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Miscommunication: The Bat Trials

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It started like these things usually do, with a fight. They had just arrived back from hard night of patrol – a combination of a prison break, bank heist and a major drug deal, not to mention a budding gang war had left them all slightly off kilter and dead tired. But despite the fact that it was 4am and they all had work or school commitments in the morning, by the end of patrol Batman had barked into the comms that everyone was to meet back at the cave immediately, no exceptions – even Jason who usually argued and took the long way back (or sometimes didn’t show up at all) just to be contrary was somewhat cowed by the angry tone.

It was apparent even at first glance that Batman was furious, he wasn’t yelling (yet), he wasn’t even looking at any of them as they each arrived back at the cave. None of them made a sound as they stood there waiting to be acknowledged by the man who had his back to them as he loomed over the current Robin whispering something angrily to the boy as Alfred stitched up his arm – even from the distance you could tell it was a deep wound, probably deep enough to see bone, the skin all the way up his arm was mottled with bruises and scratch marks that seemed to travel all the way up to his neck. Damian’s face was blank, eyes downcast as he sat there and Dick wanted to comfort the boy, run his hands though his brother’s hair and make sure he wasn’t seriously hurt but he knew that would only cause trouble for everyone involved, instead he curled his hands against his sides and waited, there would be time afterwards to talk to baby bird, to ensure that his little brother was alright.

After what seemed like hours but was probably minutes Bruce walked over towards them, cowl still on he glared at each and every one of them, before his masked eyes turned towards Tim.

“What was that?! We have plans for a reason and none of you followed them tonight.” He growled at them (and honestly that was worse than yelling)

“B, I think…” Dick started but was instantly quieted with a look (usually the batglareTM didn’t affect him but there were times when even he knew it was better to just shut up and this was definitely one of them.)

“Dick, go get some sleep. You aren’t needed here” He bristled at Batman’s tone and the insinuation that he wasn’t to be here for this conversation and glared back ready to chew batman a new one when Jason stopped him with a sardonic laugh.

“Of course golden boy is let off the hook, because obviously he can do no wrong. Whereas the rest of us are just fuck ups in comparison right old man?”

“Jay” Dick started to comfort his brother, to explain to him that this wasn’t what he wanted but Jason held up a hand glaring at him.

“Shut the fuck up Dickhead and fuck off. Dearest Bat-Daddy here, said you weren’t fucking wanted and I whole-fucking-heartedly agree”

He frowned at his younger brother, opening his mouth to argue that they were a family and Dick had been out on patrol with them but once again he was cut off this time by his genius little brother.

“Dick, it’s fine. Just go.” Tim flashed a small smile which did little to reassure him, but he turned walked away regardless.

The oldest bat-kid was unsure why Bruce didn’t want him in the vicinity whilst he chewed the others out, but if he had to guess it probably had more to do with the argument he had, had with his adopted father a few days ago and less to do with the quality of his performance in the field today. He sighed unsure whether this was a good thing or a bad thing, did it mean that B was actually taking what he said about proper parenting to heart or did it just mean that Batman didn’t want another fight on his hand – one that if Nightwing was being honest with himself, would probably end up being more physical than either of them actually wanted, especially given how heated their last ‘discussion’ had gotten.

He sighed as he made his way up the stairs to the bathroom, turning on the taps to blast him with warm water that pelted down on his aching muscles like a calming balm. Washing away all of his aches and pains down the drain; along with the dirt and grime of the night, as he tried to lose himself in the soothing sensations. He stood there for a long time trying to ignore the nagging ache in his chest that wouldn’t wash away no matter how hard he tried, the pain he felt as the thought of being unwanted and unneeded by his family. He knew it wasn’t true, knew that despite everything they loved him – it was just that he was surrounded by emotionally constipated bats, who didn’t know how to show their love and affection openly. That’s why Dick was around, to show them it was okay, he was the one who had to be there to prove to them that positive emotions were a good thing and to show them that they needn’t be afraid (and wow, he was probably spending way too much time with lil D – not that he would stop spending time with his baby bird regardless – if words like needn’t were creeping into his vocabulary, or maybe it was just Alfred’s influence finally manifesting itself).

He sighed audibly, shaking himself out of his gloomy thoughts, pushing them all away to the dark corners of his being. Dick Grayson was a performer, there was always a part to play and the show must always go on.  He quickly dried off, heading to his room to change he decided to go see if he could snag some food and maybe two mugs of hot chocolate from Alfred before he went to hunt down Robin. His baby brother would no doubt be off somewhere licking his wounds from the verbal lashing Batman probably gave him, but Dick refused to let his baby brother wallow alone (The rest of the team would probably be doing the same to be honest, but he wasn’t an idiot despite what people (Jason and Damian) claimed and was more than aware that most of them would not take well to his company at present).

He had made it no more than five steps into the living room on his way to the kitchen when he was stopped by a sudden shout coming from the study. He ran towards the noise which was slowly increasing as more voices joined the fray, he stopped at the door way taking in the scene in front of him. He was only slightly surprised to see Tim and Damian fighting again, not because it was unusual (by this point it honestly wasn’t anything new) but because Bruce was in the room – whether he arrived just before Dick or was there when the fight started, the older boy would never know – and neither of the boys were listening to him as he growled at them to knock it off before he stalked back down the stairs to the batcave.

Dick’s eyes skimmed over Jason who was casually leaning against the arm rest of one the chairs looked amused yet slightly concerned by the scene before him which was enough to tell Nightwing that his brother would back him up if he intervened in the fight given that Bruce seemed reluctant to get involved (and they would definitely be having words over that). He caught his rebellious brother’s eye and nodded his head as he stepped into the room, grabbing Damian’s arm before the boy could do any serious damage to Tim with the lamp. The boy barely struggled as Dick pulled his baby brother’s apart, Jason grabbed Tim, helping the other boy up and off the floor and checking for any serious injury (given their history even Dick had to admit that he was slightly concerned).

Dick turned to his baby brother kneeling down in front of him even though he knew the younger boy hated it. “Dami? What happened?” He asked quietly

“He’s a budding little psychopath, with anger management issues what more needs to be said Dick?” Tim snarled pulling away from Jason to face his eldest brother.

“Tim, that’s not…” Dick started to admonish

“Seriously? He’s a fucking menace” Tim cut him off “Fine. You want to know what happened? I said the fucking truth and the demon spawn attacked me, again!”

“He started it!” Damian protested, glaring at the floor.

“Look, I don’t care who started it, but you both need to stop this. Seriously, you’re brothers. You should be looking out for each other, it’s what family does” Dick knew that was the wrong thing to say the moment those words left his mouth, there was instant protest from both sides of the room and the eldest boy sighed internally berating himself for letting his feelings from earlier cloud his judgment. His family was emotionally constipated, direct talking about their feelings would never work with them.

“Grayson he isn’t my brother, I am the blood son and he is just unwanted trash that father took in out of pit. Remember Drake blood is thicker than water, I am father’s only real child because I am the only one who shares his blood. Therefore you are not part of this family.” Damian bit out scathingly as he glared at Tim.

Dick frowned placing a hand on the boy’s shoulder and opened his mouth to berate his baby brother about his hurtful words when he was cut off my Tim pulling himself away from Jason. The seventeen year old stormed across the room towards the door, somewhere along the way he had grabbed a book that he chucked straight at Damian. The youngest bat whose attention had been turned towards his eldest brother, was caught off guard by the heavy object that pegged him in the face.

“Dami! Tim, what the hell!?” Dick yelled startled as his littlest brother fell on his arse, knocked over from the force of the book.     

“Seriously, after what he just said, not to mention that the brat tried to fucking maim me earlier.” Tim sighed angrily pausing as he reached the door “I don’t know why I bother, you always take his side”

“I’m going to kill you Drake!” Damian threatened as the shock wore off and he started to pick himself up off the floor.

“Yeah? Well news flash demon. Bruce may have adopted me out of pity but at least he fucking wanted me! He chose to take in all of us other non-blood related kids. You on the other hand are just some brat he feels responsible for. You are an obligation he doesn’t actually want. So you may be the blood son but we all know you’re the least wanted child out of all of us!”

“TIM!” Dick yelled appalled, but his brother had already left the study. Damian gave out an angry cry before moving to launch himself at the place Tim had stood moments ago but the acrobat moved quickly trapping the ten year old within his arms.

“Grayson, get off me. I’m going to kill him!” The young boy yelled struggling against him.

“Dami, you know that’s not true, right? The younger boy froze at his words.

“-tt- Drake is an idiot” Damian muttered pulling out of Dick’s arms “I’m going to bed, I have class in the morning” The eldest son felt his heart ache as he watched the thirteen year old walk out of the door without a backwards glance. Despite how hard he tried to hid, it was clear that Damian was hurt by Tim’s comments but Dick knew better than to try to talk to him about it now. He would do it tomorrow after they all had some time to cool off.

A sharp whistle pierced the air drawing Dick from his thoughts to look up at his remaining brother.

“Wow Dicky, you fucked that one up good” Jason grinned mockingly.

“I didn’t..” he started

“Exactly, you never do anything do you? And honestly the replacement is right, you always side with the demon spawn” Jason cut in sharply.

“That’s not fair, someone has to stick up for him and Dami is a child.”

“Whatever, it’s no skin off my back.”

“Jaybird.”

“Would you look at the time, I gotta run Dickybird. Have fun dealing with your family bullshit” he grinned sardonically as he headed to the door.

“Jay, it’s your family too”

Jason laughed darkly “Bullshit, I want nothing to do with you assholes. You’re not my family”

“We don’t choose family Jay.”

“BULLSHIT! The spawn of Satan is right about one thing, we aren’t a family. We don’t share any blood and I thank god every day because I’m not a child of the bat.”

“Family isn’t defined by blood Jay”

“Yeah? Tell that to the baby assassin” Jason rolled his eyes as he walked past Dick making his way out the door.

Dick Grayson sat there for a moment wondering for a moment where everything went wrong. He allowed himself a moment of pity before he pulled himself together, picking himself up off of the floor he squared his shoulders and headed downstairs towards the Cave.

It was time he and Batman had a few words.

Chapter Text

Damian wanted to run from the study all the way back to the safety of his room but he refused to give Drake the satisfaction, even if the boy was no longer able to see him. Instead he walked calmly through the halls, internally spewing as he analysed the night from beginning to end. He is aware that he is the one who fucked up, he knows that’s why Batman was mad and he did in fact realise that Batman partially blamed Drake for Robin’s stupid mistakes and harshly berated Red Robin after patrol. He also knew that was why the older boy lashed out at him once they exited the cave. He is aware of this and so very aware of the truth behind Drake’s words. He was a fuck up. He wasn’t wanted by his father, he hadn’t been chosen – the truth was that he was an unwanted complication, an unwanted responsibility that his father couldn’t refuse. He had shamed his family, brought shame upon Batman tonight. He didn’t deserve to be Robin. He would always be a stain on the Robin name.

It wasn’t like this was the first time Damian had heard any of this, Drake had a sharp tongue and always knew where to strike, which well-placed words would hurt the most.  The new Robin was the older boy’s main target, he wasn’t an idiot; he knew why and it’s not like Drake was always unprovoked.  

Grievances like this never happened in the League. In the league you had to be the best, if you wanted to prove you were worthy of a new job title you had to face the current holder of said role. If you bested them in combat then the role was yours as your only competition was no longer around, if you did not then you weren’t alive to face any backlash. Either way someone died, the position was filled, life moved on. It didn’t work like that here, the rules were different and Damian just didn’t understand. He obviously understood the basics, he knew the role of Robin and what to expect when on patrol, being in the field was easy and not much was different from back home in the league – with the exception of the no killing rule. It was the social aspect that he did not understand, nothing ever seemed to make sense and the preteen always seemed to mess up no matter what he did.

 Damian hadn’t killed Drake when they first met and battled for the title of Robin, which to his mother would have signalled weakness for not following through with his attack but after learning about the no killing rule and his father’s mortals he realised that this action would endear him to not only his father but to the other’s as well. He had proven his worth and prowess for the title and did so without causing the death of his opponent. Was this not the rules? And yet, his father had been angry at him, Grayson had been disappointed when he had found out about it (they had, had a long pointless talk about attacking one’s family/allies) and Drake was antagonistic at best. The only one who wasn’t angry at the action was Todd, but the red hood had made it clear – Once he himself had stopped acting crazy and semi-re-joined the ‘family’ – that any such action in the future would not be tolerated. That in itself infuriated Damian, he had been following the rules and doing everything in his power to prove himself and yet they still doubted him. Grayson talked loudly and made a big fuss about family but the Wayne heir knew better, they would never trust him, never love him. Drake himself had proven it when he had made a contingency plan for if Damian went rouge. The ex-assassin had been trying so hard to change, to shed everything he was previously taught and be the person his father wanted him to be, to be like Grayson, but it was all a lie. He would never be good enough, he would never be considered a true hero. There were times – far more than he would ever admit – like tonight, where he wondered why he even bothered. Why play hero when they would always think him a villain. Drake was right he had no place here.

These thoughts resonated through his very being, unwanted but always present. It echoed in his mind as he entered his room, locking the door behind him to ensure that he had no unwanted visitors. His thoughts replayed over and over again as he got ready for bed. He lay on his semi soft mattress praying to a god he didn’t believe in, for sleep that never came as the truth behind the words haunted him in the early light of the morning. He tossed and turned for hours trying to shut his mind up, before he realised that such a feat was in vain, finally deciding to get ready for school.

He mechanically goes through his morning routine, barely paying attention enough to apply concealer on his eye to cover the dark bruise that had formed from the book Drake had flung at him. As injuries go it wasn’t the worst he had ever had and was minimal compared to all the other cuts and bruises he had received last night. Red Robin’s words seemed to do more harm than any of his physical attacks but that was expected given their previous encounters and the other boy’s reputation (even Damian could grudgingly admit – to himself- that Drake was smart, manipulative and quick witted. There was a reason why his father and grandfather had taken an interest in the older boy).   

Breakfast was a quiet affair as no one else had deigned to come down at the usual time, not even his father who usually made a point to take meals with Damian had made it down. The pre-teen was unsure whether it was a sign that his father was angry with him and wondered if this was his way of showing his displeasure or if his father was just tired from the night before and Alfred had allowed the man to sleep in later than usual due to any injuries he may have sustained last night – or perhaps, a small voice whispered in a dark corner of his mind, his father had simply forgotten because it was trivial and unimportant, perhaps these shared meals were more of a chore than something he actually enjoyed. Perhaps this was just further proof for what he already knew, Drake was right; Damian was an unwanted responsibility that his father only barely tolerated.

Regardless of the reason he sure as hell wasn’t going to ask, if this was a punishment then he wasn’t going to let them know that it bothered him and if it was a case of negligence, apathy or fatigue then he would look childish if he was to raise the issue. No, it was better to act as though he preferred to be alone. That’s always how he seemed to end up in the end anyway.

 


 

 

Damian managed to make it through the first part of the school day with relative ease, is classes (as per usual) required minimal concentration (and provided even less mental stimulation), so he spent most of the morning lost in his mind, replaying everything that happened the night before over and over. He had analysed all the events that had lead up to this moment and now knew where he had gone wrong and started working on a plan for patrol. His father despite all his yelling had not explicitly banned Damian from going out, so Robin was going to use tonight’s patrol as an opportunity to prove his worth and make up for last night’s stupid blunders, to show them all that him being Robin, being part of their family wasn’t a mistake.

The bell rang loudly signalling the end of class and the beginning of the second lunch period, Damian who would usually make his way to the bleachers to eat lunch with Jon (along with super boy’s moronic friends classmates), took his time heading back towards his locker after class as he debated whether he should make his way to his usual eating place regardless of current circumstance, or head to the library to read for the next hour. Kent wasn’t as school today due to a family vacation for which the boy in question had been excused from school for the last week; there was still another week and a half to go before his friend and partner would be back in school (and on patrol) and whilst the younger boy had reassured Damian numerous times that he could sit with his friends regardless of whether Jon was present, the ex-assassin has yet to take him up on the offer. If he was being honest today was not going to be an exception either.

It wasn’t that he was scared of a bunch of childish elementary school children, he could care less what they thought of him, he didn’t need friends, they were a weakness and the only reason Damian was even putting up with Superboy was because he was useful. It most definitely wasn’t because he was unsure whether those cretins would honour the promise they had made to Jon in regards to ‘hanging out’ with the youngest Wayne, whilst the boy in question was away and it most definitely wasn’t because he couldn’t handle the rejection should he actually attempt to sit with them, because he knew that they disliked him and only put up with him because of their mutual friend. He also knew that he could never any of this to Jon, especially if some sort of altercation happened and therefore would be stuck with them regardless when the younger boy returned, not wanting his companion to choose between Damian and his group of school friends. Would Superboy even believe him should something go wrong?

Would he even win if such a choice had to be made? The dark haired thirteen year old knew he wasn’t the nicest or most sociable of companions. He could at times be sarcastic, blunt and downright malicious (even when he did not mean to be), he wasn’t like normal children (a fact he used to take pride in until he realised that no one else did) – which was quite apparent to all as most of his current associates had literally been kidnapped and forced to work together even though they too had expressed their dislike for him.  They were polar opposites, Jon was constantly bright and vivacious, a warm light that drew people to him (The younger boy reminded him of Grayson if he was being truly honest). There were times hat Damian had stopped to ask himself whether they would even be friends if it weren’t for their fathers, if they hadn’t been forced together would Jon have wanted anything to do with him?

Lost in his thoughts Damian barely noticed the projectile that had been aimed for his head, his body moved purely on instinct, jumping out to the right narrowly avoiding what looked like a paper ball as it hit his locker with a loud clang. The ex-assassin frowned as his mind registered the noise, a paper ball shouldn’t have made such an impact. He turned to face his assailant and met the smirking face of Dewy Robinson – the noise now made sense as the older rat-faced boy had a penchant for wrapping paper around rocks and throwing them at his unsuspecting targets. Damian sighed, reaching a hand behind to close and lock his locker without turning his back on the larger boy and his dim-witted lackeys which were never too far behind.

“Wayne, you alone again today? Has your boyfriend abandoned you?” The boy mocked as his friends laughed idiotically.

“TT. I have better things to do than deal with your foolish taunts Robinson” Damian replied coolly.

“Aww, the poor little terrorist misses his faggy boytoy. I thought your people got stoned for that shit, but then again don’t they also stone women for being whores? Is that what happened to your mother Wayne? Was she stoned to death because she was a pathetic whore? Had to give it up to some rich bastard because she couldn’t get into this country legally, did daddy dearest pay mommy for sex with a green card? You know what, I bet Daddy Warbucks didn’t even want you. ”

“Daddy Warbucks adopted the little orphan in the end.” The blond haired boy shot the red headed girl the vigilante recognised from his history class a confused look at the girl’s interruption as she smiled innocently in Damian’s direction.

“I’m just saying Dewy that Daddy Wayne is a lot like Daddy Warbucks you know with the collecting of orphans. It’s really too bad that Dami isn’t an orphan, maybe his Daddy would actually want him if he was” The girl pouted mockingly her tone sugary sweet.

Dewy grinned viciously as he realised what his groupie was saying “Yeah, you know what Hales, I think you’re right. But maybe it’s for the best right wittle Dami? Because everyone knows that your daddy only takes them in because he likes to diddle little boys. Why else would a playboy bachelor take in so many of them? My Dad says that’s why the second one killed himself. Does Daddy dearest touch you in your naughty places? But then again, you are a Fag so maybe you like it? Is that the only way you can get daddy to love you? Are you just like your towelheaded whore of a mother? Do you need to keep him interested so you don’t get sent back where you came from, huh you little terrorist sand monkey? 

Damian clenched his hands tightly into fists, his nails dug into his fleshy palms as he willed himself not to react. He couldn’t afford another strike against his name, one more and he was expelled (Batman would definitely be mad if he got himself expelled, he would probably just send Damian away if that happened) – Robinson probably knew this too and was hoping to gain some sort of reaction from him.

“Are you so insecure about the truth behind your own conception that you have to project your insecurities onto me? Really Robinson, you’re pathetic and not worth my time.”  Damian grinned sharply at the older boy, relaxing his shoulders purposefully to project a casual air he was not actually feeling as he continued to rage internally “Honestly, it’s funny in a sad way that your life is so pitiful that we have to go through this every single day. Are you so dense that you honestly believe that trying to pick a fight with me will improve your sad, wretched existence? Do you think it will make your daddy love you? Make him stop sleeping with his secretary, wishing that he could just disappear one day and just never come back. Mainly because he thinks you’re a waste of his time, a not so happy accident that they were too stupid to get rid of. Or perhaps you’re just angry that your mommy doesn’t love you either, because she knows that you’re the biggest disappointment of her life, she could have actually been something if it wasn’t for you. She hates you, you know. Can’t stand the sight of your repugnant face so she takes pills or maybe she drinks just to make it through the day, wishing everyday she had gotten an abortion instead. Nobody wants you, Robinson. Your worthless life is a stain on this wo-”

Damian saw the punch coming but allowed the other boy’s fist to connect with face, forcing his body still as the boy then grabbed the front of his shirt and slammed him back against the wall. The youngest bat grinned vindictively knowing his words had gotten under the other boy’s skin, Robinson was a racist, ignorant bully who preyed on others to make himself feel better, honestly he deserved worse than what had been said but if the larger boy hadn’t made this physical the ex-assassin would have probably finished his tirade by telling the older boy to kill himself (which was a line he probably shouldn’t cross –Grayson would mention were he here that it was a very un-hero like thing to say).

He wasn’t this person anymore, he wasn’t supposed to revel in the misfortune of others or the rush of endorphins that coursed through his body as witnessed firsthand how his words struck gold, burrowing deep into the blond boy’s psyche and eating away at him. Damian knew that it wasn’t very hero like of him but he wanted in that moment to make someone else feel like he did. He wanted to hurt the other boy as badly as Drake’s Robinson’s words had hurt him. He knew that made him just as bad but he didn’t care. He knows that if his father, Grayson or anyone else in the ‘family’ heard what was going on they would be disappointed in him (for both for his conduct and the fact that he was being bullied in the first place, he should be better than this), Drake probably would smirk and reiterate that Damian wasn’t a hero, the older boy would say he was weak if he let the words of an idiot get to him. A stain on the Robin name. Then after all the disapproval he’d probably get told the rules of being a hero once again. It’d be the final straw and they’d realise that Damian would never live up to the impossible standards they had set. He would never be a good enough. He would never be good. If they were to ever find out about any of this they’d send him away, like he always knew they would.

But Damian sick and tired of all these stupid rules. He hated the fact that everyone just expected him to just sit back and take it. It was everyone: Drake, Todd, Robinson and his lackeys, his idiot classmates, his teachers, the titans, they all hated him, they called him names (Demon, Demon spawn, Demon brat, Satan, Test tube baby, Terrorist, Sand monkey, psycho, Fag, Brownie, camel jockey, desert trash) and spew their comments and insults and yet Damian is always the one chastised for responding, for defending himself (and ok yes, initially he had been the one who started it, the one who said mean things because he felt was threatened things but recently he has been trying to do better, to be better and yet it’s never good enough). This would never happen if Damian was still with the league.

Robinson’s hands gripped him tighter as the older boy tried to slam him once more into the lockers but Damian was quicker, bringing his knee upwards so that it slammed painfully into the other boy’s groin – the blond boy shrieked loudly, clutching between his legs as he rolled about the floor. Realising that all the commotion would soon cause bystanders to appear the thirteen year old fled the scene with relative ease, even as the other boy’s friends gave pursuit. He ran through the corridors trying to put distance between them, ducking into an unused bathroom on the third floor he managed to narrowly avoid detection as he heard the heavy footsteps of his pursuers run by.

Damian stared down his reflection in the mirror, he was pathetic. He could have – should have- taken Robinson months ago when this first started. His mother was right he had turned weak and pitiful, like some sort of helpless child. He was not a child and he was most definitely not helpless! He was Damian al Ghul Wayne, he was Robin. He was supposed to be better than this!

Pain course up his arm as he punched his reflection as anger welled up inside him, the mirror cracking at the force, shards falling loudly to the ground. Damian looked down at his hand in horror, as his mind slowly processed what he had just done. He was going to be in so much trouble if anyone found out about this.

As though on cue the door to the bathroom was slammed open with a loud bang as it hit the wall. A brown haired woman in her mid-thirties ran into the room.

“What is going on here?” She demanded, taking in the scene her eyes widened slightly behind her thick rimmed glasses.

And for once Damian did not have an answer.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Tim

 

It wasn’t fair.

He didn’t do anything wrong, in fact he was the only one who followed the plan – well mostly, but the only reason he deviated was because the demon child decided to go off on his own. It wasn’t like Tim could stop him – without the brat putting up a fight – but obviously Tim was in the wrong. He should have stopped the brat from leaving even if it resulted in his own death rather than deviate from plan.

Ok so that was a little mean and misleading, the brat was a shitty kid and a horrible person but he wasn’t a killer – not anymore at least. So he wouldn’t die, just be lightly maimed. Batman was right Tim clearly should have done more to stop the little shit.

The teen snorted derisively at the thought, still fuming from their earlier interaction. He was honestly just so sick of this. He was sick of everyone else being able to do whatever the hell they wanted and being the only one who coped the blame. He never stepped a toe out of line and yet everything was always his fault. He was the one who was told to act like an adult, given all the responsibility and yet treated like a kid whenever it was convenient for them. They were all just huge hypocrites and Tim was sick of their shit.

He needed sleep. No. it was 4am. He needed coffee. Unfortunately he wasn’t suicidal (despite what Jason liked to imply) nor was he an idiot so braving a space outside the safety of his room after that confrontation especially with the brat vowing vengeance was a no go (although knowing the demon with his murderous instincts and inability to respect the privacy of others, there was probably a self-contained bomb or poisonous gas hidden somewhere ready to take him out). Tim let out a loud sigh and flopped down onto his bed, closing his eyes in an attempt to find calm as his emotions once again started to overwhelm him. He couldn’t afford to think about everything that happened on patrol, he had too much on his plate right now to deal with all this additional rage and stress he was currently feeling.

Breath. In and out. And just let it go. Just fucking let the brat get away with anything and everything once again. Just go with the flow, tomorrow before patrol just accept that it was all your fault. Let go of your pride and just fucking take it. What’s one more thing in the face of everything else the brat has already taken from him? Everyone already takes the kid’s side on everything even when the little dictator is clearly in the wrong. Why was Tim even surprised that this time was no different?

FUCK. He hated this. He hated that fucking… home wreaker. That’s what the demon was. Tim had been so happy before the brat appeared and messed everything up. Tim had known it from the moment they found out about the unwanted hell spawn, even though Bruce had promised him that nothing would change, everything did. Tim couldn’t even look at his big brother without feeling a deep seated sense of betrayal because of the little asshole.

Honestly, if there was a way to get rid of the brat Tim would take it. They were all better off without him and deep down they all knew it. he was arrogant, rude little prick, who believed that he deserved everything he got when really all the kid really deserved was a one way ticket to the closest juvenile detention centre.

A knock on the door jolted Tim out of his dark thoughts, the young genius debated whether he wanted to talk to Dick (because who else would it be) or if he should instead fake sleep. On one hand if he decided to talk to his brother then maybe he’d be pleasantly surprised and Dick will agree that the brat was out of line but on the other hand (and the more realistic scenario) Dick would yell at him for being mean to the precious little baby who was literally a murderous assassin who killed hundreds of people and yet was treated like a normal no-fucked up child. Yeah. No. fake sleep it was.

Unfortunately the decision was taken out of his hands as his bedroom door opened unbidden. Surprisingly (although maybe it wasn’t a surprise because the older boy clearly had a favourite and it definitely wasn’t Tim) it wasn’t Dick but Jason standing in his doorway awkwardly holding two steaming multi-coloured mugs (which were clearly Dicks as Alfred would rather die than purchase a hideous mug sporting a picture of a cat and the phrase ‘bad cattitude’ nor would he ever conceive of buying the mug with the picture of a bat telling it’s other batfriends to ‘hang in there’)  of gloriousness and a bottle that looked suspiciously like vodka under his right arm.

“Err… Hi” Tim ventured after a moment in which neither of them said anything.

“Yo, replacement. I figured you needed some …” Jason made a vague gesture stepping into the room and shutting the door behind him with flourish. “Geeze Tim-bo, for a kid as anal as you I’m surprised your room is such a pigsty. Why hasn’t Al come at this place with a blowtorch?”

“Ha-ha. Is there a reason you’re here?” Tim asked sourly frowning at the older boy.

“No, seriously. I think something is growing in that bowl” Jason said nudging the bowl in question with his foot to emphasize his point.

“No, seriously. Why are you here” Tim asked again warily as Jason came to sit beside him handing him a coffee cup after he settled in.

“Come on replacement. Who better than me knows that Bats is an asshole and Goldie is a Dickhead?” Jason smirked not breaking eye contact as he raised his mug of coffee to his lips, his fingers partially covering the bat as he took a sip.

Tim nodded, that made sense even though it also didn’t. Tim and Jason weren’t friends. Don’t get him wrong, they weren’t enemies or anything like that, in fact they probably got on better than they did with other people. It was just that they weren’t friends. Jason didn’t even like him, so why was he here. What did he get out of this and why the coffee.

Tim eyed his coffee suspiciously wondering about Jason’s ulterior motives before the heavenly cup was stolen from his hands only to be replaced with the aforementioned bat cup.

“I’m not gonna poison you replacement. I’ll leave that to the demon spawn” Jason laughed

 “Oh god, he probably is going to poison me. I guess I’ll be skipping breakfast tomorrow” Tim sighed as he finally took a glorious sip of coffee, feeling the beautiful caffeine coursing through his veins.

“Wanna get drunk?” Jason asked and Tim’s eyes – which had closed at some point during his near spiritual coffee experience – shot open to the sight of Jason pouring a liberal amount of vodka into both of their mugs.

“Wait Jason, I can’t…” Tim started to protest only to be cut off

“Can’t or won’t?” Jason challenged

“I have work in like 2 hours, I can’t go into my meetings drunk. B is already angry at me”

“Come on replacement, live a little. Screw B. He’s an asshole anyway. Take the day off.”

“I can’t just…”

“Yes you can. Screw them, seriously tiny Tim. Take the day off. Last night was a killer and I’m not talking about the brat”

Tim laughed despite himself and took a sip of his tainted coffee.

“Oh god I hate him, sometime I wish he would just disappear.” Tim whispered, his eyes widened as he processed what he just said, it was one thing to think it but another thing entirely to voice it out loud.

“Bats?” Jason asked casually

Tim shook his head biting his lip about to tell Jason to forget about it when the older boy nodded sagely and cut him off before he could begin.

“Ahhh, the demon” Jason nodded unsurprised.

Tim waited for Jason to say more but the other boy didn’t instead he took another gulp of his vodka, staring until the CEO couldn’t take it anymore, the works he kept in for so long spilling out of him in a rush. In fact the younger boy continued to spill his guts about everything that had been bothering him for so long as the older boy listened and continued to ply him with alcohol.

It was two bottles of Vodka an hour later that Tim finally stopped talking. For the first time in forever he felt free, not weighted down by all his problems and worries.

“You are so fucking wasted” Jason laughed at him as he put him to bed and left the room going off to places unknown.

Tim frowned to himself trying to figure out why it felt like he was forgetting something even as sleep finally claimed him.

 


 

 

It was many hours later that Tim was rudely awoken by the jarring sound of his phone beeping nonstop, breaking the blissful silence and irritating Tim’s already sensitive head.

“Hello?” Tim whispered into the phone, trying to will away the ache that had now settled into his brain blocking out all logical thought.

“Am I speaking to Timothy Drake-Wayne?” A stern voice asked on the other side of the phone

“Yes. Who is this?”

“Mr Drake, My name is Principle Heller from Metropolis Middle School, I’m just calling in regards to your brother Damian. There has been a situation at school and we need someone to come down to the school immediately.”

“Okay, so why are you calling me? He’s not my kid” Tim asked bluntly praying for this conversation to end so he could once again answer sleep’s soothing call – which was way more appealing than this woman’s irritating voice.

“Mr Drake, we’ve been trying to contact your father all morning to no avail but Damian gave us your number and said that you handle Mr Wayne’s business when he is… indisposed” The woman replied her voice dripping with distain “This situation is rather serious and we would need a legal parent or guardian to come along but given our current predicament we have decided to …”

“Look lady, I give two shits about the demon. Call Dick” Tim cut her off annoyed, his head was killing him, he will never ever drink with Jason again. How did anyone function normally if this is what alcohol did to your brain? He hated this, he hated....

“Mr Drake, I must insist…” the screechy woman started again and Tim groaned loudly he was barely listening to her as it was. All he had understood thus far was that the brat had done something wrong and now Tim had to once again suffer for the demon’s transgressions.

Fuck him, let the brat suffer for a bit. He’s probably been a little shit and they just want him off school premises. Serves the brat right if he has to wait for someone to pick him up. Besides you’re waaay to hung over to drive anyway a voice that sounded suspiciously like Jason egged him on and Tim nodded in agreement.

“It’s Drake-Wayne and I don’t care. I’m too busy to deal with the demons shit right now. Call someone who cares” Tim snarked at her before he hung up, turning off his phone and finally drifting back off to some much needed sleep, grinning as he imagined the brat’s reaction at having to wait for someone else to pick his spoilt ass up from school.   

Chapter Text

Damian Wayne

Metropolis Middle School

First Aid Room.

12.45pm

 

“Mr Wayne. This is Mrs Carter, she would like to talk to you for a moment”

Damian raised his gaze from the grotty tiles of the school sick bay. The woman – Mrs Carter – who had entered the room with Vice Principal Magnus pulled up a chair and sat down in front of him taking a moment to size him up before she began speaking.

“Hi Damian, my name is Grace. I’m the school councillor. I would just like to talk to you for a little bit, is that okay?” She asked and Damian frowned at her tone – she was speaking to him as though he was a child, using the same voice Grayson used when talking to small children, animals and victims of violent crimes, it was the voice that said hey you are weak and useless so I’m going to coddle you whilst the adults take care of everything because you’re fragile and can’t handle it. Damian hated that voice and usually he would gut anyone who tried to use that voice on him but he was already in enough trouble as it was. He had messed up.

“Damian?” she asked again and the young bat nodded his head, tensing in anticipation, he knew what was going to happen next.

“Is everything okay Damian? Are you feeling alright?” She asked obviously prodding for a verbal answer. Damian just nodded knowing that in his current state any verbal response would not be pleasant.

“Okay Damian, How are things at home at the moment?”

Damian snorted at her attempt at small talk “I know why you’re here. Let’s just get this over with.”

Her lips pursed as she observed him for a moment “And why do you think I’m here Damian?”

“Don’t play coy woman, I broke a school property. I’m obviously going to be expelled for bad behaviour.”

“Expelled? Do you want to be expelled Damian? Is that why you broke the mirror?” She asked like an idiot.

“Do I want to be expelled? What kind of question is that?”

“It’s just a question Damian. Do you like school?”

“Do I like… school? You must be joking. Why would I like an institution which bring together juvenile shit heads in a vain attempt to teach them things they couldn’t possibly comprehend because they are all too self-absorbed hormone filled idiots? I’m far above this complete waste of time and if I had a choice then I wouldn’t even be here” Damian spat at her, his hands gripping the bedspread in an attempt to stop himself from doing anything stupid. 

“So you’re not like you’re peers?” She asked obviously trying to rile him up.

“Peers? I am so far ahead of all of these idiots that it’s laughable to even suggest we are on the same level. The only reason I’m here is because Father mandated it.”

“I’ve read your file Damian and spoken to a few of your teachers. You seem like a bright young man and all of your teachers speak very highly of you. Has anyone spoken to your father about pushing you forward a year or two, just so you’re learning something a little more advanced?” She asked and Damian shook his head immediately.

“Father won’t allow it. He says that this is what normal children do.”

“Normal children? Tell me Damian, does your father that that you’re not normal?”

Damian laughed humourlessly “No one would ever mistake me for normal. I’m trying though, trying to be like everyone else even if none of them believe me. Despite what Drake says I’m not like this on purpose. I’m not a demon.”

“A demon? Okay, let’s take a step back for a moment. Why don’t you feel normal Damian or rather why does your family believe that you’re not normal?” she asked and Damian bit his lip looking away suddenly realising he has said too much.

“Damian” She called out after a moment “It’s okay to feel scared. You are normal and nothing that’s happened is your fault no matter what anyone says.” She paused for a moment until it became clear that Damian wasn’t going to respond “When I was a kid my sister used to blame me for everything even when it wasn’t my fault and my parents used to get really, really mad at me. Does your dad ever get really, really mad at you? Do your brothers?”

“I’m not scared.” The teen denied angrily, still keeping his gaze fixed on the floor.

“Has your father – or anyone else – been angry at you recently?” she rephrased.

“I… my father…It was my fault.”

“What was your fault Damian?”

“Everything. Everything is always my fault. I…” Damian trails off taking a shuddering breath.

“Ahem. Mrs Carter, sorry to interrupt but we can’t get a hold of Mr Wayne and…” The vice principal interrupted causing Damian to frown harder – had the vice principal always been there or did he leave and come back and if so when? Both his parents would be disappointed in his lack of observational skills, Drake would have known because he always does everything right, Damian thought bitterly before the vice principals words crashed down on him.

“YOU CAN’T CALL HIM! I mean… he’s just really… really busy and I’m already in trouble, I can’t… please he’ll be really angry, he take everything away if he thinks I’ve been bad purposely and then I’ll have nothing…. Please… you can’t call him.” Damian exploded, words spilling out of him in desperation.

“Okay, it’s okay Damian. Is there anyone else we can call? Anyone in your family who we can call instead? Your mum perhaps?” Mrs Carter asked kindly smiling at him.

“Mother? No. It would not be wise to… for mother to be involved. In any case my father does not believe that I should keep in contact with my mother at this point and I concur.  You can call Grayson. He is still listed as one of my legal guardians.” Damian stated taking a moment to compose himself once again. He had accepted the possibility of being expelled but for some reason this had blindsided him, he crossed his mind that they would inform his father about the situation. He thought he had more time to come up with a suitably convincing argument about why school was unnecessary and in some ways detrimental to his wellbeing whilst maintaining his current freedom (and to ensure that he doesn’t interfere with his and Jon’s current partnership – considering that going to school was one of the terms outlined at the beginning)

“Actually Damian, we couldn’t get a hold of Mr Grayson either, Principal Heller tried all the numbers under your contact information. Is there anyone else we can get into contact with immediately?”

“I don’t… I mean I guess you could always call To- Tim-othy. Drake. My…Brot… My father’s third child. He should be at work but his secretary should be able to put you through but I can also give you his private line if that doesn’t work.”

It’s not an ideal situation but it was better than them trying to get a hold of his father again. Hopefully Drake won’t speak to his father before Damian has a chance to convince the older male that helping him would somehow be beneficial for both of them. It would be hard but Drake is a logical to a fault and Damian would have time until Drake gets here to pick him up to think about his argument. He could still contain this situation.

“Thank you, Damian that would help us a lot. Just out of curiosity, do you know where your father is currently?”

“Father is most likely in a meeting which is why he has been unavailable. My father is a very important man and doesn’t have time for something like this. It’s better not to concern him with these types of insignificant matters.”

“And your brother Timothy, how old is he?” The vice principal asked even as he handed Damian a pen and paper to write down the contact information.

“Drake is old enough to be the current CEO of Wayne industries, a position he has held on to for many years” Damian started to defended but couldn’t help the bitterness that came after as he wrote down Drake’s contact information from memory “Despite many questions about succession and inheritance that if answered would cast aspersions upon his legitimacy as the current heir”

“Well then I’ll pass on this information to Principal Heller and she’ll take it from here. Also Grace when you have a moment, there are a few students who would like to speak to you” The vice principal took the paper with a swipe of his hand, he gave them both a somewhat strained smile and left without a further goodbye.

“Well now. Where were we? Or if you’d rather, we could talk about something else? Is there anything you would like to talk about Damian?” She smiled at him but like the vice principal her smile was now strained as well.

“No. I’d rather we get on with it without delaying the inevitable. You were trying to put me at ease by finding common ground through pointless albeit weird small talk about my family.” Damian sighed frustrated, he just wanted them to say it officially so they could leave him alone. He needed all the time he could get to work out a way to convince Drake to partake in a temporary truce until he could find the best way (and moment) to break the news to his father.

“Delaying the inevitable?”

“WOMAN. WILL YOU JUST SPIT IT OUT ALREADY? IT’S CLEAR AS DAY WHAT’S GOING ON HERE. JUST DO IT ALREADY!” Damian yelled finally at the end of his rope. He didn’t have time for her foolish games.

“Damian. I’d like you to take a deep breath for me. I appreciate that this is very hard for you but before anything official can be done I need to ask you a few more questions okay? And I need honest answers. Please. We all just want to help” She pleaded with him placing her hand over his in a patronising gesture meant to placate him.

Damian scoffed but did as she asked and took a deep breath, Grayson always said he had to learn how to pick his battles. “Fine. Ask me your inane questions” he conceded.

“Damian” She started only to pause as Principal Heller arrived at the entrance of the school’s subpar medical facility and beckoned the counsellor with a tilt of her head “I’m sorry just give me one moment”

Mrs Carter stood up walking to the door where they held a murmured conversation which involved faculty members discussing something and an individual named Cassidy who Damian inferred was a student from the one sided conversation he was half-heartedly lip reading from his spot on the bed. It wasn’t like this information would be useful to him after today seeing as he was about to be expelled (and possibly exiled depending on how his father took the news of another one of his failures). Damian was broken from his musings by the sound of heels walking towards him.

“Damian. The nurse would like to check up on your injuries so I think we take a break whilst I attend to another matter that’s come up. I’ll be back in a little while and hopefully by then Principal Heller will have gotten a hold on all relevant parties and we’ll be able to see what we can do about your situation okay?” She smiled reassuringly at him and Damian rolled his eyes but nodded just to make her leave faster. He wasn’t a child. Obviously they needed an adult present to expel him, American schooling practices were needlessly complicated, making every little thing into a spectacle.

“Great, I’ll see you soon Damian. And don’t worry we’ll figure this out. We’re all on your side.” She smiled at him one last time before she exited the room head pulled in close to the principals as they walked away.

 


 

 

Grace Carter

Metropolis Middle School

East Hall Way.

2.10pm

“Katlin, it couldn’t have been that bad?” Grace questioned as they walked down the corridor away from the sickbay.

‘His words were slightly slurred and he kept muttering under his breath, honestly Grace I think he was drunk. Even if he was over age – and I did a quick search on the family so I know for a fact that Mr Drake most definitely isn’t – it’s not even 5pm. There is no reasonable explanation as to why anyone let alone a boy of barely nineteen had drunk enough to be intoxicated at barely 2pm in the afternoon. And the language he used Grace. Amongst other things Mr Drake called him a Demon. It could just be a playful sibling thing but it didn’t feel like it.” Principal Katlin Heller shook her head in disbelief.

“Damian mentioned something like that in our interview earlier but I know what you mean Katlin. Logically I know that Damian has shown all the signs of abuse but the Waynes… Well I mean even here in Metropolis we’ve heard about how much good Mr Wayne does for Gotham and the children of Gotham. I just never thought a man so charming could treat his child like this.” She sighed slumping forwards slightly as she began to feel the weight of the world resting on her already heavy shoulders.

“We don’t know it was him necessarily or that that this is a domestic abuse problem. It could even be a bullying situation that’s occurring right under our noses.”

“No. if this was occurring at school then we’d know. And now with those other children coming forward. It has to be his father.”

“I don’t believe now is the time for speculation. Although I still feel as though his brother is involved. You don’t understand how much distain Mr Drake conveyed over the phone. It seems to go a little further than classic sibling rivalry. For all we know the abuse could be happening right under Bruce Wayne’s nose, it’s not uncommon for there to be violence amongst adopted or foster siblings.”

“Wayne is definitely involved. You weren’t there to see it but Barry will agree with me, Damian was panicked, more so than necessary at the very thought of involving his father and whilst he didn’t seem to like his brother Timothy all that much, he still put forward the older boy’s name because for him it was still a better option. At the end of the day, Damian is more scared of his father than anyone else in his family.”

“What about Mr Grayson? Did Damian speak of him at all? I’ve left him a number of voice messages but I still haven’t heard back from him” Katlin asked lowering her voice as she stopped a few meters away from music room B.

“He spoke of him when we were discussing guardians but not enough for me not get a read on their relationship. So I suppose at this point he’s an unknown but even so, I find it hard to believe that such obvious signs could be ignored. Maddison said from the brief inspection of his wounds that Damian allowed, he saw lots of scars, some which implied years of abuse. What we see currently is horrible, but Katlin it’s only the tip of the ice burg. Men like Bruce Wayne believe they are untouchable because of their money, power and connections. They act charming in public but behind closed doors they are monsters. Who knows what kind of untold abuse Damian and possibly other children have faced at his hands”

“Grace, we don’t know if…” the principal started, trying to calm her down but Grace was done being calm, being reasonable.

“NO. I won’t stand for it. I won’t lose another child to these predators. I’ve seen this before Katlin. The fact that it’s Bruce Wayne threw me but it’s not new. There has always been high profile assholes who treat their kids like shit and then pay money for it all to go away and we let it happen. We let these kids down, we send them home with a monster. I left the public sector because I didn’t want to see these signs, to hear these children cry out in help and do nothing but make empty promises. I never wanted to send a child back to an unsafe place again and I won’t Katlin. I won’t let Damian end up like Alana. I won’t. I’ve been working at this school for three years and we tell our students that they are free to confide in us, that we’ll help them no matter what and now that we have a child who is clearly crying out for attention, for our help what are we doing? We’re sticking our heads in the sand because his father had money, because the system is corrupt.”

The principal stared her down for a moment before she nodded placing her hand comfortably on her colleagues shoulder “I agree Grace, which is why I called Metropolis social services and informed them of the dire situation. They said that we aren’t allowed to take Damian away from a legal guardian should they show up but if they don’t then we can turn him over to the department and they’ll handle it from there”  

“And if they do come for him?” Grace asked angrily “Are we just supposed to turn him over and let him be …”

“Grace. I asked that as well and they informed me that if they collect him then they have to turn this incident over to the Gotham branch and let them handle it.”

“You can’t be serious, Gotham is the most corrupt city in the world and it’s no secret that Bruce Wayne is friends with the police commissioner” She argued passionately.

“I am aware. Which is why, I’ve decided that if it comes to that then I’ll put a call in with my brother in law. We’ll hold the Gotham departments publically accountable for their investigations.”

“Wait, Katlin. What exactly does your brother-in-law do?”

“He works for the Lord Mayor as the head of his PR department. He’ll let the Mayor know how it will look to the public if he doesn’t do something about children in our school being abused due to corruption. And if that doesn’t work in putting pressure on Gotham services then I’ll call the Metropolis Times who will obviously want to fact check with the Gotham Gazette which will make the story public holding all parties accountable.”

“Okay then. If it goes that far then I’ll do it. Releasing such information would be damaging to your career, not to mention highly illegal…”

“Grace…”

“No. It’s fine. But why are we not going to the Gazette first?”

 “Wayne probably has people in the Gazette. He’s their golden billionaire, he can do no wrong in their eyes. No we go through our people, less bias that way.”

“Okay so what do we do now?” Grace asked taking a deep breath, finally feeling better about the situation. She was glad Katlin was here to take charge, she shouldn’t have doubted her. In the three years since she started at the middle school Katlin had proven to be a strong, steadfast and capable woman who cared deeply for both her staff and students and always tried to do right by them.

“I’ve instructed Maddison to make a detailed report and take picture of the bruises Damian allows – at the very least we should be able to get decent images of the ones that go all the way up to his neck because of the injury Damian sustained at school. I would like you to talk to the children that came forward, we need facts and more information for social services or should this go the other way, so we can prove that this is a serious transgression that the Gotham departments need to take seriously. I have to make some calls to the school board and Barry is still trying to get into contact with Mr Wayne. We look after our students here at Metropolis Middle School.”

“Yes we do” Grace smiled placing her hand over Katlin’s own (which was still comfortingly on her shoulder) and gave it a quick squeeze before she nodded and pulled away.

“I’ll leave you to it then.” Katlin smiled, moving to turn away before she turned back looking as though she wanted to say something. Grace tilted her head, silently inviting older woman to speak but she shook her head instead and laughed softly. “I promise you Mrs Carter, everything will turn out for the best. I won’t allow for anything else to happen” and without another word she spun on her heel walking briskly towards her office leaving Grace alone in the deserted hallway.

 


 

 

Hayley McKermit

Metropolis Middle School

Music Room B

2.50pm

 

“And that’s when we saw the marks, we tried to talk to Damian about it Miss, we tried to ask if everything was alright but he shook his head and ran. We just wanted to help” Dewy finished his story, artfully lifting his gaze from his hands to look at the school counsellor in a wordless plea. She was honestly impressed, he really was a good actor. If she hadn’t been present for the actual incident she would have sworn that was what had happened.

“Mr Robinson. Do you understand that what you’re telling me is very serious” Mrs Carter asked voice serious.

“Yes Miss. We totally understand. We wouldn’t have said anything miss but then we overheard Mr Jones talking to Ms Surahi about how Damian hurt himself and well we know about what happened to his brother and we didn’t want Damian do something rash” Dewy explained innocently.

Hayley wanted to laugh at his fake innocence act but held back. It was honestly very effective – adults always fell for it – and had gotten them out of trouble loads of times. But she had to admit that this time was a little different. She wasn’t sure they should go ahead with this, it could get a lot of people in trouble. But she kept her mouth shut, she liked Dewy; they had grown up together and were practically siblings. He was right when he said Wayne had been out of line but technically they had started it – it wasn’t that she liked Wayne, he was an arrogant rich kid who thought he was better than everyone else even though he wasn’t even an American. Her parents always said that illegal aliens were always taking their money and committing crimes – sending this country to the gutter. Misha said that Damian was the same, he came into their school (uninvited) and just stole the top spot from all of them, he brought their averages down and was the cause of all their extra homework. He deserved everything they did to him but she didn’t know if he deserved this.

“Ms McKermit?” Mrs Carter questioned bringing her attention back to the scene playing out before her.

“Umm... I don’t…” She started unsure.

“Hales, don’t worry. It’s okay to tell her the truth.” Dewy said taking her hand and giving it a tight squeeze.

She took a deep breath “Okay so the truth is… no wait I can’t do this…”

“Hales…” Dewy started only to be cut off by Mrs Carter.

“Let her speak Mr Robinson. Hayley. It’s okay. This is a safe space.” The councillor smiled encouragingly at her.

Hayley looked at Dewy and then the rest of the people in the room; some of them were their friends who were in on the game whilst others were classmates who also heard the not so private conversation between their teachers and came forwards when Dewy did in order to help Wayne.

“I have to admit that I don’t get along with Damian. We’re not exactly friends. I don’t know if Damian has any friends if I’m being honest. We all try to include him but he’s just so closed off. All the time. So I mean whilst I and the others in this room have noticed signs of something not being right we all just ignored it you know? But hearing that he hurt himself, that’s when I knew we had to say something. I’m just glad that Dewy cared enough about Damian’s wellbeing and had the courage to do what’s right. I think if it wasn’t for him, none of us would have stepped forward.”

“Can you elaborate on the signs you noticed Hayley?”

“Umm… Well Damian’s always been really reserved, kind of antisocial and withdrawn from the rest of us. He doesn’t seem happy. I just… I guess I’ve just always been worried that he’d hurt himself or others you know? He also shows up with cuts and bruises, like he hides them but I mean, we’ve noticed and I think they might be… self-inflicted”

“Self-inflicted?” Mrs Carter asked

“Well… I mean he’s always unhappy and how else would he have gotten them? I think he may need some help” Hayley bit her lip and purposely gazed at the floor as looking embarrassed for even bringing up the possibility that something was not right with her classmate. Dewy was right she had decided. The fact that out of the eight children in the room three of them weren’t part of their friendship group meant that there was something wrong with Wayne. He was obviously one screw short of being a danger to society and she hadn’t even had to make up the bruises thing because Wayne was a freak. Getting him psychiatric help would be beneficial for the little weirdo. But if she had learnt anything from TV it was that they had to imply it not outright say it, they needed the adults to come to their conclusions by themselves.  

“That’s not true!” Fiona Kim – the annoying busybody - disagreed angrily “Mrs Carter. Damian is being bullied!”

“Bullied? For how long and by whom?” Mrs Carter turned away from Hayley and focused her attention on Fiona, pen poised and at the ready. If Kim gave them up then they were all screwed.

“I don’t… I mean I don’t actually know but we’re Lab partners for our science class and Damian who is always so put together sometimes comes to class a bit… well a bit dishevelled and quiet. And he’s not usually quiet, when it comes to school work Damian is a bit of a genius. We’re not exactly friends but I know he’s not hurting himself. Someone else is hurting him” She finished her pathetic speech glaring at them all determinedly. Hayley tried not to scoff openly, clearly Kim had a crush on the weirdo.

“Ms Kim, how often does this happen? And when are your science classes?”

“Umm… sometimes? I don’t really know, it’s just when I heard about what happened to Damian today, I just thought I should bring it up. Just so Damian knows that he isn’t alone. And out science classes are usually in the morning or right after our lunch break”

“Do any of these incidents happen in the morning?”

“Ummm… well, I mean… yes. But… But that doesn’t make Damian is doing it to himself!” Fiona protested passionately.

“No one is suggesting that he is. I just want to know all of the facts. That way we can help Damian in whatever way he needs.” Mrs Carter comforted “Now, is there anything anyone wanted to add?”

They all shook their heads and Mrs Carter nodded and smiled at them all.

“Okay. Thank you all so much for what you’ve done today. I know it wasn’t easy but you’ve all been extremely helpful. I would just ask that none of you mention any of this to your peers at this time” She waited for them all to nodded in agreement before she continued. “Okay given the time, you can all have the rest of the afternoon for independent study if you don’t want to head back to class”

Hayley smiled at the councillor as she left the room with her friends, not only did she help Wayne but she also got to skip class and hang with her friends. Today couldn’t possibly get any better.

 


 

 

Damian Wayne

Metropolis Middle School

First Aid Room

2.40pm

Drake wasn’t coming.

Principal Heller came in to ask if there was anyone else they could call. It was only after he had inquired and pressed the principal for information did she admit that she had talked to the older teen but it had been decided that it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to come get him – Given how desperate the school seemed to be about finding any family member of his the obvious meaning was that Drake had refused to come get him. He had heard the situation and logically deemed it irrelevant. That could only mean that Drake no longer considered him part of the ‘family’ and whilst he had known that they didn’t like him, he hadn’t thought that this was the thing that pushed them all over the edge. None of them were coming. His father, Alfred and Grayson hadn’t even been bothered to pick up the phone and Drake probably only picked up to spitefully say that no one would come for him. He had no one. He was alone. He…

“Damian? Are you alright? It’s okay if there isn’t anyone else, I’ve left messages with Mr Grayson and your father. Someone should turn up soon okay?” Principal Heller reassured him.

“There is… I mean… I can call Jay-cob” Damian bit his lip unsure whether Todd would even bother to pick up the phone but what other choice does he have? Duke was barely older than him, Cassandra doesn’t drive and neither Fatgirl nor Gordon are actually related to him. Besides he wasn’t sure they would come even if they were allowed to but given that they weren’t there for his blunder yesterday they would have probably been the most receptive to his presence. Todd on the other hand was a wildcard. He, like Drake hated Damian with a passion but he also liked to oppose father so maybe he would come just to be contrary even though the rest of the family has decided that Damian isn’t worth their time.

“Jacob? I wasn’t aware that your father had any more children” She asked obviously confused.

 “Actually Jacob is my half-brother on my mother’s side. He works for my father as my body guard from time to time so he might be in Gotham. Can I call him?”

“Oh well, it’s rather unorthodox…”

“He’s an adult and would have been on my family contact information but he’s not always in town”

“Okay Damian. Give me his number and I’ll talk to him” she finally conceded.

“Actually, I believe that it would be best if I call him. He doesn’t usually pick up unknown numbers. I can do it right now in front of you?” Damian stated already pulling out his phone and dialling Todd’s number. 

“Mr Wayne. I don’t think…” She started to protest right as Damian’s phone clicked and the call was connected.

“Aren’t tater tots your age supposed to be in school right now?” Jason greeted him without a hello.

“Jacob. I… I need your help” Damian answered ignoring Todd’s inane opening. Mrs Heller caught his eye and indicated that he put the conversation on speaker phone. He sighed and complied hoping that Todd wouldn’t mess this up before Damian could explain.

“Brat? What’s wrong? What happened? What did that asshole do this time?” Jason questioned angrily.

“Nothing. Everything is fine. Jacob. I have just run into some issues at school and I need…”

“School? Shouldn’t your father or Dickface deal with that shit? I’m super busy kid so I don’t have time for any-” Jason started to cut him off but Damian spoke over him quickly.

“No. They… they’re busy, I don’t know where Alfred is and Drake has refused to come. They’ve been trying to get into contact with someone since this morning Jay.”

The line went quiet for a moment and Damian was worried that he had hung up before the older boy sighed. “Fine kid. What do you need?”

“Mr … err… ”Principal hell started only to stop when she realised she didn’t know his last name.

“Al Ghul” Damian supplied automatically.    

“Mr Al Ghul. My name is Principal Heller. There was an incident that occurred this morning which resulted in Damian getting injured. We’ve been trying to contact Mr Wayne and all of Damian’s other emergency contacts since the incident occurred however we have run into a few problems. Whilst you aren’t allowed to discharge Damian, I would like to chat with you in person if possible about what occurred just until we can get verification that it’s okay that Damian goes home with you.”

Jason was silent once more but when he spoke Damian could hear the frown in his voice “What happened? How badly is the kid injured? Kid? Are you okay?” came the quick fired questions.

“I’m fine.” Damian answered curtly not liking how happy he felt at Jason’s show of concern.

“Mr Al Ghul, are you able to come to the school?” Principal Heller asked, gently smiling at Damian.

“Yes. I’ll be there in like half an hour. And D. I’ll call Dickie and find out where he is okay? Be good Brat.” Jason ordered before he abruptly hung up.

“Well then Damian, I’ll talk to your brother when he shows up and I would like you to stay here until Mrs Carter comes back. I know she’d like to discuss somethings with you before you leave. Is that okay?” she smiled at him framing her statement like it was a question but Damian recognised her tone as one Alfred uses when he expects them all to comply with an order but wants them to believe that it’s their choice.

Damian nods anyway, sighing as the Principal leaves the room and he’s left alone again.

It was becoming apparent that he really shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today.