Jason expected to find a lot of things on his current patrol, but what he didn't expect to find was another former Robin huddled on the ground in a broken heap. He crouched down next to Red Robin, and tried to find a pulse. "What the hell happened to you, kid?" Jason didn't get a response-not that he was really expecting one. A part of him thought about just leaving the kid there, but even Jason wasn't that much of an ass. Instead, he gathered the broken bird in his arms, and headed to his apartment. It was the closest place that Jason could think of to take him.

He laid the kid down on his bed, and went to get his knife. Jason wasn't stupid enough to believe that Timmy's suit wasn't riddled with traps. As he sliced through armor and wires, Jason couldn't help but be slightly impressed. He wasn't sure how many volts would have run through him had he tried to just take the suit off, but from the look of it, Tim's costume packed a punch. The kid looked pretty beat up underneath his suit, but Jason knew that he couldn't be sure how extensive the damage was until he cleaned Tim up.

Jason went to grab his first-aid kit. He wasn't really sure what the idiot had gotten himself into, but he knew the kid. He'd fought him enough to know that he wasn't exactly easy to take down. Jason idly wondered where the hell Dickie-bird had been when this happened. He couldn't actually remember a time when Dick wasn't extremely protective of this kid. Then again, Jason guessed, with the new kid around, Dickie-bird probably had his hands full.

When Jason got back to his room Tim was thrashing on his bed and screaming. "What the hell? Are you fucking hopped up on fear toxin? Did you really get taken out by Crane? How pathetic?" Jason spat as he grabbed for Tim's arms, and tried to hold him down. He refused to think about his own dealings with fear toxin. "You are really becoming more trouble than you're worth," Jason spoke breathlessly as Tim's knee impacted with his ribs. "I can't believe this shit." Jason moved away from Tim to get the antitoxin.

Maybe it wasn't Jason's most brilliant idea to inject the antitoxin into the kid's foot, but with the way he was flailing around, there was no way Jason was going to get any closer than that...not without possibly injuring Tim more, and that was the last thing that Jason needed right now. He was just getting up to go call Dick to come deal with the downed bird when, suddenly, Tim latched onto him, and threw him down onto the bed. "What the hell is running through your system? You go from being completely unconscious to thrashing to fighting me in seconds." Jason wasn't really worried about injuring Tim anymore after the kid's fist connected with his ribs for a third time.

Jason grabbed the gun he kept under his pillow, pistol whipped Tim right upside his head, flipped them over, and quickly grabbed the handcuffs he kept in the bedside table. When he finished securing Tim to the bed Jason swiftly moved to lock the bedroom door, and then stood in front of the window. "Okay, now, we're going to try this again. I'm going to clean you up, and then drop you off with Dick. If you get out of those cuffs and try to attack me I'm going to take you out in the most painful way I know possible. Got it?"

Tim struggled until he heard Dick's name. Then he went completely and utterly still. Jason wasn't so sure that that was a good thing, but he had work to do. He wasn't sure if he should try to get Tim to relax-the kid's entire body was rigid with tension-but he figured it was better than the thrashing. He picked up the first-aid kit from where he had dropped it, and began to clean the wounds on Tim's chest. The moment Jason got close to him Tim tensed more-not that Jason thought that it was possible. Jason didn't have a single clue about what the hell had happened to Tim, but it clearly resulted in more than just physical injury. Jason wasn't sure what was going on, but he figured that wasn't really his problem...not yet at least.

Tim seemed to calm down after Jason had started cleaning the wounds on his chest, but the closer Jason got to more sensitive areas, the more freaked the kid got. When Jason pulled out a syringe to take a blood sample and find out exactly what the hell was running through Tim's veins, the kid tensed even further. Jason was pretty sure that if he didn't find some way to get the kid to relax, he'd break something. "Calm down, I'm just taking a blood sample. You're clearly on something, and it may be necessary to give you something stronger than the general antitoxin."

Tim didn't relax all that much, but he also wasn't struggling, so Jason just continued with what he was doing. After Jason finished with the blood sample, he started cleaning all of the wounds he could find...including some that were obviously older. The kid had clearly been letting someone give him a few good beatings for a while now. "Dickie-bird not handling the stress well? What? You just let him beat you 'til he feels better, then go out on the street and let them kick your ass some more?" Jason didn't actually believe that Dick would do this-not to Tim anyway, but he had heard stories about the new kid, and well, everyone needed some sort of outlet. Jason had seen the way Tim followed Dick around, and it wasn't that much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that he'd let Dick do this to him.

"Come on, baby bird. Talk to me. Who did this to you and why?"

Tim didn't say anything; he just stared at him as if he was lost inside his own head. Jason wasn't sure if Tim was just ignoring him or if the drugs in his system were to blame for his distant look, but he could only think of one way to immediately get his attention, so Jason put some antiseptic on a particularly nasty looking cut on Tim's side-none too gently. He waited for the ensuing hiss to die away before he moved on to the laceration next to it. "Look, I've been patient, and down-right nice, so far. I could make this whole fixing you up thing a hell of lot more painful than I have, so either you start talking or I start getting nasty."

Tim laughed but there was no humor in it. "You think that matters to someone like me? Now let me go. I can take care of myself."

"Which is exactly why I found you bleeding and unconscious with something-I don't even know what yet-pumping through your veins."

"What the hell do you care?"

"I don't." Jason spat as he watched Tim slip out of the cuff around his right wrist, and turned toward the other. "It really took you that long. That's pathetic. What the hell have you been up to? I've always been better than you, but this...this is just depressing." Tim struggled with the other cuff, but his hand slipped, and he was getting tired. Jason watched as he attempted again, but again his fingers slipped on the cuff. "Jesus, kid, I know you're not this bad. What the hell happened to you?" Jason couldn't think of any drug that could make Tim this sloppy, and not leave him completely incapacitated, at least not without some help. Clearly, the kid hadn't been taking care of himself before whatever happened tonight happened.

Tim just stared at him with the most exhausted expression Jason had ever seen. "Either kill me or let me go. It's not like there's any point to keeping me. No one cares if I'm alive or dead. No one's coming for my rescue, and whatever game you want to play with them won't matter. I'm just another discarded Robin."

Jason sighed as he perched himself on the side of the bed and reached up to release the cuff still restraining Tim's left hand. He wasn't going to have the 'it sucks to be replaced' conversation with the person who had replaced him. It didn't matter if some would call it poetic justice-Jason just thought it was lame. "Kid, when's the last time you slept? Hell, when's the last time you ate? I'm going to let you go. I did my job. I fixed you up. If you want to go running around in that state and end up dead, that's all on you; but if you want to stay, I was planning on making some chicken noodle soup for dinner. It's not Alfred's cooking, but it's something."

Jason didn't give Tim a chance to respond. He just undid the cuff around his right wrist, and walked out of the room. He fully expected Tim to just sneak out the window and continue on with trying to get himself killed. So needless to say, Jason was surprised to see him come out of the bedroom a few minutes later and follow him into the kitchen. "Do you need any help?"

Jason was so shocked at the turn of events that he didn't even say anything before handing Tim an onion to chop. "Just don't cut yourself." It was a silly thing to say-the kid had been Robin and all, but with the way he saw Tim's hands slip on the cuff he felt it necessary to say.

The two of them continued on in companionable silence. Jason gave Tim things to chop as he stood over the pot of boiling chicken broth and slowly added the other ingredients. When the soup was done, Jason poured some into two bowls and handed one to Tim. Jason was grateful that Tim seemed to be the quiet type. He just didn't think that he could handle any more awkward moments today. It was odd enough for him to be sitting at his kitchen table eating, as opposed to sitting on his beat-up old couch in front of the TV, but it was even weirder to have a guest there with him-especially when it was one of his so-called family members.

When the two of them finished eating, Jason did the dishes while Tim very carefully dried and put them away. Jason couldn't help but notice how fragile the kid looked. He had a death grip on each of the bowls as he dried them to keep from dropping them, and every movement was sluggish and shaky. Jason was really starting to wonder why none of the other Bats had seen how bad off the kid really was, and done something about it. While it was clear the kid had gotten himself into trouble that night, it was also obvious that he had been slipping for awhile. Jason just couldn't figure out why it had been he who had found Tim and fixed him up. Why hadn't any of the others followed him when he was clearly this screwed up? None of it made any sense, as far as Jason was concerned.

Before he could let himself dwell on it too long, Jason reminded himself that the kid was still here, and he still needed to be dealt with. "Um, if you want to stay, you can have the couch, I guess."

Tim nodded once. "Thanks, Jason."

It was the first time that Tim had said his name since the whole debacle started, and Jason wasn't sure if he was okay with hearing it said in that grateful, soft-spoken tone of voice from the kid. It wasn't like Jason had done anything grand. He had just offered the kid a place to sleep. It wasn't even like his lumpy old beat-up couch was that comfortable to sit on...let alone sleep on. "Yeah, sure, kid. I'll go get you some blankets."

Jason went into his bedroom and grabbed a couple of ratty old, pieced-together blankets that he wasn't using, one of the flat old pillows off the bed, and then returned to the living room with them in hand. He dumped the little pile onto the couch, and then wordlessly walked out of the room again, but not before he heard another one of Tim's quiet, almost shy, thank yous.

When Jason awoke, he was fully expecting to find his couch empty, the covers folded and stacked up neatly, and his apartment just a little cleaner. The kid was a neat freak, after all, so it seemed like a reasonable assumption to make. However, that wasn't the sight that greeted him when Jason walked out of his bedroom. Instead, Tim was still asleep on his couch, and he looked far too frail for anyone trained by Bruce. He decided to just let the kid sleep while he checked on Tim's blood test from the previous night. It would only cause more problems if whatever had been running through the kid's system took longer than 12 hours to flush out. Jason glared at the analysis of Tim's blood once he managed to process what it meant, and he found that nothing made sense anymore-or at least nothing made sense since he found Tim.

A part of Jason wanted to let the kid sleep longer. After all, it would be obvious to a five year old that Tim needed the sleep, but Jason's curiosity wouldn't be sated with the knowledge that he could just get his answers in a few hours, once Tim had slept as much as he needed. Jason stood on the opposite side of the room, and threw paperclips at Tim's temple until the mild annoyance got the kid's attention. "Hey, wakie wakie. I've got a question for the little birdie drooling on my couch."

Tim sat up and blinked a few times, clearly disoriented and in need of more sleep. "What? Jason? What do you want?"

Jason folded his arms over his chest, and smirked at Tim's confusion. "So, replacement, I'm just dying to know how the hell you took on The Joker last night, and didn't end up dead."

Tim shook his head minutely and visibly winced at the pain it caused. "I didn't go up against The Joker last night. I accidentally stumbled upon one of his warehouses, though, and set off one of his less deadly booby traps. I didn't get hit directly with the Joker Venom, and I did give myself a dose of the anti-venom, but I guess I took in far more than I originally estimated, and..."

"...And since you haven't been taking care of yourself, it still affected you more than it should have, and thus here we are." Jason cut in before Tim could finish. Tim gave a curt nod, but said nothing. Jason sighed to himself, and moved closer to the couch. "So, you going to tell me who gave you all of those fantastic cuts and bruises?"

Tim shrugged, and grimaced at the pain it caused him. "Fell through a rotted-through rafter last night, and some wooden crates broke my fall."

Jason raised an eyebrow at him. "Uh huh, and the older ones?"

Tim rolled his eyes. "Careful Jason, someone might think you're concerned about your replacement. We wouldn't want the cape community rumor mill to get wind of that, now would we?"

Jason crossed his arms over his chest again. "Look kid, I'm just curious that's all."

Tim smirked slightly. "You know what they say...'Curiosity killed the cat.'"

Jason stared at him blankly, but he was pretty sure Tim could see the underlying emotions in his eyes. "Guess I should be thankful I was a bird...not that it helped me much."

Tim stared at him blankly. "Yeah, well, thanks for everything. I'm going to go now."

Jason wanted to let him go...wanted to be done with the family bonding time. He didn't want to deal with the kid any longer...never wanted to deal with him in the first place, but something made him reach out and grab hold of Tim's forearm. "Kid, you shouldn't let anyone hurt you...even if it's Dick."

Tim pulled his arm out of Jason's grasp as though he had been burned. "That's not what's happening, and I'm fine." Tim moved with calculated speed toward the window, but with all of his injuries there was no way he could even hope to be faster than Jason.

Jason moved to block Tim's path. "Then tell me what the hell is going on?"

"It's nothing." Tim tried to push Jason out of the way, but that would have been a feat even if Tim was at 100%, which he clearly hadn't been for some time.

Jason glared at him. "Oh, yeah, sure. It's nothing. That's why you're in this state."

Tim just glared right back at him. "I told you why I'm in this state."

Jason growled at that response. "If you even told me everything that happened to you last night it still doesn't explain all of your injuries."

Tim folded his arms over his chest. "Oh really?"

Jason couldn't take it anymore. He had no idea why he was bothering to try, but there was absolutely no way he was allowing Tim to treat him like a moron. "Yeah, really. It doesn't explain this one," Jason jabbed Tim's chest right where one of the larger cuts was, "or this one," he then quickly hit one of the bruises on Tim's upper thigh, "or the one right here," he struck Tim's lower back, "so, yeah, you can just continue lying to me, and pretending I can't see the obvious, or you could just tell me the truth."

Tim gritted his teeth, and hissed at each hit. "Okay, fine, so I've evidently taken more hits than normal. What the hell is the big deal, Jason? Since when has it ever mattered when one of us has gotten a little more beat-up than usual, when we've had more important things to worry about?"

Jason didn't respond. He just shook his head. It wasn't as though the kid was wrong. The mission came first-the mission always came first. That was drilled into their heads more than anything else ever was, and it didn't matter if he didn't follow their stupid codes any more, it still remained true-even for him. "Yeah, whatever you say, kid. You know where to find me the next time you feel like getting your ass kicked." Jason walked out of the room, and back towards his kitchen. He could at least get something to eat if he was going to be forced to deal with his so-called family so damn early. He didn't miss the sound of his living room window opening and closing as he slid two pieces of bread into his toaster. Jason sighed to himself, and wondered how long until they had another dead Robin on their hands-even if it was just another former Robin.

The End