Continuity: Comics!verse AU, based on post-Crisis continuity.
Rating: Very M.
Characters/Pairings: Timothy Drake, with appearances by Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, and Pamela Isley; one-sided Tim/Dick, sorta.
Word Count: 2111
Summary: Tim settles for stalking the Batman, and gets a lot more than he bargained for.
Warnings: Nothing much at all, this chapter. Pain, some mild swearing. In future chapters, blood, violence, death, and icky things out the ying-yang; AU!Timmy is not your friend. No spoilers for anything more recent than the 1980s.
Disclaimer: Most of the characters and locations in this story are © DC Entertainment Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment. All content is fictional and for entertainment purposes only, not for profit.
Notes: A quick note on my Poison Ivy; last chapter I introduced her as "Dr. Pamela Isley". In case anyone was confused... I believe her having a Ph.D is strictly an invention of Batman: The Animated Series, and she's not a doctor in the comics? Whatever, I've always liked that particular character detail; I think she deserves to be a doctor. It's my AU... AH DO WHAT AH WANT!!
Posted to robin_fans, we_love_dick, mrsarcastic_tim, batfic.
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The need to go out at night, to see Dick, is constant. The feeling it gives me to catch even a glimpse is vital, like oxygen. But a glimpse is all I ever get, there and gone. Used to be, all I could hold onto was the memory. That was never enough.
My visual memory is exceptional, but the picture in my mind is never as satisfying as reality. Some of the sharpness is always lost, corrupted.
The camera was a revelation.
It has taken a lot of work to perfect the technique. My subject is always distant, usually in motion; the lighting is never good. But I have a tripod, and high-speed film, and the best camera money can buy, and with hundreds of hours of practice I navigate F-stops and shutter speeds without thought. Through the telephoto lens I can be closer to Dick than I ever could before, and each moment I capture is perfectly preserved, sharp and clear. I can revisit each one again, and again, and again....
It's almost as good as the real thing.
~ ~ ~
Wednesday night was... nothing I could have expected. So much more than I am usually given. The memory feels like dreaming. I need to go to my darkroom. I need the photographs, the solid proof that it was real.
I will have the photographs. And I have something else.
I went out that night only hoping to find Batman. I knew that Dick was in New York with the Titans. Sometimes on weekends I follow him, but more and more he is gone on weekdays as well.
Seeing Batman is not as good as seeing Dick, but finding him is good practice, and there is always the potential of being given more secrets. New secrets.
The best method of finding Batman is to find the Batmobile. Hiding places are infinite for a man of his skill and training, dressed in a suit designed to disappear in darkness. Places to conceal a large vehicle are finite. That night I was lucky. After checking only a few of the usual spots in town, I took a late bus to the outskirts of Gotham and biked from there to Arkham Asylum. I found the Batmobile in one of a few places Batman had used before when visiting the inmates, this one an old, abandoned farm with a crumbling barn and stables that blocked the lines of sight from the road.
I stuck to the cover of the densest brush and trees, keeping the Batmobile between myself and Arkham. Rolling my bicycle into an overgrown ditch, I climbed into a large oak, a spot I had used before; its limbs were thick with moss and young ferns, providing good cover even this early in the season, before the tree's leaves filled in. I pulled my camera from my backpack and chose a position I could stay in for hours, unmoving. And I waited.
Time passed. I heard a distant noise from the direction of Arkham: roaring voices, low booms, gunfire. The light on the horizon magnified: searchlights, and fire. I flicked my eyes up to the sky; I had been in the tree an hour and a half.
Approximately thirty minutes passed. I blinked and he was there. Somehow, although the moon was nearly full and I had been watching, Batman had emerged from the dense tangle of an orchard and come several meters into the open meadow without my noticing. I smiled.
Bruce does it every time. He has a smoothness of motion I aspire to.
Smoothly and without haste I moved my camera to my face and my eye to the viewfinder. I didn't move anything else. I controlled my breathing and heart rate as I'd learned to do in riflery practices; there was no room for a tripod in the tree, and I needed steady hands.
I snapped a few shots. Batman is good photography practice, too. I stopped when he started to speak, watching him closely through the telephoto lens.
Robin, he said first. Against my will, my heartbeat sped up. I concentrated on his moving lips. Pamela Isley had escaped from Arkham. More importantly, Dick was coming back to Gotham, or had already arrived. And then Batman told me where he would be.
I waited for Batman to clear the scene. The moment the Batmobile was gone I dropped from the tree, running to get my bicycle. Would I make it in time to see Dick? I was on the correct end of the city; Washington Street wasn't very far away. I figured I could get there in twenty-five minutes if I sprinted the whole way.
I made it there in twenty-three.
I stopped a few blocks away and considered my options. There was no sign of Dick. The building to the north of 1145 Washington was taller, a narrow alley separating the two. That was where Dick would go. Across the street was a Gothic church: a cluster of roofs at different heights, excellent cover, bell tower approximately even with 1145's roof. That was where I wanted to be.
I cut across one block to the next street, keeping a row of buildings between myself and where I hoped Dick would be. Leaving my bicycle behind the church, I picked out a route to the bell tower, watching for Dick as I climbed. In the bell tower I wedged myself into a corner, assembling my tripod by feel as I scanned rooftops.
I missed Dick's arrival. I glanced at the edge of the building where I thought he would be and saw nothing; ten seconds later I looked again and Dick was there. Not there and gone, but sitting still, focused and alert, and so close.
Heat coiled in my gut, sending shocks to my nerve endings; my heart stuttered and my vision went momentarily black. My hands moved automatically, turning the camera, adjusting the focus. The shutter clicked and clicked again. I remembered to breathe.
Dick stood. (Click.) He flew, glorious, graceful. Teeth in my lip kept in the small noise that tried to escape my throat. He landed rolling on 1145's roof and crouched, waiting. Hidden from the greenhouse but not from me. (Click. Click.) He moved towards the greenhouse, sliding from shadow to shadow. (Click. Click. Click.)
Dick entered the greenhouse, leaving the door open behind him. This was little help to me; inside it was too dark for my camera. Dick disappeared into the black. I watched through the telephoto lens, and held my breath, and waited.
A body blocked my view. I pulled back from the viewfinder, squinted to see – Pamela Isley. (Click.) She stood in the doorway. The lights came on. She blocked my view of the interior.
After four seconds Isley stepped forward – and I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. Dick had been captured by Isley's plants. He hung suspended, spread-eagled, his arms and legs pulled wide from his tightly-wrapped torso. He was in trouble, he needed help, he was immobilized, entirely at Isley's mercy. And he was beautiful.
My heart pounded and my brain buzzed. I was panicked, frozen in indecision. I knew Batman was coming, but would he get there in time? My brain screamed that I should help Dick, but my body would not move. And all the while the camera's shutter clicked, and clicked, and clicked.
At first Isley only talked. Then the bitch put her hands on him, as if Dick were hers to touch. I shook and burned, and still I couldn't leave my camera. She had her hand at his throat, and too late I jumped to my feet.
But Batman had arrived. And it seems that fate led me to the right choice. Because while Batman helped Dick, the bitch Isley escaped.
And I saw.
She was coughing, retching, crying, and fell more than ran down the fire escape. She crossed the street, disappearing into an alley half a block up the street from my church.
I looked at the greenhouse. The orange clouds of herbicide were dissipating. Bruce was carrying Dick. Dick was hurt.
I moved. I left my camera and ran, jumping down each tier of steep, slanted roofs, making for the ground behind the church. I hit the ground, rolled, and was running again. I jumped onto my bicycle but pulled up sharp when I reached the street, craning my neck to see without being seen.
Isley had left the alley, crossed the street, and was just entering a second alley a block away from me. The bitch had a head start, but she was slow, stumbling. I was faster.
I followed her that way for several blocks: watch and wait until she was out of sight between the buildings, then sprint to catch up. Always keeping a block between us. Until I came out of an alley and looked into the street, and Isley wasn't there. I sprinted another block in the direction she had been headed, just in case.
I was immobilized, for a few seconds, at the thought that I might have lost her. I made myself think. If Isley was still on the move I had to act immediately, and my best guess had to be correct or she would be gone. I left my bicycle behind a dumpster (on foot is less conspicuous) and investigated the alleys she could still be in if she had stopped. Isley was sick, she might have collapsed. But I found nothing.
I stood where she had to have emerged from the last alley I had seen her enter. I looked at the buildings around me; it was possible that Isley had entered one of them. I hoped she had. I was surrounded by apartments; if she was there, it was likely that she lived there.
First things first. I asked myself, which building would she have gone into? They all looked the same: subsidized housing, hundreds of apartments in each. Searching each one would be risky, and an investment of time and effort I would prefer not to make.
I flipped the hood of my sweatshirt up, stepping out onto the street. To anyone watching I would be 'just some kid'. I might as well have been invisible. I put my hands in my pockets and strolled, watching for any sign Isley might have left. And fate provided. Something wet glimmered on a concrete step, reflecting the streetlights. I investigated. It was a thick, viscous puddle. It was green. I curled my lip; Isley had been sick.
Stepping up to the front door of the building, I reviewed the tenant directory. One label had been recently replaced: Aspen Hurst, 526. A grove of aspen trees, an obvious pseudonym. But I needed confirmation.
I pressed my face against the reinforced glass, looking in. Posted on the wall next to the elevator was an emergency floor plan of the building. I picked the lock and let myself in; according to the map, Aspen Hurst's apartment would be on the other side of the building.
Behind the building, I counted the windows on the fifth floor. A light was on in 526. Across the street, a fire escape emptied into an alley. I climbed five stories and turned my binoculars on Aspen Hurst's window.
For several minutes I saw nothing. Then, movement: Pamela Isley stumbled into the kitchen, gripping the edge of the counter and dry-heaving into the sink. My lips pulled away from my teeth. I had found her. The bitch was mine.
I watched for two hours to see if she would go anywhere. Isley went to sleep. Apartment 526 was her home. She felt safe there. I knew she would be staying.
Before I left the scene I siphoned some gasoline from a parked car and set fire to Isley's sick. (A man yelled at me. I let him think he chased me off.) I didn't want to leave any evidence for someone else to find. Then I retrieved my bicycle and my camera and returned to my room at the Lawrence Benedict School for Boys.
I was not able to sleep for a long time. When I did sleep I dreamed of Dick.
~ ~ ~
I know where Pamela Isley sleeps. That secret was given to me. It is mine. No one else knows.
I do not know what to do with this secret. That bitch put her hands on Dick. She hurt him. She needs to be punished.
I do not know what I will do. Maybe I will tip off Jim Gordon so he can tell Batman.
Maybe I won't.
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