This story is a sequel to Pekuxumi's story "Interference."
It's amazing. Go look it up. XD
This has a warning for slight language (nothing major, I don't think) and a LOT of feels, in my own opinion. I don't own this.
Chess term: Breakthrough- destruction of a seemingly strong defense, often by means of a sacrifice
It is an outrage, Damian decides for the eighteenth time that night- and yes, he's been counting. He's not a fool, although Father seems to think he is. And honestly, what right does Drake have to send him home?
"Imbecile," Damian mutters under his breath, hitting the next rooftop harder than expected. He subconsciously drops into a roll to break the impact, continuing on his path.
Really, just because Father had gone to speak to the Commissioner and paired him with the fool left behind did not give Drake the right to dismiss him. All he'd done was seized the moment and leapt into action, but in the words of the complete idiot, he was not "sticking to the plan and I can't work with you. Go home; I'll do it myself."
If Drake thinks he can bust the drug circle of Bane, then he's welcome to it. Damian will gladly let him get killed. Father can't blame him for it; the moron explicitly told him to leave. He was simply following orders.
So now he's headed across the sky of Blüdhaven, towards the apartment of his oldest "brother." They aren't really brothers, of course, but Grayson enjoys the term, so Damian usually decides to humor the only brother he can stand.
Grayson will understand. Damian will be able to rest for a few minutes, then perhaps convince the older man to don his vigilante costume and patrol with him. Grayson usually allows him to call the shots and take the lead.
True, Nightwing is much chattier than Batman, more bouncy and obnoxious than Drake, and a little bit too clingy, but other than that, Damian really doesn't mind him so much. He is fairly intelligent, and a decent fighter, which is more than he can say for the imbecile Drake.
Grayson is acceptable. He will do until Father returns.
The ringing of the phone startles Jason Todd awake, and by habit, the first thing he does is grab his gun. It takes him a couple of seconds to realize it's just the phone, and he lets the weapon fall to the floor, dragging himself out bed.
"I'm coming, dammit," he snaps at the impatiently ringing phone. He really ought to unplug the stupid thing. House phones are so overrated. If it's a real emergency, somebody will come get him. Well, Dick will come get him. Dick's the only one who officially knows where Jason lives, though undoubtedly Bruce knows, the obnoxious bastard.
Without looking at the caller ID, he carelessly pulls the phone off the hook, holding it to his ear. "You better have a really damn good reason to call me. It's almost one in the morning; I was sleeping."
"Barbara Gordon." He slouches against the wall, wondering if he should pick up the pack of cigarettes lying on the floor at his feet. Of course, the almighty Oracle would probably snap at him for smoking while she's talking to him. Jason doesn't miss the slight quaver in her voice. Dick probably broke up with her again or something. She usually calls Jason for stuff like that. Were they even on again? He's not sure, but he'll go with that assumption. "What did Dickhead do this time?"
She makes a sound that Jason can only describe as a nervous, scared squeak. The part of his mind made paranoid by years of work with Batman starts leaping at conclusions. Maybe she's a hostage, and this is a ransom call, but wouldn't they have her call her father instead of a criminal? Before he can think of anything else, she starts talking again. "D-Do you know where Bruce was headed tonight?"
Jason rolls his eyes and rests his head back against the wall. "Shit, Babs, why would you call me about that? How the hell am I supposed to know that? Call the Replacement or the Demon Spawn; they work with him, right? Hell, call Dick even."
There's that very not-Babs squeak again. "D-Dick's in trouble, Jason. I-It's r-really bad."
He instantly stands up straight, staring out the window as if he could scan for Dick with non-existent x-ray vision. "What do you mean? What happened?"
"I-I'm watch-ching the s-security t-tapes right-t now. B-Bane's i-in his h-house."
Jason's eyes widen. "Holy f-" He cuts himself off. He can almost hear the "Jason Todd, you watch your mouth around me" that Barbara would surely give him if he finished that phrase. "Why the hell is he there?"
Barbara swallows hard, trying to regain composure. "B-Bane saw D-Damian climb in his window last night." She squeaks again. "He just b-broke one of his ribs."
Jason pulls the phone away from his mouth to swear vehemently to the empty room. "Is this happening now?"
"N-No, this a-already ha-appened. I-I replayed i-it."
Jason drags his hand down his face. "Let me switch to my earpiece. I'll head over there."
"B-Bane will kill you!"
"You don't have time to get Bruce, and he'll definitely kill the other two." Jason sets the phone down quickly and sprints to his room, grabbing the earpiece off his dresser. He crams it onto his ear, turning it on as he fishes out pieces of his clothing.
Barbara is definitely crying now, which is really, really bad, because she never ever cries as Oracle.
He can hear a yelp of pain come from her end of the line, and he knows on instinct it's Dick. Barbara yelps again, crying loudly now. Dick is protesting something, and Jason doesn't have time to figure out what he's saying. He squishes the thoughts of his overactive mind. He can't think about what must be happening. He has to get there. Because whether it seems like it or not, he really does care for Dick.
The Lazarus Pit doesn't exactly have open admission. He got lucky. It's too optimistic to think that two Robins can be saved.
Jason stuffs his glocks into the holsters, and realizes that he can't find his helmet.
He grabs a domino mask, plasters it to his face, and leaps out his window, quickly dropping to the alley below and climbing onto his bike. He kicks up the stand and takes off, going way too fast to be any kind of safe. "Oracle, what's happening?"
Barbara doesn't reply, but her sobs are information enough. Bane definitely hasn't left yet. The longer he's there,- or was there, at this point- the higher the chance is of Dick not getting out of there.
Jason weaves through Gotham, still trying to get some sort of information out of the distraught woman on the other end. He's not about to go in there blind, although he might not have a choice if Barbara doesn't calm down a little bit.
He can't blame her though. She's known Dick longest. Though this isn't the elder man's first tangle with Bane, nor Barbara's first witness of him getting beat up, this is so much worse. Bane's blows are deadly enough with Kevlar on. But without it?
Some small part of Jason's mind realizes and starts to accept that there's no way Dick is coming back. The rest of him is too damn stubborn to accept that. He's Nightwing. The first Robin, the Golden Boy. He's not about to die. He's never died before, and he's been to hell and back- probably literally.
He's three and a half minutes away from Dick's apartment when Barbara screams. Not a shriek, not those yelps she'd been giving, but a full out, blood-curdling scream. Jason freezes inside. "Barbara! Babs, what happened?"
"NO!" she shouts, and there's anguish in her voice, and he knows on instinct what just happened on the video, even though he refuses to accept it. Her sobs become wails, and Jason can't listen anymore. He swears and yanks the earpiece away, flinging it to the sidewalk.
He has to start slowing down almost fifty feet away from Dick's apartment, and he knows he was definitely pushing a hundred miles an hour.
C'mon, Dick. Don't you dare do this.
Damian swings onto the fire escape outside Grayson's window, opening the thick glass with practiced ease. He's done this far too many times, really. Grayson is the only one who will listen, and though Todd would probably love to add into his arguments about Father and Drake's foolishness, he's more likely to get shot that way.
The current Boy Wonder climbs in backwards, beginning his rant before he's even turned around. "Do you know how much of a complete fool-"
He realizes two things as he turns around.
One, the lights are off. It wouldn't be that unusual, except Grayson doesn't usually leave for patrol until about midnight, and it's only 11:27, roughly 15 minutes after Oracle starts her work. The elder hero always has all his lights on, unless he's sleeping or on patrol. He's in Grayson's bedroom; the bed is empty. The fact that they're off is… unnerving.
Two, the room is trashed. It's not like the first Boy Wonder was any good at keeping things neat and tidy, but this is so much worse than usual. Completely ransacked, like… like somebody has been here.
"Grayson?" Damian calls nervously, careful not to tread on an overturned picture frame.
Could it be robbers? As if. Grayson is a cop and a vigilante; they could have never made such a mess without being stopped. Maybe they'd just started in here, and the frequently busy man was just too lazy to clean up.
Robin gently pushes open the bedroom door, peering out. One of the lamps is overturned, and another one shattered. It looks worse in the bedroom, as far as damage goes, but- Is that blood?
"G-Grayson, w-where the hell are you?" His voice starts off shaky, but he quickly steels it. "This is a lousy prank." He ventures further into the room, walking behind the couch. "It will take you forever to clean this up, you-"
There's a body behind the couch, face up, eyes half open. Blood streams from the mouth, a harsh juxtaposition to the pale, bluing skin. Bruises litter the body, and his chest is half caved, and his eyes are supposed to be a much brighter blue and he's barely screamed before a hand clamps over his eyes and another is thrown around his waist, dragging him back as he lunges forwards.
"GRAYSON!" he shrieks, before he can realize that he's being held. "GET THE HELL OFF OF ME! GRAYSON!" Impulsively, Damian lashes out at whoever his holding him as he's spun around. His elbow makes contact with something, and a crack follows.
"Shit! Kid, calm down before you kill something!" The words are mean to be biting, but the effect is lost with the fearful wavering of the voice speaking and the nasally mute, which tells the boy that his wayward elbow broke the man's nose.
Damian instantly recognizes the speaker as Jason Todd, but that doesn't calm him down in the slightest. "Todd, let go!" he cries, struggling more feebly. "Grayson!"
He's lifted off the ground and moved away from the couch before Todd lets go of him. Damian backs away from the older man, hesitantly glancing back towards the couch. "G-Grayson, this is a t-terrible joke," he calls, voice shaking. "G-get up."
The Red Hood pulls off his helmet, kneeling next to Robin. "Hey. Kiddo…"
Damian ignores him, moving back towards the couch. Grayson's just… just sleeping. All he has to do is wake him up, and they can fix him…
"Stay here," Todd instructs gently, gripping Damian's shoulder.
"Don't tell me what to do." There's no anger in the snap. He stands still as his older brother moves to the… body…
No, it's not a body. It can't be a body because Grayson isn't dead…
Jason kneels down behind the couch, swallowing back the stupid lump in the back of his throat. "Oh hell, Dickie," he mumbles, too quiet for the current Robin to hear.
Dick's eyes are still open, dull and devoid of their usual mysterious twinkle. Blood is still on his face, drying and beginning to turn brown. Almost subconsciously, Jason reaches down to brush it aside. It just looks… wrong.
Which is ridiculous, considering there so much else wrong… Handprints around Dick's neck, his chest almost completely caved in, bruises visible on every other bit of his skin and it's all just so not right…
Jason can't stand to look at the collapsed chest of his predecessor any longer, and quickly sheds his coat, draping it over the older man. No wonder Babs was screaming…
"T-Todd, h-he… he's okay, isn't he? Merely u-un… unconscious, yes?"
Jason can almost hear the tears, and quickly stifles his own. There will be time for tears later.
He reaches down- his hands are shaking now, and he hadn't even realized it- and gently lays his hand across his brother's face, sliding his eyelids over the unseeing orbs. Only then does he realize that he's never had to do that before.
"Robin, call Batman," Jason says softly.
The gentle tone surprises the younger hero, and he hesitates. "W-What am I-I s-supposed t-to t-tell him?"
Jason bites his lip and replies in a barely audible voice. "Tell him there's been an accident."
Wow…. I'm not even sure what to say. What do you say at a funeral?
What did you say at mine?
I never expected to figure out how you felt. You and Bruce, after I died. Never put too much thought to it. Just figured it didn't matter.
Alfred told me yesterday that you sat out in the rain, right by my grave, and cried. Wouldn't come back in.
You know I'm not that much of a mushy person. Sorry, Dickie, but I'm not going to sit on the dirt above your decaying body. Too weird. Probably won't visit either. Places like this kinda creep me out, y'know?
… I'm sorry I was too late… I should've been there… Should've helped or saved you or something…
Too late for all that now…
The papers said you died of a heart attack. 'Richard John Grayson killed by heart attack' was the headline the other day.
We all know better.
Maybe it was a heart attack, but it was no accident. It was murder.
And I swear to God that the son-of-a-bitch who killed you is gonna be six feet under in less than a week. I swear it. It doesn't matter what kind of powers he has; I can still put a few rounds through his skull.
I know you didn't like me killing, but… It's the only thing left for me to do…
Guess this is goodbye, big brother.
That's my title now, isn't it…
Rest in peace, Dickie.
Jason leaves the casket without looking back.
I have a lot to say, but I'm not really sure how to start…
You're probably with your parents now, right? You always used to talk about that, how you were going to see them again. If you're listening, could you say hi to my parents too? I think you'll like them. Just don't yell at them or anything. I don't want that…
Barbara's not here. I'm not sure if you can see that… But she's too distraught to come out of her house. Alfred went by a few days ago to comfort her a bit, since she threw kitchen knives at Jason when he came by. We figured she wouldn't dare hurt Alfred.
I really thought I'd see the day when you finally decided to marry her. I think we've all been waiting for a while. One of those 'everybody can see it but you things,' right?"
Jason said she watched it on the video feeds. I can't imagine that… I wouldn't even look. They said your chest was all caved in and I just… I couldn't look… Sorry, I guess.
Bruce isn't here either. He went after Bane. I don't think it every occurred to any of us that he might actually skip your funeral to go after your killer, but I think we should have expected that.
I know it's kind of cheesy- which is why I'm not saying it out loud- but do you think you might be able to… watch over him? I'm not sure if there's an afterlife or whatever, but if there is, I think he needs help. He's losing it, worse than I remember after Jason's death, before I was Robin. I mean, we all miss you, and it's hurting all of us, but I'm afraid he's going to go off the deep end…
It's going to be really hard without you. We don't really have a level head to sort out the fights that the Demon starts.
I shouldn't be saying that at your funeral… I'm sorry…
I'll try not to fight him. I know it's what you would have wanted.
I'll come by to visit you sometime…
Tim drags his hand across the closed lid before following his only older brother out of the cemetery.
The last words aren't spoken then, but hours later, under the cover of darkness. A small figures slips into the graveyard, approaching the mound of dirt. Shaking fingers trace the words on the headstone.
Damian curls up next to the cold rock marking his brother's body, and cries.
"I'm sorry," he mumbles, voice trembling. "I'm so sorry, Grayson."
The same phrase is repeated over and over, two hours and eighteen different languages until there are no tears left in the boy's body and he's simply quavering on the tear-stained dirt.
"P-p-please… P-please, c-come b-back… I-I-I m-miss you…"
Damian falls asleep at his brother's grave, back pressed against the chiseled words.
Richard John Grayson
Loving Son, Unconditional Hero, Faithful Friend
May he fly forever free