Okay, so I know I put this story as complete, but I couldn't help it, okay?
I love the brotherly relationship between Jason and Tim!
Red Hood watched the busy streets and bright lights in the distance, making sure to stay in the shadows while also having a good view of the city.
He was hiding out on one of the roofs of one of the warehouses at the Gotham docks, waiting for the time Reconski's gang was going to show up. The docks of Gotham was supposedly where Reconski held his base of operations, and since Jason had busted them up pretty well this morning in the city, he suspected Reconski would have his gang abort mission and retreat to the docks by tonight.
After this afternoon's episode (which Jason preferred not to think about right now), Tim had reluctantly agreed to allow Jason to team up with him to take Reconski down, even with a bad shoulder. It still hurt like hell, but Jason could still move it somewhat. He still had his dominant arm working in good condition though, and that was all he needed to make this night count.
Especially when he and Red Robin were going to infuriate the gang that had previously set up a kill order for Timothy Jackson Drake.
Half of him wondered why he'd shown up at Tim's apartment in the first place. It wasn't like one of his safehouses was just around the block, stocked with medical supplies, beer, and most importantly, isolated from all things living.
He could've just gone there. But something in him had stopped him.
When he'd overheard one of Reconski's men talking about their next target, and also overheard that said next target happened to be a certain Tim Drake, an odd and unfamiliar feeling had risen in his gut. The kind of feeling that made your heart race and your adrenaline skyrocket. It made your head buzz and all of your thoughts blur because all of a sudden, your mind was zeroing in on one question - is he okay?
Jason would never admit it out loud, but at that moment, he was immensely worried about his replacement.
And he cursed himself mentally for being so distracted, because after he'd taken the men down and was cleaning up quickly to go check on Tim, one of the men he'd forgotten to completely disarm suddenly pulled a gun on him and shot him in the shoulder.
After breaking the man's nose and making sure he was out cold, Jason had lugged himself seven blocks over to Tim's penthouse apartment, grappled his way to his brother's floor, broken the window's lock, and shut down the complicated security systems arming the place all so that he could find out that the apartment was completely vacant.
By that time he was too tired (and too worried) to do anything productive - like look for the first aid kit, for example - and had promptly passed out on the kid's couch until the rude jingle of keys and a door opening had woken him up.
And after that... well, Jason didn't want to think about it.
His brain was a jumbled mess and he was partially glad that he was back out at night as the Red Hood, about to topple over yet another evil organization. The night Gotham air - no matter how polluted and contaminated it was - never failed to clear his head.
He was about to check his stock on his weapons and ammo for the umpteenth time when the comm built into his helmet cracked to life.
"Red Robin to Red Hood. I've got eyes on them."
"Location and status?" Jason immediately asked, shooting to his feet.
"There's ten of them, due east, marching from an alleyway entering the docks. All armed with automatics, but I can't tell what kind." Tim hesitated before continuing. "I'm not that good with guns."
"It's fine." Red Hood responded. He'd grappled past three warehouses already, and was about to swing sharply to the right to the east side of the docks.
"What confuses me is why are there so little of them? Did you really take out most of them, so that there's only ten left? Or are other groups coming in somewhere else? They shouldn't have that much people away from their base of operations just for a simple assassination." Jason had to give the kid props for having the nerve to critique the actions of his previously would-be assassinators.
Jason frowned at his inquiries. "Beats me." he said, leaping from another building to the next. "Maybe Reconski didn't want to take any chances? There's rumors going around that even though Tim Drake doesn't have any body guards, he's still pretty experienced in martial arts."
Tim hummed from the other line, but didn't seem convinced. Jason could practically see Tim's face scrunched up as the gears in his mind worked, eyebrows furrowed deep in concentration.
Jason didn't have time to ponder on Reconski's strange choices of enacting homicide anyway.
"I see them." he said quietly into his comm. He looked out, and watched as ten men with heavy, automatic, assault rifles scurried into the clearing of the docks where there was no warehouses, right next to the water. They were all muttering in low, gruff voices, typical for goons at their level.
"Are you sure you don't need backup?" Red Robin's voice filled his ear.
"I've got this." Jason answered. He glanced to his left, scanning over the rooftops of the other warehouses to spot any shape or form of Tim. He almost smirked when he didn't. Tim was always a master at keeping himself hidden.
"You just stay up there and watch me kick these guys' asses." Jason wouldn't deny that he was keeping his brother away, safe, because he didn't want Reconski or his any of his men getting within an arm's length's reach of his brother, Red Robin or not.
He pulled his guns out of their holsters, holding back a wince as fire burned up his injured shoulder, before clicking the safety off. He aimed quickly and fired three shots. Each met their mark.
Three men out of the ten collapsed to the ground.
As panic erupted in the clearing as the remaining seven men frantically searched for their new attacker, Red Hood abandoned his vantage point from the warehouse rooftops and hid behind a couple of tall crates on the ground. He was reloading his guns when a sigh came from his comm.
"Please don't tell me you just killed those three guys."
Jason smirked. "Maybe I did, maybe I didn't." The truth was, he didn't, and had just shot them with tranquilizer darts, and was now switching those darts for rubber bullets in his guns.
He hadn't killed in months to be entirely honest, but he didn't need to tell his replacement that.
Tim sighed again. "Just be careful." he said. "Red Robin out."
Jason smirked again. "You too." he said, though Tim couldn't hear him.
He twirled the guns in his hands out of habit, wincing a little as he forgot his shoulder, and bounded up the stack of crates he was behind. Observing the panic that was now below him, he took a deep breath and jumped down, guns locked, loaded, and ready.
Jason managed to take three more men down during his drop into the fray; planting a bullet in one guy's thigh, another bullet in the second guy's gut, and the last bullet into the third guy's shoulder. Jason grinned as the third guy screeched in pain and dropped his gun, holding his newly-bleeding shoulder.
Payback's a bitch.
Twisting mid-air to land on the ground in a roll, Jason swept another unsuspecting man's feet, effectively making him slam his head onto the cold concrete with an audible crack! The remaining three men rose their guns to fire at their now visible target, and Jason flung a batarang at the one in front of him before whipping around to shot at the two behind him.
With a pained shriek echoing across the docks, Jason counted the man behind him out of commission.
He managed to nick one of the two guys in front of him in the arm before he had to move to avoid a rapid spray of armor-piercing bullets.
With no cover close by, Red Hood had to make his own. He quickly rolled away from another spray of bullets and slipped a few small smoke pellets out of his belt, throwing them down to disorientate the two men. Then under the cover of the smoke, he knocked them out and had them both in zip-ties as soon as the smoke cleared.
Work accomplished, Jason grinned and lifted a finger to his comm.
"You see that?"
"Yes, I did. I'm surprised you didn't use explosions." came Red Robin's sarcastic voice, and Jason chuckled as he imagined the younger man rolling his eyes.
"Nah, these guys weren't worth it." Jason said. He kicked away all of the guns in the reach of every single man, and produced some more zip-ties from his belt.
"How's everything on your end? Spotted the mob boss himself yet?" Jason asked.
"No, everything seems pretty clear."
"Huh. Weird." A man groaned in pain as Red Hood tethered his wrists too tight. Jason noted dimly that his fingers were stained with crimson, and just beneath his thigh there was a small pool of blood. "Hold up, I've got a man awake here. I'll interrogate him."
"You want me to come down?"
"Save your energy. This will be over in a jiffy." Jason declined the offer swiftly.
He finished tying up all the unconscious men, before returning back to the man who was awake, who was now curling up as much as possible around his bleeding thigh.
Jason harshly nudged the man with his boot. "Hey."
The man moaned in response.
Jason crouched down next to him and the man flinched violently away. Jason scowled. "I'm going to ask you some questions and you better answer them to the best of your knowledge."
The man glanced up at him. "Y-you're going to kill me, m-man!" he gestured shakily to the wound in his thigh. Then he pointed at Jason. "I thought you Bats don't kill!"
Red Hood growled and slapped the man's hand away, earning another violent flinch from him. He held up a gloved finger. "Okay, number one," he pointed at the man's thigh. "that particular shot is not fatal. And number two," he tapped his chest. "just because I wear this symbol, doesn't mean I don't kill. I'm the special one."
The man whimpered.
"And number three," Jason jabbed a finger at the man. "You are going to answer all of my questions."
"B-But h-he'll kill me if I say a-anything!"
Jason scoffed. "Who, Reconski? Please. If you don't answer me," he pulled out one of his guns from its holster and cocked it. "you'll suffer the same fate. So start. Talking."
The man whimpered again at the gleam of the loaded gun. He took a shuddery breath. "W-what'dya wanna know?"
"I want to know why you were going after Timothy Drake." Jason found himself blurting out before even giving it a second thought.
"I-I don't know, man! Boss j-just said so, so w-we followed! Please, don't shot me!"
Jason frowned. "Are you sure? Is it because he owns two of the largest companies in the world? Or is it because you all are blood-thirsty bastards who wanted to have some fun, and just so happened to think targeting him was a good idea?"
"I told you, I d-don't know, I swear!"
Red Hood blew out a breath. Damnit. This guy didn't know anything.
He nudged the man with his gun. "Okay then. Are there anymore of you?" he waved a hand at the heaps of men around them.
The man nodded. "Y-Yeah! Boss s-split us into t-ten even groups, you see? He t-transported five groups of us to G-Gotham, though, f-for the m-mission."
Jason tilted his head. "So there are five groups of ten in Gotham?"
"Y-Yes, that's right. But o-one group was cr-crashed, I think. I d-don't know, Boss ordered a retreat after t-that."
Jason twiddled his gun. "And do you know where these other three groups are, since the other two groups, which includes yours, were crashed toady?"
"Th-They were supposed to m-meet us here, sir."
Jason swore under his breath. So Tim was right. There had to be more groups showing up here tonight. He stole a wayward glance at the rooftops in a futile attempt to spot his brother. Of course, he didn't see anything.
Clenching his teeth, he grounded out another question. "Is Reconski here or in Bludhaven?"
"I-I don't know, sir. I've n-never seen him a-around before."
Drawing in a breath, Jason stood up and pretended not to notice the man flinch at the sudden movement.
"Thanks for the info." Red Hood said, turning on his heel towards the warehouses and holstering his gun. "I'm done with you."
The man didn't have the time to respond when Jason whirled around and threw a tranquilizer dart at his neck. The man slumped immediately.
With a huff, Jason glanced at the man's thigh to make sure he wouldn't bleed out, and with the confirmation that he wouldn't in a couple of hours, Jason continued to check the other men. All had gained some substantial injuries, but none which proved fatal and didn't need to be patched up right away.
Jason patted himself mentally on the back for how efficient he was and was about to start dragging the mens' pitiful forms behind some crates when he remembered about Tim.
Raising a hand to his comm, he called him out in a more frantic tone than he'd intended to let on.
"Red Hood to Red Robin. You there?"
"Yup. Something wrong?" his little brother's voice came back.
Jason half-wanted to sigh in relief, and half-wanted to curse himself for sounding so worried. "Nothing." he answered. He punted a stray bullet shell across the clearing and watched it skit across the concrete and roll into the darkness. "Anything on your end? I'm done interrogating."
"Not a thing." Red Hood didn't miss the slight disappointment in Red Robin's voice. "What'd you find out?"
"Nothing much. Guy didn't know what the hell was going on, typical low-level goon. They're supposed to be three more groups heading this way tonight, though."
"I didn't see anything. Is Reconski with them?"
"The guy didn't know about that either. Reconski has a hundred men split into ten groups, half of them in Gotham, half of them in Bludhaven. There's a 50% chance he'll be here."
Red Hood grappled up to a rooftop and continued. "I'll meet you at your-"
Jason froze at the sound of Tim's sudden call for a halt, immediately alert. "I see three groups, well actually one, but they're combined together with what looks likes thirty men. They're moving slowly, though, at the west side of the docks. All armed."
Red Hood turned towards the west, scouring the warehouses for any signs of the newly-reported and advancing hoard. "Are they coming towards the clearing?"
"Seems like it. Want me to meet you at the main warehouse?"
"Yes." The word flew out of his mouth before he could even think.
"Okay. Red Robin out."
Red Hood swore as he eyed the west side of the docks, before he started to dash off towards the main warehouse, which was at the center of the docks near the clearing.
He tried to ignore his rapidly-pounding heart as he shot off his grapple and swung towards the location to meet Tim.
No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't keep Tim out of this fight. The kid wouldn't have it if Jason tried to send him back home under the silly assumption that Reconski knew his identity.
Jason gritted his teeth.
Reconski wasn't going to allow him to keep his little brother away from him after all. That damn bastard.
Out of the corner of his eye, Jason could see heavily-armed men start to file into the clearing, and Jason immediately regretted not dragging the bodies of the men he'd previously taken out into a secluded area.
Goddamnit. Goddamnit all.
Jason was tired of playing the role of big brother.
As he flew towards the main warehouse, ignoring the scream of protest his shoulder gave him, and he found himself again silently missing his older brother. He never gave much thought into how much time and effort it took to protect someone, and wondered how Dick managed to keep up with watching all three of his brothers, himself included.
In the back of his mind, Jason wondered how much of a pain he was to handle. He shut his eyes momentarily, guilt gripping his heart.
I'm trying, Dick. I really am.