Title: The Boy in the Mirror
Author's Note: Okay so I wrote this for a friend in like about two hours with distractions from Tumblr, Facebook and occasionally Youtube. I don't know much about Damian Wayne or anything and have never read any comics with him so please don't judge/hate me. OOC Damian though, as if I know him IC. Um... yeah.
Disclaimer: I do not own none of this. But if I did, Damian would be alive. Dick would have blue on his chest and Jason and Dick would be like Bro-friends.
Warning: Major AU.
Damian was ten when he first came to live with his biological father, Bruce Wayne. He was raised by his mother, who told him stories of how great he was and who he was and what he did. Bruce Wayne was Batman and therefore Damian was Batman's son, which was a lot to hold up, his mother told him. He had to be intelligent, fierce and force fear into people's hearts. However, he was also an Al Ghul, and apart of an age-old empire that had created the League of Shadows. They were assassins and Damian was raised as such. He held intense training sessions. He could maim and kill someone by the time he was seven. He had not heard much of whom his father was until he was ten and that is when he decided to live with him.
He was an assassin and his father was a hero. He knew that Batman had a partner, Robin. Therefore, he became Robin. He became a hero. It was simple, he knew there had been Robin's before him, but he was the best, because he was the Batman's true son… the true heir to the Wayne Empire. It was simple, obviously.
It had been difficult to move into the manor and adjust. The place was old and well-kept and well loved, as if Damian knew the true meaning of the word love. He would wander down creaky halls and corridors and open up doors to find rooms that were dusty and old and unused and so he moved from them and continued on. Damian was curious and though he didn't understand this at the time, it was a trait he had gained from his father… one that, at least, his father had covered up and brutalized until it was no longer seen as blissful curiosity but as intelligence and a keen eye.
He was walking through one of the halls on the west wing of the manor, squinting at pictures of landscapes and family members of Wayne-folk. He ignored most of them, often choosing to stare out the windows toward the rainy, overcast day that held Gotham City and Wayne Manor captive in a tight grey fist. He saw a mirror, slightly covered up with white cloth, that was stationed against a wall and at the end of one corridor that was crisscrossed with another. He walked up to it, touching the white cloth and coughing at the amount of dust. It was as if it had been covered for years but the boy knew that the west wing had only been "out of commission" (as Timothy Drake put it) for a year or two.
He slowly slid the cloth from the mirror, waves of dust rolling of, and stared at its cracked surface. He didn't look in his face, or his body but he gently touched the thin spidery lines that marred its reflective surface. He wondered why the old butler had not thrown it out, because he knew the daft old man would want to be rid of the thing the moment it was damaged but here it was, sitting in the west wing with cloth and dust covering it. Perhaps Pennyworth had forgotten about it or maybe it was simply left here. Damian shrugged and looked up.
He stepped back a moment, blinking. He had seen a pair of bright blue eyes staring back at him.
He had brown eyes.
He blinked rapidly for a moment, rubbing his eyes in between and then peered into the mirror. He saw the blue eyes, staring back at him. He breathed deeply, frightened. No, he reminded himself, he couldn't be frightened… he was the Batman's son. He took a bold step forward, puffing up his chest.
"Who are you?"
There was no answer, as if Damian could have expected one. He was only ten years old, however, and therefore imagined that if there could at least be a pair of eyes in the mirror that were not his, there could possibly be a voice.
"I demand you tell me!" he called out harshly, puffing out his chest further and balling up his fists. He began to see a face and hair and a body. The head tilted to the left, his right, but said nothing.
"I am the son of Talia Al Ghul and Bruce Wayne, tell me immediately!" he declared, stamping his foot on the ground like a child (no matter how much he fought that he was not a child and could not be seen as such). Gritting his teeth when the face gave him a confused look, he leaned back, his shoulders falling down from their squared position. "At least have the courtesy to say something. Can you even understand me?"
The boy (Damian decided it was boy) hesitated a moment, as if deciding whether to answer. Then he nodded, with a slight smile.
"I figured as much," Damian replied, crossing his arms. "How do even know you're real? That you're not just some figment of my imagination?"
The boy hesitated once more before shrugging, his smile fading a moment.
"Are you stuck there?"
The boy nodded quickly, his smile still not returning. He could not have been more than three years older than Damian himself could, but he was only slightly taller than the ten year old.
"How?" Damian asked, his demanding demeanor suddenly whisked away as curiosity set in. He stepped closer to the mirror and the boy became almost foggier, and seemed to blend into Damian's reflection. The half-Arabic boy stepped back and frowned as the boy's image became sharper.
The boy shrugged, lifting his hands up in the air with his shoulders.
Damian frowned and sat down. "What's your name?" he asked quietly, almost afraid to ask, though for what reason he did not know.
The boy frowned a moment, looking confused and the opened his mouth to speak. Damian leaned forward, expecting to hear words. The boy said nothing, only moving his lips. He could not speak, Damian understood by the boy's sad expression, and therefore could not reply to the boy wonder at all.
He opened his mouth and almost felt guilty that he could use words and the boy could not. No, he berated himself; no, he could not feel guilty. Who knows what sort of magic this could be, what trick. Perhaps the boy was a plot to try to get him to trust him, or perhaps some of his father's enemies could be trying to get to the famous Bruce Wayne through his now acclaimed son. He stood up, picking up the cloth and stepping toward the mirror. The boy's face suddenly looked frightened, sacred, and sad and he held out his hands and pressed them against some unseen force.
He was mouthing something, looking as if he were screaming it.
No! No, please don't! Please!
Damian hesitated a moment. "Can you move around, in there I mean. It's a reflection correct, can you move through the manor and see things?"
The boy's frightened look did not go away but he shook his head, his bright blue eyes staring down at the ground. Damian looked away and then looked up to see the boy looking at him.
Damian wondered if it was dark when the cloth was over the mirror. He wondered if the boy could see anything except darkness when the cloth was there, and what little light got through. He wondered if the boy even existed.
He stared down at the cloth in his hands. He gripped it tightly, his hands shaking, and he bit his lip. He held such power over this boy. He could simply put the cloth over the mirror and wander back off down the corridor, never to think of the boy in the mirror again. Yet… he could not. He could not physically make himself put the cloth back on the mirror. He wondered if this was what liking someone was like, not like Todd said the definition of like was (he mostly described it with girls in the equation, something to which Damian felt no liking too whatsoever), but like… a friend. He glanced at the boy, who gave him a warm smile, putting a hand to the mirror on the other end.
Damian lifted his left hand up, letting go of the cloth, and slowly put his hand on the mirror, mimicking the boy's actions.
The boy smiled fondly.
Damian let go of the cloth, pushing it aside. He opened his mouth to speak. "I'll be back tomorrow, alright?"
The boy did not reply, shaking his head.
"What do you mean?" Damian asked, stopping short.
The boy simply pointed at Damian, mimicked walking away with his fingers, and then shook his head.
"You think I won't come back?" Damian asked, feigning surprise. The boy nodded, sadly looking away.
"I'll be back don't be foolish. I promise," Damian replied harshly, stating that this was the truth by his tone. Nevertheless, the boy shook his head, did the previous action, and then did a breaking motion.
"I won't," Damian began, stopping short to think a moment. "break my promise."
The boy gave him a skeptical look.
"I promise," Damian replied once more in a harsh manner, almost getting annoyed. Why did the boy not believe him? Wasn't it obvious he was telling the truth?
The boy made a motion with his right hand, drawing an X over his heart and nodding at Damian.
Damian quickly replied, "Yes," and then smiled as kindly as he could and began walking away, the boy's smile on his face stuck in Damian's head.
"What does this mean?"
An older red head of twenty-six years of age and named Barbara Gordon looked down at Bruce's biological son, Damian Wayne. He was doing the "cross my heart and hope to die" motion over his chest with a very serious and intense look on his face.
"It means you pretty much won't break a promise," she replied, turning back to her work.
"No, I mean… yes but what's it called? Why do we use it?"
She turned toward him, frowning. "Well, basically when one makes a promise or tells a secret to another, the latter will say cross my heart and hope to die and draw an X over their heart with their finger because they would rather die than break the promise or tell the secret. I guess it would be called cross my heart but I don't really think it has an official name."
"So, say, what happens when you break the promise?" he asked quietly.
"I don't know," she shrugged.
"Obviously you do know Gordon," the ten year old bit harshly at her, his mood turning swiftly. "It seems to be the only thing you do know. Now tell me, what happens when you break the promise?"
She sighed, looking up at the ceiling for a few moments. "Nothing I suppose, I imagine it's between the two or three who made the promise."
"Can one get hurt from such a betrayal?"
She shrugged again. "Yes? I guess it could be both physical and mental."
"Mentally?" Damian questioned. "How would one get mentally hurt? Unless of course by a telepath such as the Martian." He waved his hand dismissively to the side.
"Don't grumble about the answer considering you're the one who asked the question in the first place," Barbara replied, her voice low. "And one could get their feelings hurt. Like, they might feel the other doesn't like the anymore, or maybe they would feel stupid to put their trust in the wrong person."
Damian looked away. "Thank you," he curtly replied, turning away with a swift, fluid action.
She watched him walk out the door. "Why?" she called after him but he never replied.
Whenever Damian was not at school over helping his father as Robin, he was in his room or talking to the boy in the mirror. He felt that he had seen the boy before, somewhere in the back of his head, and as he grew older, he found the thought more and more in his head. It bothered him, a nagging feeling that bit at his insides until it was all he could think about. But then it faded... and he grew to accept he might never find out who the boy was.
He found the boy in the mirror could not grow older. He did not notice when he turned eleven. Yet when Damian was twelve, the boy should have been fifteen but he was not. He was still thirteen years old.
Damian thought it odd, but the boy didn't seem to notice. Damian would go, day after day, and sit there outside the mirror telling the boy about his father and Todd and Drake and even the girl, Gordon. The boy seemed to find comfort in the name of the redhead and so Damian would mention her often, even when he was angering or complaining about her. He described Jason Todd, the boy dead and then alive again and what he was up to. He told stories of foolish boy Timothy Drake and how he looked like an idiot in his new costume. He told of Stephanie Brown, the new Batgirl, and how she was really quite smart but he just didn't want to admit it.
He mostly talked of his father. The boy listened intently, sitting there across from Damian in the mirror, his chin resting on his fist. Damian talked about how his father continued his training and told him off on everything. His father never paid attention to him and he had no contact with his mother. His father did not know how to act toward him, and Damian did not know how to act towards his father. He claimed that his father did not care for him but the boy would shake his head and make a little heart sign. Damian would never admit it. He wanted his father to be proud of him, both on and off the field of Batman and Robin. However, he was not and Damian knew it.
Damian did not have friends in school, all through elementary and middle school, Damian was alone, reading books in the back or learning languages in his head. He would sit there and think of ways he could break the boy in front of him's neck but when he related that to the boy in the mirror, the boy frowned and now Damian tried not to do that anymore. He did not want anyone to approach him; he wanted to be left to his own thoughts. He thought about Batwoman, Catwoman, and Huntress. He thought about Jason Todd and Timothy Drake and he thought of his father, and his nonexistent fatherly-love, and he thought about the boy in the mirror, the one he saw as his friend… his brother.
Soon enough he was older than the boy was by two years. Damian was fifteen. He began to wonder about the boy again. Who he was and where he came from and why was he stuck in a mirror. Damian wondered if the boy knew he saw the sad looks the boy gave him or the floor, where he would look so tired and lost and alone. Damian began to wonder not how he came to be in the mirror, but how long he had been there. It bothered him, the look the boy gave him. He knew the boy wanted to come out, to be there.
"Can you feel?" Damian asked one day, lying on his back with his hands behind his head as he stared into the boys blue eyes. The bluest blue to ever blue, Damian would think sometimes.
The boy gave him a curious look, confused.
"You know," Damian began, "can you feel? If a draft blew down the hall, would you feel it through the mirror?"
The boy thought a moment and then shook his head.
"I'm… sorry," Damain relayed softly, the words no longer foreign to his lips. He found he said that too much to the boy.
The boy shrugged.
"Do you miss it?"
The boy looked away, confused. Damian opened his mouth the try again, thinking the boy misunderstood, but was cut off when the boy lifted his hand to stop Damian. He shrugged suddenly, mouthing something to himself.
Damian wondered if the boy even remembered what it felt like. He did not have the heart to ask.
"I'm sorry," he stated again, sitting up. The boy smiled at Damian and so Damian was forgiven.
"I have to go, I'll see you tomorrow alright?"
The boy nodded, smiling, and waved at Damian. Damian waved back.
Except he did not see him tomorrow or the next day or the day after, Batman and Robin were on a long expedition that required weeks away. Batman and Robin had left in June and came back mid-July.
Damian came back and did not see the boy in the mirror again, forgetting of his daily routine. He once again he no one to talk to, no one to turn to and he found he was lonely. He did not forget about the boy in the mirror, his only friend… he simply never went back. It was as if he were afraid to face the wall of alone that surrounded the boy.
It was a year later, and Damian was seventeen, that he found himself in those halls mid-July. He turned right down one hall and stopped short. There stood a mirror, covered in dust and with white cloth still in a heap on the ground from seven years ago. Damian was moving forward slowly, blinking.
He opened his mouth to say something but nothing came up. He came to see the view of a small boy with his arms tightly around his legs sitting the mirror, looking at the ground with grey blue eyes. He had not noticed Damian yet and so the now older boy stared at his friend a long while.
"Hey," he said suddenly.
The boys head snapped up, looking shocked and surprised that someone would be talking to him.
"I'm sorry," Damain said, looking down. He glanced back up to see that he boy had stood up and was making a breaking motion over his chest, combined with an X.
"I did break my promise, didn't I?" Damian asked. The boy nodded. "Batman and I were away on a mission… we came back a year ago and just…I just…" he sighed, sitting down cross-legged like the boy had long ago showed him. "I just broke it, just like that."
He knew no matter how many times he apologized and said he was sorry it would not matter. He had simply up and left the boy in the mirror, the boy who could not talk and could not feel and who was surrounded by alone.
It was quiet for a while, rain and thunder in the background. "Who are you?" he asked the boy. "You know who are correct?"
The boy sadly shook his head and Damian choked, still sitting on the ground. The boy's anger seemed to have washed away as he leaned forward, into the glass on his side.
Damian's head snapped up, looking at the boy. The boy looked just as confused and was pointing down the hall, mouthing something harshly. Damian spun in his sitting position and saw Barbara, Jason and his father coming down the hall. It had been Jason who called his name.
Damian glared at them. "What do you want?" he inclined harshly.
"We've been calling you for the past twenty minutes," Gordon berated him, rolling up in her wheelchair. He sat up, brushing off nonexistent dust from his pants. "What are you doing back here anyway?"
Damian stopped short, looking at her and the mirror. "Well, don't you see?" he asked, gesturing toward the boy, who looked frightened at the sight of people.
"Looking at yourself in the mirror?" Jason barked out, laughing. "I mean I knew you were arrogant kid but really…"
Damian stared at him, confused. He looked back the boy, who was shaking his head. They could not see him. He bit his lip.
"Damian…" his father warned.
"Don't you see him?" Damian asked, jabbing his finger toward the mirror.
"See who?" Barbara asked, sneaking suspicion in her voice.
"The boy in the mirror," Damian growled back. "He's right there, standing there looking at all of us!"
"Demon…" Jason warned but Damian's father cut him off, looking at Damian.
"The boy in the mirror?"
Barbara turned and looked at his father, muttering his fathers name under her breath in the form of a question. He father whispered something back.
"What are you going on about?" Damian asked loudly. "I demand you tell me!"
"You demand nothing!" Jason snapped.
Damian balled up his fists. His father stepped in the way.
"What do you mean by the boy in the mirror?" he asked, "What does he look like?"
Damian let out a deep breath. "He is dark skinned, like I am yet not as dark… and he has blue eyes and dark hair. I believe he is wearing jeans and a hoodie but it is hard to tell," Damian replied.
"How old is he?" Barbara cut in, looking desperate.
"Why does it matter?" Damian snapped. Then he cut short… the way they acted when he said the boy in the mirror. They acted as if they were surprised but that they knew something and the way the boy would blush at Barbara's name even if he did not know why… "You knew him, didn't you? He was a real person…?"
The "adults" all glanced at each other.
"He's thirteen, I think," Damian said softly.
"Is he standing there?" she asked hurriedly, eyes widening at his answer. Damian nodded. She rolled forward, setting her hand against the glass. The boy stared at her and slowly mimicked her. She flinched, as if a cold feeling settled through her, yet remained there.
"Dick…" she murmured.
"Is that his name?" Damian cut in.
She turned to stare at him. "What do you mean is that his name? Of… of course it is."
"He can't speak," Damian replied, looking down and then up at his father, who was staring at the mirror. "Who is he? I… I asked him and… he doesn't know."
Barbara gave another choked sob and Jason sucked in a breath, looking away.
"Father… who is he?"
His father sighed. "Jason… was not the first Robin. Dick Grayson was," his father inclined, pausing a moment. Damian muttered the name under his breath, staring at the boy who was looking at his father in fascination while his hand was still against Barbara's. "Dick Grayson… was an acrobat in Haley's Circus with his parents. They were visiting Gotham one day… Dick, Richard is his legal name, told me that there was a mob boss that was demanding money from the circus owner. When Haley refused, the mob boss threated the harm their members. He sabotaged their acrobat/trapeze act but loosening some bolts. Dick told me it was his fault because he saw people messing with the bolts but… he thought they were just new circus workers," Bruce Wayne sighed a moment.
"They perform without a net and when… when it finally happened. Dick was going to join them in the final act when they fell."
"Did he watch them?" Damian asked, staring at the boy… at Dick Grayson, the first Robin.
Damian paused a moment and then nodded.
"They fell and he was taken to a Juvenile Center because all the no one wanted him, all of the orphanages in Gotham were full. He lived there for a few months… until I tried to gain custody of him. The circus fought against me, also trying to get custody, but I won… I got to take him home. I did. He liked it here, I think… I don't imagine I did to well as a father, I was only twenty-eight, hardly old enough to have an eight year old son and know how to handle him. He became the first Robin…"
Damian nodded as the story finished. He knew there must be more but he didn't ask that part.
"How did he get stuck in the mirror?"
Barbara leaned away from the mirror, tears leaking down her face. "There is… a wizard or whatever… well, no, his name is Klarion."
"I know him," Damian cut in, "mother tells me of him in her letters." His mother had begun sending him letters when he turned seventeen only a month or two ago, replaying to him what the League of Shadows was doing. He found them uninteresting and foolish.
Barbara scrunched up her nose but said nothing. "Yeah, well… he's the embodiment of Chaos. Anything that happens that's bad well… it's Klarion. Batman, Robin and I were fighting him and… well, there was this mirror in this God only knows how old castle. He said something and hit Robin into the mirror only… only it didn't smash, he went in it. He could talk though we tried to fix it but… it didn't work. The mirror was in the Batcave for a while but then… he began to fade suddenly. His voice began to disappear. He tired to get Doctor Fate to fix it, Zatara and even Zatanna but… no one could. Whatever that son of a… well, whatever Klarion did… no one could reverse it.
"When he faded completely we thought he died or… something, we didn't know. None of us could get ourselves to get rid of the mirror and so it was taken back here into the West Wing. Why you can see him… I don't know."
Damian looked at Dick Grayson, stepping forward and staring into the blue eyes. "I… I am sorry."
He was not looking at Damian though; he was staring at the ground moving his lips.
"Dick… I am sorry."
Dick Grayson looked up and smiled softly… but it was sad.
Damian stared at the boy in the mirror, Dick Grayson, his greatest friend, and how they would never get him out.
yes it sucked im sorry dont hate me