Cadmus was winning.
Conner was too strong. He was destroying everything.
Dick had failed, failed to break through to Conner, Grave’s voice too loud for Conner to resist. Conner had just been there , right in his grasp, talking to him, listening to him, and then just like that, he was gone again. Lost to the control of Cadmus.
With a set jaw and a determined look on his face, he’d snapped the lasso, sending the glowing rope snapping back with such force it had taken Donna right off her feet.
Which left him now, snarling with a guttural yell, resisting Rachel’s own power, as the inky blackness strained itself between them, Rachel screaming in pain, pushing with all she had.
It wasn’t enough though. Dick could see that.
Cadmus had too much control. Too much control of someone who was stronger than them all. Even if Rachel could only hold him off, she’d eventually break, and Conner would obliterate them all.
Cadmus was winning.
They’d lost -
“Conner!” a familiar voice yells.
Dick’s eyes travel upwards, finally settling on a figure on the ferris wheel behind Conner and the carnage he’d left.
Jason stood, legs astride the edge of one of the carriages, hand wrapped around one of the metal bars.
Jason, without any armour, without a cape, without a costume at all.
Jason who looked small and vulnerable - human - against the steel structure of the amusement ride, a couple of hundred feet above them.
“Jason?” Dick shouts out, trying to inch forward, acutely aware of how Conner’s eyes flash angrily as they track him. “What the hell are you doing?”
He hadn’t heard or seen anything from the kid since the shit show in the kitchen and he’d learnt from Rose how Jason had left her in a fury, upset and betrayed by her actions. He’d been worried to know Jason was lost in the wind, and considering Jason’s previous self-destructive behavior, it was more than a little worrying to see where he was now stood.
“Shut up Dick,” Jason yells - snaps - “I’ve got this.”
“Got what?” he hears Hank hiss loudly, staggering as he tries to join Dick. “Haven’t you had enough of heights already? Get the fuck down from there, kid, right now!”
“Just let me do this,” Jason screams down at them and Dick hears how his voice breaks.
“Jason?” Gar asks them from behind, voice full of confusion and fear.
“You saved me once before Conner,” he hears Jason yell from above, ignoring Gar completely.
Concern slithers into him, like a coiled snake, and a sinking feeling drops.
Conner, still resisting Rachel’s power, hesitates for a second, frowning.
“So save me now!”
“Jason!” Dick screams - starts running - even before Jason takes his first step off the carriage. “No!
Someone is screaming - multiple people - and he knows they will never reach him in time, hell he doesn’t even know how he’s going to stop the inevitable from happening, but all he knows for sure is that Jason - small, vulnerable, human - is plummeting to the ground.
But then there’s a blur next to him. The velocity of it sends him flying off to the side and rolling several feet, and the screams abruptly stop.
Dick blinks several times before he jumps up, stumbling over his feet.
“Jason!” he screams and runs and he wants to vomit because he’s just let his little brother die and he’s going to find his broken, dead body, at the bottom of the ferris wheel.
Instead, he doesn’t.
Conner is hovering a few feet above the ground with Jason in his arms.
A very startled, pale, but alive , Jason.
“Jason,” Dick breathes out.
All he wants to do is grab him, shake him, hold him tight.
“Here -” Conner says, as they reach the floor, offering Jason out to Dick as though he belongs to him.
“Oh,” Dick says as he finds himself with an armful of Jason and he staggers until they are both painfully crouched on the floor.
“Dude,” Jason huffs, disgruntled as he slaps Dick’s arms away. He doesn’t move away though, swaying a little in front of him as he shuts his eyes tightly and sucks in shuddering breath.
“You good?” Dick asks Conner, warily eyeing him, as he slips an arm up and around Jason’s shoulder, feeling Jason tremble under his touch.
“I’m…” the younger man says, a small uncertain smile on his lips, “...Conner?”
Jason snorts, head still down, and offers a thumbs up in response.
The uncertain smile morphs into a genuine grin, joyful and fulfilling until his head snaps away, attention drawn away as he tilts his head and listens.
Dick turns to look.
Rachel’s picking herself up off the floor, Dawn and Kori helping her, before they also turn to look away, seeing something in the distance.
“I should go,” Conner says, a determined look on his face. “They’re getting away.”
“Go. Do what you need to do,” Dick agrees. “But then come back, okay?”
“Okay?” Conner says, voice unsure.
“You’re with us now and the Titans are family,” Dick says, tightening his arm around Jason. “And we’re stronger together.”
Jason lifts his head to look at him, surprise on his face.
Conner nods and darts away, faster than Dick can see.
Dick turns his attention back to Jason and the kid flushes under the scrutiny, eyes darting away, taking in Dick’s suit.
“Dude, what happened to you?” Jason says quietly.
“I finally figured out who I am,” Dick says, giving Jason a nudge and a small grin. “I live between the moon and the stars,” Dick says remembering Luis words to him . “And in the time of greatest need, I fly down and save you.”
Jason raises his eyes. “And what do we call this new, improved you?”
“Sounds dumb,” Jason snorts with an obnoxious grin.
“Whatever you say, little wing.”
Jason doesn’t get a chance to respond to the name because there’s yelling and it was heading their way.
“WHAT THE FUCK!” Hank practically screams at them as he stomps his way over, Gar following behind. “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? WERE YOU TRYING TO GET YOURSELF KILLED OR ARE YOU JUST REALLY FUCKING STUPID?!”
Jason flinches away and sucks in another breath.
“Hank, can we do this later?” Dick asks twisting his body so that Jason was tucked behind him.
“NO!” Hank snaps at both of them, whipping his mask off and waving his hands angrily at them. “He needs to know that was a fucking dumb move. I mean seriously, kid, do you have bricks for brains?”
“Fuck you, Hank -” Jason snarls, leaning around Dick. Dick recognises the spitfire anger he was accustomed to from Jason, and pulls him back. “Have you seen yourself lately, Hawk ?”
“You’re such a little shit,” Hank hisses at him.
Gar darts between them, one arm still clasping Rachel’s coat around him, the other out and gently trying to push Hank back.
“Dude,” Jason pauses his verbal diatribe to look Gar up and down. “What happened to your clothes?”
“Can we just not ?” Gar asks in frustration. “I think there’s more trying issues right now then insulting each other’s intelligence, don’t you?”
“I-” Jason starts.
But he’s interrupted by the sound of screaming, of Donna calling out to Dawn, the sound of metal groaning and falling.
And the utter silence after.
After the funeral, after they say goodbye, after they watch Rachel leave, Dick and Jason sit.
They watch the others milling about, hanging by the cars, giving them space to talk.
Between watching Donna sacrifice herself to save Dawn and now, there had not been much time talk, all Dick had been able to do was make sure Jason wasn’t left on his own too much. Dick, Hank and Dawn had made sure that one of them was with him at all times, and sometimes Gar, Rachel and Conner too.
“Tell me the truth,” Dick says beside Jason. “Did you want to die?”
“I thought there might be a chance that it might snap Conner out of it,” Jason says quietly, head down, staring at his feet. He rests his elbows on his knees and hides his face in his hands. “But I kind of thought it might not matter even if he didn’t.”
“It matters,” Dick insists, turning to look at Jason. He snags Jason’s hands and pulls them away. “You matter, Jason.”
“Whatever,” Jason sighs quietly next to him.
“You’re my little brother,” Dick says. “You’re family.”
Jason snorts at him, pulling his hands away and shoving at Dick.
“Just because some entitled rich dude took two rejects in doesn’t make us family,” Jason hisses angrily at him.
“You’re not a reject, Jason-” Dick says. He hesitates a second before dropping his hand onto Jason’s shoulder. The kid tries to angrily shake it off but when Dick gently replaces it, he feels him sag in defeat under the touch. “And we might not be blood related, but we have Bruce in common. Sure, he adopted us. He might be an asshole, but he’s also the closest thing to a dad either of us have, and that makes us family. My family. And the titans. There’s always a place for you. I want you there. We all do.”
“Will Rose be there?” Jason asks, turning to look at him.
“Sometimes,” Dick nods. “She told me what happened. She cares about you, you know that right?”
“She betrayed us!” Jason snaps, and there’s that spitfire anger again.
“She made a mistake,” Dick says. He’d been pissed off when he’d heard the truth from Deathstroke’s daughter but when it came down to it, her actions were not too far away from his own with Jericho. “And she realised it. You were never part of the plan.”
“She made everyone hate me!” Jason spits out, eyes watering before he fists it away.
“I don’t think that was her intention,” Dick says, spotting Hank as he starts to make his way over. “And I’m not asking you to forgive her.”
“I won’t,” Jason promises with snarl but then looks Dick straight in the eye, “But I’ll stay, because you all know you need Robin.”
“Atta boy,” Hank says, clapping Jason on the shoulder and squeezing. “Although I heard it was Little Wing now?”
“Whatever Henry,” Jason smirks at Hank and shakes his arm off.
“Go get in the car,” Hank says, rolling his eyes. “Dawn’s waiting to drive you and Gar back. We’ll bring the second car.”
The second car meaning, Hank, Dick, Conner and Rose .
Dick was waiting for some rebuff but Jason just nods and steps away, heading back across the airport to where the cars were waiting.
When he was halfway he turns and sticks both middle fingers up with a shit eating grin. “The titan’s are back, bitches.”
Hank snorts and Dick tries to hide his grin.
“He okay?” Hank asks, taking Jason’s vacant seat.
“He will be,” Dick says, watching as Gar greats him into a warm hug.