|Never Leave You Alone
Author: makowashiaki PM
Damian's been working alone, though he doesn't realize it yet. Dick has been in a coma, but can't leave his little brother on his own. Damian will find out eventually that Dick was never "really" there. Pre-Reboot AU Three Endings all up. COMPLETERated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Family - Damian W./Robin & Richard G./Nightwing - Chapters: 8 - Words: 17,236 - Reviews: 38 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 44 - Updated: 07-28-12 - Published: 06-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8205774
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N:Oh, Lawdy! If I shared the conversation that's held while working on these chapters… I think people would worry about BlueMoss and my sanity… Family was conspiring against my writing this chapter, I swear! Every time I thought I had a moment to sit and write, I got called away or sent to the store or some other nonsense. And SOMEONE filled pages of nonsense waiting for me to return…It was highly amusing to get through.
Dextra2: At least it's only if he doesn't wake up!
Tyra Kinami: Thanks for the compliments! ^_^ The finding out WAS supposed to happen sooner, but this chapter happened instead. So, no heart-breaking yet.
Cunningham0208487: *noms cookie* Mmm, yummy! Oh, it's my personal belief that Bruce has a decent idea of something being wrong with what he's noticed, but JUSTICE cannot rest for a night… There will be more on that bit later. I don't wanna give anything away. *winks*
Chupo: I'm showing my hand here. I'm really trying to get this completed, so… I doubt I'll get the chance to really develop more than what I've got here, though.
Whitewolfmoon: Oh my! I'm sorry I make you sad with my writings… but then again, I'm glad to know that it's written well enough to warrant that! ^_^
Hount-Walf: I'm afraid I made you wait for this… Hopefully you still find it interesting!
ProtectorKorii: I have to give the credit for making me think of it to Chupo here. :) And believe it or not, Raven was my first thought for a fix it! You'll see what happens, though.
A starter note that will make sense as the story is read: Damian sees Dick as he expects him to appear. On patrol, or preparing to leave the 'Cave, he expects Dick to be in full Caped Crusader garb. If in the Manor, he expects civvies, etc. And no, he doesn't REALLY feel physical contact from him; his mind is just filling in the blanks.
"Italics in quotes would be Dick 'talking'."
(This first scene was written by BlueMoss, again. She submitted it on her own, too, so if you want to leave comments about this part in particular, go to her own submission, please! ^_^)
Dick "leaned" against the doorframe, arms crossed, gazing into the bedroom. Smirking, he observed his younger brother. Tim was sitting at his computer, slumped forward with his head resting half on the keyboard in front of him. The kid was passed out.
Dick let out a silent laugh and strode into the room. He knew that if his body had been solid the action would have woken Tim up, but with him being a ghost and all...
He slowed for a moment and shook his head. No, not a ghost. He couldn't think like that. Looking up he saw that Tim's desk was a mess of files. Tim usually kept his papers so orderly. Dick took a glance around the room and saw that the whole thing was a wreck. Well, a wreck for Tim. There were clothes lying on the floor by the bed with more papers laid out on the messy sheets. He even spied an empty glass and clear plate on the bedside table.
Alfred must be pretty busy to let this slide. Either that or Tim had barred the butler from his room, which was not unheard of.
Dick turned his attention back to his slumbering brother. He walked softly to stand next to him and wondered what he was working on so hard that caused him to work till he passed out. Dick leaned over Tim to see what was on the computer screen, instinctively moving to place his hand on the younger man's shoulder. His vision blurred at the touch and he heard a whooshing in his ears. Vertigo hit Dick like a truck as he ripped his hand away and staggered back. He stared at his hand which burned white hot before cooling. Furrowing his brow, he looked back to Tim. The kid's breathing had quickened and his muscles had tensed, like someone had dumped ice water on him, but he didn't wake up. After a few seconds he relaxed.
What was that? Dick had touched people while like this before but that never happened. Curious, he poked Tim gently on the head. This time there was less heat, but more vision blurring, then more vertigo when he pulled away. Tim's breath had hitched at the touch but nothing more.
A thought came to him. He'd read books where ghosts and spirits could get into sleeping people's dreams. What if that's what this was? Excited, Dick placed his hand onto Tim's head. This time there was no heat at all and his vision blurred to white. A light feeling washed over him and suddenly he felt like he was falling.
Wind rushed past him, something he hadn't felt since he woke up outside of his body.
After a few moments Dick saw ground start to rush up to him. He panicked for a moment before he realized that the fall felt unnatural. The wind had stopped and the ground was moving too fast. He landed with a light thud and, after making sure he was actually on the ground, Dick took a look around.
He was standing on a hilly plain that stretched to mountains in the distance. There were a few trees dotted around and the grass came to his knees. The sky was pure white, like a big lamp that wanted him to see everything. Dick was still taking it all in when he heard a shuffling behind him. He turned to see Tim standing about 30 yards away faced away from him.
Dick smiled. It worked! He was in Tim's dream. Which meant he could communicate with him! "Tim!" he yelled, waving his arms to get his brother's attention.
Tim turned at the noise. He didn't say anything, but had a perplexed look on his face. Dick bounded over to him, pulling Tim into a hug.
"Isn't this cool Tim? I'm in your dream!" Dick said, still hugging his brother.
"But…" Tim pushed Dick off him and backed up. "You died already." The way Tim said it was almost like it was more to himself than to the man in front of him.
Panic gripped Dick's throat. He was dead? "Wha?"
"Look." Tim pointed to his right. Dick looked to his left at a large pond that definitely wasn't there a few moments ago. The water was dark, black. Floating on its surface was a corpse. His corpse. Dick stared, slack-jawed at the horrifying sight. Tim's words snapped his head back to look at him. "I watched you drown in that pond a few minutes ago." He crossed his arms over his chest. "Doesn't make sense why you're here though. This hasn't happened before. You all have always stayed dead."
Dick took a moment to process that information. "You all?" He then noticed something to his right. After turning his head to look Dick instantly wished he hadn't. He saw Stephanie on the next hill over. Only she was impaled in the stomach by a wooden pike that was sticking out of the ground. In the tree next to her were the bodies of Tim's fellow Titans, hanging from nooses. Dick squeezed his eyes shut from the sight, only opening them after he had turned back to Tim. "Tim what is going on with this dream?"
Tim looked at him like he should know the answer. "What do you mean? I have this dream almost every time I fall asleep. Everyone I know dies. Sometimes you all kill each other, sometimes I kill you all, or I watch you fail and die from it. Or, like this one, as well as the past few nights, I just stumble upon corpses. The only person I actually have watched die these past few have been you."
Dick was speechless. Why hadn't he told anyone about this? How long had he been having these messed up dreams? And why was Tim talking about it like it wasn't a big deal? "Tim, I... uh. Can I help you?" Dick had no idea what to say to all this.
Tim cocked an eyebrow at him. "No? I mean unless this dream is going to make me watch you die twice, which is weird."
"No. I'm not going anywhere." Dick moved forward to hug Tim again but was stopped by an outstretched arm.
"Rather you not hug me again. Feels cold."
"Tim... How long have you been having these dreams?"
The younger man shrugged. "Can't remember to be honest."
Dick wanted to tell him that he wasn't just another part of the dream. He wanted to talk to his younger brother about was going on outside of all this. But he couldn't, not now. Dick didn't know why Tim was keeping this all a secret, but if he knew that Dick actually knew about these dreams... Dick knew what Tim was capable of, at least without him there to stop him from doing anything stupid. He will play the subconscious for now, but after all this is over Dick will have to deal with this. "How bad to they get?"
Tim's eyes narrowed. Even though he was dreaming he could tell something was off. "Pretty bad. Sometimes I have to kill myself to wake up. Better then slitting your throat, or stabbing Bruce in the heart. No one even fights back during those dreams, except Damian." After finishing, Tim gasped and coughed heavily, spitting blood. Dick was by his side instantly.
"What. Are you ok?"
Tim slowly got to his knees, gripping his chest. "Heh, yeah. Time to wake up I guess," he hissed out, his face shaping into relief.
Dick heard a loud click before the ground opened up beneath them, swallowing them up with darkness.
The whooshing was back in his ears as he felt the vertigo slam into him in the dark. Slowly, Dick gained his eyesight back. After he felt like he could look around without falling over, he looked for his brother.
Tim was still slouched over the desk, though no longer asleep. He held his head in his hands and was taking slow, shuddering breaths. Dick watched him as he slowly sat up, running a hand through his hair. Suddenly, Tim snapped his head around and glared right at him. Dick jumped. He wasn't expecting that. Wait. Could Tim see him now?
"Tim?" Dick reached a hand out and stepped closer.
No response. Dick's shoulders fell. After a few more moments of glaring, Tim turned in his chair to look at his doorway. He sighed, standing and, with one last glace in Dick's direction, exited his room.
Whenever this whole matter was resolved, Dick was going to have to at least TRY to get his younger brother to talk to someone... Maybe Clancy; she had some experience with helping a masked person figure things out, after all. At the very least, he had to get Tim to talk about them in the waking world. Keeping that sort of mental trauma to yourself just CAN'T be healthy.
Dick sighed, shaking his head. A quick glance out the nearby window told him it was late enough that Tim was probably getting ready to go patrol the city. When he finally followed Tim's lead out of the room, it didn't take long to find the younger man in the cave, pulling on the last bit of his costume...
"I know, Stephanie... I said I'm sorry! I didn't mean to doze off... I'll be at the clinic in a few minutes."
...And currently on the comm with Stephanie, who was apparently at the Gotham Clinic. Dick shrugged a shoulder and let a smile cross his face, deciding to tag along with Red Robin on the trip to the clinic. There wasn't much else to do with Damian already off patrolling with Bruce.
Dick had been on this roof with Stephanie and Tim for a good half hour, just listening to them talk. It had started out mainly centered with Bat business, but in the last few minutes the conversation had shifted to...well... waffles. When the topic became more specific ("The Difference Between Eggos and Belgian"), the acrobat decided it was time to leave his younger brother and the current Batgirl to their conversation, with the intent of visiting himself. Tim's dream had left him feeling unsettled, and he felt the urge to make sure he was still alive.
"Red Robin here. Go ahead, Oracle."
Naturally, the moment he turned his back on them, the kids received an update from Babs. Dick backed up and leaned his head closer to Stephanie's, right next to the ear she usually stuck the comm in.
"...set at the base of the Robert Kane Memorial Bridge. Anonymous tip, but it needs to be checked out and defused if there really is one there."
"-Tt- No big deal. I'll handle it."
"I'll come help you out, Robin!"
"You'll just get in my way, Fatgirl." The blonde scowled at the less-than-flattering name, giving Tim a curt "goodbye" as she swung off in the opposite direction of the bridge.
Dick shook his head, amused at how Damian could randomly prove he actually was a child. The amusement quickly faded, however, and he glanced towards where the youngest member of their family would be going. Visiting his body could wait a while longer: he was going to check in on Damian at the bomb site, just to make sure.
Damian growled under his breath at the disagreeable piece of tech born of a combination of electronics and explosives. It was taking far longer than it should have to accomplish his objective, and each second that ticked by was adding to his growing irritation. A bomb like this should have been simple to disarm, but whatever sadist had put it together had taken great delight in choosing monochrome wires - most of which he had revealed to be dummies placed to kill time.
Finally, Robin gave in to his frustration and snipped a random wire. A triumphant smirk appeared on his face as the digital timer flicked off and he relaxed back on his heels for a moment before standing up. As he shot a line up to the nearest roof to leave the remains to the bomb squad - still not on the scene, though that would be expected from the slack forces of Gotham City PD - he caught a glimpse of bright blue in a nearby shadow. Scowling, he decided not to say anything to the sometimes-Batman, annoyed at the other for first leaving him behind and then having the gall to check on him like a child.
"-Tt-" he scoffed as he flew away, not bothering to glance back.
Dick chuckled lightly at the boy's exit, then slowly made his way over to the bomb. A quick glance proved that the timer had been deactivated, but something about the set up seemed... too easy. The intangible vigilante crouched close to the explosives, leaning close to get a better look at the parts he could see.
At first, he couldn't see anything besides the mess of all white-covered copper wires attached to points on the casing and timer. As he stood up, however, the light shining off of a slender piece of metal caught his eye.
"An antennae?" Dick's eyes widened a bit. "There's a remote!"
There wasn't enough time to catch up to Damian, now. Time seemed to slow down for the incorporeal acrobat as the detonator activated. Light, flames, and shrapnel burst from the casing. He felt nothing as all of it passed through him, only seeing the brightness.
As darkness started to creep into his vision, Dick felt himself wonder "Is THIS what dying is like?"
Jason looked towards Wayne Manor, propped on his idling motorcycle near the gate. In his hand was a manila envelope containing everything he had found in New Carthage during his info-gathering excursion. Unsurprising, given the small size of the college town, there hadn't been much work needed to find those responsible for the Golden Boy's recent head trauma.
A quick visit to the NCPD gave a few details that he hadn't been able to glean from Dick's medical file at the clinic - like the object that caused the injury was apparently an aluminum bat, left at the scene and either handled with gloves or wiped before it had been recovered. He was even able to pick up information about what gangs were in the area, which narrowed his "shopping list" for interrogations.
Several broken bones, concussions, and shattered teeth later, Jason had been given a "consensual" recorded confession, explaining that the now-dissolved and arrested group had been hired to kill one Richard John Grayson (a photo had been sent to the leader's phone) by Talia al Ghul - who had been described as "a hot Middle Eastern babe." The young man theorized that Talia had been intending to repeat what she had done with him, but obviously things hadn't worked out.
Jason pushed away from his bike and made his way up to the front door, where he paused with a hand lifted to knock. After a second's thought, he lowered his hand and bent down to rest the envelope against the doorframe, then turned and hurried back to his bike. As he took off, the outcast member of the Bat family didn't glance back.
A/N: Woo! All that's left are the endings now! First one will be the "Bad" ending… Second will be "Good," and third will be "gray." All three will be labeled as such, so if you only want to read one or some other, then you can choose accordingly. Of course, I'll love it if you read all three, but…
NOTICE: The BAD ending is the only one that WILL have Character Death.
Actual Word Count of Chapter: 2,561 (LONGEST CHAPTER YET)