Jason was familiar with anger. From a young age, it's what he's known best. Bruce had tried to help him control his anger when he was Robin, had wanted to help Jason with it. But Bruce became the biggest source of his anger after his death and resurrection. Nothing hurt as much as when Jason returned to Gotham to find Bruce had taken in a new Robin. Knowing that he was so replaceable, that he'd just been another body to carry a title that meant nothing, it had hurt more than Jason had thought possible. But once that pain, the sadness of realizing that he was never good enough finally simmered down in the void of his chest, nothing but anger was left in his heart.
He was broken, he was miserable, he was replaced, he meant nothing.
Bruce had taken the one thing that Jason had clung to with his every dying breath away from him. It was the one thing Jason needed, the one thing that had made him feel like he was worth anything, and now it belonged to someone else. Jason needed Robin, needed to be Robin like he needed Bruce. And now he'd lost both.
There was nothing but rage in his mind, coursing through his veins and poisoning his heart. When he'd confronted Batman, he couldn't let it out. The moment his name left Bruce's mouth, the fight in him was gone. Because he still needed Bruce. And as much as it hurt, as much as the anger wanted him to kill Bruce for what he'd done, for the fact that he'd thrown Jason away like he was nothing, he just couldn't .
Timothy Drake. The name left a foul taste in Jason's mouth. But at least he knew who it was that had replaced him. He had a name to the person who had taken away his spot by Bruce's side, he had a name to the person who apparently was so much better than he was. He had a name to curse, a name to destroy when he took back what was rightfully his. Tim Drake would die at his hand, he would make sure of it.
Keeping tabs on the kid was easy. Batman hadn't changed anything about the way he did things. Robin hadn't changed either. The city had no idea that Jason had given his life, the world had no idea who he was, that he'd put his soul into Robin. This replacement, Tim had played the part, covering up Jason's sacrifice like it meant nothing. Jason was going to make sure everyone knew the truth, that everyone knew he was the rightful Robin, that this fake deserved what he had coming for him.
Tracking him down was easy but taking him out proved to be a little harder than Jason had anticipated. That didn't deter him though, he was determined to see this through. If Jason's life meant so little to Bruce, he doubts the bastard would miss this kid either. Only Tim wouldn't be coming back once Jason was done with him.
He corners Robin - Tim - not far from Wayne Tower. He planned to hang the kid's body right outside Bruce's office. He doesn't even waste time toying with Tim, he moves in fast and hard, there was no satisfaction he'd get from making the kid suffer. He just wanted him dead . He manages to land two punches, throwing Tim off enough that he almost gets in a third to take him down. But that's the problem, Tim was Robin, and he was trained like it.
Tim moves to evade the next attack, swinging his leg out to try and get a hit on his attacker. Jason blocks the move with ease and takes another swing. Tim manages to put some distance between them and gets a proper look at who he was facing. The red mask over Jason's eyes was almost a dead giveaway, everyone else wore black, but the white streak in Jason's fringe solidified Tim's assumption. Bruce had told Tim that Jason had returned, that Jason had attacked him. That had nearly been three months ago.
"Jason-" Tim tries to keep his voice calm, tries to get Jason to listen. He should have known that it was a lost cause before he even attempted it. Jason moves in to attack him again and all Tim can do is try to keep himself away from Jason's attacks until he wears himself down.
Tim manages to block another hit, only for Jason to land a punch to his jaw. He needs to remember that Jason knew everything he did and probably more. He had to be careful. He decides that returning punches might be more effective than simple defence. He allows Jason the next hit, just so that he can turn his body into Jason's own and land a hit to his face. Jason barely stumbles, his own anger keeping him going.
"Jason, I know you don't want to do this!" Tim tries again. He knew why Jason was angry, he knew why Jason hadn't killed Bruce that night. He knows why Jason was after him now.
"Don't act like you know who I am!" Jason snaps as he throws his arm out and cracks his knuckles across Tim's cheek. It throws him off balance and he stumbles uselessly to try and hold his footing. Jason lands another punch to his ribs before he can. "Don't act like you care about me for a second! You're a lie Drake, you're just another fucking body, you're a fake !"
Tim can barely block the next hit Jason delivers. But he does manage to counter the attack, even though his swing doesn't have as much venom and therefore, much force behind it. He still deters Jason enough to manage to land a kick to the back of his knee, sending him tumbling to the ground.
"I know who you are, you were my hero! Jason this is madness!" Tim cries out, but Jason isn't going to reason with him. He takes a cheap shot, going for Tim's legs from where he's on his hands and knees. Tim dodges the attack easily, but it gives Jason enough time to get back on his feet and charge at him again.
"You don't know madness! You don't know anything! This is revenge, this is justified!" Jason roars and maybe Tim should have been able to avoid the kick to his gut, but he's so thrown off by Jason's words that he doesn't react in time. He crashes to the ground, crying out in pain as Jason pins him down. Tim tries to fight him off, but Jason's a lot bigger than he is.
He twists in Jason's grasp, manages to get his knee between them and slams it into Jason's chest, trying to roll away from being underneath Jason's frame. Jason catches his hand on Tim's gauntlet, twisting his arm. Tim cries out in pain, Jason will break his arm if he doesn't get out of his hold. He doesn't even go for the obvious attack and try to land a punch to Jason's face, he doubts it'll stop him from snapping the limb. He loosens his gauntlet, turns his body in Jason's grasp and punches him in the gut. Jason's grip doesn't loosen, and he yanks at Tim's arm. The gauntlet slips off and Tim manages to free his arm, but Jason's bringing his elbow down against Tim's collarbone before Tim can even accept that as a minor victory.
Tim doesn't hear the bone crack, but the pain that explodes in his collar has him screaming and he won't be surprised if the bone has shattered. One of Jason's signature moves. Jason follows through with another punch to the gut which sends Tim crashing back to the ground. He splutters to try and get the air back into his lungs, his shoulder flaring up in pain when Jason slams him down into the asphalt. Tim doesn't have time to react before Jason's pinning his arms down above his head.
"You don't deserve this suit, you don't deserve to be Robin!" Jason screams as he pulls out a knife. Tim barely blinks when Jason, in one full motion, slices the 'R' from Tim's suit before he presses the blade into Tim's throat. Tim squeezes his eyes shut and swallows, this was it, this is how he goes out .
"Look at me, coward!" Jason growls, digging his fingers into Tim's wrist. Tim hisses and Jason notices the feeling of material, like a wrap under his fingers and lifts his gaze. Tim's forearm was wrapped in a bandage, but the struggle he'd put up with trying to fight off Jason had pulled the wrap loose and it wasn't sat on his arm properly. And suddenly Jason's heart was in his throat, making it hard to breathe.
Jason could see the scars in Tim's arm, some of them fresh enough that the healed over skin had broken from their fighting and there were small beads of blood forming along the lines. Jason, without even thinking, pulls at the wrap and it comes away from Tim's arm. Tim's frozen in place, the press of the knife against his throat still dangerously firm. Jason swallows thickly at the sight. Most of the cuts are decent, lengthwise they go right across Tim's wrist and they trail down most of his forearm, not far enough that they can't be covered by his gauntlet. Jason can see the dark lines between them from older cuts, like it was a system, like he rotated them. But one of the cuts, about an inch from the join of Tim's wrist was deep, far too deep and their fighting had opened it up and it was bleeding. Jason presses his thumb into the wound without even thinking about it, applying enough pressure to slow the blood flow. Tim whimpers and hisses again and Jason's eyes drop to his face.
Suddenly, he wasn't seeing Tim underneath him. He saw a kid that was just trying to make it, a kid who was fighting for his life as much as he was fighting for the city. A kid who was lost, a kid that was broken, a kid that was too scared to kill himself that he never managed it. A kid, covered in more self-inflicted scars than he had now, a kid who wanted the pain that could be brought to him if he fucked up in a fight, a kid who needed a reason to live. He saw himself .
He drags his eyes back up to the cuts in Tim's wrist and the fight in him dies completely. Tim was just another kid like him, a kid who was trying to be more than he ever could. A kid who just wanted to live. He sits up, pulling his knife back and dropping it to the side, the clatter of metal against asphalt making Tim flinch. Jason doesn't let go of his wrist as he pulls it into his body, keeping the pressure on the bleeding cut. Tim swallows and tries to sit himself up. Jason lets him, even though his gaze is cast downward.
"I'm sorry." Jason manages. Tim swallows and averts his eyes. This wasn't how he thought this would go. Jason shakes his head and curses under his breath. "I'm so fucking stupid. You're just a kid . This isn't your fault and you... it's not worth it, hurting yourself isn't worth it."
"I know." Tim cuts in before Jason can continue. Jason stares at him and doesn't say anything else. Tim pulls his arm away from Jason and takes in the blood running down his arm. "I just... needed something."
"This isn't it. I... talk to Dick, he... he helped me. He can help you. Hurting yourself... you're going to end up with enough scars, you don't need to add your own. I'm sorry... fuck I'm so sorry Tim. It means nothing, I... I wanted to kill you."
"I don't blame you." Tim mumbles. Jason's heart feels like it breaks. Up until the moment of his death, Jason had told himself part of him wanted to die. It wasn't until he was helplessly clinging to life, desperately trying to hold out just a little longer, knowing it wouldn't matter if he did, knowing he couldn't, that he realised he didn't want to die. He'd begged for his life to the very end.
"You deserve to live, you shouldn't let a... let some monster decide that for you." Jason grits his teeth, clenching his bloodied hand into a tight fist. "This has nothing to do with you, this is between me and Bruce, you're just a kid, you're just... you just... you needed a reason... a purpose."
Tim stares up at Jason, unsure how to respond. Jason was right, Tim knew that he was talking from his own experience as Robin, but it was the same thing for Tim. Robin was a reason to stay alive, Robin gave him a purpose. "You're not a monster Jason. You had your life ripped from you... I took this away from you."
Jason shakes his head. "You need Robin."
"So do you." Tim mumbles. Jason closes his eyes and sucks in a shaky breath. He looks back up at Tim for a moment before he drops his gaze to the cuts in Tim's arm. He reaches out and applies pressure to them again.
"Let's keep him alive then," Jason whispers. Tim swallows thickly and bites his bottom lip. He nods slowly, and Jason collects up the bandage again. He folds it so that the dirty side was facing outward and carefully wraps Tim's wrist. Tim closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath.
He could stay alive for Jason. After all, Jason was the reason he was Robin in the first place.