Like always please review... I am trying to improve my writing so it would be nice to see if you think it is doing a little better from the first chapter of "Call Me Datura".
This one is a long one. Again, believe it or not, but I was going to put up another chapter in this and it would have been about 12,000 words but decided that might be a tad too much for now:P
But if you are keen to have more soon just bug me and if enough people bug me I will put it up because I get the need to just keep reading sometimes haha
Jdcocoagirl: Thanks! Your reviews are always so nice! And I am glad you liked Wally comforting Dick, I felt he would be one of the only people who could reach him and like the episode in the first season where Dick went on a mission to his old circus, he avoided bring Wally because he didn't want to deal with his feelings or someone questioning him on his choices. But it is something that we all need in our life and that is what a best friend does:) I hope to hear your thoughts after this chapter, to be honest I am not sure how I feel about it but I guess my main goal in it is to see the boys (Dick & Tim) struggle with taking a break. :) x
RedWingNight: I was thinking that is where they would put Ivy so they should be able to contain Datura. And because of her high status of the commissioner's kid and the rumours of her possibility being Batgirl it wouldn't be smart to take her somewhere else or show any kind of special treatment. Also I guess if she did escape if she was in the Cave she could cause unknown damage and the team might still be hesitant to attack her, I feel it is a risk not worth taking. Thanks for your comment! It keeps me on my toes and thinking about how logical the plot is as I do think the bats are logical so I don't want to annoy the audience/you guys if I insult their characters by making them doing anything too stupid because of their emotions towards Babs. Thanks again! And don't worry Dick will cheer up soon, he does a little in this:P I don't plan on dragging it out too much longer... in the next 2 chapters I plan on having the big fight scene! I look forward from hearing from you again:) x
Thanks again to my beta-reader, Saphire122 :)
Alkham Asylum: 10 pm
The walls seemed to be endless, the air stale, the colours colourless, the space hollow and empty, yet screaming of sorrow and pain. Megan's footsteps became quieter, her body unintentionally nearing closer to Nightwing as they turned the next corridor. Every part of her seemed to tingle with fretfulness. Her eyes wander her surroundings, cautious of the boy next to her. She didn't fail to notice the way he seems to walk with ease in this place.
"Don't worry, this place used to give me the creeps too. Well, still does, but you get used to it."
"Mm no offence, but I don't plan on visiting enough to get 'used to' it."
Her ears prick up as threats and abuse get thrown Nightwing's way from many of the inmates. He persists past the cells as if they are speaking to someone else. Megan begins to wonder if it was really worth keeping Barbara's secret identity if it meant she had to stay here for even one more night. The things she was hearing. She was beginning to understand the alarm most of her teammates were expressing earlier that day. It was clear that the hate runs deep within these walls for the bat-family. She just hoped that they still didn't really believe the rumours of her identity and that the place was secure enough to keep Barbara safe.
A cold laugh sends a shiver down Megan's back.
"Oh goodie, guests! Oh blue-bat, are you going to introduce us?"
Megan found her eyes glued to the strange grin the man held. She had faced him before when fighting against the Injustice team when the team had first formed, but she was never this close, nor did she personally have to deal with him. She of course knew as much as there was to know about him, too much she felt. He had taken away one of their own, and she wasn't sure how she was supposed to feel about that in this moment. Her eyes broke away as she felt Nightwing's hand on her arm.
"How about never."
"Don't be like that boy. Haven't you heard, sharing is caring."
Dick noticed the way Megan's body went rigid and hands gripped into fist as the villain grinned their way. He didn't blame her as he also noticed the way his own body seemed to tighten in response to even the mention of his name.
"Miss Martian ignore him. He's nothing." He gently glides his friend down a bit further to Datura's cell.
"Ouch my feelings! I thought we had something special!"
The laughter vanishes from Megan's ears as her eyes settle on the green woman inside the cell before her. She had her back to them in the far shadow of the cell. Sensing their presence Datura slowly turns around flashing her green eyes towards the two figures outside her cell.
Megan furrows her brows at the sight before her glancing up towards her partner; he had failed to mention just where her cell was located.
"Yeah listen, I wasn't happy about it either but we didn't have a choice, there were no other available cells."
With heavy eyes she nodded. After all she really did understand, there were no other choices.
She hovered closer to the cell, wanting to reach out to the woman in there but knowing better than to get too close.
Datura studied the pair in front of her, expecting that it was only a matter of time before someone would come to interrogate her further. By the green woman's movement outside of the cell Datura figured she would be the one to. She took note of her ability to float off the ground, the way her eyes also seemed to study her, and the way they seem to recognise her. She thinks she remembers seeing her on the night of her transformation, but her memory is still a little fuzzy on the details. Somewhere at the back of her mind tells her that her name is Miss Martian, and she is not a force to be trifled with. She is powerful, very powerful. It would not be in Datura's interest to make enemies with this one, but if she had come with Nightwing, Datura also figured she hadn't much luck of befriending her for her use.
In a whisper Megan lets her hope escape her lips while her hand found its place on the plastic cell door. "Barbara… Do you know who I am?"
As if in a trance the woman crosses the cell to eye the woman on the other side. Her expression un-telling as she reached her hand to mirror Megan's hand on the cell. Megan's eyes seem to soften and spike with hope at the gesture.
Nightwing holds his breath at the sight, his body seeming to hang in the balance to only be broken again at her response.
"Miss Martian. I believe you would do well to join us. We could use someone as valiant and strong as yourself."
Megan's hand retreated as if the cell door had suddenly caught fire. Her eyes glazed over with a sudden resolve that this was not the person she had grown to trust and love.
She felt a familiar heavy hand on her shoulder. She turns to see Nightwing sending a sad smile her way. The sight had stung like a sharp, fast viper. One second giving unexpected hope that he swore he wouldn't let himself believe, and the next feeling the pain of that hope vanishing before it even had the chance to sink its claws into him.
He nods for her to make a start.
A bright green glow shines behind one set of eyes as another set closes in resistance.
Nightwing's jaw locks as he closes himself off to all emotion. He is determined to see this through, to watch the pain she might go through because that was the least he could do. It took all the strength he had to stay there, to not turn away. But he felt that if his friend had to go through all this, then he had no right to turn away from it. Who was he to hide?
Datura clenched the wall behind her for support. She bit hard on her lip and used all the strength she had to block the invasion of her mind, refusing to allow a scream flow from her throat. It was like a slow gas was sneaking its way through her nostrils and into her body, but it would not win without a fight. She didn't know where this determination came from but she used it. Her body fought with her every step of the way, but she had had practice fighting off intrusions into her mind. She didn't get where she was today without a struggle.
"It's no use. It's like with Ivy or when you and Robin were in those bubbles. There is some kind of mental block on her mind. Until we reverse the effects on her body, I am afraid it isn't worth the risks to push harder. Until then, we just have to wait."
"I was afraid that might be the case. Thanks anyways Miss M, you did well."
Datura opened her eyes to two sets staring at her as if she was a specimen in a lab. Her body tense, her eyes hard with conviction. She stared coldly at the man knowing that her anger would hurt him the most. She had never cared to know why or how she knew, she just knew and that was power in itself.
Her glaze never let up as she watched them drop eye-contact and move down the hall and out of sight.
"Now don't tell me you are going to leave without saying goodbye to your uncle J now, boy?"
Both heroes try their best to tune out all the unwanted words expressed their way.
"Fine grumpy! Just do me one favour Nightwing… tell Robin I look forward to meeting him in person on the outside…hahahaha."
Nightwing stood dead in his track. His body seem to prepare him for a fight as his fists clench at the threat. He knew he was behind bars. He knew that Robin was safe, and he knew that he was only saying it to get a reaction out of him. But it was a threat. It was a threat that held a lot of weight and stuck a knife at the memory of the last Robin. With everything that was happening right now, he didn't need this. He didn't need a reminder that he still had other loved ones to lose, or ones that had already been lost.
Megan gently nudges for her friend to continue walking. She heard it too but she also knew that, that thing didn't deserve to have another breath wasted on him.
Laughter seemed to fill the air and follow them down the corridor until long after they left that cold place.
Bat Cave: Tuesday, 2:30 am
Bats squeak and flutter as a familiar roar enters the cave breaking the timeless atmosphere it seemed to keep.
A man as quiet and mysterious as the night itself swiftly exists a black vehicle making his way towards the heart of his operations. Without a moment to rest or reflect on the night's events, he runs a DNA sample. He waits patiently in his desk chair for the results.
In front of the man a computer screen illuminates a file he has not visited for a long time. A picture of a bright smile spread across a young boy's face seems to be strange in a cave that is full of lost noise. He hadn't seen this young boy's face in a while but it was as familiar to him as his own.
A clock ticks over as he contemplates the possibilities of his findings. The logical and the impossible float away from him until all that is left is the feeling of hands clenching at his insides. It was as if he was walking on the line where life and death crossed, where you weren't sure if at the end of the day it would be a happy one or a sad one. He knew that line well. He had watched too many people cross that line. And at this moment he wasn't sure what he wanted, if he wanted to take the risk. To get his hopes up even thinking of what he could gain from the results. Would this be a good day? Or would it be another one full of open wound and endless pain?
To almost his surprise yet not unexpected, soft footsteps come to rest beside him. He could practically feel the old man's eyes widen next to him as he looked upon the screen.
"My lord- is-he? What is this?"
"A hunch. In about 30 seconds we should know if that hunch is right."
The English man suddenly felt a lot older than he was. It wasn't often something could surprise him, especially not in this household. But now he found himself gripping onto the back of Batman's chair waiting anxiously for the results.
30 painfully slow seconds later…
The results were in and the men appeared calm. Maybe it was because they didn't know how else to act or maybe it was out of fear for if they blinked the results would change and the thing that they had dreamed for so long would be just that, a dream. But sometimes the impossible does happen and maybe it was time for them to start believing.
"What now, Sir? Should we call Master Dick?" The English man spoke again, never looking away from that picture of that once happy boy. Their happy boy.
"No. Not yet."
The English man lifted a brow at the man.
"We will, just not now. Not with everything going on. This will become a distraction and we need to be focused if we are to bring Barbara home."
It is funny how life worked like that. One moment you are swinging between the buildings of Gotham, the next the world comes crashing down, tearing away someone dear to you then to only bring back someone equally special. The man wondered if they were destined to play this game of hope and tragedy. But at this moment he thought for once it was best not to poke too many holes into this news. He had decided that in the end, it would be a good day. Jason was back and although he was forsaking his morals, trading his fists for guns, he was still back and that had to count for something, right? It was a good day indeed.
Mount Justice: 6 pm
The cave seemed to have lost its friendly vibe it used to carry. Of course the vibe in this place always changed because it was never long before bad news would be at the young team's door steps, but then it wasn't long after that, that would soon be replaced with some good news. Good news that was yet to come but in the meantime, the team did their best to stay positive and keep moving forward. They were heroes after all, and they still had work to do.
At this moment though it was time for whoever was at the mountain to come together for dinner. Megan had prepared a meal with the help of the latest member of the team, Kori, AKA Starfire. She was thankful for Megan's kindness for the last few days. She had very much appreciated the cultural and cooking lessons. So far she found the food here strange but felt the ability to sleep without fear of being attacked worth the minor discomforts, such as the food or the strange need to be clothed all the time.
Garfield, Connor, Cassie and La'gaan, AKA Lagoon Boy, slowly filtered into the kitchen taking seats at the dinner table.
A green hand greedily pinches a tofu dumping.
"Garfield careful that is hot!" A concerned sister scorned while placing the last of the dishes onto the table.
"Ouch. Noted." A sheepish grin crossed his face at his sister's response.
"This looks amazing Megan and Kori, I don't know what to try first!" The newly amazon warrior was always complementary and enthusiastic towards most things.
"Definitely try the mini zucchini and almond pie Kori made." The martian replied while taking a seat next to her brother.
"Kori aren't you going to join us?" La'gaan spoke, noticing the orange-woman had yet to take a seat at the table.
She was hovering behind a seat next to Conner while staring out to the entrance of the room holding a concerned expression.
"Should not we wait for Nightwing?"
"Hmpf, yeah right." Conner felt he could almost laugh at that statement. He had only seen a handful of people successfully drag that boy away from work before, most were bat-family and even that was doubtful because if one was in work-mode, they usually all were. So they wouldn't even think to stop themselves let alone get each other to. Wally could be persuasive when he wanted to be, but that was rare and he wasn't here. So yeah, in Superboy's mind, Nightwing ever stopping for a dinner with the team was next to impossible.
The alien princess was confused by this statement; she has yet grasp the concept of sarcasm.
"He is a bat" Gar added as if it explained everything.
Picking up on the girl's confusion, Megan politely speaks up before anyone else had a chance to confuse the girl more with their sarcastic judgement towards their leader.
"What they mean is that Nightwing and well most of the bat-family- the protégés of Batman, do not normally join us for meal times when they get like this. Sometimes it is best to just leave them be."
The woman nodded in response but still looked anxiously towards the door. She hadn't known the team long and, hell, didn't know Nightwing at all. But he had helped her out, had shown the first bit of kindness she has experienced in a long time, and she wasn't about to forget that. She noticed the way he constantly worked, and the way he seemed to look more exhausted with each day that passed. He never seems to smile or talk much other than briefings. She didn't know much about this world, but she knew enough by studying the other teammates that it wasn't normal. Besides the younger boy, Robin, he seemed to also exhibit the same behaviour. She wasn't sure why she even cared, but right now she decided she needed to push this. Or at least try to get the boy to join them. She felt that from what she has observed so far, is that it would be good for him and the others if they had dinner together.
"I will ask."
The others were surprised by the comment but did not have the heart to tell the girl that her efforts would be in vain. So instead they watched as the newly immigrant walked out of the kitchen and towards the office.
The silence of the mountain seemed to be deafening as Kori made her way towards the office. Her ears seem to be tingling and her stomach churning with thoughts of what she would say to the boy. She felt a bit annoyed at herself for caring so much, why did she feel this way? It was probably because of the way he intimidated her, which she also felt was stupid, because he was only human and her physique was by far superior. I mean, she was even taller for crying out loud. Yet the way he held himself, the way he demanded respect by just the way he stood without needing the say a word was new to her. Plus he was the leader of a team full of meta humans who all seemed to react according to his mood and presence. They feared when he was angry, cared when he was upset. They respected his wishes and advice. She felt by the way they reacted to him alone was enough for her to know there was something special about this particular human. Something she just needed to know. And that seemed to be making her react according to his presence. She seemed to be aware of how her whole body tensed as he interrupted her thoughts,
"Can I help you with something?"
He had his back to the girl but due to his many years of experience, it wasn't often that anyone could sneak up behind him. And this was no exception.
"How did you know I was here?"
"I am trained to notice my environment. Can I help you with something?"
The young man replied while turning around to face her. He decided he may as well use this little distraction to stretch out his muscles that were becoming increasingly score from huddling over the computer.
She was still confused by this response, as she felt it wasn't really an answer as she flew in here, so she knew he couldn't have heard her footsteps. But she decided to leave the questions for another time. Right now she had to convince this stranger that it was in his best interests to come join them for dinner. Putting aside her doubts she planted a bright smile on her face and continued,
"Dinner is ready. Will you not join us Nightwing?"
"I can't, I will get some later. Thanks anyways Star."
"Why not now?"
He looked up at her, surprised at her response. He did not expect her to even care, let alone push the conversation further.
"…Because I have work to do."
It seems this might be more of a challenge than she had thought. But she was never one to back down from a challenge and she wasn't about to start now.
"Will it not be there when you have finished the dinner?"
"I guess, but-"
"But I can get leftovers later or eat at home. This is better use of my time."
Kori felt herself come down from her floating position to planting her feet on the ground. She was not wearing her shoes which allowed her to feel the cold sensation of the ground under her feet. It might have bothered her more if she hadn't felt so disappointed by the answer.
"All you do is work. You have yet to eat today. Is it not good to take a break, then come back?"
Before either team mate knew it, Robin was gracefully setting up at a station next to his older brother. Briefly observing and nodding towards the two, but mainly opting to stay isolated from the conversation, instead wishing to pour all his spare minutes into the case. It was easier for him to cope with the current condition of his friend while he was working. It meant less time in his own head; less time with the memories of her screams. Sometimes it felt the only time he could switch those off was when he was doing something he felt was productive.
Kori did not know why but the sight seem to sadden her more. Maybe it was pointless to even try? Yet she found herself talking none the less.
"I think Robin should come too."
Robin's ears turned hot red at the mention of his name. Choosing to then lift his head in suspicion of the conversation. Dick looks over to the boy, noticing the questioning look in his eyes and the papers in his hand. Robin held himself much like Dick himself, strong, confidence, professional and hiding all personal feelings and flaws about himself. Dick knew Tim had also picked up bad habits he and Bruce had. Habits like not looking after oneself too well when a crisis hit: choosing to put more effort into the case and less into eating and sleeping.
He knew he hadn't had a proper meal in a long time since he had been staying by himself at Barbara's apartment. He knew that Alfred would be making Tim eat proper meals, but he also knew Tim would have skipped out before dinner, and that he still has patrol later that night. He could probably bet that even though Tim went to school, he would be taking any spare moment to either find a way to work on the case or do all his school work so that after school, he could focus his attention back on the case.
He knew Tim wouldn't take a break between now and patrol, and the only way he could make him was if Dick also followed his example. He couldn't make the young bird do something he wasn't willing to do himself.
He briefly thought about the conversation the other day with Wally. His friends and family were worried about his well-being. He knew that it was also affecting the way they worked and looked after themselves. After all, he was the leader of the team and was meant to be setting an example for them. He thought about Barbara. He knew that she would want him to take care of himself, but he also knew that if one of them were in trouble that she would be doing the same. He knew he wouldn't want her to be doing the same right now.
He saw Tim and even though he was holding himself up right, his left shoe lace was loose, his hair un-kept, and he was wearing that same blue-shirt he wore yesterday. It may mean nothing to anyone else, but Tim was particular and it was clear to at least Dick he was over-worked and over-tired. He couldn't have Tim out in the field like this. Granted, it wasn't like he could stop him right now but the least he could do was make sure Tim ate and took a break. He thought about what Kaldur would do. Even though Kaldur felt he was not fit for the role of leader, he was a great leader and someone Dick looked up to.
As much as it pains him to stop for even a breath, maybe Kori was right, the case could wait for a few minutes while they ate.
"What?" Tim said narrowing his eyes. He could tell Dick was deep in thought, and he didn't appreciate knowing it was clearly about him, as he was currently being stared at.
"Kori, I think you are right. We will come join you all for dinner."
The newest hero found herself smiling like Cheshire cat. She will admit, she didn't actually think she could do it, but it seems that she was able to convince the apparently stubborn leader to change his ways and join them. She felt it wasn't that hard after all.
"I am fine, thanks anyways." Tim stated, not thinking much about it; he had missed plenty of team-meals due to cases and this was no different.
Nightwing raised his brow, amused that the young boy felt he had a choice.
Tim's suspicion raised again by this amused expression. A small almost forgotten smirk crossed Tim's face as if challenging the older boy.
Kori watches in confusion. She was not so observant that she could pick up on the small facial expressions, but she did have a feeling they were communicating somehow. This intrigued her as much as it confused her.
A few more moments of their silent stare-off, Tim decided to raise his eye-brows as if to say "make me."
Dick found himself doing two things, that he hadn't done in a long time. One was displaying an increasingly devilish smile that he almost forgot he possessed, and the other was soon followed as he found himself taking up his younger brother's challenge.
The next thing the mountain experienced was a break from the unpleasant, unwanted, cold silence that had stained the air as the members currently sitting at the dinner table over-heard bickering becoming increasing louder.
"Gee, is it just me or have you gotten heavier?"
"ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! YOU HAVE MADE YOUR POINT! PUT. ME. DOWN."
Widen eyes stare towards the entrance of the kitchen as three figures appeared. Kori hung in the air expressing a quiet giggle at the sight next to her.
Nightwing dropped one currently embarrassed and red-faced bird from over his shoulder to the ground.
"You said to put you down. It was really a pour choice of words. Really I expected better from you Robbie. I mean that is my legacy you are carrying," sorely missed chuckles were found coming out of none other than Nightwing himself.
It took a moment from the team to fully comprehend what they were seeing, but once they did, they all couldn't help but burst into laughter at the sight of one tied-up boy wonder lying on the ground.
He pushed himself into a sitting position trying very hard to keep as much dignity as he could. Which was very little considering both his hands and feet were currently tied up. He put up his hands towards the older boy waiting for him to release him. He momentarily refused to take a glance at who was in the room laughing at him.
Before Dick was kind enough to help the boy out, he was cleaver enough to take a few pictures with his phone. This was gold and there was no way he wasn't going to get pictures to show the rest of the team later.
"You are going to regret this," hissed the red-faced boy.
"I seriously doubt that. This is classic." Nightwing squatted down and decided to take pity on the boy and untied him. Tim pushed him over once he was free causing more laughter from the team and even a hidden smile from himself.
Nightwing didn't mind, he could tell Tim was grateful for the distraction and so was he.
Once the laughter had subsided the boys assessed the seating arrangements. Kori had already taken her seat next to Conner on one side of the table. There was a spare seat next to her and La'goon, which Nightwing was quick to grab, noticing the only other seats were near Cassie and knowing perfectly well that his little bro had a little thing for the Amazonian.
"Robbie come sit next to me!" The blond spoke up quite pleased with the situation.
Tim felt his cheeks burn a brighter red as he glanced upon the girl. She was unashamedly staring his way- in a friendly manner of course, but that still didn't stop his hormones from running away from him.
Laughter once again erupted from Nightwing earning him another glare from the younger boy.
"I am sure Robbie would love that!"
"What, are you saying you wouldn't?"
"No! I didn't say that!"
"So you would?"
"Yes- No! I mean. I see what you are trying to do, and I have you know that your mind games will not work on me!"
Amusement spread across Dick's face. He had rattled the bird, which normally would be a lot harder to do but seeing as this little bird is running on little sleep made the task a lot easier.
"You're a dork you know that?"
"WELL YOU'RE A DICK!"
Tim mentally face-planted himself; had he really just used Dick's own name as an insult towards him? He thought he must be more wrecked than he had calculated; he was normally much better at this. He could tell by the grin on Dick's face that he did not mind and in fact found the completely-lame response amusing.
The room was full of laughter, most people besides Cassie, La'gaan and Kori knew Tim's and Dick's secret identification but that didn't stop them finding humour out of the boy's banter anyways.
Tim musters up as much dignity left in him as he can and casually takes a place at the table next to the blond. He could still feel his checks burning red so he didn't dare to take a glance at her just yet. He could already smell her sweet perfume that sent butterflies to his stomach. He hated that he found everything about her attractive. He sometimes felt that she was like an angle, her hair a shining light in the darkness. Her strength seemed limitless, her punch could break a building yet her smile could melt his heart. He was normally very good at keeping his feelings hidden, to keep his desires a secret, but it was clear now that he had not done as good as job as he thought, or he wouldn't be at the receiving end of his brother taunting.
He stole a quiet glance her way once he felt the attention had slid off him and returned to casual light-hearted small talk. She didn't seem to have been bothered by the previous teasing that was done towards him so perhaps she did not fully comprehend what Nightwing had meant, at least he hoped not. She was a smart girl but was still quite naïve at times; Tim was desperately hoping this was one of those times. She turned her head and flashed a sweet, honest smile his way. He felt his lips tug upward to return a small one, his eyes lingering onto hers a bit too long. He quickly broke when he realised how warm his cheeks were getting and how blank his head had seem to become. When he looked into them it felt as if everyone else had disappeared and he could feel himself becoming too comfortable with the idea of it just being them in the room. He felt his tongue ready to spill his secrets to her, to ask questions of her, to fitful his curiosity about her. The thought excited him as much as it frightened him, he did not have the luxury of opening himself up to someone like that. And if he was honest with himself, he wasn't completely sure if he knew how to.
He pulled himself back into his own head focusing on his food, forcing himself to calm down and push all thoughts of possibilities of something more with the blond-haired angel.
Tim looked up from his place noticing Dick grinning his way. He briefly worries that maybe he spotted the shared look he had with Cassie, but then again of course he had because he is Nightwing, the prodigal son. He notices everything, so why bother even holding the notion of denying it? Tim would just deny the idea behind it meaning anything but a casual smile between friends.
This grin though was something different; Tim has seen this trick before. Dick just stares at you with that big goofy-grin waiting for you to crack. Tim was normally very good at keeping his cool which meant he was a bit of a bore to be targeted on, unless no one better was around, than he would be pained with Dick's boredom. Normally the target of his boredom was Barbara; he had wasted many hours of his life dedicated to making that girl tick. She had gotten patient over the years but he was persistent. Tim remembers the odd times her patients got boring and instead they decided to gang up and target him together, which was an even bigger pain. Tim has been the target of many of their evil- pranks. And with Dick's grin bringing those memories to the forefront, he can't help but miss those times.
He wished he had never looked up to be reminded of the girl they had lost. He knew he was being irrational because she was locked away, but then was he really because wasn't she still lost to them if she had to be locked away? He hated that his face seem to betray his thoughts as he watched his older brother's grin already defeated to an understanding gaze as if he had experienced his younger brother's memories for himself. Tim instantly regretted not at least trying to put on a smile, if he wasn't so exhausted maybe he would have thought quicker, would have been able to shield his thoughts better.
He had been good the last 20 minutes of dinner, they had almost forgotten the dangers that await them back in Gotham, the plans Ivy had for their home. They almost forgot the torture she had placed upon their partner, their friend, their family. Almost left her screams behind. Almost forgot she was no longer the women their memories played her out to be. They had almost forgotten the worries of ever seeing that women again. The constant little voice in their heads that asked "would we ever see that woman again? Would she be as she was? Would we ever be the same again?"
Tim had never known Dick without her. Not truly. So when he looks upon his older brother's face he can't help but feel an ache in his heart as Dick acts as a constant reminder of what was currently missing in their lives. It never bothered him until times like these when a little relief from the worrying was needed. He felt awful for ever thinking it, awful for what it must be like for his brother who could probably get even less relief from the pain. But it was something it seems both of them couldn't leave behind for very long.
The thoughts of Barbara plagued Dick with each passing moment. He had little reprieve from his own suffering and worrying. He had found some peace in the small talk and laughs he had shared with his friends, but the look on his brother's face and the thoughts of how much Barbara would have enjoyed seeing Tim squirm from embarrassment dragged him into reality and the sudden need to return back to the case as if time was still escaping them. He felt behind, he had been so used to being ahead in everything, so used to spoiling criminal's plans sooner than this. Of course they had had just as long cases to solve before, plans stopped just at the last minute, but this one felt different, well it was different. It was personal. Other cases hadn't had one of their own working against them under some sort of control. One of their own. His teammate, his partner, and his best friend.
He felt uncomfortable in his own skin, felt like a failure, like any minute he would break. His whole body felt like it was being dragged down by a ton of bricks. If he was honest he was not sure how he was still functioning. It was as if he was on autopilot. He was doing what was expected of him, of what was needed to be done. Batman had taught him to fight and to constantly move down the road instead of dwelling on it. He was glad for that because he didn't know how else to act or be without that. He was sure he would be completely broken if he didn't had that. He just knew it probably wasn't always the healthiest way to deal with things, as sometimes the road has to end and there isn't always the possibility to keep moving. The road hadn't ended for Barbara yet. He still had time, he knew that but he was just so tired. He was tired of this ordeal, he missed her. He just needed her to be okay, to hold her and to make sure she wouldn't leave him again. He had had enough people leave him, of their roads that had ended, and he was sick of it. He wasn't sure how much more he could take, if any.
Why was it always happening to him? Why did he have to be the one to lose his entire family when he was just a kid? When he had finally felt like he had found a proper family with an actual brother that also had to be so violently ripped from him? And now it was happening all over again. How was he meant to stay positive when all his life he had been taught that to love was to lose. Why couldn't he just have one? Why couldn't he just have her spared? He just needed one other constant in his life other than Alfred or Bruce. After all how long would they stay a constant? Alfred was an old man now; he would live a long life but not long enough to be a constant. Bruce was the Batman, who at times seemed immortal, indestructible, but he was still just a man. A man whose day could and would run out; some punk will one day get lucky and they all knew that. And as much as he loved him, Dick couldn't open up to him fully. Bruce would never fully understand Dick like he needed him to. Not like Barbara had. Does, he reminds himself. Does, because her road hadn't ended yet. He had never taken her for granted. He had never taken any of them for granted, not after everything, and especially not after Jason. And he swears if he can just have this one he will try especially hard to keep them together; to be especially grateful for her. He wasn't sure to whom or even if he believed in a higher power, but if there was one he would happily do anything to make sure his family didn't fall apart again. Not again.
His gaze had fallen to just above his plate to a random point on the table that only purpose was to give a background to his internal thoughts. He was just so tired. His body was going to give in any day now, he knew that. One day he had to let those tears fall from their place behind his iron walls. He desperately needed the release, but he was afraid if he started he wouldn't be able to stop. No. He would wait until he knew for sure, one way or the other he was going to get her back or not. Then he would break down. He would break down until he was that broken lost boy once again. If she was there he knew she would fix him right back up. If not. Well then so be it.
Tears threaten their way past the creaks in his disguise but they would not fall. At least he hoped not. His body tenses as he feels the warmth from an arm across his chest and another around his neck. He relaxes as he realises it was Megan hugging him from behind. She had felt his pain, she didn't mean to pry but she couldn't help it. She felt her own sorrows growing too heavy for her to bare that when she watched her friend retreat back into himself she couldn't help but let his despair add to her own. She needed to show him that they were still here for him. She needed him to know that she would look after him, because he was family to her. Here in this mountain, with these people, this was home, this was family. And family never gives up. Family looks after one another. So without a word and without his approval she decided she would force him to be comforted by her. They could share this brief moment together, share the pain together. If it was anyone else he might have politely pushed her away, but she was one of his oldest friends and he couldn't do anything to hurt her. Instead he closed his eyes tighter to prevent any emotion escape from them as he sunk into her embrace, gripping her arms and pulling her in as if she could sink into him and take away the pain.
He didn't notice the room had lost its voice as he pushed out of his chair, briefly parting from the green girl to only turn around and engulf her small frame into a real hug. He didn't care who was around, he didn't care that it could break him down to nothing but raw emotions. It didn't. Not even when he felt his friend's tears soak through his uniform. Not when he felt Conner's strong hand grip his shoulder from behind and not when her tears became loud sobs. It wasn't because he was strong that he didn't, it was only because he was smart enough to know not to say a word. As he knew when he did the game was over and he would break his promise to himself that he would wait to break, he would wait for her.
Tim looked upon the scene with wide eyes. He could feel his chest tighten for air and ears prick as he listens to the sobs piece through his internal monologue. The sight made him feel extremely uncomfortable and relieved at the same time. It confused him beyond belief, but he was glad to see his brother show some real emotion to his friends, even if he wasn't ready to do the same for himself. He felt it was harder for him though, he had never been that way to begin with. He had always been a loner and loners don't need to express their feelings to anyone but themselves.
The young amazon was still new to the team but she understood as much as she needed to know. She knew the bond this team shared was unbreakable. The bond the bats shared was thicker than blood. Barbara had been nice to her and she admired her and looked up to her. She had hoped to get to know the girl more, but it seemed that she would have to wait until she was back and able to re-join the team. She knew that would be a long time from now which sadden her more to think that this could go on longer. The scene in front of her had stolen her voice and she so desperately wanted to use it to say the right words to cheer up the boy next to her. He was a quiet and unusual boy, but she decided that she liked him as soon as she met him. Of course that was the case with most of the team, but he had seemed to keep her attention a lot longer than anyone else. He was a mystery. A kind, sweet, smart and really cute mystery that she wanted to crack. But for now all she wanted to do was comfort him.
He didn't seem to display much emotion, and it didn't help that he was wearing glasses, but his mouth hung a little open and his body seem to have become stiff, and plus who in this room wasn't getting a least a little emotional at the big-dark-emotionless-fearless leader clinging for dear life to the sweet-powerful martian unleashing her sadness. Then you have the angry, touch-boy cut-the-bullshit war-machine Superboy with soft eyes comforting his friends the best way he can, by being there. Yes, it was a tear-jerker, so that is why Cassie would do something out of instinct and kindness that would startle the awkward-lonely boy wonder and cause his cheeks to get a real workout with all the blushing he had been doing. She tentatively reaches out of sight and under the table for the young bird's hand.
Tim snapped his head around when he felt something brush by his leg and reach for his hand. Out of instinct he started to pull away but stopped himself, wanting to know what the blond angel would do and not quiet being able to comprehend anything in that moment. He had never been more thankful for not wearing gloves as he felt a spark run through him at the first touch of her hand on his. Her fingers slid through his and for a brief moment she panic that maybe she had made a mistake. She looked from their hands to his face that now bore into her. Her whole body felt on display and bright pink, but she held a small smile, hoping that she could pass on her hope and support by it.
Her smile caused a commotion within him that he wasn't sure was a good thing or bad. Bad, because he didn't know if he could handle much emotion at this point but good because it just felt so… right? When he felt her hand start to retreat he snapped his brain into action and finally responded. Some part of him knew that if he didn't show any emotion he would lose her before he even had her. He wasn't sure if that is what he wanted but he was sure he knew it wasn't a door he wanted to close just yet. It could possibly be a door he should close, as if watching the scene in front of them was any indication, caring was hurting. But right now the contact was a warm, welcomed relief. The only female contact that had been a constant was from Barbara, it would be okay to hug her a little longer; it wasn't weird, she was a female and was just a bit better at expressing and understanding the need for contact. This was different though. As much as it stung to have the feeling add to the many things that he missed about Barbara it was different. Barbara's touch was that of a big sister, someone caring and looking after him. Cassie was…different. It was something that excited him, comforted him and scared him half to death. But for now he pushed all those feelings aside and just tightens his grip and allows the feeling to make reality a little less scary, a little less painful. He felt he could stay in reality, he could try to be a part of it a little longer without retreating into himself if he just had her there, holding his hand.
He looks away from her, never letting up his grip as he watches the three figures part, with Megan's sobs finally lightening up. He makes eye-contact, well as much as you can with glasses on, with his older brother. They stare at each other with soft gazes for a moment until before he knew it Tim felt himself speaking in a whisper. His eyes threatening to betray emotions he wasn't comfortable sharing.
"What if we can't… what if… her screams… they don't seem to fade away…" The words weren't coming out right. They were a mixed of "what ifs" and observations of his own nightmares. He stopped himself as he realised he had spoken out loud. All eyes seem to hold a steady gaze his way; they were full with sympathy and understanding.
"I know… they haunt me too" Dick's reply hung in the air. Barbara's screams seem to fill the space between them, causing an unwanted memory of one boy huddled to the back of one cell while the other wastes his breath calling out for her.
Dick tried his best to ignore the memories and concentrate on the task at hand. He was still looking at Tim, who was another person he wanted to make sure was a constant in his life. Tim had been through enough and Dick was afraid if he went out for even a brief patrol like this he would lose him too. He had already lost one brother, he wasn't about to lose another from being over-worked.
"Listen I need you to stay back tonight. I will call Batman now and let him know you won't be making patrol, understood?"
"Umm are you sure? I don't know if he-"
"I'm sure. He will listen to me, if not I will snick Agent A on him." Dick said with a small grin and then gave a small nod to indicate it was time to get back to work.
Dick thanked the team for dinner, giving Kori an extra bright smile for dragging them away. The smile was fake, she wouldn't have known that, only a few might be able to tell the difference but the meaning behind it was true. He was grateful for the brief amount of peace that he and his brother had had because of her.
Tim gave Cassie's hand one last squeeze and then, without a word, he lets her hand slip through his fingers. He gave her a small smile before leaving. Her eyes never left him until he was out of sight. Her hand felt cold now without his touch, yet her checks still radiated warmth.
REVIEW PEOPLE! PRETTY PLEASE;) And thanks again for reading this far:)
So I have a few questions for you...
1) Once the whole Ivy & Datura story line plays out... do you want to see Red Hood focused on more? I have a few thoughts...
a.) Because his head is still a little stuffed up at this point do we want to see him going a little nuts over being replaced? Focus on Batman or Tim? (Personally I like to focus on the idea of sibling relationships as you have probs noticed:P That and trying to write Batman is scary/harder I think)
b.) A focus on Dick trying to convince him to change his ways and re-join the team? Wanting to piece together a broken past?
c.) Skip the fight/drama and just briefly mention him being invited back to the family but him being reluctant - for what I have in mind at the moment, he isn't going to be able to accept them or himself until a few years for now... I plan on making another story after this one... focusing on family/ self-development, facing the past and trying harder to actually live their lives and be apart of each other's. Sorry if this gives away a bit much haha (It will be a bit like the Bat-Cave with the DNA sample in this chapter, where you didn't see how he got it but you got the main message that something happened and they must of had a run-in)
d.) Joker and RedHood stand off? Mind you this has been done a bit... I am sure I could find a creative way to do it but still idk whatever, I just need inspiration at this point:) So please your thoughts?
e.) Something completely different? What are your thoughts of the character and what would you like to see being explored?
2) Do you actually want smut in this?
I know in part 1 it wasn't that good but I feel that my writing is slowly improving and if I took more care and time it might turn out better. But if it isn't something you all want to read then I won't bother. But I included it as from reading everything else on here it is something you come to expert and want from fan fiction and hey, why the hell not? haha Just a "Question 2 yes/no" answer would be fine or a personal message if you are too shy to comment on my story. :)
Thanks again for reading this far! :) Please share your thoughts!