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Title: Caught in the View Finder
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Tim/Jason
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Angst, Jason's potty mouth
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone's legal
Word Count: 2,500ish
Author's Notes: Going away gift for shiny_glor_chan. I hope she has time to read it before she gooooooooooes. Also, for my dcu_freeforall Ducati Table. Prompt # 13: moonlight.

Caught in the Viewfinder

It wasn't hard to find the kid. Jason hadn't even needed to call Babs back to get a read on the kid's GPS. All it had taken was a quick drive through of the sections of the city Bruce had assigned the kid to patrol.

Jason found the Ducati in less than half an hour. It was tucked into an alleyway between two tall warehouse buildings in an industrial section of Gotham. The usual bright red color of the paint had been bleached to a near grey shade by the moonlight filtering through the smog and clouds that always hung low over Gotham in late summer.

Looking up to the roofs of the warehouses, Jason spotted a small, shadowed figure perched at the edge of one of the building. Legs dangling out over a fifty foot drop, and head tilted back to look up, the small dark form watched as the clouds alternately hid and revealed the full moon that was sinking low in the western sky.

Jason made for the fire escape with swift silent movements. Nonetheless, the kid heard him as he reached the rooftop, though he made no move.

“I don't have the emotional energy to deal with you right now, Jason,” a soft, tired voice drifted across the roof to him. “You might as well just leave.”

Jason smiled grimly to himself. There was no denying that the kid was good at what he did. It made Grayson's decision to kick him to the curb all the more baffling. You don't alienate an ally that good.

“Chill Little Bird,” Jason said in a soothing voice. “I come with gifts.”

“Thanks Jay,” Drake said caustically, “but I already got one knife in the back today. Two would be excessive.”

Jason winced at the bitter tones, and held up his hands to show the kid he wasn't armed as he moved closer to where Drake was perched. Though he was still facing the moonlit sky, Jason knew Drake could see the movement from the corner of his eyes. Bruce had taught them both that trick.

As he moved in close, Jason could see the tension coiled in the kid's every limb. He could see the knots of corded muscle, even though the kid's uniform. Jason was almost sure it wasn't the milky moonlight that made the kid's face seem pale and almost sallow. Mouth tight, jaw hard, even as Jason came right beside him, the kid wouldn't look him in the eye.

“I heard about that,” Jason said, sidling close, and leaning next to where Tim sat on the raised brick edging of the wall that ran the perimeter of the warehouse roof. “Tough break.”

Drake let out a bitter little huff of air that said more than any words could about the way the kid must be feeling. It made Jason's belly clench in sympathetic understanding. Jason took a deep breath, and shook his head.

“Listen kid, Babs thought you might want this back since, conventional wisdom has you splitting to parts unknown,” Jason said, reaching into his jacket to pull out Drake's 'gift'.

Drake cut his eyes to Jason as he held his hand out. They got wide and glittery in the moonlight when Drake saw what Jason was holding out to him.

Reaching out with a slow, almost reverent movement, Drake took the camera from Jason's hand.

“Where did you find this?” he asked in a quiet voice.

Jason grinned at him.

“Babs,” he answered simply. Seems she knows where the Boss kept all the contraband. That woulda been nice to know back when she and I were running the streets together.”

Drake just nodded as he turned the camera over in his hands, checking for damage. He flicked open the door to the area that housed the film, and his expression turned wry. He held it up for Jason to see the empty chamber.

“He never did leave loose ends,” Drake said with regret in his voice. “I've always thought him taking this from me was more symbolic than anything else.”

Jason nodded in agreement, fishing a couple of rolls of fresh film from his pocket and handing them to Drake. Turning to straddle the wall, Drake faced Jason as he accepted the film packages.

“To be fair to the Boss kid, from what I hear, you had some pretty damning shots of us.”

Drake's expression turned smug for a split second as he pulled open a package of film. He popped the roll into the camera with the ease of a long practice. Nimble fingers moved over the delicate components with something that reminded Jason of the affectionate touches his mother would give him.

“Listen kid,” Jason started hesitantly, “it's not just the camera. There's something else.

“Mmm?” Drake hummed his question, attention clearly focused on his long lost camera. For some reason that inattention gave Jason the confidence he couldn't seem to find within himself in that moment.

“I know it might feel like it sometimes,” Jason said in a firm, quiet voice, “but a broken heart ain't the end of the world.”

Drake glanced up from his camera, and looked at Jason, his expression acid.

“Thanks for that little gem of wisdom, Jason. But I didn't get my heart broken. I got fired. Hardly the same thing.”

“Isn't it?”

Drake's expression turned sharp and wary as he met Jason's eyes. That was when Jason gave up the pretense and reached out a hand. He shook his head as he buried his bare fingers in the thick cool hair at the side of Drake's head, just above the curve of his pale ear. Jason hoped fervently that the gesture felt as comforting to Drake as Jason intended it to be. It had been a long time since Jason had tried for anything like empathy. He was out of practice.

When the kid met Jason's eyes, he still couldn't tell what Drake was thinking. He knew that Drake wasn't big on touch, but Jason wasn't sure he'd be able to get out the things he needed to say if he didn't have something to ground him firmly in the here and now. Something like the feel of the kid's hair curling between his fingers.

“It's heart break kid,” Jason said again, softly. “I know it's fucking heart break because I've stood exactly where you're standing now, and I know just how it feels. I know exactly how it feels to look back at the person who took your place, and wonder which parts of you just weren't good enough.”

Drake looked away from him then, eyes dropping back to the camera in his hands.

“Jay,” the kid began, apology in his voice, but Jason couldn't deal with that right now.

Shaking his head, Jason tightened his fingers in the kid's hair until those pale blue eyes moved up to meet his again.

“No kid, I'm not looking for your guilt, or your regret. You did what you had to do for Gotham City and the Boss. I respect that. Hell, part of me is even grateful for it.”

“You respect it. You just can't forgive it,” Drake clarified in a soft sort of voice.

Jason shook his head again.

“Nah, it ain't about forgiveness. In our lives, it's always more about what you can get over than what you can forgive,” Jason explained. “See, I don't expect you to forgive me for that knife I put to your throat, or all those beatings I gave you. I do expect you to get over them. To move past them and to live your life. Just like I learned to live with you.”

Drake nodded in silent understanding.

“I did, Jason,” the kid assured him. “I did get over it, and I understand why you did it even more now than I did then.”

Jason nodded, and ruffled the kid's hair a little.

“See, that's what I'm getting at, here. We understand each other. What I felt for the Boss is just like what you feel for Dickie Boy.”

Drake gave a skeptical little huff through his nose as his fingers played idly over the controls of his camera.

“Not just like...”

Jason tightened his grip on the kid's hair again. He tilted the kid's head back until he had to look into Jason's eyes again.

“Yes,” Jason said firmly. “Just like. I can see it in your eyes, kid. I can read it in your body language. I can feel it coming off you in waves whenever you're around him.”

Drake cut his eyes from Jason's, and swallowed hard. The truth of it was in the kid's face, even now.

Jason fought down a sigh, and pulled his hand from Drake's hair. When he spoke again, Jason's voice was rough and cracked. He couldn't seem to control the catch in it.

“I know what it's like to have someone who seems so perfect, so larger than life, offer you everything you could fucking want. And you can tell it's not just an offer, because you can see that they have the capacity to fucking give it to you,” Jason stopped to take a deep breath, and shut his eyes so he didn't have to look at the kid's face. “But in the end they make it just another lie. Not because they couldn't follow through on all those pretty little promises, but they couldn't be assed to step out of their fucking comfort zones to do it.”

“That sounds so selfish, though,” Drake said softly. “That we expected them to--”

“Fuck that,” Jason cut him off. “They gave us the permission to be selfish, and when we go and call in our chips, they fucking balk.”

Jay shook his head, and rubbed his hand against his face. Trying to get his emotions under control, and not really succeeding. He just gave up and went on.

“And that's the worst part, because guys like us are used to being treated like that. We're usedto being let down by the people who were supposed to support and protect us. For my mom it was the drugs. For your parents it was just plain fucking apathy. But in the end, it was the same result: let down, after let down, after let down.”

Jason watched as the kid bit his lip, and pulled his camera in close, almost protectively, to his chest. Jason knew the feeling behind the gesture.

“But they made us feel safe,” Jay went on bitterly, “and then they took it all away. and you can't fucking help but feel... but feel...” words failed,, and all Jason could do was shake his head, swallow hard and let the bitterness wash over him all over again.

“You can't fucking help but feel like you should have known better,” the kid finished for him. “Like you should have seen it coming the whole damn time.”

“Yeah kid,” Jason agreed in a tight voice. “It's fucking heart break. Take my word for it.”

Drake was still and silent, fingers stationary as his gripped his camera tight.

“Here's the thing about heart break, though,” Jason said on a sigh. “Eventually, it just becomes another one of those things you can get over. I know it doesn't feel like that now, but it's true. One day you'll wake up, and it won't hurt as bad as it does now. You'll be older, and smarter, and a little more bitter, but it won't hurt so bad.”

Drake just nodded, and let out another little huff of air.

“I'm not saying that it's easy. It fucking isn't. But the trick is to just focus on something else until the pain starts to fade.”

Jason watched as a determined, harsh light entered the kid's eyes at that little piece of advice. Jason recognized the look. It was all too familiar to him.

“It's gotta be something good, though kid,” Jason went on quietly. “Don't make my mistake. You're better than that. We both know it.”

Drake looked over at him with a wry sort of smile that let Jason know Drake really had gotten over all those beat downs. Jason couldn't help but smile back. Drake wasn't a quitter.

“What I'm saying is, just don't wall yourself up. I know it's tempting, but find yourself someone new to focus your viewfinder on, kid,” Jason said as he nodded down at the camera in Drake's hands.

Drake's fingers tightened around it, and he he looked thoughtful for several long moments.

Jason took a deep breath, stepping back away from the kid. He felt better for having said his piece. Like maybe he had just saved another person from the hell that had been his own life several months ago. And if he hadn't, at least he had fucking tried.

It was more than Dick had done.

“Anyway,” Jason said awkwardly, “I should head out. Places to be and people to pound.”

Turning away from the kid, Jason made his way across the roof to the fire escape. Just as he came to the edge of the roof, a sense of deja vu hit him.

The kid called his name in a soft, carrying voice. Jason turned quickly to face him just in time to catch the flash of the camera lens as the kid took a snap shot.

“Better watch, kid,” Jason warned with a smile. “Unlike the Boss, I break the things I confiscate.”

“You'd have to confiscate it first,” the kid pointed out slyly. “That took Bruce years the first time.”

Then, before Jason could come up with a retort, Drake lifted his camera again. The shutter clicked and the flash of the camera hit Jason full in the face.

He swore loudly to himself, but by the time his vision cleared, he was alone on the warehouse roof. Jason smiled to himself, and shook his head as he heard Drake's Ducati roar to life in the alley way below. From his spot on the roof, Jason followed the path of the lights as the bike took off into the Gotham night.

Making his way down the building with slow and easy movements, Jason started off in the direction where he had parked his own bike. While he couldn't make out a trace of another living person anywhere around him as he walked, Jason couldn't shake the feeling he was being watched.

It was a sensation that Jason knew well. It was as familiar to him as the soft, late summer breeze that always ghosted through Gotham City. Another sensation his body could never seem to forget.

Jason Todd just shook his head in resignation. He smiled wide for the camera as he kicked his bike to life and took off, into the moonlight.

Yay! Power's back on!


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 29th, 2011 03:45 am (UTC)
*wibble* ~O_O~

My gods, THIS. I'm halfway ready to cry, just from Jay's speech about heartbreak, b/c YES, THAT.

*applauds wildly*
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
*pets* Don't cry Saavs! *cuddles and loves*
Aug. 29th, 2011 07:15 am (UTC)
This title! b! Did Asami and Akihito inspire you?
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Aug. 29th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
*Huggles Tim and Jason* Oh this was so sad and sweet and just gah! Poor Tim all hurty and Jason knowing exactly what that's like and then even making an effort to make it better. *happy sigh* Wonderful story!
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you liked it. Jay's a good guy deep down inside. I think he sees Timmy as this poor lost kitten sometimes. Like, Tim just needs to be petted and given treats sometimes.
Aug. 29th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
Oh wow was this ever so perfect! Jason was just spot on, and heartbreaking in his self-awareness. I adore how you wrote him here, how he is still gruff and bitter, yet willing to break through his tough exterior to reach out to Tim. And Tim, you wrote his pain so well (surprise, surprise). From the little signs such as the tension in his body and his clutch of the camera, each action showed the weariness and sadness coursing through him.

This was such a wonderful exploration of these two characters and their similarities. I just loved it. Well done!
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
THANKS! I'm actually kinda proud of how this turned out. I got the mood and atmosphere JUST how I wanted it. I feel like the dialog could have been a touch tighter, but I'm pleased, over all. Don't tell anyone, but this will probably be the first part of a 3 part series. I really want to finish up my dcu_freeforall table. And play with some new characters for a while. I feel like I've been writing Roy and Kon FOREVER!

Glad you liked the story!
Aug. 29th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
That was gorgeous, darling. Big smile on my face thanks to you and your Jason!muse. XD And these lines:

“Better watch, kid,” Jason warned with a smile. “Unlike the Boss, I break the things I confiscate.”

“You'd have to confiscate it first,” the kid pointed out slyly. “That took Bruce years the first time.”

That made me giggle. <3 Thanks for this. <3<3<3 *smooches*
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
*kiss* Glad it made you happy. That's all that matters. <3
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
Oh poor boys. I loved how Jason was able to reach out to Tim, understanding all too well what Tim was going through. You summed up Jason's feeling up wonderfully.

And did I see there will be more of this? Yay!
Aug. 30th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
Jay's good like that. He loves his little brother, despite himself. <3

YOU SAW NOTHING! But yeah, probably two more stories. I want to finish my Table. I'm gonna do a couple of short, three story arcs. One Jay/Tim, one Tim/Zat. I'll probably do two more but I can't really chose who else to work with. Your story makes me want to do a Tim/Remy. Then I want to do some het. Maybe TIm/Tam. <333
Aug. 29th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
See, why couldn't DC do this? Because, fucking seriously, if anyone could understand what Tim's going through, it's Jason. (And Dick, if he weren't the one that DID IT. -_- )

This was lovely.
Aug. 30th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Because DC doesn't see the BIG picture. The whole Dick firing Tim premise never made sense in the first place.

I'm glad that you liked it. <333

Hey, would you happen to have any spare time to do a little beta work on the next chapter of Poaching? *begs cutely* <3
Aug. 30th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Maybe? Let me know the name of the doc you want me to look at and I'll try! :)
Aug. 30th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
I'd really appreciate your help!

It'll be 8-1 in the Poaching file, but I want to make some small adjustments to it tomorrow night. Lauren pointed out some weak spots to me today I want to rework a bit.

This scene's only about 6k words. After that there are 3 more short scenes that are all under 2k. I'd appreciate some help with those too, but I haven't even gotten a chance to look at Lauren's suggested revisions for them.

As usual, there's never any hurry. And if you're too busy for something so long, I totally understand. Wading through 10,000 words of text looking for someone else's misplaced commas can be tedious, I know. I really appreciate all your help so far. Especially because I know how busy you are. Eking out fandom time is always a challenge!
Sep. 1st, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Let me know when it goes up and I'll check it out if I have time. ^_^ I'm not seeing it there yet; I assume you haven't put it up yet?
Sep. 3rd, 2011 04:18 am (UTC)
Actually, all of 8 has been there in the Poaching folder for a few days now. You should be able to see all the scenes for chapters 8 and 9, unless you changed your email at some point and I didn't catch it.

The chapters are labeled like they usually are. P-8-1-IP and so on until 5. Same deal with chapter 9. The second number is the scene number and they all go in order. I swear I didn't switch the scenes around this time. :D You can ignore the letters.

Both chapters are pretty much ready for you if you have the time.

I realize the chapters are crazy long and it's a lot to slog through. Sorry about that. Like I said there's no rush and if you just don't have the time to wade through 25k words of this, I totally understand.

I really do appreciate all your help. I go through these things at least twice before they get to you, but every time you point out stupid little things I don't know how I keep missing. You know what it's like reading your own text, though. You read what you think you wrote.

Thanks again man. You and Lauren really have been invaluable. *kiss* <3
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
loved Jason's speech to Tim. I got tears in my eyes.
Sep. 4th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
Jason's speech was the first part of this story that came to me. I sort of built the whole thing around it. I'm glad that you liked it. <333
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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