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Down With The Fallen

Chapter Text

“Dick!” He reaches out his hand as far as it could go while at the same time to shuffle along the side of the train, the high-speed moving train, trying to expand his reach as Nightwing grips desperately onto the bar at the side of it. “Hold on.”

“I am!”

For the moment he doesn’t care about code names, nor identities, not when his son hanging for his life out there, he’ll deal with whatever consequences there are for it later.

Luckily the big thug finally decided to stay down, he and his friends had caused enough trouble already. Coming in here with that rocket launcher, blowing a hole into the side of the train and then blowing Dick out of it.

He hopes that Jason is alright, but they had already taken out most of the guys on the train on their way down here. The Joker never bothers to hire, particularly good or skilled henchmen, but he does hire a lot of them. So Jason should be okay, plus he is also Robin, which is a position you shouldn’t take lightly even if he is only a boy.

In fact, Jason should be heading into this carriage any time now.

“You know when I mentioned to Alfred about getting your undivided attention for once, this was not how I imagined it,” Dick said casually as if he wasn’t clinging to a bar on the side of the train like his life depended on it, which it did.

 Dick already tried to move once and nearly fell and when he tried to use any of his gadgets they flew out of his hands due to the speed of the train. He himself had foolishly used up all his tools on the previous thugs. All he could do now was physically grab onto Dick and pull him back in but it was harder than it looks.

 “Not now,”

 Really a hand over here wouldn’t go amiss,”

 He knows that Dick is only saying this because he’s actually frightened at this moment. Of course, Nightwing was never known for being silent but over the years he’s learned that Dick only got snarky when he was being overconfident or trying not to show people how scared he was. And it definitely wasn’t the former.

"You know anytime today Bruce, would be good,”

“Dick,”

He shuffles his feet again trying to find a solid foothold but coming up with a blank, so he pulls back to regroup.

“Huh?! What’s going off?!”

He swizzles his head to see Robin stood there he seems unharmed, just a couple of scrapes and cuts, he looks more confused than anything.

“And where’s Nightwing?”

“Hi Jaybird,”

Jason's eyes widen, glancing out of the hole in the side of the train “Dick?!”

“I’m just hanging out,”

“What?!”

Dick grins at Jason’s mortified reaction at his joke, but it quickly vanishes when the train rattles slightly on the track and he has to tighten his grip on the bar.

They all know that bar isn’t going to last much longer and he needs to do something now.

He readjusts his grip on side of high-speed train and was about to reach out again when a gunshot noise and a yelp distract him. Dick’s eyes widened as he looks at him, he glances back to see that a couple of thugs have managed to regain consciousness and one of them had grabbed a gun, taking a shot at Jason.

"Jason, are you okay?” Dick shouts worried over him, however, the bar makes a little creaking sound and his attention is pulled back again.

“I’m fine, I’m not the one hanging off the side of a train!” Jason shouts back rushing in to take out the guy holding a gun only to barely dodge the next shot.

His mind is racing, unsure of what to do, he needs to get a hold of Dick but he also needs to help Jason. Then, suddenly one of the thugs is behind Robin and pulls out his own gun, aiming for his head. He ducks back into the train, sweeping the guy's feet from underneath him, throwing the thug to the floor, the guy hits his head on the floor hard so he should be out for good this time. Robin takes out the other man twisting his arm back so the gun drops to the floor before kneeing him in the face and he’s out again on the floor.

“I didn’t need your help!” Jason shouts seething, “You should be getting Dick!”

He ignores him, rushing back to the side, where Dick is still holding on, swearing repeatedly as the bar is making a louder creaking sound and bending. “Shit, shit, shit,”

“He’s going to get you, Dick, just hold on!” Jason shouts back at his side, all the henchmen seem to be out cold on the floor again.

He reaches out, pushing further than before nearly there, Dick reaches out as well, he swears that he can feel their fingertips graze before there are a loud groan and the bar Dick was holding onto snaps clean off.

Dick falls.

The train continues.

“NO!”

“DICK!" 


Bruce wakes with a sudden jerk, flying forward with Dick’s name on the tip of his tongue. He could hear his own heavy breathing and swore that with sweat from his forehead was enough to fill an entire bottle.

The nightmare was still fresh in his mind, haunting him, and he knew why, because it wasn’t just a nightmare, something that his brain had created to scare and torture him. It was a memory.

The memory of Dick Grayson’s death.

And now it was nearing ten years since he lost Dick.

Ten fucking years. 


Gordon sighs as he waits at the side of the signal, which over the years has turned into more than just a symbol, it’s a warning, its hope.

It had only been a few minutes, so Gordon knew not to be too impatient. He would arrive eventually. However, Gordon was not in the mood for waiting. Not tonight. This was important. He has already been withholding this information long enough. But he couldn’t just call up since he had the feeling that any conversation he has on his phone, lately, was no longer private and he couldn’t just throw up the signal without due cause, or he’d raise suspicion.

“What is the problem tonight?”

Gordon jumps, spinning around, really he should be used it after all these years. Batman always sneaks up on him, he doesn’t know why maybe he takes some sort of amusement out of it? But either way, he quickly recovers, expression turning grave, becoming serious.

“Do you want the bad news or the bad news?”

Batman takes a couple of steps forward further into the light, his arms are crossed and he looks wary. “You’re alone tonight,”

He nods, he’d made sure that he was the only one free to make the signal so that no one else could hear him, just in case. “Everyone is busy,”

“Busy with whom?”

“The Riddler, he’s causing quite the panic, setting up near impossible riddles all over the city,”

Batman sighs, something is off about him, but Gordon can’t quite put his finger on it, but turns around, “Okay, I’ll get him,” And stands on the ledge about to leave.

“Wait, there’s more!”

Batman turns, spinning on the edge, but still managing somehow to keep his balance, “More?”

“Like I said, there’s bad news and more bad news.”

“Don’t start being all cryptic with me, Gordon, I’ll have enough of that to deal with later.” He snaps and Gordon knows that something is really wrong but doesn’t push it. He doesn’t even know the guy's identity never mind his personal life.

Gordon crosses his arm, frowning, “I’ve had to wait a few days to tell you this, but the GCPD has been left out of the loop on this as well.”

“Being left out of what?”

“Project Insight.” Gordon shudders whether it the words or the bitterness of the night, he can’t tell, it’s probably both. “It’s a project which has been made below the city in secret, one that has been rumored that will end crime before it’s begun.”  

“And it’s been kept from you?” Batman pushes, he seems concerned about this like Gordon is which is a good and a bad thing, because it means that he isn’t just making a fuss over nothing but at the same time, it’s probably going to end up in disaster. Moreover, by the looks of it, Batman hasn’t heard of it either, and he knows near enough everything about what’s going off in Gotham.

Gordon nods solemnly “That’s not the only thing I don’t like about it.”

He turns around and looks up at the Bat signal shining brightly into the sky, admiring it, Batman silently joins him by his side, looking into the sky. “The Mayor has said to have authorised it, after having agreed with Alexander Pierce  but I haven’t heard a word about for all the time it’s being prepared.”

“Alexander Pierce?”

My boss.” Someone who he doesn’t trust, not in the slightest. There's just this feeling that comes from him like he’s hiding something.

“Do you know what Project Insight is?”

He shakes his head, “No, but I’m trying to find out as much information about it as I can, however, I fear that someone doesn’t want me to know about it.”

“You cannot end all crime, especially before it starts.” Batman says darkly as he walks to the edge of the roof once again, “I’ve tried, it only does more bad than good,”

"I know,” He does, he remembers hearing the reports about what happened to his first boy wonder, his first Robin. Gordon doesn’t know how he copes now having lost both of Robin's, even if he’s got another two, now, and though one decided not to stay dead.

"Keep me updated on any information that you can your hands on. I’ll go deal with the Riddler.”

“Okay.” He replies as he reaches up and pulls the lever, plunging the rooftop into near darkness.

“Oh, and Gordon.”

He jumps a mile in the air this time, reaching for his gun, and no, he didn’t squeak! Curse this man!

“What?!”

 Gordon swears that he sees the man smirk, oh yes, he was so taking amusement out of this.

“Be careful.”

Chapter Text

The Asset had been woken.

The Asset had been brought out of ice and put in the chair.

The Asset had been shown a picture, told the details.

The Asset had been given a mission, a mission to eliminate James W. Gordon.


It has been just over a week since he’d met Batman on the roof after the Riddler's escape and Gordon had just finished work. It was late. It had been a long day. Aside from the normal chaos of being part of the GCPD, he had also managed to have a conversation with Peirce, inquiring over Project Insight. The man seemed happy to explain that it was going to be the best thing to happen to Gotham and then leave it at that.

But he was hiding something, Gordon knew that for certain. He even had proof, because, in his pocket, he had a USB stick which contains some very precious information. He didn’t know what was on it exactly since Peirce had refused to share but his boss had wanted it back at any cost. So it must hold some crucial information, something that Peirce knew that Gordon and the others didn’t, some secrets he was hiding. In fact, it was so important that they’d lost three in their Taskforce from the raid they did the other day just to retrieve the USB after some criminals, whom they assume are working for Two Face, had broken in and downloaded whatever it was onto the stick. Pierce had personally walked over all of the fallen bodies without batting an eyelid, just to get the USB back. 

Luckily he had managed to replace the stick with another identical one while he was in the evidence room before he left, tonight. He knew that Peirce would find out that they’d been swapped sooner rather than later, but he wasn’t sure if Peirce would realise that it was him. 

Then again Peirce had known the exact location of Two Face’s men and where the USB stick would be…

He swipes through his contacts while he’s waiting at the lights. He needed to tell his family that he wouldn’t be home for dinner, maybe not even come home tonight at all, due to work related business. When in reality he was going to try and find a way of contacting Batman without anyone realising. Then again Batman was a vigilante, so he guessed it wasn’t exactly a complete lie.

However, as soon as he was about to press call, his finger mere millimeters away from the screen his attention was caught by a high pitched screech.

And then suddenly he’s being jolted, the whole car is moving, jerking sideways slightly due to the impact. His coffee cup falls out of its crappy holder, its contents spilling onto the spear seat.

It takes him a couple of seconds to realises what has happened, disoriented and confused by the crash. He looks over to the side to see that a sleek black car has crashed into the side of his. 

By the looks of it, it was done on purpose.

Glancing over to the other side, he sees a cop car there, it was manned by a couple of cops who came in when Peirce arrived, being vetted the man himself. It had made them a dead certain for the job. Gordon was regretting it now.

There was also a black van in front of him, which hasn’t moved either, even though the lights have now turned green.

They’d basically boxed him in. Great.

So maybe Peirce had realised it was him.

He could have just sent a message.

But if Gordon was right about his suspicions about Peirce then this probably was his version of a message.

He didn’t have any serious injuries, not yet at least, the car had taken the brunt of the crash and he’s not sure how much damage it’s taken, hopefully, it will still work.

The next thing he knows there are people surrounding his car, shouting at him to get out and surrender. He vaguely thought about playing innocent but knew that it wouldn’t end well, these guys didn’t look like they were in the mood to play.

Apparently, they are also impatient as well because one of them shoots at his window. However, his windows were bulletproof, so it just bounces right off. Others join in, shooting at the car with a barrage of bullets, none of them ever penetrating the car or glass. Inside the car, it sounds a lot like a heavy hail storm, but instead of frozen water particles, there is domed metal, shaped to fly fast and enter the human body to achieve maximum damage.

When they eventually run out of bullets they resort back to shouting. They’re not the smartest of thugs but not the worst Gordon’s ever met. However, they're all idiots if they think that just because he’s, Jim Gordon, the Police Commissioner of Gotham, he would come along willing to what could quite possibly be his death.

After they realise that shooting or demanding isn’t going to work, they bring out the big guns, or well, in this case, a bigger, better, automatic battering ram. One, that he knows can break through this window, and do some serious damage because Gordon’s used that weapon on more than one occasion and know what kind of destruction it's capable of.

Luckily he also knows that this isn’t any normal car. It was one created for him by Bruce Wayne himself after he helped on a case involving the disappearance of his adopted son Tim. Really, it was Batman and Robin, who found Tim and did all the work, but Gordon had at least tried to be helpful. And alas, his car had been collateral damage while finding Tim and Bruce decided to repay him by building him a super high tech car. Something special, with added features, that someone in his position might need, Bruce had told him with a wink. 

The car was built for situations like this.

The car assessed itself and calculated the damage, fortunately giving him a green signal meaning it was still in good enough shape to drive. 

Hell, the only thing the car didn’t have was a bat signal and decent cup holder.

Gordon was literally shaken out of his thoughts when the battering ram propelled itself into the side of the window and yes, that had definitely made an impact.

The car itself didn’t even like that! Giving him a red warning sign.

He needed to get out of here, now

There was another hit.

And then another.

Gordon watched as glass splinter and fracture, knowing it wouldn’t hold up much longer.

He glanced around, he was boxed in from both sides and the front, he took a quick glance into his mirror and noticed that they’d foolishly forgotten to block him in from the back.

Either that or they wanted him to escape, leading him to some kind of bigger trap…

But he was willing to take that risk and cross that bridge when he came to it.

He quickly switched the car into reverse and floored the accelerator. The wheels span for a couple of seconds, smoke rising before it got moving. The car flew backward, hell he even managing to take a couple of the guys out on the way.

Someone shouted something, he didn’t understand it, but it had made all the others flee back into their cars, abandoning the few newly injured men. The language was foreign but one he’d sworn that he’d heard it somewhere before, maybe if they said a couple more lines he could try and pinpoint it, however, Gordon didn't plan on staying around long enough to find out.

Glancing back, he could see that they’d decided to follow him. Gordon almost grinned, he wasn’t being cocky or anything but if they thought they’d catch him so easily they had another thing coming, he didn’t spend years in the force without picking up a few tricks.


The Asset stood waiting.

The other cars weren’t a problem. It didn’t affect the Asset and it would not move out of their way. A few drivers at the beginning honked their horns at the Asset, and people shouted words that didn’t register. The handlers dealt with them. Along with the few bystanders who had decided to stay and film the scene, they quickly learned to move along. 

The Asset was waiting in the middle of the road knowing that his target would be coming soon.

The Asset saw the car from the mission file.

The Asset lifted his weapon.

The car was coming straight towards the Asset, the roads now empty. The Asset could see the shock of the man behind the wheel as he finally caught sight of the Asset as he came into range.

The Asset shot.

The weapon did its job, flying then landing under the car, giving a two-second timer before exploding. The car flipped onto its roof but was seemingly still intact.

The Asset sidestepped as the car slid past before finally skidding to a stop, crashing into a street lamp.

The Asset walked over to the car, kneeling down.

The Targets was gone.

Chapter Text

Jason wasn’t exactly sure what had possessed him to come out on patrol tonight, especially with Batman and his little batlings seemingly all over the place. He could possibly deal with the Replacement if the kid didn’t go on about coming back to into the family and all that jazz, but the other two, not a chance. Batman goes without saying and he never got along with the Demon spawn, who called himself Robin.

However, he had this strong feeling in his gut, and no, it wasn’t the curry he had last night.

He trusted his gut more than he probably should, but when he was Robin, he wasn't as smart as Bruce or Dick so he had to rely on other things to make up for it. He always had a good gut instinct. The Joker incident hadn’t been his best moment, but other than that it had served him well.

Also going out, even on patrol, would be better than staying in his apartment where he’s only going to sit around watching pointless TV shows and drink all his beer, he might as well be out there doing some good. Even if Bruce doesn’t feel the same, but fuck him.

He knew that if he had stayed in his apartment no matter how drunk he got or how much mind-numbingly shitty TV he watched, he would still end up thinking about the horror of his nightmares. He knew that it was coming, he never forgot the date. Shit, this was the fucking tenth year, the tenth year and it still hurt as bad as if it had only happened yesterday.

The worst part about it was that his dreams, no nightmares, they weren’t about the moment that Dick died, no, it was from the moments before that.

The happiest moments.

The moments where Dick would dote on him, make him feel good, wanted and loved.

The moments that Jason would never have again.

Last night had been a dream about one of the times that Dick had taken Jason to the funfair.

When they were taking a break from being vigilantes and superheroes, Dick would go take them both places, just the two of them, being normal teenagers, relaxing, enjoying themselves. Using the wealth of Bruce Wayne without the scowl, expectations and eventual disappointment of the man, who called himself their father.


Jason scowled at the older boy, who was pinching his cheek.

“Aw Jaybird, you’re so cute,” Dick cooed.

Jason didn’t want to look cute.

He wasn’t cute.

He especially didn’t want Dick to think he looked cute, he wanted to look strong, manly, sexy. He had a crush on Dick for a long time now, even before he had become Robin and he wasn’t going to get the older boy’s attention if he’s cute.

Luckily they weren’t actually brothers, just adopted into the same house, so they could make it work. However, he has some of his own work to do if he wanted to look more than cute in Dick’s eyes and get his attention.

"Stop that,” Jason said as he slapped Dick’s hand away from his face.  

Dick sent him a cheeky grin before bouncing off, mixing with the swarms of people, who were milling into different directions, most of them whose spirits had been raised by the arrival of the fun fair.

Jason blinked, before suddenly realizing that he’d already lost sight of the first Boy Wonder.

"Hey, Dick, wait up!”

He shouted into the crowds before running off after him.

It wasn’t often that the funfair came to Gotham, there was also circus with them, but it wasn’t the Haly's circus where Dick had grown up, but still, it had made the older boy buzz with joy. Jason couldn’t see the appeal but he did understand why Dick was excited.

However, normally when something like this comes to town, it usually brings trouble with him. But Dick had been optimistic and hopeful that it would be a great, uneventful, normal day.

And, yes, it had been a great day.

Jason had begrudgingly enjoyed it.

Well, until the killer clowns started to attack at least.

Jason never did like clowns.


Yes, Jason used to have a crush on Dick, the first Robin, the Boy Wonder. It was a simple teenage crush, but it had blossomed into something more and Jason was sure Dick might have eventually returned his feelings if fate, or Batman, hadn’t intervened.

Holy fuck he still missed him.

After all these years he still felt the same.

He still loved him.

And while he didn’t want to kill Bruce or Batman anymore, it didn’t mean he had to fucking like him. That man had so much to answer for and it wasn’t just him not killing the Joker and avenging his own son's murder.

Jason jumped down in a random alleyway, taking off his mask, planning on taking a break and a well-deserved smoke. He had taken out a drug ring who he’d found selling to kids and then on his way back here he had to take a minute to deal with a couple of thugs. They had been beating up some young, inexperienced kid, who had probably gotten way over his head. He didn’t know how it had started, but he had ended it.

No, he hadn’t killed anyone.

But A&E might have a bit of an influx of patients…

The kid hadn’t thanked him, instead, he scowled, flipped him off before limping off, Jason wasn’t bothered, the kid was alive at least, he’d sort himself out.

Really Jason had been flawed when he caught a glimpse of the kid’s eyes, the deep blue, intense and stunning that just reminded him exactly of Dick’s.

“Jay! Let’s go out and have some fun!”

“Buzz off Dick, I’m trying to practice here,”

“Aw, come on, you’re already good enough! Bruce wouldn’t take you out otherwise,”

“Try telling him that,”

“Well, I think you’re brilliant,”

“Tsk,”

Shit, he needed to stop thinking about Dick.

He really needed a smoke now.

He had just lit up, took a calming breath, breathing smoke into the cool air of the night, trying to think of anything but Dick, when a loud pained groan caught his attention.

It had come from the other side of the dumpster.

Jason let out his own groan, slipping back on his mask, this meant that his break would have to wait.

He strolled casually over to the noise, trying to savor the last bit of his break before throwing his cigarette against the wall, knowing that he won’t get to finish it.

Well, at least now he’ll be distracted from his own thoughts.

He walked around the dumpster and looking at the beaten, bloody body slumped up against the wall and froze.

Is that Jim Gordon?!

Holy fucking shit.

The guy just looked like he had been dragged through a hedge backward, and then attacked by a psycho with a cheese grater before being thrown through three windows. Yes, he looked that bad.

Gordon groaned again, before his eyes fluttering his eyes open, probably aware that someone else was here. One of his eyes had swelled up, the other was covered in blood from a cut on his head. Someone had really gone to town on him.

Jason was surprised that Gordon was even conscious nevermind been aware enough, to know that Red Hood was in front of him. Unless he usually glares at everyone he sees.

Jason holds his hands up in a surrender, “I’m not going to hurt you. Even if I was it looks like someone has already beaten me to it.”

Gordon grunted at him, fumbling around, trying to get up.

Jason rolled his eyes, “Stop moving, you’ll only make things worse.”

The Commissioner ignored him, pushing his way up the wall, but his legs give away midway and feel, however, Jason was feeling generous and caught him, holding him up.

“I need to find Batman,”

“You were doing great next slumped near unconscious next to a dumpster, Batman is known for searching dumpsters halfway across the city for beat up Police Commissioners who need to talk, instead of, you know, using the Bat signal specifically designed to contact him,”

Gordon tries to lift himself up on his own and out of Jason grip, he lets him, but the old man only gets a couple of steps away before falling again and Jason manages to catch him again, this time having a bit of tighter grip, not in the mood to play this game.

He lets out another sigh, “Look, I’ll take you back to one of my safe houses, while I contact the bat, not that he’ll listen to my calls but he’ll answer eventually,” This wasn’t how he’d planned his night to go.

“You shouldn’t kill people then,”

“Do you want my help or not?”

“The point still stands,”

“Yeah, yeah, let’s just go already, the quicker this is over with, the sooner I can go to sleep,”

He said that as if his dreams were not going to be nightmares and he’ll wake up within a couple of hours later, covered in sweat, thus spending the rest of the night trying to forget it, by either trying to drink it away or doing intense workouts.

Now, he also has to contact Batman and well isn’t that just the sour cherry on top of his already burning, melting, the disastrous cake that is his life.

“Yay, I can’t wait to have to see Bats because get along just spiffingly,”

 

Chapter Text

It took them a considerable amount of time to back to Jason’s west side Gotham safe house apartment, due to Gordon’s injuries. Well, he wasn’t exactly going to take him back to his real apartment now was he? In fact, at one point they had to stop because Gordon was losing too much blood, so Jason ripped up his shirt and wrapped it around some of the more severe wounds. He also had to pull out a few shards of glass making the former Robin wonder what the fuck had happened. 

When they eventually got back to the safe house, he left Gordon on the sofa, he’ll regret it later when he has to scrub the blood out tomorrow, but it didn’t matter at the moment while he fetched his first aid kit. 

He didn’t take off the mask, not even while he dealt with Gordon’s wounds. He didn’t know if the old man would recognize him even though he’s now older and mature from when he used to live with Bruce and had to go to all the fancy and pointless balls and galas. Gordon was smart, he’d probably put the two together.

And as much as that might amuse him, if he was the one who outed Bruce as Batman, it would do more harm than good.

Gordon seems tense, wary and twitchy. Which would be appropriate considering that he was in the safe house of the infamous Red Hood, however, Jason knew that he wasn’t the cause of the man's apprehension.

It was something else, something else that had made the Police Commissioner go searching for Batman. Something had scared him. Jason wanted to know what it was.

So he attempts to patch Gordon to the best of his ability which at this point his life isn’t half bad considering the amount of time he’s had to fix himself up. He pulls back, admiring his handiwork.

“So, are you going to tell me what happened?”

Gordon stays tight-lipped, but still, his eyes are darting in all directions, “I’ll tell you if Batman thinks it’s necessary.”

Jason rolls his eyes, so that was a no then.

“I’ll go make the call then.”

He says, pulling out his phone and walking into the kitchen area, which barely has anything in it besides a few tinned foods and a few beers in the fridge, you know the necessities.

As predicted Bruce doesn’t pick up.

He calls five more times, and leaves three voice mails before he gives up, slipping back into the living room, he almost freaks when he sees that Gordon is no longer on the sofa where he’d left him, but calms when he sees him balled up on the love seat against the wall away from the window.

Jason rolls his eyes dramatically “Do you have a specific reason for this sudden move or do you just want to spread your blood about all my furniture.”

Gordon looks up at him and frowns, he’s still scared, Jason can tell. “Did you contact him?”

Jason sighs as he slumps himself on the non-bloody part of his sofa, it’ll be a bitch to clean up, and now he has to do the chair as well. “No, but I left a voicemail, or three. He’ll call back, eventually.”

Gordon frown deepens and he swears under his breath, “Isn’t there another way to get his attention?”

Jason shrugs, “Can’t you just use the Bat signal? Isn’t that what it’s there for in the first place.”

Gordon looks away, “No, I can’t, they’ll know I’m there.”

“Who's they?”

“Nobody.”

“Really,” Jason says sarcastically a little peeved off with the how Gordon keeps hiding information from him, it’s obviously really important. And he did help save the guy from bleeding out next to a dumpster, if he wanted to do anything to him he would have by now.  

Gordon looks at him desperately, “Look, there must be another way-

“Unless you want to go creating an SOS sign in the dead bodies of criminals, that is the only thing I can think of,” Jason cuts him off crossing his arms, “So either you tell me what the flying fuck is going off so I can maybe, possibly help or we both sit here silently, brooding while waiting for Batman to call back and let me tell you pal I’m probably on his last on his list.”

Gordon frowns again, seemingly mulling it over for a couple of seconds before sighing in defeat, fumbling with something inside his pocket but keeping it in a tight grip. “I was on my way to find Batman before I got attacked,” He starts.

Jason nods, as in to continue sitting up from his slouch position to show he’s listening, “Must have been some fight,”

Gordon shakes his head but winces when it jars, one of his wounds, “Not really, these thugs boxed me in, wanting me to surrender, but they didn’t box me in from the back, so I escaped that way. I thought it was probably a trap, but I thought that I’d be able to manage whatever it was, I was wrong.”

Jason raises his eyebrows intrigued, “So there was a trap?”    

“Yes.” Gordon confirms, “But not a subtle on like I thought it was going to be, there was literally a man stood in the middle of the road, I couldn’t see him perfectly, but he was dressed up all in black and had a metal arm-”

“A metal arm? What the fuck?!”

Gordon ignores Jason outburst, “He was just standing there in the middle of the road, waiting for me as if he knew I was coming, then he shot something at me. At first, I thought that he had missed, but a second later something under the car exploded, forcing the car onto its roof and skidded away. I was surprised the car survived as well as it did. But I couldn’t stay. I could see the guy coming towards me. Luckily I had this device, given to me by the GCPD and I managed to cut my way out of the car and just barely sneak away into the sewers before he got there or he’d most likely have killed me.”  

“So that explains your injuries,” Jason muses, eyeing Gordon up and down, “but who was after you anyway? I don’t know of any organizations that have a guy with a metal arm.”

Gordon signs again, “I don’t know the shooter, but I’m pretty sure I know who he works for.” He tries to stand up, it takes a couple of attempts, but he manages to stand up Jason stands with him just in case he falls again. Because then he’d get blood on his carpet as well, he’s already got enough shit to clean up, he doesn’t need to add the floor as well, it’s not like he cares if Gordon falls or anything…

Gordon takes another unsteady step, Jason’s watching him like a hawk, he opens his mouth to say something-

It all happens so quickly.

There's a loud bang.

Again.

And again.

Three consecutively noises before Gordon falls to the floor. Jason’s stood in shock for a few seconds, vaguely noting that there were three bullet holes in the wall.

Meaning someone had shot through the wall. Someone had shot Gordon through the wall.  

Somewhere deep in his mind, there’s part of him, that’s fucking impressed, that takes some fucking skill, not even he could do that and he’s sure Batman couldn’t either, not that the man would even pick up a gun but still the point stands, whoever did this, they’re good.

The rest of his mind was a frantic mess, he fell to his knees panicking attempting put pressure on all three lethal wounds at once.

“Hey, hey Gordon, can you hear me?”

“Uhgg.”

“Don’t talk just stay still alright,” Jason says as he pulls one of his hands away, as he fumbles, blindly reaching for his phone leaving bloody hand marks across the seat, but not caring in the slightest, clenching it tightly in his hand when he finally makes contact. “I’ll call B, right now, I’ll get his attention and we’ll get you out of her-”

“Stop.” Gordon weakly grabs hold of Jason’s hand the one he was using to attempt to call Batman, he barely manages to lift the other hand, uncurling it, revealing a USB stick. “Take it.”

“Gord-”

"No, take it.” Gordon orders as well as he can with blood dripping from the corner of his mouth, “Don’t trust anyone…” He says weakly all but forcing the USB into Jason’s hand. Jason takes it, clasping in his hand while Gordon’s hand flops to the fall.  

"Gordon?!”

“Go-go get t-the shooter.”

Jason blinks for a second before he clicks on, “No, fuck no I’m not leaving you, not now.”

"R-red Hood, p-please-” Gordon begs, looking up at him in a mixture of pain and pleading. Jason growled, not wanting to disappoint Gordon, especially if it’s his last wish. He stands glancing out of the window and catches sight of a guy a couple of rooftops away, just standing there as if he’s there simply to admire his work.

He sees a glimpse of a metal arm which gleams in the moonlight and Jason sees red.

Chapter Text

Jason in his rage does something which, when he’ll look back on it will wonder what the fuck possessed him to do that. He shoots out the front window of his safe house, and jumps out, smashing through the glass of the office building on the other side. Only taking a couple of seconds to assess himself to make sure that he hadn’t gained any serious injuries before he gives chase.

Jason somehow manages to catch up with the assassin pretty quickly since the roof of this building is stupidly and unnecessarily complicated, Jason should know he’s had to attempt to navigate it a couple of times. Which he’s now grateful for because he has a pretty good idea of where the guys going.

There are a couple of offices in there that are now a wreck and a few dents and broken doors from where Jason had burst through them. But he isn’t bothered about that, they're a pretty successful business and could afford the repairs.

He burst through the fire door which leads to an emergency fire point on the roof, however, this one is considerably lower down the rest of the building, which is demonstrated when the assassin jumps down a couple of seconds, after, landing on the other side of the rooftop, facing him.

Jason finally gets a good look at the guy, Gordon was right, the guy was decked out in black kevlar and body armor. He was shorter than Jason and smaller in mass, but he seemingly made up for it by being flexible and fast. His eyes, striking blue eyes, which seemed awfully familiar were surrounded by black, like a panda or a makeup tutorial gone wrong.  His hair, it was pitch black, longer than Jason's and messy and unkempt as if the shooter decided not comb in the last week. The rest of his face was covered by a sort of mask which looks like muzzle more than anything.

But he doesn’t give a shit about any of that, this guy shot Gordon, he needs to pay!

He shoots out rapid fire shots, but still accurate in a way that he’d only use on the criminals he found deserves it and needed to die. Jason was just glad he hadn’t changed out of his outfit when he was fixing up Gordon. However, the guy who easily deflects them all with his metal arm and doesn’t seem bothered.

The assassin pulls out his own gun, from one of the many holders he has on his trousers, a smaller one, unlike the big M24 he has strapped to his back and shoots back his own round with the same flare as Jason’s.

Unfortunately, Jason doesn’t have a metal arm to deflect the shot nor is his body armor bulletproof, yet, so he has to dodge and move away. Glancing away from the guy for merely a second so not to get hit.

As soon as Jason looks back, he’s gone.

He runs to the edge of the building, peering over the edge to see if there's a chance he can catch sight of the guy but no, nothing. He’s gone. That fucker is worse than Batman.

Jason growled, annoyed, frustrated and pissed. He turned around in his rage and punched the wall, leaving a small sized crack in the brickwork.

Not only did the assassin shoot Gordon but he also escaped and Jason doesn’t know who the fuck the guy is or who he’s working for.

Wait-

Oh, shit Gordon!


He didn’t get to the entrance of the safe house before a Batarang was thrown at him. He easily dodged, but then the Demon Spawn started chasing him halfway across the city, he had to use a couple of dirty tricks but he finally managed to shake the current Robin.

Because of fucking course, Batman would show up after all that shit went down and now everyone will think that he’s done it.

Fucking fantastic

He vaguely realizes that he still has the damn USB in his pocket, he slipped it in there before chasing the assassin. It must be important, it was something that Jim Gordon had given his life for. And no, he isn’t holding any deluded hope that the old man had somehow managed to live, he’d been shot three times in pretty important looking areas along with his previous injuries. Hell, he doubted that he could survive that shit.

He fingered the USB in his pocket and couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was so important about it. Gordon hadn’t given him any explanation, just shoved it into his hand. Not that there had been any time, to explain but still, what the fuck was going off.

He was currently camped on top of a rooftop hoping that Robin didn’t catch up, he’d dealt with enough shit tonight he didn’t need to deal with anymore.

This probably means he’s got himself into another load of trouble again, only this time he didn’t start it and hell he doesn’t even know what’s going off but he’s still going to be blamed. Because he highly doubts that the police are going to believe that he took the Police Commissioner in of his own good will and that the man was shot by an assassin with a metal arm from the rooftop a building away.

Frowning down at pocket that holds his phone when he feels it vibrate in his pocket. He didn’t have many contacts, only for emergencies, but he had a feeling he knew who contacting him.

Meet at the Cave.

We need to talk.

Oh great.

Now he has to have a family get together.

Chapter Text

The Asset had completed its mission.

The Asset had been chased by an unknown male.

The Asset had eluded him.

The Asset had gone to the meetup point.

The Handlers were waiting.

The Handlers left.

The Asset followed.

The Handlers were pleased.

The Handlers praised the asset.

They said the Asset was a good boy.

The Handlers were wrong.

The Asset wasn’t a boy.

The Asset was a weapon. 


Bruce had tried not to let his emotions show under the cowl. Gordon had been a great friend and ally. He had known the man since he was a child, even helped him when his parents had been murdered. 

They had gotten to the location just before a few of the GCPD officers. He and Robin had to take a detour from their usual patrol after Red Hood had been repeatedly calling him, and left him a few voice messages.

They all pretty much said the same thing, Jason had found Gordon beaten and battered in an alleyway and that the man wanted to see him desperately and to get his ass here as soon as possible. Of course, there was more swearing and less direct but Bruce got the gist.

He had called in Red Robin, just in case.

This wasn't what he had in mind for this patrol.

He knew that Gordon had been looking into Project Insight and Bruce had the feeling that this attack Jason had muttered about had something to do with it.

So when he got there he had two of his sons trailing behind about to go see his second son.

He paused, shocked.

Gordon was lying on the floor.

Dead.

He was too late.

Again.


These Handlers weren't high enough to touch the Asset.

The Asset didn’t have likes and dislikes.

The Asset was a weapon.

The Asset didn’t have emotions.

But if it did, it would have said it didn’t like to be touched.

The Asset did not do well when touched.

The Asset malfunctioned.

The Asset killed lesser Handlers when touched.

The others didn’t like it when the Asset killed the lesser Handlers.

The Asset was punished.

The Asset was taken to the chair.

Again, if, the Asset had likes and dislikes , the Asset would say it dislikes the chair.


When the GCPD officers arrived, he, Robin and Red Robin retreated into the shadows.

Bruce didn’t trust the GCPD officers that arrived, well maybe one. She, Olivia Cifel had been by Gordon's side for many years now and had met Batman on the roof to brief him when Gordon had been incapable of himself.

Olivia herself didn’t look too trusting of the other three officers who had shown up either. In fact, she had ignored them in favor rushing over to Gordon’s limp body.

He had planned on asking her later if she had known about what information Gordon had wanted to share with him, though, he was planning on doing when the other officers weren’t not around since he doubted that they could not be trusted.

While Olivia mourned over Gordon’s death the other three started investigating the apartment. Finding Jason's various variety of hidden and mostly illegal weaponry, some of which begged the question of where Jason had got them from but Bruce probably didn’t want to know the answer.

A few minutes later, another officer arrived, but this one seemed to have a sense of authority about him that the other three, even Olivia didn’t. He must have been early-thirties or at least late twenties. Body fit and trained and he didn’t look half bad either.

However, Bruce’s gut told him not to trust him either.

There was something just off about the man, which he couldn’t place.

“Commander Rumlow.” Olivia straightened up when she caught sight of the man, the other three also stopped what they were doing and gave him their attention. His rank at least explained the others reactions.

“Officer Cifel, what happened here?” Rumlow walked in, either not seeing or ignoring Batman and his two proteges in the shadows. Both Robin and Red Robin had both given Gordon’s corps a wide berth and were whispering among themselves.  

Olivier's face crumbled a little as she indicated to Gordon’s corpse, “Take a look for yourself.”


The Asset had to wait.

The Asset was back at base.

The Handler who was high up enough to touch the Asset was not back.

This Handler went on all of the Assets missions.

Well, ones that the Asset could remember.

This Handler was currently checking the Asset’s work.

The Asset had not failed.

The Asset needed to be unarmed, changed and washed.

There was a time where the Asset didn’t have to wait.

The scientist would change the Asset.

However, that all stopped when the one of touched the Assets metal arm.

The Asset made sure that the scientist couldn’t touch it again.

The scientist stopped breathing.

The Asset was punished again.

The Asset didn’t care.

The scientist didn’t touch the arm again.


Ten minutes in and he deiced it would be the best time to announce their presence. All the Officers, including Olivier, but minus Commander Rumlow seemed shocked at their arrival.

“You’re Batman.” One of them stated. Damian scoffed from his position from his side of him, obviously not liking the idea of them not being noticed or overlooked by the officers.

“Yes.”

“Did you do this?” Another asked, indicating to Gordon lifeless corpse. Oliver rolled her eyes at the ludicrous statement, everyone knew that Batman didn’t kill, he didn’t even kill the Joker, his most hated enemy, so why on earth would he kill the police Commissioner of all people!    

“Of course he didn’t shut up, you moron.” Rumlow snapped at them, scoffing at their stupidity. The man who had asked shrank back, obviously scared of annoying his superior.

“Okay, but what about Red Hood? Isn’t this supposedly one of his hideouts?” Another piped up and okay that was a more reasonable question.  

As if on queue there was a noise at the nearest entrance of the building, loud cursing followed. That they all knew meant that Red Hood was home, either that or a homeless person decided that they were going to find shelter for the night, but it was very unlikely that a homeless person had decided to try and squat in a place that was known to be place owned by the infamous Red Hood right after a murder.


The Asset wondered if it was going to be punished.

The Asset had a difficulty with the mission.

The Asset had seen the man in the car.

The Asset had paused for a millisecond.

The Asset’s head hurt.

The Asset knew him?

The Asset didn’t know anyone or anything besides it's Handlers and it's mission.

The Asset didn’t have memories.

The Asset was a weapon.

The Asset knew this.

But why did seeing that man hurt it’s head so much...


“Robin.” He called, his son looked up at him questioningly.  

“Yes?”

“Go subdue Red Hood.”

“Bu-” Damian tried to argue, but he cut him off.

Go. ” He ordered his tone a bit more forceful so that Damian knew that he was being serious.

"So you think it was Red Hood?”

"Maybe, we’ll have to see.”

“You think that kid can catch him?” Rumlow questioned, watching Robin as he dashed out of the room.

 "Yes.” Actually, he thought the exact opposite, he knew that Jason would manage to escape. It was what he was hoping for, however, he couldn’t exactly tell the police that their prime suspect was innocent because he knew him.

Of course, he knew that Jason was innocent. He wouldn’t have called and made a big fuss about killing someone and he definitely wouldn't’ kill Gordon. Also, it wasn’t like Red Hood actually killed anymore, or he tried his best not to. He had come a long way from when he was first revived by the pit and Bruce was even proud of Jason even if the latter didn’t believe him.

Rumlow raised an eyebrow but let it drop, instead he looked over the room and whistled at the arrival of weapons that the officers had found, “This Hood guy went all out.”

Red Robin scoffed, he knew that Bruce didn’t blame Jason. However, he wasn’t going to let the officers know that. Tim had his own suspicions which he believed were shared by Bruce. 

“Red Robin, check the Police Commissioner.”

“Okay,” Tim replied, kneeling next to Gordon’s corps, he mentally cataloged the injuries that he could recognize, check for a pulse, none. However, his eyes narrowed when he looked over the man's neck, he saw a small red mark there, like he's been injected with a needle or something. It was still slightly bleeding a little and red, of course, there was a chance that this was a reopened wound from the earlier attack but at the same time…

Tim mentally noted it down for later.

Red Robin continued with the rest of his little post-mortem of the Commissioner. 

The woman officer looked more scared then she did upset while the others in the room were very dismissed and detached from the body of their boss.

This was very concerning.

He glanced up at Batman, to see if he’d noticed. He had.

This night just got a lot more interesting.

Chapter Text

About an hour later Robin returned to them, Red Hood-less and slightly singed. 

Tim watched his younger brother spend the next half an hour ranting and raving about how Red Hood had played dirty, drawing him to places where he could see injustice taking place knowing that he would have to stop the chase to save the innocent but he had nearly caught him twice.

Tim knew that Jason had only let Damian catch up to make sure the younger boy was okay. Because sure Jason might be an ass most of the time, but he wasn’t heartless and while he might not show it, he does, probably, love his mismatched family, even if he and Bruce have some serious issues.

Commander Rumlow seemed suspicious and looked about ready to voice it, however,  Damian sent him a glare as if challenging him to even suggest that he’d let Red Hood purposely get away or worse that he wasn’t skilled enough to capture him.

No doubt Damian would have maimed the police Commander there and then if he had even murmured a word of it.

They already have one murder to deal with, they didn’t need another on their hands.

Okay, so maybe killing Rumlow was a bit of exaggeration because of Batman and by extension Robin and Co, followed the no killing policy -besides Jason obviously, thought he was getting better- Robin still seemed less liable to follow the other rules about not causing serious harm.

There was enough blood on the floor already and Tim was sure Jason would not be happy if Damian bloodied it up even more.

Luckily it seemed that Commander Rumlow was smart enough to notice that Robin was two seconds away from pouncing and decided it would be better to keep his mouth shut.

“Robin, go back to the Cave,” Batman announced, as if he sensed Damian’s frustration, of course, he did. “We’ll meet you back there.”

Damian sent Batman a glare, who ignored his son and repeated the order. “Robin. Go back to the Cave.”

Damian scoffed, but ultimately followed the order, Tim wasn’t sure which of the many reasons Bruce had decided to send Damian back but he wasn’t going to dwell on it.

Not long after Damian left that Rumlow decided that they’d spent enough time here. He called in the investigative team to cordon of the apartment while they dealt with the body, the female officer at his side the whole time.

Bruce had a quick conversation with Rumlow, both seemingly untrusting of each other and Tim decided to not get involved, instead, he checked his phone for any updates on the case he’d been following.

Batman declared that they were going to leave, Tim promised he’d meet him later, after his patrol he still had some work to do.


Damian paced repeatedly around in the cave while Pennyworth was standing off to the side with a tray of refreshments which he hadn’t touched.

He was angry at how the night had turned out, Gordon was dead, now he didn’t know the man personally like his father had, however, he held a certain amount of respect for him. Red Hood was involved, possibly the criminal scum who had, and he’s slipped through his fingers! Damian didn’t really believe he had, as bad as Todd was he wouldn’t do something like this! But, there was no evidence saying otherwise…

Damian had swapped out of his outfit, having a quick shower before heading back down to the cave, he only had minor injuries which he didn’t pay any mind to, they were from his own carelessness anyway.

His father had returned by the time he was done. Drake had apparently promised that he would join them after he finished his patrol just pick up the case he was working on before he’d been disrupted.

Damian watched as the man, his father, marched up to the computer and started pulling up all the files that had been on Gordon, the officers in his unit and something Damian hadn’t heard of, Project Insight.

Bruce growled as he tore off the cowl.

His father was angry.

Well angrier than usual.

Someone was going to pay.


Jason entered the Cave.

He had a feeling that this was just going to be one big disaster, none of the supposed bat brothers actually got along.

He was sure if Dick was here he would have hugged them into submission and would have used his unbearable happy and chirpy personality and envious people skills to make sure that they at least got along in some form.  

But he wasn’t here.

He was dead.

And unlike himself, Dick was never coming back.  

He had  given it a couple of hours since the text to arrive, he was sure Bruce understood, plus it would give the Demon spawn enough time to calm down after he shook him off earlier, knowing that Bruce’s son would be furious at letting him escape and his first reaction would be to attack him.

Hopefully, Bruce would control the brat.

As it turns out the Replacement was also there, but it looked like he had just arrived not long ago as well.

“Well, isn’t this just cozy.” He called out annoying his presence though he was sure that Bruce already knew that he was there. “A nice family reunion.”

“Red Hood.” Damian spat about to pounce.

“Damian,” Bruce called placing a hand on the young boy's shoulder stopping him. “I told him to come here, we need to know the details of Gordon’s death.”

“Tt.”

“That means not trying to maim him.”

“Shut up Drake.”

Yep, he was right this was going to be a shit show.


Alfred gave them all a once over as he stood in the Cave holding an untouched tray of drinks and refreshment. They had all been out later than their patrols normally did even with a little bit of action and crime fighting included. Plus with the arrival of Master Jason it meant that something big must have happened. And when something big happens, it’s rarely ever good.

However, no matter what was going off, it didn’t mean that they could just stop looking after themselves. He’d been standing there with the drinks and snacks for at least half an hour while they all arrived.

Looking after themselves also included sleep.

“I think that’s enough for tonight.” He called out just after Master Jason arrived and he could feel the tension in the room.

If they had at least a little sleep -because Alfred wasn’t delusional, in fact, was one that he was still mourning a little himself- they were less likely to try and rip each other's heads off, or get into a fight which would only mess up the Cave.

They all seemed to ignore him. However, he wasn’t going to allow it. Murder or not, he was not going to let them get tire themselves out in the cave.

They will listen to him.

Otherwise, he will put them in time out.

Even Bruce.

Master Richard would have found it hilarious, the idea of Bruce Wayne, Batman, the Dark Knight in time out.  

Clearing his throat, in a way that they all knew that they needed to listen. They all turned to face him, all looking somewhat scared, face paling. Inwardly he felt a little smug, at having Batman, and his Robin’s some of the most feared people in Gotham cower at him, but it was all for their own good.

Plus, if they did continue to ignore him, they would not only be benched, but he would not make them any dessert for a month. Surprisingly the Bat Family, while they did not get along, all seemed to share the same sweet tooth, or maybe it was just his cooking? Either way, the threat of no pudding would put them all in line. If it came to that.

“I think that’s enough for tonight.” He repeated his voice much more, clearer and authoritative than the last time. And while he posed it as a question none of them were stupid and could all read between the lines seeing it as either the order or threat that it was.

The all glanced at each other before their shoulders simultaneously dropped in a sign of submission.

“Alfred is right, it’s been a long night and we will not be able to concentrate when we’ve not slept, we will continue tomorrow,” Bruce said as he pulled himself out of his chair, but they all knew that he didn’t believe a word he’d just said because he’d rather stay up all night in the Cave and try and find Gordon’s murder.

However, Bruce was being smart and put a more logical reasoning to their intermission to their most recent case, then that they were all afraid of what the Butler would do to them if they didn’t comply. It would probably make them feel less guilty about it.  

Master Jason rolled his eyes, “Okay, but if I’m staying here I’m not sharing a room.”

Bruce made a snorting noise, “I know, you know, that we have more than enough rooms to have one each”

"Idiot,” Damian muttered.

“What did you say brat?”

“Something we were all thinking.”

"Do you two always have to fight?”

“Stay out of this Drake!”

Alfred refrained from rolling his eyes, and cleared his throat again “Do I have to put all three of you in Time out?”

They all paused, none of them wanting to be left out of this case, especially over something as petty as a sibling squabble.

Satisfied with their sudden malleable behavior, he holds out his untouched tray that he’d been holding. “Does anyone want some cookies or milk before bed?”

Chapter Text

Jason knew exactly where he was going in the manor and knew exactly which room he planned on “sleeping” in. By the looks of it, Bruce had almost cordoned off this side of the floor, making both Damian’s and Tim’s rooms the other side of the manor. 

At least that meant that they wouldn’t bother him. 

He guessed it made sense, considering that these were the rooms of his deceased son's, well one of them was former deceased.

He wondered what Bruce had told them of Dick, or if he’d even mentioned the first Boy Wonder at all.

Alfred had made a vaguely disgruntled noise when he saw him enter Dick’s room.

But like hell was he staying in his old room.

That was pushing it.  

Staying here in the first place was pushing it, being near Bruce, the Replacement, and that kid. With all the memories, tensions and issues that, it was too much.

However, he wanted to find that assassin and get some payback for Gordon, the old man had been a good guy and didn’t deserve to go out like that. Plus, if he could clear his name at the same time because he was sure he was probably going to the prime and only suspect in this case, then he’d risk staying here and with his family.

So for those reasons and those reasons alone, he was staying to help.

He still wasn’t staying in his old room, though, Dickie birds would do.

It wasn’t like he was going to sleep anyway.

Tomorrow was going to be a bad day, regardless of how much sleep he had or hadn’t got.

That date would always be a bad day.

It was the anniversary of Dick’s death.

He wandered around Dick’s room, which wasn’t as full as it had once been, because Dick had taken a lot of his things with him when he moved out and became Nightwing, but still it wasn’t bare. It wasn’t like that Dick could actually stay away even if he had tried to. Jason could vividly remember days, weekends where Dick would just appear and declare that they were going out for the day.  

There a was few books on the shelves that he remembers giving to Dick in an attempt to get him to read something more cultured than the older boys’ collections of childish comic books.

And holy shit, he just realized how much like Damian he just sounded.

He quickly moved on.  

There was a poster hanging on the wall. No, not a poster, the poster. The Flying Graysons. Dick’s most prized possession, it was brightly colored and bold, however, after all these years, the colors were starting to fade and the poster itself was peeling and splitting, which was probably due to the room’s climate and disuse.  

Jason smirked at the poster, still being able to make out the ridiculous costume that Dick was wearing and how that, and the name had initiated into a generation of heroes. Even if the costume had changed slightly… For the better.

He plonked himself onto Dick’s single bed, it had made him remember the first time he’d met Nightwing as Robin.

Oh, that had been eventful.


He was somewhat nervous, but at the same time, he was resentful.

Batman had announced that tonight they’d be meeting up with Nightwing, to try and take down the Joker and his most recent insane plot.

At this point, Jason had met the supposed Clown Prince of Crime a couple of times and besides not being that impressed, he wasn’t sure what the mad man's intentions were exactly.

He still hated Clowns.

The Joker was no exception.

And while the man was completely insane and dangerous Jason didn’t see the need of having to meet up with the Golden Boy. Jason hadn’t met him yet, not officially, well if you don’t count the one time when Dick was still Robin and had saved him while he was on the streets, from getting his ass kicked by some thugs. Not that Jason couldn’t defend himself, but Robin had made certain that they would never try again.

And since had developed a hell of a crush on the guy, both Robin/Nightwing to Dick Grayson.

But at the same time…

This was the guy that Bruce compared him to, always. A standard that he could never reach, nor would ever win or get Bruce's affections like Alfred had said he’d shown to Dick.

He hated Dick for it.

While still having a crush on him.

Hell, he hadn’t even been properly introduced to him yet.

Emotions were fucking complicated.

He wasn’t sure what to expect when Nightwing arrived-

“Nightwing this is Robin.”

“What the fuck?!”

“Nightwing.” Bruce scolded, but his voice softened at the end, why Jason didn’t understand, but he assumed it was something to do with Golden Boy status.

Nightwing turned to look at Batman, face twisting into a scowl  “No. No. You can’t. I can’t believe you let him be Robin.”

“We’ll talk about this later.”

- but that wasn’t it.

Just what had Bruce told Dick about him?!

Nightwing scoffed, pushing past them to the edge of the rooftop “Let's just get this over with.”


He remembered Dick’s devastated face when he realized that Bruce had given away the title of Robin. How he had helped take down the Joker, but there was none of that sparkling, shining personality that Jason had seen when Dick had been Robin. In fact, he barely said a word all night, which was wrong because Alfred told him that “Master” Richard never shut up, even when he really should. The only time he had it was to make some comment or scold Jason on how he’d messed up.

He remembered being so mad, and angry, Dick was the one who left Robin behind. It wasn’t being used so why couldn’t he have it?! He also didn’t need anyone else telling him that he wasn’t perfect, Bruce/Batman was enough. The older boy was just being selfish and greedy, he had Nightwing, he didn’t need Robin anymore. He thought that Dick was just being sour that Batman had moved on to someone else.  

Robin wasn’t his.

But it was, wasn’t it.

And oh, he’d been such an ass to Dick over it all that time and he’d known nothing at all, nothing.


Jason frowned, Dick was in the Cave, decked out in his Nightwing outfit, helping out with another case. Jason hadn’t met Deathstroke, but apparently, he and Nightwing had some kind of past, so Batman called him in.

Sure, Dick had met up with them a couple of times since their first meeting, but he hadn’t been that much different. Always indifferent with Jason and damn near hostile with Bruce.

Dick and Bruce hadn’t got a chance to talk after the Joker incident since Bruce had got shot in the abdomen, and while Nightwing carried him home, he hadn’t stayed much longer after Alfred confirmed that Bruce wouldn’t die.

But still.

He didn’t understand what Dick’s goddamn problem was.

"What’s your problem with me?!” Jason demanded, taking an intimidating step forward, Dick wasn’t that much older than him and he sure as hell wasn’t that much taller. He was probably only a couple of inches, Jason guessed that within a years time he would have outgrown Dick.

Dick rolled his eyes, ignoring him like usual, which got Jason fuming.

“Don’t fucking ignore me!”

“Jason.” Bruce scolded, finally turning away from his computer to pay them some attention.

Jason glared, “What? You think I’m going to let that guy downgrade me since he’s sulking ‘casue I’m the new Robin.”

Dick scoffed, “You’ll never be Robin.”

"Dick.” Bruce said, turning to his oldest child “This is not the time for this.”

“Oh, when will it ever be Bruce? Huh? How many more times do you plan on giving away my family colors and my mother’s name? How long do you think it’ll take before you think I’ll ‘get over it’ Bruce, answer me that!”

Jason froze, the color drained from his face.

His family colors?!

Jason vaguely remembered seeing a poster in Dick’s room, while he was exploring the mansion. There one when Dick was still in the circus, Jason had laughed at the fact that Robin still wore the same stupid colors and outfit as he did back then.

His mother’s name!

Ah yes, Master Richard's mother used to call him Robin. He was quite fond of it, made him smile whenever anyone called him that.” Alfred had once told him when he complained about being named after a bird and not something better and more intimidating.

But he’d never been able to connect the dots.

Well, shit.

And Bruce had just given it away at the first chance he’d got.

“Dick-” Bruce started but was cut off.

“No, Bruce goddamn listen for once! You had no right! You didn’t even ask. This was mine. Robin was mine. The name my mother gave me, one of the last things she called me before she was murdered. I made Robin so that I could avenge them, find their killer and put him behind bars. Something that I made to help Batman, find solace in after their death and you just give away like that!”

Jason was now on Dick’s side, horrified on his behalf.

"I didn’t think…” Bruce started as he reached out to Dick in a sudden display of affection that Jason had never seen, not even on the good days, it made him somewhat jealous that Dick still got that and would have brooded on it if this wasn’t the reason behind it.

Dick swatted his hand away, turning to walk away, toward his bike

“That’s just it, isn’t it. You don’t think about anyone other than yourself. I hope you learn your lesson. Don’t fuck up a second time.”

“Dick,”  Bruce called out, but Dick didn’t turn around.

“No, no. I’m done. I told you before Bruce. I can’t-t do it...” Jason wasn’t sure what that meant, it could mean a lot of things. But he still felt bad, worse than bad, but his brain wasn’t in the right mind to think of anything better.

“I’ll deal with Deathstroke, hell, he might even listen to me,” Dick commented offhandedly as if he was using it as an excuse to leave. Not that in Jason’s opinion, he had needed one, Jason wouldn’t want to near Bruce either if he was in Dick’s position.  

"Dick! Wait! I’m sorr-” Jason called out, he didn’t want Dick to think that he was just going to take his family colors and name, Dick’s tribute to them without his blessing, he’d stop being Robin become someone else.

Because this was just wrong. 

“Don’t,” Dick said as he stopped, however, he was still facing away from them, neither Jason or Bruce could see Dick’s expression, however, neither missed the singular wet dot on the floor where Dick was stood. 

There was a tense pause before…

Another drop appeared.  

“Don’t apologize, it wasn’t your fault Jason. And I know I’ve been a big jerk to you. For that I’m sorry.”

There were a few more drops now.  

"Take it. Be Robin, Jason. Maybe you can be the one who makes it unparalleled and irreplaceable.” There was a sniff  “As it seemed that I couldn’t. But I know you’ll do well in it. Jason make me, them, proud.”


Not even Jason could make Robin something sacred or precious that Batman managed to care about it, again Batman just gave it away. Jason had doubted that he ever could, especially after following the act of Golden boy’s origin and meaning. But he had tried. Tried so hard to live up to what Dick and Bruce wanted him to. Even having to still be in Dick’s shadow.

Hell, even after both his and Dick’s death, Bruce still had the gall to give the Robin name to someone else.

Unfortunately, it seemed like nothing was going to be good enough for Batman to finally put Robin to rest.

Of course, Dick had eventually calmed down, he had a feeling Alfred had a conversation with him, maybe locked him and Bruce in a room for some quality father and son shouting time until they worked things through. He was also much nicer -and more annoying because he didn’t want all those hugs!- to Jason and started being a “big brother” to him and created the god awful Little Wing nickname.

But…

Fuck.

Dick should be here with him. With them.

He should be here teaching Damian how to train surf blindfolded like he had Jason or bugging Tim to get off the computer and hang out with his favorite big brother. He should be here annoying Bruce with quips and puns while eating all of Alfred’s cookies and munching on that ridiculously sugary cereal at unreasonable times in the morning.

He should be here so Jason could apologize, properly. So he could say sorry about being an ass and sour. Sorry about being jealous and not wanting to spend more time with him because he was bitter.

Dick should be here.

But he fucking wasn’t was he.

Jason lay down on the bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering what he would first do if Dick was here, probably kiss him, hug him in his arms for a long time before punching him for dying on him.

However, Jason had learned not to blame himself for Dick death, he wasn’t the one at fault here.

Oh no, that went to someone who had fucked up more than once.

Jason had so many questions

Batman had the answers.

Bruce Wayne would answer them. 

Chapter Text

The Asset waited patiently. 

The Asset waited for it’s Handler.

The Asset was told to stand still.

The Asset stood still.

The Asset was told not to make a noise.

The Asset didn’t make a noise.

The Asset’s metal arm, however, whirled and recalibrated itself...

That made a noise.

But the Handlers let that slide

The Asset wondered how long it’s proper Handler would be.

The Asset was cold.

The Asset was wet.

The Asset’s clothes were wet.

The Asset had completed its mission

The man was dead.

The Handler shouldn’t be long.

The Asset never missed a shot.

The Asset shot to kil-

"We. Do. Not. Kill.”

The Asset knew that voice.

The voice in its head.

The Asset didn’t know anyone or anything, but it’s Handlers or its missions.

But the Asset knew that voice.

The Asset’s head hurts.

The Asset knew that voice.

The voice in Asset head, made the Asset’s head hurt.  

The Asset had known the man in the car.

The Asset didn’t know anyone or anything, but it’s Handler or its mission.

The Asset was a weapon.

The Asset belonged to its Handlers and that was all.

That was all it had ever been.

“Nightwing.”

“Robin.”

“Dick.”

“Dickie-bird.”

“Dick Grayson.”

"Richard” 

“Richard Grayson”

“Master Richard.”

“Master Dick.”

The Asset wasn’t a person.

The Asset was a weapon.

The Asset was shaking.

The Asset’s head hurts.

The Asset knew their voices.

The Asset knew that voice.

The Asset had known the man in the car.

The Asset knew people.

Bruce.

Batman.

Jason.

Robin.

Jaybird.

Little Wing.

Alfred.

Alf.

Jim Gordon.

Officer Gordon.

Mother.

Father.

Flying Graysons.

Dea-

“Hey, hey. Asset. Soldier. Soldat.

“He is erratic!”

“God, what the fuck do we do now?”

“I don’t know, I wasn’t exactly trained for this!”

“Me neither. All I know to do is to give him orders and make sure he doesn’t disappear until Rumlow gets back. He’s normally so malleable and follows every order, but he’s not listening.”

“Asset!”

“Oh, don’t you think I’ve already tried that already. Fuck knows what they do to him when he’s not on a mission to get him so compliant,”

“Don’t you know? They put him in the chair. People say that it literally shocks the memories out of him, makes him behave. They’ll take him there.”

“Nasty! I mean, that’s gotta hurt.”

“They say it makes him scream.”

“But I’ve never heard him scream and I’ve seen him be shot seven times simultaneously”

“Exactly.”

“But what about when they're not here huh? If this happens on a mission or some shit.”

“They have words.”

“Words?!”

“Yeah, they have trigger words to make him controllable.”

“So why aren’t you using them now?!”

“Dude, I don’t fucking know them.”

“Well, that’s just brilliant.”

“I just hope that Rumlow gets here soon and that he doesn’t blame us for this or it’ll be our heads. Well, that’s if the Asset doesn’t kill us first”

“You fill me with such hope.”

Chapter Text

The next day, Tim thought that maybe things would be less tense. He was wrong. Bruce looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. The older man probably hadn’t slept a wink of sleep. Not that Tim had been much better. But there something about today, something that Tim couldn’t  put his finger on and it wasn’t just to do with Gordon’s murder. It was always like this around this time year, he was sure Damian had picked up on it too. 

Whatever it was, it also had Jason in a foul mood.

Not that Jason ever seemed to be in a practically joyous mood, but let's just say he could feel the anger rolling off his older brother from a mile away. It was so bad that even Damian seemed to keep his mouth shut when Jason stormed into the kitchen, refraining from his usual degrading and offensive comments.

Jason stomped his way into the kitchen, and slammed down his plate, Tim thought that he’d end up breaking something if it wasn’t for Alfred’s glare and sharp cough that meant that he was still probably continuing their threat of benching them if they didn’t behave. Jason must have come to the same conclusion since he stopped slamming stuff down so hard, he still did it, but there was no longer a fear of any breakage.

Tim assumed that Bruce would be down in the Cave already, and probably had for a couple of hours now. Though he wasn’t exactly sure what Bruce could do, they hadn’t even heard Jason’s side of the story before Alfred intervened. Unless he knew something that they didn’t. Which was most likely the case, Bruce was known for hiding information from them for whatever reason, he deemed appropriate.

It annoyed Tim to an extent, though he was sure Bruce had a good reason, maybe to protect them, or something, still he, they, would struggle to help him catch the killer if they didn’t know all the variables.

After a quiet -the only voice being heard was Alfred when he asked if they wanted seconds- breakfast they all took a little time to get properly dressed and showered before they made their way down to the Cave where they were met with Bruce who was furiously typing away at his computer.

Jason, whose mood still hadn’t improved even after Alfred had made him his favorite, was brooding the other side of the Cave furthest away from Bruce. Now, of course, Tim knew that the two rarely, if ever, got along anymore, but this was a bit much even for Jason, he guessed it had something to do with the date.

He swore that something had been mentioned about it once, however, he just couldn’t seem to remember what was said or what it was about.

After a good half an hour of silence, and work for both him and Bruce while Damian “supervised” leaving Jason to brood in the corner. Bruce, suddenly span around on his the chair around to face their eldest brother, finally speaking.  

“Jason, tell us what happened last night.”

Jason scoffed, “Pretty much as you already know.”

“Jason.”

“Okay, okay, you want to know the gory details then here they are, I found Gordon in an alleyway with the six ways to Sunday beaten out of him, he was so fucking-”

“Language” Bruce scolds.

“Do you want to know the fucking story or what? Yes?” Jason crossed his arms with a glare, but Bruce kept quiet, “Then stop interrupting me.”

Jason pushes off the railing, he’d been leaning again and walks closer to them, however, he doesn’t get too close, still wanting to keep his distance from Bruce.

“Gordon was wanting to contact you, so I told him I could, apparently the bat signal was too risky, which okay, I now understand because it would have only been easier shot for the sniper to fill him full of holes.” 

“Sniper? Deathstroke?” Tim questions, knowing the mercenary would do a lot of things for the right price.  

"Yes Replacement, a sniper, but, no, not Deathstroke, nor it is any bad guy or psychotic  we’ve ever met unless you know someone with a goddamn metal arm.”

"I do not know of anyone who we have fought against with those distinct characteristics,” Damian added as if they didn’t already know.  

None of them knew who this guy was, he was a new player.

Or at least the three brothers thought so.

Bruce, had a frown etched onto his face, “A metal arm? Are you sure?”

Jason growled, “I’m not making this shit up and I know I wasn’t fucking dreaming a guy sniping someone with a metal arm. Hell, he even used them to deflect my shots when I chased him.”

Tim nodded, well that confirmed his theory that Jason had chased the shooter after Gordon’s death, which was why he was outside of his apartment building.  

Bruce’s frown deepened. “I believe you.” Before spinning back around to face the computer and started furiously typing again.

Tim walked up the side of the chair, “Do you have a lead?”

Bruce sighed, “Not exactly.”

“But you have something?”

“Something is pushing it.”

“Just tell us what you know old man! We don’t have time for your cryptic bullshit” Jason barked out impatiently, again having walked closer to them again but still the opposite side of Bruce.

Bruce grunted a loaded up a file which didn’t have much on it, there was a bit of writing a few blurred pictures and some old newspaper article clippings. One of the bigger articles had a title that said The Ghost strike again.

“Father, what is this?” Damian demanded as he eyed up the file.

“A ghost.”

“Yeah, try and be more vague Bruce, we didn’t exactly want the details.” Jason drawls sarcastically, Bruce ignores him but does continue.  

“Most of the hero community doesn't believe he exists, the ones who do, call him the Winter Soldier.”

“Yeah, because that sounds scary.” Jason mocks.

"Still better than Robin” Damian comments offhandedly, however, it sets something off in Jason, who looks ready to pounce on Damian. Tim takes the strategic step of blocking his older brother view of their youngest however, they both still hear the low animalistic snarl that he let out, almost like a warning.  

“Damian,” Bruce growls as well, looking only a little less mad at the comment than Jason was.

Damian looks taken both taken back and ashamed, or at least Tim thinks he is, he would never say it, but he struggles to read the current Robin who mostly wears a blank expression.

“Whatever,” Damian mutters pulling back a little.

“Anyway,” Bruce said, trying to change the subject, his blank, stoic expression back on. Tim never had to wonder where Damian had got that trait from, however, it wasn’t like his mother was much better either. “This guy, if he does exist is basically a ghost. No one has anything solid on him, not even a clear picture, and anyone who has ever claimed to have met the ghost has never lived to tell the tail, and even if they did they never made it until the end of the week.”

“So how do you know that it’s him exactly,” Tim asks curiously.

Damian scoffs, “Look at the picture Drake. They might be a bit blurry and poorly shot, but I’m sure that your eyesight isn’t as defective not to see the picture on the bottom left-hand side, there is clearly an outline of a metal arm attached to a guy holding a sniper rifle which pretty much fills Todd's lackluster profile of the shooter from his abysmal report.”

Tim gave Damian the point on that one, ignoring the insults, the kid was right. Now that he looked more closely at the picture he could make a guy on the with what looked like a metal arm and the gun setup was more blurry sniper setup, exactly like Jason had said.

Jason gave a low whistle catching Tim’s attention, “I know this guy had skills, but over three hundred suspected kills over the last ten years? Jesus, I mean he’s giving Deathstroke a run for his money and that guy's like ancient at this point.”

“So you think it’s him, father?” Damian questions coming back closer now that the easier tension had settled a little, however, he was smartly still keeping his distance from Jason.

“I think,” Bruce started as he closed the file, “we need to take a closer look at the crime scene.”

“If I may interpret.” They all turn to see Alfred walking towards them, holding another tray, this one had four drinks on it, he set down when he reached them, “Before you do anything, I think it would be best if you looked at the news.”

The three brothers could barely switch their attention to the screen fast enough before Bruce had the Gotham news on. The screen was filled with the reporters, and scenes of Jason’s apartment, Gordon’s body and bullet holes in the wall.

“-we’ve heard news that Director Alexander Pierce, Commissioners Gordon boss, wishes to speak to Batman personally. It comes after the loss of what the Director said, to quote “One of his best and most loyal and hard working men, he’s ever known and he will not only be missed and mourned but truly irreplaceable”. Lead suspects in the case is the infamous vigilante Red Hood, whose safe house was where the Commissioners body was found. But his whereabouts are currently unknown. Robin went in pursuit but came back empty handed according to Commander Rumlow of the GCPD. More on this story as updates come in.”

“I think that means we have a change of plans then?” Tim queried, he could hear Damian mutter about how Jason had played dirty and that he could beat him without a distraction of the innocent.  

“Right.” Bruce nodded, “I think Batman should pay Peirce a visit.”

“I am not being left out of this,” Damian spoke up, Tim for once nodded in agreement, however, Jason stayed quiet.

Bruce let out a defeated sigh, for once not having the energy or fight left to argue with them. “Okay, then we’ll all go.”

Beside Jason but that went unsaid, not that anyone needed to say it, Jason Todd was still “dead” and Red Hood was a wanted criminal.

“Bruce,” Jason called out, his voice low and dark and Tim knew that it wasn’t good news. “We need to talk.”

Bruce and Jason seemed to have a stare down before the older man nodded, before looking at his other two sons, “You two get ready and head out, I’ll join you as soon as I’ve talked with Jason.”  

Bruce shot Tim a look that he wasn't sure if it meant that he was to protect Damian or babysit him, probably the latter. Not even Batman would ever say out loud that Damian needed protecting, no he wasn’t that stupid.

“Okay,” Tim nodded, “Come on Robin, let’s go.”

“Don’t think just because you’re older than me that you can order me around Drake.”

“Yeah, whatever, just go get changed.”

Chapter Text

Bruce had given them directions to where the Director’s office was, and after a bit of bickering between the two of them Damian finally yielded and climbed on the back of Tim’s bike. Although Tim might have got Damian to agree it had come at a cost, the price was his recent case’s details that he's been working on and as if that wasn't enough he also now has to walk the brats mutt for a month. 

No wonder Jason called him Demon Spawn, he was a menace!

Damian didn’t put his hands around Tim’s waist like instructed nor did he put on the spare helmet. Though it wasn’t like Tim had expected him to. If Damian fell off and slammed his head or anything, it was all his own fault, Tim was not taking the blame for the kid not listening to instructions. Luckily it seemed that Damian had at least a bit of common sense to hold onto the bottom of the seat.

The last Tim saw of Bruce and Jason, as he and Damian drove out of the Cave was that they were having their traditional stare down with Jason glaring and Bruce wearing his usual passive expression. He guessed it was a good thing that Bruce had sent them two ahead, with both Jasons and Bruces foul mood and the history between them, their "talk" wasn't going to be civil, and even if it did start out, it would last all of two seconds until Jason opened his mouth.

Well, at least Alfred was there to moderate if, when, things got too intense.

From what Bruce had brief them, besides being Gordon's boss, Pierce was also head of something call Project Insight. Unfortunately, that was the only information they had. Apparently, Gordon had been snooping around and trying to dig up some dirt on it, since he had been denied access to the information by the Alexander himself. He guessed that the assassin had been sent by someone who hadn't been too happy about that.

However, just because that was what Gordon had been doing before he died doesn't specifically mean that was the reason he was assassinated, there are many people in Gotham and beyond that had a grudge against the head of the GCPD.

Hell, some could even just be trying to get revenge on Batman as it was well known that Batman and Gordon have a good, though sometimes rocky, relationship and alliance.

Though for now, they'd go visit Alexander Pierce and see what he had to say.


They didn't knock.  

They didn't even take the door.

They had been trained by Batman after all.

Batman doesn’t do doors.

However, if they were trying to make a surprise appearance it hadn't worked.

"I was expecting Batman," Pierce stated as he glanced up from his papers to where both Tim and Damian were standing near the window. The two glanced at each other, they had been silent and unseen, they had made sure of it, but somehow he still knew that they were here!

Tim took the man’s appearance. Alexander Pierce was an aging man who was wearing a professional gray fitted suit, which made sense considering he was the Police Commissioners Boss.The man was wearing reading glasses, whether they were just for show was unknown, but irrelevant, maybe it was simply to distract from the lines and wrinkles on his face. His hair was brunet short but thick and full, Tim spotted a few silver hairs standing out, once again showing his age.

The Just for Men advert popped into his head, thinking that Pierce should possibly consider it before realizing that, one, he wasn't focused and two, he'd been watching way too much TV if he's remembering the adverts mid-mission. He knew Damian was looking, more like glaring at him. Of course, the younger boy had noticed his distraction. Tim knew he wasn't going to hear the end of it later, it'd get even worse if the squirt blabbed to Batman.

"Tt." Damian took a step forward, scowling "He can't make it at the moment, not that it matters, you should be happy that he spared us to come and see you with your worthless request."

Pierce raised and eyebrow, something resembling a smile appeared on his face "Oh really, and you must be Robin."

"Yes." Damian replied,  "You should know who I am. If not, you are terrible at your job and should be fired at once or maybe if you didn't sit in fancy suits all day and actually get out on the streets like Gordon did."

"And look where that got him," Pierce replied, pushing his chair away from the table and stood up, walking around it to stand in front of them, Damian glared. "But I'm not here to argue, I just want to know what information you have on the killer or anything related. We don't have much information. Maybe the GCPD and Batman and Co could team up, get Red Hood and make him pay for what he's done."

Tim's eyes narrowed slightly. "You don't know for certain that it is Red Hood."

Pierce raised his eyebrow, "You know, you were there. It was in his territory, his safe house. He was even spotted taking Gordon after he was attacked in a crash."

"About that." Tim interpreted, "What exactly were your men doing when Gordon had been attacked for the first time?"

"They were trying to capture the first attacker. I assure you that my men were not slacking, they are the elite."

"So you're saying that Red Hood crashed his car into Gordon’s, escaped your elite men. Then found Gordon to take him back to his apartment, to kill him, only for your men to find him there dead." Tim said as he took his place next to Damian.

"Are you implying that I'm lying?"

"I'm implying that it's convenient."

Damian nodded "Also, why didn't at least one of your men stop to help Gordon if they knew he was injured? Surely one less of man wouldn't have affected their supposed elite ability to catch the man."

"Gordon is capable of looking after himself and sourcing help if needed and my men knew this."

"He was. He was capable. He is now dead. And maybe if your men had stopped to help him in his injured state, then none of this would have happened and he would be here to tell you about his attacker. So maybe part of the blame should be on you and them. " Damian stated arms crossed over his chest.

Tim hummed agrees, "Yes, that would make a very interesting news story."

"They were doing as ordered," Pierce replied face tight, thought he was trying to look relaxed and composed. Tim smirked, if he was having trouble with only him and Damian, he would not have survived Bruce. Combined, they would have broken him in seconds. It didn't matter though because he and Damian knew what they were doing and had seen through him within a few seconds.

Contradictory to popular belief he and Damian did know how to work together and get along.

They just chose not to most of the time.  

"So they were ordered not to help? By whom?"

"Gordon."

"So Gordon could speak to them?"

Pierce nodded, "Yes, that was how they found his location."

Damian scoffed, "If Gordon could have talked to them, then he would have given out more information, which you have already stated that you do not have any. Also, he would have given his location as he went along because as you said he was very capable. I also assume that would have kicked up a fuss at being taken if by someone he thought to be his attacker and he couldn't have been unconscious while killed because then he wouldn't have been able to give your men his location."

There was a pause.

"Would you like to try answering any of those questions again?" Tim asked almost mockingly, he knew Damian was smirking having back Pierce in a corner. The man could have probably fooled normal people, but they were trained for this.  

"His communicator must have been damaged." Pierce tried, face scrunching up more.

"Again, convenient," Tim replied bored as he eyed up the room, nothing out of the ordinary really.

"It was just an assumption."

"Tt, maybe you sent someone to attack him, maybe you order your men not to help him and after Red Hood found him sent them back to finish the job and luckily it just had been in the place of a vigilante."

"Are you saying that I ordered Gordon's death?!"

"Just speculation."  

"You are just children you don't even know what you are talking about."

"We're Robin and Red Robin. We work with Batman and seen things you couldn't even dream about, even in your worst nightmares. We know what we're talking about." Tim defended, yes, they might be young, but they definitely knew that they were talking about and everyone in this room knew it.

Pierce frowned, "I think it's time that you left. I'm glad that you could visit, however, I am a very busy man and as you said so is Batman and I'm sure he's needing you."

Tim nodded, "Of course, thank you for your time." He touched Damian's shoulder as a sign to leave, it was shrugged off immediately, well guess that was all their getting along for the day done then. Just before they reached the window Tim paused and turned to see Pierce stood there watching them frown deep on his face. He might as well not waste the opportunity while it was here. "Oh, can I ask just one more question?"

Pierce nodded slowly, "Go on."

"Project insight what is it?"

"How do you know about that?"

"Red Robin asked first. Now answer the question."

"That is classified."

"I see." Tim hummed thoughtfully.

"How did you know about it?" Pierce asked again not looking too pleased. 

"Gordon was looking into with Batman." Tim replied, Pierce tense, "He assumed something wasn't quite right and wanted to find out what before his untimely death."

"I see..."

"Well, that's everything, better go back to Batman, again thank you for your time." Tim thanked while Damian just scoffed and they made their way to the window.

"Oh, why don't you take the elevator down? Surely it's safer, and I assure you no one will stop you." Pierce offered a dangerous smile on his face, one that others would see as polite. The two brothers looked at each other and back at Pierce. “It’s just through that door.”

Tim sent him a smile in return, already knowing it was a trap of some kind. "Sorry, Batman doesn’t do doors." 

Well, at least now they knew who sent the Winter Soldier…

Chapter Text

  Down With The Fallen

 


 Jason knew that Bruce knew that this was coming. 

Because it was that day.

Apparently, the little kid and replacement haven't been brief on the history of this day, as they both seemed somewhat wary and cautious but not sure why. Not that it had stopped Damian's comments, which really the brat wasn't wrong because Robin wasn't a scary name, not at all, however, just the idea of someone bad mouthing it sent Jason into a fury. Again, it wasn't really Damian's fault, he hadn't, didn't know.

Jason vaguely wonders that if Dick was here how he'd deal with the little Demon Spawn.

Maybe he'd hug the kid into submission.

Yeah, that was totally Dick's style.

Was.

"Jason," Bruce starts taking a step forward nearing Jason, who stays where he is, though if Bruce tries to touch him, he's going to shoot him. "I know..."

That bastard. Of course, Bruce would hit the nail on the head, getting straight to the point while at the same time still making Jason explain.

"The Joker is still alive and kicking." Jason drawls slowly "He kills, hurts, steal, lies, tortures, abuses and manipulates, the worst of the worst and you still let him go scot-free."

"He gets sentenced for his crimes and put into Arkham."

"That's not enough!"

"We don't get to decide that. We stop the villains, we are not the Judge, Jury and or Executioner, Jason."

"He killed me. The least you could have done was return the favor."

"We don't kill."

"You don't kill," Jason amends, "Next I see the Joker, I'm putting three bullets in his head, one for me, one for Dick and one for the life that could have been. And that's just for starters."

"Dick wouldn't want you to do that and you know it."

"What do you know about what Dick wanted Bruce?! I knew him better than you ever did. I understood him, he understood me. I talked, he listened, he talked I listened! All the two of you ever did was fall out. I know, I remember, I was there."  

"I love him," Bruce stated with a frown, it wasn't a lie.

He loved Dick so much and it hurt every moment that Dick wasn't here, but he had to continue it was what Dick would have wanted. He couldn't let Jason go around using his death or his brothers to justify him killing. He knew how Jason felt. Sympathies with him, really he did, he felt so much pain when his son died. He only wanted to help and as much as would have liked to avoid talking about this, if he and Jason were ever going to improve their relationship, they needed to do this.

"You loved him. Bruce. Loved. He's dead."

"Don't you think I know that Jason?!"

"You hurt him so much and you didn't even realize." Jason argued, "You knew how much Robin meant to him, you replaced him, I know now how that feels. It destroyed him, his name, his family colors, just given away like some hand-me-down clothes! You didn't even ask! It broke something inside him Bruce and you didn't even have the balls to apologize either. You didn't talk to him about taking me in, I just appeared, I understand now how it feels to come home to see people in your home with your family and thinking that you're no longer wanted. That your time was done. You'd served your purpose and now you weren't welcome. Not wanted. Abandoned again."

Some of Jason's own emotions bleed into that. He had felt so, so much when he came back to see the Tim in his place, and then eventually Damian in his home. Bruce was simply getting along with life like he hadn't been there like he could keep making family without a thought about the ones he already had. He didn't want to kill his family anymore, sure, but it didn't mean that resentment, hurt and sadness wasn't still lingering there.

"Jason... I didn-I never meant." Bruce stuttered slightly, looking away realizing that Jason was also talking about himself and took a breath before composing himself.

"Doesn't matter anyway. He's gone now." They both knew that while Jason had meant Dick in context, there was also hidden meaning that Jason had partly been talking about himself before he died, Jason Todd had died, and that the person who had come back wasn't the same boy.  

"I know, Jason, I know..."

There was a pause, neither of them looking at each other both were staring indifferently at different parts of the Cave while Alfred studies them in the background. Jason wasn't sure how to take it, now maybe Bruce understands that the Jason, the Robin he lost, was never coming back. Some part of him felt better, lighter, the possibility now that Bruce would understand him more, but there was also a small part of him that mourned that with the admission, that Jason Todd, the second Robin, had finally been laid to rest, wasn't coming back and no one was longer hoping for him to.  

But this wasn't the end of the conversation, just the beginning.

Jason still needed his answers.

"We could have at least found his body" Jason muttered sourly, remembering like it was yesterday, the train, the Joker, Dick’s death.  "But no, you wanted to go and confront the Joker instead."

"We need to stop both the train and the Joker," Bruce replies, the tension suddenly back in the room.

"Dick had just died. My brother.  Fell to his death. Your son. And you wanted to go play hero." Jason spat, "You didn't pause, just carried on, didn't even stutter, determined to finish your mission."

If it had been anyone else, anyone outside of the family, they would have assumed that Bruce had been unaffected by the whole thing, but Jason had been in the business, in the family, for too long not to see the slight twitch, the flinch that Bruce gave. The man in question decided he didn't want to answer him, instead he just stared at Jason as if was just seeing something for the first time.

"It's been ten years. Ten fucking years B, and I still don't have my answers!" Jason shouts clenching his fists, "Ten years, today, since Dick died and you still haven't gotten the balls to tell me why the hell didn't you save him."

Bruce stops, taking in a deep breath, "I thought that I could get back to him in time."

"Bullshit." Jason spits taking a threatening step forward "Do. Not. Bullshit. Me. Bruce."

Maybe somewhere deep, deep, down, Bruce might have imagined that he could have possibly saved them both. The Bruce Wayne part of him thought that he could save both of his sons, that if he acted quickly enough, he could stop the thug and then reach back to Dick. However, the more logical part, the Batman part would have known that he couldn't. That he had to make a choice, choose one to save. Save Robin or Nightwing. Batman had made his choice. He chose to save Jason.

"You know Dick would have never forgiven me or himself if you'd been hurt or worse, died because I was too busy helping him." While they both know it's true it was also feeble excuses.

"You think I have? You think I don't spend everyday thinking of what could have been? What if you'd saved him and didn't stop the thug? That Nightwing would have united this unstable and unhealthy group we call a family. Do you know how many people miss Nightwing? How many people miss Dick Grayson?! Wally can't even look at anything to do with Batman or Gotham without running away and Roy freezes every time you're mentioned. They were his best friends and they're not even allowed to know how he died! I've worked with Roy, teamed up with him, and I know sometimes that he looks at me and see someone else.  Someone who isn't there. Sees Dick, who will never be there again and he doesn't even fucking know why! And I have to hold it in. Hold it all in. I can't tell anyone because you won't let me! All because you want to keep it a secret. Some shit about identity. He didn't even get a proper funeral! Just a coffin in the ground surrounded by me, you and Alfred. Three people for him. Three people for your son. I thought he'd meant more to you than that!"

"Jason..."

"You didn't even think that I could have stopped the thug myself. You chose me and let Dick die. That's on you. You killed Nightwing. You killed Dick Grayson. Batman, Bruce, you crossed the line."

Okay, that last bit was harsh, but Jason wasn't pulling his punches, not on this, not when he needed to get it out, it had been ten years after all. There was also some twisted part of his mind that was still sour that Batman hadn't thought him capable of defending himself. Not that in perspective, it was the biggest problem, but still even back then Bruce hadn't trusted him and the result? Well, Dick Grayson’s empty grave in the Wayne cemetery should be enough.

Bruce pauses stiff as a board, letting Jason's words sink in.

"You’re right."

Bruce composure crumbled, his shoulders dropping in defeat. 

"I had to choose between which son I wanted to live. I wanted both of you. I did. I love you both. I don't know how I make throughout the day, sometimes. Dick was the light of my world, I didn't think it at the time, he saved me from myself. Didn't realize how much it would hurt to lose him, to lose either of you. But I did. I chose you. Chose to save you. I don't even know why myself. I don't regret it though. Saving you. I only regret not being able to save him. I know I did everything wrong when Dick fell. I chose the mission over him, over you. I'm sorry."

There was silence in the room again before Bruce spoke up again.

"Dick Grayson was one of the best things to happen to me."

"Same..." Jason muttered weakly as he rubs at his watering eyes,  this was too much, but at the same time, it needed to happen. It had been too long, too much hurt without proper answers. "I miss him, Bruce, I miss him so fucking much."

"We should have this conversation a long time ago," Bruce mutters rubbing his forehead, probably trying to stop a migraine from forming, the older man didn't do well with his emotions. "I failed at being a father, to not just Dick, but you, and probably Tim and Damian as well."

Jason stops at that, this what he'd wanted for so long, to bring Bruce Wayne down off his high horse, show his mistakes. Make him admit he was wrong. However, it didn't feel as good as he thought it was going to be. In fact, it hurt, in a way, he felt sorry for Bruce, regardless of who was at fault. He did lose two of his sons, and yeah, Jason knows that no matter what, Bruce loves them all, even him, even after all he's said and done.  

"Maybe, you messed up with me. But the others aren't so bad, one out of four isn't bad Bruce, you've had your own problems as well."

"Jason you're no-" 

"Don't argue this with me, Bruce," Jason cuts him off, not exactly ready to hear Bruce tell him that he's good, or whatever else he was going to say "I-I'm... Anyway, you did a great job with Dick, no arguments there. Dickie was a great person, great fighter, great hero. He'd light up the room whenever he walks into it and makes friends within a minute. Helped me a hell of a lot, helped so many, he’ll never be forgotten.”

"You really did love him as well didn't you?" 

"More than you'll ever understand... 

Bruce looks like he wants to hug him, and while they both know he won't because he's Bruce, the thought that he did meant a lot to Jason. And maybe, just maybe if he tried Jason might not have shot him. Just stabbed him a couple of times, gently though. Shaking his head, shaking away emotions and thoughts that he didn't want to deal with at the moment.

"I'll make you a deal."

Bruce raises an eyebrow, "A deal?"

Jason nods, fingering the USB in his pocket, the one Gordon had given him in his last moments, "You need to tell the Replacement and the Bat brat about their lost brother, about the life of Dick Grayson, the first Robin, Nightwing and I mean really tell them, not just a passing mention, or a lecture, they deserve to know Bruce. If Dick means even a fraction to you of what you say he did then you need to tell them. And I want to be able to tell Wally, Roy and the others of what happened to Dick. They deserve some closure as well."

The older man hummed in thought, "And if I agree you'll help catch the Winter Soldier?"

"Of course, I want first dibs on the bastard," Jason smirked, pulling out the USB stick for everyone to see "But even better, the Hood package comes with this, a USB from Commissioner Gordon himself." Bruce reached out to grab the USB stick but Jason swipes it out of reach just before, Batman could get his hands on it. 

"Jason, that holds important information and might be relevant to finding the murderer."

"Do we have a deal?"

"No killing."

"I'll try, but-"

"No. Killing. Jason."

"Okay." Jason agreed with a slight nod, he hadn’t killed anyone in a while anyway. “Are you going to hold up your end of the deal?" 

Bruce nods, "After we capture the Winter Soldier and find out the truth, I will sit down with both Tim and Damian and talk to them and you can tell Dick's friends about his death."

He holds out his hands as if to shake on the deal, but Jason simply slaps the USB into his hands and Bruce wraps his hands around it.  

"Deal."

Bruce gives a small rare smile, "It's good to have you by my side again Jason."

Jason smirks in reply, with knowing that combined, the whole family together they’d be near enough unstoppable. It had been a while since he’d worked in a team as well, this was going to be fun.

"I'm glad that both you of have managed to finally have this chat and come to an agreement. As it seems that both Master Timothy and Master Damian are on their way back early from the talk with Director Peirce." Alfred spoke up, Jason didn't jump, but he would admit that he had forgotten that the old butler had been there the whole time and flushed slightly, him, and Bruce had a hell of deep talk and he wasn't sure that he wanted anyone else to know what had been said or how he felt. However, he knew that Alfred would keep it to himself, and wouldn't judge, that's why Alfred was the best.   

Now it was time to find them a ghost and kick some ass!

Chapter Text


By the time that Tim and Damian arrived back in the Cave -later than expected since they'd had to make a couple of detours due to being followed- Bruce had just finished a call with Lucius. Meanwhile, Jason was in the corner cleaning his guns and kit making sure he was ready for the ass kicking he was about to dish out. Damian basically flew off the bike before it had even stopped, not wanting to be touching Drake for absolutely no longer than needed. The older boy had already forced him to place his hands around his waist on the way back when they had to speed up to escape their pursuers, much to his displeasure and protests. 

"Father." Damian calls as he walks to where Bruce was on the computer staring at the USB in his hand, "We have news." 

"You could have at least waited until I had stopped!" Tim protests as he throws his helmet to the side angrily, scowling, " That's it! I'm never taking you anywhere ever again!"

Damian glances at Tim over his shoulder and scoffs, "As if I would want to ride with you again anyway, even Todd is a better driver than you."

Jason snorts from his spot. "Should I take that as a compliment?"

The youngest glances at him and scowls, "No. Simple that Drake has fewer skills than you in something. I didn't say anything complimentary about your driving skills.”

"You're like what ten? Kid, you shouldn't know how to fucking drive."

"Jason language." Bruce reprimands lightly with no real heats, not taking his eyes away from the USB.

"It was part of my training. Unlike the two of you, I have obviously learned from someone better qualified."

"I learned from B," Jason grins.

"So did I," Tim adds. 

Damian frowns, "Father you are a horrible teacher."

"Duly noted Damian." Bruce replied sarcastically making Jason chuckle and Tim smirk, as Bruce spins his chair around "You said that you had news? Is it about your visit to Pierce? I'm sorry that I didn't make it, my conversation with Jason lasted longer than expected." 

Tim eyebrows furrowed, he had noticed since they had got back that the tension in the room had disappeared quite a bit.  Jason was still around and there wasn't the stench of blood in the air because Alfred would not allow for the blood to stain the floor, however getting the smell out was another issue. "Did your talk go well?"

It wouldn't do well if Jason and Bruce were still trying to rip each other's throats out while they were trying to solve this case. They had a seasoned and well-trained killer they needed to take down, they needed to be focused and work as a team.

Bruce nodded, "Yes. And thanks to Jason we have a new lead." 

"Dandy," Damian mutters sarcastically. Like father, like son. "So he just decided to finally share the information with us now."

Bruce glances at Jason, who suddenly seems pretty interested in cleaning his guns at that moment. "We came to an agreement."

Damian opens his mouth to reply, probably another sarcastic and offensive comment, however, Tim beats him to it, he didn't need Jason trying to lunge for the kid again because after the trip back they just had he might actually let him. "We also have something to contribute."

Bruce turns his attention to Tim, who walks over to the computer, both Jason and Damian close in behind him. Tim loads up the file that they have on Alexander Pierce and types in a few things before the file they have on the Winter Soldier was now on a split screen with each other. "Alexander Pierce was behind this. He sent the Winter Soldier."

Jason scoffs, "Of course it's always those in power."

"He denies it obviously." Tim continues to ignore Jason's comment,  typing in a few more notes "But whether the Winter Soldier is part of his group, gang or whatever, or is simply just a contract killer like Deathstroke is still unknown."

"That man is a traitor and a fool." Damian adds, "He couldn't even give a half acceptable cover story, simply wanting to blame the whole event on Red Hood. Anyone with a pair of working eyes should be able to see that this is a cover up and that they are just laying the blame on someone else. "

Jason grins, "It sounds almost like you care."

"Well, I don't."

"What about the USB stick?" Tim asks changing the conversation before they get into another argument. Of course, Damian does care about Jason, deep, deep down. Very deep. And vice versa, Jason cares for them as well, not that any party shows it in any other way than fighting, bickering and occasionally saving each other asses and then rubbing it in for the next few weeks.

"This was given to Jason by Jim Gordon before he died, I also contacted Lucius to see if he knows anything about it. He said that he doesn't know any specific details about it, but he said the GCPD are in a bit of uproar about this missing USB that contains information about Project Insight. It had been previously stolen from Alexander Pierce's office by Two Face's lackeys. It had been switched to a normal blank one. Gordon was the last known person to have dealt with the stick." Bruce explained.

"And so Peirce sent the Winter Soldier and his men to kill Gordon after he realized he'd switched the sticks." Jason concluded, "That coward."

"So why aren't we looking into it now father?" Damian queried as he watched Tim type some extra notes into the document about the updates they'd made today.  

"Lucius warned the USB most likely traceable once activated and we can't risk the location of the Cave being discovered," Bruce said rising from his chair. "He said we should have at least five minutes from when it's activated before they will be able to lock onto your location, which means we're going to have to do this somewhere else. I'm going to split us up into pairs since I still want to go and investigate the crime scene. Tim, I want you and Damia-"

"No, no, no way am I going anywhere with that little psycho." Tim shakes his head furiously, "If I have to suffer time with that brat then so does Jason!"

"I don't want to work with you either Drake! You are incompetent!"

Bruce sighs, "Okay, I'll go with Tim and go and find somewhere to use this USB, gather what data we can from it and meet up with you two, who in the meantime are to go back to Jason's safe house and gather whatever evidence you can."

Tim nods happily, "Okay, I can work with that."

Jason scoffs, "Yeah, only because you do have the bat brat."

"I'm more capable than both of you put together."

Bruce ignores the bickering, walks over to wear his suit was, pressing buttons so that, with a hiss of air, the suit eventually releases itself  "Jason and Damian please both of you try not to cause to cause too much trouble while we're gone. I'll be there as soon as possible."

"That's what you said last time..." Damian muttered sulkily while he gathers more gear making Jason laugh.


Alexander Pierce smiled as he made his way around his kitchen, the house was nice and tidy, his maid, Renata had done a great job. He had dismissed her for the day about five minutes ago, knowing that he was going to have a special visitor arrive very soon. He grabbed himself a glass out of his cupboards and a carton of milk out of the fridge, filling it just past halfway before looking up to see the Winter Soldier sat at his table, waiting patiently for orders, with a gun armed laid on the table pointing towards itself like it had been taught to. 

Oh, he was most pleased.

It seemed that his weapon was back at full capacity again. From what he could gather the Soldier had had some kind of panic attack or breakdown after its last mission. The agents with the Asset hadn't known how to handle the situation and let the Asset continue with whatever was happening in its mind. The agents had been punished for their incompetence and Rumlow had reset the Asset.

It was good to see that the Asset was back in working order again.   

He walked over to his table, cup in hand and placed it on the table and smiled.

"Want some milk?" He questioned, of course, he didn't expect an answer or any sort of movement in reply nor did he get one, the Soldier just simply sat there, silently, watching him.

Honestly, the Asset had been so helpful to their missions, ever since they got it. They had paid enough for it after all. It was worth it though, even when the Asset had its moments and malfunctioned and had to be recalibrated. However, Talia al Ghul had been correct, the League of Assassins knew how to train their assassins and the Soldier had been one of their greatest, even if they did have the Russians mess around with the Assets head beforehand to make it cooperate, but it worked out better in the long run.

Of course, he wasn't stupid, he knew who the Asset, kid, was. Nightwing. The League didn't give him much more information than that he was the famous Nightwing and how he'd been trained and conditioned. They didn't tell him about his real identity, Talia had made sure of it, though he was unsure why. The Asset didn't know who he was either, so they couldn't get the information out of him. Not that it mattered. Batman was no problem for their Soldier or any of his little minions that he had running around dressed in tights and playing heroes.

There was always the threat of other heroes, meta's, helping them out, but he also knew that Batman had a strict no meta rule going on in Gotham and then by the time they realized how much trouble they were actually in, they'd be too late. Project Insight was nearly ready to take off and then, no one would be able to stop them. They even had a plan for Superman, courtesy of Lex Luthor.  

Really, it was kind of a shame that Nightwing, had become the Asset, he really was pretty and if he wasn't so good at killing, and following orders, Pierce could have thought of some other creative ways for it to be useful. He chuckled to himself, wondering what the great Batman would think if he found out that his precious Nightwing was, in fact, helping them, killing people in their name in order to help create a better world, one where Batman will have no need to exist. A world where Batman will no longer existed.

Project Insight was nearly complete, everything was running smoothly besides the fact that the damn USB stick was still missing. If it was currently where he thought it was, and they found out the truth inside, then that would possibly cause a lot of trouble.

Which was why he had Winter Soldier sat at his table.

"The timetable has moved. Our window is limited. Four targets, two level five, one level seven, the other level nine," He said while the Asset continued with the blank stare,

"They all intervening, I cannot have them ruin what I've been planning for years. I want confirmed deaths in ten hours."

Suddenly the door opens and Renata comes scuttering into the kitchen interrupting him and freezes.

"Sorry, Mr. Pierce, I-I forgot my phone." She says unsure, looking across she sees the other person in the room, noticing the Asset, and gasps in absolute horror.

"Oh, Renata. I wish you would have knocked." Peirce says with a sigh, mainly because he was going to have to get a new maid and get someone to clean up the mess as he picks up the gun that was on the table...

There was a loud bang.

A few seconds later there was a hard thud as something hit the polished floor while blood flowed into the small wooden cracks.

The Asset watched on indifferently, awaiting its orders.

Chapter Text

It was midday and normally Batman and crew weren’t seen until at least sundown. So if anyone was to see them, it could cause a panic since there would have to be a big reason for them to be out and about during the day. It was, but they didn't need anyone else to know. Also, at the moment, Red Hood was a wanted man; well, more wanted than normal since he was still considered the prime suspect in Gordon's murder. It would look terrible if Robin was seen with him, and not fighting him. Especially since the news had already reported that Robin had been unable to capture the Red Hood just last night, making it look terribly suspicious. People would think that he'd let Todd get away when, in reality, the man had played dirty; in normal circumstances, he would have kicked the former Robin’s ass.

"I still don't understand why father even trusts you," Damian said, scowling as he landed silently next to Red Hood on top of the building.

"I don't understand why he hasn't sent you back to live with your lovely mother." Jason retorted.

"I am the blood son, remember. When Father finally passes down the cowl, it will be me who gets it. I am only he will trust with it, and it is my birthright."

Jason scoffed, "Yeah right; if Nightwing was here right now, you wouldn't even be an afterthought for the cowl."

"Nightwing?"

Jason paused and remembered that Damian didn't know anything about Dick- or Nightwing, for that matter. Bruce had probably wanted to keep it that way. He knew that Tim knew at least a little about it, though would be unlikely to remember unless prodded in the right direction, but that was all mostly the information that Tim had gathered when he was investigating Batman and Robin. Jason had also heard that Tim had been there the day that Dick's parents had died, there to see the show, see the magical and famous Flying Graysons. Only to watch them plummet to the ground and hear the mortified screams of their now orphaned child.

Well, looked like it was a Grayson family trait to fall to their death...

"Forget about it, brat." He sighed, trying so hard not to think too much about Dick. Even after his and Bruce's somewhat conclusive chat, it still hurt. No matter what Bruce said or admitted, it wouldn't make him miss Dick any less. But right now, right now, he needed to focus, he was here with Bruce's Demon Spawn, and they were on a mission.

Plus, Bruce had promised to tell them all about Dick Grayson once this was all over.

Even more of a reason to get this done!

"This way, and keep quiet."

"You can't order me around, Hood!"

And somehow without killing Damian.


Tim smiled slightly, it had been a while since and Batman had done anything alone like this. He missed it. Ever since Damian had arrived and had been given the position of Robin, which had hurt (no wonder Jason was so sour to him sometimes, even if their relationship had gotten better in recent months), he barely had any time alone with Batman, or even Bruce for that matter.

They were sticking to the shadows, making their way into a local electrical shop. Luckily, it just happened to be the day that the store wasn’t open, and was in one of the least populated areas in Gotham, which meant there was less chance of them being seen.

They sneaked through the side window, so easily that even someone without their level of skills would be able to get in and steal their stock. Bruce decided that once all this was over they'd be getting an anonymous donation to help get better security, and maybe a few Wayne Tech merch for their compliance and help, however unknown to them at the moment.

"What do you think is on this anyway?" Tim asked curiously, pulling into the spinny but comfy looking office chair as he started loading up the laptop, and then quickly hacking into it.

Bruce stood behind him, in all his Batman glory, which to most people would scare the shit out of them, but not to anyone in the family- they were used to it. At least Tim knew that Bruce was already there this time and hadn't just pulled one of his magically appearing and disappearing from thin air trick before speaking up. That'll always make him jump, no matter how much training he has.

Tim stuck the USB into the side of the laptop and got straight onto finding what was on it, remembering Lucius and Bruce's warning that would be tracked with very little time. However, it seemed that he didn't need to do much since the USB seemed cooperative, in fact, a little too cooperative; as soon as he'd inserted it, it loaded up a screen.

"It seems to be showing us coordinates? A map?." Tim stated, a little confused as he watched the screen do whatever it was planning. This wasn't what he'd expected when Bruce had first announced that Jason had this USB stick given to him by Gordon in his dying moment. He had been hoping that it was some kind of huge information dump that could give them the facts that they needed, but no, instead they had an outdated version of Google Maps on a mission.

"It's Gotham," Bruce stated monotonous, watching the screen with suspicion.   

They watched as the screen finally stopped and gave them a clear picture of where it had finally stopped. And it wasn't anywhere special, to say the least; a bit anticlimactic in Tim's opinion.

"Isn't that a disused factory? No one's been down there for years." Tim frowned; why does it always have to be an abandoned or scary place? Why couldn't they ever get a mission in a sweet shop? Or somewhere simple, like a Wal-Mart?

Bruce didn't reply, simply turned and left without a word, but Tim was used to that as well.

Something had hit a nerve, and Tim had absolutely no idea why. Was it something he said? No, firstly he'd barely said anything, and secondly, Bruce has a different reaction to any earlier comments, even made by Damian, where he’d been moody and snappy now he was just silent and determined, that was never a good sign.  

And what was this, anyway? Some kind of wild information goose chase?!


Tim decided to contact Jason and Damian to update them since it seemed that Batman wasn't going to. Actually, it was probably a good thing he did, because a not too happy Robin answered in his typically offensive Damian Wayne manner, and with the ultra-brooding mood that Bruce is currently in, the two of them talking would only end up horribly. So for the sake of the mission and their already flailing teamwork skills, he'd take one for the team and updated the foul mouthed and bad tempered kid on their current location.

And of course, with added insults and comments, Robin informs them they are at Jason's old safe house and are searching for anything suspicious that the GCPD hadn't already taken. Also that if they find anything or have any updates they'd call, and not the other way around and to only contact them for something important because Robin doesn't want to hear his voice more than he already does, before rudely hanging up.

Thank God he was with Jason. There was only so much Damian Tim could handle in one go, and he had already had his month's worth in one day.  

Soon enough, they made it down to the abandoned factory and, like Tim had said, it was still abandoned and undisturbed. Or so it looked like it had been but, apparently, Bruce had other ideas. They jumped down into the middle of the warehouse, the dust unsettling under their feet like some kind of gray miniature tidal wave, and without a word marched up to one of the walls. Tim sighed; once again, it looked like Bruce knew something and wasn't going to share with the class.

He'd let it go, for now.  

However, he was getting pretty peeved about not knowing all the facts or information, especially when Bruce seemed to know something and wasn't telling him.

Batman reached where he wanted to go and tapped on the wall a couple of times and gave a satisfied nod before turning to Tim. "I think it is best if you stay here."

Tim blinked and then frowned, "Oh no, you're not leaving me out of this."

"Red Robin." He growled in his 'I'm Batman you have to listen to me' voice.

Tim shook his head, "No. You said we'd be doing this as a team."

"It's not going to be nice," Bruce explained with a sigh; yes, he had said that, but he hadn't imagined that it was going to take him to this place. "I don't know exactly what's going off, but this place isn't good and I'd rather you stayed out here. At least keep guard in case anyone comes." Of course, Tim knew the last part was a lie. Everyone in and hell, even out of Gotham knew it was a terrible idea to try and ambush Batman.

"I'm coming whether you like it or not. Whatever is in there B, I can handle it."

Bruce grunted, wishing that he had that much confidence. He wasn't sure why the USB had led them here, but whatever it was, it wasn't good.

A thought popped into his mind, one that made him sick to his stomach. No, no, no. It couldn't be. No. He was just assuming the worst. Mixed with the date. His mind was playing tricks on him. That was all.

He pressed one hand into the wall, where he remembered, the other one repositioned itself higher and further to the left; it looked like Batman was engaged in a low-level game of twister with a wall, but it was the only way to get in if his memory served him right.

There was a beep as the lock system recognized the hand pattern and opened.

Bruce didn't wait, again, and marched on ahead. Tim, not wanting to be left behind, quickly followed.

The lights turned on as soon as they had entered the room. Bright, almost blinding, artificial light lit up the whole room.

Tim gasped as he entered the room, the secret entrance closing shortly behind them. He couldn't help it, Jesus Christ! The room, while near enough empty, stank, and it looked even worse as it smelled.

Blood.

Blood was everywhere.

There were a few tables, with leather bloodied straps, grates in the floor next to the table, and Tim didn't need to have a good imagination to be able to think of some of the things that had gone on in this room. There were dusty shelves and cupboards, which probably had more cobwebs than Jason's room at the manor; he assumed that they were to hold whatever equipment was used on the people who were brought here.

The blood was dried, so it calmed him somewhat; obviously, this place was not recently used. But still...

The only thing that wasn't dust or blood covered was a completely out of place computer system. It looked old itself, nothing like the computer they had in the Cave or hell even in schools nowadays. It probably still ran Windows 96 and had Pinball and Solitaire as pre-programmed games with Word that has the annoying paperclip. Tim couldn't handle that guy (NO, HE WASN'T WRITING A LETTER DAMN IT. LEAVE HIM ALONE). Anyway, getting back to his original point, the computer, while old, was certainly out of place here. It was new, newly placed- well, at least after whatever horrific things had gone down.  

"Batman..." Tim called quietly, though his voice echoed in the near empty room as he watched his mentor stride across the room. Ignoring all the blood and gore, across to where the computer was stationed.

“Batman!” Tim repeated, louder and more insistent than before. “Just what the hell happened in here?!”

Chapter Text

Bruce felt the dread rise into his stomach. It made him want to be sick; or that could have been bile, since the smell of blood was still so strong, even after all this time. Of course, he was Batman, he'd seen worse scenes than a room full of blood. However, simply remembering whose blood was contributing to the smell was another issue. He knew that Tim had questions, many questions, but at the moment he also had his own. Ignoring the smell, because it brought back bad memories that he definitely didn't want to remember, he marched purposefully over to where the computer sat.

He knew that this wasn't going to be simple as soon as he saw the location back on the laptop in the computer store.

It wasn't information that the USB stick had given them.

It was a source.

The source of what, or to what, was yet to be determined, though.

But whatever it had led them to was not going to be good. This place was never associated with anything good.

Honestly, it was almost too much for Bruce; this place, the memories it brought back, Gordon's death just yesterday and the fact that it was this date.

Oh, how he missed Dick…

He hadn't been lying or acting when he told Jason how much he missed his eldest son. Jason was right, he had allowed Dick to fall, allowed his son to die. He remembered Dick’s last moments: his wide smile, one he put on when he was scared but didn't want to show it, either to Batman or Robin; how he, no matter how dire the situation was, would still try and soothe and reassure his little brother that everything would be okay first, even if they were conveyed by terrible and inappropriate jokes and quips.  

Batman should have done better. Bruce should have saved Dick.

However, that didn’t mean that he regretted saving Jason in the slightest. No. Never .

And while Jason might think that Dick might have been some kind of miracle worker and shining star, able to fix them all, Dick had his own faults and failures; and Jason, with everything that had happened to him, was doing a pretty decent job of being a big brother to the other two. There had obviously been a few road bumps along the way, but they were all still alive, healthy and here. Jason was doing good, even if he didn’t believe it. He knew Dick would have agreed.

Dick…

His first son.

His boy.

His little Robin.

Focus.

He needed to focus.

His sons needed him to be strong. Dick would be rolling in his grave, or wherever his body was if Bruce neglected his others sons because he was too busy mourning over him.

But let’s be real, if ghosts (and no, not the supposed ghost that they were currently investigating) did exist, Dick would have become one and haunted him and the manor just because he thought it was fun. Dick would probably scare the hell out of Alfred again like he had done when he was a child. However, instead of him hanging off the chandeliers, it would be Dick appearing out of the walls. Though there was Martians, and other aliens... and other types of life out there, so why couldn't ghost exists? But then again, he really didn't want the Joker to come back as a poltergeist when he finally did kick the bucket because that would be disastrous!  

He made it over to the computer with Tim nervously at his side, probably shaken by the smell and sight of all the blood. He wasn't the only one, but Batman didn't show fear. Tim was asking him questions again, demanding answers. Bruce knew that Tim deserved to know the truth, Damian as well, even Jason since he has never had the guts to tell his second son the complete truth. He'd tell them eventually, after all this, just not now.

Bruce inserted the USB sticks into the newer looking slots. It loaded up pretty quickly, however, the information and files that they had been expecting weren't there, again , instead-

"Hello Bruce," A familiar, but haunting and supposedly dead, face greeted them, and the bastard was even smiling, "and Timothy, why am I not surprised to see you here as well."

"Ra's!" Tim shouted in horror of the image showing the Demon's head, literally his head, on the computer in front of him.


They ran, ran as fast and stealthy as they could across the rooftops. It was still light outside and they could be seen. In fact, it was still in the same hour as they were when they left, considering that as soon as they got into the main room of Jason's old safe house they had tripped some kind of wire and it started flashing. Jason barely had time to grab Damian before launching them both back out of the door that they'd just come through, barely escaping the blast as the place went up in flames.

They hadn't even gotten to go inside the room and look; they'd only gotten to look at the outside and hallways before it was blown sky high. Bruce was not going to be happy.

They didn’t exactly escape unscathed, either. Jason had a huge tear on the sleeve of his jacket that had caught fire and had slightly burnt into part of his shoulder. He'd also fallen awkwardly and hard onto his hip, and with the added weight of Damian landing on top of him, it was going to leave a nasty bruise later, but he was just lucky it didn't break; other than that he just had a few scrapes and scratches. Damian was a bit groggy and confused from the sudden blast, causing Jason to take a minute or so to make sure that kid didn't have a concussion or any lumps on his head before moving off. It also meant that Damian was grouchier than usual, but he wasn't taking any chances with the kid.

However, they couldn't linger for long. Someone must have set this up, the GCPD wouldn't booby trap somewhere even if it was a crime scene of an infamous vigilante was known to prowl.

Actually, at the moment, considering what Tim and Damian had discovered while he and Bruce were having their talk about Pierce, the head of the GCPD, he did believe that they would have set the trap, but he had also assumed that they'd been the ones hired by and working with or under Pierce. And really, Jason normally wasn't bothered by being the prime suspect for murder or most other crimes, because yeah, he committed them and had killed people; however, not Gordon's murder. Jim Gordon was a good guy and had deserved more than that.

They had barely managed to make it to the next building before black cars pulled up outside and started searching, meaning that was their cue to leave.

Whoever was after them wasn't going to be playing nice, then.

For fuck’s sake, Damian had only just finished telling Tim that they were fine, and now this happened!

Shit, they were going to have to contact them and explain.

Jason turned to Damian, who was shadowing him.

The brat had reluctantly stayed behind him after Jason had stressed that Alfred would keep him out for even longer if he got more injuries, since they both knew it was very hard to fight with a head injury, and that would mean that Tim would get to go out with Batman again while he was recovering. Damian didn't like it, had scowled and threw more insults about to his adopted brother, but he had eventually conceded and stayed behind Red Hood. Whether it was for his own self-preservation and safety or the idea of the Replacement spending some alone time with his father, Jason wasn’t sure, but he’d put money on it being the latter.

"Contact Batm-" Jason cut himself off as his bat-senses kicked in and caused him to duck just in time to dodge a bullet that was aimed right for where his head would have been. "Holy shit!"

Instinctively, he pulled Damian with him, his body covering the younger one from sight, hoping that they’d only noticed him and not Robin as well. Damian started to protest again but was silenced the second that the sound of heavy boots hitting the gravel on the rooftop filled the air.

Jason's head shot up; it was him, the Winter Soldier, the person they'd been searching for, in all his assassin glory. And as more boots hit the roof, along with the sound of a gun safety clicking off, it seemed that he had brought some friends along as well...


"You're dead," Batman stated, going into full integration mode. Apparently, he wasn't beating around the bush. Not that Tim could blame him, they had enough to deal with at the moment with the Winter Soldier, Project Insight, and Alexander Pierce without adding Ra's au Ghul's talking digital head into the picture. Plus Bruce was right, the man on screen was dead. Or so they had thought... "You shouldn't be here. You. Are. Dead."

"Spoken to Jason Todd lately?"

Touché.

But Ra's had replied so casually as if they were chatting over coffee and not in a bloodied most likely torture room and one of them was speaking through an outdated computer.

How was he even speaking to them, anyway? This wasn't a recording because no one could possibly predict that he and Bruce were going to show up and then what they were going to say! Not even the former leader of the League of Assassins.

Bruce, to his credit, didn't even twitch at the mention of his resurrected (somewhat insane but now kinda reformed) son. "Well I have you daughter to thank for that, don't I. However, I don't remember asking for her bring back you."

"No, you didn't, but apparently someone found me useful enough to." Ra's explained. "Biovolt, it seems, were after more than just the Winter Soldier, who they were very interested in."

Bruce growled at the name, smashing his fists violently into the table. "Biovolt?! They're done. Finished. I made sure they were."

Tim didn't have a clue what they were talking about, but he knew it wasn't good, like this place, or Ra's sudden appearance. And although he wanted to know what exactly was going on, he could barely squash the urge to snap a picture, because holy hell, he still hadn't gotten over the irony of the Demon's head literally being a head. His fingers were just twitching to take a picture, just to show Jason and Damian because they'd want to see this! But then again, Damian might chop try and chop his head off for it instead!

Ra's smirked, "You also thought I was gone for good."

Bruce stopped at that. Conceded the point. Taking a deep calming breath, because honestly, it was all becoming a little too much even for Batman.

They let Ra's continue with his speech.  

"You see, Biovolt has a very interesting project going on at the moment. I'm sure by this point you've heard about it."

"Project Insight." Bruce stated, "this USB stick was from Gordon before he died, and we were hoping for some information on it; instead, we got you."

The Demon's head smirk didn't budge. "And alas, I am the best person to ask about it. I know everything about it."

Batman's eyes narrowed. "And why is that?”

"I should know because I created it. Biovolt were simply the ones foolish enough to build it." Ra's smirk widened at their shock. "Gotham is so chaotic, poisonous, filthy, with all its villains and heroes that its citizens are finally ready to sacrifice their freedom to gain its security. Project Insight purification process is one that, once complete, will have the League of Assassins take out the pitiful competition and will rise once again."

Tim gasped; to say he was shocked was an understatement. "You mean it'll kill people!"

Ra's chuckled, his highly saturated, digitized eyes fluttered to Tim for a second, and the former Robin flinched lightly. “In its simplest form, yes.”

Batman grunted loudly, purposely dragging the attention back onto him, which Tim was grateful for. "You've yet to tell us how you are even here. Computerized or not, you were dead."

"The Lazarus pit could not save my body, this time, my mind, however, that was savable even if it was on hard drives and data banks. You are looking at my brain.  Biovolt had already arranged an agreement for the sale of the Winter Soldier and once they heard about my plans, they wanted to make them a reality. And just before my 'death', they contacted the League once again."

And again, Tim was back to being confused. Who even was Biovolt? Tim assumed it was the organization that Peirce was in charge of and the same one that had built Project Insight. But Batman had a history with them and he can't ever remember reading anything about them on the Cave's computer, not that he's actually managed read all of the files but he's read a lot.  

"Why are you even telling us all this?" Tim added, crossing his arms over his chest. While the information was most likely true and valid, there had to be a reason that Ra's was telling them all this, especially without anything in return.

Ra's grin was as malicious and evil as Tim remembered it. "Because I wanted to see Batman's face when he finally realized and accepted the truth."


The fight was fast, quick and lethal.

Jason had wanted to try and keep Damian out of it as much as possible, and while his own injuries hurt like hell, he didn’t want the kid to get hurt any more than he already was. Batman would have his head if the little Robin was hurt on his watch.  

But apparently, the Winter Soldier didn’t like being ignored, and the other henchmen also wanted to play. There was no way in hell that Jason was letting Damian go up against the Winter Soldier, so he took on the Assassin himself, even if that meant leaving Robin to fend off the lackeys. Hopefully, the kid can handle it.

Well, he did always say that he enjoyed a good hard fight…

It would have made for a great viewing if anyone had been around to watch.  

Jason had got in a few good hits, at one point breaking the Soldier goggles, who had simply ripped them off without care. The Soldier, however, was quicker, better, faster and stronger than he was. The Soldier also jumped and spun around in a style which reminded him of a style of fighting that he hadn’t seen in years, but this time with a considerable amount more knives and bullets.  

Jason wasn’t aiming to kill, however, if any of these assholes got hit and died of blood loss before backup arrived, he wasn’t going to be mourning them.  

But then when Damian got clipped in his shoulder by a bullet, Jason had been distracted by his injured brother. Red Hood saw, well, red, and was ready to fill the bastard's body with holes! That second of thought, of distraction, almost ended with a knife in his throat, courtesy of the Winter Soldier.   

Robin shouted that he was fine and that he thought Red Hood was a fool for thinking otherwise, getting distracted so easily and leaving himself open. And as if to prove how fine he was, Robin pulled out a Batarang and threw it at the lackey’s gun who’d shot him, hitting it perfectly so that when the man shot only a few seconds later, the gun backfired, exploding in his face.  

Meanwhile, Jason was back to hand-to-hand combat with the Soldier. He’d managed to disarm the man after grabbing his wrist hard enough that he dropped the knife. Though Jason wasn’t foolish enough to think that was all weapons the guy had on him.

Robin was back on his game, taking out another henchman, landing a kick to the man’s face and knocking it up against the wall, hard enough to cause the man to lose consciousness. Batman probably wouldn’t approve of how much force the kid was using, but, fuck it , Jason was just happy that Robin was still able to fight.

The Soldier swung his fist, the metal one, the one that Jason had been avoiding the most because if it hit, it’d most likely be game over. Luckily the Soldier, while skilled, was becoming a bit predictable, and the bat training was definitely coming in handy. Jason ducked under the arm, which was a risky move, because if the Soldier swept his arm to the side there was a chance Jason could get hit, but the assassin simply pulled his arm back, giving Jason the opportunity he’d been waiting for, to stick the modified electromagnet he’d been carrying around with him since their first fight onto the Soldier's arm.

The Soldier scowled as the electromagnet takes instant effect, rendering the arm useless and sending electric shocks up to its owner. It must hurt; Jason had been electrocuted before, and, even though it was at low level back then, he knew how badly it hurts; but the Winter Soldier masked his pain well.

The Soldier then took a moment using his flash hand to rip the electromagnet off, throwing it to the side and flexing his metal fingers as if to test the range.

But in those few seconds, Jason used the Soldier’s distraction to land a hard roundhouse hit to the man’s face, knocking him backward, and the muzzle type mask he was wearing came off. The Soldier, however, used the moment to flip himself off the floor and finally put some distance between them two. The Soldier wasn’t facing him, looking out into the distance as if he had seen something that they hadn’t.

Jason paused, watching, waiting for the Soldier’s next move since his last hit had kicked off the Soldier’s muzzle and he’d already broken the guy's goggles earlier. It meant that they could finally get a good look at his face. Hopefully, that would be able to help with their case, maybe give them some clues to figuring out who the fuck this guy is, even if it was just facial details.

Damian was taking down his last guy as well, which was great news, because as good as the Winter Soldier is, Jason wasn’t sure if he could handle both Robin and Red Hood, even if he planned for the younger boy to be fighting from a distance. He would play dirty if he had to, to bring this bastard down.

The Soldier turned and faced him, his metal arm reaching down for another gun, but Jason didn’t care.

Not when he finally saw the Soldier's face.


"What does he mean? Accepted the truth?! What truth?!" Tim asked frantically, looking between Bruce and Ra's, who were having their own little stare off.  

"Nothing," Batman growled, pulling back from the computer and once again leaving Tim in the dark. Obviously, Bruce was lying, anyone could tell that, but the question was why was he lying? Ever since they had come to this place, Bruce had been acting strange, well stranger than normal for a guy who goes out at night, dressed as a crime fighting bat. But it was like some kind of switch had been flicked in his mind, and Tim has no idea what it does. What had happened here that it had caused this reaction? What truths does Ra’s know that could rattle the famously unshakable Batman so badly?

"You said the USB was given to you after Gordon's death? Was he killed, by any chance, by a man with a metal arm?"

Tim frowned, The Winter Soldier. "Yes. But how do you know that?"

"As I've already said, they bought the Winter Soldier from us. The boy was one of the best. We only had to teach him how to kill, and that wasn’t too hard, considering his previous training." Ra's explained, and Tim wondered who had previously trained the Winter Soldier before the League. “Getting the boy to willingly kill was the hard part, but we were working alongside the Russians, and they knew how to mess with his head enough for him to become obedient. After he broke, it all came falling into place.”

"You're wrong," Bruce argued back. Tim blinked; Ra's was known for a lot of things, but lying wasn't one of them, and Bruce knew that. “He’s dead.”

Ra's laughed maniacally. "Stop denying it. You're the world's greatest detective. You know it all matches up. The date. This location. The skills. The arm."

"Batman, what does he mean?!" Tim shouted again but was again ignored.  

"He's alive, Bruce." Ra's stated seriously, looking into Batman's eyes. "All these years. Ten years. A soldier without an arm. A child that fell."

"Stop it." Bruce spat, eyes glaring into the screen, and Tim could swear he'd never seen Bruce so mad before in his life, and he's been working with Batman for years.

“You know I was there when he broke. It took a while, and the boy never pleaded nor begged, just took it as if he was waiting for someone to come and rescue him, someone who never came. But just before the boy screamed one name, his guardian, mentor, his supposed savior -”

"SHUT UP!" Bruce shouted, voice raw, full of rage, anguish, and emotion. A complete one-eighty from the usual composed monotone Batman voice. Bruce lost it, throwing his fist into the screen and smashing it. The screen splintered, and Ra's face vanished as the screen went black.


“Dick?!”

His hair might be slightly longer than before, and he had a goddamn metal arm, but fuck, Jason knew Dick Grayson when he saw him. The Soldier's eyes were empty and void, his expression emotionless, and the only reason Jason knew that he’d heard him was when the Soldier’s expression pinched slightly, but it was only for a second; if he’d blinked, he would have missed it before his face went blank again.

Jason’s brain had short circuited, still trying to comprehend what he was seeing, trying to put two and two together, but he kept ending up with three.

He was hallucinating, he had to be.

No.

No.

No.

This wasn't real.

He must have gotten hit with some scarecrow level shit gas, and it was creating his worst nightmare. That must be it. It must. This wasn't real.

Dick Grayson was dead. Nightwing was dead. His brother was dead. He saw it. He fucking saw him fall to his death.

But.

Right here.

In Front of him.

No.

NO!

But, as previously stated, Jason Todd knew Dick Grayson anywhere.

The Winter Soldier was aiming his gun directly at Jason with the intention of shooting without hesitation or caring whether he lived or died.

Dick Grayson was aiming his gun directly at Jason with the intention of shooting without hesitation or caring whether he lived or died.

The Winter Soldier’s emotionless eyes burrowed into him, and when the Soldier replied, Jason’s world shattered once again.  

“Who the hell is Dick?”

 

Chapter Text

  "NIGHTWING!"

"It's okay Little Wing, I'm fine."

"You just got shot!"

"It's just a scratch."

"The guy was aiming at me!"

"I know that's why I took the hit."

"B-But why?!"

"Because you are my little brother.


“Who would you date Speedy or Kid Flash?”

“SAY WHAT?!”

“Don’t try and hide it, Dick. I know you like guys!”

“Well yeah but I like girls as well, and obviously girls like me back.”

“Yeah, I know, Dick Grayson the playboy.”

“Damn right. I learned from the best.”

“So West or Harper?”

“The real question is, who would I date first?”


"Dick?"

"Jason?"

"Whoa… Are you crying?!"

" I am not!"

"You are!"

"Nope!"

"Stop being such a child! Jesus, just tell me why? Are you hurt?"

"No reason Jay, don't worry about it."

"Was it me?!"

"Huh?"

"Was it because what I said that you were just being a circus brat the other day? Because I swear I didn't mean it?"

"No, no, Jay, it wasn't you."

"Then why? Why the fuck are you crying?!"

"It’s the anniversary! Goddamn it! The anniversary of when they fell!"

"Who fell?"

"My family..."

"I'm sorry.... Dick. I didn't know... But if it makes you feel any better, you've still got your little brother..."

"Huh, yeah I guess I do, thanks, Jay."

"AH DICK GET OFF ME!"

"LOVE YOU, LITTLE WING!"


"MASTER RICHARD!"

"Oh no, that doesn't sound good."

"Dick what did you do?! I've never heard Alfred so mad before!"

"Would you believe me if I said I don't know?"

"DICK!"

"Bruce as well?!"

"I swear I don't know!"

"Really now."

"You don't believe me?"

"Of course I don't! It's you!"

"DICK GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!"

"I'm hurt Little Wing!"

"You really don't know?"

"Ah...That might be it..."

"Ah?"

"Yes ah."

"So you do know don't you?"

"It wasn't my fault!"

"I don't believe you."

"Well not completely my fault, the curtains are fine and Wally and Roy was with me as wel-"

"DICK NOW."

"I guess I'll have to tell you later."

"That is if you live to see later."

"Not funny Jay, they’re going to skin me alive!"

"Now that I do believe."


“Date Harley or Ivy?”

“Dick!!”

“Come on Jay!”

“Um, I don’t know, Ivy?”

“Good choice!”

“Now my turn! Be killed by Penguin or Joker?"

"Most probably be the Joker."

"Really? Dick?"

"Well at least with the Joker you'll go out with a bang!"


“Hey, Dick…”

“What’s up Little Wing?”

“I-um…”

“Do be shy! It’s me! You can tell me anything!”

“I know, i-it's just-”

“Hm?”

“ITHINKILIKEBOYS!

“That’s awesome Jay!”

“It is?”

“Yep!”

“You don’t mind?”

“It’s cool. I don’t mind! I’m Bi remember. ”

“...Oh, so we’re cool?”

“Totes.”

“Please don’t say that again…”

“Just one thing.”

“W-what is it?”

“You’ve got to save some hot guys for you big bro!” 


"Where’s Nightwing?”

“Hi Robin,”

"Nightwing?!”

“I’m just hanging out,”

“The side of a train!!”


"Dick, Dickie, please, please come back... I need you. Please. P-please..."


"I guess you fell too, Dick..."


"Dickie-bird, I've come to tell you goodbye. I'm leaving. Well not forever. And not like you did, running off to Blüdhaven. However, I am going find my mother, my real mother. Bruce wouldn't understand if I told him. But I know you would. Because you are my big bro and I love you! But don't worry, I'll be back. Later Dick!"


"Hey, Dick, I'm back. A little late, I know. I might have just got back. It's a long story. But you know you were right, being killed by the Joker does mean you’ll go out with a bang. Nevertheless, I am alive now. Somehow.  It had something to do with Talia and the League of Shadows, and the Lazarus pit, I never really understood or listened that well. But where the fuck are you? You were always better at everything than me, so you SHOULD be better at coming back to life than me as well! ...Okay, that was kind of stupid because it’s been seven years… Seven long years. But still, fuck I miss you!"


“BRUCE REPLACED ME. REPLACED ME AND STILL HASN'T KILLED THE JOKER! AFTER ALL THE THINGS HE’S DONE. TO ME. YOU. BABS. AND HE STILL ISN’T DEAD. NO. HE’S LOCKED UP IN A PLACE EVERYONE KNOWS HE’LL EVENTUALLY ESCAPE FROM AND HARM MORE PEOPLE. WELL, NO MORE. I'M GOING TO PUT AN END TO THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL. THE JOKER AND ROBIN.”


“I bet you didn’t know that Bruce has a son, an actual blood son! His names Damian, but really he’s just an entitled little shit. Okay, so he’s not always a shit, especially around animals. But anyway, he’s Robin now and Tim, who was the last Robin, who I didn’t kill but might have tried, was obviously mad. Of course being replaced as Robin isn’t an original thing is now is it? I bet you would love both Tim and Damian. You just loved being a big brother to me now you’d have three.”


“Ten years Dickie. Tens years tomorrow.”


“Dick?!”

"Who the hell is Dick?"

 

Chapter Text

Jason felt the panic begin to rise in his chest. Tension grew in his face and limbs, his mind replaying the phrase "Who the hell is Dick?!". His breathing became more rapid and shallow, only coming out in gasps. Jason feels like he will black out, but he knows he can't, not here, not now. His fingers are in a white-knuckled grip holding onto his gun, but at the same time, his hand is shaking erratically, matching his breathing. He was sure he wouldn’t be able to hit a stationary target in this state, never mind a moving one.

Slowly, bit and pieces were falling into place...

How the Soldier could go hand to hand with him, almost as if he knew what he was going to do next as if he had the same training. The date, the fact that the Winter Soldier has appeared ten years ago, a few months after Dick had died. The Soldier’s skills and how he'd thought that they reminded him of someone he knew, which was because they did! They belong to Dick! They were Dick's moves!

But that meant that Dick was the Winter Soldier. Dick couldn't be the Winter Soldier because he was Dick. He was dead. Jason watched helplessly as his brother fell to his death. No one could survive that, not unless they were a meta and Dick, nor Nightwing, was a metahuman. However, there he was right in front of him. Dick Grayson! And he had not aged a day, which was scary, still, late teens, face as pretty and beautiful as it had been back then.

None of this made any sense.

He had to be dreaming, right? This is just one big dream, well, more like a nightmare, where his dead brother, the only person he had ever loved, was the bad guy that he had to take down, the bad guy that had gone around killing innocent people for some crazy society- and the worse of all didn't remember him. Tried to kill him. Because Dick would never kill. Never. Ever. He had been brainwashed for too long by Bruce to see that sometimes killing the bad guy was the only viable option; but then again, he would hate the idea of the Dick, with blood on his hands. He was too nice, too soft, to do the dirty work. Luckily Jason wasn't, the Joker had made sure of that, but still, the point stands that Dick Grayson would rather get himself killed than kill someone.

The same Dick Grayson that was dead.

Dick Grayson was dead.

He'd gone to his goddamn funeral.

But of course, that apparently didn't mean shit because Jason himself had died and he was alive and kicking now. Even if he wasn't the same Jason from before. So maybe, maybe this was Dick...

No.

No!

Dick was good. Beautiful. Pure. Dick was the light of Jason's life. Dick was Robin. Dick was the Boy Wonder. Dick was Nightwing. A protector. A leader. Friendly. Dick was Bruce's son. Dick was his brother. Dick didn't kill people! He didn't shoot Gordon, Barbara's father. He didn't fight Jason. Didn't shoot to kill him. Didn't want to harm kids. Didn't work for the bad guys. Dick didn-

"-HOOD!" Damian's cry snapped him out of his thoughts, then hurt blossomed over his cheek, causing him to take a large breath because apparently he'd been holding it and hadn't realized... It had been so long since he'd had any form of panic attack, and he hadn't even realized that he was having one; but you couldn’t really blame him since he his brain was having a full on meltdown.

Damian must have noticed and snarled and slapped Jason in the face, the brat. "You. Are. Not. Allowed. To. Do. That. Again. Hood. Understand?"  

Jason nodded because he really didn't want to get slapped again. Vaguely he wondered where his helmet had gone. Luckily he still had his mask on.

"Good," Damian muttered, his mouth twisted into a frown. He was gripping onto Jason's jacket so hard that the older boy swore that if he moved even an inch it would rip from the grip. Aww, the kid was worried about him. It was sweet, really. Somehow, it still ended up with him being slapped. Then again, the brat was a Wayne, and, like father like son, they are not the best at showing that they care, nor are they any good at displaying emotions that aren’t disapproval or rage. Someone really needed to give them an emotions 101 class or something.

Plus the slap stung like a bitch- Wait, that meant that this was all real.

That all this wasn't a dream and Dick really was...

Fuck.

He glanced up to see that the Winter Soldier, Dick, had vanished.

Jason couldn't.

He just couldn't.

Jason felt something wet and cold slid down the side of his cheek. it fell to the roof, and he followed, his knees weakening as he fell onto them with as much grace as a bag of wet concrete, staring at the spot that Dick had been.

"HOOD!" Damian shouted again, voice a mixture of anger and fear for his brother. He didn't understand, and, not that he would ever admit it, but he was scared, confused and angry all at the same time. Red Hood, who is begrudgingly his brother, but a brother nonetheless, even if not by blood, is in pain, not physical though (even if the Winter Soldier had possibly had got a few hits on the vigilante) but mental, psychological suffering. Todd had been staring at the last place the Soldier had been before the mask had fallen off. The older boy then shouted a vulgar word which Damian would have assumed was him insulting or taunting the Soldier if it hadn’t been said with such fondness and emotion.

He already had to remove Red Hood’s helmet after Jason seemed to be struggling for breath, the man's arms were shaking and he was sure if the older shot the gun it was more likely to hit an unsuspecting bird then it’s intended target. He didn't dare try and remove the gun because he was not stupid like Drake.

And, now, now, Todd was crying.  

Todd never cried, he was angry, bitter and jealous, in Damian’s opinion, but he was also protective, strong-willed and, in some ways, caring but still, he didn’t cry.

Jason Todd was crying.

Whoever this person was, this Winter Soldier man who had affected his brother so badly was going to pay, but now the man was gone and it was just him and Red Hood. He didn't know what to do, how to help!

So he did the only thing he knew how to do, lash out and shout- that usually got people's attention.

"Cease this foolishness right now!"

However, Jason wasn't listening as tears cascaded down his cheeks, he was staring blankly ahead at the place the Dick had been. He knelt there, face dominated by a sadness, fatigue, and suffering. The tears were quickly making a collection of wet dots on the floor underneath him but he didn’t care, nor did he notice.

He briefly wonders if their roles had been reversed how Dick would have reacted. Would he have broken and shut down as well like he had? Or would he have kept himself together and powered on and found the answers?

Of course, he fucking knew that Dick was not doing this willingly, but this wasn’t about that. There was something big going on and he needed to get to the bottom of it but at the same time-

“Who the hell is Dick?”

Dick was alive.

Dick was alive.

He grieved for ten years.

Dick had been alive the whole time.

Dick was there in front of him.

Dick tried to shoot him.

Dick was alive.

Dick had been right in front of him.

Dick was gone again.

Dick didn’t remember him, or himself.

It was all too much.

But then he heard a small quiet sniffle as if someone was trying to hide it, followed by an even smaller voice, "Hood. Whatever it is. Whoever that was. We can beat them. You promised you wouldn’t do this again, Hood. Father would be unhappy about you breaking your promises. Just get up..."

Damian. Shit . That was Damian! They were still on the roof! He needed to pull himself together. Of course, it all still stung and hurt so badly that he swore that if it was actually physical pain he would have passed out by now. However, no matter what, no matter what just happened or who he’d just discovered, the first thing was making sure that the kid made it back. He’ll sort out all of the other shit later and have another conversation with Bruce. They were probably still being chased, even if Dic-The Winter Soldier was gone. He doubted Pierce would give up that easily, especially after what happened to Gordon.

He had so many unanswered goddamn questions.

But that could all wait until he made sure that Robin was safe and that Bruce and Tim were too; after that reveal, he doubted whatever they’d found on the USB drive was going to be good.

And to do so, he needed to get his head back in the game. Damian couldn't afford for him to be a liability, especially not now, not with what they were dealing with. Sure, the fourth Robin could more than handle himself, but this was the next step up, and he doubted that even with how much they argued, the brat would leave him.

“Red Hood.” Damian hissed again, voice no longer as emotional as before, more closed up and calling him by his full alias. However, the grip on his jacket tightened, if that was even possible. It meant that they were no longer alone.

Blinking hard, he managed to pull himself out of his hellish thoughts about Dick and back into the real world. He saw a man, older than him, maybe about the same age as Bruce, in GCPD swat gear, not too far away, with a gun aimed at Jason's head. Shit, he’d been so out of it that he hadn’t even noticed the man's arrival! Bruce would have his head if he found out. He’d really fucked up big time, either that or he was losing his edge, and he doubted that it was the latter because he was still young, in his prime, in his glory days, and the former could be put down to finding out the fact that Dick was still alive and the fricken Winter Soldier!

Focus for fuck’s sake! He tried to separate his thoughts and shove them to the back for later. It was hard, but somehow he did it, and maybe if it was just him on his own he wouldn’t have, just sat there staring at the place that Dick had been; but he couldn’t, Damian needed him and he wasn’t about to fail again.

Jason doubted that this guy was alone, and his eyes quickly glanced around without moving around, as he was sure that the man in front of him wasn’t against blowing his head off his shoulders if he even so much as twitched. He was right, this man wasn't alone; there were at least three people on the closest buildings, snipers aiming at them, and that was just with barely a glance, so there had to be more. Controlling his breathing, Jason managed to stop his trembling and get a good, steady grip on his own gun which was more likely redundant with the considerable number of guns already aimed at them, but dying for the second time wasn’t on his wish list.

“Ah, so we meet again, Robin.” The man chuckled, taking another step forward and Damian snarled.

“Rumlow.” Damian hissed. Jason didn’t know who the man was, but he did guess that this would be one of Peirce’s men; of course, a corrupt police officer staining Gordon’s good name, the bastard.  

“Looks like you’ve finally caught Red Hood, good job kid. Unfortunately, it’s the end of both of you.” Rumlow grinned arrogantly, making Jason want to shoot his face off. If only he hadn’t promised Bruce that he’d not kill, maybe he could make an acceptation for this scumbag? "Pierce has put hits on all of you." Well, that was if they made it out of here alive…

Jason’s attention was drawn back by Rumlow’s low dark chuckle; he let out his own growl, getting Rumlow’s attention away from Damian. He could only hope for some miracle. He wasn’t about to die again, the Joker was one thing, but this, this! And after he’d just found out about Dick! He wondered if Bruce and Tim were faring any better, maybe they would have assumed their radio silence as a problem and come running to help; actually, probably not, since the brat had told the replacement not to call unless they had a problem or an informative development.

He was right; the kid was going to be the death of him!


The Asset’s mission was incomplete.

The Asset's handlers didn't care.

They told the Asset to retreat.

The target had called the Asset ‘Dick’.

The Asset didn't have a name.

The Asset was sometimes called the Winter Soldier, Soldier, or Asset.

It had no real name.

The Asset was a weapon.

The Asset was not human.

Nor did it have a name.

The target looked familiar again.

The Asset did not have memories.

The Asset remembered the guy in the car.

The Asset should not remember the man in the car.

The Asset did not have memories, only missions.

They would put the Asset back in the chair.

"Dick?!"

The Asset knew the target.

The Asset knew him.

The Asset knew him.

Chapter Text


 

Bruce was shaking, breathing heavily, head low, hands fisted on the table. The computer screen that Ra's face was still on was cracked and blank. Tim stood awkwardly at the side, still unsure and confused at what had gone off; he knew that Ra's had been baiting Batman, talking about someone who was obviously a sore spot for his mentor, and surprisingly, Bruce had lashed out, in a totally un-Batman like way.

Tim tried to think about anyone he knew, that they could be talking about, and came up empty. He decided to think back to what was said and see if he'd missed anything and figure this all out because Batman wasn't giving away anything and honestly, Tim was worried; he'd never seen him get like this before...

"As I've already said, they bought the Winter Soldier from us. The boy was one of the best. We only had to teach him how to kill, and that wasn’t too hard, considering his previous training." Ra's explained, “Getting the boy to willingly kill was the hard part, but we were working alongside the Russians, and they knew how to mess with his head enough for him to become obedient. After he broke, it all came falling into place.”

So Biovolt brought the Winter Soldier off the League of Assassins around the same time as Ra's, well, reanimation... Whoever this person was, he was a good guy, trained well, possibly a hero in the beginning, before they forced him to turn into the Assassin they knew today- especially if they had trouble getting him to kill. Maybe it was some unknown from the Justice League or even the early days of Young Justice? And he’d said the Russians were involved too; that was something that he was going to have to look into further.

Also, Biovolt was another thing that he'd never heard of, whoever they were. Pierce was either their leader or working with them, and this Project Insight business, system, or whatever. Ra's hadn't given them much information on it before he had started to goad Bruce over the identity of the Winter Soldier, who was going to be killing people, innocent people, until Biovolt and Pierce got whatever they wanted from Gotham. That was something else he needed to look into; he added the name to his mental checklist.

"You're wrong," Bruce argued back. “He’s dead.”

Stop denying it. You're the world's greatest detective. You know it all matches up. The date. This location. The skills. The arm."

So obviously whoever it was had some kind of close connection to Bruce, or at least to Batman. Bruce must have known the man beforehand and could have possibly been there when whatever had happened, happened, especially since Bruce assumed that he was dead. The date? Well, that might be a reason as to why Bruce was always so moody this time of year, especially today. Batman definitely has a history with this location, Tim knew that even before Ra's had mentioned it; could it possibly have something to do with Winter Soldier? The skills he was most likely referring to were his previous training. The arm, of course, that Ra’s was talking about was the Winter Soldier's metal arm, the one where his flesh one should be.

"He's alive, Bruce." Ra's stated seriously. "All these years. Ten years. A soldier without an arm. A child that fell."

Ten years was a long time, long before him and Damian was around, but not Jason. Maybe Jason knew something? But then again, trying to any information out of Jason was probably on the same level as Batman; basically, like trying to dig out of prison with a plastic spoon. He doubted Alfred would be any help; as wise as the elderly butler was, he didn't particularly tend to involve himself in their nighttime activities unless it was to tend to injuries, physical and mental, or when Bruce needed to be put in his place. It didn't happen often, but it did happen occasionally, and it was a magical thing to watch Bruce Wayne, Batman , be scolded like a child. But still, as awesome as Alfred was, he doubted that he'd have any knowledge on the identity of the Winter Soldier.  

Obviously, there were other heroes like Superman and, heck, the entire Justice League, but he doubted that he could get in contact with them as quickly as he needed the information; plus there was a big chance that they didn't know anything, because this was a Gotham thing and Batman didn't like others getting involved with incidents involving his city or business, so contacting them would only anger the man more. So that crossed all them out. He wasn't going to ask any of the insane criminals that ran around the damned city because, for starters, that's just wrong, and two, he wouldn't believe anything that came out their mouths, well, unless under torture. He knew Jason wouldn't tell, if he knew, Bruce definitely didn't look like he was going to be sharing, Alfred probably didn't know, and Damian was as clueless as him, which meant that Tim was out of options and he'd run out of family to ask.

Actually, no, now that he thought about it, there was the first boy wonder, Dick Grayson, who went by the name Nightwing, after something happened with him and Bruce. Or well, that’s what he assumed since he didn't know all that much about the original Robin, and every time he asked Bruce or Jason about it they either changed the subject or stormed off. Alas, Grayson must be a sore spot for them. His file on the bat-computer of him was sealed to Bruce's eyes only; literally, you had to go through a retinal scanner to access the information, trust him, he's tried. Dick Grayson must he a really sore subject for Bruce. So Tim never really bothered digging too deep on the first boy wonder, especially if it was going to upset his family.

He guessed that the Winter Soldier was only young when he fell if Ra's was referring to him as a child, not that Ra's was exactly young himself, compared to the rest of the world that is. How many millennia years old is he? But still, he got the feeling that the Winter Soldier wasn't going to be a middle aged man. Jason had even said that while he hadn't got a particularly good look at the assassin, he had deduced that the assassin was around their age, so that meant that he must have been even younger when he was trained by the League of Assassins, and if Damian's stories were anything to go by, it wasn't pretty, and Demon brat had been at the damn near the top of their hierarchy, he didn't dare want to imagine what it was like for someone who wasn't a blood heir to be trained there.

"Stop it."

It was so uncharacteristically like Batman, to be so emotional, so uncontrolled and raw; heck, it was even unlike Bruce. It hurt him to see his adopted father in such a state, for someone so emotionally constipated to be showing such emotion. Tim imagined that if he wasn't here, that Bruce would actually be crying and Bruce never cried. Whoever this was meant a lot to Bruce, a hell of a lot, and it was hurting him.

There had to be a way to figure the identity of this person out! He wanted to help, he wanted to help Bruce, but he knew neither Bruce or Jason, if the latter even knew who this was, weren’t going to tell. And hell if he knew how to contact Nightwing or even where the former Robin now resided. In fact, the last known sighting of the hero had been in Gotham and that was what? Ten years ag-

Wait.

No way.

“You know I was there when he broke. It took a while, and the boy never pleaded nor begged, just took it as if he was waiting for someone to come and rescue him, someone who never came. But just before the boy screamed one name, his guardian, mentor, his supposed savior -”

"SHUT UP!"

It couldn't.

It couldn't possibly.

No way, he would know if Nightwing was dead! If the first Robin had died, it would have been a huge thing, or at least a known thing. Even the public had known that Jason Todd had died, but Dick Grayson? He was still alive and kicking somewhere after having an argument with daddy, the prodigal son, and everyone just forgot about him. Even if the media or civilians didn't know about it, then at least the superhero community would have, he would have been a legend or story told by adults and mourned by many.

There was no way that Batman would have been able to hide all that. There was no way that Bruce would hide that from them. His sons. Of course, Bruce didn't always tell them everything, and yeah, it ticked off Tim quite a bit, to not be working with all the variables and information that he could, especially when someone else knew said information, but no- Bruce wouldn't keep this from them, would he?

But at the same time, it was all right in front of him, and all the signs matched up. How in ten years no one has seen or heard from Nightwing and that the Winter Soldier appeared ten years ago, how Bruce reacted, how the Winter Soldier was so skilled and why it was so hard to make him kill because of the Batman intense training and his no killing code. That's Ra's would have taunted Bruce with it and how Batman had reacted so strongly.

He was right.

It was him.  

Holy fucking shit.

It all made sense, there obviously were a few questions that he hadn't managed to figure out and a hell of a lot more that came from the reveal but yes, all the pieces seem to click together.

Nightwing was the Winter Soldier.

Nightwing had somehow survived and was taken and tortured by the League of Assassin while Bruce had thought he was dead.

Dick Grayson, someone who Tim had only ever seen as Robin, in newspapers and TV reports when he was young. Also, there was that one time that Tim hated to remember, but was sure that Grayson hated it, even more, the day that the Flying Grayson's had fallen, leaving only their eight-year-old son.

“-and the boy never pleaded nor begged, just took it as if he was waiting for someone to come and rescue him, someone who never came. But just before the boy screamed one name, his guardian, mentor, his supposed savior" Meaning that Dick had probably been waiting for Bruce to come and get him. Trusting and hoping that his father, Batman, would swoop in and rescue him while Bruce wasn’t even aware he was alive, believing him to be dead, as his son was torture and whatever other hell they'd put Nightwing through to get him to break. Still, until that last moment, he had been believing that he would be saved and would be safe once again, only for it to never happen.

To be turned into that .

What had they done to him? Jesus Christ! If he had felt bad for the Winter Soldier before simply knowing that he'd been trained by the League of Assassins, then he felt ten times worse knowing that it was, in fact, one of his own brothers, even if they hadn't actually personally met. That for than years, Dick Grayson had been tortured and made in an emotionless assassin, someone who would kill, kill Jim Gordon no less! Hadn't he and Babs been like really close?! They must have messed with his head, seriously fucked him up.

Tim's eyes suddenly widened, because did Jason know? Because from what he had gathered about Dick Grayson, he had been an adored brother by Jason and had protected Todd when that latter had been Robin. The papers had always said that the Wayne brothers had been inseparable when seen together. Bruce wouldn't have hidden that from Jason, would he? Or maybe he'd never gotten the chance because Jason had died as well and came back as he did... Jason would hate Bruce all over again if Jason realized that he'd been hiding the firsts Robin's death from him.

He also had to tell Bruce that he'd figured it out...

"Batman."

Tim was ignored, but he didn't take it personally; he would be the same if he was in Bruce's position, and he understood why Bruce was acting the way he did since the Computer store. And although he might not still understand it all, he sympathized and with a deep sad sigh, he took a step forward toward his obviously distraught mentor before repeating himself, albeit a bit louder and more forceful, determined to gain the man's attention.

"Batman."

This time Bruce did react, pulling himself up, unclenching his fists and seemingly taking a second to gather his senses before turning, however, even though he looked as intimidating as ever, Tim could still tell that he was hurting. "What is it?"

"I know who the assassin is." He states as calmly as he can, watching as Bruce reacts instantaneously; his eyes widen in horror before narrowing sharply.

"What? " He demands, fists returning to their previous state, and the former Robin was sure that if he wasn't wearing his suit than the older man's hands would be bleeding from how tightly he has fisted his hands, and he also guessed that the latter wouldn't care one single bit.

Tim takes a calming breath, before staring bravely up at his mentor. “I know that Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier."

Chapter Text

Bruce knew that this was all in his head, that his air ways, lungs, and heart were all functioning just fine, but still he was unable to breathe. The phrase just kept repeating itself in his mind, over and over, slowly driving him crazy while he was still incapable of drawing breath.

I know that Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier.

I know that Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier.

Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier.

Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier.

Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier.

Dick Grayson

Winter Soldier.

Dick Grayson is t-

NO!

His son was dead. No matter what Ra's or Tim said, or even what all the clues point at. HIS SON WAS DEAD. Dick Grayson, his boy, his little boy who had grown up into an amazing hero, independent, kind, loving, someone totally the opposite of Bruce, Nightwing the total opposite of Batman, like Bruce had wanted him to be. He never wanted Dick to become like him. However, it seemed that fate decided to take that literally and made sure that Dick never even got the chance.

Ra's was wrong.

Tim was wrong.

No.

This was Dick Grayson they were talking about! He watched his son fall. He buried his coffin. Visits his grave. Mourned all these years.

But that was just it, wasn't it?!

Because Bruce had never found the body, only a single severed arm, one he knew was Dick's, he never could find the rest Dick's corpse and he'd never had the nerve to tell Jason about what he'd found, instead hiding it, preserving it, somewhere that only he would find. He didn't want to give Jason hope that Dick was still out there, or traumatize him with the severed arm when the boy had just lost his older brother. He also locked off Dick Grayson's/Nightwing's file on the Batcomputer, made up some ridiculous story to the press, some other story to the other heroes and sworn Alfred and Jason to secrecy, making it so Dick Grayson simply faded out of existence like a long forgotten memory.

He was never forgotten though, not by Bruce at least. Apparently not by Jason either, who even after his own death still was more upset by the death of his brother. He also knew that Alfred had never forgotten about the little energetic eight-year old that ran around the Manor, swung for the chandelier, and generally caused chaos while also bringing light back into their lives. A light that Bruce could never be thankful enough for because it saved him, saved him in so many ways.

Then the Winter Soldier shows up, ten fucking years later, on the exact date of Dick's death, with a metal arm in place of the one where Dick's had been cut off and moves like he'd been trained by Batman. Bruce didn't believe it, because Dick was dead. But then, Ra's said all that, talked about how the Soldier had simply been waiting for someone to rescue him like he'd known that someone would come, how Dick always trusted Bruce to save him, how Batman always would.

His boy had been in the hands of the League of Assassins, injured and tortured for god knows how long while he was sat on his ass, waiting for him to arrive, his precious boy, his little Robin...

Ten years.

Ten years!

And he thought he'd failed Jason badly, no this was a new record for Bruce Wayne's biggest fuck up ever.  

He didn't dare imagine what the League had done to Dick, to make him compliant and kill. Kill. Dick never killed. Dick was light, love and caring, he would never kill! But Ra's, that bastard, had also mentioned something about the Russians getting involved and combined with Biovolt and their technology, and experiments. Especially if they'd improved from the last time he'd tangled with them, would be enough to break anyone, no matter how strong their will.

Jason will probably hate him all over again when Bruce tells him the full story, and they had just started somewhat getting along again as well, but now it would be unavoidable to explain...  

"BATMAN!" Tim's voice, while loud, was a mixture of concerned, panicked and scared, accompanied by the left a sharp hit on the center of his back. It startled him, bringing him back to the situation at hand. He drew a long deep breath trying to clear his mind because this wasn't the time, Tim and other his sons needed him focus, he could break down and point blame later.

"Batman, are you okay?" Tim's voice questioned, though quieter this time, but Bruce still heard it.

"Yes." Back to Batman. Back in the game. Focus. He needed to be here, not stuck in his mind. He needed to carry on and stop whatever Project Insight was planning on doing. He heard Tim give a sigh small of relief.

He let out a grunt of acknowledgment as he tried to calm himself. Calming his mind and breathing, or trying to at least. He'd already messed up enough with losing control of his emotions and destroying the one source of information on Project Insight and the Winter Soldier that they had. Plus, he knew that he'd been a total ass to Tim ever since the place showed up on the USB in the computer store. Between snapping at him and trying to leave him out of things, he'd been one hell of a bastard the last hour or so and now he'd also scared his son. He knows how scary and useless it felt to watch someone break down and not have a clue what was going off, he probably looked like he had stopped breathing at one point as well, he might have actually had. He was going to have to make it up to his son later, maybe the two could patrol together more, he was sure that Red Robin would love that, especially if it was just the two of them without Robin. The latter would be easier said than done, but maybe he could dump Damian on Jason for a few nights... Or not, bad idea, they'd either kill every bad guy in their path or kill each other, because Damian had just learned that it was wrong not to kill and Red Hood was a bad influence on the boy, and the two argued a lot whenever they were in each others presences even on mission.

Fortunately, he no longer had to listen to Ra's smug voice and his very digital, very punchable looking face on the screen, even if it did mean that they lost out on whatever infamous he would have given.

"Finally accepted the truth, Bruce?"

Or not.

Oh, yay. Great. Just what he needed. 

It was almost as if Ra's had read his thoughts; Bruce wouldn't put it past him. Couldn't he just die and stay dead? But then again, when did anyone do that nowadays...

"Shut up." Which wasn't his best comeback but that really wasn't what the most important thing, definitely wasn't the most important thing.  

"Touchy." Ra's smirked, "I can imagine why."

Bruce took another deep breath and glared at the crack computer screen with Ra's face on it. He wondered if he punched it a couple more times the Ra's would stay gone for good? Probably not, but the thought was tempting. They both knew that Ra's would try and torture him with the information about Dick, and while yes, that hurt so goddamn much, he couldn't let that affect him. He was Batman, and there was some kind of evil plot going off that was going to kill and harm innocents and as Gotham's self-proclaimed guardian he needed to protect it. To do so he needed to listen to this bastard to get the information that he needed because Ra's, if Bruce had learned anything about the man over the years, was good at explaining whatever evil deed was going off. He had done it several times with his own plans as he simply thought that nothing could stop him; however this wasn't even his plan, so he'd probably spill everything and anything just to see how they'd stop it.

But at the same time, he was Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne who had assumed that his son had been dead for ten years only to find out that he was currently alive after being tortured. And the only way that he can help people was to listen to a man who not only watched but undoubtedly took part in his son's torture brag and smirk about it and he had to let him because he needs the information. It filled him with such rage that even Atrocitus would be impressed. Part of him, a big part of him, wanted to call this whole investigation off, get all of his sons home, get them safe and protected, call the GCPD or the Justice League and get them to deal with and go and look for his son. However again the more logically part of his brain told him to that was stupid. Even if the League got involved and stop Project Insight, what about Dick? What if they found the Winter Soldier? They didn't know, they wouldn't understand. No. He had to do this. No matter what.

Ra's smirk didn't budge, widened if it was even possible "I think it's time that I explained a few things."

This wasn’t going to be pretty, or nice, and goddamn it Tim was here, he didn’t need to hear this! This was going to be long and grueling, Ra’s might like to spill information but that didn’t mean that he would sugar coat things, no the man liked to go into all the gory details, something that while Batman could normally handle the knowledge and details, but knowing that it was had happened to his son. Just the thought of it made him want to be sick.

He hoped that Jason and Damian were still okay...

Chapter Text

He was lucky that Robin was with him. Like really lucky. Because otherwise he was sure that he would have been dead as a dodo, with a bullet in his head courtesy of the asshole Rumlow, and let's just say that Jason Todd knew what was it like to visit the afterlife and wasn’t too keen on a return trip. Because as much as the kid was a brat, something that Jason like to remind him off on a regular basis, the brat had just saved their butts by being smart, continually talking and taunting Rumlow until a helicopter with a camera crew, most likely Gotham news, arrived and started filming the scene.

The Gotham news crew were always out and about at this time in that damned noisy helicopter of theirs, reporting on the travel, and probably thought they’d hit the jackpot with what they’d found on the roof. The kid had been smart enough to wait and stall for long enough until they caught sight and fly to the scene. Jason was going to have to start to give the kid more credit, because that was a smart move, and, if anything, it meant at least the title of Robin was now in capable hands, someone who he knew Dick would have approved off, even if Jason still thought that he was an entitled little brat.

However that still didn’t mean that they were out of shit just yet, nope, they had been literally dragged, handcuffed and thrown into the back of a van, one of about six, and were most likely being driven somewhere more secluded so that Rumlow could shoot them without an audience.

Normally he would have escaped, easily, these guys might be GCPD, but they were not trained by the bat like he was. Unfortunately, they did have the knowledge that while both Red Hood and Robin were skilled enough to kick their asses six ways to Sunday, they also wouldn't do so if it meant that the other got hurt or worse, killed. Plus Jason’s brain wasn’t working at full capacity, still distracted by Dick, too emotional and raw, too many questions, his mind too noisy and loud to be able to think of a plan or pull one-off successfully if Damian got any ideas.

Speaking of Damian, the fuckers should be more careful with him, he did hit his head after all and probably had at least a little concussion, not that the kid will admit it, and if they hurt him more than he already was, Jason was going to personally put a bullet through each of their head, regardless of the fact they were part of the GCPD. The fuckers were all crooked and most likely deserved it anyway. They probably didn’t even care if they hurt Robin because they thought that as soon as they got far away enough that they could kill them without being recorded, but they were wrong. Jason had no plans about being taken out by these pathetic heathens and he doubted that baby bird did either. Plus he had the feeling that these fucks had something to do with Dick and that, if true, was going to land them a sentence worse than death, which in the end have them begging for them to be killed. Also, fuck Bruce’s deal about not killing; there is no point in telling the brats that their older brother’s died when he’s not actually dead. The old man was going to have to come up with something pretty impressive to stop Jason from going full Red Hood on them.

Currently, though, they were sitting and waiting in the van. Robin didn’t look too good, but then again he guessed that he didn’t look exactly like his usual pristine and badass self, either. They were simply biding their time, they were bats, after all, and they knew how to play the game and play it well. Hopefully, the guys with the guns pointed at their heads didn’t decide to do the deed while they were driving because that would simply be messy, and Robin would tattle on him if he saw Jason kill them, and that was an argument that he definitely didn’t need at the moment. Fortunately, from the smug look that was on Rumlow’s face when he entered the passenger's side of one of the vans ahead of where they were, he planned on killing them personally, that fool, he’d get what’s coming to him, Jason would make sure. So they were simply waiting for the moment where there wasn’t a gun to either of their heads to strike, and hopefully, by that point, Jason would have got his shit together.

Jason took an uneven breath, of course, this had all turned into one humongous shit show when did anything that involved this family ever be easy! But shit, that was Dick…

“Hood,” Damian called out, a small frown gracing his features.

“Something the matter, Robin?”

“Besides the guns pointed at our heads and the fact we’re trapped by our enemy and being taken to our deaths?” Damian replied sarcastically.

Jason rolled his eyes, vaguely wondering where his helmet was and then surprisingly spotting it in sitting there in the corner of the van; seriously were these guys really that dumb to bring it with them? Apparently so. “Yes besides that.”

“I want to know what happened on the roof.” Robin said, crossing his arms and his frown deepening, “You don’t do that normally when you encounter a villain, or I at least hope that you don’t.” Because of course, the kid would have questions, he was Bruce Wayne’s son after all, and Waynes do have a tendency to poke their noses in places that they shouldn’t be. However, the small frown on his face also indicates that Damian was in fact worried about him, at least a little. It was cute really, and in any other situation Jason would have teased him for it, but now really wasn’t the time.

Jason took in a deep breath and tried to think of the best way of putting this. He was going to tell him, maybe not everything, mainly because there were other people in the van and they most likely didn’t know the Winter Soldier’s secret identity. Especially since they hadn’t used it to taunt Bruce or use Dick against Batman. He had already been foolish enough to shout it out earlier, no names in the field and all that jazz, but he could be forgiven because of the circumstances, plus Dick’s proper name was Richard, and it wasn’t as widely a known fact as you’d think that Richard preferred to be called Dick, which was probably Bruce’s doing; only family and friends knew. So maybe the others just assumed that he was shouting offensive and indecent language at the person who had been fighting with him. But it still didn’t mean that he was going to blow it all now, especially when it would be ten times worse for them!

However, Jason wasn’t like Bruce and didn’t intend to keep everyone in the dark about it. Damian deserved to know the truth- even if Jason wasn’t quite sure as to what that was anymore.

“The guy on the roof.” He started trying to think of the best way to word it without setting the kid off. He knew that Damian would hit the roof if he found out that his father had been hiding something so big from him. So Jason, unsure as to why he was exactly doing so, was trying to save Bruce some hell later by trying to explain it a way without upsetting him. However this wasn’t Jason’s strong suit, he was the guy with the guns, the guy that knew how to kickass and take hard hits. This explaining thing gently approach was more of Dick’s thing, he was the one with the older brother skills. But then again, maybe they’d swapped over since Jason was pretty sure that Dick was very efficient in using the guns on that roof or snipping Gordon from a rooftop away.

“The Winter Soldier,” Damian said looking curious and at the same time a little concerned. Jason couldn’t blame him because he would have been freaked out if Robin had started acting like that and wanted answers.

“Yeah, the Winter Soldier…” Jason tried not the flinch when he said the name, remembering how he’d swore to personally take out the bastard when he got his hands on him. Now he still wanted to get his hands on him, but only this time he wanted to hug him and never let go, hold Dick so tight that he’ll have no choice but to remember him, remember his Little Wing. “He’s not really a bad guy-“

Damian scoffed, cutting him off, “He killed Gordon, and many more innocents if Batman’s file is accurate.”

“I know bu-“ Jason was cut off again, which was starting to get old really quickly, however, this time it wasn’t by the Demon Spawn next to him. He was in fact cut off by one of the GCPD officers, one that didn’t have a gun to their head, shockingly and surprisingly using their free gun and slamming it into the head of the officer next to them, one that had the gun to Robin’s head, successfully knocking them unconscious. The one with the gun to Jason’s head didn’t react quick enough and now that the threat to Damian now gone, Jason took the bastard out before he could even blink, also knocking them unconscious.

Robin was staring suspiciously at the officer, Batarang in hand. He still couldn’t see a face thanks to their protective gear. Tense and ready for action, unsure of whether this person was on their side or was simply wanting the glory of trying to kill Red Hood and Robin themselves. Jason pulled out one of his guns, but before he got the chance to aim it, the person pulled off their helmet.

Jason still didn’t have a clue who they were after the reveal, only gaining the knowledge that their maybe savior was actually a woman, but that didn’t help much.

Damian’s expressions, however, changed into one of recognition, “You!” It was the officer! He remembered her! She was the one from Gordon’s murder scene, what was her name? Officer Cifel, yes that was it. She was the person that his father had wanted to talk to after the case but hadn’t had time to get around to it yet, stating that she was, in fact, the most trustworthy person in the GCPD, minus Gordon.

Officer Cifel smiled, “And nice to see you to again Robin.”

Damian scoffed, “Not really.”

“Is that your way of saying thank you to someone who just saved your ass?”

Jason smirked a little, hands still on his gun, not entirely trusting, but Damian didn’t seem to be attacking her, so that gained her some level of trust at least. “Unfortunately yes, the little shit lacks manners.”

Officer Cifel seemed to eye him up warily, “And you do, Hood?”

Jason grinned, “Nope.”

She rolled her eyes, “I didn’t think so.” She then pulled a phone out of her pocket pressed a few buttons before smirking at them, “Want to get out of here, boys?”

Chapter Text

The Asset was sat up in the chair, as instructed to by to by the Handlers. They had told him to retreat before he was able to complete his mission. The targets were still there. They were still alive. The Asset didn’t understand. The targets were still alive, the Asset has seen them, fought them, but the Asset had been brought back regardless. The doctors were working on the Asset’s metal arm, poking and prodding it with their tools while other Handlers stood around the room with guns at their sides. The Asset hadn’t seen it’s prime Handler, Rumlow, s ince the rooftop where he held the two targets at gunpoint. Had the Handler wanted to kill the target himself? Even though he knew it was the Asset’s mission? That didn’t seem fair. It didn’t matter though since the Asset was a weapon, a tool for Biovolt to use in whatever they want or need.

But

But

It wasn’t always like this.

A flash of red, green and yellow flashed into its mind. Colours, familiar colors, but the Asset wasn’t familiar with anything outside its programming and protocol. But what about the man in the car, the one the Asset had killed? The person the Asset shot while he was trying to escape at one of the latest targets places?

The new target, the one with the hood. That man, the one with guns, had called him Dick.

Dick.

Dick Grayson.

The Asset knew that name.

“Call me Dick,” A young boy, Dick Grayson, smiled shyly, as he took the offered a cookie from a silver tray, from an old man, a butler, Alfred - How did the Asset know that? “Richard just feels too informal, my mother and father always called me Dick and we are going to be a family right?”

The old butler nodded with a kind smile. “Of course, my apologies Master Dick.”

Dick’s smile grew as he bit into the cookie. “No problem! Alfred, these cookies are really great!”

The cookies were always great.

The Asset had never had cookies.

But it knew about Alfred’s cookies - “The best cookies in the whole of Gotham, Wally.”

Wally West.

The Asset knew him as well. Wally and Alfred.

Alfred Pennyworth, the butler who made excellent cookies, and other food too! Wally West, also known as Kid Flash, and was a-a-friend? The Asset had a friend? The Asset didn’t have any friends. The Asset was a weapon. Roy Harper was also a friend; in fact, the three of them were best friends. Wally was impulsive but caring and Roy was harsh but loyal and Dick wouldn’t have them any other way-

The Asset didn’t understand.

The Asset’s head hurt.

“Dick?!”  

“Who the hell is Dick?”


One of the doctors, unfortunately, made a move too quickly and too boldly, either forgetting who was in the chair or was overconfident due to the security in the room. However, the security didn’t protect him from getting himself hit in the chest, probably breaking a few ribs before smacking his head against a wall, giving him at least a severe concussion from a clenched metal fist. All the guns in the room's security were flicked off and aimed at the Asset while a couple of the other so-called “doctors” rushed to the hit man's side.

The vault door slowly opened, as Alexander Pierce graced the room with his presence, swaggering in. Well, no one would dare call it a swagger, especially out loud because he was the leader of Biovolt, soon to be the ruler of Gotham and then later the world. So he did not swagger and anyone who said otherwise would be quickly dealt with.  Rumlow was about a step or two behind him, not that the man was particularly in his good graces at the moment after today’s earlier incident; not only had they made the Asset retreat mid-mission, meaning the targets were still alive, but they also caught, at least half of the targets Red Hood and Robin but then lost them.

He could understand the former decision, the Asset as of late was more unstable than normal, but that was also understandable considering the location and who they were up against but it didn’t mean he was happy about it. Batman had taken down many strong villains to threaten to this city and his add-ons had their own quite impressive accomplishments. However, this time Batman wouldn’t be able to stop them because he would be dead.

“Sir, the Asset is unstabl-“ A man started but stopped when he started to choke on his own blood when it started to bubble up his throat from the shot which had just been fired into it, and he fell to the floor with a thud, dead in seconds.

Rumlow shot the guy for two reasons; one, it was probably the most merciful thing to do considering Pierce was on a warpath after the mission had failed and he knew how cruel Pierce could be when he wanted to and two, he knew that Pierce liked his staff to look nice and all but this guy was wearing a bow tie, a fucking bow tie. He did, however, listen to the man’s warning, since he had seen first hand that Asset was acting up, he’d hesitated for a moment and spoken to his target.

Pierce ignored the death as he walked further into the room, he noted the few scientists were in a corner gathered around a slumped man. The Asset looked confused, it shouldn’t but it did, that needed to be dealt with, but later.

“Everything is set, tomorrow Project insight will begin and Biovolt will once and for all rule Gotham.”

“What about the targets?”

“Batman and Red Robin are with Ra’s currently, I’m sure you can arrange to give them a leaving present,” Pierce said casually but Rumlow knew what he meant, “Because I’m sure our friend is spilling our secrets right about now and that’s something that we don’t want to get out, especially to the Dark Knight, of all people.”

Rumlow knew that he couldn’t mess this up. If he failed and Batman was still alive, he was sure that most his men wouldn’t survive Pierce’s wrath, he, himself might not even live if they fucked this up.

“And the other two?”

“They’ll meet their demise soon enough,” Pierce assured nonchalantly. They weren’t at the same level as Batman, even if they were supposedly trained by the Bat himself. But if worst came to worst and they refused to stay down or fall in line, they would be back in the Asset’s firing line.

If the reports were anything to go by, it sounded like the Asset had had complete advantage over Red Hood and could do it again, even better, since the Asset’s face was revealed, it turned out that the infamous Red Hood of all people had known Nightwing during his time, personally and in his civilian life as well if the vigilante reaction was anything to go by.

Pierce had known that Batman had at least somewhat cared for Nightwing, whom he assumed had been the first Robin before the more brash Robin took his place, but besides that he was unsure of how the Batman and company operated, or who had knowledge of who or what, so it was interesting to know that Red Hood had recognised the Asset as the former Nightwing. He wondered what their connection was.  

Although as interesting as it was, it was of no importance to him who the Bat’s identities were, they were simply targets, people in his way that needed to be taken care of; maybe after they were in separate body bags on his office floor, however, he might indulge in his slight curiosity as to their real names.   

Talia hadn’t spared him any details about anything to do with Nightwing or the bats either, and while Boivolt were more than capable of figuring it out, it would draw them the wrong kind of attention, the bat kind, and they had wanted to keep a low enough profile until everything was in place. It was a long and slow process, taking many years of hiding in the shadows, being low-key and subtle, but one that was now complete and ready to launch.

He walked up in front of the Asset. Still as beautiful as before, and he wondered how pretty he would be if they scrubbed him up a bit. The metal arm was a bit of an eyesore but that really didn’t matter since the rest of him was like it was. Maybe after Project Insight was up and running and everything was running smoothly, he’d see about keeping the Asset as more of a pet than a weapon since its recent failures, a break, or change in career might do it some good.  

But first, “Mission Report.”


Alexander Pierce, the main man, the Handler’s Handler- did Handlers have Handlers? The word boss appeared in its mind and it decided to go with that, the Handler’s boss, the man the Asset knew was the one in control of everything. The Asset knew it shouldn’t be thinking such things or thinking in general.

Pierce stood in front of him and asked for a mission report.

The Asset should comply, should tell him about the mission and what happened, about Red Hood and Robin, the fight and everything. However, the Asset simply couldn’t, not when it’s brain was filled with sounds, people, and places.

There had been a train but the Asset had been on the wrong side of it, but no, that wasn’t the Asset, that was Dick Grayson… Were they the same person? No, the Asset wasn’t a person, it was a weapon, it knew that, but Dick Grayson wasn’t.

But why did the Asset feel like it had been there?

“And where’s Nightwing?”

“Hi Jaybird,”

Dick?!”

“I’m just hanging out,”

“What?!”

Batman and Robin were there, so was the Asset, but so was Nightwing and the Asset didn’t know what was going on, but at the same time, it felt so familiar.

The Asset remembered trying to make light of the situation so that Robin didn’t feel scared, he’d hate to scare his brother. He? Brother? Weapons didn’t have families or genders.

And Nightwing…

" Jason, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, I’m not the one hanging off the side of a train!”

“I didn’t need your help!” Robin shouted furiously, “You should be getting Dick!”

“Shit, shit, shit,”

“He’s going to get you, Dick, just hold on!”

Then there was a crack and Nightwing falls, the Asset thinks of a man and woman, thinks that it should have seen it coming, it was the Grayson tradition after all. It hears two voices scream loudly as it free falls down, into the darkness and Nightwing wishes that they wouldn’t blame themselves but doubts his wish would come true.

It was heartbreaking.

“NO!”

“DICK!"

This hurt to remember.

It hurt to think, to understand.

This wasn’t protocol.

“Mission Report. Now.” Pierce demanded again, and though his voice was calm, the Asset could tell he was becoming impatient.

“Little Wing, I have no idea what to get Bruce as a Christmas present.” A teenager, Dick Grayson, pouted as he slung his arm around another younger and slightly smaller boy.

The other one shrugged indifferently. “A sense of humor?”

Dick laughed wholeheartedly. “I don’t know Jay, I’m good, but I can't do the impossible.”

“It was worth a try.”

“True, but imagine Bruce’s real laugh...”

Both boys shuddered at the thought.

Little Wing.

Jay

Jason.

Jason Todd

Robin

Jason Todd was Robin.

Jason Todd was Dick Grayson’s little brother.

Jason Todd reminded him of the target on the bridge.

He had the same voice, more mature and rougher than it remembered but still, it reminded the Asset of Jason. How many years had it been since then? Cryo made time hard to keep track of and the chair wiped whatever else the Asset had managed to figure out.

The Asset then remembered that it wasn’t the first time that Nightwing and Robin had been on a train together. He’d taken Jay train surfing before patrol and they’d kicked ass together. A Robin flying over the streets of Gotham with Nightwing while Batman was busy with the Justice League, the two brothers laughing and having a good time

Why did the Asset remember all this? The Asset should know that but at the same time, it shouldn’t.  

A sharp slap brings the Asset out of its thoughts. Alexander Pierce stood there looking unimpressed as if waiting for the Asset’s report, but the Asset couldn’t do it, the Asset had to know!

“The man on the roof…” The Asset said confused, “Who was he?”

Peirce didn’t miss a beat. “You met him earlier this week on another assignment,”

The Asset’s face scrunched up, was it Jason?

“I knew him.”

The Asset did.

It knew him.

But-

Pierce pulled up a stool and sat in front of the Asset, “Your work has been a gift to mankind. You shaped the decade, and I need you to do it one more time. Society is at a tipping point between order and chaos. Tomorrow morning we're gonna give it a push. But, if you don't do your part, I can't do mine, and Boivolt can't give the Gotham the freedom it deserves.”

“But I knew him.”

Apparently, that was enough. Pierce scowled, stood up swiftly and turned around. “Prep him.”

“But sir, he’s been out of cryo-freeze too long-“

“Then wipe him and start over.”

The Asset didn’t want to forget! It might hurt to think about, it might be confusing but, but, the Asset knew it was onto something, knew it needed to remember. It needed to remember Alfred the Butler, Wally West, Roy Harper, Nightwing, Robin, and Jason! It wanted, wanted to remember!

However the Doctors pushed it down to lean back into the chair, the Asset accepted the mouthpiece without fuss because it would be worse if it didn’t. The plates came down clamping down onto each side of the Asset’s head, it watched Rumlow and Pierce walked away as the machine started up, the electricity crackling through the plates

The Asset screamed.

Chapter Text

Officer Cifel or that is who she had said she was when she introduced herself to Jason, as it seemed that Robin apparently already knew who she was, escorted them to her own van.

The brat had muttered something about that she was the officer there when Gordon had died, been murdered; no, he wasn’t going to think about it, not now, not until he could talk to Bruce.

Once again they were shoved into the back of the van, though this time it was more consensual than the first and this time had the added bonus of a first aid kit, only a bog-standard one but it didn’t matter, plus there wasn’t a gun pointed to their heads nor the threat of death, so all in all, van number two was the best by a long shot.

Not that the Officer had told them where they were going exactly...

Really what Jason wanted to do was go back and see Rumlow’s smug, cocky and oh so punchable face turn upside down when he realizes that they’d escaped, then he would gladly put a bullet through his brain.

Shit, he really shouldn’t have promised to not kill to Bruce. But then again wasn’t their agreement now invalid? Since Bruce couldn’t tell the two brats that their real oldest brother was dead when it turned out that he actually wasn’t.  

So now that their deal was void. It meant that he could blast the bastard’s head in, but, then, if he did shoot Rumlow now then he wouldn’t get the information out of the man that he needed. The man’s head was probably full of secrets and information.

That and the Demon brat would most likely tattle on him.

However, none of that, including his deal with Bruce, said that he couldn’t torture the man and Jason was very good at torture, whether it be for information or simply for fun, and he planned on doing both.

He had learned from the best after all.

Monkey see monkey do.

Or more like Robin die and Red Hood learn but whatever.

But anyway he’ll think more on that later, once he gets his hands on the bastard.

Damian, meanwhile, seemed to be in the middle of sulking and confusion. Not that he blamed the kid, he knew less than Jason did and Jason didn’t know shit. Especially after the revelation on the roof, any ideas of the hypothesis he had on the motivations of the Winter Soldier were thrown out of the metaphoric window as soon as that mask broke off.

Jason used the first aid kit to patch him and a reluctant Robin up, though the younger boy refused to have the bandage wrapped around his head even though he’s suffered a head injury, which was stupid but the kid was also a Wayne, and from Jason’s experiences from a certain older Wayne, they tended to be ridiculously stupid and moronic in the face of their own injuries.

The van must have taken a sharp turn before suddenly they were being tossed to the side. Damian made a noise in-between a grunt of disapproval and a groan of pain

It shouldn’t make Jason feel as bad as it did, the kid was his responsibility and now he was in pain, but shit, he’d been spending way too much time around the family if he was starting to feel like this!

However, after very recent events, he doubted he’d be going to fly the nest anytime soon, especially if he planned on getting his big bird back.

They jerked again when the van stopped, and Jason hoped that the officer didn’t plan on trading in her police job for a taxi service, or he’d give her a terrible review. Said officer peeked her head into the small window at the front of the van with a grin on her face.

“We’re here, boys!”

“And where is here exactly?” Jason questioned, curiously.

“Woman, you better not be leading us into another trap, or you will find that your insides are now on your outside,” Damian threatened with a glare that Batman would be proud of. So the brat was in a bad mood. Great.

She looked horrified for a second. “Jesus kid you’re like what? Ten?”

“Eleven, and that doesn’t matter, I can disembowel you easily.”

“That’s not exactly what I’d say to women who just saved both your asses.”

“We can handle ourselves, we didn’t need your assistance. Well, maybe Hood did, but certainly not me.”

“That’s Robin speak for thank you.” Jason interrupted, hoping to clear the air a bit.

“Huh.” The officer huffed disbelieving before she jumped out the car. There were a couple of seconds before Miss Cifel unlocked the back so that the two could climb out, and in the few seconds Jason sent a look at Damian, which the brat knew meant to mind his mouth, he’d seen Bruce do it a few times before. Damian returned the look with a glare, which most likely telling him to fuck off.

When the doors opened, the two jumped out,

“So Officer you never did answer my question,” Jason asked casually, a mixture of trying to change topics from Damian's lack of social etiquette and threats, not that Jason’s particularly great at it himself but still better than the brat, and really he did want to know where they were!

The woman started to walk and the two boys followed close behind. They walked into a side entrance of what looked like to be a...

“And to answer your question Red Hood it’s a safe house-”

“Yes, because as proven yesterday, they are very safe.” Robin snarked, and Jason sighed. The Demon spawn really was in a bad mood but then again he kind of had a point, if Dic- The Winter Soldier had found Jason’s safehouse, and he was bat trained, there was more than a high possibility of them finding this one.

She simply rolled her eyes at the comment, “As I was saying, this safe house, it’s a special one.

They followed her down a few hallways and turns before coming to a more secure looking door then the other, and the two vigilantes glanced at each other briefly. She turned to them and grinned as she used the codes to unlock the door.

“Now, both of you, I know it’ll be a surprise but do try and stay as quiet as possible.” She ordered as the door opened itself. Both boys stood in there in shock as they took peered the person in the room, lying on the bed was-

“Gordon?!”

“No fucking way!”


The Joker sat in his room, grin on his face, this was going to be great! Oh, oh, he’d heard down the villain grapevine, something that had made his week, no make that his month!

Nightwing, one of Batman’s little followers, the one who had been the first Robin, (because yes, he might be insane but he wasn’t stupid) and the obvious favorite in the batclan was now the infamous Winter Soldier.

It was strange though because he swore he’d seen the kid fall off the train on the security footage, like over ten years ago. No one would have a survived a fall like that, trust him, he had experimented on a few “friends” of his on a few of his Arkham breakouts, and they all turned out dead as a dodo.

Though then again, it seemed that the bats couldn't simply stay dead. How many of the robins had died now two? Three? And somehow they all just kept popping back up like weeds, like neon multicolored weeds! But hey! It simply meant more fun for him! Afterall the second Robin, that one (who had screamed so good when he hit him, and the exploding warehouse was wonderful, a spectacular if not short-lived fireworks display) came back better than before, he was more fun now! Even if he was being a copycat and taking his old identity, Red Hood; couldn’t the kid think of something more original?

And Nightwing had already been a blast every time they met, so imagine it now! He was going to have so much fun with the kid when they were reunited!

Oh did good old Bats know that his little birdy was still alive? That he was flying solo and killing, killing! Ha ha ha! Nightwing killing! Someone should film it and send it to him! He would love to see it. He’d be sure to share it as well, he was, if anything, a sharing man, especially with his self-proclaimed best friend, and soulmate, Batman. He was sure would love to see his precious Nightwing taking the lives of innocent people.

Speaking of Nightwing, would this mean that they changed his name? Nightwing to Deathwing?

This was all going to be so much fun!! He could barely contain his excitement, so he didn’t, with a grin wide on his face he let out his maniacal laughter, one that all Arkham could hear and know.

However, this Biovolt, or whatever they called themselves, was planning on taking over Gotham! Ruin all his fun! Well not on his watch! Gotham was his playground and he wouldn’t let some men in suits with big guns take what was his!

Maybe it was time that he paid them a visit…

Chapter Text

Okay, okay, so Jason had known that it was impossible to come back from the dead, duh, he was the prime example of just that! However when he and Damian walked through that door to see Jim fucking Gordon simply lying (banged and most likely drugged up to kingdom come on the good stuff) on a hospital grade bed as if he hadn’t been declared dead a little more than twelve hours ago!  

So, apparently, no one stayed dead.

Next up Dick would be-

Oh, wait.

Fuck!

Robin, apparently, recovered quicker from the shock then he did and turned to the Officer a glare and snarled, “ Explain. Now.

The women, to her credit, didn’t flinch under Robin’s glare, one that which Jason was sure that would make even Batman proud but she did scrunch up her face. “Where do you want me to start?”

“From the beginning, obviously,” Damian replied sarcastically. At least Jason knows that when the kid hit his head earlier that it didn’t affect his personality- he was still a brat. But the older boy did make a mental note to make sure that he did get Damian checked out by at least Alfred when this was all over. “If you started at the end it would be pointless.”

She scoffed at him, “I know that, damn, and I thought that Batman was broody.”

Jason let out a little chuckle, “Ma’am, you have no idea.”

“Shut up, Hood.”

“Yo-you’re here.” A scratchy but deep and familiar voice moaned. All three of them turned to the source, just in time to see Gordon, -shit Dick had really fucked him up- attempt to sit up but fail and fall back onto the bed.

“Commissioner!” Officer Cifel gasped and Jason watched as she rushed towards to the former corpse of the GCPD Police Commissioner, what he was allowed to call it that! He’d been there, done that, got the T-shirt and all that shit. He had died, he had to have some mocking and pun rights after all. She fussed and flailed at the man’s attempt to sit up, “You need to save your strength!”

“I’ll s-save my strength once Gotham is safe,” Gordon replied, trying again and failing with a pained grunt.

The women sighed defeatedly finally helping Gordon into a sitting position, with a pillow supporting his back. “If you actually kill yourself by overexerting yourself after all the shit I- we went through to make it so are alive and incognito, I’ll bring you back just to kill you myself!” Jason offhandedly wondered if the Officer knew that she had fallen head over heels for Gordon (or at least was crushing on him so hard)? A man who was obviously in a loving and committed relationship with his wife and had a loving family. But hey, it would probably make a good soppy romance book or something.

In reality, he could relate in a way, to the first bit at least, where both their loves and affections were unrequited by their not-so-dead dead crushes. He knew Dick had never had feelings for him like he had for Dick. Nightwing had only ever seen him as a little brother, maybe if Dick hadn’t fallen that fateful day then he might have been able to persuade Dick to see him as something different, as something more along the lines of a lover than a brother. But no matter how Dick had seen him, it never stopped Jason from loving him.

“Gordon, you are alive,” Robin stated, bringing Jason out of his sober thoughts. Damian looked over the Commission before giving the man a nod of approval.  “Acceptable.”

Gordon raises an eyebrow, “Nice to see you too, Robin.”


"I think it's time that I explained a few things." Ra’s voice mocked and Tim knew this was going to be bad, and judging by Batman’s reaction, it was going to be worse than that. The fact that he could even tell the reaction from the supposedly emotionless Dark Knight was enough to tell Tim to how much of a shit show this was going to be. Tim walked up to Bruce’s side, to show the man that he wasn’t alone. He knew that it wasn’t going to help much, but he didn’t know what else he could do- he barely knew what was going on!

Bruce snarled but didn’t object. Maybe he didn’t know much more either, the shock of finding out that Nightwing, Dick Grayson , was the Winter Soldier, the infamous Assassin, it had been a shock to himself, he couldn’t imagine what it had been like for Bruce, and to be told (taunted) by Ra’s al Ghul of all people.  

“It’s been awhile since we’ve talked, Batman.” Ra’s said, grin still there. ”How is the rest of the flock?”  

“Just tell me what you know,” Batman growled impatiently.  

“How is my Grandson? Still brainwashing him?”

“Ra’s,” Batman warned, and Tim was surprised that the topic of Damian Wayne hadn’t popped up before- but then again Dick Grayson as the Winter Soldier could probably top all other subjects in most conversation.

Ra’s chuckled. “You’re so desperate to know about the fallen bird.”

“Tell me what the fuck you know about Nightwing!”

Tim tried not to flinch at Bruce’s rage, pure unfiltered rage. None of it was Batman, all of it was Bruce Wayne, the father who had lost his son. It was as frightening as it was an astonishing thing to see.

But of course, Ra’s al Ghul didn’t seem affected. In fact, it only seemed to encourage the man on. “Okay, that was rude of me, I’ll tell you about your fallen birdy, it’s a long story, after all, a ten-year-long tale.” Bruce looked like he was going to punch the screen again, Ra’s knew how to push Bruce’s buttons, especially if the topic was about Nightwing. And Tim thought Jason (before his rebirth and reappearance) had been a taboo topic, where Bruce had shut down and withdrew into himself, but this, wow, this was a new level.

Tim analyzed Ra’s words because the man left hints when he spoke, Tim knew from personal experience. For example, the phrase, fallen birdy...  

“Nightwing fell?” Tim queried, just to be certain.

“Yes, that was how he lost his arm,” Ra’s confirmed, his eyes flickering to Tim, smirking evilly. “Didn’t Bruce tell you that?”

Bruce doesn’t look at Tim, he simply stared at Ra’s face on the screen, though this time it wasn’t out of anger, it was out of guilt, or whatever Bruce’s equivalent to guilt was.

Tim snarled, angry at both Ra’s and Bruce. Mad at his mentor and father figure for not going to tell him, them , what he knows! Nightwing had been “dead” for ten years and he hadn’t known!

“No.”

Bruce casts a glance down at him and Tim looks away not in the mood to look at him. “Red Rob-”

“Don’t.”

Batman, smartly, stayed quiet.

Ra’s chuckled again, “I’ll fill you in then Timothy.”


Tim tried not to throw up. Luckily he hadn’t had a big breakfast and lunch was nonexistent, Alfred would be disappointed. However, the horrors that Ra’s had desired, the things that they’d done to Dick, the methods that they’d used to break Nightwing was enough to make bile rise in his throat. Most of his earlier anger towards Bruce had dispersed, replaced with sympathy after hearing what was done to the man's son, but this wouldn’t be the last of it. They would talk about that, the leaving out information, the secrets, the lack of trust, everything, soon. But first, they had bigger things to do than fight about Batman’s lack of communication skills.

It showed what kind of evil scum that Ra’s was that he could explain all that had happened to Dick, what they’d used, how, the boy's reactions, everything , with a straight face.

However the Demon head hadn’t only talked about Dick though, he’d explained in more detail about Project Insight, and gave hints. Tim took mental notes on all of them.

“I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got time for.” Ra’s said.

“What do you mean?” Tim questioned cautiously.

Bruce hadn’t spoken in awhile, in fact, he hadn’t heard a thing from his mentor since Ra’s had explained how they broke him, messed with Nightwing’s brain, made him forget, made him loyal. Tim understood, he didn’t think any words could describe the horrors.

“That means, dear Timothy, that I’ve been stalling.”

“Wh-“ Tim was cut off by Bruce grabbing him pulling him close to his chest, and Tim could barely register what was going on. The next thing he knew, he was flying through the air, and he felt Batman flinch slightly as they went through the window and landed heavily onto the floor outside the building. However a split second later, there was an enormous explosion. It was as though a fist of orange flame had decided to punch its way out of the building. Windows shattered. Smoke and fire rushed out. Thousands of pieces of glass and steel, a deadly rainfall, showered down. A huge bite had been taken out of the side and the roof of the building and they watched as the place burned.


Gordon gave the two boys a brief description of what had happened since the last time he and Jason had met, with Officer Cifel filling in and adding the parts that he couldn’t.

“The assassin who shot you is called the Winter Soldier,” Robin informed them, after listening to the cops, “Batman has a file on him, but even then, there isn’t much in it.”

“So that’s what they call him, huh.” Gordon croaked as the Officer Cifel held up a glass to his lips which he thankfully drank, “So I’m guessing that I’m not his only victim.”

“He’s been credited with over three hundred suspected kills over the last ten years.” The youngest Wayne stated, “You are most definitely not his first victim.”

Gordon muttered some profanities. “At least tell me you got the Bastard.”

“No, we fought him and he disappeared,” Robin explained then gave them a description of the events after Gordon’s death and how they’d gone to investigate the crime scene only to get attacked by the same guy.

“Damn it.” Gordon cursed loudly.

“Next time I shall not fail,” Damian said determinedly, fist clenched. “I will not let him get away.”    

“Don’t think you’re getting all the action just because you’re Robin, I want a shot at him myself,” Gordon added, and Robin frowned.

“You can barely stand, nevermind fight.”

“If your story is true then you didn’t do much better than him,” Gordon argued back.

“Hey! You’re not leaving me out of this!” Officer Cifel added, not wanting to be left out. “Do you know how much shit this guy has caused me over the last couple of days?!”

“NO!”

All three turned and stared at Jason, who up until then had been silent, simply observing the conversation.Robin frowned. “Hood?”

Jason ignored Damian’s call, his fist clenched and he looked deeply and meaningly at Gordon. “You will in no way pursue the Winter Soldier.”

Gordon’s eyes narrowed at him “Why not?”

Jason looked away sadly, “Because the Winter Soldier is actually Nightwing.”

Chapter Text

The Gotham Gazette

The Police Commissioner is dead?!

Gotham’s very own Commissions Gordon was killed late last night by Red Hood?!

 

Any Gothamite will know the name of the City’s own famous Police Commissioner! James ‘Jim’ Gordon has done many good things and is an asset to the city, even if you're on the wrong side of law and hated him, you’d still respect his skill and achievements. Well, he was all these things and much more. Was being the correct tense, because as of late yesterday James Gordon was announced dead. You read correctly, dead! As in not coming back to life, pushing up daisies, six feet under kind of dead.

Director Alexander Pierce, Gordon’s boss and the Director of the GCPD gave us these statements: “Gordon was one of the best and most loyal and hardworking men in the GCPD that there has ever been! We owe so much to him. Not only will he be missed and mourned, but truly irreplaceable.”

The Director then went into some details about the investigation up to yet.

“The Lead suspects in the case is the infamous vigilante Red Hood, whose safe house was where the Commissioner's body was found. The vigilante’s current whereabouts are unknown. Robin went in pursuit but unfortunately came back empty handed. Commander Rumlow is leading the case and will stop at nothing until the Gordon family have gotten justice for an injustice and unprompted killing of a great and inspirational man.”

Red Hood!

Yes, Red Hood!

The masked vigilante that works with Batman on occasion but at other time is seen committing crimes, meaning he works both sides of the law, so not everyone is sure as to what exactly are his motives or whether he’s a good or bad guy. Though recently Red Hood’s behavior has been improving, and instead of criminals being rolled away on a crash cart, they’re limping away straight into the hands of the GCPD, the worst wounds they have is their pride. Rumours have said that he no longer has proper bullets in those guns- instead he's now using rubber bullets, and while painful when hit, they’ll do no more damage than a paintball gun.

Many people had thought that maybe he’d finally picked a side, the good side! But if this is, in fact, the truth and he has killed the Police Commissioner then Gotham will have no other choice than to look at him as one of the criminals he fights so hard to take down.

But remember readers, innocent until proven guilty!

Especially since we’ve had witness reports from a severe car crash that happened only an hour before Gordon’s murder saying that in fact, the Police Commissioner had been ran off the road by a man in a mysterious mask!

This could be a game changer!

Or is the mysterious masked man simply working for Red Hood?

Most witnesses say that the GCPD had moved them on quickly, some more threateningly and downright nasty (those people are filing a complaint to direct to the Director) so that they couldn’t see what was going on and any footage that they shot they’d been forced to delete. The GCPD has refused to comment on the incident up to yet.

However, that’s a bit strange, isn’t it? Moving people along shouldn’t have been the GCPD first priority- the crash and it’s occupant, especially if it was one of their own, should have been! Along with telling people to delete any footage? But couldn’t it be used as evidence and such? Then for them not to give a statement, it’s suspicious.

We have heard of someone who filmed the incident out of their bedroom window but we don’t have any more information than that because the owner is only selling to the highest bidder…

Some of our readers might be asking where’s Batman? Well, he appeared in the case along with Robin shortly after the GCPD did and after a little investigation left the scene once the latest Boy Wonder returned empty-handed. Maybe he is conducting his own investigations into this. Batman and Gordon have had quite a bond, anyone with a pair of working eyes can see that! He might be a man in a bat costume but during the years he’s proven himself quite the detective, so we could be seeing justice for our fallen hero quicker than we thoughts! Though there are some doubts about this because Batman and Red Hood have occasionally been seen together, along with Robin and Red Hood too! So maybe he’ll feel conflicted about bringing him in? Or maybe the Batman is more focused on bringing in the Joker who escaped Arkham again, early this morning (there is a new warning, explaining further details and information) before the madman causes any more trouble!

Anyone remember the days of Nightwing? Now, there was a guy we knew we could trust! Maybe the boy simply had enough of that life and went to live peacefully. Wherever Nightwing is, I’m sure he’s sharing our pain over the loss of Gordon as well.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gordon’s family and friends, we give them all our love and support in their time of need and hope that the truth and come out and justice will prevail!

(If you have any information or footage of either incident, we have been asked to tell you to contact the GCPD directly, either by going to your nearest station, calling their crime support number or by email)

More information on this story on page 8!

Chapter Text

 

After blurting out the information that Nightwing was actually the Winter Soldier, which in hindsight hadn’t been Jason’s best move, because it had only lead to more questions which he didn’t, couldn’t , answer. For starters, he didn’t know shit about what, where, when or how and the who was just too damn painful. So instead he remained silent and refused to answer them. Eventually, they realised that their constant barrage of questions was not going to be answered, Robin included, and they finally shut up and went and did their own things. Officer Cifel was fussing over Gordon’s medical charts and equipment, Robin had found a chair and decided this would be a good time to check his equipment also probably looking up any messages from daddy, he himself went and sat in the corner of the room and Gordon, well he couldn’t do much but lay there. The man was probably sulking about it but not even Batman could take that many shots and still get up the next day! Sure the fool would try, but luckily Alfred would keep him down and out.

God Alfred was the best.

And they were probably making him worried.

What the fuck were they going to tell him though? Sorry, we couldn’t call, but it turns Gordon’s not dead, Alexander Pierce wants our heads, my safehouse exploded and we have no idea where Bruce and Tim are. Oh and I nearly forgot! Nothing important really… But it turns out that the Winter Soldier is actually Nightwing!

Dick…

Fucking hell.

Alfred basically had raised him! Alfred had known Dick from the age of eight! And had continuously throughout his teenage life, even though Dick and Bruce had fallen out, over whatever they fell out over, knowing both of them it was probably something stupid and fixable by people who didn’t have the communication skills of a toddler! Not that he had much room to talk. But that’s not the point, the point was that Alfred was going to be mortified, devastated and broken at the news about Dick.

He sighed into his hands, this was all basically one huge giant shit show. He just wished that things could have been like they had been before when they were younger when he was Robin and Dick was still Nightwing, Dick was still alive… Or whatever. Hell before that! Before he was even taken in by Bruce! There was a time, a time that he remembered being saved by Dick, he didn’t know he was Dick back then, to Jason, he was Robin, he was his saviour, his hero…


It was a cold night in Gotham (then again, most nights were cold in Gotham) and Jason had decided that you know what, that side alley, the one that’s shady in fucking daylight never mind nighttime, yeah that was a great shortcut home! Nothing could possibly go wrong! And so that’s exactly what he did. However, he had only managed ten steps into the darkness of the street before he’s stopped. Confronted by a middle-aged man, probably thought he’s tough, if his swagger and cocky grin is anything to go by, stepped in front of Jason pausing him in his tracks, and a few seconds later there's a shuffling behind him and he realised that they’ve boxed him in because behind him is another slightly taller man than the one in front of him.  

Not good.

Not good at all.

“Hey kid, didn’t anyone ever teach you that this is a bad place?” The man at the front commented with an arrogant smirk causing the one behind to laugh. The two men shared a grin over his shoulder, “But don’t worry, we’ll make sure you get home safe.”

They both laughed at the comment and Jason narrowed his eyes, the smaller man in the front moved closer, invading Jason’s personal space and even had the audacity to dare put his grumpy hand on the boy’s shoulder.

“Get off!” Jason growled as he smacked the offending hand away from him.  

“Brat!” The man said as his fist connected with Jason’s face, sending the young boy to the ground with a split lip and a few scrapes from the gravely concrete below.

“Get him, Jim!” The taller man shouted from behind in encouragement, “Teach that shit some respect.”

The man who hit Jason grinned, “Will do, the brat will be begging for mercy when I’m done with him!” He said to his partner before repeatedly kicking Jason.

The two men shared a moment to laugh and chuckle at Jason who had curled into a protective ball on the floor. Luckily these guys seemed to be amateurs at the whole ‘beating the shit out of the vulnerable’ thing (not that Jason thought himself as vulnerable, not really but he’s a kid against two full-grown adults…) and Jason managed to protect his ribs, head and organs by raising his arms and curling in on himself, the only thing the man manage was probably a scrapes and bruises on his arms. This wasn’t the first time that someone had done this to Jason and he doubts it’ll be the last.

After the men finish having a short conversation about something that Jason really didn’t bother to listen to, they were probably bragging, they looked like the bragging type, they turned back to Jason again, who readied himself for more attacks and sees both men, this time, raise their feet as in as they were going to perform some kind of combo attack? Wow, lame. However, as lame as it was, two lots of attacks meant double the pain so Jason, curled in tighter and mentally prepared himself.

“We’re going to fucking destroy you kid.” One of the men said but Jason isn’t sure who because his head was currently tucked into his arms.

“Well, that’s not nice.” A new, younger, boyish, voice called out little ways away. It shocked all three of them enough that the thugs didn’t attack Jason and the latter peeked out from under his arms. Jason struggled to make out any real thing besides the vague outline of a small body standing at the entrance of the alley.

“Robin!” One of them called and Jason's eyes widened, and yeah he can see it now, the multicoloured hero stood there, and Jason was in awe because that's Robin! Batman’s protégé!

“So you’re the Bat’s brat!” The other shouted.

“The one and only!” Robin replied cheekily as he strolled down the alley as if there weren't two men beating a kid. Then again this was Robin, things like this probably happened on a daily basis.

The thugs turned to each other quickly.

“There’s two of us and he’s just a kid, we can take him.”

“But what if Bat is nearby? He sees us hurting his brat he’ll probably castrate us or something.”

The man who had been beating Jason turned to his friend with a sadistic grin on his face, “Not if I do this quick.” And pulled something from his jacket. Jason gasped, he had a gun!!  

Jesus, is that what they had planned on doing to him once they’d finished with their ‘fun’ with him? Maybe, maybe not, because they seemed pretty content on just beating him, however they definitely seemed intent on using it on Robin, and while he’s heard reports about how good the dynamic duo is he doubted their, especially Robin (who doesn’t look any older than he does by the way) ability to recover from a bullet to the head.

The other seemed to catch on with what his friend was saying and his smirk was bad as the other. “Okay then, let’s catch us a birdy.”

Meanwhile Robin seemed to have been distracted by something, looking up at the rooftops faraway while the men talked, maybe Batman was talking to him or something, but Robin did spare a moment to occasionally glance over at Jason, and the latter wondered why Robin hadn’t …wait what if he hadn’t noticed the gun?!

Jason had to warn him! “They’ve got a gun! Run!”

“You little shit!” The taller of the two snarled before going for another kick on Jason who ducked his head back in again and braced himself. However, after a few seconds, he didn’t feel a thing, so he bravely peeked out again to see that Robin had blocked the attack. The man growled before pulling out a pocket knife. Robin then goes in for the attack while dodging the knife, it didn’t always work as well as he wanted and Robin sporadically got a little nick or cut on his body but really the fight was considerably one-sided and Jason let out a sigh of relief since he knew with Robin here it wouldn’t last much longer.

If Jason hadn’t been in awe at the sight of the famous Boy Wonder before, he definitely was now after seeing the kid fight!  

However, whatever comfort he’d gained from Robin’s arrival was quickly shattered by someone grabbing his arm pulling him roughly upwards. The other man! Jason cried out as he struggled against the man’s strong grip. The commotion seemed to have drawn Robin’s attention from his attack, unfortunately, the man Robin was against was still conscious but he was limping and leaning to one side.

“Stop or I’ll shoot!” The ultimatum was given as the man pressed a gun into the side of Jason’s head, making him freeze up in fear because this was now so much more real and frightening than a simple beating.

“Let him go!” Robin protested furiously, fists clenched.

“No, not until you drop your weapons and get on your knees.” The other man, the one not holding a gun to Jason’s head, gestured to Robin’s belt which probably held god knows what. However once again the men showed either their lack of experience or their incompetence (probably both) by only gesturing to the other kid’s belt, even Jason knew that Robin will have more weapons on him than that! And he’s a kid! Jason would have at least asked for Robin to remove his gloves, shoes and cape, as there was probably dangerous stuff tucked in there as well as the belt. But regardless Robin complied with their commands and got onto his knees.

“Hands out front little birdy, I don’t want any funny business.”

Robin obeyed once again but his expression was one of pure defiance.  

“Normally we’re content with just a little beating like we were doing to the brat there,” He indicated to Jason, before continuing, “However Batman has caused us more than a headache over the last few weeks, has even sent a lot of our friends to prison or worse, Arkham! And ruined a lot of our plans! So we’ve decided that it’s time for a little payback…” The man who didn’t have a gun, monologued as another vile smirk appeared on his face when at the same time he pulled out an own gun taking a step forward closer to where Robin knelt.

“You're as dumb as you look.” Robin sassed and the man’s smirk fell at the comment, “Honestly I’m not sure what you have less of, brain cells or teeth. By the way, I’d advise some breath mints because your breath stinks as badly as your personality!”

The man bristled. “Look, you're in no position to be making comments like that you shit, I’m about to blow your brains out.”

“You kill me and Batman will destroy you,”

“As my partner has already said, if we finish this quick and get out here, Bats will only find your body and I’m sure the kid here is clever enough not to tattle if he knows what’s good for him.” He then aimed the gun at Robin’s head and Jason shuddered. “This is going to be fun and fulfilling! Boss will be so happy with us once we told him we’ve terminated Robin, we might even get a raise.”

“NO!” Jason cried even ignoring when the man holding him hissed at him to be quiet. “NO, YOU CAN’T-“

“Any final words, Boy Wonder?” The man who was holding Jason sneered.

“Yes…” Robin mumbled almost like he’d given up and was accepting defeat. Jason clenched his fist, struggling harder but that only resulted in the gun being pressed even harder, to the point where it was painfully pressed into his skull, (which Jason was sure was going to leave an imprint or at least a bruise) so he had to stop.

“Go on then.”

The air was tense and silent while Jason struggled against his captor but stilled once the gun was pressed hard into his head. His thoughts were racing between THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING! And WHERE IS BATMAN?!

Robin muttered something and the man smirked, leaning forward into Robin’s personal space. “Say that again brat, just a little louder this time so we can all hear.”

“THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!” Robin shouted loudly shocking all three of them. Which Jason guessed was it’s intended purpose because the next thing he knew Robin lunged forward, head-butting the man in the face causing him to jerk back, quickly as Robin spun around and threw a batting (as they’d been dubbed on the internet) with deadly accuracy, knocking the gun out of the hand of the one who held Jason, before going in for the attack once again, after knocking Jason away to safety. Jason took the hint and ran for the other side of the alley and watched.

“What the fuck?” The man who Dick had head-butted bellowed as he staggered to his feet, blood running down his mouth and chin from what Jason could only assume was either a bust lip or broken nose, probably both.

Robin laughed, his grin wide and joyous, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

Before the little hero lands another potentially bone breaking punch onto the man, knocking him hard into the wall, which he slid down, most likely unconscious or at least concussed. The kid then went up against the man that had been holding Jason who was somewhat surprisingly a seemingly better fighter than his friend and lasted longer, even managing to get a few luckily hits on Robin, but ultimately and a little anticlimactic, Robin took him down within a few minutes, knocking him out and putting him next to his friend. The vigilante then proceeded to make quick work of tying them up and made a quick call to the GCPD.


The two boys wandered to the end of the alley away from the men. The police would arrive any minute and Robin had already left them a note and told them some details in the call, plus Jason doubted his mum will be lenient if he rolled up back home in a police car, no matter what the story was behind it.

Robin looked at him, concerned evident on his face. “You’re hurt.”

Jason scoffed, “I’m hurt?!” He only had minor injuries, unlike a certain someone! “Take a look at yourself!” Robin was covered in scrapes, bruises and cuts!

Robin grinned uncaringly. “Yeah I know, but the bad guys look worse, right?” Jason didn’t reply, just looked at him disbelievingly. Robin gasped in mock hurt. “You’re supposed to agree!”

“But they don’t.” He pointed out.

“Well, they’ll get the worse end of the stick at least when they go to prison.”

“Uh huh.”

Robin walked with him a bit further before he started talking again. Apparently, the boy was one of the talkative types, which was completely different than the rumours and tales that he had heard about Batman.

“So what’s your name?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Well I’m currently calling you kiddo in my head, so I mean I don’t mind calling you bra-“

“My name’s Jason!” There was no way he was letting Robin refer to him as kiddo when they looked the same age!

Robin grinned and Jason just barely refrained from grinning back himself because damn it, Robin’s happy, carefree attitude was so infectious! “Nice to meet ya Jason, I’m Robin.”

“I know who you are, idiot,” Jason replied rolling his eyes. Everyone in Gotham and probably even outside Gotham knew who Robin was, the kid was famous!

“Uh, I am the idiot? I’m not the one taking dodgy streets and getting the crap kicked out of me.”

“Well, you’re running around Gotham dressed as a neon traffic light!” Jason snapped back because he knows, he knows he’s made a stupid mistake. He doesn’t need Robin, of all people, rubbing it in. However, Jason immediately regretted his comment when Robin tensed up, smile momentarily slipping into a small frown, (which Jason decided doesn’t suit the brightly coloured vigilante at all and prefers the smiles and grins) but the smile was back a split second later, though Jason could tell it was forced. He’s sorry, for whatever he said that upset Robin, the boy had been nothing but nice to him and had saved him from those guys, he didn’t mean it.

“So Jason what are you going out this late?”

“I’m just walking home.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah I was at the library and lost track of time, they kicked me out when it closed.”

Robin smiled again, this time it seemed to have gained back a bit of its brightness in it, not all but it was better than the fake ones. “Why don’t I walk you home?”

Jason had to bite his tongue from spitting out the first words that came to mind because he does not need some kind of escort and bodyguard. Just because two men managed to get the edge on him doesn’t mean he would let it happen again, he learns quickly. But he doesn’t say that because Robin was looking at him with a smile, and he’s already unintentional hurt him and Jason wanted the smile to stay.

So instead he went with, “Sure, it’s this way.” And the bright smile Robin sent his way made the idea of him needing some kind of protector fade away.

And so the two boys made their way down the slightly brighter streets of Gotham.


They walked in content silence for all of five minutes before Jason’s stomach rumbled loudly, and he’s reminded that yeah, he hadn’t eaten since the nice librarian made him a sandwich for lunch. Not that there was going to be any food at home anyway since his mum had probably already spent their dwindling and pitiful income on those drugs she seemed to like so much. In fact, she liked them so much she prefered them over her own son. Jason couldn't remember the last time he’d had a proper meal at home, probably never or sometime before dad left which in his mind was the same thing, meaning he found his own food, which most of the time came from a five-finger discount at a nearby supermarket.

“You hungry?” Robin piped up all preppy again.

“No.” Jason frowned. He was, he was starving, but his pride was stronger than his hunger.

“I am.”

“Oh.”

“Sooo, I was thinking we should pop off at that store and get some food. Wouldn’t hurt, right?”

Jason raised an eyebrow. “You. Robin. Just walking casually into a store as if you aren’t one of Gotham’s most famous vigilantes.”

“Yep!”

“But won’t Batman be angry?” He asked. “Like it’ll most likely make the news as well.”

“But I’m hungry, I had to go fight crime before dinner,” Robin whined like a toddler having a temper tantrum, crossing his arms and pouting, “And Jason, the first thing you learn about Batman is that he’s always angry.”

They took a little detour and Robin came out of the shop with too much food for just one kid. He said he “accidentally” bought too much and shoved ninety percent of it to Jason in a plastic bag, apparently unable to take no for an answer and as much as Jason hated taking things like this, it made him feel useless and pitted, he also hated the feeling that he owed someone something. The only thing Robin had kept was a chocolate bar which he was happily munching his way through so maybe he hadn’t lied about not eating before coming out. Jason hated wasting food though, and if the sincere look on Robin’s face was anything to go by then he doubted the boy will make him pay him back for it.

So reluctantly he took the bag, and Robin smiled at him again, making Jason feel funny.

Jason shook off the feeling and scoffed, looking at Robin’s face. “You're such a baby, you’ve got chocolate all over your face.” Which only resulted in another blinding smile.


“Is that a cat stuck the tree?”

“Yes. Go on and help it.”

“Oh come on!”

“What?”

“It's so cliche.”  

“Worried because cats eat birds?”

“I’m not worried! I just don’t like cats…”

“Or you're just afraid of heights?”

“I jump off buildings on a daily basis, I’m not afraid of heights!”


They say you're never two minutes away from a crime in Gotham, however Jason disagrees because not even a minute after Robin reluctantly got the cat down the from the tree, (the Boy Wonder gained a few more cuts and scratches as it seemed that Robin really didn’t like cats and vice versa) they heard a loud shrill alarm and turned around to see that an armoured van had run into the side of the local bank!

“They’re robbing that bank!” Jason exclaimed as he watched a few masked man pour out of the van and into the bank

“Yes, finally! Some real action!” Robin exclaimed as they ran over.

“You're just sour because the cat scratched you,” Jason muttered as they peeked through the whole the van had made.

“Am not!” Robin protested before pulling something out of his belt and throwing it into the bank. Jason watched as the room goes up in smoke before he disappeared. Robin made quick work of them, even quicker than the thugs in the street and Jason wondered if the bad guys were just getting worse or if Robin was just that good...


They eventually made it back to Jason’s, after the bank incident. Robin stopped a robbery and Jason helped out by sneakily tripping up the thief, but other than that, (and finally escaping a very grateful women… Jason wasn’t sure he’s ever been kissed on the check that much or that hard, and if Robin's blushes were anything to go by neither had he) they made it back without any other real eventfulness. Both of them expertly slipped through Jason’s open window after scaling the pipe that ran up the side of the apartment building. Robin then plonked himself on Jason’s bed, taking in the room and making happy comments on Jason's stuff, the latter huffed and sat down on his bed next to him, carefully placing the bag of food at his side, before rummaging through to take a quick look. He spotted two bananas and pulled them out, chucking one at Robin. The two then got into a five-minute argument about Robin no longer being hungry which resulted in Jason winning after threatening to give the rest of the food away.  

They then talked about mundane things, school, books, math. As it turned out, Robin wasn’t too good at literature like Jason was, but excelled in Math and statistics, which Jason hated.

“Robin.” A deep and unimpressed voice called out, cutting into their conversation (well it was more one-sided at the moment since Robin was very enthusiastic about the dreaded algebra), making Jason nearly jump out of his skin. They glanced up to see a tall dark man standing there with a glare aimed in their direction.

However, Robin doesn’t seem affected him at all and hell even smiled. “Hey B,”

Batman was standing in his bedroom!

BATMAN.

“What are you doing?” Batman questioned with a frown walking into the light a bit more, allowing Jason to make him out a bit better.

Robin didn’t seem to be affected by the man like Jason was and happily flipped off the bed and walked over to the Dark Knight. “I made a friend! His name is Jason!”

Batman crossed his arms, levelling the younger vigilante with a look, “And what did I tell you about making ‘friends’ and, not only that but going off coms while on patrol?”

Robin looked away. “Um, that it’s bad and might comprise our identity and that you can’t hear me if I need backup.”

“Exactly.”

Wait so that was what Robin was doing when he paused back in the alley, he was closing his com line to Batman! Jason wanted to faceplant on something, he’d been saved by and made friends with a moron.

“But I didn’t get into any trouble.” Robin lied, and it came out as a borderline whine as he looked up at the bat, pleadingly. It was almost as if they’d had this argument many times before, and Jason thought they probably had.

“You’re hurt.” Batman pointed out, voice somewhat softer as gloved fingers grabbed the boy's chin and his fingers ghosted almost tenderly over the shallow cuts before retreating.

“I’m fine.” Robin waved Batman's concern easily. He definitely wasn’t going to tell him the reason behind that particular cut, the ungrateful rodent!

Batman's eyes then narrowed as if he’d just realised something. “Was it you who stopped the bank robbery?”

“Maybe…” Robin replied sheepishly, fielding with his hands in some anxious movement, but Jason couldn’t blame him because the look Batman was giving him was downright scary!

There was a moment's pause. “I’m grounded, aren’t I?“

Batman didn’t miss a beat before replying, “Yes.” Before he turned and vanished out of Jason’s window.

Robin sighed defeatedly as he stepped onto the windowsill, however his expression brightened when he looked over his shoulder at Jason, “Bye Jason. Tonight was great! But stay out of trouble, okay?”

Jason ran to the window, hands gripping the edge. “No promises!” He called after them. Really, he had no intentions of staying out of trouble, especially not if it meant that he got to spend more time with Robin.


Jason was snapped out of his reminiscing by the com line in his ear crackling to life. He sat up immediately, and out of the corner of his eye saw Robin do the same.

“Robin, Red Hood Come in.”

“Father!” Robin shouted in a mixture of relief and glee, and it takes all of two seconds for the Demon Spawn to realise his mistake.

“FATHER?!” Both Gordon and Officer Cifel both shout in unified mortified confusion.

And so Jason has just got trumped in the 'giving away important and secret information' category. However, the kid might get a free pass because Jason’s sure Robin has at least a mild concussion from the blast back at his apartment but, like he’d done back in the van, the brat had refused any medical treatment… Why couldn’t he have been taken in by a normal family? You know, ones without Bats, brats and baddies.

“Great going, brat!” Tim’s raged voice filtered down the coms. “Why don’t you just give away our identities while you're at it?!”

“Oh so good you’re still alive,” Robin muttered, though it’s only half-hearted. The kid was probably mentally kicking himself for his mistake.

“The feeling is mutual.”

“Enough,” Batman growled down the line, so similar in the way had done all those years ago when he found Robin in his room. Jason felt the urge to cry.

“Batman, we need to talk.” He said, speaking up for the first time since he related to Gordon about Nightwing.

“I know Hood.” Batman sighed sadly and Jason wondered what happened when they split. “ETA 30 minutes.”

“How does he even know of our location?” Officer Cifel frowned, “It’s a secret bunker.”

Robin gave her a deadpan look, almost as if she was an idiot just for asking, which, well, Jason didn’t blame him, it was a stupid question. “He’s Batman."

Chapter Text

 

Jason only half listens to the rest of the conversation that is going on down the com lines, it’s mostly just Tim scolding Damian about letting out secrets and valuable information while Damian’s shooting back his usual insults. Occasionally Bruce would grunt or let out a one letter syllable noise when the insults and scolding got into dangerous territories, like when Tim had mentioned how Damian probably going to turn out like a monster like his mother, or when Damian had spat that he thought that Tim should have been the Robin that died instead of Jason. Neither of them meant it, they all knew it, both were just exhausted and irritated.

But really, Jason couldn’t give a shit about that, or them at the moment. His brain was way too preoccupied to deal with his little brother's tantrums. He was instead focused on-

“Batman, we need to talk.”

“I know, Hood.”

What did he mean by that?

What the fuck did he mean by that?!

Because as soon as Jason had told him that he needed to talk, he knew that he was going to be on the end of a bat/Bruce interrogation, suspicion laced with worry like it always was when Jason talked to Bruce, especially down the com lines on a mission. However, as it turned out, he was wrong, because instead of dubiousness and low-key concern he’s met with a resigned and depressed, “I know, Hood.”

Jason swears that if Bruce knew about this, knew about Dick, him being alive all this time, honest to god he’s going to put a bullet in his head!

He can feel the rage build again. It was almost like the pit was goading and he wouldn’t be surprised if his eyes had a green hue to them, like he’s some kind of shitty Hulk ripoff, but just the idea of Bruce keeping that from him, was making him feel a deep anger, something he hadn’t felt since he learned that the Joker was still alive.

But he’ll give Batman the benefit of the doubt, give Bruce the benefit of the doubt, because sure, the man’s fucked up with a lot of things, but he would never have fucked up with things that involved Dick, which involved his beloved golden boy, something that Jason had used to be incredibly envious over because he knew Bruce would never look at him the same say he looked at Dick. But now all that was a good thing because if it turns out to be something else and Bruce didn’t know, then Jason doesn’t have to kill him, and he knows Bruce will burn the world to make sure Dick Grayson is safe and okay. He’ll make sure that Dick is okay, he’ll get him help, pull out all the stops, make him better and Jason plans to be there every step of the way.


Somehow Batman and Red Robin arrive at the supposed ‘secret base’ in less than twenty minutes and neither looked particularly injured or hurt, just a bit of dust and dirt. Batman doesn’t greet any of them; he does, however, give Robin a reprimanding look, most likely for the father comment, and nods in Jim’s direction, an ‘I’m glad you're not dead’ nod while Officer Cifel was completely ignored.

“Red Robin, I want you to inform Robin and the others what we learned,” Batman ordered to Red Robin who sighed sadly but begrudgingly wandered over to where Gordon’s bed was.

“He’s your father?!” Officer Cifel said scandalised, pointing between Batman and Robin, “Is Red Robin your brother as well?” The latter glared at the women at the comment.

“If you even think about suggesting that Red Robin and I are related, I will take your fingers off your hands.” Robin snapped

“Okay…” The women said, warily taking a step away from the feral glare Robin was sending her way.  

Jason didn’t bother listening to anymore and simply walked out of the secure room and into the hallway, remembering the several other rooms he’d seen on the way in.  

“Behave,” Bruce barked to Robin, but also glanced at Tim as well. He didn’t say another word before he stalked out of the room following Jason.


Bruce barely made it into the next room, swiftly closing the door behind him before he had a gun to his head. Jason is looking at him with a mixture of heartbreak and rage, Bruce knows the feeling, today had been a long, shocking and testing day for Batman himself. If Ra’s had actually been real, and not simply an animated face, he would have been struggling not to murder the man himself.

“Spill, now ,” Jason growls.

“Hood-“ He tries to reason

“What the fuck do you know?!” Jason snarls, clenched fists shaking in an attempt to control his rage and not swing at Bruce, “You said you knew that we needed to talk, fucking tell me what you know!”

Bruce doesn’t try and argue again, knows that Jason is unreasonable at the moment. He’s hoping he’s going to get the chance to explain before his own son puts him in the ground, though with the look on Jason’s face at the moment, it’s more of fifty-fifty chance, especially with what he was going to say next.

“Dick Grayson is the Winter Soldier.”

There was a shot that suddenly rang out!

Smoke still fizzling out of the fresh, new bullet hole mere millimetres away from Batman’s head.


“I’m so glad you’re alive Commissioner Gordon.” Red Robin greets as he takes the free seat the other side of Gordon and studied the man

“Thanks, kid,” Gordon replies with a strained smile.

“See, that’s how you talk to your elders” Officer Cifel comments, sending a pointed look to Robin and gaining a glare from the youngest vigilante.

“Suck up,” Damian mutters.

“Shut it, brat.” Tim shoots back.

“Stop telling me what to do, Ex-Robin.”

“I’ll tell your father.”

Officer Cifel sighs, as the two boys argued in the background. “I still can’t believe Batman is Robin’s father!”

Their argument was cut short when a shot rang out, loudly, from the room that both Batman and Red Hood were in. Everyone’s eyes are wide and tense, but no one dares make a move towards the door.  


“YOU KNEW?!” Jason raged, gun back pressed hard against Batman’s cowl. “YOU KNEW! YOU FUCKING KNEW!”

“Hood.”  Bruce tries to reason with him but Jason isn’t having it.

“HE’S MY BROTHER, MY BEST FRIEND, YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO KEEP THAT FROM ME.”

Jason.

“What?” Jason spits out taking out a deep breath, gun still pressing into Bruce’s head unwavering.

“Will you at least listen to what I have to say before you put a bullet through my head?”

“You’ve got two minutes,” Jason says as he lowers his gun. Bruce sighs again, the same sighs as the one he heard down the com line, and Jason suddenly isn’t sure that he wants to hear what Bruce is about to say.

Regardless of his foreboding, Jason listens to every word that spills from Batman’s mouth and gets more horrified and murderous with each one.

He was going to kill every single fucker that had a part in what happened to Dick. No one will be safe, not even the League of Assassins. The worst part is that both of them know that’s not the whole story, that’s only part of the horrific things that have happened to their brother/son over the last ten years while they were running around blissfully unaware.

“Deep down, he’s got to know it’s us, right? He’ll recognise us, right?” Jason says kind of helplessly, a little lost. He remembers the look Dick had given him on the rooftop, there was not even a hint of recognition. But they’ll be able to get through to him though, they have to.

“I don’t know, Jason.”  

“But it’s Dick…”


“What do you think they’re talking about?” Officer Cifel asks as she helps Gordon shift around on the bed to make the man more comfortable while at the same time not aggravating his wounds. They were all shaken and tense after the gunshot and only relaxed when they heard Red Hood’s enraged shouting.

Damian scoffs. “It’s Hood, it could be about anything,” Robin says trying not to give out any more information about him or his family, he’d already made too many foolish mistakes today.

“I know…”

“What?”

Tim looks sadly away, unable to meet any of their curious and surprised expressions.

He’s still a little shocked and heartbroken himself, he might not have known Dick Grayson personally, but he had known of him, remembered the happy, lively boy that he’d sat with at the fateful day at Haly’s Circus before he’d watched the Graysons fall to their deaths and then when he watched Dick as Robin, flipping and kicking his way as Robin, laughing and cracking jokes, being the complete antithesis of Batman, personality wise. Tim couldn’t imagine what they’d done to him to ruin the bright joyous boy he remembered, not that he needed to imagine since Ra’s had gone into quite a bit of detail about Dick’s brainwashing and torture, that the League had dubbed as ‘training'.

He realises that Jason must have been close to Dick and he and Damian had probably found out about Dick being the Winter Soldier as well. Oh god, Dick had been Jason’s brother! Not that the latter had ever talked about Nightwing but then again Jason didn’t particularly like talking to them if it wasn’t to mock, scold or instruct them. God, if it hurt Tim to that much, he couldn’t really imagine how much it hurt both Jason and Bruce.


“So what now?” Jason asks, crossing his arms. He’s not sure whether he wants to throw up or have a smoke, a bit of both, probably.

“We stop project insight,” Batman says as he turns back to the door.

“And Dick?” Jason frowns. There is no way they’d leave him out of the final battle, even if only for his skill and not for the fact that he’s connected to them. Jason remembers vividly the fight he had against Dick and how he was barely able to keep up

“We will deal with him if the situation arises.”

“Bruce…” Jason starts, “You know they'll send him after us again.”

“As I said, we’ll deal with him if the situation arises.”

Of course, Bruce wouldn’t confront the elephant in the room. It wasn’t that Jason didn’t know that Batman had a plan of how to deal with Dick, hell, he probably had several but he knows that whatever they are, they aren’t pretty. But Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson’s father, he was hoping he would be able to somehow make him surrender when both of them know it’s not going to be that easy.

Jason sighs, shaking his head. “But first things first we need to tell the brats. They deserve to know the truth. No more secrets, no more lies, not about this, okay?” Bruce nods but Jason’s sure he’s not a hundred percent on the idea of filling Tim and Damian in, though if he heard Bruce’s explanation right then the Replacement already knew a lot of it because Ra’s cybernetic head couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

Chapter Text

Being out of Arkham again was great! Really! He could cut, slash and torture his way through his victims, while their cries of pain and begs for mercy were drowned out by his maniacal and hysterical laughter.

Plus it got even better! It was Halloween! His favourite day of the year! People were walking around after dark, something that people in Gotham were warned against for obvious reasons, it was Gotham after all! But of course, just the mentions of Halloween seems to make everyone forget that that walking the streets at night was like walking into an open fire. The citizens of Gotham were literally offering themselves up to him on a spooky themed plate!

He also got to play with the GCPD, some of the officers, he knew were superstitious, so he assumed himself by simply killing a couple of his victims but instead of in his trademark way, he opted for leaving the numbers 7734 written in blood on their foreheads, well most of their foreheads, since one particularly feisty victim of his attempted to fight back and so alas, the man’s head was no longer actually attached to his body. Why the numbers 7734? Well, it wasn’t his best moments but if you flipped the numbers upside down it looked like the word hell, like when you were in school and sent hours in maths spelling boobies on a calculator! Like he said not his best moment… But still, the officer’s reactions were hilarious! One even suggested bringing along an Ouija board another mocked him by saying he had a monopoly board.

He had never spooked Batman though. It was a shame really, he’d love to see scared, horrified look on the Dark Knights usually stoic but occasionally angry face. Then again, he did still have the live feed recording of the few moments of the second Robin, the one that went BOOM! Maybe he should send Batman as a trick and treat! Well, he would have but Bats and Co have seemed to have gone incognito, which was disappointing because he really wanted to see Batman’s face. Not only for the video but also all the carnage and art, depending on how you looked at it, he’d created all over the city the yesterday and today, luckily now Halloween wasn’t limited to just one night, it was like a weekend holiday which simply meant more fun for him!

Maybe he’d scare the newest little Robin! Then again, the newest wasn’t as fun as the others, the first one had been the best, he’d scared quite easily even if he did try and hide it which was cute. Then the boy had turned into Nightwing and he got, even more, fun, but he wasn’t always there… Then Nightwing fell, he didn’t have that one on film unfortunately, he really wanted to see Batman’s expression as the boy fell. Not that any Robin, former or current can stay dead as both number uno and dos proved by returning back from six feet under. Now Robin uno was running around killing as the Winter Soldier, no he hadn’t forgotten about Biovolly or whatever they are called and their plan to take his Gotham and yes he was going to deal with them, soon.

But this was Halloween! Jez, he shouldn’t be thinking of that now, he should be thinking of ways to have more fun!

His first real victim of the holiday, not including the warm-ups for the GCDP, was a young woman.

She screamed quite prettily it was a shame to silence it, however, it was Halloween that meant that he had to go all out to impress! So first he cut out her tongue, then her eyes, both of which he’d mailed to her fiancé as a thank you for the all the fun his girl had given him tonight! Once she’d somewhat calmed down from that, lucky she hadn’t gone into shock, playmates who went into shock took away all the fun and had to be terminated early, but she didn’t so they got to play more, he stabbed the places where her eyes had once been, placed a lit lighter in her mouth, pulled out her teeth, fingernails and toenails! He didn’t do much to the other parts of her body, he didn’t want to peak too early. Eventually, she stopped moving meaning it was the end of their game.

One he caught a married couple in two separate reinforced boxes, one was hot the other was cold, and slowly increases and decreased the temperature, he got his entertainment from watching the man forced to see his wife melt to death before he froze himself. Who needed crappy soap operas when there were things like that to watch! Her precious wedding ring had burned into her skin, scolding her down to the bone and causing her to scream loudly, while her husband was literally frozen in place! Oh the puns, Nightwing would be so proud!

He loved the oven idea so much that he’d found a chef and cooked him! But of course, he knew that before you cook something you need to prep it, what do you take him for huh? There were many great features in man's kitchen! First, he greated, next he cut, chopped and cleaned, though cleaning something with water was too old school he decided to step it up a notch and used something stronger like acid, then he let his creation marinate in bleach for a couple of hours. See he’ll be getting his Michelin star in no time, he’d even preheated his over, maybe put the oven on too high of a setting because the chef was all black and burnt by the time the timer had gone off, but then again he’d always like this things well done.

Another victim, if you could call him that, the Joker swore he was doing Gotham a favour by getting rid of this shit stain. The guy was a complete tool, fell into his trap but had a mouth and attitude that rubbed the madman the wrong way, so the Joker simply reunited him with his brethren in some of the most brutal ways, who knew how far down you could chizzle someone's skin?! The drill had been the messiest, bloodiest but funniest, the man didn’t give mouth off at him after that, mainly because he’d drilled a hole through the back of it. He’s used the brushes to paint pretty pictures in the guy's blood, the man had bled so much it would be such a shame if he’d let it go to waste, so instead he made masterpieces!  Now the Joker was all about equality, anyone no matter, race, gender or age could be his victims! So it was only fair that he showed equality and unbiased on using his tools and equipment, so he used all the tools and gadgets in the box, leaving the saw for last, and stuffed the man’s dismembered body in the box, it was like a family reunion! He returned the stolen toolbox back to the store, with the added bonus of an extra tool inside.  See, not only was he non-discriminative, (was that even a word? But who cares?!) but he was also a nice guy, always leaving people gifts!

Oh, the highlight of the last night was when he made a mother chose which child she wanted to save. Spoiler! he killed them both in the end. He’d picked out a plain working-class family, one with Halloween props decorating the outside of their little home, he killed the father on sight, the man looked like he was going to ruin his fun and he couldn’t have that. So now he was left with the young mother and her two young children, after disabling and knocking out the distressed mother he got to work with her kids. When she woke up the horror on her face sent a shiver of pleasure down his spine as he explained the situations to her. She had to choose, to save her daughter or her son. The girl was strapped to a small but complicated and painful bind, something he’d borrowed from his favourite film series, which of course was obviously Saw, or let him shoot her son, which yes was a lot less exciting but after he’d set the girl's trap up he’d ran out of time and their mother was waking up. He really didn’t like guns, it was more of Dent’s and Penguin’s thing really, but he’d used his trusty knife enough already and he wanted to be original! The women didn’t disappoint with the crying, begging and pleading while the children cried and struggled themselves. Eventually, she chose to save her son, which delighted him because he got to saw his creation come to life, it was a quick but painful death for the girl, he let the death sink in for all of ten minutes before he shot her son. Another ten minutes before he peeled parts of their skin and force-fed them to her. Then she started to bore him with her wailing so he killed her as well, shoved her daughter’s dismembered arm down her throat as far as it could go and watched as she choked to death.

This morning, because yes, he didn’t just work nights like a certain Bat he knew, the first place he off visited a construction site and had some fun! He threw a worker into the cement mixture and watched in glee as still wet concrete now had a hint of red from the man’s blood and the screams of his co-workers when they poured out the mixture and his mangled body spilt out onto the floor. He wondered if the cement solidifies with the man in it! Poor guy, his job was just getting harder and harder… Hahaha! Get it?! He hadn’t stayed to watch the aftermath of cement man, instead, he’d had a joy ride in the digger, and he might have accidentally ran over a few more workers.

By then the cops and been called and were investigating the site, so he had to move on.

But that didn’t mean he didn’t bow out gracefully! As Robin dos would be able to explain, after a visit from the Joker things tended to go boom pretty quickly. Honestly, that place was so big he was going to restock on explosives.

Next, he got more into the Halloween spirit and dressed up! Now he’d seen the videos online of people visiting old people's homes as the grim reapers, and the older generations reactions, they, however, were somewhat disappointing and anticlimactic when the people didn’t follow through with their character. You dress up as the Grim Reaper you’ve got to play the part. Then again he himself hadn’t been the most accurate Reaper himself, he couldn’t be bothered to find a synth, so instead he took a chainsaw, they didn’t even stand a chance, not that some of them could actually stand. There were zimmer frames and dentures flying everywhere.

Oh, but there was still so much more fun to have! Happy Halloween, folks!

Hahahahahahahahaha!!!

While the Bats are away the Joker will play!

Chapter Text

 

“You look a bit tired there D, is it little Robin’s bedtime?”

“At least people remember that I’m Robin.”

When did his sons turn to the age of two again? He’d only asked them to meet both him and Jason in another room away from Officer Cifel and Gordon to somewhere that they wouldn’t be heard. Apparently, the two of them haven’t stopped auguring since him and Tim arrived back at this base. Bruce understands that they are both tired, worn out both physically and mentally, seeing and talking to Ra’s always took it out of Tim and from what Jason had filled him on about their little adventure, Damian could possibly have a mild concussion. He doubts it; if Damian really does take after him as so many people have said then the boy will have a hard head.

He gets it, he really does; they’re exhausted in more ways than one and possibly irate and confused at the things and people being said that they didn’t understand. He knew Tim was probably holding a grudge about not being told the information about Nightwing's death sooner and Damian doesn’t really understand what everyone is all up in arms about but at the same time did they have to behave like infants having a temper tantrum? Was he going to need to schedule both of them a nap time and timeout?

He did even dare try to imagine how Jason was feeling at the moment. Dick’s death had destroyed them all, and now… Well, Bruce hadn’t taken it well when Ra’s had given him hints to who the Winter Soldier actually was, never mind fighting with him, and realising that he doesn’t recognise you. He’s proud of how Jason acted during the whole situations after getting over the internal shock, Bruce isn’t even sure how he would have reacted to that.

He’s also proud of Damian for the way Robin dealt with his brother’s hesitation in the field. Jason had strangely but strongly started singing the boy’s praises in that moment. Really it makes up for Damian calling him father down the com lines but he isn’t about to tell him that yet, it’s somewhat amusing to see Damian flush and splutter over his own mistakes instead of pointing out others.

To be honest he’s worn out himself, more psychologically than any other, it’s not every day that you find out that your supposedly dead son is not dead, (however this happened to him twice now, so he should have kind of expected it) and has been tortured for the last ten years with no memory of not only his family and friends, people who used to be so important to Dick, but he doesn’t remember himself, or his past. All of it had been shocked, literally if Ra’s was to believe, out of him. There were many things that Bruce has failed at in his life, just ask Jason he probably had a list or something, but this was definitely high on the list.

“You take that back!”  

“Never.”

Jason looked like he would rather be anywhere than here, but Bruce wouldn’t let him get away that easily. He was the one so adamant about telling them about Dick, so he’d have to deal with their childish bickering as well.  

“Enough,” He orders in his Batman voice and they seem to immediately back down from each other.

Damian tuts at Tim, it was something he must have picked up from Alfred, before turning to Batman. “What’s this about, Father?”

“Oh so do you plan on telling the whole world that your father is Batman now as well?” Tim mocks, happily reminding every one of Robin's earlier mistake.

“I’m not the only one who said something personal, I don’t know who exactly he was on about, but Todd informed Gordon about the identity of Winter Soldier being someone called Nightwing.” Damian tattled crossing his arms over his chest, trying to hide the fact that he was still embarrassed over the fact he’d accidentally let slip the information that Batman was the current (and he hopes last) Robin’s father. It was an error, a mistake which wouldn’t happen again.  

“He said what?” Bruce repeated in full Batman mode, turning to glare at Jason who had the decency to look at least a little sheepish. “You said what?”

Jason clenches his fists, refusing to look at Bruce, “You don’t understand, they started talking about taking down the Winter Soldier, as in beating him B, they were planning on hurting him, I-I-…”

“I understand,” Bruce says empathically, and while he might not have let out the information about Nightwing, he knew how Jason felt about hearing people talk about hurting Dick, he had just spent over an hour listening to Ra's explain in explicit detail about how he tortured his son.

“Who is this Nightwing anyway? Everyone keeps talking about him but I have never seen or met someone with that alias.” Robin questioned.

“You don’t know who Nightwing is?” Tim snorts at Damian mockingly. “Oh wait you weren’t even born when he around, were you.”

“I wouldn’t know who Red Robin was if I didn’t have displeasure of being ‘brothers’ with him”

“Brat!”

“I’ve already said it once; enough.” Bruce scolds giving the two boys a glare which successfully works in silencing them. “This is important.”

Jason laughs but it’s not joyous or happy, instead, it is a hysterical, hollow, pain-filled one. “You want to know who Nightwing is?”

“Jason,” Bruce warns with a frown.

“No, no, Bruce, they deserve- they want to know!” Jason argues back before turns to his two brothers, “Nightwing’s real name is Dick Grayson-“

Damian interrupts with a frown that matches Bruce’s. “Why would anyone give their child such a vulgar name?

“It was short for Richard,” Bruce informs his son who still doesn’t look too impressed.

“Still I would never my call my child something that could even be abbreviated or shortened to such a thing.”

Jason shrugs nonchalantly, “Well Dick liked to be called Dick and that was all that mattered.”

“And I assume you have many nicknames for him, Hood.”

“Many but they aren’t suitable for little ears like yours.”

“Bastar-“ Damian swore but was cut off by Bruce putting his hand onto shoulder pulling him back.

“Hood, are you going to tell us about Nightwing’s death?”

Jason smirks, nodding. “I’d sit down kiddies because that shit is one hell of a rollercoaster of emotions! But first I think it’s best if you know about the man behind the mask… ”