Disclaimer: I own what rocks dream about. Also, "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." is not mine either: it belongs to Jim Butcher. Aside from that: all that breathes comes from me!
"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." These were the words running through Robin's mind as he was thrown back in the resulting explosion.
The mission had started out simply enough; a back alley chase ending with the perp ducking into an empty warehouse. 'What was the obsession with warehouses?' Robin wondered. Perhaps, if all abandoned warehouses were destroyed, criminals would evict Gotham, lacking a place for a headquarters.
Or perhaps they'd simply attack civilian gathering places for hideouts. Hm. Perhaps the warehouses should stay. In any case, Robin had cased the perp into a warehouse. Grayson, Batman, was tracking the man from another angle; Damian only allowed to do so much on his own based on his promise to be careful. And he had been! Running in close behind the gang member (Damian was going to call him Sleeze), Robin had tossed several batarangs (and despite Grayson's insistence, that name was still ridiculous) at his foe. However, by pure chance, the man's shoe had caught on the rough floor, causing him to trip and Damian to miss.
The wild batarang struck on abandoned oil barrel (there were too many of those too). Out of the corner of his eye, Robin saw something black swoop in from the ceiling. Grayson's arms enveloped him before the ensuing explosion threw them out of the exploding oil soaked warehouse.
The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault. Grayson would be displeased anyway.
The world was a kaleidoscope, whirling, shaking, nauseating. Damian wasn't sure when they stopped, but it couldn't have been at the same time as his stomach.
Wavering to his feet, Damian detached himself from Grayson's grasp. Grayson did not move. The boy rushed to the man's mouth. Damian's heart froze at the absence of warm breath on his cheek. Throwing himself atop Grayson, Damian attempted immedient compressions, cursing the heavy Batman armor and the weakness of his traitorous prepubescent arms.
Damian didn't remember when or why Todd appeared. Perhaps Grayson had signaled him. All he knew was that it had been too long and Grayson wouldn't wake up.
Todd was stronger than he, and fierce enough to rival his mother. Damian could see the moment the fight left the older man's eyes.
The heavens ruptured and fractured and screamed. The wind howled and shrieked while at the same time nothing made a sound; Earth was a black hole, a vacuum, light could never exist here. Damian splintered and shattered and flew in all directions as his soul's keening flew beyond the crechendo. Blue eyes were dead. A gunshot exploded, one, two, three, four, each louder than the other, each shoving apart the remnants of a shattered world. Damian opened his mouth and couldn't have made sound because sound didn't shake the foundations of the Earth, didn't implode the sun and moon, so this must be his soul shattering. One, two, one, two, one , two, gunshots siren shrieking. Blue eyes were dead. One, two, one, two, one, two, dead eyes, one two, dead, Dead, DEAD. Blue eyes.
Damian threw himself onto Grayson's limp body, curling his small frame into Grayson's larger one. Somewhere he was vaguely aware of Todd moving to cradle their older brother's head, but it didn't really register. Not really.
Damian choked on a sob and tried to burrow into unyielding armor, nuzzling at Grayson desperately. He had promised. He had promised to be there for Damian, and to take care of him. After father died. After Damian was left alone for the first time. This… this was a lie!
Grayson wouldn't lie to him; he never had. Therefore he was going to wake up later, and this was all a bad dream, and Damian could thoroughly punish the man for scaring him later, and Grayson would indulgently smile as though Damian were being adorable or something, and there would be hot chocolate and Disney movies…
Grayson is dead.
Damian rebels against the idea, but every bit of training he's ever had, everything ingrained in him by the League of Shadows won't let him sink into denial, won't let him escape this reality.
People die. The people you are weak enough to love die more often than anyone else. Damian sobs and tries to wrap Grayson's prone form around himself; wants to pretend it's a hug. But there are rough but gentle hands pulling at him, and Todd looks like he's about to cry, and he's pulling Damian away from Grayson.
No. No. Nononono. Damian latches onto Grayson with everything in him. The man had always welcomed physical contact, had tried to teach Damian the value of hugs, and cuddling. Nothing like the original Batman, from what little Damian had learned of the man. Grayson would not want to be left alone. Not alone. Not cold.
Damian would warm him up. He was supposed to take care of Batman. That was his duty as a Robin. Grayson, being the first Robin, understood this completely. Todd should understand too. He had been Robin also.
Apparently Todd did understand eventually, because he stopped attempting to pry Damian away from his Batman, and simply hefted them both into his arms, and managed to haul the both of them over to the Batmobile. Damian didn't remember that coming. Todd must have signaled for it.
The fog was clearing from his mind, his training ruthlessly forcing aside any childish denial he may have been able to cling to. When Todd placed them both in the Batmobile, Damian slid beside Grayson, instead of doing a desperate impression of a spider monkey. Still. Surely Grayson would still wish for someone to be close to him.
Damian knew he was still being foolish. Grayson was gone. This was a pathetic childish need… Grayson would say that it was not pathetic, and that at 10 years old he was perfectly qualified to indulge in childish needs.
His mother would've had him flogged.
Grayson was important here.
Damian snuggled into the man's side, tugging off the cowl as gently as he could. Grayson would not want the mask to remain on. As much as Damian maintained Grayson made a Batman that surpassed even father, Grayson had never wished to fill the role. Damian hadn't understood it at first, fresh from his mother and her assassins. Surely he must have been the worst child imaginable to raise.
Damian felt his eyes water, and he suddenly realized his own mask was gone. This… this must have happened as a result of his weakness. If Grayson had had a competent Robin, surely he would be alive now. If Damian had not thrown the stupid batarang…
The building was on fire. Grayson was dead. It was my fault.