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Life's too short but the end is so long

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“Oh man, you guys fucked up.” Jason’s head lolls and he thinks he should probably shut up. The haze of pain and whatever they drugged him with have him riding higher than Wayne fucking Tower, though, and he can’t help the truth spilling from his lips.

“Bats ain’t gonna come for me.” He rasps. “You’re little trap/hostage situation bullshit is dead in the water.” He blinks up at the harsh lights, vaguely wishing for his helmet to filter some of the brightness. The domino is great night vision but terrible sunglasses.

“What?” A tall, reed thin man with slicked back hair was in his face. “What do you mean? You’re his fucking kid, ain’t ya?” Hot, putrid breath wafted over him. Slick could use a tic tac. Jason told him so in that half airy tone that matched well with where his head was. Fuck, he was flying. He got a punch to the face for his trouble. Oh, well. Guy wasn’t very strong and he couldn’t feel his face right now anyway.

“Don’t let ‘em rattle ya. He’s so freaking out of it right now he doesn’t even know what he’s saying. Eddie gave him too much.” Short Stack, Jason was calling him that because he was maybe 5’5’’ on a good day and looked like he should lay off the pancakes, soothed. Maybe his punches would hurt, bit more weight behind them.

“You said, Tony, you said he was the Bat’s kid!” Whatever, Short Stack was better.

“He is.” Short Stack affirmed.

Jason tried not to, really he did, but the laughter fell from his bloodied mouth anyway: a little broken and full of pain. “I used to be.” He breathed, “Back when Robin gave me magic. But I came back wrong and broken and now he hates me.”

The Red Hood smiled, bloody teeth giving him a feral look, “I don’t blame him. I hate me, too. What she made, the burning green, the rage that never goes entirely away. I don’t blame him. His son didn’t come back. ” He looked at the two, hazy eyes hidden behind the red domino. “He won’t come for me.”

Blink. The lights. Blink. Slick in his face again, shouting. Sounds blurry, underwater. Blink. Short Stack dragging Slick away. Blink. Those fuckin' lights. Blink. Short Stack in his face, now, mouth pressed into a thin line. “You need to shut up.” A pinch of a needle in his neck. Blink. Grey began to cloud his vision.

His heart raced, irregular. Thump-thump DUB Thumpthumpthump DUB DUB. His head pounded with the force of the beat and he could feel it at every pulse point in his body. Fuck, he knew those signs. Overdose.

“Hey, ashhholl… yu g’v m’t’much.” He slurred. “G’n k’ll...g’nd…”

Of all the ways to go again, he didn’t think he’d follow his addict mother. Christ, was that poetry or irony or just plain cruelty? He choked on bitter laughter and closed his eyes as something dark loomed over him.

He thought of Bruce and how he wished he could have come back right for him. Of Tim and Dick and how he wished he could have been a better brother. Of Damian and Stephanie and how he wanted to be more than a dire fucking warning, the example of a Robin-Gone-Wrong. He wished for Cass’s soft smile; she of all of them understood the Madness of the Pit and the trouble soothing it, though hers took a different form.

He slid into the black with nothing but regrets and wishes of better things for his broken family.

____________________

“He believed them.” Cassandra stated as they watched the footage from the warehouse again. “He believed every word he said.”