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
For a moment Dick didn’t think they’d ever make it out of the asylum, Jason was acting like a crazy person, mumbling softly, hearing answers when no one spoke. Dick had tried to make light of it and hope that Jason would snap out of it, but he didn’t and now Dick was really freaked out. He remembered that Barry had told him that the Joker had been tormenting Jason for a year, and Dick knew the Joker, any Joker. One thing was for sure, he didn’t do anything without a plan. He would have had to have a reason to keep this Jason alive and not just kill him like he had killed his Jason. As Jason stopped dead and violently hit his temples while his mouth made a silent scream, Dick didn’t know what to do. He looked over his shoulder hoping that Jason’s captors had given up, or maybe just lost their tracks. “Jason,” Dick whispered, backing Jason up against the wall, with one arm against his chest pinning him down, and with his other hand lifting Jason’s head, till they were eye to eye. “Jason! He is dead, he can’t hurt you.”
“You’re just a ghost.” Jason whispered broken, his eyes wide with fear but focused on Dick.
“I’m real, and I’m right here.” Dick said softly, “And you need to snap out of it if we’re going to make it out of here.”
Jason looked skittish and pale. “I wish you were.” He whispered.
“But I am!” Dick argued, “Here,” He grabbed Jason’s hand and placed it on his chest so Jason could feel his heart beat. “I promise, I’m real.”
Jason closed his eyes, just standing there with his hand on Dick’s chest. Suddenly he let out a whine and took his hand back, “stop messing with my head.” He mumbled.
“STOP MESSING WITH MY HEAD!” Jason screamed and pushed Dick with all his might, and he would have run off if he wasn’t too injured to move fast. Dick caught him pretty fast, grabbing Jason’s arm, ignoring his protests and hoping they’d be out of here soon.
Dick had hoped that Jason would snap out of it once they were out of the Asylum, but he didn’t. The sun was setting and even if he had never seen what roamed the streets at night, he had heard the sounds, and had no intentions of being caught out here with whatever it was. “Come on.” He hoisted up in Jason and began a painfully slow climb to somewhere where he hoped he could lock them in for the night.
He wished he had paid better attention to what Jason had done all those nights, but he managed to find a run down apartment with a bathroom that was pretty big, but also looked easy to barricade. He placed Jason in the bathtub and set unto making the bathroom safe. When he was done, he could see out the cracks in the window that it was dark outside. He looked over at Jason who had fallen into restless sleep.
It was almost dawn when Dick woke to a soft voice calling his name, he opened his eyes surprised that he had fallen asleep. Jason was sitting on the edge of the bathtub, studying him.
“You’re up.” Dick said with a little smile, “Are you okay? Can you walk? Eh how’s your head?”
Jason chuckled mirthlessly, “I’m sore, but I’ll live.”
“Good.” Dick said taking in Jason’s mangled form, he looked pretty torn up, more than ‘sore’.
“Thank you.” Jason almost whispered.
“Don’t mention it.” Dick shrugged.
“If I had not been so angry that Barry had told you about ‘this’.” Jason pointed to the branded ‘j’ on his cheek, “then I would have seen the sniper, and… anyway it’s my own fault. And still you – you came for me.”
“Of course I did.” Dick said, “And you are right, I should have asked you.”
“The sun is up, maybe we should get moving.” Jason said casually, not voicing his shame of fucking everything up, needing rescue and then acting like a crazy person. “I uhm.. It was –“ He had his back to Dick, and slowly pried off the barricade that Dick had made the night before. “It was the Jokers favourite taunt, Dick and Bruce.”
“Oh.” Dick said softly, “I can only imagine.”
“No you can’t.” Jason answered sourly, but took a deep breath “I just wanted to apologize for all that, and you still took me with you – and…” He turned around and smiled a little bloodless smile at Dick, “Thank you, I mean it.”
“Couldn’t just let them eat you.” Dick said, “And uhm about that, your gun – I left it at Barry’s.”
“Of course you did.” Jason huffed amused. “There we go.” He ripped off the last bit of barricade. “Let’s get you home.” Jason opened the door and limped outside.
Alfred was horrified at seeing the state Jason was in, and was not negotiable when Jason wanted to see Bruce, but ushered Jason away to have his wounds looked over.
Dick slowly walked to Bruce’s office, the secret door was open and so he descended to the batcave. Bruce was there alright, so was Barry. They were having a heated argument over the massive machine in the middle of the cave. Dick decided that he was not about to get involved so instead he turned and went up to the office again, aiming for his own bedroom.
The night was uneventful, but Dicks dreams was still restless and full of dark corners. And when he woke, he woke to the entire building shaking. He sat up in his bed and looked around in the dark. Was it an earthquake? He heard running feet from the hall, and the second he got out of bed his door was opened with such force it almost hopped off it’s hinges. “Dick!” Damian looked frightened and wide eyed. “You gotta come.”
“What is it?” Dick asked, following Damian down the hall, bare feet, t-shirt and shorts. “Is it Bruce?”
“Yes.” Damian answered short of breath, “And Jason. They are going to kill each other… Please”
“What?” Dick ran faster towards the batcave, only to find Barry against the wall, and Jason aiming two guns at Bruce. Bruce looked like murder, and several monitors, servers and other electronics had been knocked over and taken potshots at. “What the hell?” Dick looked from Jason to Bruce.
“Recalibrate that machine Bruce, and send him home.” Jason just repeated, ignoring Dick’s presence.
“No.” Bruce just answered. “He is home.”
Jason rolled his shoulders but didn’t take his aim off Bruce, “Don’t you think that I want him to be real just as much as you do?” Jason said surprisingly soft. “BUT HE ISN’T! Bruce wake up! Grayson is dead, we buried him for fucks sake! And this guy needs to go home to his own family.”
“Silence!” Bruce growled.
“And what about Tim? Are you going to find yourself another Tim too?” Jason asked walking a step closer to Bruce.
“None of your business.”
“Shut up! Barry and I have been looking for him for months, he might still be alive! And what did you do? Nothing, NOTHING!”
“He is dead.” Bruce bit back. “He would have come back if he was alive.”
“That’s it, I’m gonna kill you where you stand.” Jason took a step forth again and fired.
“Stop!” Dick cried, coming to Jason’s side. “Stop this!” The room went silent and everyone’s eyes were on Dick. “This is not worth more death. I refuse to be the reason to… to this madness!”
Jason lowered his guns slowly, “I thought you wanted to go home.”
“I do.” Dick said softly, “But not like this.”
“Bruce.” Damian said as he stepped out from the shadows, slowly walking towards Bruce who had sat down on a chair, just staring at the scene in front of him. “Father.” Bruce turned his head and looked at Damian, smiling a little sad. “We all miss Dick, Cass and Tim too – but this is not the way to set things right. Deep down you know that.”
Bruce nodded and mumbled something nobody heard.
“Still gonna shoot the fucker, the second you’re safely back home.” Jason huffed as he strapped his guns back in place.
“No you aren’t.” Dick sighed as he grabbed Jason’s arm. “He and Damian is all you got left.”
“You’re wrong.” Jason hissed angrily, pulling his arm back. “My search for Tim is –“
“You gotta consider the possibility that Tim is dead.” Barry said barely audible from the other side of the room.
“HE’S NOT!” Jason blew up and stared at Dick like he was the worst offender in history. “I am not giving up on him.”
“Fair enough.” Barry said softly, “Neither am I – but would you at least just give it a thought, that we might never find him.”
“No.” Jason growled moments before he fled the batcave.
Jason was laying in the bedroom he knew was meant to house him, and while he was soothed by knowing that Bruce had cared enough to have this room built, it was an empty gesture. He was almost asleep when he was shaken back to reality by a knock on the door. To his surprise it was Bruce holding two glasses with malt colored liquid. “Are you awake? Bruce asked.
“Now I am.” Jason said with as much hostility as he could muster.
“Here.” Bruce handed Jason a glass. “I thought we could perhaps… talk.”
“Who set you up to this?” Jason asked, but none the less accepted the glass.
“No one.” Bruce said with a soft sigh. “I uhm, I recalibrated the machine, I don’t know if it will work, but Barry thinks it will.”
Jason just nodded, “I was just angry, you know that right? I’m not really gonna shoot you.”
“I know.” Bruce said with a little amused grin, “I know you Jason, if you wanted to shoot me, I’d be dead.”
Jason chuckled a little to, and for a second it felt like he was 15 years old again.
“So I was meaning to ask you; when Dick goes back…” Bruce wet his lips, forcing himself to maintain eye contact with Jason and not looking away. “Are you going to go with him?”
“No.” Jason said breaking eye contact. “I thought about it, I thought about sabotaging the machine so he had to stay – I thought about a lot of things.” His voice became a whisper, “But it all comes down to –“
“Love.” Bruce stated.
“Yes.” Jason mumbled.
“I wish we had sat down and had this talk years ago.” Bruce admitted, “Maybe a lot of things would have been different.”
“None of us were ready to talk.” Jason shrugged. “I wanted to marry him, but he wouldn’t because of how angry you’d be, choosing me over you.”
Bruce hung his head, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” Jason said, “I was furious that he chose you over me. Point is, we are both guilty, and I don’t care who is the biggest asshole. I want Dick to be alright and so do you – and that means sending him home.”
Bruce nodded, “Then what?”
“Then we go back to hating each other, and I go back to searching for Tim.” Jason stated.
“We don’t have to.” Bruce held out a hand, palm up, towards Jason. “I could help you look for Tim.” When Jason didn’t answer or take his hand, Bruce stood with a sigh “Look Jason, you’re not the only one in need of redemption.”
Jason looked down at his drink in his hand, and then up at Bruce. “I know.” He just said.
“Let’s just get Dick home, and things can go back to how they were, if that is how you want it.” Bruce stopped in the door, but didn’t turn to look at Jason. “It’s up to you.”
Jason sat on a table and looked at Bruce and Berry triple checking all cords and connections, Dick standing on the side. “So when I leave, are you leaving the bunker?” He asked casually.
“Yes.” Jason said softly.
“Why?” Dick asked worried.
“I gotta get back to finding Tim, I already lost a lot of days babysitting you.” Jason said.
“What the hell?”
Jason didn’t look at Dick, he stared transfixed at the machine in the middle of the cave. “I hope it works, and I hope you land back home.” He shrugged and then turned sideways holding out a hand to Dick, “Safe travels, man. I wish you the best, I really do.” Dick shook his hand and watched confused as Jason left the cave with long strides.
“What’s up with Jason?” He asked out into the room.
Barry shrugged, but Bruce stopped and looked over at Dick, “He was never one for goodbyes.”
Dick just sat and thought it over for a moment, deciding that he couldn’t leave like that – it felt wrong. He slipped out of the cave and went to look for Jason, hoping he hadn’t skipped out already.
Holding the box in his hand Jason sat down in the library, thinking that no one in their right mind would look for him here. He carefully opened the box, it was almost religious the way he stroked his fingers along the edges. He let out a little huff as he looked down into the belly of the box, the photo! A smile spread in his face, Dick had saved that stupid photo, they looked so young and happy. Jason’s chest tightened with grief as he recalled how simple things had been, how he had still believed that they – they could… He gingerly picked up the ring, weighing it in his hand, and then hesitantly slipping it on his finger. He hadn’t noticed his breathing had sped up as he twisted the ring around and around. He could almost hear Dick laugh amused over his sentimentality.
“Jason?” Dick said softly not to startle the other man.
“I thought you left.” Jason just mumbled.
“I couldn’t leave like that.” Dick said carefully sitting down next to Jason on the floor. “Dick’s box,” He stated.
“Yeah.” Jason whispered. “Here.” He plucked the ring off and placed it in Dick’s palm. “A reminder of how lucky you are.”
“Please?” Jason said, closing Dick’s fingers over the ring. “That ring is all there is left of us, what was right and good. And I need you to guard it, will you do that for me?”
“You really think I’m lucky?” Dick asked softly.
“Yes.” Jason nodded, staring down into the box avoiding Dick’s gaze. Jason laughed bitterly, “I don’t think I’ve ever been jealous of Barbara before.”
“Oh.” Dick turned the ring in his palm. “I shouldn’t have told you that, it was in poor taste – I just didn’t know that you and Dick was, uhm together.”
“It’s fine.” Jason nodded, clearly not meaning it.
“Promise me you’ll stay for long enough to your wounds to heal.” Dick said sounding almost motherly.
Jason nodded silently and then gently put the box down on the ground before him. He turned sideways and looked at Dick, his eyes sad and wet from tears he refused to shed. “Dickie.” He said softly.
Dick looked at Jason, and couldn’t help but to smile, and for a moment he wished that Barbara would look at him with that much devotion. “Jay.” Dick whispered, the word almost stuck in his throat.
Jason caressed Dick’s cheek, his fingers gently mapping out Dick’s features, before he wrapped his arms around Dick’s neck, pulling him in for a tight embrace. “I wish it was really you.”
Dick felt an emotional lump in his throat, efficiently blocking anything he wanted to say, so he just wrapped his arms around Jason and held him tight. Eventually he croaked, “I’m so sorry.”
“S’not your fault.” Jason said as he let go of Dick, clearing his throat. “Go on down to the cave, I’m gonna be there in a moment.”
“Alright.” Dick said standing up but then hesitating, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine.” Jason smiled with a brave smile, “Just give me a minute.”
Dick nodded and left, something just sat really wrong with him. He had not seen Jason this emotionally unstable, well in the Asylum it made sense even if it almost killed them. He excused it with Jason being bad at goodbyes and in some sense he had to say goodbye to having Dick at his side, even if it was the wrong Dick. That had to mess with someone’s head.
Dick was strapped into the machine, listening to beeps and buzzing, watching Barry and Bruce as they debated how to go about this best. He noticed Damian sitting in the large chair that had to be Bruce’s, he smiled at Damian, and Damian smiled back. He couldn’t see Jason anywhere, and he halfway thought that he might have lied when he said he’d be here. Not that he blamed him, and they already said their goodbyes.
Suddenly he was there, standing next to Damian waving at Dick. “Safe travels Grayson!” He called.
“Thanks.” Dick called back. “Remember to mend, Todd!”
“I will!” Jason laughed with a smile which never reached his eyes.
“Ready?” Barry asked standing in the treadmill looking machine next to Dick.
“Up, up and away!” Barry laughed as he started to slowly trod in the machine.
“hundred percent now!” Bruce said. “Green light.”
“Go.” Barry said and started to run.
The room started to blur and sparks sprung from the machine. Dick felt like he was falling, he blinked and when he opened his eyes again, he saw Jason had moved all the way to where Bruce was standing. Dick opened his mouth to warn Bruce, of what he didn’t know, but something was wrong! Very wrong. Barry didn’t see it, he was focused on running.
The last Dick saw before the deep blue abyss swallowed him and sent him hurling through space and time, was Jason raising his gun to the back of Bruce’s head.
It had been both a blessing and a curse being back in his own place in the universe. Barry and Bruce’s plan had worked, he had been sent back home, not more than a week after he went missing. He would wake with nightmares of Jason executing Bruce, and he couldn’t explain it to Barbara.
The words that Jason had spoken suddenly resonated differently, that he had to keep the last pure bit of Jason safe. The ring was locked away in his safe like it was a magical item, and in some extend he figured it was.
With Damian safely home, then to Bruce’s surprise, and great worry – Dick decided to try and reign Jason in, see if he could become their brother again, to heal his wounds. It had been so strange to be eye to eye with the red hood, his anger and madness rolling off him in waves. Unlike the other Jason who was just broken. Dick stared at Jason, his eyes calculating and hateful, and scared. Yeah, maybe this Jason wasn’t so different. “Jay.” Dick said, “I’ve come to give you a hand, what do you say?”
“Because you’re my brother.” Dick said.
Jason’s hard stare became uncertain, “Makes no sense.”
“Does it have to?” Dick said with a little smile, which to his surprise was mirrored in Jason’s face.