prodigaljaybird: (PB - Wrecked.)
[personal profile] prodigaljaybird
It's taken so long to find him that for the short moment Jason pauses to look, he doesn't trust his own eyes. There's sweat in his eyes, exacerbating an already present sting, perspiration running down his arms to fight Jason for his grip on the batline, but it doesn't falter, aim desperately sure and grip too tight to let him fall, but now.

But now he's found him, Bruce's back to him in the jungle as he gathers wood for purposes Jason's wired too tight to understand. In all the hours he's spent searching, Jason hasn't figured out a damn thing to say, crawling out of his skin ever since he left Cass's side, the depth of it, the weight of it too much to untangle and put into anything like words.

He could die here. In the shape he's in, Jason doesn't have a prayer if Damian's lurking close by, but he doesn't give a fuck. Of all the things he's decided he can live with, live through, he's not sure this is one of them.

Leaving the trees at last, Jason hits the ground on legs almost too tired to hold him, but he stays upright, a croaked sound all that escapes him but for his labored breaths.

Date: 2012-02-13 12:49 am (UTC)
crusaded: (It Gets Easier)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
I hear him approach from a fair distance away. Stealth, he's given up in his desperation, searching for someone, the equivalent of a man clawing at walls that won't come down. I knew that this day was coming. I knew that, sooner or later, something would shake him to the bone and he would come running. And I knew that I would be the first person he searched for.

The friends that he's made here see a fractured picture. The one that he wants them to see. It's enough to hold a man together; it's not enough to fix him. I've tried to explain that at times, but how do you when every single person views you as the problem? Warn you away, as though that's the solution?

It's not that simple.

I turn around in time to see him land.

"What's happened?"

Date: 2012-02-13 06:31 am (UTC)
crusaded: (I Work Alone)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
Again, I find myself at an impasse. Do I reach out? Would I, in doing so, help keep him on the feet that seem so unsteady now? Or would it only be a push towards that ledge, the one that sends him tumbling, the one against which I'm not sure either of us would hold? This is what I've needed help with. I don't know what the right course of action is.

Only that lies have no place here.

"Cass was in a Pit. She seems to be largely unaffected," I nod. "I was immersed in one myself. 1999."

Shortly after his death.

Date: 2012-02-13 10:44 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Load-Bearing Hero)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
It's not easy for a father to hold himself back when his son needs support. If anything, the fact that I step forward at all— one foot, but not the other— is proof enough that there are certain instincts I've built. Certain instincts that are hard to fend off. One could argue that I wasn't there during all of Jason's formative years, but there were enough of them.

In moments like these, you can see how much of them he's attempting to make up for now.

"The Lazarus pit affects any of us differently," I reply. "Cassandra and I weren't affected in the same way. And neither were you. The circumstances of your death— how could I have ever hoped for the same?"

Date: 2012-02-14 05:07 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Survivor Guilt)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"How can you even begin to think that?"

The words escape my lips before I really have the chance to temper them. A good soldier? Not a son. What have I done, exactly, to give him that impression? It's yet another line of thought that isn't logical, that's worn to the quick.

Either he's never understood how much he meant to be, as family, or he refuses to see it.

"I wouldn't have used that pit for anyone."

Date: 2012-02-14 06:01 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Knight in Sour Armor)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
I can remember my mother well. She was the closer of the two. My father was the man I looked up to, but he was often busy with work, obligations which popped up and tossed our plans to the side. His anger sometimes surfacing, and my own would lash out in response. Sometimes I think that Damian inherited so much from Talia; sometimes I think that he's my exact mirror, raised under different circumstances.

I step closer, and I think, I think that the only reason why I can really stand in the way that I do is because I had that fulfilled childhood, however short it was cut. Jason is the wrong type of boy to take under one's wing for this.

Too much anger. Cassandra is remorse and restraint personified. Tim, practicality. Dick, resilience. Damian, discipline.

Jason is full of anger, the one that grates worst of all against our purpose, and I never saw that. All I saw was the pride, and the happiness, and I never addressed what was under it.

"Not even Tim," I confirm, stepping closer until I'm by his side. "Jason, there are things that happen in Gotham, yes. That you haven't experienced. I can't deny that. But your life takes a different turn here."

Date: 2012-02-14 07:50 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Covered with Scars)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"For the better."

It feels strange to glance at him huddled on the ground, so I drop myself to a crouch, glancing in his direction. This doesn't feel like a boy about to aim a gun at my chest, though a part of me wouldn't blame him if he did. If he has a punishment to mete, one with my name on it, I'm not always certain that I would stop him. (Were Damian not here, I probably wouldn't.)

It's the others I worry about. In that sense, he's hit around the ballpark. Am I worried for the others? Of course. But no more or less than I do for him. It's just—

It's just that I feel I have more to offer to the rest of them. Jason's happier like this. With a life. The one he missed out on as a child.

"You have friends here, Jason. Friends who've done a better job of giving you a life than I ever have."

Date: 2012-02-15 09:36 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Face Your Fears)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"Not your mother," I remind him. Maybe it's cruel. Maybe it's necessary. Sometimes things can be both. But the thing that he wanted, unquestionably, that I couldn't have managed to give him in a thousands years, was to be a parent who had made the choice to bring him into the world, and wanted him in spite of everything. A mentor wasn't enough. What child doesn't want to know his parents? Or believe that he or she was brought to complete another person's life?

"You couldn't have been so happy if you wanted... a parent. I wasn't enough of one for you."

Date: 2012-02-17 03:05 am (UTC)
crusaded: (It Gets Easier)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"I'm not arguing that she was a good mother. I should have intercepted more firmly than I did. But you wanted a mother, you wanted that idea of a parent who was connected to you," I reason, because it's the only answer that makes sense. I've taken care of him as well as I knew how over the years, and it's my shortcoming to have thought that he would have been fine with an equal amount of attention as Dick. Clearly, that wasn't the case. Their backgrounds were different, their dispositions.

I'm a man of habit, and the need to break it never occurred to me here until it was too late.

Date: 2012-02-19 01:40 am (UTC)
crusaded: (The Team Normal)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
There are words that ring in the background in spite of Jason's own. I can hear a derisive snort from Damian's side. I can hear silence in the air from Cassandra, confused about how to progress, or Stephanie berating me for not offering Jason a more forgiving hand. I can hear Barnes, ready with accusations. Dropping to a crouch by Jason's side, I think in the end, the voice that sounds the loudest is in fact Alfred's, urging me to determine just how much of a father I still need to be, because Jason's need for guidance may never go away.

I think Alfred was resigned as I was in Gotham, but here, I imagine that things would be different.

"Jason, what do you want me to do? What do you want?"

Date: 2012-02-19 10:44 pm (UTC)
crusaded: (Stealth Hi)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
The past cannot be forgotten. We cannot allow ourselves to let go of mistakes. We hold fast to them in order to keep from making the same ones a second a time, and this needs to still be the case with Jason. Could I step back and simply chase after the way things were years ago? Potentially. But that wouldn't solve anything.

"Then things need to change," I conclude. "I never know where exactly to stand with you, Jason. I do know that plenty of people have reservations about the two of us maintaining contact."

Date: 2012-02-20 10:01 am (UTC)
crusaded: (The Chessmaster)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
In a way, the answer is yes. If we have any hope of regaining what we had back then, or if he wants to move past the mental picture that I've already formed of him, of a young man whose life passed far too soon and left only anger in its wake, he has to change. He has to accept what's happened and move beyond it, rather than allowing that obsession to consume him. I think there is madness in him; at the same time, I don't think it's all of him.

"I think all of us have issues we need to work past and that we are fighting every day. But that the only way to work past them is to agree to some level of change. Whether or not he deserved to die, I don't think killing him would have helped any one of us in the long run."

Date: 2012-02-21 06:44 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Doesn't Like Guns)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"These people aren't afraid of dying, Jason. One dies, the others all see him as an example, see a thrill in chasing after the legacy. The only way to stop them is to contain it," I explain, feeling an edge of conviction in my voice. "If we kill them, we lower ourselves to that same destructive rage. I killed him, I wouldn't be capable of..."

I turn, staring into the distance.

"I wouldn't be capable of saving anyone."

We've had this talk before, but it doesn't make my conclusion any less true. There might be people capable of making calculated strikes and keeping their mental distance. I've never been great at it.

Date: 2012-02-23 07:58 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Shell-Shocked Veteran)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"So why didn't the soldiers come to Gotham?" I ask him, because something in his words makes me think of another individual on the island. It makes me think of Captain America. I know that the two are close, and were that enough to keep Jason sated, I might leave it at that.

It's clearly not, however.

"Why have all of the efforts of the police been in vain? Why, in spite of the potential we have to bolster the nation's economy, does the government turn on us and leave us to fade away? Not all problems can be solved by the soldiers, Jason. That's the point. I'm not a hero, no. But there's still a job that I need to do."

Date: 2012-02-25 05:56 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Dark is Not Evil)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"Yes," I reply, which isn't the same as of course, which isn't the same as saying those three words back in his direction, but it's the most accurate reaction of all the possibilities. I love him anyway, I will continue to love him in spite of and for everything else.

My frown deepens.

"Came back for her?"

Date: 2012-02-26 05:02 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Face Your Fears)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"She could, but it'll be a fight for many years to come," I say, voice quiet. I'm not sure whether or not it's in deference, or if it's the result of that slow-burning fear that I always have, that the day we return to Gotham will be a day too late, our skills atrophied, the city without a champion.

Or with the wrong people trying to support her.

"Someday, Gotham will be peaceful, and as free of crime as any city of its size. Today's not that day."

Date: 2012-02-28 03:01 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Orphan's Ordeal)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"I have to believe that we will," I tell him, with my words carefully arranged and chosen. This hope, however vain or futile it may seem to most people, is the only force which drags me forward on some days. The one constant in my life that has no chance of disappearing, so long as I keep my chin up and my resolve firm.

Exhaling through my teeth, I glance up and in the direction of Jason's hut.

"I'll walk you back."

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Jason Todd

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