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Fic: Trapped Chapter 9

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 Chapter Eight

Jason’s exhausted when they finally get off of the plane, and Dick doesn’t look that much better. They could probably both sleep for a week straight, and still be tired. They spent weeks searching for Tim before Jason finally, after a fairly lengthy discussion, convinced Dick that Tim had probably found his way back by now. After all, Gotham is important to Tim. It always has been -- even Jason knows that. Tim loves Gotham. He believes in the city much the same way that Bruce did, and more importantly, Tim has always found his way back to Gotham, or at least that’s what Dick said. So, Gotham is where they are -- not that Jason actually believes that they’re going to find Tim here. The city is massive, and he’s not counting on their extensive knowledge of the place to work in their favor at all…not when Tim has the same extensive knowledge and the will to hide.

Not to mention, if Jason were truly honest with himself, he would have to admit that he actually has no idea if Tim would still return to Gotham. Not now that Tim knows most of his family is dead and what’s left of it has betrayed him. It doesn’t matter what Jason tells Dick, he knows that there’s no way to fix what they’ve done…no possible way for them to make up for everything, but he’s not giving up. He can’t give up…not after he promised that, no matter what, he’d stick this out. So, as the two of them slump next to each other in the taxi back to the manor, Jason keeps quiet and focuses solely on devising the best search grid to follow once they’ve settled in.

However, Jason doesn’t plan on doing a damn thing until they’ve both slept for at least six hours. He’s about to tell Dick such when the man suddenly pulls him into a hug. “Maybe we shouldn’t have left.”

Jason sighs. They’ve been over this more times than he can count. “Yeah, well, we’re here, so deal.”

Dick’s hold only tightens. “Do you think we’ll find him?”

“Yeah, we will.” His voice is filled with a conviction that Jason, quite frankly, doesn’t feel. He’s hoping that if he repeats himself enough, then they’ll both start to believe it. Jason doesn’t think that it’s likely, but at this point, lying and hoping are really all that he has. He doesn’t bother to push Dick away -- despite how much he wants to -- knowing that Dick needs the contact more than Jason needs to isolate himself. Jason’s also too damn worn-out to even pretend to go through their bickering and age-old fight, so instead, he busies himself with digging into his back pocket for the cash to pay the cabby. They’re still a fair distance from the manor, but having something to do with his hands makes Jason feel better, even if only slightly.

Dick only lets go once they arrive in front of the manor, and that probably has more to do with the fact that it’s physically impossible for them to get out of the vehicle with Dick’s arms still around Jason than anything else. Jason puts Dick in charge of grabbing their bags while he pays the taxi driver an exorbitant amount just to make the guy’s day a little better than theirs. They only have one bag each, so it’s not as though Dick can’t manage it. The two of them shuffle their way up the path leading to the front door, practically asleep on their feet.

There hasn’t been anyone to answer the door in years, which means there’s no one to shame Jason into taking off his boots or do anything more than just pass out wherever he feels like. The thought has Jason silently considering just flopping face first onto the couch in the den. There’s no reason for him to drag himself all the way up to the second floor to sleep, and the couch is just as comfortable as any bed. There’s a voice in his head that sounds distinctly like Alfred telling him it would be best to sleep in his own bed for various reasons, but Jason ignores it in favor of unlocking the door, fully intending to leave locking it and rearming the security codes to Dick.

However, Jason never gets that far, because the moment they’re both through the doorway, a knife goes flying towards his face, and it’s only his extensive training that has him rolling out of the way in time to avoid losing an eye. He grabs for the gun he always keeps on him, and turns to find black boots that lead up into what he can see of a black body suit with a grey utility belt fastened around the waist of a very feral-looking Tim, who’s glaring directly at him. Apparently, Tim’s been busy while Jason and Dick were wasting time looking for him. The boy has foregone a mask, cape, or any other distinguishing markings that are reminiscent of any other suits Jason has seen him wear. There are no symbols that affiliate him with anyone, and Tim’s armed to the teeth.

Jason recognizes the insane gleam in Tim’s eyes as the pit rage, which Jason knows from firsthand experience is always more justified than anyone ever thinks. That’s the danger of the pit, after all. It takes all of that vindicated anger, pain, and fear and turns it into something else entirely. It convinces the person that the things he would never have done before are a good idea…the only idea, and then…well, then, if the person is a former Robin, apparently he ends up attacking his family.

Jason doesn’t think talking to Tim will help, but he can understand why Dick tries. “Tim…Timmy…Timmers, it’s us. Stop this. Please, just stop this.”

The plea is evident in Dick’s voice and it seems to only enrage Tim more. He grabs another knife and throws it at Dick, who manages to dodge it rather sloppily, all things considered. Neither one of them has the energy for a drawn out battle, but Jason can’t see any other way for this to end. “I knew you’d come back here, eventually.” Tim’s eyes practically glow in the dark as he stalks towards them. “I knew you’d try to find me…try to convince me that you’re on my side, but I won’t let you…not this time. I thought about just wiring the place to blow, but then I wanted you to know that you can’t win this time. That I won’t die at your hands ever again, and that, for once, you’re at my mercy.”

Dick glances over to Jason with the most beseeching expression that Jason has ever seen on the other man’s face, but Jason doesn’t know what Dick wants from him. He doesn’t have any answers. Sure, he did the whole attack the family thing and he even planned out and executed a strategy to blow up the batmobile with Bruce in it, only to stop at the last moment when he realized that all he wanted was for Bruce to know who had finally gotten the better of him. However, Jason doesn’t think that it’s about that to Tim. After all, Jason didn’t blame his family for his death, and he’d be shocked if Tim didn’t, because…it was their fault. They killed him, and they deserve this…deserve whatever Tim has in store for them.

Jason believes that wholeheartedly, but he also believes that they can’t fix any of this if they’re dead. He doesn’t know how to fix any this, of course. Hell, he doesn’t know much of anything beyond stay alive, but he’s willing to try. The two of them dive out of the way as Tim attacks with two swords. He’s using every technique he’s ever been taught -- and not just by Bruce. Jason really wants to punch the person who gave Tim a fixation with eyes. Jason can tell that he’s playing with them, making them roll out of the way when he could be making them bleed and pay with pain. The boy knows how tired they are, and he has every intention of letting them use the rest of their energy, so he can easily execute whatever scheme he’s designed for them. Jason can see it in the way that the other man moves, and the taunting laughter every time he does manage to slice into their skin, leaving stripes of red seeping down their limbs.

This is all just a game to Tim. At least, this part of his plan is, and Jason’s not naïve enough to believe that Tim doesn’t have a long and eventually lethal plan for both Dick and him. He can see the intent in Tim’s eyes and knows it well from looking into his own every day in the bathroom mirror. It’s been years since Jason had that much rage flowing through him, but he remembers it all the same, and he knows without a doubt that there’s nothing Tim won’t do to win this…no technique he won’t utilize, which means that Jason really only has one move left.

He doesn’t want to do it…doesn’t want to hurt Tim any more than they already have, but Jason knows that he doesn’t have a choice. Tim has him backed into a corner, and there’s nothing else Dick or he can do. Jason either takes the only opening he has or they both end up dead. That knowledge, however, doesn’t make any of this better. Jason ducks behind a priceless vase that’s been there since he was a child living in the manor, waits for Tim to go after Dick with all the fury of someone who’s nothing but a ball of raw nerves, trying to make sense of why the people he loves killed him, and then Jason makes his move.

The moment Dick flips out of the way of one of Tim’s blades, Jason shoots Tim in the left shoulder. Tim yells out in both ire and pain as he drops the sword in his left hand, and spins around to attack Jason. Jason knew the shot wasn’t going to be enough to stop Tim, which is why he’s already launching the vase he was ducking behind at Tim. Tim slices through the vase with the sword he’s still holding, and Jason follows with an elbow to the face. Tim is only dazed for a moment, but it’s long enough to Jason to kick the blade away.

However, Jason pays for it dearly when Tim stabs him in the thigh with a boot knife. He was stupid for thinking the pain of the shoulder wound would stop Tim from using that hand, but Jason doesn’t really have time to worry about that. Tim gets to his feet and is stalking closer to him with a murderous glare that Jason has never before seen on the younger man’s face. Jason is starting to weigh the merits of putting a hole through Tim’s other shoulder when Dick -- who has spent the majority of this fight dodging and trying to get his little brother to see reason -- jumps on Tim’s back and gets him into a choke hold.

Jason dives for Tim, making sure that he can’t use his arms and tries to block out the sound of Dick’s voice as he whispers to Tim. “It’ll be okay. Don’t fight it. We’re sorry. We’re going to take care of you now. We’re so damn sorry, Timmy. None of this was supposed to happen. We still love you.”

Jason isn’t sure when Tim finally falls unconscious, but he knows it’s some time before Dick starts sobbing and stroking Tim’s hair as he rocks his still-bleeding baby brother in his arms. Jason leaves him there for a moment while he pulls off his shirt and uses it as a makeshift bandage for both his leg and Tim’s shoulder wound. “Come on, big bird. We better get him restrained and administer proper medical care before he wakes up.” Dick doesn’t budge and Jason merely sighs as he hoists Tim’s limp form into his arms. He really doesn’t know how they’re supposed to fix any of this at all.

The End (for now)