His Fault

March 18, 2013
Nightwing stared at the hologram of the young teen before him, his face hard. He had done this everyday since the hologram had been installed, and the other heroes knew it was best to just let him be during this time.
Though, honestly, no one wanted to be around the leader when he gazed seemingly-endlessly at Jason Todd's hologram. It was rather unsettling to see the usually happy and encouraging face of Nightwing look nearly emotionless, though it was quite obvious that he was keeping a blockade on a flood of anger, self-hatred, and pure sadness.
They couldn't blame him, though. Nightwing and the fallen Robin had been closer then would to be expected; most would think they would be bitter of each other. Yet, the two birds had been nearly inseparable.
That didn't mean the second Robin would listen to Nightwing, though. Even if they were on dangerous missions.
Even if it was a case of life or death.
No one bothered Nightwing during his daily time of brooding. Therefore, no one knew about the memories that plagued his every waking moment, and overspilled throughout his minds as he stared at the image of his little brother, lost to the darkness of life...
"Promise you'll be careful on this mission, Jay? You nearly got hurt on the last one, and this is much more dangerous..."
Nightwing had pulled the boy to the corner of the cave while Miss Martian got the Bio-Ship ready for take-off. Jason responded by rolling his masked eyes at the worries.
"You're too paranoid, Dick. Yeah, it's the Joker, but we've fought him plenty of times without the rest of the team, and everything was fine. With more backup, this will totally go smoothly."
"Please, just promise me you won't take any unnecessary risks,"
Smirking lightly, Jason sighed dramatically.
"Fine, I'll do my best to not give you a heart-attack. You should really just get traught, though, Dick."
A small smile snuck on the teen's face as the boy finished speaking, and the two were soon laughing as the went on the bio-ship.
He shouldn't have let Jason go on the mission... None of the other younger members had been allowed, and the only reason Robin had been brought was because he was used to fighting the Joker. He should have been grounded from missions, period, for a few weeks with the reckless behavior he had recently been acting upon.
Jason shouldn't have been there...
The Joker had brought more thugs to the weapon transaction then they had been expecting. Superboy was busy with three practical giants, that had the strength, though not the brains, to match their size. Kid Flash and Artemis were dealing with a small group of the hired muscle that had surrounded the archer. Miss Martian was taking down any stragglers that weren't intertwined in another fight.
Through the chaos and large body masses, Nightwing couldn't find Robin. He dodged, flipped, and hit his way through the crowd, searching for the boy. Eventually getting desperate, the teen called out.
Relief filled Nightwing's very being when he heard the youthful voice answer back, only to be filled with a cold terror when he heard the words.
"Don't worry, Wing. I'm just getting the Joker!"
He located the voice to near the exit, where the clown was now running through, Robin clearly following him.
"Stay back, Robin!"
Jason ignored the order, pushing onward. When Dick tried to go after the boy, he was suddenly knocked unconscious by a random thug behind him.
Dick had to stop tears from welling in his masked, crystal blue eyes as he took in the digital version of the youthful face he had gotten to know so well.
It was his fault... He should have stopped the boy... He should have known the goon was behind him...
When Nightwing woke up, they were outside the Gotham warehouse, on the docks, water lapping against the nearby edge. The rest on the team were standing nearby, looking worriedly at their younger member.
Sans Robin, that is.
"What happened to Robin?" he asked as soon as he sat up, looking around wildly, as if thinking the boy was hiding somewhere nearby.
"We don't know," Superboy started awkwardly. "When the fight ended, he was gone."
Dick sat up instantly, and was standing, his right hand moving swiftly across a holographic keyboard.
"He went after the Joker... He must have been captured... I'm hacking into the tracker on his utility belt now..."
Seconds later, he was scowling fiercely.
"He's on the other side of the city! I have to get there quickly..."
As he started moving forward, Megan put a hand on his shoulder.
"Shouldn't I go get the bio-ship, then? And should Batman be contacted?"
Nightwing shook his head quickly.
"Bats is on a business trip to Japan, that's why we were covering with the Joker to begin with. I need to get there faster then the ship will allow, unfortunately..."
Glancing around silently, his masked eyes soon fell upon an abandoned motorcycle.
"That should do the trick,"
Racing towards the vehicle and jumping onto the seat, he called back to the team as he raced off.
"I'll be back with Robin soon!"
He shouldn't have been so hopeful... If he hadn't been sure everything would be alright, if he hadn't managed to convince himself with the obvious lie, maybe he would have been there in time...
Maybe Jay wouldn't have died...
He could see the warehouse that Jason was in approaching. He was so close... Only another half-mile, and his little brother would be perfectly fine...
Abandoning the motorcycle as he reached a dozen yards from the building, Nightwing pushed himself forward.
Only to suddenly be pushed backward by the force of an explosion.
Looking up, he saw the burning remains of the warehouse. He saw the pieces of wood and sheet metal still raining on the ruins. He saw the flames reflect on the nearby water, in some sort of twisted light show.
He couldn't register it, though.
Dick merely stared for a few seconds, before dashing forward, pushing any ashes and plywood out of the way, searching desperately.
When he found what he was looking for, Nightwing felt his breath hitch. He felt woozy looking at the broken and bloody body lying beneath the ashes.
"N-no... This can't be happening..." he somehow managed to whisper, his throat feeling hoarse.
Reaching through the rubble, Nightwing scooped up the small, all-too fragile body of what had been his little brother.
"J-Jay... Y-you can't be gone... Y-you just can't..." Dick muttered to the body, to the ashen face, to the unmoving chest...
"I-I tried to keep you safe..."
Clutching the body to his chest, ignoring the blood starting to coat the front of his costume, the teen sunk to the ground, ignoring the burning ruins around him.
It was here, weeping with the body of his little brother, that the rest of the team found him...
It had been his fault... He should have stop Jason... He should have done anything to protect the boy...
After a few hours of just gazing at the hologram, Nightwing left the grotto It was late enough at night that no one was there to see him.
So there was no one there to see the tears running down his face.

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