Fandom: DCU; Oracle!Tim verse
Characters: Jason, Tim
Summary: The new Robin is not what he expected.
Prompt: 31_days June 16th, the universe is viewing itself in wide-angle, and by cat_13145 on this entry.
Rating: PG-13 for Jason's mouth
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine.
AN: Nice to be writing DCU again is all I can say.
He was pissed.
Perching upon the building’s ledge, he tracked the boy with binoculars. As far as he could tell, the kid was just that – a kid. A normal, annoying, wealthy brat. There was nothing special about this kid. Nothing that would explain how the kid got into the Family, why anyone would have any interest at him at all.
Nothing to explain why he had been replaced.
Thalia was a bitch and an assassin and rated high on the list of “People who Should Not Be Trusted at All Costs,” but the last couple of years she had done right by him. She had taken him in and nursed him back to health and helped him make something of himself. And sure, she was cryptic as hell, but the meaning beneath her words was clear. He replaced you. He doesn’t want you anymore. You’re no good.
It was time to show the brat – the brat who dared take his spot – what being a Bat really meant.
Bats weren’t supposed to be left behind, and Bats did not take well to traitors.
This kid? Was a traitor of the highest order.
Smirking to himself, he launched a jump-line and flew down, landing behind the kid. His landing wasn’t silent, but the kid didn’t turn. Interesting…
“Hey, kid.” He called out. He didn’t want the kid to be on guard, but Bats always were. Best to seem like he was a normal thug, a normal guy off the streets and not someone who had spent years training to be the best of the best – someone who had died and come back to life. He held his knife in a loose grip, trying to look as unthreatening as possible. “Kid, I’m talking to you.”
He waited for a scathing response, a stiffening of his gait, the teeniest bit of acknowledgement. This wasn’t a great part of town, but it wasn’t a horrible one either. Even so, a random stranger calling you in the middle of the night was bound to get some reaction.
He received none.
“What the hell is your fucking problem?” Jason had a temper – had always had. Training had helped him tame it somewhat, but Thalia’s words of warning, of how someone had tried to take his place and was so good that he was only seen a handful of times made his blood boil, made him ready to charge. He lunged out of the shadows and grabbed the kid’s shoulder, yanking him.
And found himself flying through the air.
This was not completely unexpected, and Jason rolled into his landing, springing up again. The street lights were dim, and he couldn’t make out the kid’s features very well. Dark hair – like all the Bats. Blue eyes – another check. Pale skin, high-quality clothing, an expensive looking backpack, the communication display on his ear…
“Who are you?” The kid sounded weird. “What do you want?” His voice was breathy, quiet, high-pitched. This kid should be somewhere around sixteen, but sounded like an adolescent. His eyes darted around the empty street, the closed businesses.
“Who do you think you are?” Jason spit out, staying in the shadows. “Just some rich pretty boy? Who gave you the right to wear the mask?”
The kid looked blank. He furrowed his brow, squinting in Jason’s direction. “I’m sorry,” he said politely, “but can you please come into the light? I can’t hear.”
“What the –” Jason moved to the left, staying in the darkness. “Who the hell are you?” He tightened his grip on the knife. If he could work his way behind the kid again, he could have some fun. He might not actually do anything to the kid, just assert the fact that this kid was a lousy imposter and not worth the costume. Then he’d move on to Batman. Make the old man realize just how big of a mistake he had made.
The kid didn’t answer his questions, but followed him with his eyes – or at least attempted to. Jason through a jump-hook and flew up, pushing off of a roof and using his momentum to swing down and tackle the boy. The kid had put up a decent defensive stance, but Jason easily countered and with a whoop, had the kid in plastic ties and was whisking him off to another roof top, far away from the scene.
A pressure point had kept the kid motionless, and a mild sleeping solution had kept him unconscious while Jason used the time to pick through his backpack. A laptop computer, a fantasy novel based upon that Wizards and Warlocks or whatever game, a wallet with an ID, a credit card and a couple of dollars in cash. The ID interested Jason the most. Apparently, the kid was named Timothy Drake, and he resided next to Wayne manor. Jason wondered for a second if that was how the kid had become Robin – had he seen something he shouldn’t have? Had he snooped around and found the truth?
It didn’t matter.
Jason ignored the laptop, and decided it was time to wake up the kid. He injected the antidote and sat back on his heels. It took mere seconds for the kid’s – Tim’s – eyes to start to flutter. He leaned into the kid’s face. “How did you become Robin?”
The kid struggled, of course. He bucked against the ties and tried to wriggle out of them. But Jason wasn’t stupid. Robins were masters of getting out of restraints, and Jason wasn’t going to risk the kid fleeing at any cost. The kid was tied down tightly – Jason had tested out the restraints himself. He wasn’t going to get away until Jason let him.
If he let him.
“I said,” Jason sneered at him, inches away from his face, “how did you become Robin? Did you lie your way in? Trick your way in? Do obscene favors?” The last was a joke – sort of. Gotham’s underworld was rife with rumors about just what the Bats did together when they weren’t tracking down criminals.
The kid shook his head, his struggles ceasing. “No. What’s going on? Who –”
“Don’t lie to me. Don’t fucking lie to me, you little brat. How else would you become Robin? How could you dare to take on the mantle, to wear the costume – my costume!” Jason roared at him, shoving the kid away. He stood up and started to pace. “I’ve heard a lot of stories. I’ve done my research. You’re a fucking enigma, kid – more of a legend than the Batman is, himself. No one sees you. No one hears of you. You’ve been seen a grand total of two fucking times, and no one is that good!”
“You need to face me when you speak.” The kid’s voice is barely above a whisper. Innocent. Gentle. Totally out of whack. Why isn’t the kid freaking out? “You still haven’t told me who you are.”
Jason whirls around. “Who I am, you little freak? I was Robin, till Bruce fucking Wayne decided he didn’t care about me anymore. I should be wearing that ridiculous costume, the role I died for!” He rips off the helmet and mask. “Stop playing around and answer my questions.”
“What questions?” God, was this kid fucking daft?
“What right do you have to be Robin?” Jason ground out the question. If a requirement for being Robin was being as stupid and annoying as possible, then this kid deserved the role.
“But I’m not.” The kid looked utterly baffled. “Why would you think I’m Robin?”
“Because you are. Stop fucking around with me. Timothy Andrew Drake. Sixteen years-old.” Jason waves Tim’s ID in the air, reciting his address from memory. “You know, I’ve heard of your family. Wealthy. Old money. Old blood. You have everything. Why the hell do you want to be Robin on top of it?” He tosses the ID, and it lands on Tim’s chest.
“I am not Robin.” The kid repeats again. “I can’t be Robin. Br – Batman won’t let me.”
“Stop lying!” Jason throws a modified Batarang and it shatters the nearest lightbulb. They are plunged into darkness. “You are a Bat. You are Robin. I was Robin. Stop lying to protect your identity, because I don’t give a shit.”
The kid sighs. “I’m deaf. I can read lips, but not when you wear a helmet or when the lights are off. Can you please move into the light somewhere, or sign? I can tactile sign.”
Jason freezes. Deflates. Anger rose in him, escalating, ready to snap. This kid is playing with him. The kid is trying to prove that he is better. The kid is – deaf?
“I’m going to throw you off the roof unless you say ‘I’ in five seconds. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.”
“My fucking God, you’re telling the goddamn truth!” Jason considers throwing something. He does throw something – his helmet halfway across the roof. “You can’t hear shit, can you?”
“Are you talking to me?” Is the kid’s answer. “Can you please move into the light? Sign? Or better yet, just let me go and I’ll forget I ever saw you.”
What a fucked up world this is. Jason drops down onto the ground in front of the kid – in front of Tim. Once a Bat – always a Bat. He is prepared, and digs out a flashlight. He knows how to sign – ASL was one of those languages Bruce forced him to learn, because sometimes being able to talk without actually speaking is important, or some other excuse like that. But it’s been years – that and he doesn’t trust Tim enough to untie him.
The kid’s eyes widen in recognition of the words – or maybe of his face. “I am.”
“Birth.” The kid shrugs his shoulders – or attempts to. Being tied up makes the gesture hard.
“Are you Robin?”
“No. Can’t be. You’re Jason.”
Jason nods once. “Who is Robin?”
“There is no Robin. I’ve worn the costume twice. But – I can’t – Bruce won’t let me.” Jason wonders if the disappointment in Tim’s voice is imagined or not.
“Need to be able to hear to be Robin.” Tim pauses. “Like tonight. If I could have heard you, I could have fought you better.”
“True.” Jason leans back on his heels. “True. Okay. You’re not Robin. Who are you, then?”
“Can’t tell you.”
“You won’t tell me, you mean.” Jason frowns. “What should I do with you?”
“Let me go? Why did you kidnap me in the first place?” Tim looks genuinely confused. “What are you doing alive? Everyone thought you were dead.”
“I’m not. Got brought back to life.” Jason decided to keep the exact details to myself. “But no one seems to care.”
“Bruce does. Alfred does. Dick does.” Tim frowns. “Bruce was really messed up after you died. He…he was in a really bad place. That is how I got involved. I tried to get Dick to go back to being Robin. But he wouldn’t. Said he couldn’t. Sometimes – sometimes there’s a Robin. A friend steps in, but she – she isn’t good enough full-time. And I can’t be Robin. They – they needed you. And they do miss you.”
“I can’t go back.” For the first time that night, Jason feels like a huge loser. “There’s no way I can go back.”
“Not as Robin, maybe. But – you could at least tell them that you’re still alive. It would – they would like that.”
“Maybe.” Jason turns away, stands. Leans down with his knife and cuts the bonds. Walks to the edge of the roof and jumps.
As his jump-line catches, tightens, he thinks. This was not how the evening was supposed to go.
He is not angry.
He is numb.
He doesn’t look back.