanfic / The Changeling Sequence

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The Changeling Sequence is a For Want of a Nail Batman fanfic by silverspidertm2.

In this story, the ball starts rolling when Jason Todd wakes up a prisoner of Talia al Ghul, half-a-world away from Gotham and Batman. His first thought is escaping, but he finds himself forced to adapt when he meets a certain little boy...

Mainly focused on the very tangled mess that the Batfam is, the fic is currently dormant since 2015.


Also found on FanFiction.Net in three parts: The Changeling (complete), The Guardian (complete) and The Progenitor (dormant).

Tropes you can find in the story:

  • Action Survivor: Jason in The Changeling finds himself stranded in Eastern Europe with a traumatized kid, knowing Ra's Al-Ghul will probably send ninjas after them to capture them. Being a student of the Goddamn Batman, he manages to bring Damian safe and sound in Bludhaven.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Damian is less insufferable here than his canon portrayal. It's likely due to the fact he bonded with Jason early, left the League sooner and was traumatized by his mother's apparent death. Because of this, he behaves not so much as "crazy mini-assassin ninja", more like "really messed-up and confused kid".
  • Adult Fear: ALL OVER THE PLACE.
    • The Changeling: Jason is kept a prisoner and manages to escape only because of a fire which leaves him responsible for a traumatized eight-years-old kid he must bring home while escaping notice of the megalomaniac terrorist grandfather of this kid. Then when he manages, events conspire to give him a nervous breakdown in which he almost shoots himself in front of his adopted father.
    • The Guardian: A Serial Killer is targeting superheroes' loved ones, which makes Bruce worry about Damian and Tim. Then Tim's father is murdered, and Dick tries to contact Jason only to be unable to for six hours because he forgot his mobile.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Jason is very much a natural with Damian.
  • Big Brother Worship: Here, Damian bonded with Jason first and very blatantly idolizes him.
  • Break the Cutie: If you read Identity Crisis, you know Tim is in for a bad time in The Guardian.
    • Seeing his house burning with his mother still inside left a mark upon Damian, even if he hides it.
  • Cassandra Truth: Dick naturally disbelieves Tim when the boy excitedly explains his theory about Jason being resurrected.
    • A lighter example occurs when Damian casually claims his dad is Batman in the airport. The audience thinks adorable how much the kid believes his dad is a superhero, but Jason saw his life resumed in front of his eyes.
  • Children Are Innocent: Very much an exploration of the trope.
    • Played for Drama: Damian is quite naive when it comes about family, automatically believing his mother when she tells him something and thinking of Ra's as "grandfather" rather than "terrorist with delusions of immortality".
    • Played for Laughs: On the other hand, Dick has to explain him that no, kids don't come from the circus. And he doesn't know what an exhibitionist is.
  • Deadly Euphemism: When he sees how much Jason is upset by Tim's presence, Damian suggests to make the other teen leave. Jason has no illusions about the kind of depart the kid is alluding.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Not only is the Batfam floored to learn the one responsible for Jack Drake's murder was a nobody in superhero terms, their reason for murder - Jean Loring wanted to force her ex-husband to love her again - leaves them disgusted.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Due to a bad experience with M&Ms, Damian dislikes chocolate sweets.
  • Doom Magnet: Bruce briefly wonders if anyone linked to him is fated to know tragedy.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Nyssa complains her father is very much a controlling bastard, Talia muses she may have found serious competition for Ra's in the "lousy dad" category. Yeah, about that...
  • Everyone Has Standards: Jason may dislike Roy Harper but he's nothing short of aghast when the news of Lian Harper's death by bombing is released - asshole or not, Roy didn't deserve to lose his six-years-old daughter.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: For the first story, this is the "changeling" - a fey child dropped in a human family he doesn't belong to. This is obviously referring to Damian, with Bruce outright describing him as a cuckoo chick in a robin's nest.
  • From Bad to Worse: A Jason already reeling from learning Batman picked a new Robin after his death tries to distract himself by watching TV... only for the news to report Joker was locked in Arkham again.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: You can feel Ra's al Ghul's shadow loom over the plot.
  • Hate at First Sight: When Dick tries to introduce Roy Harper to Jason in The Guardian, Jason instantly takes a dislike to him, and Roy being Innocently Insensitive really doesn't help.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Guardian unfolds in the background of Identity Crisis, with Batman investigating Sue Dibny's murder.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Tim is a shameless Robin fanboy. More exactly, he's a shameless Jason-as-Robin fanboy. So much his first reaction when he unexpectedly meets his predecessor is gushing and squeeing.
    • Damian is more reserved in his displays, but you still can tell he holds his father on a pedestal, and why wouldn't he? His dad is Batman.
  • History Repeats: When they arrive in Bludhaven, Jason and Damian are mugged in a dark alley and the eight-years-old helplessly watches his adopted brother being shot in front of him. It's less severe than Bruce watching his parents die, but still.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Talia al Ghul, full stop. She ensures Jason is going to bond with Damian, burns her house to the ground to make her father believe she died with her son and discreetly gives Jason money and papers to go back to Gotham with Damian in tow. Her plan worked without a hitch.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Tim enthusiastically creates the Red Robin persona to gift it to Jason.
    • One of Talia's aliases is "Miranda Tate".
    • When they get a dog, Jason suggests to call it Ace.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Tim drops in to visit Dick, in full Robin suit, only to find Jason here. The previous Robin is not happy to learn Batman apparently replaced him.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Dick is horrified to hear Jason swear in front of Damian, only for his brother to argue that the boy probably heard worse.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. When Connor Hawke shows himself at Wayne Manor, he only gives his first name which prompts Jason to remark on the fact he's no Superboy - Connor Kent.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Dick outright goes "ew" when he learns Damian's parentage, but it's implied Talia being the mother also was a factor. Played straighter in The Progenitor when Jason refuses to believe Bruce has a girlfriend and claims he wants to believe Damian was immaculately conceived.
  • Parents as People: In spite of being emotionally constipated, Bruce wants only the best for his kids, adopted and otherwise.
    • Talia arranged everything to let Jason and Damian be happy and safe, but her methods are quite extreme and very much criticized.
  • Spoiled Brat: Damian displays shades of this when he brazenly explores Jason's bedroom without asking permission, doesn't bother with thanking people or dismisses Alfred as a "servant".
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Actually discussed in The Guardian. Martha Kent considers you don't have to look like your parents to have it, citing the fact Clark smiles like her husband. She also tells Jason he has his father's eyes and suggests he sees Talia in Damian because of their mannerisms.
  • Trust Password: "Little Wing asked for you". And like that, Dick's assumption that Jason was still in the ground crumbled to pieces.

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