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the weight of family and the pull of gravity

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Damian Wayne, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Damian Wayne

    Damian Wayne DC Universe

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    June 20th, Y7
    @Tim Drake

    Damian wasn't one to flee in the face of danger, but even he had to admit that putting distance in between him and a half dozen assassins -- none of whom even flinched when he took out four of them beforehand -- was the smarter tactical decision. Really, he was more just buying time while looking for an opportunity to engage them on his own terms. It was just like his parents had both taught him to do when he was outnumbered in a fight. But usually, leading enemies on a crazy chase across rooftops would exhaust them, trip them up, show him signs of a stumble that he could capitalize on and strike.

    These guys though? Damian also wasn't one to get worried, but with the determined pace they were still pursuing him with, he was going to have to rethink his options.

    "Robin to Batcave," he spoke into the communicator on his wrist just as he had to duck and dodge underneath a dagger that whipped by where his head had been less than a half second earlier. A few pieces of black hair floated down forgotten underneath his quick feet. But he hesitated. Was he really going to call for help right now? Before he even turned to face his opponent in a fair fight? Damian was sure his father would've wanted him to call it in, but he would've sooner begged them for mercy than imply he was scared or didn't think he could handle it. "Nothing to report. Don't wait up for me."

    And then he clicked his communicator off a moment before a gunshot sounded and shattered part of the concrete underneath his boots. Damian wouldn't admit it later, but just for a moment, he stumbled a bit as he sailed from that rooftop onto one below. What kind of rounds were these freaks even using?

    He didn't have long to try and figure it out. Before Damian could even hit the ground running with the assassins in hot pursuit, he spotted a vaguely familiar red and black form not too far away on the opposite end of the rooftop -- straight in the path of both him and a band of people who really, really wanted them both dead.

    Timothy Drake. He'd met the boy briefly once at Christmas, but it wasn't as if he had been particularly impressed...or particularly observant, considering that was also when he had met Fake Grayson. But he was one of Father's apprentices, and so with a split second decision, Damian dashed forward and shoved him out of the way just as more bullets rained down on where the two of them had just milliseconds previous. As much as he didn't care for all these so-called Robins from other worlds popping into Pandora, he would at least do his best to make sure none of them got gunned down.

    Even if that meant shoving one off a roof.

    Trusting Drake to gather himself as any other 'Batkid' would, Damian tucked and rolled to land on his feet on the ground below. His boots splashed in a puddle, and he wasted little time before taking off running once again. "Hurry up or die!" he shouted without turning around. It was blunt and probably a little rude, but he supposed it got his point across well enough.

     
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  2. Tim Drake

    Tim Drake Guest

    (Tim's costume)

    For the most part, Tim had refrained from vigilante work since arriving in Pandora. He still patrolled once a week or so to keep in practice and to better learn the rooftops of the town. He kept abreast of the happenings Bruce kept track of as Batman, helping as he could hacking into systems and building gear, learning Pandora's magitech and how to build around it. The simplicity of it was... cleaner, somehow. More about moving parts and less about microchips and programming. Sure, there was that too, but Tim felt a visceral pleasure in simplifying gadgets down to as few parts as possible.

    One of the first things he'd altered was his gauntlet computer. On a flash drive made into a button was information relevant to crimefighting from Gotham, accessible with a simple click, but otherwise kept on standby, leaving the majority of the computing power to the database of Pandoran maps and history. The histories he'd read during his first weeks, Tim had made notes regarding people, places, and events, all easily cross-referenced. He'd sold this packaged info to Wayne Tech as a sort of Pandoran wikipedia, though his own version contained notes more appropriate to the batcomputer files.

    However, the intel he had on the group of assassins allegedly targeting the batfam was annoyingly vague. The only thing for certain was that so far, the assassins had been unsuccessful. And not for lack of trying. Their skill levels varied, but all were prepared to kill. There was evidence their civilian identities were unknown, but the second anyone put a costume on, they were fair game.

    As far as Tim knew, Jason was in Horizon, Dick was hanging around Blackgate, and Damian had been in town doing god knew what. Knowing his little brother was around the city wearing his cape, being himself, made Tim feel protective. This worried him, but he did some uncomfortable searching of his feelings and came to the conclusion that this Damian didn't know him and didn't hate him and didn't want to kill him (so far), so... he was a brother. The way Jason was. From what Tim had heard, Pandora's Damian was very like Gotham's Damian, just three years older and, inexplicably, more confident in his bad decisions and less interested in whether his social interactions were appropriate. The only thing Tim could deduce from that was that the kid obviously hadn't started to have feelings for significant others yet. (And, well, hoped he wasn't around when Damian did, because that was going to be a mess for everyone.)

    So on the nights he knew Damian was patrolling, he suited up too. It was comforting, putting on the costume, making that magical transformation into someone who knew what the hell he was doing. Tim didn't shadow Damian, but he made it a point to be within half a mile of wherever the kid was dinking around. His comm was in and tuned to the batfrequency, but mute. Just listening. In Pandora Town there was much less swinging and much more jumping and running, and that was just fine with Tim. He was much better at the latter than the former.

    Another way Pandora Damian was like Gotham Damian - any declaration of being okay was a lie, and the more aggressively it was suggested, the less okay he was. If Gotham Damian ever commed in he was happy, Tim would know the world was ending. So hearing 'nothing to report' by a young voice obviously breathing in exertion probably meant that an entire Mongol horde had appeared in front of the youngest batkid and he'd managed, in a few seconds' time, to offend all of them.

    It was not as implausible as it sounded.

    The comm signals echoed strangely in Pandora, and Tim still couldn't pinpoint why, or how to fix it. That was compounded by the fact Damian didn't have any tracking device on him that showed up on any of the tracking receivers Tim had dug up. So the only thing he could gather from those breathless few words was that the kid was nearby.

    The distinct short bang of a gun, shockingly close, made him step out from behind a tall chimney he'd crouched behind, just in time to see his little brother running straight at him, trailed by five... no six angry armed pursuers. Another shot, the sound bouncing oddly, from a gun type Tim had never seen in person but thought was the kind that shot lead balls instead of cylindrical bullets. He ducked, but the brick the slug hit made the ball split and a sliver of hot lead scraped across Tim's right temple, slicing a jagged line through the side of his mask in the same second Damian's hand shot out toward him.

    Since he was pretty well convinced this Damian didn't want to kill him, Tim thought the extended hand was to pull him down, out of the range of more projectiles. He was completely unprepared (as well as disoriented from the bullet graze) to be shoved back rather than jerked forward, and he fell ungracefully (arguably the only way he could fall) from the roof headfirst, able to see the six... wait, seven? No wait his lenses were malfunctioning, he --

    Tim's head barely missed the iron railing of a fire escape, and only his automatically tucked arms kept his left shoulder from breaking on it as well, but the horizontal black bar caught him high on the left side. Training had him rolling over his left side to keep presenting his less injured areas to the attackers, but the pain it caused arched his body and his legs got tangled in the vertical balusters and Tim had just enough time to think 'of course' before he heard the bones in his legs crackle. He passed out right after one of his legs... he didn't know which... maybe both... slammed into the slatted escape floor, but he came to before he hit the ground. In a last ditch effort to keep his costume out of a display case, he managed to make his arms come back from wherever they were to cover his head and attempt to curl up. That meant the middle of his left side (again! what the hell!) was the first thing to meet pavement.

    Consciousness became spotty after that, though he felt more than heard the other pursuers land around him. Most of them continued to run after... after... Damian! Right! But one of them stayed back to look him over. Or something, he wasn't sure. From what Tim was able to piece together later, the assassin was thrown by the fact Damian appeared to attempt to kill Tim, and thus he wasn't killed where he lay because the assassin wasn't positive he was one of the targets. Sure, he was running around in tights, but the batfam didn't kill their own, did they?

    Tim could've told him they did, actually. A lot.

    So the killer ran after his buddies after giving Tim's already broken legs a few more good blows just to cut down on competition. Laying half on his injured left side, legs tangled, cape bunched half over him, Tim was grateful that the bullet graze that had ripped his mask had made his left eye swell up closed; his head seemed to be in a puddle and he didn't have to try to keep the eye closed and out of filthy alley water using actual energy and thought. It was difficult to breathe but had nothing to do with water... one... maybe two broken ribs. Concentrating on injuries above the waist... okay, above the bottom of his ribcage... helped to keep him from thinking of all the injuries below. Something was dislocated, and something else was pointing the wrong way, but that's all he allowed himself.

    The slipping in and out of consciousness was kind of nice too. Little commercial breaks.

    He should... call someone, right?

    Not the Ghostbusters.

    Um.

    Wait, he knew this.

    ...Hell.

    @Damian Wayne
     
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  3. Damian Wayne

    Damian Wayne DC Universe

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    As soon as Damian had rounded the corner with Drake seemingly in tow, he had a sinking feeling in his gut. There had been no snarky comment, no exasperated demand for an explanation, nor even an interjection of a half-baked plan to get them both out of this mess. In fact, as Damian glanced over his shoulders to see the assassins still in pursuit...he realized Drake wasn't there at all.

    Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

    It would be easy to assume that the other boy had simply split away from him, probably knowing what was good for himself. But even though Damian didn't know him well enough personally, he'd taken it upon himself to research any potential Robins -- potential threats -- and get an idea of what made them tick. Leaving behind a thirteen year old boy to fend for himself, as capable and superior as he might have been, definitely didn't fit Drake's psychological profile. Not only that, but considering they were surrounded by half a dozen men and women who wanted them both dead, his sudden absence didn't exactly make Damian feel as warm and cuddly as it usually did.

    "I'm gonna kill you, Red Robin," he muttered, his lips curling over the clunky code name with faint disgust but knowing better than to even quietly hiss 'Drake.' The last thing they needed were bounty hunters showing up to WayneTech after all.

    With his decision made, Damian turned on his heel and lunged towards one of his potential killers, using the momentary advantage of surprise to stun two of them with solid kicks to the sternums. Doubling back during a chase like this was certain death. He knew that. He could almost hear his mother sighing in disappointment and disgust as she turned her back on him, and his father's imaginary silent but disapproving stare weighed heavily on his back as he dashed through a window and into an empty apartment building.

    Traps were left behind him on the sill to try and stall them from stopping his escape, and he used the building as a shortcut as he made his way into the hallway and towards a fire escape. This was no Gotham, but his city-sense as one may have called it was impeccable, and moments later, he was dropping down to the alley he'd ran out of just a minute before.

    It was one of the dumbest moves he could ever make, and even he had to admit -- if only to himself -- that he'd made some pretty dumb moves over the years. He stopped to listen for the thundering footsteps of the bounty hunters, but it was silent. He knew why. This was exactly where they expected him to return, and they were all more than likely just standing by in the shadows, waiting for him to drop his guard.

    That was probably why they'd left Drake alive. Bait.

    Damian wavered as he stepped closer to the prone body, breath catching hesitantly and unsteadily in his throat as he tried to survey his injuries. He could see the rise and fall of his chest to be assured that he was still breathing, but...he wasn't sure for how long that would be true at this rate. He couldn't have done this, could he have? Sure, he'd grabbed him and pushed him without warning, but there had been no time for warning. He would've been shot if he hadn't. They were...they were supposed to be the best. Accidents like this didn't happen to the best.

    Dropping to his knees next to him, he pulled off his glove to feel for his pulse, expression grim and tight. He didn't even need to turn around to know that the assassins were silently walking closer. They no longer even felt the need to run, since the only way he would be escaping this mess was by grappling hook sans the boy lying on the ground.

    "You're such a loser," Damian muttered, though there was little to no venom behind it as he slipped his glove back on and stood up. First aid would have to wait -- if Drake even could. What he did was undo the boy's utility belt and slip it around his own shoulders, figuring he was going to need all the help he could possibly get. After all, it should've been obvious even to Drake's apparent lacking intelligence (and lacking consciousness) that he was about to either beat the asses of the people who'd dared to threaten one of his Father's apprentices or go down trying.

    (Running didn't even occur to him. Titans didn't leave behind one of their own.)

     
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  4. Tim Drake

    Tim Drake Guest

    Tim didn't need any explanation for why a bunch of angry killers was chasing the youngest batsib; back home it was a depressingly regular occurrence. Enough so that Tim knew to save his breath for running and not waste it on words. Besides, he wasn't in any hurry to find out if Pandora's Damian also used the same overdramatic, almost Shakespearean vocabulary for his insults.

    "You're such a loser."

    Okay, so no then. That was a surprise. It was just like Tim to regain enough consciousness just in time for the name calling. He wasn't sure if his Damian even knew that slang term. He tended to prefer 'moron' and 'imbecile' and 'pathetic mewling peasant'. Tim tried to make a reply, but the second he opened his mouth, what he hoped was water from that puddle his head was in trickled into his mouth and he had to spend quality time choking on it. A cough sprayed liquid that definitely had some sort of food grease in it and a bitterness he was not going to think about, and he blacked out for another few seconds when it did no favors to his broken ribs.

    When he regained consciousness again... there was something he was supposed to do, and it should not have been as difficult as it currently was to remember what it was. The inside of his mouth felt like it was forming a word. Or maybe it was just trying to rid itself of alley water taste. Or protest when he felt his utility belt slide off his waist. Or let out some bad words as his bad hip was jarred.

    But no really, there was something.

    Tim's utility belt had plenty of throw-y things, discs, something-a-rangs, little round dealies that flashed or banged or did both. But he wasn't supposed to be thinking of them.

    But the remake had Thor!

    Okay, that was unhelpful. But it did have some bearing on... that thing.

    Tim's head was on one side, but hey, moving his right eyeball didn't hurt! The blue iris rolled beneath his mask's whiteout lens and... huh. That was an angle he'd never seen Damian from.

    Damian.

    The word that filled Tim's mouth wasn't the one he'd intended, but it was still incredibly appropriate. It came out rough, almost like a cough, but it was the best he could do. "Run."

    @Damian Wayne
     
  5. Damian Wayne

    Damian Wayne DC Universe

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    Run? Now that was just insulting. Damian had been running before, trying to put distance between them to fight them on his own terms, but not because he was frightened. If he couldn't take a pack of overeager imbeciles desperate to pick a fight out of their weight class, he wasn't even worthy of being Robin. And that particular fact would probably be a hard pill for Drake to swallow once Damian got finished rescuing him.

    "Tt. Don't waste your breath," he muttered with a flex of his shoulders as he drew the katana from his back, before settling into a fighting stance. That they left Drake alive in the first place was probably an indication that this was exactly what they wanted -- him cornered in an alley with 'precious cargo' behind him that severely limited his options. They were of course banking on the fact he wouldn't just run and leave him behind, but then they could've just killed Drake before pursuing him anyways and still been one dead bird ahead. No, this was bait and an opportunity they weren't afraid to capitalize on.

    Well. An opportunity to get their asses kicked.

    The moment of them all sizing each other up was broken as the assassins charged toward Damian, but he just grit his teeth and met them with steel clanging against steel as he parried their blows and struck out with swift kicks and punches. He was loathe to admit it, but these freaks were good. Almost Batman good. More than a few times, they used their skills and numbers advantage for their own gain as he accumulated cuts and bruises all over his young body. He ached bone-deep with growing exhaustion and exertion as he refused to let up even for a moment.

    Still, almost Batman good didn't quite cut it for them.

    Even through the pain, Damian gave back as good as he got and then some. One and then another and then another fell to the ground, until he was finally left facing off against only the ringleader. Blood dripped freely from a cut on his forehead that smeared against his cheek and stained part of his teeth as he snarled at the older masked man not unlike a feral animal.

    "Who hired you?" he growled, but just like before, there was frustratingly no response. Just more blows that landed against his cheek that he knew would leave a nasty bruise and a kick to the ribs that would leave nothing much better. And then, finally, it was over. Damian covered his mouth with his cape and coughed as a smoke pellet exploded onto the ground, and by the time it had cleared, every trace of the assassins had disappeared from the alley. The only things left were him, his exhaustion, his wounded companion, and the sound of rapidly approaching sirens that seemed to echo off the exterior building walls.

    He sheathed his sword again as he dropped to his knees next to Drake, checking for his pulse one more time. This time, his fingers left bloody marks against his neck as he let out a breath. "I much appreciate your assistance," he said dryly, putting a hand on his knee and leaning forward slightly to continue catching his breath. "You were...so incredibly useful. I now understand why Father chose you to be...his sidekick." He reached up to wipe his face with his elbow, but all he ended up doing was smear it more. "Emergency services are inbound. It would be unwise to try and move you in...the state that you're in, but I will make certain you're not unmasked."

     
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  6. Tim Drake

    Tim Drake Guest

    If there was one thing Damian wasn't, it was a coward. Tim could admit that. But Damian, as ever, took not-being-a-coward to the other extreme, ALL THE FIGHTS RAWR, or as it used to be known, Jason. If Tim had been able to think and communicate in anything greater than single syllable words, he would've explained that the assassins didn't consider him prey, and thus there was no reason to stick around to defend him instead of getting to better defensible ground.

    There was also a large chance that Robin would've stayed anyway, because being injured and outnumbered in a fight were acceptable starting handicaps for him.

    But the only thing on Tim's mind as he lay there was that the puddle water sort of tasted like used Band-Aid and he was probably going to need to be de-wormed. He blacked out a few more times, unsure of how much time passed, but the heavy vibrations he'd felt through the ground that meant fighting were gone. Damian had won. Tim knew this because if Damian was a bad winner, he was an even worse loser and the alley would be filled with his caustic insults. But the demon spawn's voice was soft, and even if Tim couldn't catch most of his words, the boy's tone told him he was belittling Tim's intelligence or ancestors or coordination. It was comforting.

    Also, it gave Tim hope that perhaps, by age thirteen, the Damian he knew would also figure out the whole "indoor voice" thing.

    Tim took longer than usual giving meaning to the last part of what the blood son said, and he grunted when shaking his head was instantly aborted. Ow. Oh god, ow. And well, he'd drunk like half a cup of alley water already, a little more wouldn't kill him. Probably. "No," he managed, somewhere between a wheeze and a cough, and his face creased in pain as his ribs called him bad names. "No," he repeated, a little clearer. "Suit off."

    Even in the state he was in, Tim knew that leaving him in the alley in just his undershirt and spandex boxer briefs would be more practical than trying to keep his mask in place, especially when he had an open would that cut right into the side of it. He just hoped that disarming a suit was the same from where Damian was from. Tim had too many personal electronics going for his costume to have an overly complicated set of booby traps for those who'd try to unmask him against his will. He couldn't very well hack while running around in a personal Faraday cage. There was a catch at the front of his neck just under his chin, another under his right arm, and one that was going to suck, right over his left hip.

    "Just... just go fast." If he was lucky he'd pass out before it was over.

    @Damian Wayne
     
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  7. Damian Wayne

    Damian Wayne DC Universe

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    Despite the severity of the situation, Damian couldn't keep a disgusted scowl off his face. First, he risked his life to rescue one of his father's little pity projects, and now he was being asked to take his clothes off in a back alley? He should've asked Drake to fork over some cash first if he was going to have to do that. But...he couldn't deny that even bearing more similarities to a half-dead sewer rat than a person, he had the right idea.

    "You couldn't have drowned while you had the chance," he grumbled to himself in a bitter, biting tone as he got to work. His ribs still protested with every movement, but at the very least he'd been able to catch his breath as he sought out the different clasps to the uniform. Small mercies. Thankfully for both of them as the approaching sirens got louder, the clasps were more or less in the same place as the ones on his own, and he was able to wrestle Drake out in just under a minute.

    But not...without some jostling.

    There was a little dry, shriveled up part in Damian (that was currently hooked up to a metaphorical saline drip and doing its best) that at one point in time had been his sense of empathy and compassion. It twinged as he uncovered more and more fresh wounds and places where he didn't have to look twice to determine that there was a broken bone. And despite the fact he'd rather forfeit his own life than admit it, Damian felt awful.

    Finally, Drake was stripped to his undershirt and briefs, looking pathetic where he was lying prone on the alley ground. His uniform was stashed underneath a nearby dumpster for Damian to retrieve at the earliest chance, since there was little he could do to either repair or destroy it when boots were thundering down the street on their way to help.

    "He fell from the top," Damian reported dutifully with a list of the injuries he'd noticed, keeping his expression schooled with ease as to not give away the fact that he was familiar with this boy. More than that, there was also the fact that he was directly responsible. "I tried to assist him, but there were other combatants in the area that required my attention." And that was to explain the cuts and bruises that littered his own young body, though nothing compared to the ordeal Drake had gone through.

    Hmph. Apparently there was alternate versions of his father who didn't teach his sidekicks survival instincts.

     
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  8. Tim Drake

    Tim Drake Guest

    Under normal circumstances, completely undressing a family member who could not do so under their own power was an activity reserved for either end of life. But if one was a non-superpowered vigilante, especially one that could have a bat-prefix attached to them in any respect, that activity usually happened somewhere in between, too.

    Because really, what was the perfect way to end an evening that had begun with shadowing an insufferable younger brother as back up, having that same young man unexpectedly push him off a roof, come out of a violent encounter with architecture as the clear loser, and then land in a pool of liquid that was at least half STD?

    "Having that exemplary specimen of Robin berate him for failing to die while pulling a skintight, armored uniform off his broken body" was not the answer Tim would've given, but it was the only one he had because of course it was. Tim was silent as Damian got him down to skivvies, both because he didn't want any medical personel approaching to think the kid was assaulting him and because he couldn't draw a decent breath. Well, and because he kept passing out. He was completely unconscious when he was loaded onto the ambulance stretcher.

    ---

    Four hours later, Tim was out surgery, out of recovery, and out of the ICU. His room was a single, just him, and machinery clicked and beeped around him. A mask over his face got him the oxygen he couldn't get with the short breaths he could manage, an IV dripped into his right arm, a clip on his right pointer finger took his temperature and pulse, a temporary catheter monitored his kidneys, and a short-sleeved hospital smock covered his front like a snuggie his arms weren't through. Blankets helped keep his privacy, though they weren't very warm. A square of gauze covered his right temple, but the main attraction were the casts.

    Two hours of surgery had pinned back together his left fibia and had a plate with three screws in his right tibia. Altogether, Tim had broken his left leg in five places (three being the pinned fibia), and his right in four. With the two ribs broken and one cracked, he had an even dozen bone traumas, total. Plus all the bruising, like a fever dream painted by Monet.

    Tim had requested black casts, or had at least waved his hand at the dark end of the spectrum of fiberglass wrap colors they had, but it turned out the hospital didn't have enough black to do all of both legs and thought he'd like to match, and used a dark navy instead.

    The casts would look reasonably dignified for all of a week.

    [FIN]

    @Damian Wayne
     
    #8 Tim Drake, Aug 11, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2018
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