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Alexa, Play Despacito

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“And then I told Roy he could shove his grapes up his — ! Ow! What the fuck, Replacement?”

Tim shushes his brother harshly, going all the way to put a finger to his lips as if Jason didn’t know what shushing someone entitled. Tim even ignores Jason’s glower when he has the audacity to slap his arm yet again for good measure.

“I’m about to end your whole career, bitch —”

“Jason.” Tim hisses, effectively cutting his brother off and sending a glare of his own. “Don’t you hear that?”

“The voices in my head telling me to maim you? Yeah, I’m about to listen to them for once.”

Tim huffs. “No, other than that. You seriously don’t hear it?”

“I hear you going crazy.”

“Dude, just shut up and listen.”

Jason rolls his eyes and Tim appreciates the effort of pushing down his clear urge to strangle him.

“Fine, whatever, but if I don’t hear shit in the next thirty seconds, I will push you down the stairs and say it was an accident.”

Tim waves him off, eyes narrowed as he looks around the kitchen now more carefully, waiting for the sound. Jason recluntanly mimics him with a huff, mumbling curses at Tim under his breath.  

They don't hear anything out of the ordinary for the first twenty seconds and Tim can see his brother already curling his hand into fist to have his revenge when they suddenly hear it.

Tim snaps his head towards the sound at the same time Jason does.

“Dude.” Tim whispers. “Tell me that’s not a kid crying.”

Jason wets his lips, catching Tim’s gaze from the corner of his eye. 

“Maybe it’s Dick-face.”

“Dude.”

“What are the probabilities that B kidnapped another kid to his collection?”

“Not gonna lie, pretty high; but I don’t think —”

“Please, please, let it be a kidnapped kid.”

Tim looks in pain as he turns to face him properly, lower lip caught between his teeth. “Jason, I think that’s Damian.”

“There’s no fucking way.” Jason says and steps further away from the spot the crying seems to come from. The kitchen’s backdoor leading to the backyard. “Isn’t he supposed to be still high-up with morphine or some shit in his room?"

"I mean, yeah? Theoretically speaking."

"'Theoretically speaking'." Jason scoffs. "What gives? I thought he would be K.O. from his surgery until tomorrow’s brunch.”

Tim frowns. “Same, to be honest. It’s Damian, though, so I’m not really surprised he’s already up and walking around, even this early in the morning.”

Jason offers a correction. “Sneaking around?”

“Yeah, okay, wouldn’t put it past him, but he must be pretty out of it if that was his original plan with all the Magdalena show he has going on,” Tim mumbles with a frown, glancing towards the backyard's door. “It’s not his first time out of a surgery, though. So why is he, you know …”

He trails off, waving his hands towards the crying spot.

Tim can’t help but wince at the pitiful and sad noises that keep coming from where Damian unknowingly hides from their view. He shares a look with Jason, still not ruling out the possibility of them going crazy at the same time and this being a creation of their somehow sleep deprived minds.

Craziest things have happened to them in their lives. It can be possible. Way more possible than the idea of Damian Wayne crying openly to the world’s ear shot.

“Is he dying?” Jason asks. “Wait, no. Did Dick die or something?”

There's the briefest pause before he adds, "Again?"

Tim throws him a dirty look. 

“Dick’s fine. I literally talked to him this morning.”

“Why the fuck is he crying then?” Jason hisses, arching his head to the side to peek outside. Tim follows him and they barely catch the edge of the kid’s hunched body in the backayard’s den before they lean back to safety. “Seriously, what the fuck?”

“I don’t know, okay?” Tim hisses back in a whisper. “Maybe he’s in pain? Maybe he re-open his stab wound and it’s super painful?”

Jason sends him a flat stare. 

“The kid once climbed a goddamn mountain with a broken wrist, Drake.”

Tim hums and raises a finger. “Yeah, okay, but do we know if he did it without crying?”

Jason pauses, a thoughtful look on his face, before he shakes the idea off.

“He wouldn’t have dared. It was back on his League days. It would have been worse for him if he had.” He frowns, another thought crossing his head. “He wouldn’t even share the story so proudly in the first place if he had.”

Point taken. Sad, and definitely something Damian should probably touch on his next lesson with his therapist if he hasn't already, but point taken for now.

“Okay, alright. What do we do then?”

Jason splutters in surprise. “What do you mean ‘what do we do’?”

“What do you mean ‘what do I mean what do we do’?” Tim asks, bewildered. “We’ve got to do something!”

Jason scrunches his nose and purses his lips.

“Do we?”

Tim opens his mouth before he blinks, thinks it over and echoes, “Do we?” with a finger on his chin, tapping against it twice with a hum.

Damian answers them when he lets out the ugliest and wettest sob they have ever heard from him that makes them flinch in disgust and sag their shoulders in defeat.

“We do,” Tim laments quietly as he drags his hands over his face. He curses under his breath as he asks, “Why do we have to care?”

“This is all Dick-face’s influence. I knew spending time with you shits would bring me nothing good.” Jason huffs, hands on his hips as he glares at the backyard’s door. “All it brought was affection and mushy feelings. What the hell am I supposed to do with those, huh? Huh¡?

Tim smacks him on the shoulder with the back of his hand. “Dude, he’s going to hear you.”

“I hope so! Maybe then he will be embarrassed and stop crying and save me from expressing emotions.”

Dude —”

“Todd.”

They freeze. Stop breathing. They don’t even blink, not even as Damian sniffles pathetically now just a mere feet away from them, standing by the backyard’s door.

“Don’t move.” Jason whispers. “If we don’t move he won’t see us.”

“That’s for a T-rex and it’s a lie. They could very well kill you even then.”

“You are shitting on my hopes and dreams, Replacement.” Jason whispers with a side glare which Tim returns unperturbed.

“I’m not. I’m just saying —”

“Todd.” Damian repeats, shutting them both up, and when he gets no answer from Jason, he whimpers, “Drake.”

“I can't believe I'm saying this but he’s breaking my heart, dude.” Tim whispers as he tries to hold himself strong and not turn towards where Damian stands.

“Shut up, don’t give in. It’s a trap,” Jason says, curling his hands. “It’s a trap —”

They lose both the battle and the war when Damian stops waiting for them and instead stumbles forward, almost drunkenly, and unceremoniously flops himself on Jason’s front, full-on crying against his chest.

“Jesus fuck, Baby-bat.” Jason exhales in one breath and their pretense is gone. Buried. Forgotten. Jason’s arms don’t even wait for his command before they’re wrapping themselves around his little brother’s figure. “Who do I have to kill?”

“Jason.” Tim huffs and rolls his eyes at his brother’s shrug, instead focusing on the little brother between them. 

Tim’s fingers twitch anxiously before he swallows his own uneasiness and steps closer, one hand landing between Damian's shoulder blades.

"Damian, hey. Are you okay?”

Damian mumbles something, words muffled with the way he doesn't pull back from Jason's chest.

"Got any of that?" Jason snorts, clicking his tongue when Tim spares him a flat look.

"Damian." Tim tries again, this time a little firmer. "What are you doing out of bed? Where's Alfred?"

More mumbling. Muffled.

Tim huffs a breath in both helplessness and exasperation.

He's approaching this wrong. He knows that.

This is clearly not Damian 'I'm hiding my feelings, comfort me subtly' Wayne.

Damn it all, this is Tim's kid brother openly looking and asking for comfort. Tim sighs, rubs the bridge on his nose before he takes a deep breath and tries again.

“Damian, hey," he says softly, his hand rubbing short quick circles on the kid's shoulder blades to slow down his crying. "Talk to me. What’s wrong?”

Surprisingly, it does the trick. Was it the rubbing circles? Tim jots the info down and stores it in the back of his mind for the future.

“I’m a murderer.” Damian confesses loudly as a whine, turning his head to the side enough for his words to be clear and heard.

Tim blinks, confused, and looks over his little brother from head to toe, just in case he had missed something. He frowns, confused because there's clearly no blood on him, before arching an eyebrow at Jason who shrugs back at him.

"Uh, kind of old news, Baby-bat." Jason helpfully says.

Damian wails.

"Dude!!" Tim snaps, punching his brother on the shoulder, glowering at him when Jason hisses at him.

"I did say 'old'!" Jason defends himself, shifting on the spot as he rearranges his arm around Damian, cupping the back of his head with one of his hands. "Jee, I was kidding anyway. You are not a murderer, Little man."

"I am!" Damian argues loudly through his crying. "I killed them and now they are dead."

"I mean, sure, if you want to get technical, that's how killing usually goes…"

"Jason, for the love of Alfred!"

"I'm sorry I killed them." Damian cries, pressing his face closer to Jason's chest. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!"

‘What the fuck?’ Jason mouths at him and Tim shrugs, looking desperately helpless.

“Damian, what are you talking about?” Tim asks, gently encouraging the kid to face him with a light squeeze on his shoulder. “Hey, come on. Talk to us.”

"Come on, come on." Jason encourages, dragging out the words with a subtle catchy tune.

It takes a few more pokes before Damian finally shifts and peeked out from his hiding spot.

Tim’s stomach turns at the sight of his little brother’s blood shot eyes and puffy face.

“Come on, from the beginning.” Tim encourages quietly.

“I woke up in my bed and I didn't see Titus with me so I went outside to look for him,” Damian says between sniffles, lower lip quivering as Tim reaches out to wipe some of the tears off his cheeks. “But I didn't see him and I got distracted and I didn't see them in time and I killed them. I killed an innocent soul. It was so beautiful and I killed it.”

Damian scrunches his nose as the sob that escapes him shakes him entirely. Tim watches Jason’s arms tighten around him.

“What are you talking about? I’m right here, radiant as always.” Jason tries to joke, one of his hands roughly messing up Damian’s hair in hopes of lighting up whatever was running through their brother’s head.

Tim frowns sadly along with Jason when his attempt falls flat.

“Damian.” Tim sighs, slightly frustrated with the helplessness he feels at the situation, before the sight of Damian’s hands clamped tightly together catches his attention. “Wait, what are you holding?”

“Their body.” Damian whimpers, turning to rub his face against Jason’s shirt and effectively smearing it with tears and snot. At Jason’s poorly concealed face of disgust, Tim fights hard to swallow the snort at the back of his throat for Damian’s sake. “It was so small.”

“Is he still drugged?” Jason asks, looking at Tim with an arched eyebrow before he pulls Damian back by the shoulders and stares him down. “Are you still drugged?”

“Really, dude?” Tim sighs, rubbing the side of his temple in exasperation. Jason shrugs at him.

“It’s the only logical explanation for this and you know it.”

Tim pauses before he asks, “Are you still drugged?”, leaning down slightly to catch his little brother’s tearful gaze.

Damian blinks at him with wide green eyes and mumbles something to sounds close to an ‘I don’t know’ before shoving his head back to Jason’s chest. Well then.

That’s definitely a big maybe. 

Neither Tim or Jason had been present for their brother’s surgery, both crashing in one of Jason’s safe houses after patrol, being the same reason they made it to the manor as soon as the sun came out, but Tim can only guess the dose Damian had based on both the incident and surgery reports he read from his phone on their way to the Manor.

Nothing life-threatening for sure. Far from being one of Damian’s worst injuries.

But still enough for a family full of paranoid vigilantes to consider it enough.

“We need an adult.” Jason declares, idly patting Damian’s head as if he was a puppy. Tim sends him a look.

“Dude, you’re twenty-two.”

“And you eighteen, what’s your fucking point?”

Tim rolls his eyes, looking back to Damian's hands instead of retorting. He frowns, glancing at Damian’s clear distress on his face, before he asks, "Damian, what exactly did you ‘kill’?"

Damian sniffles, glancing back at Tim from the corner of his eye. 

"Don't be mad."

"I won't be mad."

"Or disappointed."

"That's not even in my jurisdiction."

Damian considers him for a moment before he looks up to meet Jason’s stare. Jason blinks in surprise before he raises one of his hands and lazily makes a small cross over his chest.

“Okay,” Damian says quietly, scrunching his nose to gather courage before he shifts on Jason’s hold, enough to turn and give them both a better sight of his still clamped hands. 

Tim sees him hesitate, shifting on his feet uneasily, and his heart breaks a little. It feels wrong to see his twelve-year-old brother so unsure of himself.

“Hey, it’s okay,” he says, smiling softly when his little brother’s shoulders lose some of their tension. “Tell me what it was, Dames.”

Damian takes a deep breath and finally says, “A ladybug.”

Tim blinks. “A ladybug,” he echoes slowly, processing the new information.

“A fucking lady —” Tim’s elbow cuts Jason off. “Fuck! Thin fucking ice, Replacement.”

Tim ignores him, waving off Jason's lively cursing and instead focuses on Damian who looks like he's waiting for the guillotine to go down on him.

"Can I see?" Tim asks, offering a kind smile to his brother.

Damian holds his gaze for two solid seconds before he nods and, with shaky hands, unclamps them slowly, letting both Tim and Jason see the body he had guarded so ferociously.

They stare. And stare.

Jason breaks down first, unsurprisingly.

“No way.” He gasps out as he bends forward and hides his face on Damian’s hair as his shoulders shake uncontrollably. “No fucking way.”

Damian seems to tear up even harder at Jason’s reaction before he sniffles and with his free hand, he pats Jason’s arm that’s still wrapped around his collarbone.

“Todd, don't cry,” he says quietly, misunderstanding Jason's reaction, even when the kid looks on the verge of crying again himself.

Jason, of course, does as told like a good brother and doesn't cry. Instead, he continues to laugh hysterically behind Damian’s back, holding him tighter so he doesn’t turn and catches him in the act, letting it be Tim and him only within Damian's vision.

What a fucking asshole, Tim’ll get him from this.

Contemplating his predicament, Tim coughs and clears his throat as he forces himself to look away from the crushed pieces of the red M&M in his brother’s hand.

A goddamned candy. Crushed. Red.

Tim is just so happy to be alive to witness this but it’s still hard to look straight into his little brother’s honest crying face and not burst into laughter.

Listen, Tim can be a jerk sometimes but he’s not an asshole.

“I am so...” Tim starts, struggling with his words as the giggles fight hard to take control over him. He throws his head back and keeps it there, eyes glued to the ceiling as they begin to water from the effort of keeping himself in check. “I’m so sorry, Dames.”

He raises his arm and blindly tries to reach his brother, missing a few times before he finally finds his arm and squeezes in comfort.

“It’s okay, little brother. They’re resting in pieces now.”

Jason chokes on his own spit and Tim’s lip starts to waver.

Tim brings his head back and hangs it low to hide his shame. “In peace.” he corrects himself faintly, hoping Damian hadn't noticed the slip to begin with. He bites hard on his lower lip as his shoulders start to shake when Damian sniffles and nods sadly.

“We must give them a dignified funeral,” Damian tells them, eyebrows furrowed in determination. Jason’s answer is to chortle. “Todd, you must be strong.”

“I’m trying.” Jason chokes between breaths. “It’s just so sad.”

Tim’s own resolve is slipping through his fingers as he falls to the floor and hides his face in his hands.

“Alexa.” He calls, voice choked up. “Play Despacito.”

Jason fucking looses it when their Alexa in the kitchen actually does.

“I’m fucking crying.” he wheezes out, as he falls next to Tim, Damian staying between them, Jason’s hand now hanging loose around him. “Fuck, I can’t —”

“Alexa, pff, stop,” Tim says before he punches Jason half-heartedly in the arm and he fights against his own laughter. “Dude, get a hold of yourself.”

“I’m seriously fucking trying, man.”

“Are you laughing?” Damian asks, voice so small that immediately snaps them both out of it. They turn to meet Damian’s tearful and betrayed eyes. “Why are you laughing?”

“No, no, no.” Tim hurries to mend, sliding on his knees to grab on Damian’s hoodie sleeve when the kid tries to step out of their reach, dejectedly. He pulls him close and a smile escapes his lips when his brother doesn't fight him on it. 

“I mean, yes, we are laughing but that’s just because, uh…”

“It’s our defense mechanism toward sad and tragic news.” Jason supplies, a few snickers leaving him as he shifts and sits on his butt next to them. He drops a hand on Damian’s head. “We’re that weird, Baby-bat.”

Tim snaps his fingers, a grin stretching over his face. “Yeah, that. We’re just emotionally constipated. We’re those weird people who smile at funerals.”

“Too dark, Replacement.”

Damian looks between them, still sniffling but relaxing at their touch.

“So, you’re not laughing at me?” Damian asks them, pulling the pieces of his precious M&M-ladybug closer to his body.

While swallowing his giggles, Tim's smile softens and Jason’s snickers grow fainter.

“Of course not, Dames,” he says, gently bumping the side of his brother’s chin with his knuckles. “We’re actually holding back. We'll wait until you’re no longer drugged.”

Damian blinks. “Huh?”

“Nothing, nothing.” Tim waves him off with a small laugh. 

He sighs with a smile, before lifting a little Damian’s top to check on his wound, just to be sure. The bandages seem intact and there’s no trace of any blood on them.

Tim nods, satisfied, before reaching a hand up to poke at his brothers’ forehead with a finger.

“Can’t believe you made me worry like that, you gremlin,” he mumbles under his breath, biting the inside of his cheek at the sight of Damian’s pout. “Come on, back to bed before Alfred catches you violating the law.”

“But the funeral,” Damian argues weakly, looking down at the candy pieces in his hands sadly.

“How traumatized will he be if I ate the corpse of his ladybug?” Jason whispers next to Tim’s ear and Tim’s ashamed to even consider the golden idea.

But again. Tim’s a jerk, not an asshole.

“Hella but jot it down for blackmail material,” Tim whispers back, before standing up from the ground and pulling Damian into a side hug. “Give the ladybug to Jason. He will take care of it, alright?”

It’s only because of the way Damian doesn’t even hesitate in the slightest to pass his precious cargo over to his older brother that has Jason complying and not submitting to his Cain instincts.

With a sigh, Jason accepts his new cargo with a gentle hand, ruffling Damian’s hair with his free one, but not without spitting, “Ugh, affection,” as if it was a curse he didn’t enjoy.

Tim swallows his snickers but his smile is on full display.

“Come on, D,” he says, squeezing his brother’s shoulder in comfort before he starts walking towards the kitchen’s exit. “Let’s get you back to bed.”