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The File

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                Dick was finally sleeping peacefully.


                Well, as peacefully as you can after massive head trauma and the sudden realization that your family knows you want to kill yourself.


                Jason carefully removed himself from the tangle of limbs that was his brother, who had cried himself out. Carefully standing, he reached down to pick up the mess left from their frantic attempts to stop the bleeding from Dick’s head.


With the man now bandaged and changed into clean sweats, Jason picked up the bloodstained shirt and pants he had been wearing. Normally, Alfred would have put these in the wash or garbage once Dick was stable, but all parties were concerned Dick would never wake up, and placed all focus on the unconscious man before them. Between that and the fighting, Alfred had his hands full, probably forgetting. It was the least Jason could do to clean up the mess.


Jason dug through the pockets of the pants, trying to ignore the feeling of his brother’s dried blood. He grabbed a set of keys, Dick’s wallet, and other odds and ends that had accumulated over the course of the day. He set most of it on the table, and began to sort through the bits of paper. A flyer for a new restaurant Dick was too polite to refuse, a couple receipts, a number, probably some girl Dick would never call, among others.


The last piece of paper made Jason’s blood run cold. It was little, about the size of a quarter sheet of paper. On it, in Dick’s familiar handwriting, was a note:


                If you find this, it worked. There’s something you should see.

                There’s a video on my computer. The file name is “Sorry.”


Below that was a series of steps to access it.


“Jason, what’s wrong?” said a voice from the doorway. Jason looked up to see Tim, his eyes full of concern.


“Tim, could you watch Dick for a bit? I have to…uh…go to the bathroom.” Jason winced at how pathetic the lie sounded, but Tim didn’t call him on it.


“Sure. I’ll be down here when you’re done.” Tim took the vacant chair, and Jason went upstairs.


Jason found Dick’s laptop fairly easily; the older man had left it on his bed, despite his claim to the rest of the family that he was going back to Bludhaven when he left. The computer was no longer locked with a password, and woke immediately to the desktop when Jason moved the cursor. A slideshow moved through pictures quickly, showing the family at various points in time with various members. One showed a young Dick with Bruce, likely just after the latter took him in. Another showed Alfred in the kitchen, smiling good-naturedly as Dick made a mess attempting to help bake. Yet more showed the others, a picture with Jason just after he passed his gauntlet (not that you could tell from the picture, this was Dick Grayson’s laptop, after all), and a few more of the boys together, followed by a few with Tim. Damian’s arrival at the manor was also present, with still more of the youngest, the grumpy look on his face slowly fading to a vaguer look of disdain they all know and love. A few with Wally and Roy, the trio acting goofy. A picture of Dick kissing Barbara on the cheek, followed by one with the two of them as kids, long before they started dating. The final picture was of the Flying Graysons, with a tiny Dick Grayson in the middle.


Jason allowed the pictures to play through, watching each time as the pictures told the story of the family. As the screen rested once more on the picture of Dick’s parents, he steeled himself to follow the directions on the slip of paper in front of him. He finds the final folder, labelled “For My Family.” In it, Jason finds 10 videos, all labelled the same thing.


Why were there so many? Unsure where to start, Jason clicked the oldest.


A video popped up, and a younger Dick filled the screen.


So. I’m not really sure where to start.

I suppose you know, now, if you’re watching this. I guess I actually did it. Killed myself, I mean.


Jason and the Dick in the video winced simultaneously.


So, yeah. I just…I suppose I could have written a letter, but every time I tried, it came out wrong. I couldn’t get the words to form what I wanted to say. I thought if I could just ramble on for a bit in front of a camera, I’d eventually say all I need to say. We all know how much I love to fill the empty air with my nonsense.


I guess I’ll start with just…telling you what I want to say to each of you?


Er…Jason. I know I haven’t been the best brother. I’ve been really standoffish, and I haven’t helped with your training. I probably seem like a real asshole most of the time. I really should have been better, and I regret that so much. I’ll take you out for ice cream and be the best big brother I can until I do this, deal?


Jason checked the date, seeing that it was about a few months into his tenure as Robin, a year before he died. Dick had suddenly started coming to see him more often, but only when Bruce wasn’t around.


Alfred, I know you tried to keep me and Bruce from going at each other, and I appreciate it. Maybe we’re both too stubborn for our own good. Thanks for being the stable guy I needed, and thanks for not being mad every time I ignored your order to stay in bed when I hurt myself, or when I got bloodstains and chocolate on the carpet. Thanks for not taking back my keys.


Wally, Roy, you are both so fantastic. Thanks for being the best friends a guy could ask for. Thanks for understanding when I was all pissy from a fight with Bruce. I know I probably don’t say this enough, but I love you.


Babs, I love you. I know you probably hate me right now—even though we broke up a few months ago, I like to think it wasn’t because you don’t love me. We just aren’t good at being together, I guess.


Bruce, I know we’ve fought so much lately, and I know that I’ve claimed that you weren’t my father, but that is so far from the truth. I’ve said some things in anger—anger that was probably valid to me at the time, but seems so ridiculous now—that I wish I could take back. You are my father, in all but blood. John Grayson was my father until the day he died, and I feel like he’d be willing to relinquish that title to you for all that you’ve done for me. You took me in when I had nowhere to go, you raised me, you taught me, you included me in the double life you lead, and I can’t say how grateful I am.


But, I guess…I’m hurt, too. I should know you didn’t mean the stuff you’ve said in anger, but it’s hard not to take it to heart, you know? I know you fired me because you thought it would keep me safe, but you can’t honestly think that I would be able to stop, any more than you’re able to. And when you told me to leave…I felt like the home I had made for myself after losing the circus was being ripped away, and my family was gone again. Suddenly I was eight all over again, watching the world crash down around me, and I couldn’t handle all the pain again. But I’ve forgiven you, even if I’m too proud to tell you all of this to your face. I love you.


I guess that’s it.


I’m sorry I wasn’t the man I should have been.


The screen went black, and Jason saw himself reflected back. He quickly hit the ESC key, not wanting to see the tears he felt running down his face.


Jason took note of the remaining list. Each had been edited a year apart, except one. It bore the date May 10, the year the same as Jason's death.


About two weeks after Jason died. A week and a half after his funeral. The day Dick returned from his off-planet mission and found out that his brother had died.


Unable to fight the urge, Jason clicked the file and allowed the window to take over the screen.


When the video loaded, Jason found himself staring at the worn face of his elder brother. His eyes were red, his hair was sticking up in odd ways, and his shirt was inside out.


I fucked it all up. I am such a piece of shit.


If you found this, I did it. Finally. I deserve to be dead. Little Wing—


I’ve done this once before, but as of a couple weeks ago, it’s out of date. I need a new one.


I probably shouldn’t address Jason, but—


Little Wing, I am so sorry. You deserve an older brother that could have saved you. That didn’t put you in danger like I did by giving you that damn costume a year ago. A brother that could have gone to your funeral.


The mission wasn’t worth it. Not your life. That price? That price is entirely too high.


I’m sorry.


Jason closed the window, cutting off whatever past-Dick would say next. He couldn’t stomach the idea of watching any of the others. But he knew he had to. He had to know the problems that were plaguing his older brother, so they could face it, together.


So he clicked the most recent video, steeling himself for whatever he might see.