Title: Innocence Lost
Fandom: DCU (pre-reboot Red Robin/Batman)
Word Count: 1000
Summary: In Red Robin 25, Tim Drake life and virtue were saved by Cassandra Cain. What if his life had been saved, but nothing else instead? What happens twelve months after the fact?
Warnings: Possible triggers for mention of rape and surrendering a child for adoption
Dick's voice was somber. No uplift. No happiness. Just a heavy heart as he gazed upon his younger brother.
The eighteen-year-old man sitting in the dark bedroom didn't even register that another presence had entered. He just sat there, numbly staring at the small bundle cradled in his arms. When a tiny hand worked free of the blankets that bound it and reached up for him, only then did Tim's expression shift. He offered one of his fingers, and his lips parted slightly as he watched the delicate little hand wrap tightly around his fingertip.
Everything in Dick's heart told him not to raise his voice. He wanted so much to let the silence reign.
But the silence couldn't reign. Not today.
"Tim?" Dick said, a little louder this time.
Tim lifted his eyes from the bundle and glanced uneasily at his brother. The young man didn't say a word, but Dick could read his silently pleading expression. He shook his head.
"Donna's here," the older man announced. "It's time."
Tim turned his eyes back to the three-month old baby in his arms.
Donna Troy sat in the study of Wayne Manor. Alfred and Bruce waited along with her in silence. The two older men were grim while the dark haired woman was anxious. All eyes turned at the sound of the door opening.
Dick held the door open as Tim reluctantly walked into the room. The young man tried to avoid the gazes of everyone, though his nervous blue eyes caught sight of movement from Donna. She met him halfway across the room, and for a minute the two of them stood there in silence.
"Are you sure you want to do this, Tim?" Donna finally asked, her voice hesitant. She had been gazing at the child longingly, but turned her eyes to the young man as she posed her question. "It's alright to change your mind, if you wish."
Tim's eyes were still on the child... his daughter... even as he nodded. "It's the best for her," he murmured so softly that those in the room without enhanced hearing had to strain to catch the words. Into Donna's open arms, Tim gently placed the baby.
At the sudden loss of her father's familiar warmth and scent, the infant began to whimper and shift. The plaintive sound seemed to cut straight through Tim, cracking the feeble attempt he'd been trying to make at remaining stoic through the entire exchange. His face became immediately stricken and he almost reached out to take his daughter back. Instead, he froze before he could act on the impulse. When he finally moved, it was to take a step back away from Donna and the baby.
Donna's eyes were full of tears as she cradled the baby close, instinctively comforting the upset infant as she'd once comforted her own long-dead son years ago. The former Wonder Girl's heart was tangled up with a mixture of happiness for the opportunity to be a mother again and grief over the entire situation that led up to this point.
Tim, though, felt nothing but anguish as he continued to slowly back away. Logically, he knew that Donna would be a wonderful mother for the child and that this was all going to be for the best in the long run. However, at that moment, the innocent baby's cries made him feel like a horrible person for abandoning her to someone else so easily.
"I'm sorry," he whispered as the tears finally spilled down his cheeks. "I'm so, so sorry." Then, without another word, he spun around and ran out of the study.
"Tim, wait!" Dick followed close behind when his younger brother bolted. He followed Tim to his bedroom in the manor and felt his own heart break at the sight of the normally strong teenager in the midst of a severe emotional collapse.
Twelve months earlier, Tim had been raped and nearly killed.
A meta teenager who was also a daughter of Ra's Al Ghul had lured him into a trap as Red Robin. Once the trap had been sprung, she had used her powers to weaken him and brutally take what she wanted from the then-seventeen year old vigilante.
Dick, as Batman, had been in time to save his brother's life, but little else. The damage had already been done, physically and emotionally. His brother's tortured screams still haunted Dick's nightmares.
Once he'd recovered physically from the ordeal, Tim became a man obsessed with finding Ra's and the meta who'd raped him. During his torture, the girl had made it clear that it was his child that she'd wanted. Despite the circumstances surrounding its conception, Tim became consumed with finding HIS CHILD and making sure he or she wasn't turned into another Damian.
It took nearly an entire year, but Tim finally found her...
A three-month old infant who captured her father's heart nearly upon first sight...
A three-month old reminder of the violation that was her conception...
An innocent child he wanted to protect with all his heart...
A helpless target that Ra's Al Ghul wanted desperately to reclaim...
Even as his own heart ached, Dick wrapped his arms tightly around his brother and held him close. "It'll be ok, Tim," he murmured into the young man's hair. "She'll be safe in Themyscira. Ra's won't be able to reach her, and Donna will love her and raise her well."
Tim didn't even bother trying to make a show of fighting off Dick's affection. Instead he clung to the older man desperately, sobbing broken-heartedly.
Later on, when some time had finally passed, Tim would know that giving the child away had been the right thing to do. However, at that moment, in his brother's strong, comforting embrace as his first and only child was walked out of his life, Tim grieved for the loss of his first and only child and the loss, months ago, of his last strands of innocence.
Author Notes: Decided to write a flash fiction about a "what if" situation inspired in part by this image by kaciart (kaciart . tumblr . com / post / 14800284112). At the end of Red Robin #24, it appears that Tim is about to be raped by one of Ra's Al Ghul's brood. Of course, in issue #25 he's saved by the timely appearance of Black Bat, Cassandra Cain. This "what if" is a look at what might've happened if Tim hadn't been saved in time.
In this story, Tim's life was saved by Dick (as Batman), but he was only in time to save his brother's life. The rape happened.
When Tim was well enough to get back into uniform, he became obsessed with finding the child he KNEW had to have been conceived. Tim had to make a deal with the devil (aka Talia) to gain access to where the child was hidden. He stole his daughter back because he didn't want a child of his to be turned into another Damian or worse.
Tim fell in love with the baby girl, but knew he could not keep her. Though he loved her, she was still a painful reminder of the suffering he'd endured when he was raped. There was also the constant threat of Ra's trying to hunt her down to reclaim her, since there was a fair chance she'd inherit her mother's meta genes. This zeroed out any chance to adopt her out to an anonymous family.
Dick was the one who suggested giving her to Donna Troy and having the child raised among the Amazons in Themyscira. Years ago, Donna had been married and had a child of her own, but lost her former husband and son to tragedy. So when offered the chance to be a mother again, she leapt at the chance, though her joy was tempered by the knowledge of how the child was conceived.
This story managed to come in at 1k words, which is the upper limit for a flash fiction. It was hard and I had to do some severe edits, but I think it still works. I think, though, the next short story I write will need to be something a little more upbeat. This one was pretty heavy on the angst.