warning: Graphic Depictions Of Violence, Major Character Death, Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe – Time Travel, Parallel Universes, Alternate Universe – Zombie Apocalypse, One-Sided Attraction, Hurt No Comfort, No happy end.
fandom: Batman – All mediatypes
pairring: Jason Todd/Dick Grayson
Four months went by, and for Jason things had gone back to almost normal. That first week he had felt like someone had ripped his heart out all over again. The pain that had become a part of him so long ago, had flared with the intensity of a thousand suns. Dick had been right there, right there!
He had tried not to think of it too much, just get back to his normal routine. He was coming home from an almost fatal trip to one of the supermarkets who hadn’t been completely gutted. He had cut himself on the barbed wire, and his hands were bleeding, he had to stop it quickly before the walkers could pinpoint him. He had made it to the roof where his hideout was, and then suddenly Damian had been standing there, just staring at him. “Damian?” Jason huffed short of breath, dropping his backpack, opening it to get the cloth out he knew he had stowed away down there.
“You gotta come with me.” Damian proclaimed urgently.
“What’s wrong?” Jason asked, too busy wrapping his hand to look up at Damian.
Damian came and sat down opposite Jason and took the cloth from him, gently wrapping Jason’s hand. “It’s Bruce.” Damian said softly. “I think he lost it.”
“Sorry to tell you kiddo,” Jason said, holding out his other hand to have that wrapped as well. “He lost it years ago.”
“No, I mean he… uhm he sent Dick to find Barry.” Damian said softly.
“Yeah that new Dick, who’s actually a really nice guy. He sent him out to find Barry. Convinced that the Flash can create enough friction to power up the machine which would create a portal.” Damian said, “’Cept he ain’t talking about sending Dick home.”
“No, Bruce somehow convinced himself that the new Dick is our Dick, like he was never gone.” Damian said, “He wants the portal to bring in others to aid him. People like another Tim, another Cass and another you.”
“He wants to build a new family by stealing them from other dimensions? That is straight up crazy talk kiddo.” Jason looked down at his hands.
“Please we need to find Dick.” Damian said, “All I know is that he went over towards the old Asylum, because rumor has it that Barry is there somewhere, but you know Bruce.”
“No weapons.” Jason whispered as he looked up and met Damian’s eyes. Jason wet his lips, “Go home, I will see if I can find Dick.”
“Alright.” Damian said as he got to his feet, “I hope he’s okay.”
“So do I.” Jason admitted.
Jason cursed Bruce all the way to the area of the old Arkham Asylum. How could he? Images flashed before his eyes, seeing Dick gasping on the ground, sticky from his own blood. That sinking dread threatening to drown him, that hole inside him when hope gave out, like when he knew that Bruce wasn’t coming for him, no one was going to save him – and he would die here, or worse. If history repeated itself, he would fucking kill Bruce, no thinking, no talking, no sentiment – just shoot him point blank. What the hell was Bruce thinking? His Dick would have known, but this Dick didn’t have the first clue as to find Barry. “Grayson!” Jason called as he scanned the area, “Grayson!” He could hear the walkers below get agitated, hearing something that was a potential meal.
“Jason!” Dick called back, waving his arms three buildings down.
Jason let out a breath he wasn’t aware he had been holding. “Stay!” He yelled as he slowly made his way to where Dick was. Finally on the rooftop, Dick smiled embarrassed, limping towards him.
“I slipped.” Dick admitted with a little laugh, “I thought that pipe would hold, and it didn’t. And those things were down there so I had to do something, so I jumped to a ledge and – this.”
“It’s fine.” Jason said with a little smile, “I’m just glad you’re okay.” He looked up towards the sky, “It’s almost dark, we need to get inside. No way we’re gonna make it to Barry’s today.” He offered Dick his arm to lean on.
Once inside Jason barricaded the window and door as well as he could, and made a small fireplace from a chair. “I got more beans.” He said with a disarming smile.
“Yes please.” Dick said in time with his stomach rumbling. “So how did you find me?”
Ignoring the question, Jason just handed Dick a can of beans, “So Damian said Bruce has lost the plot completely.”
“Absolutely.” Dick admitted, “I just didn’t know what to do.”
“It’s not your fault.” Jason said, “He was off the charts to begin with.”
They sat in silence and ate the beans, until Jason put away his can and said “Let me see that ankle.”
“Of course I’m sure.” Jason said, “I’m good at this, don’t worry.” Offered the sore limb Jason gently pulled off the boot, and expertly started to prod it searching for anything broken. “Tell me about your home.” Jason asked innocently.
And Dick obliged, he told him about family stuff, how Tim would be more immature than Damian, and how they would all be a family, gracefully leaving the story about his Jason, and Damian’s demise out of it.
Jason smiled and even chuckled while listening and gently massaging the ankle. It felt so familiar he almost forgot reality. “Your home sounds nice,” He said softly, “I’m sorry you landed in this mess.”
“What does aut viam inveniam aut faciam mean?” Dick asked, noticing that Jason stopped massaging for a second, before he apparently got a grip of himself.
“It means I will either find a way or make one.” Jason said calmly.
“I saw the ring, was it a gift from you?” Dick said, deciding to plunge down into it.
“It was.” Jason said.
“Do you want it back? I can bring you his box of personal stuff if you want me to.” Dick offered with a gentle smile.
Jason shook his head, “No, it never did anyone any good to go digging about in the past.”
“He was really proud of you.”
Jason licked his lips nervously, looking up at Dick, “Do you, do you have someone back home, someone waiting for you?”
“Yeah.” Dick said, “Barbara.”
Jason smiled but it never made it to his eyes, “I hope we find a way to get you home to her.”
Hours later Dick woke to the sound of muffled crying, Jason’s arm was wrapped around him. Dick laid in complete motionless silence for a while trying to figure out what to do. Jason was whimpering in his sleep. Dick slowly turned in Jason’s embrace and whispered, “Wake up Jason.” When that didn’t work he gently shook Jason’s shoulder with his free arm, “Jason you’re having a nightmare.”
Jason didn’t open his eyes, but tightened his hold on Dick pulling him flush against him, and before Dick knew what to do, Jason kissed him desperately. Dick let it happen, he didn’t know why, but he did. “I dreamt you were dead.” Jason whispered broken, kissing him softly again.
“Jason.” Dick said more firmly. “Jason wake up!”
Jason’s eyes opened wide. “Oh God!” He pushed off Dick as was he poisonous, scrambling off the sleeping mat. “Oh God… I’m so sorry, I wasn’t thinking.. I.”
“It’s okay.” Dick said softly.
“No it’s not” Jason said mortified.
“Come on Jason, it was my fault too.” Dick offered.
Jason looked over at Dick, trying to read his emotions on his expression. “I can’t trust myself apparently.”
“Trust me then.” Dick said patting the bedroll again, “I said it’s fine.”
Jason hesitantly stood up and in doing that rejected Dick’s olive branch. “It’s almost dawn anyway.” He mumbled.
“Tell me about him.” Dick said softy, “If that’s not too weird.”
Jason huffed, “This is plenty weird, don’t see how talking about a dead man can make it any weirder.” He sighed and studied the sky out the grimy window. “When I was lost, he was the one to find me.” He looked over at Dick for a short notice, “See much like your- uhm me. Bruce gave up on me, I didn’t understand why, maybe I still don’t. But Dick was there, he would talk me down when I was scared or angry, stay through my night terrors, and he would bring me food and take me out to just sit and watch the sun rise.” Jason smiled at his distorted mirror image in the window. “I think he loved me more than I ever loved myself.”
When Dick was silent, Jason took another deep breath, “Must have been hard on him, living a double life like that. He had left Wayne manor many years prior, but something in him never left, he would seek Bruce out for advice, and Bruce would lean on him as well. In that way they had something that none of us had with either of them.”
“The ring, what’s the story?”
Jason rose to the front of his feet looking out the window. “It was a keepsake, a ring I had made for him because I was afraid to lose him. I thought that a memento would serve as a reminder of what we were.” He stuck his hands in his pockets to stop fidgeting. “Bruce was upset because I was the black sheep, I killed people, the Wayne code forbade that, and for some fucked up reason Dick still abided by that. So Bruce wanted Dick to distance himself from me, because of what I was, what I am – not one of the good guys.”
“But you were fighting crime right?”
“Yeah.” Jason said, “Just not the ones that Bruce wanted me to, and not how he wanted it. I did just not play by his rules. At all. But Dick understood, and for long periods I really tried, I made more than one honest attempt of fitting in and forgiving. I know Dick were caught between us, and I would have done anything to change that. Suppose I should have known that Bruce would never let Dick go, so maybe I should have.” He turned to look at Dick in the dark, “If I had walked away, maybe he’d still be alive.” He shook his head sadly, “That is the story about the ring, it was a promise, and maybe a threat.” Jason looked up again, “I know you’re gonna ask me how he died. My answer is; ask Bruce.”
“But I’m asking you.” Dick said softly, recognizing the anger burning in the young man’s eyes.
“Dick came to me in tears, I have never seen him cry, not once! But he was sobbing, just content to be silent and let me hold him all night. The next day I asked him why he had been so upset, and he just said that he couldn’t live like this, he couldn’t live with me and Bruce hating each other. And I was terrified of losing him, so I offered what I thought he needed – I offered a normal relationship; you know dating stuff, no more crime hunting and swinging from rooftops, thinking I held true to my promise of finding a way to be with him.” Jason frowned, “But then the masks were forbidden, and everything suddenly became very different. Bruce had decided to go along with it, and dictated Dick that he should end Nightwing.” Jason looked away from Dick and took a couple of deep breaths, as his tale continued his voice was shaking. “I refused to put down the mask at first, but then Dick begged me to do it, seeing as angry mobs would kill off anyone who they thought was metahuman or used to be a masked vigilante, they didn’t care if you were a crime fighter or a crime boss. All they saw was the guilt; they blamed us all for Harley’s revenge on the world.”
Jason started to pace the room back and forth, “The world knew that Nightwing was Richard Grayson. And that was his death. See Bruce had lulled him into this stupid idea that people were just afraid, and that since Dick wasn’t metahuman he had nothing to be afraid of. People just needed to see that he was just a person like them. Bruce wanted to humanise us, believing that would be the answer. And that people would listen.” Jason stopped and turned to Dick. “They didn’t. They weren’t afraid, they were rabid.”
Dick was silent still, just waiting for Jason to continue.
“So he had asked me out for dinner.” Jason smiled, “It was a great dinner, and for a moment I started to think that I was wrong, and that Bruce might be right. Maybe they just needed to see we were normal human beings, doing normal stuff. We left the restaurant I remember he held my hand, and we were just talking about some guy’s ugly hair, and how the sauce had been terrible. Out of fucking nowhere – NOWHERE! They were there, like fifty people just aiming weapons at us. Dick looked at me and said ‘don’t worry Jay, let me handle it’. He always called me that, Jay.” Jason stopped and collected himself. “He stood there trying to talk them down, explaining to them that we were just like them, and that there was no reason for violence, we abiding by the law, but more would just join. I just stood there and stared at Dick, regretting I had ever listened to Dick in the first place, I looked up to see if we could make a hasty escape, then someone hit me over the head with something heavy, like a pipe and I went down. I heard Dick scream, I heard him scream my name. He was fucking good, he was a fighter – but there was just too many of them. I tried to get up, I tried to fight back, but it was like a constant fucking onslaught. I blacked out and when I came to, he was just lying there, still. Too still.” Jason angrily wiped his eyes, turning his back to Dick fighting to collect himself.
[Getting to his feet took too long, his movements were too sluggish, it hurt breathing, black dots danced across his vision, and for a moment he thought he’d faint. “Dickie?” He croaked, “Baby?” He heard his own voice as through a bucket, it was far away and distorted. Terror travelled up his spine, and he half expected the Joker to step in front of him, mocking him for even trying.
He made it to where Dick lay, and automatically he cupped Dick’s face, staring into the blank eyes. “Baby?” He asked tears pooling in his eyes as he felt Dick’s head lull between his hands. “No..” He whispered, “No! NO!” The last he screamed from the top of his lungs, the scream wouldn’t end, it just continued as a primal scream.
When Bruce arrived, he gently pulled Jason to his feet and held him tight. And Jason clung to him for dear life, he couldn’t recall a time when he had ever hugged Bruce before this. “I hate you.” Jason cried clawing at Bruce’s shoulder. “It should have been you, not him.” He sobbed against Bruce’s chest.
“Yes.” Bruce just said as he caressed Jason’s hair soothingly.]
“Thing you have to understand about Bruce is that he is not saving the innocent, he punishes the wicked.” Jason said, his voice dripping with venom, “Who knows if he could have saved Dick, but he didn’t because he was making a statement.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Oh really?” Jason laughed mirthlessly. And then pulled his hood up shivering momentarily. “It doesn’t matter, let’s just find Barry.”