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Fic: Trapped Chapter 8

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 Chapter Seven

Dick doesn’t know what to do. He’s always known that the Lazarus Pit has adverse effects, but knowing that could never have prepared him for what happened with Tim. He still can’t get the boy’s screams out of his head. He replays them constantly, knowing he can never atone for any of this. The sight of his brother thrashing in his arms while screaming himself hoarse with accusations of betrayal and murder will always be one of Dick’s worst nightmares. He can’t close his eyes for a single second without seeing it all over again, and wishing it had never happened in the first place.

They’ve been looking for Tim for over a week with absolutely no success. Talia is even helping them. Dick doesn’t have a single clue as to why, but, if the way that she keeps glancing at Jason whenever they’re in the same room is any indication, it certainly has something to do with it, and Dick’s sure that no good can come from this. He knows there’s something more to Jason’s and Talia’s past, but Dick honestly isn’t sure if he wants to know what, exactly. The only thing that he’s certain of right now is that he wants to find his little brother, no matter how hopeless that search may seem to be right now.

He hears the sound of a key scraping the lock just before Jason shuffles into the motel room they’re staying in, and flops onto the bed next to Dick. This place is old and run down, made obvious by the fact that they still use real metal keys, as opposed to the electronic keys that Dick is used to. The room is little more than four walls and two beds, but it serves their purpose. After all, they mostly use it as a place to crash in between bouts of trying to track down Tim. “I swear, if that woman is secretly hiding Tim somewhere, I will rip her damn throat out.”

Dick’s gotten used to the threat by now, but the imagery doesn’t help his mood any. Jason hasn’t felt the need to curb his anger or his swearing since Tim’s been missing, and it’s only gotten worse with time. “How’d your meeting with Talia go?”

Jason shrugs, face buried into a pillow so that Dick has to struggle to make out the words. “Y’know, same as always. Had to restrain myself from putting a knife through her hand when she touched me, and she hasn’t heard anything, and none of her sources -- which we all know are just her fucking ninja, so she could just fucking say that -- have found any trace of him.”

Dick isn’t sure why he bothered to ask. It’s always the same. Along with Tim’s memory, all of his training returned, and, thanks to the pit, he’s regained all of his former strength. That was evident when he was struggling out of Dick’s arms before he ran away. It’s apparent that he doesn’t want to be found, and Dick can’t blame him. They should have thought this through more…they should have been better prepared…they…they probably shouldn’t have brought him back at all. Dick knows it was selfish…knows that, had he been thinking clearly, he would have refused, but he wasn’t, and now they’re here. There is no doubt in his mind that this is fault and all because he couldn’t let his little brother go…not again.

Jason suddenly kicks him sharply in the leg. “I can hear you brooding all the way over here. Stop it. We’re going to find him.”

Dick shakes his head before dropping his head into his hands. “He doesn’t want to be found, and why should he? We killed him. I…I killed him. I killed my little brother.”

Jason immediately gets to his knees and punches Dick as hard as he can, causing Dick’s arm to go numb. “We didn’t have a choice, okay? We…we did what we had to, and if he wasn’t full of pit rage he’d see that. I promise we will find him, we will bring him home, and we will find some way to deal with all of this.”

Dick nods and tries to focus on finding Tim. It’s really all he has right now. “So, if you’re a Bat trained vigilante, dealing with the aftereffects of the Lazarus Pit, and you think your family has betrayed you, where do you go?” Dick suddenly turns to face Jason. “Where did you go?” It’s probably the worst question to ask, and Dick almost wants to tell Jason that he doesn’t have to answer, but Jason is the closest thing they have to a lead. Tim’s tracks led into the trees before vanishing, and while it was evident that he had climbed the trees to keep from leaving more soggy footprints, he did a damn good job of disappearing.

Jason shifts, looking extremely uncomfortable with the subject. “It was an entirely different scenario, Dick. I had spent quite a bit of time not even knowing my own name before I was dumped into the pit, and when I came out of it, I was lost and confused. Talia was there, and, unlike Tim, I didn’t run away, because all I wanted was for someone to make things make sense again.”

Dick nods once again, trying to keep from reacting the way he wants to at Jason’s story…trying to stop himself from reaching out and gathering Jason into a hug. He knows that isn’t what Jason needs…not now. “Okay, so what if it’s not actually all that different?”

Jason’s eyes narrow out of confusion. “What do you mean?”

“What if that’s what Tim is looking for, too…some way to make it all make sense again? He’s not the type of person to run towards people when he’s distressed. In fact, he does the opposite. He runs away, so what if that’s what he’s doing now?”

Jason shrugs in an indulgent way. “Okay, so what if he is? You know him better than I do. Where would he go? What would he run towards?”

Dick sits for a long moment, trying to come up with something, but he can’t think of anything that Tim has ever run towards -- with the exception of Robin. He gets to his feet and starts pacing before flipping into a headstand and resuming his pacing on his hands. He feels like such an utter failure. Surely, he should be able to come up with something that would make his little brother feel safe and whole again -- something that would be the boy’s lifeline -- but all that he keeps coming back to is Robin. “I have no idea.”

They’re both quiet for a time before Jason nudges him with his foot when he comes close to the bed. “So, where would he go when Bruce was being an insane prick?”

“Bruce wasn’t…” Dick starts, but Jason cuts him off.

“Look, you loved him and you don’t like speaking ill of the dead, and that’s fine and great and all, but come on. That man could be a bastard, and you know it. Hell, you ran all the way to Bludhaven and then New York to get away from him, so where would Tim go?”

Dick merely shrugs. “I don’t know. Me, I guess. I mean, when he wasn’t out running around, blowing off steam as Robin or hanging with the Titans, he would come to Bludhaven or New York and we’d hang out; but a lot of the time I would have to drag him out there, you know? He’d just hole up somewhere, usually his room, and drown in all of his insecurities. He was so afraid of being a burden.”

Jason hums in thought for a long moment. “What’s the likelihood that he’s made his way back to Gotham?”

Dick flips back to his feet, and shakes his head. He doesn’t know the answer to that. He isn’t even sure if Gotham is somewhere Tim would want to be; if he still considers it his home. “I don’t know. What’s the probability of someone in Tim’s current state being able to get a flight from here back to Gotham? I mean, he was in nothing but an oversized t-shirt with no identification on him, and sure, that certainly wouldn’t stop any Robin, but he’s not exactly himself at this precise moment, right? That’s gotta count for something.”

Jason shrugs. “I don’t know how much the pit messed with him. I assume it’s different for everyone, and it’s not like we have much to go on. We already know none of the locals have seen anyone matching his description, but again, any Robin would be able to stay hidden if they needed or wanted to do so.”

“Tim more so than any of us. He’s spent his entire life being unassuming, and I doubt a bout of pit rage could change that -- unless, you think otherwise. I mean, you’ve been through this before, right?” Dick really doesn’t like bringing up Jason’s return and subsequent dip in the Lazarus Pit, and he’s sure Jason doesn’t appreciate it anymore than he does, but Dick’s at his wits’ end and doesn’t have any other leads.

Jason sighs. It’s a sound of bone-weary exhaustion, and yet, so much more. “It’s incomparable, Dick. My rage was fueled by so much: the lack of being avenged, being replaced, feeling like I had no place on this earth and should have stayed dead. It was a mess. I was a mess -- and Tim, Tim isn’t the same as I was. He’s never been the same as me. This entire situation is contradistinctive. Tim doesn’t feel replaced.”

Dick heaves a large breath as he sinks back down onto the bed. “No, he feels betrayed. He feels like we killed him -- because we did.”

Jason punches him again. This time far less intensely, as though Jason has lost his strength during this conversation. “Look, there’s nothing we can do about that. All we can do is find Tim, and…”

“And what? He’ll never trust us again -- never trust me again -- and he’s right not to. We… I…”

Jason kicks him again, right in Dick’s bad knee, as hard as he can. Dick has to suck in a breath and hold it to keep from crying out at the spark of pain that shoots through his entire leg. “That’s enough! We did what we had to, and I will continue to tell you that until you fucking get it. We didn’t have any other fucking option. Now, I’m going out to look for him again.” Jason gets up and grabs his jacket. “Are you fucking coming?”

Dick stretches out his leg a few times to make sure everything is still working, and then slowly gets to his feet. He gradually puts pressure on his now reinjured leg to confirm that it can withstand the weight. When his knee doesn’t give out on him, Dick nods. “Yeah, I’m coming.”

Jason throws open the motel room door as he glances back over his shoulder at Dick. “Good, and if I hear another god damn word out of you, I’m going to kick your ass. Got it?”

Dick gives him a tiny smile. “Got it, and thanks, Jay.”

Jason huffs out a breath. “Yeah, whatever.”

Dick is so happy that he has Jason. He knows that he would be completely lost without him, instead of just mostly lost. He takes a deep breath and tries to focus on their task. Dick has to believe that Jason is right -- that they will find Tim and they will find a way to make this right. He doesn’t have any other choice.

The End (for now)