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Title: Black Orchids. Part 4 of 4.
Authors: [livejournal.com profile] munnin_odanin, [livejournal.com profile] darthbatgirl, [livejournal.com profile] _sephet_ 
Artists: [livejournal.com profile] _sephet_ and [livejournal.com profile] alexiel_neesan 
Rating: NC-17, Some art is graphic in nature and NSFW
Characters: the band, Alfred, Oracle and various members of the superhero community.
Pairings: Ra’s/Tim, Dick/Tim implied,
Warnings: kidnapping, non-con, violence, angst.
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history.

Summary: Tim gets flowers in his dressing room at a show that spark off the start of the biggest crisis the Robins have face since leaving Gotham.

References to: Darthbatgirl’s
Fan Mail and my The price paid and The height of the cost

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4 - here.


Silence after the storm...

None of them spoke in the chopper. Tim’s head rested in Dick’s lap, Jay’s jacket wrapped around his thin shoulders for warmth. Alfred pressed a hand to Jay’s chest, checking and rechecking the bandages. There was a small halo of blood where Ra’s’ blade had nearly killed him four days ago but not enough to be worried about. Damian tore a strip off his undershirt and held pressure to the scrape on Steph’s forehead. She squeezed his hand gently and let him fuss.

Helena tapped her comms. and pointed to the head-sets hanging above Dick’s head.

“Yeah H?” He asked wearily as he pulled them on.

“We’re coming up on our destination.”

“Which is?” He didn’t mean to sound snappish but too much had happened too fast.

“Coast of California, a private beach house has been set aside for you guys. It’s fully stocked with food and medical supplies and completely secure. There’s a doctor on call if you need one. She’s vetted by O and discreet, she won’t ask any difficult question.”

Dick sighed and let his head rest against the vibrating side of the chopper. “Thanks H.”

“Anything else you need?”

Dick sighed. A do over; the strength to convince Tim to have trusted him about Ra’s’ emails; a chance to protect all of them before things got this bad; the wisdom to keep his family safe, the patience to be grateful and not angry at Alfred and Jay for going against his orders; many, many hours sleep. “I think we’re ok.”

“O said drop her a line if you need anything.”

“Thanks.” Dick said quietly as the chopper descended to an exclusive little mansion on the beach. “Tell her I own her and you.”

“Forget it flyboy,” Helena muttered as she landed the chopper. “No owing between family.”

And finally this...

Oracle’s vetted doctor was waiting for them when they touched down. Dick carried Tim straight inside and onto one of the bed. She checked him over without fuss or question as Dick stood in the doorway of the bedroom, watching over the rest of his family.

The others dragged themselves in, tired and drained. Jay leant heavily on Alfred, not meeting his brother’s eye.

Dick nodded to the injured drummer. “As soon as the doc’s finished with Tim-”

“Got it.” Jay waved dismissively, dropping onto one of the couches. “See to babybird first.” They both knew a conversation needed to be had but now wasn’t the time.

Tim was dehydrated, slightly malnourished and completely exhausted. Most of his injuries - the bruising at his wrists and ankles and the bite marks on his throat were minor and would fade soon enough. The effect of the drugs would fade too now that the dosing had stopped. The fog would lift and Tim’s body would be his own once more.

The doctor took Dick and Alfred aside. “There are signs of sexual assault,” she said carefully.

“We know,” Dick answered, his expression closed.

“I can treat the physical injuries but the emotional impact-”

“We’ll deal,” Dick said quickly, cutting her off. It wasn’t something he was ready to talk about to someone outside the family “We’ll look after him.”

She sighed, “I understand you want to protect your brother but-”

Alfred put a gentle hand on her arm. “We appreciated your concern Doctor but I assure you no-one is better equipped to assist Timothy in his recovery.”

She nodded, remembered what Oracle said about trusting them to make their own calls. “Very well. I’ll leave you a treatment plan; make sure he gets plenty of rest and fluids. Let me know if anything changes.” She pulled off her gloves and grabbed a fresh pair, “Now let me have a look at Mr Todd’s chest.”

Dick tucked the blankets around Tim and sat with him, brushing a hand through his little brother’s hair.

“How is he?” Damian asked from the doorway.

“He’ll be ok physically,” Dick answered, not looking up from Tim’s sleeping face.

Damian nodded, understanding what Dick wasn’t saying. They’d all been through this in one form or another and they all coped differently. “You need to speak with Jason.”

“I know,” Dick said quietly. “How’s Steph?”

Damian sat down on the edge of the bed. “The graze on her forehead is superficial and she does not appear to be suffering from concussion, but I have asked the doctor to check her.” He rested a hand on Dick’s shoulder. “Tim will sleep for some time. I will sit with him while you speak with Jason.”

Dick looked up at his youngest brother. “It’s really worrying you that badly D?”

“We all have wounds we need to heal.” Damian met his eye with earnest determination. “Not all of them bleed.”

Dick leant over and pressed a kiss to D’s forehead, “I’ll be back soon.”

Thankfully Jason only managed to tear a handful of stitches during the mission. Dick perched on the dining table as the doctor carefully repaired the damage and re-strapped Jay’s chest. “The surgeons did a very good job.” She assured as she tucked the end of the bandage in. “Take it easy for a week or so and take the post-operative drugs I left with Mr Pennyworth and you’ll be fine.” She turned to Dick. “I’d like to check up on Miss Brown now if that’s alright?”

Dick nodded, watching as she pulled the door closed behind her, leaving them alone. He said nothing for a long moment, staring at his dangling feet.

Jay sat back in the deep couch, holding his chest. “If you gunna chew me out for this Dick, at least get it over and done with.”

Dick sighed, not looking up. “Won’t even know where to start,” he muttered quietly. “It’s not like I’ve had a good run looking after this family lately.”

“You did your best,” Jay said. “Ra’s caught us out, we couldn’t have known-”

Dick pushed off the table with a growl. “We should have, Jay! If Tim had only trusted me...”

“With what?”

Dick opened his mouth and then stopped, realising Jay was in hospital when they found out. “Ra’s had been emailing Tim for months; stalking him, making little comments on things Tim was doing; things he had no right knowing.”

“Shit.” Jay buried his face in his hand. “And he never said.”

“Not a word.” Dick lashed out, kicking the wall hard. “Fuck, Jay! If he can’t trust me enough to say something...” He pushed his hair out of his face, his expression livid. “How can I protect any of you?” He sighed, leaning back against the table. “Couldn’t even keep you in bed.”

“Yeah well.” Jay shrugged. “Couldn’t let you lot have all the fun.”

“I didn’t want you to get hurt,” Dick admitted.

“I know. And if I’d gone with you guys I would have been a liability.”

“Jay! It’s not like that-”

Jay held out a hand to stop him. “I know Dickie, I know but it’s the truth. I would have torn myself up stomping ninjas and been no help at all. Look, what I’m saying is I get why you benched me.” He sighed, “I just hope you get why I couldn’t stay benched.”

“Yeah I get it,” Dick conceded with a tight smile. “Still going to kick Roy’s ass when I get hold on him.”

“Wasn’t his fault,” Jay muttered, “what he said out there was true; half the community was chomping at the bit to kick some ass on our behalf. Roy and Hel were just the only one’s O’d let through. From what I hear that girl’s got some hardcore clout with the League these days.”

“She always did know how to work the leverage.” Dick let his head fall back, “Fuck I’m tired.”

“You and me both.” Jay sighed, knowing neither of them meant the need for sleep. “So what do we do from here?”

Dick trailed over to the couch, flopping carefully down next to Jay. “Hel said this place is ours for as long as we need it. We stay, we rest, we lick our wounds and then, when we’re strong enough, we decide what we do from there.” He rested his head on Jay’s shoulder. “What do you want to do, Jay?”

“Sleep.” He nudged Dick gently. “The big picture shit can wait. We gunna nest tonight?”

“Thought about it but I don’t want to move Tim.”

“Fair call.”

Dick reached out and took his brother’s hand. “Sleep with us tonight?”

“Sure.” Jay squeezed his hand, entwining his fingers in Dick’s. “Just don’t snore hey?”

The sheltered harbour...

Tim woke up with a frightened shudder in Dick’s arms.

“It’s ok baby,” Dick whispered, stroking Tim’s hair. “You’re safe now.”

Photobucket

“Dick?” Tim whimpered. “I...” He clung to Dick’s arm, his breathing quickened, shallow and frantic.

“Go slow babybird.” Jay pressed against his back, running his hand down Tim’s flank. “You’re still pretty messed up.”

“Jay...” Tim was panting now, his thin chest heaving. “You...I...” He caught hold of Jay’s hand and squeezed tightly, desperate to ground himself in their touch. Memories washed over him –
Jason’s blood on Ra’s’ hands, on his cheek;
Silk against his skin, fog in his head, leather at his wrists;
Ra’s’ too cold touch, forcing him, breaking him, moulding him. Destroying all hope and everything he held dear.

He shuddered, a sob catching in his throat.

“We’ve got you, baby,” Dick whispered, pulling Tim close. “You’re home now.”

“You died. “ Tim whimpered, clinging to his brothers. “He...he killed you...both of you.”

“He tried,” Jay whispered. “And he failed.” He pressed a kiss to the side of Tim’s neck.

“Nothing can keep us apart,” Dick promised, rubbing his nose against Tim’s damp cheek, wiping away the tears and kissing him softly. “Rest now Tim. You’re with family. We’ll watch over you.”

All debts...

Dick woke to find Tim still peacefully asleep in his arms with Jay sprawled out across the other side off the bed.

Tim snuffled in his sleep as Dick tried to slip away quietly. Instinctively Jay rolled over and gathered Tim into his arm, cracking at sleepy eye at Dick. “You good?”

“Just want to check on the others,” he whispered, dropped a kiss on Tim’s cheek and squeezing Jay’s shoulder. “Back soon.”

Damian was sitting in a window seat, staring out to the sea as he nursed a cup of coffee. “How is he?” he asked, shimmying up to make room for Dick.

“Sleeping quietly.” Dick rubbed his eyes with the heel of his palms. None of them had slept well for nearly a week and it showed. “He woke up a couple of times and freaked out. I don’t think it’s all quite sunk in yet.”

“He will need time. As will we all,” Damian said quietly, his voice distant and strained.

“Are you ok?” Dick asked earnestly, running his hand over Damian’s forehead. In the jumble and haste of last night he hadn’t take time to check on his youngest charge, trusting that D would tell him if something was wrong but now he realised that had been a mistake. Damian was Bruce’s son in so many ways and the stubborn unwillingness to show weakness was an inherited trait.

“I’m not injured.” Damian brushed Dick’s hand away impatiently, “Some minor bruising and a few scrapes. And yes, before you ask; I had the doctor look me over. Alfred also. Neither of us have any injuries to report.”

Dick gave D a tight smile and ruffled his hair. “You are your father’s son. He would have been proud of you.”

“No, he would not,” Damian muttered darkly, ducking his head. “I would have killed my grandfather last night. He was unarmed and in a position of surrender and I still would have killed him. I am unworthy of my father’s legacy.”

Dick wrapped D in his arms, pulling him close. “There’s a long road between would have and did. You didn’t kill him. You protected your family, you served justice but you didn’t kill him.”

“I...I regret not killing him.” Damian pressed his face into Dick’s neck, his breath catching. “I fear I will regret it more, the longer it takes for Tim to recover.”

Dick brushed a hand through D’s hair, pressing their foreheads together. “You and me both.”

Alfred appeared at their side, a hand on Dick’s shoulder. “A word in private if I may Master Dick?” he asked quietly.

Dick sniffed and kissed Damian on the forehead, following Alfred to the little bedroom the older man had claimed as his own.

A TV was playing on mute in the corner and Alfred flicked the sound on low.

A terrible fire destroyed a compound in warehouse district of Salem last night. The footage cut to a wide shot of the building from the air, flames leaping from the roof. Believed to have been caused by a faulty security system, the fire engulfed the building in seconds. Fire crews have been unable to get near the blaze which is still burning this morning as officials indicate the compound may have been used to house disused and decommissioned armaments. Fire-crews have established a perimeter and must content themselves with waiting for the fire to burn itself out before moving in. This is Sally Suthers reporting for-

Alfred switched it off.

Dick sat down on the bed, ash faced. “Any fatalities?”

“None that have been reported.” Alfred answered simply

“Could we have-”

But Alfred held a hand out to silence him. “The fire started some time after our withdrawal and was too intense and extensive to have been caused by any of our distractionary explosives.”

“You think it was Ra’s cleaning house?”

“That would seem like the most logical assumption. There is precedent for the League of Shadows using fire to cleanse a site of evidence,” Alfred supplied cautiously, drawing no conclusions of his own.

Dick got to his feet and rocked on his heels. “Tim...Tim doesn’t need to know.”

“I concur.”

Dick wavered for a moment, pulling Alfred into a quick hug. “Thanks Alfred. I don’t know where we’d be without you.”

“Run short on clothes I suspect.” The old servant smiled indulgently. “Miss Helena is arranging for our belongings to be shipped to us this evening so I’ve taken the liberty of acquiring everyone some new clothing.” He gestured to the open laptop. “They should be arriving shortly.”

Dick smiled and plucked at the fluffy white robe he was wearing. “I don’t know, I think this rather suits me.”

Alfred gave Dick his driest look, the one he use to reserve for the crime of capes above stairs. “If you say so, sir.”

Dick grinned and dropped a quick kiss on Alfred’s cheek. “I’m going to go check in Tim.”

As the door closed behind Dick, a little green avatar reappeared on the laptop’s screen. You are disturbingly good at steering conversations, Alfred, Oracle’s machine voice chided.

“Years of practice,” he answered darkly. “I thought it best they didn’t know.”

I concur, Oracle answered sardonically. Let me know if you need anything.

“I shall. Thank you, Barbara.”

Anytime, Alfred. After all, we are family.

***

Steph was just stepping out of the bathroom as Dick passed, her luxuriant blond hair damp and slicked back from the shower and a solid red bruise blooming on her forehead. He stopped to hug her, brushing back the wet curls to examine the mark.

“I wasn’t quick enough on my feet,” she whispered quietly, leaning into his chest. “I got cocky. I’m sorry Dick.”

“Shh,” he soothed, “You did brilliantly.”

Photobucket

“I would’ve been mince-meat if it hadn’t been for Jay and that crossbow thing,” she admitted. “Please don’t be too pissed with him for following us.”

“I’m not, princess. Jay and I talked last night. We’re cool.” He brushed his thumb over her cheek. “How are you doing?”

“Tired. Sore. Worried as all hell about Tim.”

“Come on.” He wrapped his hand in hers and led her back towards the master bedroom.

Tim was awake when they entered, his bright blue eye swimming with tears. He leant into Jason, his hand entangled with Damian’s as the youth sat beside him.

“Tim...” Steph whispered, her voice choked with emotion.

He turned damp eyes up to her and she sprang onto the bed, pulling him into her arms.

“Go gently, Blondie,” Jay warned as she hugged Tim fiercely. “Babybird’s still a little scrambled.”

She eased back, stroking her hands through his hair as Tim reached up to touch the cut on her forehead.

“I...I am to blame for this,” he stuttered, tears rolling silently down his cheek.

“No!” She growled passionately. “No you’re not.”

Dick sat on the edge of the bed, resting a hand on D’s shoulder as the youth leant back into him. “You’re back with us, Tim. That’s all that matters.”

“I kept...I kept secrets from you,” Tim admitted, his tone broken and trembling.

“We know,” D said gently. “We found the emails.”

Tim sobbed, looking up at them with wide and frightened eyes, awaiting their judgement.

“It’s ok, babybird.” Jay soothed, running his hand down Tim’s back. “It’s not important right now.” He met Dick’s eye, challenging him to disagree.

“He’s right, Tim,” Dick answered, “All that matters is that you’re safe.” There would be a time for that conversation but it wasn’t now. “Just know that we love you and we’re here for you.”

“Go back to sleep,” Steph whispered, gently guiding Tim’s eyes closed. “We’ll stay with you.”

Tim let himself relax into Jay’s embrace as Steph curled up next to him, D and Dick at her back.

When Alfred came to check on them later, he found the five of them asleep in the not neatly wide enough bed with Tim in the middle, his face peaceful and serene. He bent over Jason to place a soft kiss on the young man’s cheek. “Welcome home Master Timothy.”

Photobucket

Fin.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-24 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexiel-neesan.livejournal.com
<3 <3 <3 <3 I'm so happy. It's a pleasure being part of this work and AU. Thanks Munnin :D

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-24 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
Thank you! I couldn't have done it without you!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-24 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darthbatgirl.livejournal.com
Oh how I love you!!! You and alexiel and sephet are so terribly talented and awesome! Really really you guys are.

And this story is absolutely awesome and scarily close (almost exactly) of how I had thought it could go without even knowing what you were doing.

Words do not do this wonderful story justice. Thank you so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-25 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
Could not have written it without you and your awesome ideas and support. Alexiel and Sephet are the so very fantastic!

See! Just goes to prove I'm actually a figment of your imagination, that's how I knew how the story was to go!

*hugs* Thank you so very much!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-25 06:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phoenixofborg.livejournal.com
*snuggles them all protectively*

It is a sign of how good this fic was that I actually want to hurt Ra's al Ghul right now.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-25 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
I will take your desire for violence as a complement.

Thanks for the heads-up on the goof earlier. I appreciate that. And thanks for the comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-25 06:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phoenixofborg.livejournal.com
As it was meant to be, and no problem. ^.^

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-27 05:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_sephet_/
*glee* I've already shared how much I love this, but it bares repeating, so, yeah. It's an honour to have been able to contribute this! <3<3<3

alexiel_neesan's articles are brilliant, they really add a realistic feel, especially combined with her gorgeous art!

Everything came together really well! <3 *glee*

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-27 09:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
Couldn't have done it without you and your brilliance! You are a true master and your art makes the story.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-27 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyblkrose.livejournal.com
I re-read the previous fics before reading this all in one go. I WANT SLADE'S AND RA'S HEADS ON A PLATE OF CRABGRASS W/ AN APPLE IN THEIR MOUTHS.
Yes you wrote them so dastardly that I want them dead.
The whole lot of you wonderful writers and artists crafted a moving loving, hard to read, impossible to turn off series, the art adding a whole level of reality to the peace.
I loved this and the ending was just perfect and heartening and not sugery sweet but laced w/ hope that after the work the healing exists.
Thank you for all your good work adn sharing it all with us.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-01 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
Sorry my love! Don't know how I missed your comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed it (even if it did make you think murderous thoughts)

Writing with such a talented group of authors and artists has been a real honour and I'm glad we could share it with everyone.

WOW

Date: 2011-03-31 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zodiacsnake.livejournal.com
0o0....i cant even find words for this my hatred of Ra's is INTENSE, my love of Alfred as the most epic old man EVER TO LIVE is more set in stone then ever before, & my wonder at this AU is UNMEASURABLE!!!

All i can really say is Thank you for shareing to all those who write for this!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-31 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
I wondered if you've find this one. I'm glad you liked it.

It was an amazing ride writing this with some of the most talented people in the fandom. Have Sep and Alexiel drawing as we wrote was a real honour.

(BTW Alexiel did the art in the icon you're using. Might be polite to credit her.)

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