It was all Drake’s fault.
Of that, Damian had no doubt. How it was Drake’s fault remained to be seen, but it certainly was not Damian who gave away their location, causing them to be outnumbered and subdued. By a drug lord’s cronies, of all things.
Not even a big-named villain.
But drug dealers.
And now Damian was kneeling on the ground, next to a mostly unconscious Red Robin, his hands tightly bound behind his back and to his legs. No amount of pulling at the cuffs were helping them come loose, and it was maddening. He didn’t even have enough mobility to try to pull out the lock picks he kept hidden in his sleeve.
“Quit struggling, boy,” a new voice sneered from Damian’s left, “my men cemented the lock, it’s not coming off.”
“You have no idea who you’re messing with,” Robin said darkly.
“Shove it, kid,” one of the thugs said, just as his boot collided with Damian’s head.
Damian wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he next came to. He was laying on the ground, now, and his left arm was asleep. So it’d probably been at least ten minutes.
And now, his head was on fire. No, it was worse than on fire, it felt like someone was stabbing him from inside. Like his brain was expanding and pushing against the skull, seconds away from exploding.
He knew he was being dramatic, of course. It was just a concussion, but he was allowed to be as dramatic as he wanted inside his own head. Especially when this was all Drake’s fault.
Once they got out of here, Drake was dead.
“There we go,” a gruff voice said from about six feet in front of Damian.
Robin didn’t want to alert his captors to his regained consciousness, not yet, so he kept his eyes shut. Besides, he just knew the lights in the warehouse were going to be a bitch on his headache. And he’d like to delay the inevitable as long as possible.
Then Drake groaned and mumbled out a pathetic, “wha’re you doin’,” and Damian could hear what sounded like someone being dragged across the floor. So he probably should open his eyes and check.
He needed to know what the idiots were doing with Red Robin. Father would not be very pleased if Damian let the moron die.
“Wha you jus do,” the teen mumbled from where he was now sitting on the opposite side of the room, and if Damian could see Drake’s eyes, he was sure he’d be blinking slowly and blearily.
“Just give it a minute,” one of the thugs sneered. There were five of them in the room, two standing at the doorway, two on either side of Red Robin, and the fifth standing in front of Red Robin with his back toward Damian.
That was a mistake on his part.
Or… it would be. If Damian could freaking move. He pulled at his restraints again, and used the momentum to get back up onto his knees.
“Looks like the little ones awake, Boss,” one of the lackeys said, and Damian wanted to roll his eyes.
But he knew that would just make his head hurt worse, so instead he scoffed, “Tt, impressive deduction skills.”
“Don’t worry, little guy,” ‘Boss’ said, “you’ll get your turn next.”
“My turn with what?” he asked darkly, narrowing his eyes at Red Robin. What, exactly, were they doing to the teen?
At the moment, it appeared to be nothing. No one was even touching the imbecile, just standing around him.
“Our newest creation, of course,” Boss said happily, and Damian was having flashbacks to moments spent around Scarecrow or the Joker.
What was with loons in Gotham and their obsession with weird drugs?
“Oh,” Red Robin said dreamily, a hint of a smile tugging at his lips, “hehe. This’s good.”
“What did you do to him?” Robin demanded a bit more forcefully, “what did you give him?” Drake did not giggle. And he rarely smiled in such a… a… weird way. Light? No, Drake’s smiles were usually either kind or smug. Not carefree and happy.
“Hush, child,” Boss said, waving a hand at him. Damian saw red and started trashing against his restraints. They were all dead. All of them.
Not dead dead, of course, but dead.
“Ha,” Drake laughed, “you called him ‘child.’ He hates that.”
“Oh yeah?” Boss asked, “What does he prefer to be called?”
Drake snorted and lulled his head to the side, “He don’t like any nicknames.”
“Is that so?” Boss looked back at Damian and shot him a sly smile, “So what is his name?”
Damian narrowed his eyes at Red Robin. He had no idea what that drug was doing to him, but hopefully loosening his lips was not included. Because if it were… well then. Maybe they were all dead dead.
“Demon,” Drake said, grinning wide now.
“Fuck you, Red,” Robin growled, tugging at his asleep arm. He couldn’t really feel anything in it, anyway, might as well take advantage of that and force it free of the restraints.
“Tsk tsk,” Red Robin chided, “Batman wouldn’t approve of that language.”
That made the Boss raise an eyebrow, “And what about Batman?”
Red Robin shifted and turned a happy-go-lucky smile toward the Boss. “What about him?”
“Who is he?”
“Red, stop talking,” Damian hissed.
In response, the Boss nodded his head to one of the goons, who walked over and lifted Damian off the ground a bit by his hair. “Shut it, kid.”
“Hey,” Red Robin shouted, “Don’t be mean to my little brother. Only I get to be mean to him.”
Damian growled as he wiggled his way out of the man’s grasp. He was not little and they were not brothers! What the hell was that drug doing.
Luckily, all his hair stayed on his head when he finally won his freedom. That would have hurt like a bitch. As it was, the rough treatment was doing nothing for his headache.
Boss ignored Damian and asked, “So then tell me, who is Batman?”
Tim bounced his head back and forth and blurted out, “He’s my dad,” in an extremely chipper tone. Just the sound of it made Damian want to gag. He really hoped they didn't give him the drug, because he'd rather die than act the way Drake was behaving.
“Who is your dad?” Boss pressed.
Imitating Father’s gravel, Tim said, “Batman,” then fell to his side in a fit of laughter.
“Very amusing. What is Batman’s real name?”
“Batman's real name,” Red Robin repeated, looking over at Damian pleadingly.
“Yes, what is it?” the Boss asked patiently.
And Damian could tell Tim was actually really struggling to not speak. Apparently, whatever was going through his system had some sort of truth serum in it. Something to mess with his dialogue filter and force him to blurt the first thing that came to mind. That renewed Robin’s determination to break free. He knew his idiot of a teammate was pretty strong, but if he were at the point of struggling and begging Damian for help, there was no telling how much longer he’d last.
“Oh!” Red shouted, “Did you know that it’s possible to not have a middle name? And it’s actually really common in some parts of the world? How weird.”
The thugs exchanged a puzzled look with one another, and Damian used the distraction to his advantage. Clenching his jaw, he pulled his thumb inside his left fist and squeezed as tight as he could. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, allowing the pain to seep out with his breath as the thumb snapped. Slipping his now broken left hand out from the cuffs silently, he looked around, forming his plan of attack.
“Okay,” Boss said, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, “Can you tell us what your name is?”
“My name?” Red asked, cocking his head.
“Yes. Your name.”
Tim grinned and said, “It’s Red Robin! It’s like Robin, but red. Because I have a red uniform, see?”
The boss was growing impatient, just like Damian, and demanded, “What is your first name?”
At that, Damian sprang to his still bound feet and knocked the goon guarding him out with a well placed kick to the head. Using the guy’s head as a springboard, he vaulted his way across the room, making quick work of all the idiots.
He was sick of this stupid interrogation and it took less than a minute to incapacitate all five men.
And no, they were not dead dead. Damian did make sure, however, that each man would wake up with a headache just as bad as his.
Damian hopped over to where Drake was lying and dragged him up to his knees.
“Hop hop hop like a bunny,” Tim sang once he was sitting up, and it took a lot of self control for the boy not to just knock the moron back over and make him sit up on his own.
He looked around and found a chain cutter against the wall and cut the chain linking his feet together, then Tim’s chains so the teen could stand. “Get up, Red.”
“Those guys really like names,” Tim said as he took Damian’s offered hand and stood, “whoa the world is spinny.”
“Yes,” Damian drawled, keeping his not broken hand clasped around Tim’s forearm while he led them out of the warehouse. He managed to dig around in his belt for his back up comm with his left hand and called for Batman, giving the man a quick synopsis of Drake’s condition.
“ETA four minutes,” Father responded crisply. And wasn't that just perfect. Damian was going to have to withstand a lecture from Batman because of stupid Drake.
“I like names, too,” Drake continued, stumbling along behind Robin, “Your name is funny. We can call you James or Jamie. Wait. No. that’s not right.”
“Silence, Red,” Damian barked, looking around for good cover. He wanted to get them up a bit higher, but wasn’t sure how feasible that was. He felt extremely exposed and vulnerable on the ground with a broken hand and high Tim Drake. In the end, he decided to cross the street and slip into an alley where there were a couple dumpsters that should do a decent job concealing them.
Drake ambley followed along behind Robin, allowing the younger boy to pull him toward the alley. “Heh. Red. Red Robin. Red Hood. Redbird. Red X. We should be called the red-family.”
“Keep moving, Red,” Damian snapped, annoyed.
“Oh! We should call you Green Robin to add more colors to the family. Or Black Robin? Does that sound racist? It’s because of all the black on your uniform. Or Robin Hood!” Tim cut off his ramble to let out a high-pitched giggle, “because you wear a hood.”
Damian sighed audibly and let go of is idiot of a not-brother to lean back against the wall in the alley. His head wasn’t hurting as bad as it was, but the weariness of the injury along with all the aches and pains his captivity had caused were catching up to him.
At least he wasn’t high as a kite like Drake, though.
“Then we’d all match. I’m Red Robin, Red Hood, and Robin Hood. We’d all share names.”
“Yes,” Damian drawled, pushing Drake a bit more out of sight, between the two dumpsters, because the moron was in no condition to fight, “very amusing.”
“B would never call us by the right name. Ever. It’d be so funny.”
“Tt.” Damian huffed, putting a hand up to his ear, “Batman, what is your location? Red requires medical attention.”
“Two minutes. How severe are his injuries?”
“Physically he is intact. Mentally, however, is another story,” Robin reported, giving the teen a sideways look.
Tim stumbled forward, and without thinking Damian lunged forward to catch him, draping one of Tim’s arms around his shoulders to help support him. “Would you quit moving?” he snapped, trying to push the teen back into the gap between the dumpsters.
Giggling again, Tim slumped further onto Damian and wrapped his other arm around. “You’re my annoying little baby brother.”
“Knock it off, Drake,” Damian growled lowly, trying to free himself from the teen’s grasp. Punching him while he was in that state would probably be incredibly rude and lecture worthy.
But the teenager was insufferable.
And where the hell was this even coming from? They were not brothers. Tim was very clear on that on multiple occasions. And Damian agreed. They were not brothers. And yet Drake kept insisting on calling him 'little brother' tonight. It was infuriating.
Drake was just an imbecile that Father considered a son. Just like Grayson and Todd. Grayson was the only acceptable one of the lot, and therefore the only one he would consider a brother.
“I love you anyway,” Drake added, letting go of the child.
“Tt.” The faster Father got there, the better. He was so done with this annoyingly chipper and chatty Drake with all his stupid words and emotions.
And, as if the powers-that-be could read his thoughts, the Batmobile pulled up. As Nightwing stepped out of the Batmobile, Tim perked up. Damian would never admit he, too, was extremely pleased that Grayson had accompanied Father.
“And I love you, too,” he shouted, stumbling forward out of Damian’s grasp.
Nightwing cocked his head and looked over at Damian, “Whats wrong with him?”
At that, Drake grinned wide and said, “I feel like I’m floating in the clouds.”
“Oh….” Grayson said, looking back and forth between the two younger vigilantes, then finished with a lame, “kay then.”
“Just take him back to the cave,” Damian growled as he shoved Drake toward his older brother, “he’s just getting worse and less coherent the longer this is in his system.”
“All of you,” Batman ordered, “get in.”
“I’m fine,” Damian insisted, “I can continue patrolling.”
Nightwing nodded as he gently guided Tim into the Batmobile. “I’ll stay with Robin. You can handle Red.”
“Little assassin baby needs a hug,” Drake sang, “his hand hurts.”
Betrayal. That’s what Damian felt. Utter betrayal. How did Drake even know that, anyway?
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Grayson said, turning his disappointed glare at Damian, “Let me see that hand.”
Damian grumbled a few curses and lifted his left hand for the man to inspect.
Dick whistled. “Damn. You’re coming back, too.”
“I’m fine,” he insisted, pulling his hand back to himself. He was fine. He’d fought with worse. Really, it was his head killing him, anyway. He barely even noticed the hand.
But there was no way he was telling them that.
“Nope, get in,” Dick said, dragging Damian along by his cape.
As it turned out, Damian did not have a concussion. Just a pretty nasty knot on his head. Father had not been pleased about him concealing a broken hand and a head injury, however, and Damian found himself grounded.
Drake’s fault. All of it.
But while the initial hour on the drugs put Drake into a euphoric state, the last several sent him deep into horrible withdrawal symptoms. He spent the majority of the night expelling anything and everything put into his system, and at some point he even cried from whatever pain the drug was causing.
So Damian figured they were even. There was no need to kill him.
Thankfully, however, in Grayson’s words since Damian didn’t care, the drug did no lasting damage. Once it worked its way through Tim’s system, he was fine.
Not thankfully, though, part of Damian’s punishment was doing chores for Pennyworth. So when Tim was finally recovered enough to eat, Damian found himself forced to bring a bowl of soup and pack of crackers to the teen in his bedroom. Even though he had a freaking cast on his hand.
Smacking the tray down a bit too roughly, Damian snapped a half-hearted, “Pennyworth demanded I bring you this,” before turning on his heels to leave the room as quickly as possible.
“Thanks, Dames,” Tim rasped, sitting up some.
Damian scowled and turned back around, hoping his withering glare would make the teen cry. “My name is Damian, Drake.”
“And mine’s Tim,” he retorted, “Guess neither of us get our way.”
“Tt,” he pouted, crossing his arms across his chest petulantly. That was completely different. Drake could call him ‘Wayne’ and it’d be perfectly acceptable. Damian was simply using the teenager’s name. Drake, on the other hand, was purposely mincing his name, knowing it would upset him.
“Sorry about yesterday,” Drake said, swirling his spoon around in his bowl a bit, “it’s like my filter got turned off…”
Shifting on his feet a bit, Damian said, “Yes you said plenty of asinine things”
Still staring down at his soup, Tim added with a frown, “None of it wasn’t true”
Damian wasn't sure how to respond to that, so he averted his gaze off to the wall above Drake's desk.
And that's when he noticed the dozen of pictures pinned there. Damian had never actually noticed it before, because he never went into Tim’s room. He had dozens of pictures on the wall, all of candid pictures of the ‘family.’ And he was mildly surprised to find himself in a lot of the pictures.
Okay, a bit more the mildly. Why would he have pictures of Damian up above his desk? Where he spent a lot of his time?
Maybe Tim did see them as brothers.
Drake slurped a spoonful of his soup before continuing, “I can’t believe you broke your own thumb, though.”
“It’s not like you were in any condition to save us,” Damian snapped, pulling his attention away from the stupid pictures. Who cared whether the teen saw them as brothers. They weren’t.
“Whatever. Just don’t get us captured again," he spat, turning back around to exit his brother's room dramatically.
Because it was definitely Drake's fault.