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Reality Shift

Hurt, but still moving.


Jason groaned as he rubbed his temples as he sat in the hotel he’d rented for the week. He couldn’t believe he’d failed so crucially! The night had been a disaster. Joker had slipped right past him and rigged the Hospital Annex with explosives while Jason had been chasing a goose chase on the other side of the city, thinking he’d strike Dicks apartment. Leave it to the Joker to screw him over.

What’s worse was that Dick had been hospitalized, and Jason doubted he’d be able to get into see him without the boy causing a scene when he recognized him. He could always go see him in the dead of night wearing his mask, but he doubted it’d make a difference. From what he’d gathered from the paramedics, Dick had severe burns, a fractured leg, head wound and bullet wound on his leg. They hadn’t been able to tell if the bullet had hit bone though. The younger boy, Tim had only a few burns thankfully.

“I was wondering when you’d find me.” Jason said out loud, looking at the window.

It’d been closed when he got home, now it was open. Out of the curtains, the Batman stepped, his cowl masking the dark look he was giving the boy. Jason could always tell when he was scowling at him.

“Who are you?” Bruce asked, his voice gravelly.

Jason smirked, it was this worlds Batman.

“I’m the Red Hood.” He said calmly, patting the helmet next to his hip.

“You’re hard to track down… no records, no trails…” Bruce said calmly, crossing his arms. “But you don’t seem to be a criminal… what are you doing in Gotham?”

“Heh, its almost like I’m other worldly huh?” Jason said with a grin. “I’m in Gotham to take out Joker.”

“Joker’s dead.” Bruce replied.

“Maybe he was… Jokers alive, and he blew up the Annex this afternoon. I fought him.” He said lounging back on his elbows. “He almost killed two kids too.”

“How?”

“Joker and I ain’t exactly from around here.” Jason shrugged, his Bruce had warned him about revealing too much. “The important thing is that I catch him and get him back to where he belongs.”

“Hn.”

Jason rolled his eyes, not really liking being on the opposite end of the genius mans suspicion. He was trying to pick him apart, decide if he was trustworthy or not.

“Don’t believe me? Come talk with the kids I saved… I think you should meet them anyway…” Jason said standing up and picking up his helmet and looking around for the mask he usually wore beneath it. Catching himself in the reflection of the helmet, he realized he was still wearing it. Damn he was tired.

“They saw the Joker?” He said raising an eyebrow.

“Yup… one has the honor of being Jokers main target.” Jason said making sure he had all his gear before stepping towards the window. “Meet you there…”

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Dick groaned as he opened his eyes, it was still dark and he could hear a constant, ‘beeping’ from beside him. A machine? Why was there a machine? Looking around he noted that he was in a strange room, it was white and smelt like bleach. He was in a hospital. A grunt from beside him made him turn onto his back. Tim was curled up next to him, wearing Dicks favorite blue sweater, the one he’d been wearing earlier that day. He had a hospital gown on under it, bandages on his legs and hands, but otherwise the boy was fine.

“Oh, you’re awake.” A nurse said with a gentle smile as she came around the curtain. “Need anything, sugar?”

“Water?” He croaked. “My throat hurts…”

“Sure thing.” She giggled, walking over to the counter and picking up a water bottle and a small bowl. “Think you could eat something? Its apple sauce, and it might help your throat… you inhaled a lot of smoke, sugar.”

“Sure… has Tim ate anything?” He asked, looking up at her.

“Yeah, a lady named Alison showed up and insisted that he get some chilly fries from her restaurant. He appeared to know her so I allowed it… poor things been so distressed…” She sighed, handing him the water first, which he took with thickly bandaged fingers. Dick twisted the cap off and chugged most of it down in one go, stopped when she touched his shoulder. “Woh there! Slow down…”

“Sorry… really thirsty…” Dick said, wiping his mouth. “Alisons my boss, she’s really close to us… and that makes sense, Tim loves chilly fries… how is he?”

“He’s good. Just some burns, you’re the one who’s all banged up.” She said sitting on the bed, ready to spoon feed him the apple sauce. He blushed and shook his head.

“I can do it myself…” He mumbled, taking the bowl awkwardly.

Holding the spoon hurt a little cause he had to bend his fingers, but he managed. He frowned, looking at his apple sauce. How’d he end up there again?

“You sure?” She asked, getting a slow nod.

A fire! And the explosion! Jack was… Dick blinked, his stomach dropping. He handed the bowl back to her, his eyes burning with tears.

“I don’t want it anymore…” He whispered.

“Honey, you need to eat something with sugar in it, it’ll help you…” She insisted, watching the boys shoulders begin to tremble.

“I don’t want it… I can’t… I just-“ Dick buried his face into his bandaged hands, choking on a sob quietly. He didn’t want to wake up Tim.

“Oh, sugar…” The nurse cooed, moving to pull him into a hug. “I know it hurts, but trust me, things will get better.”

Dick laughed bitterly.

“It’ll always hurt… he was like a father too me.” He whimpered.

“Who?”

“Jack Drake, he died in the explosion.” Dick said hiccupping as tears continued to flow down his cheeks. “I couldn’t do anything for him, just like my…”

Dick choked again, unable to keep from crying harder into her shoulder.

“Dick?” Tim asked, sitting up.

Dick pulled the boy close to him, kissing his head and holding him. Tim sniffled, starting to cry along with his foster brother. The nurse tried to comfort them, getting both to eat a little apple sauce before ushering Tim into the bed across from Dick and getting him to sleep. She offered Dick a sedative, but he refused, stating that he disliked being doped up. He’d had to be on morphine once after he broke his leg, and he didn’t like it, so he choose to just fall asleep naturally.

Which didn’t happen. He stared at the clock, vaguely noting that it was four thirty. The sun would be up in little over an hour. Dick tensed as the window made a ‘click’ and slid open. Sitting up, Dick felt his chest tighten, could it be the crazy guy that had shot at him?

“Hello?”

“Oh, so you are awake…”

Dicks breath hitched, watching as two figures appeared in the window. One moved over to the door and closed it, flipping on the light. Batman! And the Red helmeted guy from the roof, who’d turned on the light.

“Hey Dickie-bird.” The helmeted man chuckled. He pulled off the helmet, showing a black mask beneath.

“Do I… Dickie?” Dick narrowed his eyes. “You’re the guy from the dinner!”

“Oh, smart guy.” He chuckled, pulling the mask off as well. True enough, it was the guy who’d warned him about the Joker a week ago.

Dick felt rage burst through his veins. Scrambling out of his bed, he tore the IV out and swung at him.

“Holy shit! Calm down!” The man said dodging the swing. “Dick, you can’t be doing that!”

Dick stumbled caught by the same man he’d tried to hurt.

“This is your fault!” Dick said, his voice low and dangerous. Something he’d never thought he’d be able to pull off. “You’re the reason that Jack died! You’re the reason th-that psycho, came after me!”

“No! Not at all! I was here to protect you!” He said forcing the struggling boy back into his bed. “Joker made it seem like he was going to hit your apartment, so I went there first… I’m sorry…”

“Dick, was it?” Batman asked, finally speaking and making the boy jump. “I need you to tell me what happened…”

Dick paused, looking at the other man. For some reason he felt even less comfortable remembering that the man was there too. At least he felt like he could yell at the one he’d met in the dinner. Batman? No way.

Slowly, Dick explained how he’d met the older boy, whose name was Red hood, hero wise at least. He struggled not to cry when he explained the explosion and loss of his ‘Uncle’.

“And that’s when this idiot showed up to take on the Joker and I got Tim to the firemen…” He said looking over at Tim. He was pretty sure the Nurse had given him a sedative, otherwise he’d of woken up when he’d tried to hit Red Hood.

“Idiot? Tsk, I saved your life!” He said with a huff. “Ungrateful punk.”

“You’re an idiot cause you barely made it in time to do so!” Dick huffed. “Jack Drake died today, because of that creepy green haired asshole, and now I have psycho on my ass? Yeah… I’m gonna go ahead and call you idiot on this one.”

“You know what-“

“Jack Drake?” Batman repeated, frowning. “He was in the Annex?”

“Yeah… he’s my… he was my foster father… and Tims actual father…” Dick said, brushing his bangs out of his face. He felt very dizzy all of a sudden. Probably cause he ripped out his IV.

“Hn.” Batman turned and headed for the window.

“Wa-wait a minute!” Red hood frowned. “You’re just leaving?”

“I have to find Joker… and you have explaining to do.” He said calmly.

“Dude, we can’t just leave them here! Joker’s ruthless, he’ll kill him in here. He’d be safer at your place.” Red hood said crossing his arms.

“…. No.”

“So you’re going to let him die?” He asked, looking surprised. “Br-… Batman, he’s important to you. Trust me. You need to take him with you…”

“I can’t baby sit, I have a criminal to catch. The boy will be fine here. Now come on.” Batman said coldly.

“No.” The older teen sat down on Dicks bed. “I’m staying here… Joker’ll need a power supply to leave this place, which he won’t do until Dicks dead. I’m staying to protect him.”

Dick raised an eyebrow, confused. He didn’t want to die, but still, he was one kid. Why did this guy care so much?

“Fine, play your games.” Batman said turning sharply and disappearing out the window.

“Asshole…” The two teens mumbled at the same time.

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Dick woke up to the sound of giggling, rolling onto his side, he opened blurry eyes to see Red Hood, maskless, and sitting with Tim, showing him how to beat something on a Gameboy. He looked up at him and smiled, waving at his brother.

“Afternoon Dick!” He said with a smile.

Dick raised an eyebrow, had Tim completely blocked out the prior day? How was he so happy?

“Afternoon?” He repeated with a yawn.

“Yeah, its like… three!” Tim said looking back at his game. “Jason, what do I do now?”

“Jump onto that ledge, then double jump to the part above it…” The other boy explained, looking at Dick. “You’ve been out for a long time, how do you feel?”

“Alright I guess… Jason?” He asked.

The boy nodded. “Told them we were cousins, so they let me in, had to give them a real name for that.”

“Jason?” Dick repeated, testing it out. “It fits you…”

“Thanks I guess?” He chuckled.

The two transferred over to Dicks bed, and they spent an hour trying to coach Tim through a level. Dick was a little surprised how good this guy was with Tim, almost like he knew how to deal with him, even though he didn’t seem like the type to be good with kids. Despite their last encounter, Dick was surprised that he didn’t mind him too much. He guessed that having him somewhat save his life and once again being orphaned had mellowed him out quite a bit too. He also seemed to keep Tims mind out of the shadows, which he appreciated.

“Tim Drake? Richard Grayson?”

The three boys looked up, surprise meeting the older twos faces. Bruce Wayne was standing in the door way awkwardly, a bouquet in his arms. Dick raised an eyebrow and sat up a little more.

“Yes? Can I help you Mr. Wayne?” He asked gently.

“I just found out the news… I apologize for your loss last night. I use to be close friends with the Drakes,” Bruce Wayne explained. “How are you coping?”

Dick looked at Tim, who’d fallen into a blank trance, staring at the video game. He was trying hard to block out that his father was gone.

“Its not my first time losing family… but we’re doing alright… Tim as you can see isn’t ready to face it.” Dick said with a shrug.

“That’s right, the Graysons died in that accident.” Bruce said nodding. “Its still hard, my condolences.”

“They didn’t die in an accident.” Jason corrected, noting the stoney look Dick got, which turned to surprise as he looked up at him. “Tony Zucco murdered Dicks parents… he just never got caught.”

“How did you--” Dick was cut off by a look.

“Like I wouldn’t remember how my aunt and uncle died.” He said dryly.

“Dick, when can we go home?” Tim asked suddenly. “I wanna go home.”

Dick was quiet for a moment. Home. Home was going to be very empty when they got there… And how long would it be home? Dick couldn’t pay rent, he didn’t make enough money. They’d have to live in a shelter.

“Soon.” He mumbled instead of bringing that up. “Once they figure if my legs going to need a cast or not for the fracture.”

Jason seemed to be giving the quiet man a death glare, but he said nothing; merely watching the rich man intensely as he stared at the younger boys with a perplexed look. He turned suddenly and set the flowers on the counter.

“Take care boys, I wish you a speedy recovery, and luck.” He said before disappearing.

“Oh… okay?” Dick said scratching his cheek. “Bye Mr. Wayne…”

Jason growled and hoped off the bed, disappearing after him.

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Jason was beyond angry. What the hell was Bruce trying to pull? He showed up to check on an old friends kids, and coldly gave them a ‘I’m sorry life sucks’ style greeting and left!? Jason realized that he was protecting his identity as Batman, while trying to do some what of the right thing, but seriously? The boy was being hunted by Joker, and he just blew him off completely? Batman was an ass, but at least in Jasons world he had compassion for kids like that! He’d of offered to pay for their apartment, which a sixteen year old could clearly not pay for on his own, or something.

“Bruce!” He snapped, catching the man in the parking lot.

“Can I help you, sir?” He asked calmly.

“Screw the shit, I know who you are.” Jason snapped. “You’re seriously just walking out on them again? When Dicks in danger?”

“How do you know?” Bruce asked narrowing his eyes at him.

“You’re so fucking dumb, here!” Jason yelled exasperatedly. “I’m from an alternate world you dumbass! One where I know the worth of those boys in there! A worth you are dumbly over looking!”

“What do you want me to do? Take them both to the Batcave and hide them until Jokers gone? I’m not equipped to deal with a couple of kids.” Bruce said shaking his head. “Let alone two who I have no connection too.”

Jason closed his fist, gritting his teeth. He’d forgotten how cold hearted Bruce could be to ‘strangers’. So many years under his roof, he’d grown accustom to at least some sort of good favor from the man, even after he’d attempted to kill him.

“Trust me… you want these boys close…” He said with a heavy sigh, running his fingers through his hair. “I’ll stay with them until you get your head out of your ass. Later Bruce, wish Alfred well from me…”

Jason started back towards the hospital, not bothering to look back at the man. If he continued to slip these little things he knew about him to the man, he might be able to badger him into giving in, or maybe even gaining a small bit of trust, which he doubted. Jason briefly wondered if this was how this world was suppose to go anyway? Most likely not, seeing as they were living with Tim’s father, but now that they were both orphaned? Why not point them in the direction of Bruce?

Separate worlds or not, they were basically the only family Jason had. If he could help it, he wouldn’t leave them in trouble when a good part of it was his own fault in the first place. He should have realized the Jokers trick.

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Dick winced as he shimmied into his jeans, the denim brushed against his bandaged burns and bullet wound. He hiked them onto his hips and grabbed the crutch the nurse had brought him, so he could keep off his fractured leg. Tim was already dressed, and ready to go. The doctor had realized that with the death of their care giver, the boys insurance would only cover a nights worth of care, so unfortunately, they had to be discharged.

Jason reentered the room, raising an eyebrow at the two.

“What are you doing?” He asked, grabbing his jacket.

“We’re being discharged.” Dick explained, having to sit in order to get his leg up high enough to tie his shoes. “Our Insurance isn’t the best.”

“You’re shitting me…” Jason sighed and rubbed the back of his head. “You guys can’t get a break, can yah?”

“Its fine, these are deadly wounds after all, so long as I’m careful with my leg.” Dick said using the crutch as he headed for the door.

“What are you going to do now?” Jason asked, crossing his arms.

“Go to school… go to work… get another job…” Dick sighed, scratching at the back of his head.

“You realize you can’t go home, right? Jokers still after you… He’ll target your house next if you go back there. Same for your school and work place…”

“I… can’t just disappear off the face of Gotham, Jason…” Dick said looking at him. “I have to take care of Tim. We’re not exactly rich.”

“I realize this… let me take care of you for a while. “ Jason offered. “Trust me… anywhere you go now, the Joker might cause more damage, just for a shot at you.”

“Dick?”

Dick looked down at Tim, who’d grabbed onto his sweater. “Yeah, kiddo?”
“I think we should listen to Jason this time… I don’t…” Tim bit his lip, latching onto the teens waist. “I can’t lose you too…”

Dick’s shoulders slumped and he put a hand on Tims head. He looked at Jason, who just shrugged and moved forward, mumbling quietly for the two to follow him. Dick shifted his crutch and made Tim walk, though the boy didn’t want to let go of his brother. Slowly the two made their way to the hotel Jason had been staying at.

Dick was visibly in pain by the time they got there, his leg hurt from walking even with the crutch and his burns rubbing against his jeans, even with the bandages was painful. He collapsed on the bed and let the crutch clatter on the ground.

“Okay… Tim, go get a hack saw… I’m removing my legs.” He joked shifting so he could look at the ten year old. Tim laughed and hopped onto the bed.

“I can’t do that Dick! You need your legs!” He explained.

“Nonsense… legs are for weaklings.”

Jason snorted at them, picking up the phone to order some room service. Dick watched him, realizing that he needed to call Alison and explain, somewhat, about why he wouldn’t be able to work for a while. Sighing, he closed his eyes. In the course of a week, everything had became so complicated…

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“Why is it that every time I turn around, Jason’s causing trouble?” Bruce asked, tossing the note onto the counter as he pulled on his cowl. Alfred chuckled and shook his head, checking on the still unconscious hero on their table. Dick hadn’t shown any sign of waking up in a week, though Alfred presumed his body was just recovering from a savage beating.

“Master Wayne, as you must have heard… children tend to cause trouble.” Alfred pointed out. “He’s just trying to take care of things where he thinks he can…”

“Clearly… he was also trying to take care of things he thought he could when Joker killed him. You’d think he’d learn.” Bruce said, taking a drink of his coffee before heading for the batmobile. If Jason and the Joker were already fighting, he needed to catch up and make sure the boy didn’t get himself killed. Again.

“Good luck sir…”

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The next morning, Jason woke up with a crick in his neck. Having slept on the couch so Dick and Tim could sleep on the bed. Sitting up, he yawned and looked over at the bed, Tim was watching TV, but Dick wasn’t in sight. Frowning Jason glanced at the bathroom, the door was open and the light off so he doubted he was in there.

“Oi, where’s Dick?” He asked, frowning.

“Dick ran to the store to get us some burritos. He said he’d be back soon.” Tim said looking at him over his shoulder.

“What!?” Jason jumped up, confusion crossing his face. He’d briefly woken up when Tim turned on the tv, but how did Dick manage not to wake him up when he left? “Geez! Even in this world he can disappear without you noticing!”

“What?”

“Nothing… stay here, I’m going to find him.” Jason sighed, grabbing his coat.

“Dude, Dick’ll be fine by himself!” Tim said shaking his head.

Jason ignored him and headed for the door. He couldn’t believe the idiot would run off on him after nearly being blown up. Did he have a death wish? The teen walked briskly to the nearest store, grumbling about the snow fall as he did. There was no sign of Dick, until he turned to leave. Dick was getting off of a bus with a duffle bag on one shoulder, leaning on his crutch heavily as he shifted it and started towards the store. He spotted Jason and paused, giving him a weak smile. He could tell Jason was irritated. Striding forward Jason took the bag and growled.

“Where the hell have you been?” He asked.

“I just came out to get some food… then I realized that Tim and I would need some stuff from home, so I went and got some stuff. I was really careful, I even switched buses twice.” Dick said, walking with him. He tried walking here and there without the crutch, irritated with it.

“You shouldn’t have gone without me… he could have boobie trapped the apartment.” Jason pointed out.

“Yeah, but he obviously didn’t.” Dick said rolling his eyes. “You vigilantes worry too much…”

“What would you say if Tim went out without you knowing?” Jason asked.

“That’s different… Tims ten years old. I’m sixteen.” Dick scowled, he winced and paused to shift his crutch. “I’m going to kill this thing!”

Jason smirked, laughing gently. In his world, Dick had broken his leg just after Jason became Robin, and had been forced to stay at the manor while recovering. He’d said the same thing back then too. Only he’d actually broken one of the crutches, by accident though.

“Come on, you can relax when we get back to the hotel…”

“Wait… did you leave Tim there by himself?” Dick asked, eyes wide. “You can’t just leave a ten year old alone!!”

“Why not? Tims a good kid!” Jason snorted.

When they entered the hotel room, Jason realized exactly why he shouldn’t have left Tim by himself. He’d ordered room service and was currently pigging out on what had to be sixty dollars worth of food. Dick sighed, and threw the frozen burritos into the mini bar for later. Shaking his head, he went over to help Tim eat the food at least. Jason was very happy that he knew how to get into Bruce’s bank account… this kid was going to max his fake credit card!

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Dick frowned as he drummed a pencil against his thigh, glaring at the page in front of him. Much to the displeasure of both, Jason and Tim, Dick had insisted that he call his principle and explain at least somewhat of the situation the boys had landed in after Jacks death. They agreed to email Dick his and Tim’s work to them. Jason graciously produced a laptop for him and a trip down to the hotel lounge provided them with a printer. Jason unfortunately was forced to retrieve new copies of their school books from their school seeing as their originals had been lost with the annex.

Psychopath or not, by the end of this they’d have to go back to school and Dick would much rather be caught up with his lessons. Losing their scholarships would just be the last straw for him at this point. If they could make it through the private school and graduate there, they’d be able to get a full ride through college. He’d see to it that at least Tim would achieve that.

Dick’s concentration slipped as he stopped reading the passage about the revolutionary war and looked over at Tim who was counting in his head, Dick could tell cause his fingers twitched forward in tandem. This Joker guy wanted him dead and if he succeeded, who would take care of Tim? The ten year old would no doubt go to childs services, but who knew where he’d end up? They’d pull him from the private school, and he had no proof that they’d take good care of him. Dwelling on these dark thoughts, Dick set his pencil down and buried his face into his hands with a long heavy sigh.

“You alright?” Jason asked, looking up from the magazine he was reading.

“My leg hurts, my head hurts, and I hate history…” Dick mumbled out. “Other than that… I’m just peachy.”

“Stretch it a little bit.” Jason suggested. “Sitting like that for hours probably isn’t good for it anyway.”

Dick hummed in agreement, moving off of the bed and walking over to the mini fridge Jason had somehow sweet talked the staff into lending them, pulling out a soda and pausing to frown at the beer inside.

“Really?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Hey, after canvassing the city every night, I think I deserve a drink.” Jason said bending the magazine a bit to look at Dick.

The younger man rolled his eyes and limped over to the window, pulling it open. He let out a long sigh and sat on the ledge, sipping at the sprite. Tim groaned and collapsed backwards, mumbling about math being evil beyond explanation. Dick chuckled and looked out the window, watching cars cruise down the streets and lights flash on neon signs advertising everything from strippers to free palm readings. Gotham wasn’t the best city to grow up in, but it’d been home ever since the passing of the flying Graysons. He’d struggled when he got to the shelter, striving to stay away from thievery and misconduct like the other children that lived there. Would Tim survive it there if he died? Maybe he could ask Jason to take him under his wing or at least get him somewhere safe.

“Dick!”

Dick yelped as he was grabbed by the shirt and ripped away from the window. A loud ‘thunk’ sounded, followed by a ‘beep’. Jason practically threw him onto the bed with Tim, flipping the second beds mattress up, just as an explosion bathed the room in heat and flying debris. The mattress shielded them from most of it, startling Dick almost as much as the suddenness of Jason throwing him. The older teen started cursing as he shoved the mattress away from them and ran over to his duffle bag, ripping out his domino mask and securing it into place.

“Grab your shit and lets go! They’re probably on their way up here to check for bodies.” Jason ordered.

Tim gapped opened mouth at him as Jason ripped off his button up shirt, revealing the almost ever present under armor with the red bat on the chest. He tugged on his leather jacket and stuffed his feet into his boots while Dick scrambled to shove their clothes and possessions into a bag. He stuffed all the text books, except for the history book which misfortunately had been set on fire when the explosion happened.

“Get your shoes Tim!” He said pushing the sneakers into his hands. Dick yanked his own on and yanked Tims jacket out from under one of the beds. One sleeve was a little burnt but he patted out the glowing threads on his jeans and shoved him into it. Jason, now fully outfitted with his weapons pushed Dicks blue sweater into his hands.

“Lets go!” He ordered.

Dick didn’t bother grabbing his crutch, limping after Jason while holding tight to Tims hand. Jason didn’t stop when they reached the end of the hall, he lifted his leg and kicked in the hotel room door, getting a startled shout from the people inside. A woman, covering herself in a sheet, screamed and tried to hide behind her male companion. Dick felt his cheeks turn pink and he shoved Tim in front of him to keep him from trying to look at her.

“Alright, come here.” Jason grunted, ignoring the yelling couple.

He pulled open the window and pulled out a gun, he pulled the trigger making Dick and Tim jump as a line shot from it to the next building. It hooked on the metal grating of what appeared to be an apartment building.

“Dick… Listen carefully. When you pull the trigger its going to retract and it will jar your arms, so hold on tight… You’re going to jump, then trigger, alright? I’m going to carry Tim, and follow right after you…” Jason said, pushing the device into his hand. He pulled out a second and shot it off in the same direction. When it was taunt he looked at Dick with a small frown, than nodded. “Ready?”

“Define ready…” Dick groused, clambering up and out the window. He stood on the ledge, gulping a bit as Jason joined him, pulling Tim out and latching an arm around his waist.

“Just don’t let go and do as I do…” Jason said calmly. He paused and smirked a bit. “I can come get you if you’re too scared though…”

Dick glared at him. As though after everything he’d been through, this would scare him to much not to do. He was born to do aerial maneuvers. His only issue was he’d never used one of these grappling hooks before. With a deep breath, he startled both of them by leaping forward bringing one hand up to hold his other around the grip, he free fell for about two seconds before he pulled the trigger. It jerked and slowed his fall as he swung in a high arch over the city.

He could hear Tim scream in surprise as Jason followed suit. Dick looked up at where the end was grappled, with the speed he was going, it’d have just enough slack to let him either slam into the wall and probably fall onto the balcony below it or if he let go just before he could probably stick the landing. He didn’t have time to really debate the situation so he went with instinct, and let go. He hit the balcony hard, spikes of fire shooting up his leg so painfully he promptly fell on his ass, gripping his leg as the aggravated fractures screamed at him. Jason landed next to him a moment later.

“Holy shit kid! Way to scare me…” Jason said reaching up to untangle both wires and hook both the guns back on his belt. “Can you walk?”
“Yeah…” Dick said, gritting his teeth. “Just gimme a sec…”

“Dick that was so cool! Flying Grayson! Always and forever!!” Tim cheered, grinning.

“Come one guys, we don’t have much time before they figure out what happened.” Jason encouraged.

Dick forced himself to stand, relying once again on the adrenaline pumping through his vains to encourage him to keep moving. Jason really didn’t have any knowledge for personal space at this point, they jarred open a window and snuck through an apartment, then took the elevator down to the second floor, where they took the back stairs out into an alley way. Tim was panting hard, trying to keep up with the older two, so much so that Jason had to take him on his back after a block of running.

“Where are we going?” Dick asked.

“I don’t know yet!” Jason said looking down at the heavily limping teen.

“We should go to a motel nearby! They won’t expect us to stick around close by!” Dick suggested. Jason laughed, grinning as he turned sharply.

“You never fail to amaze me boy wonder!” He laughed.

“Is that a good thing?”

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The next three days, they spent in a crappy one bed motel room with a moldy shower, no microwave and no tv. It’d been a whole week since the annex blew up, and Dicks leg was swollen, but healing up rather nicely. Jason had ordered him not to leave the bed unless he desperately needed to use the restroom, and then he had to hop on one leg to get there. They’d also realized that Tim had gotten a rather nasty gash from the hotel explosion that not even he’d noticed until showering. It needed stitching, and Dick had to hold his brother still while Jason administered them with surprising skill. Jason left three times to get them food, once every day early in the morning.

“Wake up.” Jason said as he entered the motel room a bag of fast food hanging in each hand. “We’re leaving here today…”

“Really?” Dick asked, looking up from his science homework. Jason was stunned that he even considered doing homework after everything that’d happened. “Where are we going?”

Tim didn’t even budge to his left, merely snored into his pillow.

“I can’t tell you until we get there…” Jason said with a heavy sigh. “And we have to be there before a specific time.”

“Alright? Should I be packing now?” Dick asked.

“It wouldn’t hurt, but we have a couple hours, so wake the kid, lets eat and I’ll see to getting us a ride.” Jason said holding up the bags.

The three ate in relative silence, Tim occasionally making a comment about something having to do with his friends at school, or a time he and Dick had gone to the fair. The older of the two noted he avoided any memories of his father all together; which saddened him a lot. Jason glanced at the clock and disappeared to get them a ride. Dick tried not to think about how he was going to manage this. He took a quick shower, mindful of his sore leg the entire time. He even had time to use the cheap plastic hair drier that was built into the wall by the sink before Jason showed up again.

“Alright gents! Time to go!” He said with a grin, swinging keys around his finger.

“Do I even want to know how you found us a vehicle?” Dick asked, shimmying into his jeans and a shirt. He noted that next time they found somewhere to stay, he’d need to find somewhere to do laundry, not that Tim minded at all.

“Hey… I got it through legal means.” Jason said smirking. “Impound lots sell cars pretty cheap… granted the fake credit card will probably have complaints, but it was otherwise legal.”

“You’re an awesome role model.” Dick said blandly.

“Always. Now lets go!” Jason said helping them pack up.

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“Any luck sir?” Alfred asked.

Bruce shook his head, tapping his fingers rhythmically on the table, over and over as he looked through his files. He’d been trying for weeks to find a way to follow Jason and Joker into the alternate universe, but he’d had no luck what so ever.

Dick had thankfully woken up, and was on the track of recovery, but Alfred refused to let him help in case he aggravated his wounds. Bruce was honestly stumped, and his concern was growing by each passing day. What if Jason got killed or trapped there? What if he was too late to stop Joker?

“Bruce.” Dick said, easing himself into a chair across the way. “Jason’s reckless, but he’s smart and resourceful… I’m sure everything’s fine.”

“Hn.” Was the only response Bruce dignified.

“Have faith, Jaybirds one of the best, remember?”

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“Where are we going?” Tim asked for the eight time.

Jason let out a long sigh and looked at the passenger’s seat to Dick. The teen was falling asleep on the window, and there for no help to shutting up the ten year old.

“Tim, if you ask again… I’m gonna break your legs.” He said after a moment of Tim staring at him through the review mirror, waiting for his answer.

“No breaking his legs.” Dick mumbled groggily.

“Oh, sure now you respond.” Jason snorted.

“No one’s legs were in peril before.” Dick defended, opening his eyes and turning slightly to look at Jason. “And lets keep this group to a limit of one gimp only, mkay? So Tim, shut up and play Mario on my gameboy.”

“Okay!” Tim said excitedly, pulling up their duffle to figure out where it was.

“But Jason… how much longer?” Dick asked with a yawn.

“Not much longer, I’m taking the scenic route.” Jason said turning onto a dirt road.

Dick sat up, yawning and arching his back in an attempt to loosen up his stiff body. Jason watched him out of the corner of his eye. The kid had kept a solid attitude the entire time they were in his custody, but he could tell the kid was screaming on the inside. He would keep a smile on his lips, but his eyes displayed the chaos in his mind. Jason noted that just like his own Dick in his world, this one would smile brightly and say everything was okay when he was feeling his worst; all in hopes that those around him wouldn’t be worried. The kid was just a born hero no matter where he was, wasn’t he?

Jason had picked through some of his files and checked around with his teachers and classmates. Dick was always looking out for others before himself. Jason had no doubt that he was thinking of ways to insure Tim would be safe, and nothing more.

“Jason? Wh-“

“Timothy Drake…” Dick said turning to look at him. “If you ask again, I’ll make you eat nothing but salad for a week…”

Tim shut up immediately, and Jason couldn’t help but laugh. They were almost there, but Jason knew he had to be careful about this. He had no doubt that Bruce would be furious with him for bringing them to him like this, but if the Joker had tracked them down that quickly, he had to at least try. He drove to one of the more rarely used entrances to the man’s secret lair.

Dick frowned when they suddenly stopped and Jason pulled out a device from his belt. He fiddled with it for a moment before the ground ahead of them opened up, making both of the younger men gap in surprise. Jason merely smirked and drove down into the tunnel. It was good to know that his remote was still connected, despite technically being from another world.


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