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Fic: Trapped Chapter 7

Title: Trapped
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: He can't speak, can't call out--can't even move. He tries anyway; it doesn't work.
Thanks to Kathy for beta work.
Previous Chapters: Chapter one  Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six

He awakes, choking and drowning. The putrid liquid is filling his nose and mouth, and all he can see is green. He doesn't even know where he is or how he got here, but he knows that this isn't good. He has to get out...has to get away from the chartreuse-colored fluid that is slowly invading what feels like his entire being. It smells like death and decay, and no matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to expel all of it from his lungs. He's fighting to get to the surface, but it feels as though the more he thrashes, the further he sinks into the murky green pool. He needs to escape...he knows that he needs to escape, but he can't seem to find any purchase.

There are flashes of memories he barely understands, and pain is lancing it's way through his entire body. He tries to scream, but instead of an outlet for his rage, sorrow, and agony, there is only a gurgling sound as more of the foul water surges into his mouth. He feels himself sinking lower into this pit, and he remembers.

It starts with an embrace--short, but firm, warm and happy, if only for a moment. It's the best that he's ever felt, but the moment of contentment quickly shifts into grief and pain as he watches two people he's only just met, but realizes are better than any he's ever known, fall. Their bodies lie on the ground, twisted and broken, and it feels as though the world has lost something truly precious. There's sorrow for a long time, which slowly moves into loneliness. He remembers feeling so isolated...so abandoned as he watches the retreating forms of his own parents, leaving on another business trip--but there's a spark of hope and joy, for he'll be able to move freely to watch--he's always watching...has spent his entire life watching--his two favorite heroes.

There are snapshots that mean more than anything in the world, and cold nights filled with disappointment at missing the most important people he'll ever know. There's the awe and excitement of learning the greatest secret that he'll ever discover, and then the dread of realizing that there's another standing beside Batman. It takes time to warm to the idea of a new Robin, but he's just as excited to see this one as the first. That changes, though, and again he's left with nothing but anguish and mourning. It doesn't last long, however, before it's replaced by the fear that his hero will never recover.

His memories shift into long days and even longer nights. Training that feels as though it will never end, and the constant worry of never being good enough and perpetually failing, but that eases slowly as he gains confidence. For the first time in his life, he means something to the people around him, and it's a feeling that he's not used to, but never wishes to give up. The first night that he stands on a rooftop dressed in his own Robin suit, he feels apprehension, but mostly pride and joy. He doesn't believe that his life will ever be better than this moment, and, to a certain extent, he's right.

There's more pain, more sorrow, and more death as he begins losing the people he holds dear, but he still has his adopted family to help him through it. He has a brother who loves him, a father figure who, despite his emotional distance, tries his best, and a grandfather figure who always seems to know what to say. And then one of his idols tries to kill him, but Tim understands it. Jason believes he was replaced. He's wrong, and Tim has the conviction to prove that to him, but before he gets a chance, everything changes.

There's a man standing over him--a man with a grotesque smile that stretches unnaturally across his face. He's laughing manically, and the sound makes Tim shiver. He knows that The Joker is most likely going to kill him. The man has already shot out both of his knees, and the beating he's taken has left him with little strength. His vision is blurring, and he's going to pass out from blood loss soon, but before he can, there's glass raining down upon him, and then Jason is standing in front of him screaming about how he refuses to let another Robin die. The Joker has a gun, but so does Jason. There are two shots fired, and Tim can feel the insurmountable pain as a bullet tears through Tim's brain. He registers Joker's lifeless body hitting the ground before everything goes dark.

There are endless days of lying in a hospital bed with people visiting at what seems like random intervals, but as the years pass the visitors become fewer and fewer until there is only one. It seems hopeless, and there are times when Tim honestly wishes for an end, but he keeps trying to communicate, and just when he feels as though it might be time to give up completely, something glorious happens. In addition to having a new visitor, he gains the ability to communicate. It's not much, but it's something, and Tim honestly doesn't remember feeling so relieved.

And then there is fear...the most intense and greatest bone-chilling fear that he has ever felt. He can't move, and he's sure that if he could he'd be shaking. They're going to kill him. His family--the only people he knows--is going to kill him, and there's nothing that he can do. He can't even scream. The man who, it seems has always, called himself his brother is hugging him and promising him that it will all be okay; but how on earth can it be alright when they are killing him? He can hear the screeching sound of each machine slowly being disconnected and then shut down. He's going to die, and he can't even scream his fury at them for betraying him like this.

He desperately tries to force air into his lungs, but he can't, and it hurts so damn bad. His lungs are burning from the lack of oxygen, and he knows that it would hurt less if he would just stop fighting, but he can't. It can't end this way. He won't allow it to--but he doesn't have a choice. All he can do is wonder why. Why they would do this to him after everything, and he knows that he'll never get an answer, because there's no way for him to voice his only question. He loved them. He knows that he loved them, which is why he can't figure out why they would do this to him now. He can feel himself fading, but he wants to continue fighting. Finally, after the longest struggle that he ever remembers, he slips into darkness and there is nothing.

He gasps as he finally breaks the surface. There are hands on him, pulling him free from the repugnant liquid and dragging him on to dry land. He's thrashing in their grasp, trying desperately to get away. He's clawing and kicking, but the hands are refusing to relinquish their hold on him. He can't figure out why they don't understand that he needs to get away. There's someone shushing him, and attempting to comfort him...trying to tell him that it's all going to be okay, and it's that same voice from before. He screams as loudly as he possibly can. He has to escape. He won't believe that voice. He won't listen to their lies. He knows that they are going to kill him again, but this time is different...this time he can fight. He won't let them hurt him...won't let them kill him...not again.

He breaks free from the hands and takes off running. He needs to find a way out, but there are too many people standing in his way. He fights just as he was taught...not by Batman...by Bruce, but the way that Shiva taught him, because right now that's the only thing that's going to save him. There are ninja everywhere, but he uses everything he knows to his advantage, and then he sees it...the mouth of the cavern, and he knows that he's found his way out.

He runs as fast as he can, and he's almost outside when he's suddenly slammed into from behind. There's someone holding him, but he continues struggling. “Baby bird, Tim, it's us. It's okay. We're here. We're going to help you.”

It's Jason. Jason who attacked him at Titan's Tower. Jason who saved him from The Joker. Jason who sat beside his bed and read books to him. Jason who condemned him to death. Tim doesn't realize he's stopped fighting until he feels Jason's arms wrap even more tightly around him, and he can't...he can't go back to those liars. He has to get away. He throws a punch and shoves Jason into a wall. He has to keep running. He makes it outside and is immediately blinded by the sun. It doesn't stop him. He ducks into the thick copse of trees and continues moving. He has to get away from the people who hurt him...the ones who killed him. He refuses to die again.

The End (for now)