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Back Against the Wall

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Dick was lying in his bed again, unable to sleep just staring at the ceiling.

He was always surrounded by loss, but just being in the tower was subjecting him to all the painful and unwanted memories of Donna.

His guilt over that night hadn’t subsided, but then when did his guilt ever leave him?

Thoughts of ‘you should have been better’ ‘you should have saved her’ ‘you let everyone down’ were racing through Dick’s head as he turning onto his side, the voices never stopped.

He was awake and alert when he heard his phone buzz, slowly he blinked at the bright luminescent screen.

INTRUDER ALERT

That was all Dick needed for an excuse to jump out of bed and focus on something else. He debated grabbing his gun in his top dresser drawer, but he decided against it. He told himself that he didn’t grab it because he could handle this without it and didn’t want to shoot someone, but Dick knew there was also a deeper reason that he just might not care anymore.

But he would protect Rachel and Gar no matter what. His bare feet padded against the cold floor as he stuck to the walls in an effort to not give his position away to any possible intruder.

Dick stepped from the stretched out shadows and into the hall, his hands balling up into a fist, his whole body on high alert.

Dick scoured the living room before his eyes landed on a figure standing in his kitchen, they were shrouded in darkness from the night and outlined by a hood.

Dick did his best to approach the kitchen with still holding onto the element of surprise, he studied the figure, the possibility that it could be Gar was nagging him in the back of his mind, but he approached the mystery man from behind, telling himself that he was ready for anything.

He would soon learn that he wasn’t ready for anything.

“Freeze!” Dick said in a commanding tone.

The figure did in fact freeze before turning to face Dick, his hands floating up to remove his sweatshirt hood, letting it fall loosely against his shoulders.

Dick’s brows furrowed.

“Jason?”

“Yeah. What’s up, I’m not welcome here anymore?” Jason replied with his usual aggressive tone to deflect.

Dick’s mind was still trying to catch up, “What? No, you’re always welcome here. I just- what are you doing here right now? At like, 3 in the morning?”

Jason averted his gaze, “Needed a place to stay. Sick of the streets.” Jason wanted to say that he needed a home, a family, that he couldn’t face Bruce and the Titans were all he had left, but he couldn’t say that. Not to Dick. Not at 3 AM. No, he wouldn’t be that vulnerable kid again.

“Okay,” Dick nodded, not wanting to pry. It was clear to him that the kid needed sleep, who knows the last good meal he had, the last time he got more than 2 hours, even a shower.

He tried to make his voice as soft and welcoming as possible, there was no need for any more hostility, the Titans had had enough fights between them to last a lifetime. “Your room is just how you left it. Do you need anything? Food?”

Jason looked between the kitchen and Dick and then just shook his head. He didn’t really know what he was doing.

Dick thought about telling him that Rose was still here but eventually decided against it. The kid needed a good sleep and Dick doubted that that could happen if he knew the girl who broke his heart was a couple of rooms away.

Jason nodded and made his way through the familiar tower, as Dick watched him go he couldn’t help but notice the slight hobble to his step.

If he asked him about it Jason would most likely tell him that it was 3 AM, no one’s walking normal, but Dick knew better. He knew how hard the streets can be.

Dick leaned back against the counter in the kitchen, staring at the empty space where Jason was standing just a moment ago. He was alive, he was home now. Dick tried to focus on that, but he couldn’t hide the obvious worry etched on his face.

Dick sighed as he pulled out his phone to dismantle the warning, he clicked on his contacts, his thumb hovering over Bruce’s name.

He should call him, right?

Dick clicked off his phone putting it back into his pocket. Bruce had a tracker in Jason, surely he knew that he was back.

He sat on his bed and considered just staying up, in a few hours he should be up anyway.
Every time he closed his eyes he saw Donna’s limp body hanging over the pole, he felt her still body against his as he held her for the last time. Dick let out a shuddered sigh as he slumped back into his bed his hand resting over his face.

---

Not too many feet away in Jason’s room he too lay staring at the ceiling, sleep refusing to come to him. Jason was so tired, so tired. Why couldn’t he just sleep?

Jason gave up and his feet hit the side of his bed with a thud, he grabbed a pair of headphones on top his dresser on the other side of his room.

Plugging in his phone he pumped on some heavy metal.

Soon his thoughts were drowned out by the deafening pounding of the music against his ears, and he found himself able to lay on his back sinking into the sound, his eyes closing for a moment of rest.