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Title: A Displaced Red Robin
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Tim gets transported to the cartoon Young Justice world, and he's not sure he knows how to deal with it.
Thanks to Kathy for beta work.
Note: Since LJ is being weird, I had to split certain chapters into two parts.

Previous Chapters: Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Part 1

Tim puts his hand up for a signal, but before he can do more than make a sweeping motion with his hand he stops, realizing that Dick won’t know that particular gesture. It’s fairly new, and the thought actually halts Tim on the edge of the building for a moment. He hadn’t even been thinking about the signals he used earlier… not with how easily the two of them work side by side. He clears his throat, and it’s just as much to get Robin’s attention as it is to give himself a moment to collect himself. “You take the buyers. I’ll take the dealer.”

Dick nods once again, and they both leap off the building simultaneously. The fight is predictably short. There are two buyers, and Dick takes out the first one by landing on him, and then flips off of him to confront the second. It only takes him a kick and a punch, and the guy is down and out for the count, lying on the dirty pavement next to his comrade. As for Tim’s fight, the dealer takes a few more hits than either of Dick’s men, but it’s nothing Tim didn’t account for. He’s actually a little impressed that the dealer tries to fight back, but Tim merely ducks under a sloppy punch and kicks the guy into the brick wall behind him.

Tim’s bo staff is in his hand and pressed up against the man’s larynx before he’s managed to catch his breath from the kick. “We have some questions for you.” Tim isn’t used to doing this with so little information. He knows almost all of the dealers’ names back home, big time and small, and he likes to use their names against them. The lack of knowledge in this instance leaves him feeling rather unprepared. He ignores the feeling, however, and motions for Dick to take up the space beside him. “We’re looking for a woman.” Dick pulls up a picture of Catherine for the man to look at. “I have a feeling you saw her last Friday.”

The obvious recognition that flashes in the man’s eyes doesn’t go unnoticed by either of them, and Tim digs his bo staff just a little more into the man’s neck. “She bought something off of you. What was it and where did she go after purchasing it?”

The man glares at both of them. “Fuck you!”

Tim shakes his head and glances over to Dick. “Why is it they never want to do things the easy way?”

Dick smirks evilly. “Maybe they’re just all gluttons for punishment.”

Tim shrugs. “Mostly likely.” He gestures for Dick to move out of the way, and once he’s sure he won’t accidently clip the boy, Tim pulls his staff away from the man’s neck and uses it to sweep his feet out from under him. The man lands on the ground with a loud thud, and Tim drives his foot into the man’s gut. “Now, I believe I asked you a few questions.”

There’s a flash of panic in the man’s eyes as he desperately tries to get away, but Tim kicks him again and places his foot right under his chin this time. The amount of dread in the man’s expression makes Tim suddenly tense. It doesn’t fit this situation…not if Catherine just bought something standard off of him and left. Tim’s starting to feel uneasy about this entire encounter. “What did you sell her?” He has to know if it’s the product making the man so edgy, or something else.

Tim’s growl forces the man to stop and frantically look around, clearly searching for someone a bit taller and more bat-like. It takes Tim a moment to realize even Robin has frozen behind him. He ignores Dick for a moment to focus on the dealer still lying on the ground. He taps the man’s head with the side of his bo staff just hard enough to get his attention. “I want answers now!”

The man shakes his head, and it’s evident from his eyes that he’s trying to talk himself up towards some kind of decision. Tim hopes the man is just convincing himself to answer, because he really hates the courageous ones. “What’s it matter? The bitch is dead anyway.”

He can practically feel Robin shifting behind him, getting ready to do… something. Tim’s not entirely sure what. If it was Damian, Tim’s sure he’d be getting ready to pounce on the man and beat him until he was bloody, but Tim doesn’t have the knowledge base to anticipate Dick’s reaction for this particular situation. The lack of being able to predict Dick’s moves is odd. It feels like Tim has spent his entire life calculating Dick’s responses, and after spending weeks training the team, it seems like a gross oversight not to have this particular information. He holds out a hand and gestures for Dick to back off. He does so, but Tim can tell how reluctant he is and how apprehensive he is.

Tim glares down at the man in front of him. “What makes you so sure?”

The man laughs, suddenly emboldened by whatever he has to say, despite still lying on the ground with a boot to his throat. “’Cause I did it. I killed her and dumped her body in the dumpster down the block. Bitch didn’t wanna pay, and now…”

Tim doesn’t even think about what he’s doing as he swings his bo staff down across the man’s temple, effectively knocking him out. He just couldn’t stand to listen to the man anymore. This is the worst case scenario that he’s been trying all night not to consider. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do. There are too many variables and not enough information for him to know his next move. It isn’t until he feels Dick’s hand on his shoulder that Tim realizes he’s just been standing in the same spot, foot still jammed under the dealer’s chin, unmoving for however long it’s been. Dick pulls him back and away from the man. “I called the cops. We should get moving.”

Tim still isn’t thinking about anything beyond making his feet move. They make their way to the roof, and Tim has to almost physically force himself to stay standing. Dick is just standing beside him, undoubtedly confused by his reaction. “Why are you so…?” Dick trails off as he gestures at Tim in general. “I mean, no offense, but this can’t be the first time a missing person case has ended this way for you, so…”

Tim could lie. He could tell him that it’s just because he’s never had to tell a kid that his mother is dead before, but he just doesn’t have it in him right now…not while he’s still trying to figure out how he’s going to approach Jason. He knows the kid well enough to know that if he isn’t careful, Jason will run, and then they’ll have to find him, and there are still far too many possibilities and not enough cold hard facts for Tim to work with. He shakes his head, trying to clear it and focuses on Dick for right now. “It’s complicated.”

Dick’s eyes suddenly narrow as he pushes Tim hard enough that, if Tim hadn’t seen it coming, he would have stumbled off of the roof. “How could it possibly be complicated? You don’t even know this woman. You told me you only met that Jason kid last week because you saved him from The Joker, so why is it complicated?”

Tim has an overwhelming urge to rub his temples and sigh, but instead he folds his arms over his chest and stands taller. “Now isn’t the time, Robin. We have to…”

Dick shoves him again, and this time Tim does stumble, but he manages to catch himself before he tumbles over the side of the roof. “I’m not going anywhere until you start giving me some answers.”

Tim pinches the bridge of his nose. “Fine, but can we at least move to a different rooftop? The cops should be here any minute.”

Dick nods and the two of them take off, with Dick leading the way. Tim doesn’t know why he’s suddenly so tense, but he has a feeling that he’s not going to like wherever this night is headed. When the two of them are well over a block away from the apartment complex, Dick suddenly stops and spins around to face Tim with a sneer on his face. Once again, Tim finds himself near the edge of the roof, and he doesn’t like it. “I can tell that there’s a lot that you’re leaving out. Every time you mention your Dick you get this weird, faraway, pained look, even when you’re telling me how great of a brother he is, so, obviously, he’s not that awesome. When you said you were close, I saw your face. I saw how blank it got. It was just like when you said you were thinking of home, and you shouldn’t look that way when you’re thinking of home or your brother… not… not if it’s good. So, it wasn’t true, was it? You two aren’t really close at all, and… and everything you said is a lie!” Dick’s seething, hands balled into tight fists and Tim isn’t sure what to do. He didn’t see this coming, although he guesses that he probably should have.

Tim shakes his head and takes a tactical step away from the edge of the roof. “I didn’t lie to you about any of that. We are close and he is a great brother, but things have changed recently. We’ve been distant with each other, due to a multitude of reasons that really have nothing to do with this. My issues with him aren’t yours and I don’t have time to deal with this right now.”

Dick sighs heavily as his shoulders slump inward. “Because we have to go tell Jason the news.”

“No!” without even thinking Tim pulls out his bo staff, and blocks Dick’s exist.

Dick’s brow furrows at the sudden response. “What do you mean, ‘no’?”

Tim heaves a large breath and holds it for the entire time that it takes to put his bo staff away, and then he releases it slowly as he brings his hands up in a mollifying gesture. “We can’t tell Jason about his mother… not yet… not until I come up with a viable option.”

Dick raises an eyebrow at him, evidently perplexed. “Viable option for what? What are you talking about?”

Tim wants to answer him, but he’s already lost in his own thoughts. He doesn’t notice at first when he starts pacing the length of the rooftop, but the movement makes him feel better. It gives his body something to do, while his mind races, trying to work out a practical solution. If he wasn’t so caught up in trying to find the best resolution for a no-win situation, Tim would probably laugh at how he’s seemingly picked up his Dick’s bad behavior. It isn’t until he feels two hands wrap around his arms and shake him that Tim realizes he’s been completely ignoring Dick. “Would you just stop and answer me? Please!”

The desperation in Dick’s voice is what finally gets Tim to stop and take another deep breath to calm himself before he faces Dick, who looks as though he’s about two seconds away from trying to knock Tim out. “We can’t just tell Jason about his mother without a reasonable plan of action.”

Dick’s mask does nothing to hide his widening eyes and his mouth just hangs open for a good minute before he’s shaking Tim again. “What are you talking about? That isn’t our problem. The Gotham Youth Services will find any other family he has or place him in foster care. Surely, these things work the same in your own Gotham.”

Tim shakes his head as he pulls away from Dick’s grasp. He immediately starts pacing again. “You don’t understand. Jason doesn’t have anyone else and he doesn’t trust the system. If we walk in there without a viable option for him, he’ll run, and then…”

“How do you know that?” Tim stops pacing at the interruption, but it’s the harsh betrayal that he hears in Dick’s voice that causes him to freeze all over. “How do you know what he’ll do or what kind of kid he is? How do you know he doesn’t have any other family? How do you know anything about him? You said… you said you only met him because you saved him. So, what is it? What did you see that I didn’t? What did I miss? What was there that I just overlooked? What… what makes you better than me? Is it because you’re so much like Batman? Is that what makes you better? You think like him. You act like him. You even have the same damn facial expressions. Is that why he likes you more?”

Tim doesn’t know what to say to any of that. He feels like a fish out of water -- one who just realized he isn’t going to be kept as a pet, after all. He didn’t foresee how protecting Dick from certain aspects of his home would somehow kick Dick’s insecurities into overdrive, and he certainly doesn’t know what to do about it. He’s never had to deal with an under confident Dick Grayson, at least not when it came to his relationship with Bruce. He knows that it happen, and that Dick didn’t always have faith in his place beside Bruce… beside Batman, but that was a long time ago. Tim’s sure Alfred helped him with that a lot back then, but Tim doesn’t have any idea what he’s supposed to do without some Alfred level magic and cookies here. “You didn’t miss anything. I promise you didn’t miss anything, and Batman doesn’t like me more than you. He just sees my potential and usefulness. That’s all it is.”

Dick just stares at him incredulously. “Then how do you know so much?”

Tim sighs heavily and resigns himself to having to reveal at least a few things. “Because I know the Jason Todd of my world.”

Dick’s eyes widen once again. “How… how do you know him?”

Tim rubs his temples and tries to think of the best way to put it. “He’s technically our adopted brother.”

Tim is expecting Dick to jump on his wording and start asking a multitude of questions that he most likely doesn’t have the answers to. Instead, he gets a very excited Dick jumping up down. “Okay, problem solved. We just tell Batman who Jason is and that he has to adopt him, and I get a little brother and…”

Tim holds up his hand to stop Dick. “No, we can’t. It…it doesn’t work that way.”

Dick stops immediately and petulantly folds his arms over his chest. “Why not?”

Tim sighs heavily and glances down at the ground. This conversation was never part of his plan, and he’s not really sure how he managed to get himself ensnared in it. “Because I’m not even sure if B should adopt Jason.”

Dick’s stares at him in astonishment, and backs away from him. “What? How could you say that? He’s your brother.”

Tim shakes his head as he takes a step towards Dick, trying and failing to calm him. “You don’t understand. There’s a reason I said that he’s technically our brother. You’re just going to have to trust me. Jason being adopted by B may, in fact, be the worst thing for him.”

“No, no, I don’t trust you. I can’t trust you. I don’t understand how you could possibly think that. What could have possibly happened to make you think…?”

“Jason died, Dick. The Joker killed him after B adopted him.” He didn’t mean to say that, and he certainly didn’t mean to use Dick’s name out of costume, but it’s better that he understands the full ramifications of things now.

Dick just stares at him, clearly not believing a word of it, but after a long moment Dick’s shoulders drop and he glances up at Tim with the most lost expression Tim’s ever seen. “What do we do then? What do we do with Jason?”

Tim merely shakes his head. He was never prepared for any of this, and he doesn’t have any answers. “I wish I knew, Robin. I really do.”

The End (for now)

Comments

brokaw22
Jul. 20th, 2014 04:11 am (UTC)
Poor Tim is going to have deep wrinkles before he's 20, assuming he lives that long.