A/N(03/20/17): THIS HAS BEEN HEAVILY EDITED! IF IT'S POPPING UP AGAIN FOR YOU, THERE'S A REASON! PLEASE REREAD THIS!
Seriously guys, I just changed a lot of the second half of this and this version is a whole lot better and quite a bit different. So please read!
"Well, I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll-" Nightwing abruptly stopped talking to the little girl in front of him as he spotted one of the thug's he'd thought to be unconscious lifting the gun he'd knocked out of the weird masked guy's hand, and he quickly changed what he was saying.
"HOOD, BEHIND YOU!"
Hood whirled around, but it was too late, the thug had already fired and it caught Hood head on. Nightwing's next action he did without thinking, anger burning his lungs. He leapt forward, taking out the thug as viciously and efficiently as a snake strikes its prey. But he didn't wait for that prey to hit the floor before he was turning back to his brother, scoping him up into his arms. All the sounds around him faded, the police sirens, the medics screaming instructions for the people they'd already gotten outside, all of it. All he could hear was his own heartbeat pounding in his ears and Jason. Dick couldn't lose him, he wouldn't! He'd already lost him before; he wouldn't let that happen again.
"Jason! Come on! Come on Jay, stay with me, you're going to be fine, come on! Come on Little Wing! You are not dying on me! Not this time! Not when I'm right here! I got you Jay, I got you! Come on, stay with me!"
Dick rocked him in his arms and his fingers fumbled with Jason's stupid helmet, trying to get it off to see his brothers face, but it wouldn't come. It wouldn't come. So Dick ripped off his own mask instead, already wet from tears, hoping that if Jason saw his eyes, maybe, maybe he'd listen, maybe he'd stay. He could feel Jason's breathe stuttering, could hear him gasping. Dick felt for the wound. If he could slow the bleeding, do something, maybe, maybe his little brother would be ok!
But-, but-, there was no wound. The shot had been something different, something he couldn't stop. Couldn't slow. DAMN IT! HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BIG BROTHER! HE WAS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM!
But, but he couldn't. He couldn't save him. And now, now he was going to lose him again.
Suddenly, Jason started glowing, the light starting from where the wound should've been and enveloping all of him, shining brighter and brighter as it went.
"No! No! NO! Not him! DON'T TAKE HIM FROM ME! NOT HIM! Not him! Please! Please! Not him!"
But the light didn't stop. It didn't stop. And then just as suddenly as the glow had started it stopped. And Jason was gone.
"NO! NO! NOT HIM! NOT JASON! Not again! No! No no no no NO! Not again. WHY?! WHY HIM?! WHY DID IT have to be him?"
Sobs choked his words, and they devolved into incomprehensible mumblings as he clutched the empty air in his arms that had only moments ago been holding his little brother. Dick felt numb, he couldn't, couldn't comprehend what was happening. It couldn't be real; this had to be a nightmare! It HAD to be!
But the little girl they'd saved was still there, crying and terrified. In the nightmares, after this happened, everything else faded away, there was nothing but blood, bodies, and the screams. But she was still there. And so Dick let the numbness take over, the numbness that wouldn't accept Jason's death as truth, that couldn't accept all this as a reality, and that allowed him to move, to get up and do what needed to be done regardless of his grief, and he slowly stood, silent tears still running down his cheeks, and went over and hugged the little girl. And told her what he knew in his heart wasn't true.
"Shhh, it's alright. It's gonna be alright."
Dick carefully put his mask back on, but did nothing to hide the tears. He couldn't if he tried.
"Let's go find your parents, okay Hun? I need you to do me a great big favor though. Is that okay? I need you to keep this a secret for me, can you do that?"
His voice was shaky and broken, and so, so quiet it was barely a whisper, but the girl still gave a shaky nod, her own sobs clogging her throat. Nightwing held her tighter, and whispered a shaky thank you into her hair. Slowly, gently, he let her go, leaving only a reassuring hand on her shoulder as he lead them outside. As soon as they got out of the building, the little girl sprinted into the waiting arms of her father, cries finally swallowing her little body while gentle reassurances flowed from her father's mouth, her mother clutching her close and joining her with a different kind of tears. Nightwing simply turned away and disappeared into the night before the police could ask him anything. He didn't think he could stand their questions right now. Even with the numbness enveloping him.
He didn't know how he got back to the Batcave. He didn't know when he did either. All he knew was that that was where he was, and that worried questions were attacking him from muted voices coming from all sides. Hands gripped his arms and tried to shake him out of whatever state he was in, but he couldn't speak. He couldn't-, he couldn't. He felt like an empty husk. And then he felt gentle hands wrap him in a hug, and he just broke down.
He didn't know when he stopped crying. He didn't know when he fell asleep, but when he woke up in his room, he woke to a warm weight laying across his chest. Looking down it seemed at some point during the night Damian had pulled up a chair to watch over him and had fallen asleep. Cass was there as well, laying next to him, arms curled protectively around him. It took DIck a second to remember why they'd be there, but when he did it was like the weight of the world had come crashing down on him. A gasping sob escaped him and beside him Cass snapped awake and quickly sat up while Damian slept on.
"Dick-?" She whispered, pulling him tighter in her arms
"He's gone-, oh god! He's gone!" He cried quietly, blankly looking at the ceiling.
"Who's gone?" She asked gently, worry building in the pit of her stomach, reading the grief rolling off his body in waves, crashing into her like a tsunami. Cassandra didn't think she'd ever seen Dick like this, numb, unresponsive, grief-stricken; It was scaring her. She was so used to his smiles, even when she knew so many of them simply hid the blizzard of emotions he felt underneath, so used to his hyperness, his constant need for motion, his friendliness; he was always so- alive. No matter what. Even when she saw his body screaming of exhaustion. This was nothing like that. It was like the life had been drained from him, and it hurt to see him like this.
"Jason- they shot him. I, I couldn't save him. I was right there! And I couldn't save him!" Guilt, guilt, guilt, clinging to him like a leech, guilt- and grief, so much grief, and now she understood why. And she was angry. No one hurt her family. No one took them from her; she'd gone through too much already to give them up. Who ever had done this was going to pay- and she knew some of the darkest ways to do it. She'd grown up an assassin, fighting was all she'd known. Her father had made her into a human weapon.
She'd promised herself she'd never kill again, not after the first time. Not after she saw what it meant, saw the life leave that man's eyes. But she didn't have to kill. She had other ways of making people's life hell.
"Who did this?" She growled, fury and hurt mixing, building within her, eyes clamped on Dick's figure, his body still holding so much pain. Pain that she couldn't do anything about, pain that she felt deep in her bones, pain that crept into her too. She and Jason hadn't been close, but he was her brother, and she'd loved him like one. But she wasn't good with words. Her father had stolen those from her long ago. She couldn't help Dick like he would need help, and she couldn't express just how deeply this hurt. How much she wanted to cry, and rage, and change time. She couldn't express it in words, and so she would do it in the only way she knew how, violence.
But now, in this moment, that was not yet the right choice, DIck needed her now. He wasn't ready for words yet, though he would need them soon. Till then she would hold him in her arms and help him all she could, and when the time came that she could no longer help, that was when she would rage.
Dick gave a broken laugh that screamed of sorrow.
" I, I don't know. They were nobodies, they should've been nobodies- but they killed him. And now he's gone. I couldn't save him. I tried- I tried! But there wasn't- it wasn't a normal gun- I couldn't stop it. It wouldn't stop- and now he's gone!" His body shook, an earthquake of grief beneath his skin, sorrow flooding his eyes, voice trembling, and she held him tighter, as tight as she could without hurting him, ignoring the wet of tears that reached her skin. Jason, Jason wasn't killed normally then, he'd just-, disappeared. There was nothing they could've done. Cassandra wasn't sure if that made it better or worse. Better that they couldn't have done anything anyway, couldn't have failed him, couldn't have made things worse. Or worse that they had just been useless. Either way, it didn't give her the answers she so needed. But she would get them. She would figure out what killed him, who killed him, why they'd taken her brother from her. And then she'd make them pay. Make sure they'd never hurt her family ever again, make sure they understood, that they felt, the pain that they had made her feel. Looking at the crying man in her arms, and the waking boy beside him, she promised herself that.
"Grayson-?" Damian asked sleep still scratching at his voice; eyes blinking worriedly open as his brother's sobs woke him. The boy's eyes darted to her, questioning, his body reading, echoing, of worry, confusion- fear. Fear of seeing his brother like this, what had made him like this. She shook her head gently. 'Don't ask, little brother. I will tell you later.' Damian nodded, still worrying, but he understood what she meant, saw her words though her body like she saw through him every time she looked. For now he'd just be here for his brother, even though she saw it scared him. His brother, who had acted like a father towards him while his own was gone, looking so broken.
Watching as the boy carefully crawled onto the bed and curled around Dick, she could see- all he wanted was for this to stop. She saw it in his tensed shoulders; saw it in the way he moved, the way he snuggled close. Saw it in his searching hands, hands that searched for comfort, searched for something that would make him feel less useless in this situation, searched for something he could fix. He wanted so desperately to fix this, to make things better, even when he didn't yet know what was wrong. She could see this whole situation felt wrong to him, and she had to agree. It was wrong to see her brother like this, so utterly broken. It was wrong to know her other brother would never come home again, never laugh with them again, never play rooftop tag, never stop to get ridiculously greasy food, never read to her, never, never, never. It was so wrong. A wrong so deep it felt like it was etched into her skin, digging for her heart. So, incredibly, wrong. And now she was crying too. Silent, quiet tears. The only ones she'd ever known. Now though, they seemed endless. And she was suddenly glad Damian had closed his eyes once more. He didn't need to see her like this; she didn't want to scare him anymore than he already was.
She knew the others would check on them soon, they were worried too. Beyond worried. They'd been searching for answers since Dick had stumbled into the cave last night, unresponsive and shaking, and they would have questions. Questions that Dick wouldn't want to answer- couldn't deal with answering yet, and she didn't want to either. Didn't-, couldn't, deal with it yet. And so she closed her eyes, and just let herself cry.
A/N: And that's it for this one! Hopefully I did all of the Batfam justice, I did my best, but I'm not 100% sure about how they turned out. If you would leave me a review about what you guys think that'd be awesome! And if you think there's something I need to change, please tell me! I want to do my best to get this right. X) Thank you guys!