He should have just stayed in bed.
He knew it was a bad idea, of course Tim knew.
Tim was a genius, just not a wise one.
He had spent most of the night dealing with minor gangs, but the accumulation of everything was getting to him.
All the blows he took. The stab he received from Zsasz in his shoulder two days ago, which was still healing. But mainly the consequences of his meeting with Bane yesterday, who was as gentle as always, made him feel like trash.
Which was usually how he felt; but this time it seemed worse.
There were bruises of different tones of purple, blue and yellow all over his torso, and his right leg was still hurting.
He hadn't slept in the last two days.
Tim didn't even remember the last time he had ingested anything besides coffee.
But he couldn't stop.
Was he obssessing? Well, yes, but that was what he did. It was his thing.
He had been monitoring this unusual criminal activity for two months at Miller's harbor. Not that criminal activity wasn't common there, the place was like a fair for illegal products for criminals. And besides, it was Red Hood's problem.
But Tim was never really sane, so he had risked the brutal fury and possible death at the hands of Hood to find out what the hell was going on there.
And to do that, he entered the harbor to investigate a warehouse which was the center of the criminal movement.
It didn't matter how tired or hurt he was, this was his chance.
He was well aware that it was reckless.
Even a bit stupid.
But he wasn't dumb at all.
He would only collect information and pass it to Oracle, then Hood could solve it on his own and hopefully, not find out how she got it and kill him.
Tim also made sure to prepare a message with all the information he had and his location for the others, in case something happened to him.
Not that any of them would actually care about his disappearance, but they would come for what caused it.
That was the plan at least.
Because somehow, Tim ended up crouched on a thin steel beam between two others, only fitting there because of his height. Being small wasn't that bad at that moment.
Steph and Cass could never know about this admission, he wouldn't survive their teasing.
He was barely investigating the shipments inside the warehouse when Penguin arrived. He hadn’t had time to get out, not without the mob boss seeing him.
At least he figured out who was responsible for it.
But now, Tim was right above Penguin and Freeze, the latter had arrived a few minutes after the other and was negotiating the shipments with Penguin. He was recording everything for the last twenty minutes, hearing both bad guys mostly threaten each other until they finally said something useful.
Apparently, there was a third negotiator, and they weren't really happy about them being late.
Tim was screwed.
Don't get him wrong, finding out who that person or creature was would be truly interesting, but that also meant another villain to kill him on sight.
Looking between Penguin and Freeze, he thought about the reasons both were there. They didn't normally work together, they didn't even deal with the same things or were on the same threat level. Plus, they were more likely to kill each other.
But if they were doing business, that meant they had something the other wanted. And so did the third negotiator.
Who could that be?
Damn, he would have to leave it to Hood.
Tim observed things heat up as Penguin continued to mock Freeze, who wasn’t staying so cold anymore.
Yeah, he made a bad pun, but he blamed the lack of sleep.
However, he couldn't stay there; one look at the ceiling and he would be found out.
He had already risked too much until now, and he wasn't in a good state for a fight. He was feeling fatigue and dizziness, probably because he was on stage four already. Which meant the next stage was hallucination.
Shit. After this, he would make sure to sleep at least six hours in his cold apartment.
Torture, but better than seeing his dead best friend around.
Tim put the recorder and camera on the steel beam he was perched on, connecting them to Oracle's network to activate them when he left the warehouse.
He wouldn't like to get scolded right now.
Carefully grabbing the closest steel beam and passing to the other side, he glanced down to check if anyone saw him; but that wasn't the case.
Tim continued to pass from beam to beam, using some movements Dick taught him and smiling bitterly. He missed those old days, at least back then he had the delusion that they truly cared about him.
It was fine they didn't. He was truly unbearable, and they had bigger concerns; they had each other. And Tim could never get in the middle of it just because he was selfish.
He snapped out of his thoughts when he was just a few meters from the window. But the next beam he grabbed, which was rusty, broke from the base in a matter of seconds.
Tim gasped as he fell towards the ground, having a few seconds to shoot his grapple gun and prevent himself from hitting the floor only by a few inches.
That was close. He thought in relief and tiredness when he looked to the ceiling, not wanting to live through that experience Damian had caused him again.
But then when Penguin, Freeze and their henchmen entered his line of sight, Tim truly realized what had happened.
"Hey guys. Sorry to interrupt you but you can continue without me. I'm on my way." He said with a clumsy smirk and released the cable that held him, entering a fighting position.
But before he could act, Penguin used his umbrella to shoot a projectile right towards his hurt shoulder. Tim tried to deflect but he was too slow, his body didn't respond to his mind as quickly.
He could only growl in pain when his stitches opened and he lost his balance for a moment, enough for Freeze to get too close.
Things were going wrong too fast, even for his standards.
Tim struggled to give a sidekick to Freeze's arm, preventing him from using his freeze gun, then kicking his stomach. But he was too sloopy, he didn't hear the figure approaching him from behind until it was too late, and a gas bomb hit the ground near him.
He held his breath and tried to reach for his gas mask, but his distraction gave Freeze enough time to get his gun back and shoot him, causing his body to freeze from the neck down.
He felt the lack of oxygen start to hit him as the seconds passed, not being able to hold his breath as long as normally because of his fatigue.
Tim gasped, the gas immediately entering through his nose and mouth and making him realize something as the panic and fear infiltrated his mind.
It was the fear gas.
Scarecrow was the third negotiator.
But he didn't have time to totally feel the effects, because he heard Penguin's mocking voice getting closer, "Look what we got here." Before his consciousness went black, a last thought crossed his mind.
Why was Scarecrow the third negotiator?
Tim started to slowly wake up, instantly regretting it.
Dammit, it was cold.
He trembled and shivered, rolling to the side and trying to move his hands, but realizing they were tied behind his back.
Tim growled and opened his eyes, feeling a numb pain throughout his body and remembering what had happened.
The warehouse. The villains. His fall. The gas fear.
He controlled his breath and looked around, trying to not enter in panic. It was okay, he could make it.
Tim reached out for the antidotes in the back of his belt, feeling that one had broken and struggling against the bonds to find the other as he looked around, waiting for the moment the hallucinations would begin.
He didn't want to see his worst fears, to sense what it was like to have his family treating him like he deserved and doing what he knew all that time they wanted to do.
It was a recurrent nightmare in the last months and he just couldn't.
Finally, Tim was able to grab the other - that luckily wasn't broken like the first one - and reminding one of the first lessons Bruce taught him.
Always carry two antidotes.
He squirmed his body to the side, clenching his teeth because of how his wrists burned from the bounds scratching his skin but not giving up until he injected the antidote in his arm.
"Argh" Tim grunted but sighed in relief and rested his forehead on the freezing metal ground, taking some seconds to recover.
That was close.
He lifted his head and looked around, analyzing the environment. He was in a cage, that was obvious.
But it was clearly a frozen metal cage, with an ice layer on all the surfaces, including below him. Which meant that from the three villains, Freeze got him, and he was probably in his lab.
He didn't know how they decided which of them would have him, but he was glad that it wasn't Scarecrow but a bit offended that it wasn't Penguin.
Through now, Tim had to focus on getting out of there, because apparently passing out didn't count as sleeping and his body still felt like shit even when he barely could feel anything but cold.
That was worrying.
He would have to find out why the three were negotiating later.
But before he could think of anything, he heard the noise of gunshots, gasping and breathing hard. There were three possibilities: first, another criminal or villain was attacking Freeze's lab. Second, the police broke into it. Third, the worst and better one, Hood was there.
There was only one vigilant that used guns in Gotham, and Freeze's lab was also in Hood's area, so that possibility was starting to get more real.
The gunshots got louder and louder, causing Tim to drag himself to the corner of the cage and try to get rid of the bounds again, but they were too tight and he was too weak to break them.
Giving up for now, he observed through the bars. It was dark in the room the cage was and he was barely able to see himself and some boxes outside of it, but he still prepared himself for all the possibilities.
If it was really Hood, it was either possible that he would get beaten and then killed, or get beaten and delivered to Bruce. He didn't like any of the options, but he preferred to stay alive.
Soon, he would find out because suddenly, the gunshot noises stopped. He heard steps getting closer to his position, clenching his teeth and rising, Tim ignored the blood dripping from his shoulder and his pain as he stood in a fighting position.
Or the best way he could with his arms behind his back.
"Hey, Replacement." A cold, mechanized voice greeted him before Hood appeared in front of the bars, his two guns in his hands.
"Hood," Tim greeted him back, trying to act chill but swallowing when he remembered that day in the Titan's Tower.
"You seem to be stuck in that cage, little bird. Do you want a hand?" Hood asked mockingly, leaning on the bars.
Tim could have said yes, because of course he needed help. But there was something off about Hood, something that made his heart beat faster and his instincts tell him to run away.
More than normally.
"No, I'm fine. You can leave." Tim said acidly, shrinking but not backing away when Hood started laughing and then suddenly hit the bars with his fists.
"Batman told me it wouldn't be that easy to get rid of you, but if it was, then where would be the fun of it?" Hood questioned rhetorically, causing Tim's brain to freeze.
No, it couldn't be.
It couldn't be real.
It was just a nightmare.
"What?" He asked in sheer shock.
"Oh, c'mon. Aren't you a genius, Replacement? You should have seen it coming." Hood sneered and tilted his head, and he could imagine the smirk on his face even though he couldn't see it as the vigilante continued.
"I'm here to kill you, Timbo, this time for real." Hood declared and giggled cruelly, putting one of his guns in its holster and taking a key from his pocket. He started to open the cage as Tim felt like his head was under the water.
It was happening. His family finally got tired of him, and decided to kill him off.
Tim always relied on the fact that he was useful. He could not be loved, not be a true part of the family, not when he forced his way into it.
He was just a stand in for Bruce. And that was okay, he always knew that and he already had a family, doesn't matter how bad Janet hit him or Jack ignored him.
But he was useful.
Not enough for them to want him around for too long, not even as a Robin, but he still brought something to the table.
He was intelligent and did his job well, both in the Wayne Enterprise and as Red Robin. He also saved Bruce when nobody believed in him.
Of course, after he came back, Bruce almost never talked to him and didn't invite him for anything. Dick did all of that before but after that day he gave Robin to Damian, he was too busy with the brat kid so it made sense that he stopped after everything.
Tim got it. He truly did.
Dick was the first Robin, that mantle was his first, which meant he had the right to take it from him and give to someone that would do the job better.
It hurt, but it was reality.
Looking back, Tim realized he should have expected it.
The weight of reality finally hit him when Hood entered the cage.
"You don't have to do that, Jason. Please," Tim wasn't one for begging, but he felt the despair and fear start to crumble into his heart as his nightmare came true.
"Oh no, I have to, Replacement. Dadbats asked me to do so, in any way I wanted to. I just can't lose that opportunity," Hood said and shrugged, approaching him, "Now, come here, little bird. Let's play."
No, no. Tim wouldn't go down without a fight.
Even for his family.
"No, stay away from me. Don't!" He shouted and kicked Hood's hand with the gun, then hitting the palm of his feet in his chest and throwing him on the bars before falling on his back on the ground.
Tim growled when a twinge pain came from his shoulder, ignoring it and starting to get up. But he breathed quickly and felt the panic infiltrate his mind when Hood recovered from the shock.
"You little shit!" Hood cursed, fury dripping from his voice. Tim didn't know what was happening to him, but he lost his balance and fell on his butt, trying to kick Hood again but missing his face.
"Stop, Jason. No, please," Tim begged and struggled to drag himself from the wall on his belly, away from Hood. But he was stopped by the hand holding his ankle, trying to kick Hood again with his other leg, but it was useless.
And then he heard it before he felt it. The crack of a bone breaking.
His right leg.
"Aaaaahhhhh, fuck!!!" He screamed in agony, clenching his teeth, his vision turning white for a moment and black spots appearing after it.
That was it.
He would die there, his death ordered by his own family. Tim would die by the hands of his Robin, his brother. Because it didn't matter what the pit turned him into or how much he hurt him, Jason would always be it for him.
He didn't have time to try anything else because then Hood held his hair and pushed his head to the side, causing him to moan in pain.
"Nighty-night, Timbo" Hood chuckled mockingly.
It was the last thing he heard before he felt a needle pierce his neck, his consciousness being swallowed by the dark soon after.