I was kind of desperate for some angst, and some brotherly bonding? I really wanted to read a story where Damian protects Tim, instead of the other way around, but then it got out of hand.
I do not own Batman or any of his children. They all belong to DC. I do not make any profit from the publishing of this work.
~The Crimson That Stains Snow~
It was an art. The way his body fell limp across the ground, snow staining red. The clean break of his arm, and the way the sword seemed to slip out of him-blood coating the blade, dark and glittery against the night sky. It was an art, something that the Damian of the past would have appreciated-silently, for that was how he was taught. Past Damian would have tried to replicate it-his fingers even now, itched for colored pencils to capture the moment and appreciate its beauty.
His mind did not. He fell to the ground beside Drake's broken body, his eyes clouded over without the mask protecting his face. He was not dead-not yet anyways-and that's what Damian clung to as his fingers traced pale skin.
"Get the fuck away from him." Damian's scowl grew, anger burning into his features and taking over his soul. Turning around, despite the way the words seemed like acid on his tongue, he repeated them, "Get the fuck away from Drake!"
His mother gave him an unimpressed look, yet the small tilt of her lips gave Damian all the knowledge he needed to know. He could read her like a book, after a childhood of staring up at her and longing for her acceptance. He had killed for her. He had killed too many for her.
"Damian, what have they done to you?" Talia crouched in front of him, hand cupping his face gently, "Seeing you like this breaks my heart. My beloved has undone all of my progress. Or perhaps it was that Grayson boy. It's a pity."
Her mouth had twisted into a sneer at Dick's name, and without another moment-before Damian could muster the courage to swing his sword and end her life-she was gone.
The moment was still, the moon shining down on Damian. He was frozen, the place where she had touched him burning. Finally, his eyes narrowed and he let out a roar-an animalistic cry as he stabbed his sword into a nearby tree and started crying. Tears pouring down his face and anger turned to fear and sorrow. He collapsed next to Drake, shaking him slightly.
"Drake. You stupid imbecile, get up. You can't be dead." Damian sniffed, trying to cup his hands over the fresh wound. Drake hissed slightly, and with a choked sob, Damian felt a small smile play on his lips. Drake was still alive. Ripping off the end of his Robin cape, he tried to turn it into a makeshift bandage.
There wasn't much he could do beyond tie up the wound- and Drake had lost far too much blood. Damian, through blurred vision and sticky cheeks, gripped Drake's wrist in his hand- pressing, possibly too harshly, until he found the pulse.
It was weak, impossibly faint. Damian felt another wave of emotion come over him- a tidal wave to sweep him up and drown him. Damian refused to drown. He had been taught not to drown. With a faked focus, he went to splint Drake's arm and legs-all broken from the fight. Talia had taken too much delight in knocking down her father's favorite bat, and Damian had been unable to help.
He had done nothing.
"You will not die, do you hear me, Drake? Promise me you won't die." Damian huffed, though it sounded too airy to be truly annoyance, "If you die, you know Brown will be upset. She will cry-big, fat, ugly tears. You can't let her do that. Though I supposed Gordon will too. Grayson will cry harder than them though, and you know he won't eat or sleep in mourning. Pathetic, and unable to take care of himself, like he is. Similar to you."
The words sounded false, and even Damian himself couldn't put conviction in there. A muffled sob made its way out of his throat, and despite the cold and his pants getting soaked from the snow around him, Damian just held Drake tighter, trying to press as much of his warmth into the other's body as he could.
"Father won't talk, won't allow help. He'll just work for hours, trying to forget about you. Trying to forget the pain. It won't work-he lacks the strength to lose his bonds to you, despite your shortcomings. Can't say why." Damian tried to ignore the snot starting to gather in his nose, and the way the tears were falling onto Drake's hair now. Instead, he continued talking.
"Pennyworth would try to care for everyone, you know the usual way where he doesn't let anyone see his true feelings. Cain will move away again and shut down. Even Todd would be upset." Damian shuddered, "Don't die. This is why you can't die. I'll kill you if you die."
There was no response, aside from a breath of icy wind- it ripped into him, ignoring his clothes. Damian shivered from the sting, shaking in a mixture from cold and grief. Drake lay still in his arms- deathly cold.
"If you die, Timothy, I'll lose myself. I can't lose you." Damian whispered, "I can't lose any of them-not even you. You're my brother."
Damian's eyes found the stars above them, and a determination made it to his features. Gathering Tim as close as humanly possible, holding him with a new realization, Damian's tears finally stopped.
"They will get here in time. You will live. Even if I have to die instead."
Damian's head jerked up from its spot, watching as Dick slowly stepped into view. He wore his Nightwing uniform- it was torn and bloodied. Still, he gave Damian a relieved glance before looking down at Tim. His expression morphed to one of horror.
"You're too late." Damian felt a piece of himself fall and chip away when he said that, his voice small-too small.
Dick's mask was off, he realized distantly, as sapphire eyes locked onto his own-glassy, and slowly becoming filled with an unimaginable pain. He fell beside Damian, not moving, a numb look attached to his face.
Damian's own eyes fell closed, and a choked sob wrenched its way out of him. Tim's body was cold-to cold for a previously alive, and warm body. The snow remained stained a dark crimson, just to taunt them. To show them that al that life could be sucked out easily.
Tim was dead.
I tend to love angst. It makes me really sad, but at the same time, I just… keep coming back to it? Same with tragedy, it's one of my favorite things to create or read. Damian and Tim bonding is also great-I know they are in a better place in the comics right now, but I like putting them back into that tough spot where they didn't quite try to kill each other but didn't get along. Like, at all.