Blood and Water (the Loss and Life Remix), (2016-10-19)

A/N: Based off @bluethursday’s Blood and Water which is a DCUxAvatar the Last Airbender remix… you should probably read that first?

~

The first time Tim met Ra’s, he thought it was a curious and fascinating happenstance.

He never made that mistake again.

Your mother was water–the ocean and the rain and every drop in between–flowing and swelling and inescapable. Your father was the air–free and flighty, head too much in the clouds to worry about the ground.

Combined they made you.

Yet people still wondered why you had ice in your veins.

Bruce remembers his first impression of Tim: a smart but shy boy, demurely following at Ra’s heels. Only a few years younger than himself, a fellow fire bender wanting to learn from the master.

He was wrong on nearly every count.

Water benders are master healers, air benders the experts in spiritual matters. Or, at least, that’s what nature intended.

But your mother pushed and your father reached, and in the intersection they found a secret.

It was meant to be a gift.

Dick’s first impression was similarly wrong, yet somehow in an entirely different way.

A victim of Ra’s that Bruce had rescued, traumatized and reeling and seeking sanctuary with the Fire Nation King.

After all, Tim was clearly from the destroyed Water Tribes, he might have been a bender if Ra’s hadn’t killed them all.

Dick was very nearly right, if things were altered and rearranged.

You turned seventeen-eighteen-nineteen and realized that you hadn’t changed at all. No new scars, but you never had many in the first place, no wrinkles or additional height.

Perfectly preserved.

An abomination, a monster.

Cass is the one to help Tim leave, sees the fear of staying in one place too long, the fear of a threat already vanquished.

She knows he is hiding something, but he knows she knows, and besides everyone has secrets, so she doesn’t confront him about it.

Cass’ father thought he could make her the Avatar–she understands inheriting sins of the parent.

There is a pool of water that no right minded water bender would touch. Not that any water bender has had the opportunity to do so in centuries, so well-guarded is the Pit.

But your parents didn’t need the original to mimic it’s effects–no, not mimic… master.

Jason never met Tim, not properly, only saw him from a distance.

Jason thought he was the Consort of the Fire Nation King–just a fancy term for whore.

He wasn’t right… not yet.

If things were different, you might have chosen death. If the collective leaders of the remaining bending nations hadn’t banded together to take Ra’s out, you would have died to get rid of him.

Anything to even try to make amends, all those villages obliterated as Ra’s hunted you down, blood on your hands.

But your mother was a scholar, your father a dreamer, and combined they made you.

Maybe one day someone will find you and ask to be taught.

Damian is still a child when he hears the name–more myth than reality. It’s for old tales and nostalgia, nothing relevant, until he needs a water bending teacher.

Dick thinks he is sending Damian to a hermit, one who is aged, if not outrightly old. Jason does little more than smirk, but Cass gives a supportive shoulder pat.

Bruce stays entirely silent on the matter.

You are a monster, but there is place in the world for monsters.

Better you than someone else.

(But don’t all monsters think that?)

The Ghost of Wayne Manor, (2016-06-15)

Surprise, it’s Tim.

Only children can sense him fully (though sometimes Alfred thinks he can hear him, can see the gentle nudges of things moved slightly out of place; sometimes they play chess) but once they’ve become “adults” that’s it. No more.

Tim remembers when Bruce was young, how they would play together. Remembers how his parents had indulged his “imagination” (though Thomas finds it quite the coincidence that his son’s ‘imaginary friend’ is also named Tim). And then, after the incident, how Bruce was so sad and brooding. In mourning. Something Tim knew about but never really understood until Bruce explained it to him.

But grief ages a person, and not long after, Bruce stops being able to see him anymore. Tim is alone, again.

Until Dick. And, see, even though Dick’s parents died before he came to the Manor, he wasn’t as rapidly changed as Bruce was. And Tim loved him for it, this new friend who could see him and play with him–even through his teenaged years.

Except, lately, Dick and Bruce have been fighting a lot. And Dick spends more and more time away, and suddenly their last fleeting goodbye becomes their final goodbye. Dick doesn’t come back until he’s Nightwing and can no longer see him.

It’s a while before anyone can sense him as completely as Dick did. Barbara, as Batgirl, on the rare occasions she came to the Manor (and not the Cave) had never been able to perceive him fully. Had perhaps seen glimpses of him from the corner of her eye, or heard a question in an unfamiliar voice, but they had never really met.

Jason, Tim thinks, came to the Manor old and learned to be young. Had been able to sense Tim better as time passed, an unusual direction, but one that Tim had been grateful for. Because Jason was interesting and fun and so full of life that Tim forgot, sometimes, whenever they were together, that he was a ghost.

Except that was cut short (and Tim wonders, sometimes, if it was his fault. If he might have wished that Jason could join him forever. If somewhere, in a land far away, Jason’s ghost is scared and alone and cursing his name).

The years that follow are long and cold and difficult. Worse, even, than when Bruce stopped seeing him and went away, coming back a stranger with a familiar face and always going to the Cave.

(Tim remembers, when Bruce was younger, the way they’d play at being brave but never daring the Cave. It was deep and dark and what if something were to happen to Bruce? Tim couldn’t get help. And so they avoided it, were awed by it. It was the bottom of the ocean and far flung space, a frontier that maybe they would explore when Bruce was older. But now look at it: Bruce has conquered it, made it into a home of sorts, a base from which his new legacy spreads. And still Tim cannot go in)

But things get better. A new Batgirl, one that can sometimes see him but not hear him–which is just as well, since she does not need words to understand him–and then another, one who can occasionally hear or see him, but not touch him (which he is grateful for, that first meeting, when her instinct is to punch a strange boy suddenly manifesting in front of her).

It is better, yes, but not the same as having a Robin or a Wayne child in the house.

Until, suddenly, there is.

Both even, though this one is far more interested in training in the Cave than indulging a ghost. But things start to come together somehow anyway, Dick and even Jason (somehow alive, not Tim’s fault, didn’t curse him to the same horrible fate) return to the Manor. And while Dick still can’t sense him, he remembers Tim, talks to him and pesters Damian into relaying responses. And Jason–touched by death, yet alive again–can still pinpoint Tim’s location, even without sight, and wrestle him into a playful headlock.

Stephanie and Cassandra and Barbara, who can see or hear him in bits and pieces, belief and perception bolstered by Damian’s honest, if reluctant, words. Alfred, of course, continues to do his best, their chess matches somehow cheerier.

Once, Bruce writes a note and leaves it on the desk in the study, before going behind the grandfather clock. Tim reads it and cries–or the ghostly equivalent of it, having no body or tears–but it is a thing more sweet than bitter, apologies, yes, but gratitude and nostalgia as well. Joy and affection.

Bruce has built a family around him, has filled the Manor with people who know Tim, and while it’s not the same as having his best friend back he thinks that this can be an acceptable replacement.

Except for Damian. It’s not as if Tim is jealous, he is dead and well aware of his role in the Manor–there is no competition, for how could a ghost ever compete with the living? But for some reason, Damian sees just the opposite.

Oh, he will repeat Tim’s words to the others when asked–grudgingly of course–but he will otherwise not acknowledge Tim’s presence. He doesn’t speak to Tim as himself, doesn’t interact with him, doesn’t engage. It’s as if he takes pleasure in making Tim feel as nonexistent as possible.

At one point, it seemed like he might even be trying to exorcise him (thankfully, Alfred put a stop to all that nonsense) though he might very well have continued if it weren’t for Bruce’s death.

And.

It’s stupid and selfish and so untrue, but Tim thinks it hurts him most of all.

He knew Bruce the longest, knew him when he was first brought home to the Manor as a baby. Bruce was his long before he was anyone else’s–before Alfred even–and it seems like his mourning, no longer an unfamiliar creature (and, oh, how silly and foolish he had been, how cruel he must have seemed to a young Bruce newly orphaned so long ago), should be far more than everyone else’s.

But that is not how grief works. Because that is not how family or love work, either, and during this time it cannot be said that isn’t what they are.

Grief works in mysterious ways, though, and while Dick and Jason and Cassandra and Stephanie all spend more and more time down in the Cave (all the better to honor Bruce, Tim knows, the legacy he left them with) Damian spends more time in the Manor. With Tim.

It’s not too little, too late–though he wishes Bruce would have been able to see them get along–but it is, at first, something strange and strained.

He and Damian are not friends yet, but they can learn to be; both of them a different but complementary parts of the Wayne family. Damian tells Tim about the Mission, about Bats and Birds and all the things in the Cave that Tim can never go to. He tells him about his mother, of his grandfather, of a childhood of being trained for two different roles; of swords and death and demons.

Tim teaches Damian his other branch of family history, two boys going down the long row of portraits, going further along each day.

Tim has been part of the Wayne Manor for so long, has watched generations of Wayne children grow up, and while he can remember each of them individually it’s true that sometimes the memories blur. He’s uncertain if it was Thomas or Bruce who broke a window and blamed it on Tim, or if it was Kenneth that unleashed frogs in the kitchen instead of Patrick.

Oh, he knows what they did as adults–even if they stopped seeing Tim by then–but he thinks Damian appreciates the more silly stories from their childhoods. It humanizes them, makes them family and not just genealogy.

Except. They reach the painting for Mordecai Wayne.

And Tim knows: he knows with such a strength (not the guilt ridden thoughts of Jason trapped in a foreign land, away from the Manor, away from Tim) that Bruce is alive.

The others don’t believe him (the others can barely see him–an imaginary friend they’ve outgrown, a child ghost unaware of the world) but Damian does.

It doesn’t matter that they are just children–one of them is a centuries old ghost and the other is Robin–they can do this. They can find Bruce and bring him home.

And Tim and Damian are no longer strangers stuck in the same house, they are friends. They are partners.

When Bruce comes back, he comes back to see his youngest son getting along with his oldest friend, and all is well in the Manor.

… for now…

Because maybe at one point in the future, Damian wants to figure out who exactly Tim is. No longer trying to exorcise him, but to give him a past–a name, a history–that isn’t just the ghost haunting Wayne Manor. How long has he been the Wayne family’s ghost; befriending Wayne children, watching over their home? Who was Tim before that?

And probably–even though Damian doesn’t intend for it to happen–unearthing the truth leads to Tim moving on. No more guardian ghost for the children of Wayne Manor. No more Tim.

But maybe there’s hope. Maybe, ten years after that–when Damian has finally taken up the mantle from his father–a little boy comes to the Manor. One that everyone can see and hear. A little boy named Tim.

Batman needs a Robin, and the Wayne family needs Tim.

~

A/N: a weird brainstorm/fic combination, highly influenced+inspired by @heartslogos’ DCU fic.

Also, written on my phone while I was on a seven hour bus ride so… take that as you will.

BASICALLY, I am always having Tim feels. Always.

Mastermind (The Mother Knows Best Remix), brainstorm (2015-10-14)

rahndom:

jacksgreysays:

This really won’t make sense if you don’t read @rahndom‘s Mastermind.

So the last chapter has the Young Justice swoop in to save both of the Drakes’ lives–though they are hospitalized–and there is a Janet-Tim mother-son bonding moment. Very sweet and everything. And I always want to know more about Janet Drake and figure that the woman who told her toddler that he can be anything so long as he put his mind to it, would be very supportive of her son as the vigilante named Mastermind.

So I was thinking some more about this universe and had some world-building/brainstorm-y thoughts about what I would like to read in a Janet POV continuation/remix of the fic.

The main one being–why does Janet, immediately upon waking up post-Haiti, decide to divorce Jack? And in answer to that I figured, well, what if most of the time, his parents were gone separately?

Like, Janet goes off somewhere for business and would assume that Jack would stay at home. And she’d say, oh, I’ll be back in three weeks. Then, two and a half weeks later Jack is like, Tim can stay at home by himself for three days, there’s a dig I would like to go to, I’ll be back in a month. Except then Janet calls and is like–I have to extend my stay for another six weeks–not knowing that Jack has already left for his own trip. Etc. etc. I mean, neglect is neglect, but at least this way it kind of explains Janet’s complete 180 in that last chapter.

Because it wasn’t really a complete 180. I figure it was probably something like… Jack was the one who wanted a kid and Janet didn’t really, but of course when she had Tim she loved him–but she still wasn’t ready to be a mother. As opposed to Jack who, even after Tim was born, still liked the idea of a son more than actually having a son. So hence Janet wanting to divorce Jack and stay in Gotham. Because the entire time she thought Jack was staying at home with Tim and finding out that he wasn’t–to the point that Tim became a teenaged vigilante with all his spare time–made her realize that she cannot stay married to this man who is a terrible husband and father.

And then everything else was just in line with what Tim can do and the idea that a lot of what makes Tim Mastermind is actually stuff he got from Janet. Including annoying the crap out of Bruce Wayne.

So of course she’s going to stick up for Catwoman as her son’s godmother. Retroactively claiming friendship with Selina Kyle–why of course, Bruce, Selina and I have been friends forever. It’s shameful that you’ve forgotten. It must be that dreadful alcoholism of yours, it’s practically pickled your brain.

But then she figures maybe it’s not enough. And while she adores Selina, well, Catwoman is a thief, and thieves don’t fight. They run. As Mastermind, Tim may not have the luxury to run, so he’ll need a little extra… something. Thankfully, the Obeah Man thing happens way before Infinite Crisis (which, is the thereabouts of when Blue Beetle dies) so that means that Ted Kord is still alive. That last chapter also mentions Jaime as part of the team even though he doesn’t become Blue Beetle until after Ted Kord dies but… uh… maybe his timeline is a little sped up (like Damian’s).

Anyway. Janet is all for plausible deniability, so she just has Drake Industries begin dealing with KORD Industries… and if that means that Ted Kord interacts with her son, well, if Tim can appoint himself a godmother surely she can choose a godfather. And if Blue Beetle happens to train Mastermind in the ways of non-metahuman vigilante skills/gadgets, well, that has nothing to do with their companies, does it? And it certainly is no business of Wayne Enterprises, butt out, Bruce.

As a bonus, since anywhere Ted Kord goes, Michael Carter goes, she basically gets two godfathers for the price of one. Which is especially great since it’s canon that Batman is ridiculously irritated by Booster Gold’s existence. It makes Booster helping to train Mastermind just absolutely hilarious to Janet (and me).

And I have some other thoughts–like… if Janet had gone to school with Lex as a teenager/child, well of course she’s going to recognize Kon, and similarly annoy the crap out of Lex. Mostly by sort of adopting Kon–because she’s been meaning to get Tim a bodyguard, it might as well be someone he likes. And then whenever she interacts with Lex she’s just so ruthless–“The darling boy is so lucky to favor his other parent’s genes, goodness knows your shoddy business practices are better off not being passed down to the next generation.” and “Oh, I’m sorry Lex, I can’t hear you over the sound of Lex Corp stock prices plummeting.” Hehehe…

Like, I would want this to take over the actual fic, but be more like a… supplemental reading sort of thing.

Sorry, all of my Tim feelings spill over into Janet feelings so… :/

Although… I may actually write this? In a drabble-y choppy way. For now, though, here’s the brainstorm.

I would love to see what you can come up with in my humble AU, sweetie. While I am not well versed in the Ted/Michael dinamics I do have a headcanon in which Janet and Lex were schoolmates (academic rivals in Lex’s opinion, forced acquaintances in Janet’s) and of couse she’s gonna tease Alex (”Please Janet, we’ve gone over this for decades, call me Lex!”) the moment she takes one look at Kon and sees that stuborn chin on him. 

As for her divorce request, canon-wise, she and Jack were having troubles by the time Haiti happened, a part of me wants to believe  that she took one look at her son’s face (bruised, scratched and so terribly sad) and decided it was not worth it following her asshole of a husband around the globe to salvage a marriage that forced her away from her child. 

She loves Tim, he is hers and he needs to come first for once at least in her book, if Jack wants to move away and find himself, fuck him, she is staying. 

Also, she is going to troll Bruce so hard when she notices her baby boy has captured the heart of Brucie’s little monster, Damian is an adorable little cookie that knows perfection when he sees it – of course Tim is perfect, he is her son – and she will encourage their interactions as much as she can if only to see Bruce squirm. 

OMG! I meant  “I would NOT want this to take over the actual fic, but be more like a… supplemental reading sort of thing.” (ugh seriously of all the freaking typos I could inflict, I’m so sorry. Without the not it sounds so arrogant, I didn’t mean to sound like some kind of idea thief)

But, hi! Hello! I’m a big fan of your fic–I’m such a sucker for Tim Drake and his many heartbreaking adventures, and you’re probably the reason why I ship DamiTim.

I just super love the idea that Janet knows about everyone’s superhero/villain secret identity shenanigans but never outrightly says it. Probably because she grew up with those dweebs and is just like–”Alex, surely all this melodrama would be solved if you just propositioned the alien. It’s starting to get embarrassing–and I knew you in the 80s.” or “Bruce, running around in spandex doesn’t make you the bigger man. Far from it, in fact.”

Thankfully, her son knows better. If he’s going to be a vigilante, he’s at least going to be one that is both practically and fashionably dressed.

I actually don’t know that much about the Blue Beetle/Booster Gold storyline, either, but I figure that there aren’t too many non-metahuman vigilantes that aren’t also Bat-sanctioned/funded. So it was either BB+BG, who are independent of Batman and also have the added benefit of annoying the bejeezus out of Bruce, or… well… one of the assassins/mercenaries like Shiva or Deathstroke. Which… I mean, that would be pretty interesting, too.

Janet could easily hire Deathstroke to teach her son–unless Slade Wilson is also someone that Janet has had past experience with and she leverages some kind of blackmail against him so he will train Tim. (And, obligatory Janet trashtalk: “Orange and black scales, Slade? Need I say more?”)

As for Shiva, well, now I’m not saying Janet possibly did her a favor on the wrong side of the law a few years ago, but I do think that if such a thing did happen then it would definitely make sense for Shiva to repay her by training Tim. Just saying.

((I guess there’s also Green Arrow, but I figure that in Janet’s eyes Oliver Queen is even less tolerable than Bruce Wayne)).

Also, hell yeah Janet is going to encourage DamiTim. She believes in multi-tasking and not only will that give Bruce an aneurysm, but it will also neatly tie up the whole Wayne Enterprises vs Drake Industries thing, and confuse Ra’s al Ghul (who she considers a mild but persistent pest in her international business dealings).

Mastermind (The Mother Knows Best Remix), brainstorm (2015-10-14)

This really won’t make sense if you don’t read @rahndom‘s Mastermind.

So the last chapter has the Young Justice swoop in to save both of the Drakes’ lives–though they are hospitalized–and there is a Janet-Tim mother-son bonding moment. Very sweet and everything. And I always want to know more about Janet Drake and figure that the woman who told her toddler that he can be anything so long as he put his mind to it, would be very supportive of her son as the vigilante named Mastermind.

So I was thinking some more about this universe and had some world-building/brainstorm-y thoughts about what I would like to read in a Janet POV continuation/remix of the fic.

The main one being–why does Janet, immediately upon waking up post-Haiti, decide to divorce Jack? And in answer to that I figured, well, what if most of the time, his parents were gone separately?

Like, Janet goes off somewhere for business and would assume that Jack would stay at home. And she’d say, oh, I’ll be back in three weeks. Then, two and a half weeks later Jack is like, Tim can stay at home by himself for three days, there’s a dig I would like to go to, I’ll be back in a month. Except then Janet calls and is like–I have to extend my stay for another six weeks–not knowing that Jack has already left for his own trip. Etc. etc. I mean, neglect is neglect, but at least this way it kind of explains Janet’s complete 180 in that last chapter.

Because it wasn’t really a complete 180. I figure it was probably something like… Jack was the one who wanted a kid and Janet didn’t really, but of course when she had Tim she loved him–but she still wasn’t ready to be a mother. As opposed to Jack who, even after Tim was born, still liked the idea of a son more than actually having a son. So hence Janet wanting to divorce Jack and stay in Gotham. Because the entire time she thought Jack was staying at home with Tim and finding out that he wasn’t–to the point that Tim became a teenaged vigilante with all his spare time–made her realize that she cannot stay married to this man who is a terrible husband and father.

And then everything else was just in line with what Tim can do and the idea that a lot of what makes Tim Mastermind is actually stuff he got from Janet. Including annoying the crap out of Bruce Wayne.

So of course she’s going to stick up for Catwoman as her son’s godmother. Retroactively claiming friendship with Selina Kyle–why of course, Bruce, Selina and I have been friends forever. It’s shameful that you’ve forgotten. It must be that dreadful alcoholism of yours, it’s practically pickled your brain.

But then she figures maybe it’s not enough. And while she adores Selina, well, Catwoman is a thief, and thieves don’t fight. They run. As Mastermind, Tim may not have the luxury to run, so he’ll need a little extra… something. Thankfully, the Obeah Man thing happens way before Infinite Crisis (which, is the thereabouts of when Blue Beetle dies) so that means that Ted Kord is still alive. That last chapter also mentions Jaime as part of the team even though he doesn’t become Blue Beetle until after Ted Kord dies but… uh… maybe his timeline is a little sped up (like Damian’s).

Anyway. Janet is all for plausible deniability, so she just has Drake Industries begin dealing with KORD Industries… and if that means that Ted Kord interacts with her son, well, if Tim can appoint himself a godmother surely she can choose a godfather. And if Blue Beetle happens to train Mastermind in the ways of non-metahuman vigilante skills/gadgets, well, that has nothing to do with their companies, does it? And it certainly is no business of Wayne Enterprises, butt out, Bruce.

As a bonus, since anywhere Ted Kord goes, Michael Carter goes, she basically gets two godfathers for the price of one. Which is especially great since it’s canon that Batman is ridiculously irritated by Booster Gold’s existence. It makes Booster helping to train Mastermind just absolutely hilarious to Janet (and me).

And I have some other thoughts–like… if Janet had gone to school with Lex as a teenager/child, well of course she’s going to recognize Kon, and similarly annoy the crap out of Lex. Mostly by sort of adopting Kon–because she’s been meaning to get Tim a bodyguard, it might as well be someone he likes. And then whenever she interacts with Lex she’s just so ruthless–“The darling boy is so lucky to favor his other parent’s genes, goodness knows your shoddy business practices are better off not being passed down to the next generation.” and “Oh, I’m sorry Lex, I can’t hear you over the sound of Lex Corp stock prices plummeting.” Hehehe…

Like, I would not want this to take over the actual fic, but be more like a… supplemental reading sort of thing.

Sorry, all of my Tim feelings spill over into Janet feelings so… :/

Although… I may actually write this? In a drabble-y choppy way. For now, though, here’s the brainstorm.

Cross-Post: Little Bunny

original here. dated 2013-09-04.

~

[[because when I saw the summary/snippet of mgnemesi’s Bunny – “Her,” Young Mr. Wayne blurts, pointing a finger at the girl. “I want her.” – I kind of pictured something different.]]

Jason is nine years old, not stupid. For all that Bruce Wayne says he doesn’t have to change, Jason knows that if he doesn’t want to go back to the orphanage (and the streets, because, let’s be honest the streets of Gotham are sadly a lot better than the orphanage Bruce Wayne found him in) he has to be perfect. It would help if high society behavior were less… convoluted, because Jason does not care for these plastic-face, plastic-personality people trying to pretty much sell their daughters to him.

For all that he’s only nine, being the newest Young Mr. Wayne makes him some sort of prize to be bought through marriage. Jason knows that these same people would have seen him as little more than the dirt under their feet when he was still a street rat. But he’s still confused why they’re trying to make him dance with their daughters–some of them are teenagers, closer to Dickie’s age than his, so he doesn’t know why they don’t bother him instead (except how Dick’s “secret” crush on the Commissioner’s daughter is obvious even to the air-heads)– when it’s a Halloween party. Sure, high society is different, but he’s pretty sure that dancing isn’t really a Halloween thing.

But they’re still pressuring him, and there’s only so many excuses he can make to get out of it without outrightly saying no, before he has to give in sometime. Alfred, all-knowing and all-seeing being that he is, though too busy supervising the wait staff to interfere himself, has thankfully alerted Brucie about his increasingly panicked ward.

Except Brucie is a moron.

“So tiger,” and Jason doesn’t understand these stupid nicknames. They make even less sense when it’s obvious that Jason is dressed as a pirate, “It’s getting pretty late, Alfy says you’ve only got time for one dance before you have to go back upstairs. Who are you going to choose?”

Like he said, Brucie is a moron.

But, well, okay. He only has to choose one girl. But does that mean it’s the equivalent of a proposal? He doesn’t want to accidentally get engaged because of a stupid Halloween dance. As Jason scans the hopeful debutantes and their even more desperate parents crowding around him, he spots a bunny. Well, obviously it’s a kid in a bunny costume, puffball tail and all, over near a small group of adults. She’s tugging on one of the talking men’s trouser legs, trying to get her father’s attention, but the man dismisses her with a brief pat on the head–between the pair of ears– and pushes her towards the candy buffet table. Which obviously Jason has been orbiting around, because it’s pretty much the only good thing about this party.

And the thing is, the girl in the bunny costume is pretty much the only one who hasn’t been thrown in his direction tonight. And she’s got the saddest expression on her face, even though she’s headed towards unlimited free candy (and him), because it’s obvious that she just wants her dad’s attention. And her ears (he knows they’re fake but still) are drooping a little. And seriously, it’s just one dance. They’ll probably never interact after this, right?

So it’s only a little bit of a surprise when he just – “Her,” Young Mr. Wayne blurts, pointing a finger at the girl. “I want her.” – and the crowd around him follows his finger and swivel their heads like a group of predators catching the hint of prey, and even Bruce (not Brucie, actual less-of-a-moron Bruce) looks surprised, and the girl freezes just like a real bunny would with all of this unexpected attention.

But luckily Alfred (seriously, Alfred is great) appears at her side and sort of shields her from their glares and kind of guides her to Jason and Bruce while making it seem like he’s doing nothing of the sort. When they get closer, Jason can see that her blue blue eyes are watery–like, she’s trying really hard not to cry–and wow, doesn’t he feel like a jerk?

Then Alfred does his throat clearing noise which means that he’s not actually clearing his throat, but that he’s going to say something important so you better pay attention. “Would you care for some sweets, Mister Drake?”

“No thank you, Mr. Pennyworth,” The, apparently, boy in a bunny costume answers, voice soft. “And… you can call me Tim.”

“Only if you call me Alfred, Mister Timothy. You are free to change your mind and take advantage of the candy buffet, Master Jason certainly has been. Now if you will pardon me, I wish you a Happy Halloween.”

Then Alfred disappears to wherever he goes, usually, but only after bunny-boy… Tim, replies with a still soft “You too, Mr Alfred.”

Then it’s just the three of them looking at each other, then away, then back. Except the society vultures are still watching, so does this mean he still has to dance?

And because Brucie is still a moron, he says “Well, sport, you going to dance with Timbo here? He’s a boy, you know.”

And then Tim flushes a bright bright red, and Brucie is a jerk as well as a moron for that. And Jason really can’t not make it up to the other boy, so he grabs Tim’s hand (because honestly he’s kind of concerned that the crowd is seriously considering eating him) and declares, “You didn’t say I had to dance with a girl. And what’s wrong with two boys dancing? Of course I’m going to dance with Tim… I mean, if he wants to,”

Because Jason is a jerk, too, and hasn’t asked Tim yet. But, even though Tim’s face is still red, Jason knows it’s the good kind of blush because he nods and says “I’d like that.” So they go to the dance floor (even though Jason still thinks ballroom dancing on Halloween is stupid) and he’s been taking lessons and Tim must be, too, because they don’t fall over themselves, and it’s not exactly terrible.

There is one thing that Jason’s been curious about, though, so he asks, “Why are you dressed as a bunny?”

And Tim smiles, wide enough to show the set of plastic fangs in his mouth, “I’m Bunnicula, legendary terror of the garden,”

And so maybe the candy buffet table isn’t the only good thing about this party.

[[Obviously this is an AU where Jason was adopted earlier, but beyond that I don’t know what else is different in this universe.]]

Cross-Post: No Lament For Perdix

original here. dated 2011-11-21

[A/N: This was before the DCU reboot but after the promotional re-designs were out]

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[[Based off the debut art and teaser of DCU Teen Titan’s reboot: “Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard… etc.” Though I guess this is just an AU, since I don’t actually know what the reboot is like. I had assumed that they had completely rewritten Tim’s backstory; and that his debut as Red Robin was his first role as a physical vigilante. Also, I’m trying to make sense of that costume. That costume… Oh, Tim dear, what are you wearing?]]

Most people, if asked, can tell you who Icarus is: that Greek guy who flew too close to the sun and died because of it. Some people, if they’re particularly well-read and fond of mythos, may be able to tell you that Icarus died because he was too eager and ambitious when he flew on wax-and-feather wings. Icarus died because his father Daedalus the inventor made him wings to escape the tower they were imprisoned in, and Icarus had been so overjoyed at finally being free. Few people can tell you how the father and son had gotten into that predicament. Daedalus, beyond being the father of Icarus, is a background character in many other Greek mythos. For example, he was the architect who built the Labyrinth; famous for housing the Minotaur of Crete. King Minos of Crete trapped Daedalus and Icarus in the tower: unwilling to have the scandalous secrets of both the Labyrinth and the Minotaur spread but unable to kill them. This was because Daedalus had not always been the King of Crete’s inventor.

Daedalus had been born in Athens, not Crete, and he had been a prince. He attempted to kill his nephew Perdix: not for a politically-acceptable reason like to steal the throne, but because Perdix, even at his young age, had shown signs of being far more ingenious than Daedalus. Perdix, by looking at the discarded bones of a fish, had come up with the idea for the saw–now a primitive cutting tool, but then a revolutionary innovation. Daedalus had thrown his nephew off a cliff but Athena, the goddess of wisdom and mother-deity of their kingdom, saved Perdix by turning him into a bird. She banished Daedalus from Athens, and branded his skin with an image of his nephew’s new form to remind him of his punishment. It was this image of a bird that inspired Daedalus’ escape plan, that brought about Icarus’ brief freedom and sudden death, that caused one boy’s death to become an iconic myth, but not another.

Tim’s mother scoffed at the romanticization of Icarus in Greek mythology. She scorned mythology in general, knowing how ancient poets embellished the facts and how history is written by the victors, but she gave Tim books of mythology anyway; Greek, Egyptian, all kinds, because no child of hers would be ignorant of the past. Archaeology–the study of the past to understand the present and to prevent the same mistakes from happening in the future. Tim may not have much interest in ancient and civilizations, but he understands the utility of pattern recognition and misconduct deterrence. Janet Drake, in her own way, had been a good mother. She had also been a terrible mother, by normal standards of maternal affection and nurturing, but without her Tim would be a very different boy.

Jack Drake, on the other hand, could only be called a father in the technical sense. He provided half of Tim’s biological signature, provided the basic amenities of life, and provided whatever objects he believed Tim would need or want based on his well-meaning but misconceived but view of his son. If Tim didn’t have eidetic memory, he might not recognize his father’s face, though as it is he doesn’t remember what his father’s voice sounded like. Sometimes Tim wonders what he would have been like had his father been around more often. Sometimes Tim wonders what he would be like if they were still alive. But, if he’s going to be honest, he doesn’t imagine he would be all that different. He already lied to them constantly when they were alive, if anything it just makes his life less complicated now that they’re dead.

Tim doesn’t need time to wonder who, if not his parents, would have altered his life had things gone differently. He knows who has changed his life, and who he has to thank or blame for who he is today. Tim’s first memory is so burned into his mind, it has been branded onto his soul much like Daedalus’ punishment was branded onto his skin, and it is similarly of a bird-who-is-a-boy. Even without his photographic memory, Tim could never forget that day: a promise, a performance, two deaths, and a newly made orphan. Richard “Dick” Grayson doesn’t even know Tim’s name, let alone know how significant a role he played in Tim’s life; while a part of Tim will always be that child craving affection, this state of affairs is just fine.

Tim’s opinion of Batman aka Bruce Wayne aka Batman is just as conflicted as the man’s identity. On the one hand, Bruce Wayne had adopted Dick, on the other hand Batman had endangered Robin. Batman was a hero, Batman was a monster, Bruce Wayne was a liar, Bruce Wayne was insane. Bruce Wayne had adopted a boy from the streets, Bruce Wayne seemed to like young boys an awful lot, Batman had replaced Robin, Batman had killed Robin. Batman had failed to save his parents, Bruce Wayne had offered to adopt Tim. Bruce Wayne had rescinded that offer when Batman had discovered Tim’s use of Tim’s computer skills. Batman introduced Tim to Bruce Wayne’s friend Barbara Gordon aka Oracle aka goddess-to-hackers-good-enough-to-know-of-her-existence.

Barbara Gordon. Oracle. If Tim were the literary type, he would say she was his Athena, but he hasn’t decided if he is Perdix or Daedalus or Icarus or a tragic combination of the three or none of them at all so he’s not too sure if that would be a proper comparison. She’s his older sister and his mentor and his guardian angel and his shoulder devil and his everything and Tim is hers. Tim belongs to Barbara. Tim belongs to Oracle. Tim does whatever she tells him to: hacker grunt work, bug installation, Bird of Prey diplomacy, Clocktower cleaning, grocery shopping, whatever. When Barbara tells him to increase his physical training and start constructing those engineering side projects, Tim gives her a look but says nothing in protest. When Oracle tells him to review Batman’s encrypted files of known metahumans, vigilantes and villains alike, Tim hesitates only to ask if he should leave a reassuring message for Bruce. When Tim is given a mission to aid super-powered teenagers against an international organization, Oracle tells him it will not be as a Bird of Prey or as a Knight of Gotham, Barbara tells him it will be as founder of the new Teen Titans.