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The Gazette Misses the Mark Again

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Everybody down on the ground!

Gunfire fills the air and Tim hits the floor before anyone else even starts screaming. Which they do. A lot. It’s a Friday afternoon in the First Bank of Gotham, and the place is packed with civilians.

And, evidently, heavily armed bank robbers.

On his stomach, he quickly surveys the scene. Two burly gunmen with some heavy-duty automatic weapons, a guy at the door, presumably another guy going around back to get into the vault. All wearing masks, all wearing gray pants and black long sleeve shirts. These guys are organized; they’ve done this before. They’ll have backup.

“Money in the bags!” the closest gunman bellows to a terrified teller. “You even think about putting a tracker in there, I’ll blow your goddamn head off.” He shoots the camera off the ceiling to prove his point, and she screams again.

The bullets aren’t small-caliber. When he intervenes, he’ll have to really watch himself.

The sirens come about thirty seconds later, prompting a stream of curses from the guy standing closest to the door. “Hurry up,” he snarls at his partners. “Fuzz is here.”

“Distract ‘em,” the closest gunman snaps back. He gestures vaguely at the people all crouched down on the ground. “Take one of them.”

The guy at the door says, “Cy, you know the drill,” to the other gunman, who nods and starts poking at the bank customers with the end of his rifle.

The woman next to Tim starts crying, and the gunman reaches down to close his hand around the arm of a little boy, and that’s when Tim stands up.

“Get the fuck – ” the gunman roars, and Tim holds his hands up and adopts the most pleading expression he can muster.

“Please let these people go. You can take me as a hostage, I’m Tim Drake – well, Drake-Wayne now, but my father is Bruce Wayne, and he can get you anything you want.”

The rifle is still trained on him, but he feels the atmosphere between the gunmen change. “Just let them go,” he repeats, trying to sound scared and realizing that he actually is a little bit. For the others. There are kids in here, for God’s sake.

“Your daddy’s Bruce Wayne?” the gunman asks in a low, deadly voice. Behind him, Tim can hear his partner putting the screws into the teller. He’s got to stop this. Think, Drake. God, if he was just suited up, or even had a damn thing on him, he’d have taken care of this before it even started.

Stupid, stupid.

He says, “That’s right.”

“Bruce Wayne, who gives money to the Batman?” The guy’s eyes are alight now with feverish excitement. “That Bruce Wayne?”

Tim steps forward with his hands out, mapping his attack. “The one and only.”

“Batman took my family from me,” the guy says suddenly, lashing out and jamming the barrel of his gun into Tim’s gut. “Put me in Arkham for five years; when I get out, I find they hightailed to Canada.” His voice drops to an even uglier pitch. “Your daddy gave them the money to do it.”

Tim’s barely listening, every muscle tensed, waiting for the moment to strike. “Oh.”

“Yeah, I was real tore up about it. Imagine Wayne’ll feel similar when I dump your head on his front step.”

He’s within arm’s length now. Tim says, “You’d have to get past the gate first,” which puts the guy off for the split second he needs. He snaps the gun up, whips it around and knocks the guys knees out, then cracks him across the head with the butt. It’s titanium; it doesn’t do as much as he thought it would.

He thinks, okay, time for plan B, while the guy spits up blood, and then he gives him a sharp elbow to the solar plexus that sends him staggering. Another strong hit to the neck and crack across the head and he’s out cold.

He ducks just in time to miss the round aimed at his head from across the room. The next one narrowly misses his shoulder, and he dives behind a podium as the other gunman opens fire completely. His heart’s in his throat; there are people everywhere. God, if one of them gets hit –

There’s just no way to play this like a civilian. People are going to die; he’s gotta go all-out. If Bruce was here, he’d probably have some fantastic way to take them all out without anyone even realizing it was him, but Tim’s the idiot who let himself get caught in the open unmasked and gadget-free. It’s Gotham. He should know better by now.

A hand in his hair jerks him roughly up, and then there’s a blade pressed against his throat. “You think you’re bulletproof, kid?” the second gunman snarls. “You ain’t knife-proof, that’s what I’m thinkin’.” Without warning, he slams Tim’s head into the podium so hard his vision whites out. Twice.

Okay, this is starting to get bad. If he can just focus – get his bearings, God damn, there is just no way he’s survived everything he’s been through just to get taken out by some idiot bank robbers that don’t even have powers

The sound of shattering glass, more screams, a gunshot – two gunshots, and the hand in his hair suddenly lets go. Then there’s an arm around him, and he looks up, sluggish and disoriented, trying to make out this new attacker. He smells cigarettes, and feels the brush of rough leather, sees the red metal face – helmet – oh, oh.

Two more gunshots, a lot more screaming, the police are coming through the door? And suddenly he’s moving, not on his own, suspended by something. “Jason,” he complains. “I’m handling it. Let go.”

Or he thinks that’s what he says. The world is going dark. “No idea what that means, kid. Hold on. You’ll be safe in just a – ”

 

He shoots upright and is greeted by pain in his head and arm. “Motherfuck – ” he hisses, biting down on his tongue. He’s not in the bank anymore. He’s…in an apartment? On an unfamiliar bed, twin sized, one pillow, sparse blankets laid out in an almost military dressing. A dresser, a closet, a table, all clean and closed, nothing lying about anywhere.

There are a lot of knives and guns on the walls.

He’s not tied down, which is probably a good sign. Then he remembers. Jason.

“You hungry?”

Jason’s in the doorway, leaning like only he can, only a hint of a scowl on his face. His suit is hanging around his waist, upper body encased in a threadbare black t-shirt. It clings to his arms and abs and doesn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination, Tim notices, and he swallows hard because he thinks Jason can probably see him noticing. He looks down quickly to see socks on Jason’s feet, which for whatever reason seems like the most bizarre aspect of any of this.

He says, “Um. Where am I?”

Jason shrugs. “My safe house. You took a couple good hits back there. Figured you’d want to rest up a bit before heading back.”

“Why didn’t you take me home?”

“My place was closer,” he says bluntly. “Did you think I was gonna haul all the way back to the mansion with your dead-ass weight over my shoulder?”

Tim says, “Yeah, I guess not.” He stretches a little and notices a bandage on his arm where it’s throbbing. “What happened to my arm?”

Jason snorts. “Seriously? Wow. They must’ve got you good. That clown with a knife got you when I came through the window. Not too bad. Twelve stitches.”

“Huh.” It says a lot about their life that twelve stitches is actually a pretty decent outcome. Then his eyes widen. “Jason, the people in the bank – ”

“Are all fine,” Jason nods. “Cops got ‘em all out right after we bailed. It’s all over the news.” There’s something funny about that apparently, because Tim sees the corners Jason’s mouth twitching, but he doesn’t have any idea what that’s about.

“Anyways.” Tim’s eyes follow Jason’s fingers as they drag through his hair, tugging absently at the ends. “You lost some blood and all; I made eggs.”

Tim’s mouth is inexplicably dry. He says, “Okay.”

“So…well, I’ll just be out there, if you want some.” More hair tugging, and Jason looks almost embarrassed, which is out of character enough that it makes Tim wonder.

He checks his phone, and Bruce hasn’t called, which is weird in and of itself. Surely he’s seen that Tim was involved in the attempted robbery by now. He wonders if maybe he should call – but then, Bruce probably expects that he can take care of himself. It hasn’t been quite the same since Bruce came back, and now that he’s no longer Robin, there’s more of a strain on their relationship. Most likely, Bruce doesn’t think a handful of idiot bank robbers could hand his own ass to him like they effectively did. Bruce probably thinks Tim is smart enough not to go out freaking unarmed.

“I’m an idiot,” he says out loud.

From somewhere outside the room, he hears Jason say, “Not arguing.”

Asshole.

He gets off the bed and notices his own socked feet for the first time. Then he wants to punch himself in the face for the shiver that runs down his spine when he thinks about Jason taking his shoes off, because seriously? Is his stupid crush actually that pathetic? That it seems perfectly platonic for Jason to stitch him up and slap a field dressing on him, but taking off his stupid shoes is somehow intimate?

Forget it. The smell of bacon is wafting into the room, and he’s suddenly ravenous. He walks out of the room and blinks at the dim lighting outside. The sun is going down; he must’ve been out for a couple hours. The view from Jason’s living room – he thinks that’s what this is – is pretty spectacular. There are smokestacks below them, the harbor beyond, and the lights in downtown flashing just beyond. Industrial district; must be. He turns to Jason, who’s lazily pushing sausages around on a makeshift stove. “Is this an apartment?”

“Warehouse,” Jason tells him. “Used to be a candy factory.”

“What are you, Willy Wonka?”

Jason laughs and nods to himself. “Come with me…and you’ll be…” he sings softly, grinning up at Tim through the hair falling in front of his face.

Tim grins back, feeling completely goofy about it. “Any of that for me?” he asks.

“Nah, I thought I’d just eat a whole package of bacon and six sausages by myself,” Jason says dryly. “Gotta keep my girlish figure.” He reaches over and shoves a plate down the counter in Tim’s direction. “Eggs,” he says, as though Tim couldn’t identify the yellow and white lumps for himself.

The eggs are good. Tim eats them in about four bites, and then there’s bacon, and sausage, and it’s turkey bacon, Jason tells him, because he risks his life enough without making himself a candidate for bypass surgery, and Tim doesn’t know why all this is so surprising, but it is. The whole thing feels surreal, like he’s in a dream, with Jason being inexplicably domestic, and he’s actually had this dream before, except there were less clothes involved, and –

Witnesses say the Red Hood fired seven shots before kidnapping Drake-Wayne. For those of you just joining us, we’re reporting live from First Bank of Gotham, where an attempted robbery earlier today led to the abduction of Bruce Wayne’s son.

Tim blinks at the television.

The renowned vigilante shot criminal Cyrus Rhodes three times, and his associates twice. All three are currently in surgery at Gotham General. Bruce Wayne has declined to comment on whether or not he’s been personally contacted by the Red Hood for a ransom…

He laughs and raises an eyebrow teasingly at Jason. “You trying to put the squeeze on Bruce, Jay?”

Jason’s eyes widen almost imperceptibly when he uses the nickname – he didn’t do it on purpose, he’s heard Dick call him that a lot over the years, especially before they knew he was alive. He’s not sure what kind of memories it brings back; if they’re good or bad.

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t gonna try and kidnap Damian,” Jason grins wryly. “Figured you were my best bet at a get-rich-quick ticket from dear old Bats.”

“I can’t believe I got kidnapped and I didn’t even know it.”

“I’m stealthy like that,” Jason laughs, leaning back on the couch. “There’s actually opium in that sausage; you’ll be a drooling captive in no time.”

Tim definitely doesn’t notice the way his shirt rides up around the collar, framing his pecs and stretching across the flat plane of his stomach. He wishes Jason wasn’t still wearing half his suit; that he had access to the view of Jason’s hipbones peeking out over his jeans.

Then again, maybe it’s a good thing he doesn’t. There’s a flush creeping up the side of Jason’s neck like he knows what Tim is thinking of, and he drums his fingers against his knees before hopping up and grabbing Tim’s empty plate away from him.

“Oh, I can – ” Tim starts to say, but Jason waves him off with a shake of his head.

“Don’t trip, kid. Washing dishes isn’t the most strenuous thing I’ve done today.”

Kid. Tim flinches at the word, not because he’s actually that much younger than Jason – Jason’s twenty-one, or something, and Tim’s eighteen – but because he has a pretty good idea what Jason’s getting at. Not interested.

He turns back to the television. “So nobody died?”

“Not even the scumbags robbing the joint,” Jason says grimly. “I imagine they’ll need some new kneecaps, though.”

“Hard to come by in this economy.”

Jason laughs. “You proud?”

“Should I be?”

He gets a raised eyebrow as Jason dries his hands off, and looks away so Jason won’t see him blush. “Thought you were still on the Bruce train when it came to ‘using deadly force’ and all.”

Tim shrugs and fixes his eyes on the television. “I, uh – well, yeah. I am. I hope I am.”

“Convincing,” Jason says, and Tim starts when he realizes Jason’s leaning over the back of the couch now, right above him, elbow barely an inch from his head. And he can’t help it – his eyes lock onto the tendons in Jason’s hands without his permission, and they travel up Jason’s arms, over the webbing of new and old scars coloring his skin like a painting. And then Jason’s neck – he swallows, Adam’s apple bobbing, and Tim doesn’t miss that either – and Jason’s mouth, and Jason’s eyes, piercing and blue-grey, warm but guarded.

He says, “Well, it’s complicated,” and Jason’s eyes drop to his mouth when he speaks.

“Yeah?”

He can feel Jason’s breath on his face. It smells like bacon, honestly, but it’s also somehow incredible, and again without consulting his brain, his hand goes to Jason’s arm, fingers feeling along the bone of Jason’s wrist. The touch sends a thrill of electricity through him, warming him all over and making him shiver at the same time.

Jason looks down and frowns. “Your hands are cold.”

“It’s, um – ” he goes to remove his hand, but Jason’s other palm is suddenly there, stopping him, “ – like you said, blood loss, probably – ” Jason’s leaning in, his nose brushing a space next to Tim’s eye, “ – maybe the eggs haven’t kicked in yet, or – ”

Jason’s mouth on his, not quite kissing, but Tim can feel all the ridges of his chapped lips and taste his breath in his mouth and when he closes his eyes, he feels Jason’s grip on his hand tighten slightly.

Jay,” he whispers, and the movement of his lips sets something off, because the next thing he knows, they’re kissing, warm and wet and hesitant and incredible. Jason’s hand goes to his hair but stops just short of tugging, and Tim moans without meaning to.

Jason breaks away with a shudder, keeping one hand clasped firmly on Tim’s shoulder, the other going to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Fuck.”

Tim’s skin feels like something alive, sparking all over, and it’s all he can do not to launch himself off the couch and press against every hard ridge of Jason’s body. “What – what’s wrong?” he gasps. He guesses, and falters. “You don’t want…”

Jason’s eyes snap up to his, and he stops breathing. “I want.”

There it is.

Tim lets out a shaky breath and smiles, sliding his fingers up Jason’s arm and under the sleeve of his t-shirt. Jason’s eyelids flutter shut when Tim presses into his bicep with blunt fingernails. This isn’t the Jason from his fantasies, with rough hands and rougher words and smooth, sure movements. It’s better, in a way, the shy uncertainty, the tentative pressure of Jason’s mouth, the tension in his arms betraying how tightly he’s wound, how much he’s holding back.

It inspires some kind of bravery in Tim, and he pushes up off the couch to lean forward and press a gentle kiss to the corner of Jason’s jaw, right by his ear. Jason sucks in a breath and Tim grazes his earlobe with his teeth, letting his tongue flick out to run along the edge.

Then he sinks back down to the cushions and says, “Come on.”

Jason’s eyes are dark as he stalks slowly around the arm of the sofa, never taking his hands off Tim. He moves to sit next to Tim, but Tim drags him into his lap, pushing his suit down around his hips until he can get his hands under his shirt. He kisses Jason’s neck and presses his palms into the heated skin at the base of Jason’s ribs; he can feel where fractures have healed unevenly, and that really shouldn’t turn him on, but God, it does.

Jason groans, “Tim, fuck,” like he’s drowning, like Tim’s taking him apart. His hips jerk when Tim drags his teeth over his bottom lip, and when Tim licks into his mouth, slow and hungry, he finally loses it.

Tim says, “Oh, oh,” and he’s suddenly crushed against Jason, there’s a hand tangling in the back of his hair, another hand rubbing bruising circles into his hip, and Jason’s mouth is everywhere, covering his ears, his neck, teeth nipping along his collarbones, tongue striping over the pulse point that’s throbbing hard in his throat. He’s rutting against Jason helplessly, eliciting a possessive growl that does nothing to ease his rapidly building arousal. “Oh my God, Jason, you’re – Jason,” he gasps, trembling all over when Jason pushes off of him to yank the rest of his suit down and steps out of it. He’s just wearing boxers underneath, plain and black, but Tim’s heart races at the sight and he’s so hot all over he might actually pass out. He’s lightheaded – well of course he is, he got stabbed like three hours ago, and now his entire depleted blood supply is rushing to his dick. He has a fleeting thought about this not boding well for his survival skills, but Jason jerks his shirt up to mouth at his chest, and all thoughts unrelated to fuck yes fly out the window.

***

Bruce frowns down at his drink. He could’ve sworn he’d asked Alfred to get Blue Label – this tastes like Black, and that just won’t do.

“I’m afraid the Blue Label is on backorder, sir,” Alfred says from the doorway, interpreting his thoughts as well as any psychic.

He sighs. “That’s alright. We’ll manage.”

“I’m very pleased to hear that, sir,” Alfred says, without a hint of sarcasm. “You’ve seen the news?”

“You mean about Todd and Drake?” Damian says from the corner, where he’s sharing headphones with a sleeping Titus. “Those incompetent idiots. I hope they kill each other and spare us the burden of their insipid posturing.”

“Yes, it seems Jason has kidnapped Master Timothy,” Alfred nods. “Marcia Mathers from the Gazette has many grisly notions of Master Timothy’s fate at his hands.”

Bruce smirks at his drink. “Does she?”

“I must say, sir,” Alfred says, hiding a smile of his own, “I’m beginning to wonder if the boy will be returned to us in one piece.”

“What are you fools laughing at?” Damian demands after a moment, jerking the earbud out of his ear. “What? What’s so funny? Tell me!”

***

Much to Damian’s dismay, Tim does return a few hours later. From the number of bruises on his neck, Damian suspects Jason put up a terrific fight.

It's a small comfort.