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Pattern of Madness

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"I can do this."

"Famous last words." Jason quipped.

"No, really. It's not-- it's not rocket science. I can do this." Tim insisted, eyes wide and confident.

Pretending, Jason knew. Because he knew Tim better than he knew himself.

If he has an hour, Jason would probably opted to argue Tim out of his wits. But he didn't have an hour. He has approximately seven minutes. And some-loose-change seconds. And the little bird insisting that he could disable the bomb.

"Dick is gonna hate me for this..." Jason muttered under his breath before placing a nerve strike on the base of Tim's neck. Tim gasped, and went limp within seconds. Jason decided against taking him outside - no time. "If we're going, we're going together, Timmers." he said, sighing as he got to work to disable the bomb.

Sure, Tim - Red Robin - could do it - probably. But even as he opened the timer's console, Jason noticed that it was laced with numerous fake connective wires that lead to nowhere, and a dead man's switch. If the bomb wouldn't start a chain reaction that would destroy about twenty blocks of the Narrows, Jason would probably opt to leave the damn thing. It would be easier to skip the fact that they were going to die, anyway, and just cut off the dead-man's switch and get it done and over with. He silently cursed his own compassion against all mankind, and the children and parents and elderly living in said twenty blocks.

Three minutes and counting down. Jason turned and looked at Tim, still unconscious. He stroked the pale cheeks and black, bushy hair not covered by the mask or gorget. "Sorry if I don't get us to live, Timmers. I'm trying. But just in case, sorry." he said, and returned to focus on the convoluted mess of cables.

And then he saw it. The pattern. The almost ridiculous pattern that followed the cables, and dead-man's switch. Considering the maker of the bomb, he should not be surprised. He scowled and cut off the other cable, because crazy is as crazy goes, he though. And watched as the timer sped up.

He sighed dejectedly and wrapped himself around Tim. Maybe, just maybe, his body would be enough to prevent the blast from killing Tim. Maybe.

Tim squirmed beneath him. He could hear the gasp as Tim's eyes landed on the counter, quickly approaching zero.

And then nothing.

A few heartbeats later, "We run, now?" Tim squeaked, a little breathless - maybe it's just from being pinned under Jason.

"Yes, birdie, we run now." Jason agreed, getting up and dragging Tim along, through one of the windows.

"I could do it." Tim huffed as they made it to the next rooftop. GCPD bomb squad littering the area below them as they looked down.

"We'd be pancakes if I didn't knock you out." Jason replied grimly, replaying the footage of the dismantling from his helmet and show it to Tim. "Don't bother remembering the structure, though. He's not gonna do this structure twice." he warned.

"How did you know?" Tim wanted to know.

"Illogical madness or the logical insanity?"

Tim gave him a withering glare, obvious even under the mask, "you would know."

Jason chuckled humorlessly. Another person but Tim saying it would have received an uppercut in the jaw. But Jason merely said, "I would, wouldn't I. It’s not like I haven’t tried." And the last time he’d tried to dismantle a bomb like that one, it had ended up with his death.

He received a tug on the jacket, and an arm circling his middle - under the jacket. "I'm glad." Tim said as Jason wrapped his own arm around Tim's shoulders. “Not that you’d had the experience. But that you’re here now.”

"Next time, squirt, leave the blowy-thingy to me, yeah?"

"You know I won't." Tim scoffed. “Second-coming doesn’t do seconds, Red.”

"At least until you can un-logic yourself and get as crazy as I am. And that sentence actually hurt my brain."

"That-- well, okay." Tim was distracted. "They found him, by the way. Seemed that BG's birds have a little vendetta against the clown, too. He was dumped barely clinging to life and I’m sure half of Gotham is praying for him to not cling to life."

"'Seemed'?" Jason grinned for real this time.

"Metaphorically speaking. And maybe not the part about the prayer. But the one doing the bludgeoning wasn't BG." Tim shrugged. "Seemed that the greenery has... some vendetta of her own."

"The greenery," Jason paused. It was weird to see Pamela Isley - Poison Ivy - working side-by-side with Batgirl's Birds of Prey.

But then again, it's nothing stranger than seeing Red Robin and Red Hood on the rooftops with arms around each other.

If anyone could actually see them, that is.

They landed softly at the back of the alley, a half-dozen blocks away, where their bikes were hidden. Tim walked ahead, Jason's hand on the small of his back. Instinctively, just. Guiding but not guiding. When Tim suddenly stopped and turned toward Jason. "You'll stop me, right?"

It took a few moments for Jason's brain to catch up. "Oh," he said when it finally clicked. "Yes, I will. Besides, shouldn't you be the one worrying over me going over the fence to cuckoo's nest?"

Tim's punch on his arm was worth the amused smile on Tim's lips.