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We Do What We Must

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Jason sighed, his breath billowing out in front of him. The crisp, biting air assaulted the teen with a vengeance. The leather jacket wrapped around him didn't help anything at all, and if it did... Well, Jason couldn't tell. Standing under a street lamp probably wasn't helping any, but he needed all the fucking money he could get. Jason was saving up for that damned camera he'd seen Tim eye over the passed few months.

So Jason was just working a little earlier, and a little longer each day. Working at the diner and his... Other, job, was turning out pretty good for him lately. They'd been able to pay the water bill on time this month, and had a little extra cash to spend on eating at one of the nicer places in Crime Alley.

Hmm. Maybe if he had some extra cash left to spare after he bought Timmy that camera, Jason wouldn't have to lie to his baby brother about his eating habits. So what if Jason hardly ate lately? His brother was more important, and damn it they needed the money for other essentials. You know; things like cheap groceries, soap for the cold showers they take, blankets for the cold Gotham nights (and nights in general)... That kind of shit.

But that was a simple maybe.

A deep blue, beaten up, '94 Supra pulled up in front of Jason. Sweet. It'd be his second job of the day and it was what...

Jason glanced at the clock outside of the store (Mick's Picks. A drug store that sells cheap. Nice guy works on Tuesday nights - let's Tim steal and turns a blind eye to it - and they never get trouble there. Dude never asks for their names, so Jason and Tim never ask his) across the street. Huh. It was 10:42 in the morning.

The window rolled down and Jason smirked in a suggestive manner before he bent down to see inside the car. A man. Interesting. The guy had a small goatee, was white, had deep brown eyes flecked with hazel, and had naturally blond-ish hair. His jawline wasn't as sharp as Jason's own, and the same could be said for all angles of the dude's face but hey. He was paying so Jason wasn't complaining.

"And how, dare I ask, can I help you?" Jason's voice was low. Husky, yet smooth at the same time, and he spoke with a drawl at the end.

Brown Eyes looked Jason up and down slowly, as if sizing up his prey. It always unsettled Jason whenever clients did that, but he had to fuckin' deal for Tim's sake. The dark gaze took in Jason's tight, form-fitting dark crimson T-shirt, the jeans that hung low on his waist, revealing the 'V' shape underneath his abs (yes, maybe that's why he was cold but it worked so.. it was a necessary sacrifice), the two lip piercings on the bottom lip near the right corner of his mouth, and the leather jacket. You could just see the lean muscles hidden underneath the sleeves and Jason knew it. He also knew how much crazier it made the Johns and Janes (likewise with the stupid lip piercings) which was why Jason kept up a lean, wiry build as opposed to sheer rippling muscles.

Brown Eyes finally looked up at Jason's aquamarine green gaze. "I think you know, boy. Get in."

Jason shrugged.

"Alight."

Moving around the front of the hood and stretching his arms over his head (just enough that the shirt lifted to give a teasing glance at rippling abs), Jason opened the passenger side door. Before entering, though, Jason spoke up. "Y'know this 's gon' cost ya."

Brown Eyes made an inpatient noise and waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah. I'll pay whatever number you spout off, boy, don't worry about that."

Satisfied, Jason entered the car. When the guy continued driving, Jason looked out the window. Scenery passed as quickly as it'd been there and Jason sighed. He prodded one of the rings in his lip with his tongue. It didn't hurt, per se, but it does get sore. Some Johns enjoy abusing Jason's lips, paying the piercings special attention. A small frown twitched at his mouth. Tim was going to put it together, one of these days. How they got so much money from a waiting job at a diner in Crime Alley.

(stop here)


 

The guy pulled to a stop. When Jason snapped out of his head, he noticed the shadowy alley Brown Eyes had parked in front of.

Oh, he thought, so that's the kind this one is. A small sigh slipped past his lips. This meant bruises and sore lips. This meant sore everything. Alley dudes tend to be rough. Unnecessarily rough.

When Brown Eyes got out of the car, Jason followed with hands stuffed into his pockets. He made sure to keep his eyes half-open, and head tilted down. His hair dangled and those aquamarine green eyes followed Brown Eyes into the alley. Trash littered the ground and graffiti painted the bricks on both sides. If one looked hard enough, you could tell this was a dead-ended alley through the darkness.

As soon as Brown Eyes thought they were in a dark enough spot, he shoved Jason against a wall. Jason knew he wasn't getting attacked; like he said, some of the Johns like being rough. He didn't look like much with the layers on, and Brown Eyes told him as much. Jason kept his head low as he shrugged off the jacket, allowing it to slip off his arms once he'd loosened it as much. The muscles it hadn't hidden very well we're now clearly visible, and Brown Eyes seemed to be eating up the sight.

What a creep.

Brown eyes suddenly stepped forward and brought Jason's lips against his own. Oh so this dude wanted control? If he paid, Jason would let him do whatever for the right price. Jason's lips worked against Brown Eyes' and he felt a tongue graze his bottom lip. Understanding what Brown Eyes was asking, Jason opened his mouth and promptly felt a tongue slide in. Brown Eyes gripped Jason's wrists hard and pinned them against the wall above Jason's head with one hand. The other hand gasped Jason's hip hard enough to leave bruises like the ones that would form on Jason's wrists. Eventually, Brown Eyes began worrying the cuffs in Jason's lips, prodding at them, sucking them, and even licking at the sore flesh around. Jason whimpered and mentally congratulated himself since that seemed to be what Brown Eyes had been trying to accomplish the entire time. Jason made it a point to whimper and moan whenever he felt it was the right time to do so, and afterwards was payed extremely generously.


(go ahead)

Counting the bills in his hand, Jason grinned. Never mind the bruises blooming on his hips, wrists, abs, pecs, and neck. Never mind the sore lips. The pay was worth it.

Stuffing the bills in his pocket and shrugging the jacket on higher, Jason made his way back to the small run-down, apartment he and Tim lived in. Walking inside, Jason chuckled when he saw Tim slumped on their small table, with his head in his arms, snoring. Approaching silently, Jason got a good look at the work his little brother had been doing before he'd passed out. Huh. Was he doing their taxes?

"Tim. Timmy. Timmers. Timbo. Timber. Timbit. Tiny Tim. Tiiiimm. Wake up." Jason poked his brother repeatedly with each nickname. When Tim's only reaction was a tired whine and a swipe at Jason's hand, the oldest brother yanked the seat out from under the youngest.

Said little brother yelped, using the momentum to flip back onto his hands, doing a handspring and standing with his fists up, panting. When he realized his attacker was his older brother laughing his ass off against the wall, Tim huffed and relaxed. "Asshole," Tim accused. He grabbed his chair and put it back under the table. They'd picked up a few acrobatics here and there. It wasn't like it was that hard after a while.

Jason grinned at his little brother. "Glad to know you're always ready, Baby Bird. Never know when we gotta ditch." He continued smiling at Tim, pulling out the wad of cash Brown Eyes paid. "'N other matters, look who got paid."

Tim's eyes widened as he reached for the cash, carefully counting it once he had it in his hands. "Shit, Jay." He looked up. "The hell d'ya score this?"

The eldest shrugged. "Would'ya believe me if I said I found it?"

The youngest rolled his eyes. "'M not stupid, so, nah." Tim walked over to the wall, peeling off a loose tile. He grabbed the cash in the wall and added the money to their stash, replacing the tile afterwards.

Jason shrugged again. "Fixing up some old rich coot's car. Something about it being old?" He shook his head, pretending to have forgotten the 'interaction'. "Guy paid good, I fix'd the car, every one's happy." Tim didn't know what Jason did. He didn't know Jason sold himself for the additional money and food on the table. He didn't know that Jason sold himself for the bills to be paid. And if Jason could help it, Tim wouldn't know.

Tim shrugged. "Guess so." His eyes landed on Jason's bruising neck. "They try to mug you?"

Confused, Jason asked Tim what he meant. "The bruising on your neck, dumbass," Tim bit back. "What happened?"

"Oh." Shit. How was he supposed to answer that? Well Tim did give him an idea... "Yeah. Fuckin' brats tried to get at it." Again, Jason shrugged. "Don't matter. S'long as we got the money, it don't matter."

His little brother didn't seem to buy it completely, but he didn't ask. "Right."

Jason felt dirty. Dirty, and bruised. Brown Eyes sure knew how to make it hurt... "I'ma go take a shower. Try not to cook, yeah?"

Tim rolled his eyes and sat back down.

"Was doing the money managing, idiot. I ain't touching 'nother stove in my lifetime. Consider that lesson learned."

Tim was a fucking genius and he didn't try to hide it. For a twelve-year-old, this was abnormal. Twelve and handling money? But the brothers were smart like that. Jason and Tim shared their knowledge. Jason had a bit more street smarts, and Tim had a bit more cognitive smarts. Jason didn't care.

The eldest forced a laugh, heading straight for the bathroom. He needed to be clean. Now.

Standing in the mirror with nothing other than his boxers on, Jason stared at his reflection. Bruises littered his chest and back, a few blooming in his wrists and forearms. The most obvious ones were the ones on his neck and jaw, though. Jason sighed. It'd be another week or so until he can go back out. The Johns and Janes didn't appreciate a marred face.

Stepping into the cold shower, Jason slumped against a wall. He was tired. He was sore. He was hurt. The cool water felt good against his abused skin and Jason closed his eyes. Mmm. That felt good. The water slid down his body; dripped off his shaggy hair. Jason needed to cut it soon; the tips were beginning to curl again. Okay that water was getting pretty cold... Yeah he's clean now. Safe to exit the shower...

Jason turned off the water, stepping out of the shower and wrapping a towel around his waist.. But one thing went wrong there. Jason slipped and slammed his knee against the rough bathroom floor tiles. He'd been too slow to do anything other than throw his arms out to catch himself, but that resulted in a 'pop' and a shout of pain caused by the bolt of agony to shoot through his right wrist. His head slammed into the ground afterwards, rendering Jason unconscious.

Fuckin' perfect.

Tim charged into the room, spotting his older brother on the ground with a pool of blood gathering around his head at an alarming rate. His wrist was at an awkward angle and his knee seemed to be extremely aggravated. Numerous bruises littered Jason's torso, and Tim could see at least one bite mark on Jason's chest. Tim froze, images of Catherine on the ground with a needle in her arm flashing through his head. Shaking the memories away, Tim kneeled next to his brother, and with shaking fingers, he grasped another towel and pressed it against Jason's head. Blood soon began to spread through the light grey towel and Tim refused to allow himself to panic.

Jason needed help the youngest couldn't provide, so Tim ran out of the apartment. Desperately, he began going up to strangers on the sidewalk, begging for help and getting ignored each time. Refusing to give up, Tim continued to do so until finally, someone walked up to him.

A dude about twenty-something (Tim was willing to bet twenty-one) with royal blue eyes and inky black hair walked over to Tim.

"Hey," he greeted. "Something wrong?"

Tim assessed the guy in front of him. He was so painfully obviously not from Crime Alley it was a wonder it didn't hurt. He had actual silver on his watch, there was no Eastern accent when he spoke, brand name clothes, and if that car over there was this guy's...

Shit.

Regardless, he was asking and Jason needed help. Tim gave him his best puppy dog eyes - they always worked on Jason - and told him what had happened. The guy introduced himself as Dick, but Tim never gave his name (or Jason's) as he took Dick to his brother. For some reason, Dick seemed familiar but Tim couldn't put his finger on it, much to his frustration. But there wasn't anything he could do about it now, and Jason needed help, so Tim pushed that out of mind.

Arriving at the bathroom again, Tim kneeled next to Jason and looked up to Dick with pain-filled eyes.

"Help him," Tim begged. The blood had seeped through the towel and began coating Tim's fingers. Jason was still unconscious, though, and Tim was both glad and worried. Glad that Jason wasn't presently feeling any pain, but worried because he still wasn't awake yet.

Dick snapped out of his stupor and collected Jason in his arms.

"Follow me," is all he said before exiting the room and apartment. Tim hurried after him. Outside, the guy jogged across the street and oh crap that was Dick's car. Tim tried not to think about how Jason would be gushing over the car on other circumstances. Hell, Jason would probably try and jack the tires in other circumstances...

Dick put Jason in the backseat, telling Tim to get in and entering the driver's side of the car. Tim did get in the car, but he sat in the back with Jason's head in his lap. Dick said something about a clinic, but Tim wasn't listening anymore. He was staring at his brother's bloody and bruised face.

A tear slipped down Tim's cheek, dropping on Jason's and cutting a clear path down the blood that stained his face. Tim sniffed and wiped at his eyes with the back of his hands.

"Be okay," he whispered to his older brother. "I need you t' be okay." Another tear fell.

"Please."