An hour ago, if somebody had told Jason that his night would get worse, he probably wouldn’t have believed them— it was bad enough already. He was back in Gotham (the second time since he’d crawled out of his own tomb), and he’d immediately run into one of the people he’d really, really been hoping to avoid.
“Oh,” the kid had said, “It’s you.”
That was all. He’d held his staff out warily too, which was reasonable, considering everything that had happened the last time the two of them had met. Honestly, Jason would have expected a stronger reaction. New kid was very calm.
Not so much anymore.
Fear toxin. Jason knew the feeling. He was fine, of course— safe underneath his helmet— but Drake didn’t have that kind of cover, and he’d gone down quickly. He was lying in the alleyway, twitching quietly, and Jason didn’t really know what to do about it.
It wasn’t his concern, was it? He didn’t ask Drake to show up. They weren’t working together— they’d met up completely by accident, chasing the same lead. This kind of thing happened sometimes; Lord knew Jason had been through enough of Crane’s fearscapes in his time.
Which was making it really hard to leave, even though that was absolutely what he should be doing. Running. Before Batman showed up.
“Dammit,” Jason muttered, bending over the other kid’s body. “Hey, listen— you gotta get back to the cave. I don’t have an antidote for this stuff. Can you walk?” Drake didn’t respond, so Jason reached out a hand, intending to shake him awake.
That did the trick— before Jason could make contact, the other kid pushed himself upright and dragged himself backwards, away from Jason and against the wall. He pulled his knees up to his chest.
“Don’t touch me.”
“Fine.” Jason could respect that. “Whatever. Go home. Can you make it by yourself?”
Drake’s eyes closed again— his hands, clasped around his legs, were shaking. Jason could hear him hyperventilating. He had about thirty seconds, Jason figured, before the hallucinations started, and that meant no, he couldn’t get home by himself. He wouldn’t be going anywhere.
“Alright,” he decided. “I’ve got a bike a few streets over. I can carry you to the—”
“I said no.” Drake was struggling to breathe now, shuddering with the effort of it. His eyes were wide behind his mask. He scooped up his staff from the asphalt and leveled it at Jason, forcing him a few steps back down the street.
“Get away from me.”
“I said get away!” He stared at Jason, past Jason, blankly. The nightmares had started— who knew what he was seeing now? It could be anything. In a hellpit like Gotham, there were infinite options.
But Jason needed to get him home, so he took a step forward and grabbed the end of the staff, trying to wrench it away. Drake didn’t take that well.
“No!” He yanked back his staff and then jabbed it at Jason’s chest. “I’m sorry, okay! I didn’t mean to— I didn’t—” He was still gasping for air. “I was just trying to help. You were dead! How was I supposed to know you would—?”
Oh, Jason though, he’s still talking to me. I’m in his fearscape. Great.
“I thought he needed—”
Jason pulled the staff away and threw it behind him, back towards the mouth of the alley. “Yeah yeah, you thought he needed you. I get it.”
“He needed you. Next best thing.” Drake threw his arms in front of his head, trying to shield his face. “Please don’t…”
Christ. “I’m not going to hurt you, okay? Just… stay there for a bit. I’m backing away now. See?” Jason retreated up the alley with his hands held out in front of him. Maybe that would make Drake feel better.
What was he supposed to do? He wouldn’t be able to take Drake home himself, not if he was going to fight like that the entire way. He didn’t have many options. He could leave— he probably should leave. The toxin would wear off eventually. With all of the confusion, the other kid might not even remember that Jason was actually there— he would be another hallucination.
Or. Jason pulled out his phone and stared at the empty screen. He could— Dammit. Dammit. Fine. He chose the lesser of two evils and dialed.
i. you wake up under the willow tree, your hands covered in red. must be strawberries. strange, though, how you can’t remember anything. stranger still, strawberries don’t grow this time of year.
ii. you watch the kudzu vines stretch out over roads, houses, trees. it can grow ten feet a day, they say. yet it always seems unable to cross over the churches’ holy grounds.
iii. there are so many abandoned houses. more unoccupied then lived in. a red x appear on your neighbor’s door. you shudder. they’re next.
iv. “grow up in the South, stay in the South”: the mantra is repeated over and over. no one ever seems to leave. you don’t know who’s guarding the borders or why they keep you here. you don’t ask questions.
v. smoke and the smell of roasted meat fill the air. someone’s having another bonfire. you ignore the screams.
vi. don’t take candy from strangers. a man in a red car appears in the street. obediently, you leave your house to visit him. returning his pointy smile and admiring his horns, you take the sweets he offers you. he ain’t no stranger.
vii. haint blue keeps the spirits away. all the houses are covered in it. the paint’s begun to chip on your house and you hurry to repair it. sun’s going down. the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. paint faster, paint faster, before it’s too late.
viii. you laugh with the girl who just stopped by the bar. nigh breathless, she speaks again. she slips and her real accent comes through. her face pales. the room goes quiet. all but the humming in your ears. outside, outsider, outsider. you step forward, butcher knife raised.
So I’m probably the last person anyone wants writing one of these cheesy things, but it’s about time I threw another one together regardless so sit tight!
After losing interest in a muse I played for three years followed by an entire year of blog hopping between fandoms, it’s honestly been awhile since I’ve poured this much time and effort into a single muse. Manjoume’s always been special in that ‘character you never really stopped obsessing over’ kind of way and, if I wouldn’t have been so intimated by the YGO fandom back in 2013 when I started, I probably would’ve been sittin’ on this blog waaay sooner.
Fast forward 5 years though and now I’m here! And even though the GX side of the fandom might not be huge, it’s been a blast knowing that so many of you are willing to put up with this sarcastic jerk and his irritating personality!
Thunder! (the mains / muses that’ve made an impact on manjoume so far)
Sojiro: but why do you guys want to talk to me? I’m not really part of this…
[While Coffee Dad might be confused as to why he was voted for because you’re awesome Coffee Dad he will make his appearance on July 23rd at 5pm EST! Questions will be accepted for an hour or two, and as many as possible will be answered during that time. (Some may end up on queue though, depending on how many questions are received. I was overwhelmed with Akechi wow) I hope you all look forward to it!]