Characters: Tim, Dick
Prompt: #13, Delusion
Word Count: About two hundred.
Disclaimer: Don't own.
A/N: AUish. Pre-"Under the Hood".
Nightwing put a hand over Tim's shoulder. "What did you find?"
The lightness in his tone -for somebody trained to hear, like they were- was forced. Nightwing was ready and willing to do whatever was necessary - and perhaps more. He quipped to fearsome criminals and crazy half-gods, but having his loved ones threatened drove to the fore the aspects of Dick that were closer to Bruce's.
Having Bruce bedridden, paralyzed by an unknown venom, did the trick very well, reflected Tim. The fact that the dead bodies of Two Faces and the Joker had been found hanging from lampposts surely wasn't helping.
"I think I know who did it. Or rather, who couldn't have done it." Tim pointed to the list he was compiling in the Bat-computer. "I've accounted with reasonable certainty for the whereabouts of every living villain or hero with the knowledge and abilities to break into the Manor and poison Bruce. None of them could have done it."
Dick looked intently at him while clasping his hands behind his back. It was an oddly professorial attitude, and Tim felt a soft chill in his back. Bruce wasn't dead. Dick shouldn't be already taking the mantle, assuming the darkness. But then, it wasn't as if he could ever be convinced otherwise. With Bruce unable to take the role, Dick would step ahead and get the job done as close to how Bruce would have done it as possible. It was as simple and as blind as that. As love.
"Then who did it, Robin?"
Tim looked back at the huge monitor. "The only possibility that Bruce didn't, could never consider. The only person that could have bypassed Bruce's defenses. I think Jason Todd is alive."
Dick put a hand gently over Tim's neck.
"No." Tim felt an small pricking in his neck. "I'm sorry, little brother. You are too much like him to understand why I have to do this."
Tim tried to blink in confusion, but his lids were too heavy, and he