kat8cha: (Superheroes - bathugs!)
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Title: Association
Author: [livejournal.com profile] kat8cha
Fandom: DCU
Characters: Batfamily
Rating: PG-13 (language, oh Jason)
Summary: Tim is a smartypants, Babs is a grumbler, Dick is guilty, Damian could care less, Bruce is desperate and Jason is mainly not crazy.
A/N: For [livejournal.com profile] catyuy's [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic prompt. DCU, Jason Todd, Morrison Jason Todd (aka the crazy red head), Batfamily, Its "Anti Hero Jason" vs "Psycho Villian Jason". Who will win and at what point did each member of the Batfamily realize that PVJ was really not their Jason.

Tim watched the two figures circle each other in fog that would have been dramatic in a movie or a play, possibly created with the use of a fog machine. It is thick and heavy, the kind of fog that makes a driver turn on his brights and go slow, it is a typical Gotham fog. A brief gust clears enough of it that Tim can make out the two men circling each other, just enough to get a quick glimpse of their dissimilarities. Red hair, black hair, one with a red mask, one with none, spandex on one versus the leather jacket and body armor on the other. Two crooked knives. Then the fog drifts and Tim can't see again. He doesn't risk taking a step forward into the miasma to 'help', he knows well enough that his help would not be appreciated and he's sure that he'd only end up being used as a body shield.

"Red Robin," Bruce's voice in his ear, darker and gruffer than Dick's ever was or could be. "Report."

Tim takes a deep breath, the fog strange in his mouth and cold in his throat, and thinks back on how this all started.

--

"The fingerprints don't match." Tim was saying patiently, and Barbara can feel a headache blooming behind her eyeglasses. It seems like just a few months ago Tim was professing that Bruce was alive and now here he is with another cockamamie theory. But Tim had been right about Bruce, hadn't he been? And Babs can see it in Tim's eyes that he feels the same way about… this as he did about Bruce.

"Tim, you know that Jason doesn't have any fingerprints in the system." She doesn't quite have Firewall all put together yet and she's been busy. Too busy to worry about their family's black sheep.

"That's not what I'm talking about." Tim turns and Babs consoles come alive under his fingertips. "Look, I didn't even consider it before… I never bothered checking to see if his prints when he was booked as John Doe matched the prints that Bruce had in the BatComputer. They don't match, Babs."

They're not even all that different, Babs thinks as she looks at the computer, they're a seventy-five percent match, maybe eighty percent. Convictions have been made on less than that.

But they're not the police.

"Get me some DNA evidence, Tim."

--

Dick doesn’t like talking about Jason. There's a lot of reasons for this, he never liked Jason when the kid was Robin, and he'd always felt a little guilty about Jason's death and once he'd gotten his head out of his ass and stopped blaming Jason (don't blame the victim, Dick) he'd felt guilty about that, and his inability to be there for Bruce afterwards. He hadn't been there for Jason when he'd come back either (he'd been busy, Bludhaven… Bruce had handled it) and he hadn't been there for Jason after Infinite Crisis when Jason had actually tried to reach out to him.

Even if he'd done it badly.

He just… didn't like to talk about Jason.

"Babs, what am I looking at?"

"This," Babs brought up the comparison charts, the one with DNA extrapolations and fingerprints and body measurements, "is the Red Hood you put away earlier this year. And this," Bab brings another file to the forefront of her machines, "is the Red Hood from a few years ago."

"…" There's just enough of a difference for there to be a real difference between the two. "I knew he wasn't a natural redhead."

Babs smacks him hard.

--

Damian hung upside down in his bedroom, heavily wrapped in chains. The sun has yet to truly clear the horizon but it has begun to tint the world a very light red. Damian however leaves the curtains closed, no matter how 'beautiful' Gotham could be considered in the morning, he could care less about beauty.

There's a noise outside of his window. Damian tilts his head and listens attentively. It sounds faintly like a mouse, then the scratching noise evolves into a crackle, like lightning, and finally a BOOM rips apart the night air. The glass of Damian's balcony doors shiver before shattering into a millions of pieces.

Damian takes a few seconds to twist out of the chains (alright, maybe half a minute) before he drops to the floor and pulls his drapes back. There's a figure lying half curled up on his balcony dressed in a ragged pair of jeans and a jacket that has seen better days. Damian checks the man's pulse and identity, then goes to get Grayson.

He's not surprised when he comes back to find the man gone. He should have known that his father would teach Robin to tie better knots then that.

--

"There're two versions of Red Hood facing off in the graveyard." Tim's voice over the com is clear as day and just as damning. Bruce pushes the Batmobile faster. He can hear chatter from Dick and Damian on the network as well as Barbara's near silent breathing. He tunes out Dick and Damian and focuses on Tim's voice.

"They're just circling right now."

Batman doesn't drive the Batmobile through the graveyard's walls, no matter how much he might wish to. He does not desecrate the graveyard by driving through it either and he is forced to slow down on the curving winding roads. He curses himself for being out of town at the time of the incident.

He's failed Jason so often, he cannot fail Jason now. Neither Jason.

"You can stop giving a color commentary, replacement." Jason's voice is filled with that vicious cheer that he had spoken with when taunting Bruce for his weakness. It's almost enough to make Bruce lose his cool. "I've got a bat communicator too, boys."

Bruce guns the engine and pulls the car around one last turn before dropping his speed and leaping out before the car has completely stopped.

It parked automatically.

--

Jason feels more like himself than he has in a while. He isn't fooling himself into thinking he's someone he isn't. He's Jason Todd, the Red Hood.

He snickers. "Will the real Jason Todd please stand up?"

The doppleganger isn't amused at all, not at all, and Jason can see it. He can see himself in this Jason, like a mirror image in a funhouse mirror. "You should let Robin make the jokes, useless."

"Useless?" Jason twirls his knife idly. He can feel Batman making his way through the graves, a dark and silent shadow, he can see the outline of the replacement's Red Robin costume behind the doppleganger. "Way I hear it you're the useless one. What universe'd you come from anyway, Red? I'd say Earth 11, but there're no tits to go with that clit for a dick."

It's funny how you can *see* the insanity in someone's eyes when you've seen it in your own. The fake launches, Jason dodges, the fake pulls out a gun… and that big black shadow rears up and does all of Jason's work for him. Jason smirks and the fog clears as it begins to rain.

"I love watching you work."

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June 2012

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