59. “No one can hurt me like you can.” With Dick and Bruce?
you got it, cammio :3 looks like my prompters have a running theme. this is what i call, hey remember jersey’s terrible
59. “No one can hurt me like you can.”
Once, he’d sat with Jason, before he’d died, and said, “Someday, you’ll know when, you’ll be in the thick of it, right? And, suddenly, the things you need to get done are going to split. Your problems are going to double. You’re in a burning building, the structure is failing, there are still people who need to get out. Someone’s bleeding, but the perp is getting away.”
He’d pinned Jason - Robin, rather, because the only times he’d really talked to Jason, it had been mask-to-mask - with a look and said, “He’s going to look at you, and he’s going to tell you to go. Get out of here. Start running, and don’t look back. Your job is to ignore him. Not all robins fly south for the winter.”
He’d been so angry, back then - it was like someone had thrust needles filled with white-hot fire through his pores. The cruelest thing he’d done to Jason was also the one thing he could never bring himself to apologize for: he hadn’t trusted Jason, not with Bruce. He could never apologize for that. He would never try.
It sucked, he could imagine himself saying. But there are three people I truly trust with the man that raised me, and I’m at the top of that list. I made it hard on you. I’d do it again. You understand?
The warehouse was painted in shades of ash and ink and acid green from the streetlamp outside. Dick pressed his heel into the floorboards, and they creaked under the added weight. The only sign of Bruce was the flash of white lenses from the corner of the room, folded deep into the shadows as if he had been born into them. Dick’s finger tapped the emergency beacon attached to his comm.
“Hi,” Dick murmured, trying to pitch his voice as low and soft as possible. It would be harder for the toxin to corrupt, that way.
There was the slightest shift from the corner, but the two slits moved not a millimeter. It felt a bit like he was being judged, like his heart was being weighed against a feather. Dick knelt down, scooting only a bit closer - the light from outside cast the blue stripes running down his arms into an alien, minty color. “It’s just me.”
“You can’t be Jason.”
Dick closed his eyes. The pain of it spread through him, like someone had let loose a butterfly with broken glass wings in his chest. “It’s not. It’s Dick.”
“Whoever you are,” Bruce snarled, leaning far enough forward so Dick could just see the cut of of Batman’s silhouette, “wherever you hide. you can’t run from me.”
Bruce slithered out of the shadows. Dick was able to block the first few swings with ease. He’d known Bruce for so long he could often feel the way Bruce would move just before he did; he fought like a mammoth, an unstoppable force only ever moving forward. He was stacked for power, about four times as fast as he looked, and every hit landed with nothing less than absolute precision - kick in the teeth, hit to a nerve bundle, and it was that indomitable control that made him unnerving in a fight. What if, couldn’t help but float out of the haze of the fight, what would this look like if his temper wasn’t viciously reined.
The answer is that it would fucking hurt. Dick coughed, stumbling back and blocking a kick from Bruce’s left leg. Bruce took the opportunity to headbutt him, and Dick caught his head, kneeing him sharply in the spot he new the abdominal armor was weakest.
“Who are you,” Bruce roared. Dick rolled, and Bruce’s fist plunged into the wall, throwing up a cloud of dust. “What have you done to him!”
“I’m not Jason!” Dick shouted, but it was weak from the hits he’d taken. Dick just couldn’t bring himself to hit back hard enough. “I’m not, goddammit - he’s dead, Bruce!”
Bruce threw him to the ground, boot on his throat. “You killed him,” Bruce whispered, words like pearls on glass. “You killed him.”
Dick closed his eyes, focusing on forcing air through his throat. “B-B - “
“I would have given anything,” Bruce said, the leather caught in his curled fists creaking, “anything, anything to spare him that. My life. My parents’ lives. Anything. Of everything you could take - why him?”
Bruce was stumbling backward, then, and sweet air was rushing into his chest. Dick hocked up spit, bracing himself against the floorboards with his palms.
Bruce had backed up to the wall, and was curled against it. He pulled off the cowl, and was trying to suck in breath after breath after breath - when it failed to calm him down, he beat himself in the forehead with the flat of his palm.
Dick crawled over, lungs still shuddering, stomach still turning, and wrapped his hand around Bruce’s. The toxin was escalating fast. He didn’t have long before Bruce would be utterly beyond rational.
“C’mon, stop this,” Dick murmured.
Bruce was shuddering all over, starting to rock himself back and forth. His hand squeezed Dick’s until the bones creaked. “Jason. Jason.”
“He’s dead,” Dick whispered.
“You’re dead.” And then Bruce was pulling Dick tight against him, like sheer force would save him, fingers dancing at the edges of - invisible burns. Christ. “I killed you.”
You’d better hurry up, Tim, Dick thought.
“Loved you, Jay,” Bruce choked out, head bent against Dick’s. “Loved you. Son.”
Behind the lenses, Dick looked away, and for a moment, he was anywhere but here, in a rotting room with a rotting heart listening to the words - word - he’d always wanted to hear, but were not for him.
“No one can hurt me like you can,” Dick said, quietly, and he closed his eyes, letting Bruce rock him back and forth with increasingly frantic energy. Anything to be anywhere but here.