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 th prologue This chapter has brief descriptions of child abuse, gore and moderately graphic implications of non-con. If you would prefer a summery of this chapter or a copy with any of those scenes omitted, just let me know!
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.
He was led through the corridor to a sterile room filled with big computer screens, lots of little lights and scary machines - pretty much what he had been expecting. As Cold Eyes led him towards a big freaky chair – something reminiscent of a medieval torture device crossed with office furniture - he really wished he had the option to run. Sadly that wasn’t on the cards, so instead he sat as directed, leaning back as a guy in overalls strapped him down
After an eternity of waiting, spent pretending he wasn’t crapping himself, a stern faced woman sat beside him and started typing on her electronic pad.
“Hi,” Jason tried, annoyed at her disinterest in him. It had been said he had no sense of self preservation when he was pissed off or scared, and up to now he had disagreed – but he just couldn’t seem to keep his mouth shut even if it was probably best for him if she continued to ignore him.
“Quiet,” she said frostily, not even looking at him.
“Hey, just trying to start conversation” he gave her a friendly leer – the sort Dick used to give to Babs just before she punched him. “Been a while since I got to talk to a woman.”
Frosty turned pale eyes on him. She still looked blank, but he couldn’t help feeling his attitude had surprised her – or perhaps disgusted her, it was hard to tell. “I am not one o your omen,” she said in the same cold tones.
“Ok,” Jason said amicably, “what shall I call you then?”
“Right-o.” Despite the fact he had grown up with the worst of Gotham, with power hungry sociopaths and violent murderers, her frigid stare chilled him to his core.
Then she pulled out a fuck-off huge needle and he cringed.
Having been trained by the Bat and some of the most fucked up individuals around, he really shouldn’t have a thing about needles. But he did.
H really isliked them.
She drew blood and passed it to a intern who wasn’t as blank faced as the rest of them, and there was an edge of hero worship as she accepted the vial from Frosty – the first actual complicated emotion he had seen from any of the Anathema.
After an age of her typing and looking at him like he was a bit of slime under a microscope, she started slapping electrodes all over him. As she turned away and tapped something into the computer and he felt the base of his neck get warm, and he realized that she was accessing the chip he had under his skin. He tried to remember where the warmth was coming from, something that might prove useful in the future.
“Ok,” Frosty said, her voice still as disinterested as ever. “Stage one.”
...And then he was somewhere else; the world flickered and...
Damn he had to get home! He was gonna be in so much trouble! He darted down Gilford street, took a shot cut across the old parking lot, familiar shapes of burnt out cars and old crates. He vaulted over the cut in the fence and made for their dirty apartment. It wasn't much but it was dry and sometimes warm.
His mom didn’t look so good; her left was eye swollen, his dad was in the joint again and Carl Russel had been staying more nights than not. Looking up from his bottle old Carl took a swing at him, but Jason dodged and ran to his room.
“Little fucker,” he heard Carl say. “One day gonna teach that brat his place.”
Jason spat out the side of his mouth like his old man did, and pulled the bits of wire and circuitry from his pocket. He was going try and fix one of the keys that opened car doors – why jimmy the lock when you could just open it? He was too small to drive the things, but he could get in with the guys that could, make enough money for his mom.
It hurt so much to breath, he reckoned something was broken in his chest, old Carl had his face and the other guys were laughing.
“Open your mouth shithead.” Carl said, and then he was choking and he wasn’t never going to forget that taste, and the feel of the fingers on his face.
That was the night he decided old Carl had to die.
He had to get home!
He was in the bat cave watching Bruce warm up. He’d never had much truck with love; he had loved his mom, most of the time, and Pedro the cat - the mangy old fleabag had lived upstairs, it used to crawl in through his window and sit on his knee in the summer. He had liked that.
But he thought he might love Bruce. He hadn’t trusted him at first, damn, it was dumb as fuck to trust anybody who offered you something for nothing. But Bruce had never called in the debt and the first time he flew above the city? He would have given him anything.
He felt more free and more powerful than he ever had before, never felt so safe either, with the solid presence of the Bat beside him.
It was the best he had ever been, even better than when he watched old Carl choke to death after drinking his laced whisky.
It had been a bad night. A really bad night. He wasn’t going to cry in front of Batman - he wasn’t! Bruce growled at him as they got changed and Jason threw his pixy boots right at his head. Batman deflected them of course and Jason ran.
He didn’t go far though. He had to know how mad Bruce was, if he was going to be chucked out. As he watched Nightwing come zooming in on his bike, he flew off the seat and straight at Bruce, shoving him in the chest. Nobody did shit like that to the Batman except Dick.
“How could you let him see that!” Dick was shouting, “He’s just a kid!”
“So are you,” Bruce grunted at Nightwing, shoving him out the way and heading for the showers.
“I haven’t been a kid in a very long time Bruce! You saw to that!”
This was going to be bad, and Jason held his breath. Part of him wanted Batman to chuck Nightwing out – he wanted to be the person Bruce loved the most, another part just wanted them to be ok.
“Bruce!” Dick was yelling. “Bruce! I don’t care what you do, but please listen to me, for the boy’s sake!”
Batman ignored him.
“When you have to deal with something so awful, he needs to be more than just your partner, he needs to be your son too. He’s not mad at you, he’s hurt by what he saw there!”
“Get out Dick.”
Dick snarled like an angry cat but he got out. Jason resented his interference - it made him sound weak!
But later when Bruce came to his room and lay a big hand on his shoulder and he pretended to be asleep as the Batman drew him closer and told him he did good. Weakness didn’t matter in that moment - he felt safe under Bruce’s hand. They were very alike in some ways, he couldn’t accept love ‘awake’ and Bruce couldn’t give it. Like this though, he knew this was the best thing that would ever happen to him.
Squeezing his shoulder, Bruce whispered, “Pleasant dreams, son” and Jason’s heart swelled.
There was a noise trying to break free of Jason’s teeth, a whining excuse for a scream.
He could hear his bones breaking, shattering, each blow was a distant agony. For a moment he had felt brave, now he was just desperate. But as he felt something rupture in his chest, as he realized help wasn’t coming, he remembered the feel of the cat on his knee, the warm whisky scented hugs his other mom had given him, Nightwing’s gentle ribbing, Bruce’s comforting arms around him.
And flying. He remembered that even as his bones shattered and hope spun away from him in a blast that shook the foundations of all the people he had known and loved.
Then there had been something strangely blank. Things had happened to his body that had no impact on his mind. He saw himself in his own grave, scrabbling at the coffin, suffocating, trapped, he felt nothing but animal-like fear and a sense of wrong that he had never quite shaken off.
White, white, bright.
Someone was rifling through his brain like it was a filing cabinet. Plucking out bits at will.
Fighting, bombs, Dick, more fighting,
“Hmm,” Frosty said.
Jason’s eyes sprung open. “Fuck!” He blinked, and felt sick.
“You can go,” Frosty said, her voice as distant as before, but Jason had never felt so violated. Never. He was shocked into immobility, consumed with rage, and as soon as they undid his shackles he punched her right in her disinterested face. He was restrained with in seconds but he was almost spitting with anger.
“You will have to be punished for that,” Frosty said, rubbing her jaw. “Put him out.”
When he woke he was in a single cell, and a guard came to grab him and drag him back to the main prison. He went, unsure of himself; unsure how long he had been away.
He wasn’t sure he could keep from screaming and lashing out, and he had more than an inkling about what Dick feared about this shit.
His guard smirked at him as he shoved him through the gate. Jason felt trepidation slither up his spine like a snake, and he moved carefully towards the low din, the noise growing louder as he got closer.
First he saw Fahim, his body at least, hauled up between the bars of cell 1, congealed blood still dripping from his scraggly beard in sad dribbles. He pushed inmates out of the way, Peter was there, he knew Peter, he had helped Peter – the bastard owed him.
“Where!” Jason barked at him.
“Sorry Jase,” Peter spluttered, “Sorry. He wouldn’t go down, so they zapped him. I said you’d be back but they wouldn’t listen. Sorry Jace, there weren’t anything I could do.”
Jason could already taste the bile. If they had zapped Dick he would have been defenseless, alone.
He pushed through the crowed. There was a lot of people, but the chaos was centered around Harrison, over by the center tables His ables. Jason’s height gave him some advantage and he could see Harrison had a bloody nose, but he was grinning, and it didn’t take much to guess what he was doing, or who he was doing it to. Jason wanted to scream, and he didn’t remember the next few minutes as he broke Harrison, broke him like twigs, slashed and beat the other men, until it was just him and his brother. Dick was facedown over the table, Jason couldn’t tell if he was breathing under all the blood; it was smeared over his thighs and buttocks, seeping across the table from under his stupid shaggy hair. He was painted in bruises and Jason didn’t know how they were going to deal with this.
After a long horrified moment Jason reached over and felt for a pulse, there wasn’t one. Suddenly panicked he flipped Dick over, to attempt CPR, mouth to mout anything o make him breathe - and saw someone had cut Dick’s face from cheek to cheek, a rictus smile, like the Joker’s.
It was too much.
Jason vomited, again and again, until his whole body was nothing but pain and horror.
“Interesting,” Frosty said, and Jason’s eyes snapped open. He could taste vomit and blood, and he had bitten his lip. He was still strapped to the chair, and had been sick all over himself, and he felt disorientated, disjointed, but he was so relieved that whatever had just happened was not,probably ot, reality. It chased away some of the terror in his bones. Each breath he took meant his friends were alive.
“Very interesting.” She was sorting through her data,“I have not seen this before.” She sounded intrigued, almost excited, and she called over others. They all studied whatever was on the screen.
“What could cause a disturbance like that?” one said,
“Perhaps its a fault?”
“No!” Frosty snapped. “I went over it several times; there is a brightness, a light, something new.”
All eyes turned to Jason and he felt fear pour over his body again. He suspected this was only a fraction of what they could do, and he grasped some of what might have made Dick Grayson kill his cellmate in cold blood. He was a rat in a trap.
And they knew everything.