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The surprising part, was that neither of them had seen it coming. Bats trained in only the best of combat and detective skills and neither had seen the giant semi truck barreling over the highways lane markers. The trucks driver had died on impact, they said.

 

It was too early in the process to tell if his hands had just slipped from the wheel or if he had been under the influence, not that it really mattered of course. No master the cost, Todd had been hurt.

 

The two had been coming back from a midnight trip to the grocery store. Damian decided it best to camp over at Todd’s for the night after his recent argument with Father…. then he had decided he wanted ice cream. Todd, of course, had agreed.

 

They had bought mint chocolate chip, and chocolate and neapolitan (which Todd swore by), all of which were now spread and smushed along the pavement of interstate 95.

 

They had ridden together on the bike before, when Damian needed a ride home from school or weeks earlier when he had fled from Father’s rath…. again. It was safe, Todd was a safe driver. He made sure of it and they both wore helmets and Damian was forced to sit in front of his brother so he was safer and-

 

“ Sweetie? Can you stand for me?” Damian didn’t remember the sound of the approaching sirens neither had he noticed when the paramedics had arrived. There were too many noises and too many sounds. Bright artificial lights from the vehicles threatened to blind him, he could feel his heartbeat behind his eyes, no doubt the effects of a concussion. His ankle and knee throbbed from impact with the pavement but we pulled himself to his knees nonetheless.

 

That’s when he saw Todd.

 

His older brother was laying facedown on the road, bike smashed and forgotten ten feet to his right. There was blood pooling around his leather jacket, staining the material a crimson red. A noise somewhere between a cry and a shout escaped from Damian’s throat as he hurried to army crawl his way over. The paramedic was left shouting behind him.

 

His own body hurt and he was dimly aware that he should not be agitating his injuries but in the moment, Todd seemed far more important. Damian’s knees soon were soon moistened with the blood of his brother, the material seeping into the pair of jeans he kept at Todd’s most commonly occupied safe house.

 

“ Todd?” He asked, not wanting to injure the man more by touching him. Damian became increasingly distraught by the lack of response. “ Todd? Are you alright?” The Red Hood had endured gun shots, stab wounds, a trip to death and back yet, he wasn’t responding to Damian’s frantic calls after being thrown from his motorcycle. “ Jason wake up!” He shouted frantically.

“ Honey, come away now.” That cursed paramedic had followed him.

 

“ Do not touch me!” He howled, throat ripping with his scream, his eyes remained on Jason.

 

“ We called your dad, Damian, but we need to get you and your brother in the ambulance.” Of course . Of course they had already called Father, of course they knew his name even though he had not yet told them. Their accident was going to be the cover of gossip magazines for weeks . ‘ Wayne Brother’s Severely Injured in Roadside Accident’, ‘Wayward Wayne Killed by Drunk Driver-

 

No, Damian would not let them belittle Todd like that. The man deserved to be treated in peace and privacy, just like any other civilian. If Todd survived…. I the man was even still alive at all-

 

“ Com’on sport.” Said a different voice, this one much deeper, and male. Damian opened his mouth to scream again, throbbing limbs hurriedly reaching to grab Jason as he was tugged away, hands lifting him from underneath his arms as if he was an infant. There were only select people Damian allowed to manhandle him like that. Jason Todd was one of those people, this stranger was not.

 

“ L-let go of me!” He screamed, thrashing and writhing in full hearted attempts to escape the mans too strong hold. If he were not injured-

 

“ Get the other one into an ambulance!” Someone shouted in the distance. The other one , God when Damian got away from this man he was going to kill them all . But for now there were more important things to devote his attention to. Like how those damned paramedics were now loading his brothers limp and defenseless body onto a gurney without the oafs permission.

 

“ Jason!” He hollered after them, his head protesting at the sound. “ How dare you- Jason!” He sucked in another shuddering breath. “ Wait, please. Wait! Stop! I need- I need.” His lungs were resisting the series of small quick breaths he was attempting to take in.

 

“ Someone get this kid some oxygen!” The man holding him shouted to the surrounding paramedics. He was being held facing out toward the scene, one of the man's hands underneath him, another restraining his arms and torso. Didn’t he know this wasn’t how Damian prefered to be held? And dammit, he didn’t need oxygen he needed Jason!

 

“ No, nonono. Jason, I need Jason!” He said. He wanted to scream it, yell as hard as he could but his lungs wouldn’t allow it.

“ Put him in ambulance three.” Someone said, if his mind had been clearer, Damian would have recognized the voice as the woman from before.

 

“ One person to an ambulance!” Said the man, Damian was hating him more by the minute.

 

“ He’s ten , Chris. He’s going into shock and he needs to be able to see someone he knows, give him to me.” Damian wanted to protest, tell these neanderthals that he wasn’t to be coddled like some helpless child, but he was too afraid that if he tried to open his mouth he would sob or vomit. Or both.

 

He was brought into the ambulance and sat upon the females lap. Jason lay in front of him, jacket off and grated face and arm fully exposed, there were wires and a small heart monitor- at least the buffoon was still breathing. He doesn’t need to die twice before his twenty first birthday.

 

Damian was shifted, the woman’s arms wrapping securely around his waist as someone else slid an oxygen mask over his mouth.

 

The fingers he was using to pinch himself and keep awake were slowly tugged away and encased in a warm palm. These bastards were sure going to get it, pay for treating Jason and himself in such demeaning manners. He would castrate them all as soon as woke up from his nap.

 

***

 

Hospitals were disgusting . Gotham General especially so. The white walls and sterile smells did nothing to lessen that fact. Damian blinked into the harsh artificial lights, ignoring the searing pain at the back of his skull, his finger twitched inside the blood pressure clasp. His face was cold and wet, his chest ached with what he guessed were bruised or broken ribs. One of his hands warmer than the other.

 

It took him an embarrassingly long time to realise someone was holding it. Even longer to figure out who that someone was.

 

“ Father?” He croaked, throat dry from disuse.

 

“ Damian?” The man gave a soft smile back to him. “ How are you feeling?” Damian shifted, looking around the room for any other occupants.

 

“ Superb, where is Todd?” He asked, somewhat dreading the answer.

 

“ He just got out of surgery.”

 

“ But… He is alright?”

 

“ His arm was crushed on impact, that’s what the surgery was for.” Father explains, Damian releasing a breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding.

 

“ But it will heal?” Damian asked, voice quiet, eyes piercing those of his Father’s.

 

“ Yes, son. He will heal.” Bruce replied. There was a pause, a moment of silence where Father tried to word what he wanted to say next. “ Damian, if Jason hadn’t been positioned the way he was, his arm would have been your head.”

 

Something in Damian’s chest tightens at that. Todd had… put himself in harm's way for Damian? That imbecile, what if he had been killed?

 

“ As it was,” Father continued “ You managed to shatter your knee and bruise four ribs.”

 

“ Concussion?” Damian asked in a whisper.

 

“ A small one.” Bruce says, confirming Damian’s hypothesis. “ Seems Jason doesn’t lack the touch it takes to get you to wear a helmet like I do.”

 

“ I would like to see him.” Damian announces, voice firm and head held higher than it has been all night. It lowers slightly again as he suddenly realises something. “ And I… apologize, for earlier.” He adds.

 

“ Thank you. I admit, I was a little harsh yelling at you like that.” The hand Father is holding is momentarily squeezed. “ I’m sorry.”

 

“ Your apology is accepted. I would like to see Jason now.” Damian demands. If Bruce is at all surprised by the use of Jason’s first name, he doesn’t let it show.

 

“ I don’t think the nurses would like that.” Father says.

 

“ They would not need to know.” Damian says quickly, a smirk tugging at his lips.

 

“ Your spending too much time with your brother.” Bruce said pointedly. They stared at each other a few more moments before Father sighed. “ I’ll get the wheelchair.”