AN: Owing to how terrible I am at actually finishing multi-chapter stories, I decided I'd write a one-shot. Of course, if I happen to write any extra chapters, they'll go up too, but I shall be sure to leave them at fairly suitable endings, just in case I get writer's block. Again.
This is from Jason's POV, and yes, there's a bit of minor slash in it, but that's how it turned out, so if you don't like, don't read. Also, as it's Jason, there's rather a lot of swearing - sorry, but if I took it out, he'd be majorly OOC. You have been warned.
I own NOTHING, except the storyline (though, knowing my luck, something similar will exist somewhere) and possibly the random drug dealer who appears briefly in the first two paragraphs. I'm just borrowing my favourite Robins for the duration of this fic (which is rather short, and they will probably not enjoy starring in - especially Jason).
Well, enjoy, and if you could spare the time to review (even if it's just to relay death threats from Jason), it would be much appreciated. (Also, if there's anything you'd particularly like to see in a sequel/extension-thingy, let me know, and I'll do my best.)
Living in Interesting Times
Pain. The familiar white heat of a bullet wound. Lucky shot, but damn that hurts. I cough, and my chest is afire with agony. Broken rib? Shit. I taste blood. Mine? Another cough rips through me, and the taste intensifies. Punctured lung, then. Well, fuck. Never figured to have my lights put out by some small-time drug dealer with a pistol. A bloody Beretta 418, at that: a lady's gun. Some lady – the guy standing over me (when the hell did my legs give out? I don't remember how I ended up kneeling…) is six feet tall and stubbly. Smirking, he raises the gun to my eye-level. How fucking cliché could he get? I close my eyes, smiling wryly behind my helmet. Goodbye cruel world. Again…
Smack. Thud. I open my eyes, and the guy's on the floor, out cold. The fuck? In my surprise, I lose control of my diaphragm, and the pain washes over me as my lungs try to shift the blood that's slowly filling them. I feel myself fall forwards, but I don't hit the floor – I'm caught from behind by a pair of strong arms around my middle. I bite back a scream at the added pressure on my ribs as I'm pulled into a sitting position. The arms shift to support me less excruciatingly, and an all-too-familiar masked face enters my field of vision.
"Jay? Can you hear me, Jason?" Funny, it almost sounds as if he cares. What happened to hating me?
"Loud and –" another bout of painful hacking "– loud and clear, Dickie-bird." He shifts his hold of me again, and lifts me bridal style. Ow! Goddamnit, that hurts! In any other circumstances, this would be embarrassing, but I know from the blurring around the edges of my vision that I won't be awake much longer.
"I'm not losing you again, Jaybird. Promise." I hardly have time to register the bizarrely soothing tone of his voice before he moves. The pain flares; then everything goes black.
Consciousness returns slowly, and is accompanied by the sound of Dick's voice. I keep my eyes shut and lie still on the bed, listening.
"- been a bad brother to you, Jay. I should've been there for you. It wasn't your fault he gave you Robin. I realise that now…"
The hell? I don't get it. Am I hearing things, or is the Golden Boy really saying he regrets being such an asshole to me?
"…I didn't mind that he replaced me as a partner – not much, anyway – but, Jay, he gave you Robin. He gave you the nickname my mother called me by, and he gave you a costume he modified from the one she made for me to wear for our…last performance…" He swallows loudly, and starts carding his fingers through my hair. It feels nice… safe, even.
"I wish I'd been nicer, but it hurt so much. You were a walking reminder of how everything I ever loved had been taken from me. My parents; Robin; Bruce… I couldn't cope, Jaybird. And then you died, and I thought I'd never get the chance to apologise. So I did the next-best thing: made up with Bruce and tried to keep him from losing it completely. I think I was as surprised as you were that he didn't kill the Joker, until he told me your death made it even more important that we didn't kill – he didn't want to cause anyone the pain he went through over losing you." He pauses for a moment, and brings his hand down from my hair to cradle my jaw, gently stroking my cheek with his thumb.
"You came back, Jason. It nearly broke him to see you were prepared to kill. I can't say I was too happy about it, either, especially when you decided Tim and I were fair game. That hurt, little brother. I know I was a dick to you, but did you really have to try and kill me?" I surreptitiously bite my tongue to avoid smirking at his pun – that's exactly the inflection I put on his name when he gets in my way.
"Heh…I have to patrol now, Jay – I'd better go, before Tim comes looking for me." He kisses my forehead; then his hand drops away from my face. "Sweet dreams, Jason. I'll see you when I get back."
I track the sound of his footsteps away from my bed and out of the door. As the latch clicks, I find myself wishing I'd let him know I was awake. I bury the thought, and burrow into my pillow, willing myself to get some sleep.
"Dick? Dick, where are you?" That's Tim's voice, and it's getting closer. My eyes snap open, and I'm somewhat surprised to find Dick slumped over in a chair at my bedside, sound asleep, with his hand resting lightly on mine. Going on the amount of light peeking through the curtains, he's probably been there several hours. I pity the poor sod – he'll be damned stiff when he wakes up.
The door flies open, banging loudly against the wall. I find myself fighting the urge to cower away from the silhouette in the doorway that is undoubtedly Tim: he's grown, and what little I can make out of his facial expression bodes ill for my continued survival. The mattress shifts slightly as Dick jerks upright at the noise, tension easily visible in his posture, despite the gloom.
"There had better be a good reason for this, Dick…" The replacement advances to the foot of the bed in a manner that can only be described as menacing. Fuck it, where are my weapons when I need them?
"Timmy, I can explain…" Dick's on his feet now, defensive.
"Go on, then. Explain why you brought that with you. I thought Bruce asked you to protect Gotham while he was away, not add to its more-than-adequate collection of murderers." Tim's voice is venomous; defiant – he really does hate me. Shit. Here was I, thinking I had a chance of having some kind of family again.
Smack! What the fuck? Reality check – did Dick just backhand Timmy across the face? Jesus… The replacement stumbles back, hand on cheek. He looks utterly taken aback.
"He's our brother, Tim. Did you expect me to leave him to die?" Dick advances on Tim, threatening despite his stature. "This is his room, in his house – his home. You will not contest his presence; and you will not, under any circumstances, breathe a word about him to Bruce when you make your reports. Understood?" Dick has Tim backed against the wall now, and fuck, I had no idea he could sound that much like Batman…
I clear my throat cautiously, and two pairs of eyes instantly switch their focus to me.
"Uh, Dickie, you don't have to terrorise Babybird on my account, you know… Much as I, um, appreciate the sentiment and all…" I trail off as Dick's posture relaxes, and he grins sheepishly at Tim, who's staring at me in a rather dazed fashion.
"Babybird?" They say it together, but the disparity between Dick's amusement and Tim's bemused disbelief is utterly fucking hilarious. I crack up, earning myself a surge of agony that rips through my chest and sets me wheezing painfully. Dick's by my side in an instant, and even the replacement looks somewhat concerned. I can't breathe. Shit, I can't fucking breathe. I vaguely register Dick yelling for Alfred as everything starts to blur. Footsteps; a needle; then the pain is washed away, only to be replaced by the bizarre giddiness of strong painkillers.
"Easy, now, Master Jason…" The reassuring tone of Alfred's voice and the soft pressure of Dick holding my hand carry me gently into oblivion.
Waking up to find my adoptive brothers curled up either side of me on the bed is not something I expected, but it's actually rather nice to know they care. Jeez – paranoid, much? Guess the whole 'resurrection' thing has fucked with my head more than I like to admit to myself. Should've known.
Dick stirs, mumbling something that sounds suspiciously like 'love you' and snuggling up closer. I have a horrible suspicion he's going to end up using me as a mattress if I don't wake him soon, but I'm loathe to lose the feeling of acceptance and affection that seems to have pervaded the room while I was sleeping.
"Dickie-bird?" My voice is barely more than a whisper, but I find a pair of sleepy, sky-blue eyes blinking at me blearily.
"Mornin' Jase…" How is it I've never noticed before now just how sexy Dick's voice is? And what the fuck am I thinking? Does it still count as incest if you're adopted? God knows, but it feels bloody weird, thinking about him that way.
"Uh, hi?" Yeah, that didn't really work as a greeting. He gives me a slightly baffled look; then props himself up on one elbow, rubbing the sleep from his eyes with his other hand.
"Jason, I don't understand you, sometimes." He stares down at me, curiosity and something else that I can't quite put my finger on flickering in his eyes.
"You don't?" Where's he going with this, exactly?
"You seem so self-assured when I see you on patrol, but when you're here, at home, you're suddenly so…I don't know…vulnerable…" He's doing that cute (well, it is: ask anyone you like) little frowny-thing that he does when he's thinking about something and getting nowhere with it.
"Jay-bird, have I ever told you you're beautiful?" He says it so casually that it takes me a moment to process the actual words.
"I'm what?" I can't quite believe this…
"Apologies in advance, and, er, please don't kill me…" His lips are suddenly on mine, and fuck that feels good. Who knew Dickie was such a good kisser? His tongue begs entrance, and I open my mouth to comply, for once in my life totally unconcerned that I'm being dominated.
"Argh!" Thud! We break apart to see Tim staring up at us in utter shock from his new position on the floor. He scrambles to his feet, covering his eyes with one hand as he edges around the bed and makes for the door.
"I did not need to see that, guys!" Dick giggles at Babybird's mock-outraged exclamation, and even I crack a smile. I'd forgotten how much fun embarrassing Tim can be…