Fandom: DCU [which does not belong to me btw]
Pairing: Jason Todd/Dick Grayson
Rating: PG- NC-17
Thanks to Sharon as always! <3
Warnings: full warnings in the prologue,
Summary: The world is in ruins, the justice league is gone, and like many others who have tried fighting for their freedom, Jason Todd is in prison. He finds help from an unexpected source.
It was two days before things had calmed enough to check out the tunnel. In the meantime, Jason found himself enjoying his new status. He got more food and a lot less hassle. He suspected Dick was also enjoying himself. He was definitely liking the fact that he could wear clothes, and was always in a t-shirt and a jumpsuit when he was out of the cell.
Although Jason had been worried about whether Dick would be able to hold his own when people inevitably challenged him – he had no doubt about his ability to beat the crap out of them, it was more concern over whether he could do it with enough nastiness to discourage others - it turned out he had nothing to worry about. When Harris, one of the cell bosses, made some rather rude comments about Dick’s pretty mouth and combined that with a grab for his behind, Dick broke his fingers. Slowly.
A punk becoming an enforcer seemed to screw with prison politics, and it took more than one lesson to get the message across. Jason had to admit he was a little turned on by the expression on Dick’s face as he meted out punishment. He looked like he was kind of enjoying it, and Jason didn’t think he was faking either. As long as it stayed within certain parameters, it wasn’t that different from taking down a would-be rapist or stopping an armed robbery with nothing but fists and feet. They were both violent people, and as he had told Dick previously, the satisfaction and power that went with that was addictive, gave them a rush like sex or drugs. Dick seemed to be rediscovering that about himself, but in typical Grayson style. Afterwards, he always seemed doubtful, like he was doing something wrong.
Jason left him to it. He had other things to worry about, like escape, and the new Enterprise. He still didn’t know what it was, but there was a buzz of what he would tentatively call excitement amongst the guards and that was never a good thing. He and Fahim did their best to ask around, but they didn’t have much joy.
Jason was happy to note some of the guards were now on his 'payroll', but he was less than pleased to discover that the payment they expected was generally sexual in nature. Now that was a fucking nightmare, and he found much of his time was taken up with thinking about it. If it had beenbefore, it would have been money or drugs, but here, their money meant nothing. All they had was themselves – or in this case, other people. If he refused to allow it to carry on, he would lose the contacts and probably his position. If he let it continue he would be complicit in systematic sexual abuse and rape. Fuck complicit, he would be facilitating it. He couldn’t even pretend it would be for the greater good; it was just so he, Dick and Fahim could escape. But he couldn’t stay here; he had to get back to Gotham, and he couldn’t let the creepy medics get at Dick again.
He knew what he was going to do, he just wasn’t sure if he could live with it.
That was the first major problem with the new set up. The second presented itself on the third night, when he and Dick carefully removed the mattress and board to give access to the tunnel beneath the floor. They peeled up the tiles, as Fahim had directed them, until a dark space was revealed. The sight of it sent a shot of hopeful excitement though him, and Dick's grin was visible even in the dim light. It was a small space; it would give Jason’s shoulders some trouble, but he could manage. Dick slid down into the hole, only to pop back up two minuets later.
“It's blocked,” he whispered harshly. “I can’t tell how far back it goes.”
Jason gestured for him to get up and lowered himself down. He winced at the point it narrowed and started to constrict his movement. He had very carefully not been thinking about the dark, enclosed space. He really wasn’t a fan. On his knees, he felt forward with his fingers. Sure enough, rubble was piled the whole width of the space, but that was all he could tell without a light. Crap.
“I’m going to kill that old goat!” Jason snarled.
“Lets not kill anybody yet. The tunnel is here, just like he said. It's been a long time since it was made; it might just be a little blockage.”
“A little blockage is still a big problem! I'm going to kill him.”
Jason didn’t kill him. Instead, he made do with bundling Fahim out of bed and stuffing him down the hole armed with his plastic lighter. After 10 minutes of waiting, Fahim assured them he had made a thorough inspection. Dick helped him back out, although Jason was all for keeping him down there until he dug them out or died trying. Dick rolled his eyes and ignored his grumbling. Then they put the floor and the mattress back and held a war council.
“It goes back a bit, but not too far, I think. We could clear it in a few days if we had somewhere to put the rubble,” Fahim said.
“How did you do it last time?” Dick asked.
“Smuggled it into the yard.”
Jason snorted. “Just like every prison break movie ever. Got to love the classics.”
“But it leaves us with a problem,” Dick said. “We don’t have yard time, so what the hell do we do with it?”
There was a long, unhappy pause.
“We're going to have to hide it,” Jason said at last, “anywhere we can, a bit at a time.”
“That’ll take too long!” Dick hissed.
“It’s no good if we clog up the plumbing, make it obvious. It has to be in small amounts or it will be a lot worse than delaying us for a week or two.”
“That’s what you think,” Dick said ominously, but he nodded his head. There wasn’t any other choice.
“Right, then we start digging it out-”
“There is another problem,” Fahim interrupted. “We have to be careful as we evacuate it – we do not want it to collapse on us. We have to go very slowly.”
Dick groaned and huffed, but the old man had a point.
“Fine, we start tomorrow. Fahim, get out of my bed.”
Fahim got up, and Dick flopped down on the threadbare pillow, not even bothering to pull off his shirt.
Their bunk was now big enough to comfortably accommodate the two of them, but Dick still slept next to him, sometimes half on top of him. Jason had long since given up trying to disentangle himself, and he had gotten used to the strangeness of sharing his personal space.
They lay in silence and Jason felt himself drifting.
“Hmm?” Jason grunted, coming back from the edge of sleep.
“Before, when you used to know me, was I often afraid?”
Jason blinked himself fully awake. “Everyone's afraid sometimes.”
“Was I afraid to die?”
“Probably, Jason said. “You weren’t afraid to risk your life, but you also wanted to live. Most people are scared of death.” He paused for a moment as an involuntary shudder ran through him. “I sure as shit am. Done that once, not keen on a repeat.”
“A near death experience?” Dick asked.
Jason didn’t feel much like explaining Lazarus pits and the back from the dead stuff, so he just nodded. “Something like that.”
“I’m more afraid of them taking me back to that place than I am of dying,” Dick said into the silence.
“It won’t happen, even if the plan is a bit fucked.”
“Is it though? Maybe it’s just a setback.” Dick did not sound like he was even convincing himself.
“Well, it’s full of fucking rubble and rocks, but I’m going to make it work,” Jason said, trying to inject all the confidence he didn’t feel into his voice.
After a moment, Dick got this slightly soppy look on his face and Jason held up a hand before he could speak. “No, Dick. Whatever sappy shit you’re about to say, can it.”
“I wasn’t going to say anything like that,” Dick said indignantly.
“Yes, you were. I know that look, and I know that brain. It’s full of stupid puns, sap, and clichés.” He rolled his eyes towards the ceiling. “Oh god, do I know what you were going to say.”
“Do not.” Dick was actually pouting, but Jason suspected it was partly put on for his benefit.
“Do too. You were going to go for ‘but you’re my rock’ or some stupid crap in that vein.”
Dick looked offended, but then broke into a huge grin. “You really do know me, Jaybird!” he said, and Jason felt the hair on his arms stand on end.
“It's not sappy, it's true!” Dick carried on, oblivious. “We’re all we’ve got right now. It’s important that we’re strong for each other. Hence, the rock thing, although it is a bit of a stupid metaphor in some ways, because-”
Jason blocked the rest of the blabber out. He debated about bringing it up, that something might be slipping back, but in the end he decided to let it go. It could have been a coincidence. What was bothering him was the fact that he wasn’t sure if he wanted it to happen or not. If Dick was coming back to himself, what did that mean for their partnership? What did it mean for their tentative friendship? H liked his Dick.
“Yeah?” He shook himself, trying to replay what Dick had been talking about. His brother was looking at him with wide eyes, and his expression was soft, affectionate. Maybe it would be better if he remembered who he was, remembered how much they disliked each other.
“Do I have any friends? Did I, when I was real me?” Dick asked.
“You had lots of friends. Don’t know where they are now, though, so not much point in dwelling on it.”
Dick nodded. “Any relationships? Girlfriend? Boyfriend?”
This was obviously heading into territory that was going to get him in trouble. He should nip this shit in the bud. He could tell Dick they were ‘brothers’. That would maintain their relationship but distance him from this intense stuff. He just couldn’t bring himself to do it, though. Instead, he just shrugged. “I don’t know. You’ve had girlfriends - hot, smart, kickass ones. Not sure how you managed that, but you have good taste in woman, and they have poor taste in men.”
It broke the tension, and Dick whacked him upside the head. “I’m sure I was a great catch! I still am, except for the being in prison part.”
Jason huffed out a laugh. “Will you shut up and go to sleep?”
“All joking aside,” Dick's voice was still warm, but he sounded dead serious, “thank you. I know it’s been a bumpy ride, but I am glad I met you – re-met you, whatever.”
“Plenty of time to weep in each others arms and exchange friendship bracelets when we’re out of here.”
Dick pressed his lips to his bare shoulder, and Jason tried very hard not to notice.
“I hope we can still get out, but Jason, the tunnel is blocked. I know we can get free, I hope we can, but I would rather put a bullet through my brain than let them have me again,” Dick said. He looked fierce, and Jason didn’t doubt him for a second.
“Dick, from what you’ve said, and from what I've guessed, you escaped from them. They didn’t just send you here. You kept saying they knew what you had done.” Jason wasn’t sure he was ready to hear this story, but he was certain he needed too.
Dick hunched his shoulders and was quiet for a long time. “My cell mate died, so I dug the chip out of his shoulder and swapped it with mine. He was no good, so they sent him here.” He shuddered. “Except it wasn’t him, it was me. When they find out, they'll take me back.”
Jason felt anger and pity, his usual feelings when Dick spoke about his time with the medics, but for once rage wasn’t his main emotion. Dick had just given him a solution to getting out. The chips were the biggest stumbling block, as they picked up vital signs, but if they were swiftly transferred to a living body…it could work. It would be messy as fuck, but it could work.
“How did he die, so they didn’t notice you had gone digging in his shoulder? And how long was the chip out of his body before it went into yours?”
“The transfer was quick; it wasn’t out of the body for more than a few moments. I made it look like we fought. I had to cut him up a bit to hide what I had done.”
Jason had a sudden shiver of doubt. 'Had to cut him up a bit' did not sound like something Dick would say, and his demeanor had changed to something shifty and hunched. Maybe it was because he was talking about something traumatic, but it could also be interpreted as guilt. Just the fact that he had to consider that Dick might have killed his cellmate in order to escape was terrifying. He might have been projecting, though. Maybe his own doubts about the people he was sacrificing for his own escape plans, the parts of his own integrity he was tearing to shreds, was affecting how he saw Dick and his predicament.
So he just nodded and ran a soothing hand down his brother’s back. “Not going to happen. We're getting out, going home and finding a way to ice these sons of bitches.”
“You say the nicest things to me.” Dick grinned against his skin, his mood noticeably lighter. “Don’t forget you’re going to tell me all there is to know about me.”
“That’s one hell of a sordid tale, Dickie-bird.”
Dick did his usual ritual of arranging Jason’s limbs so they made a comfy pillow/foot rest/prop for him – something Jason had long given up fighting, and settled beside him. Jason ruthlessly crushed the traitorous feeling of contentment that crept though his chest.
Very bad form Todd, very bad…
Of course the Anathema had to go and make a liar of him that night. Hours after midnight, the main light in their cell came on and Cold Eyes, flanked by two guards, threw back the privacy sheet, making Jason start out of sleep and nearly elbow Dick's teeth out.
“Doing this now is a courtesy,” Cold Eyes said. “You should respect that.”
“The hell is going on?” Jason said. He could feel Dick's panic, and he had a sinking feeling in his gut. For all his big talk, if they wanted to take him, there was fuck all Jason could do about it.
“Numbers for testing. You have control, so we start here, whilst the others are locked down.”
“Ok.” What else could he say? He heard Dick suck in a breath behind him and felt like a complete heel, but he was stuck.
Cold Eyes nodded, pleased. He turned to the guards and rattled off some numbers. They set about removing the confused inmates from the cells. When that was done, Cold Eyes turned to him. “And 1678,” he said. It took a long moment of confusion for Jason to realize that that was him, not Dick.
He wasn’t expecting that. Neither was Dick, apparently, and he practically jumped out of his skin when Jason made to stand.
“Jay, don’t,” he whispered.
Jason did his best to give him a reassuring look. “Got to. You look after things in here, Pretty Boy. You're in charge.” He let the guards lead him away, giving Fahim a nod as he passed.
He was fairly sure this was going to be extremely unpleasant.