Draco Draconis

A Draco Tale by Dannell Lites

SPIFFY DISCLAIMER THINGIE!

Nobody heah belongs to moi except Aunt Danny Fanny and if'n ya'll touch her without permission she'll rip ya'll a new body orifice. :):) Moi, OTOH, will be incredibly relieved - *urk* *Dannell jumps up and down on one foot cradling her abused, stomped upon toes* Ah mean *flattered* if'n anybody wanted to take her off'n moi's han - *eeep* *Dannell ducks a flying bowl of Atomic Chili* Tarnation! Ah mean wanted to use her in a story and appreciate her for the *fine* person she is! *Dannell wipes her sweating brow* No money is being made heah and no infringement of copyright is intended, Ah swan!

Everybody ya'll recognize likely belongs to DC comics. :):) This incarnation of the narrator, Jason Todd, the ill fated second Robin, and The Corner are all Kaylee's, though. :):) If'n ya'll abuse Jays without permission, KJ will sic Kai on ya'll who'll get medieval on ya'll's buttocks! Things could get ugly. *snarf*

Rated PG-17 for language and adult situations. WARNING! Really, really *foul* language ahead! And frank m/m sexual theme. If'n this sort of thing bothers ya'll ... then best skedaddle:):)

This one is, once more, For Kaylee and Kael. :):) Who offered invaluable advice and encouragement!

Look, I'm not a fucking prude, all right? Heh. Big Freudian slip there. Now, I still don't understand how a man can wanna be with another man the way I like to be with women. But I didn't mean to be such a dumb kid about it. I was just surprised is all. Hell, you'd've been a little shocked too, trust me. It isn't everyday you can walk in and catch your best friend in the world, the guy who saved your ass from a lot of really nasty emotional crap spreading his butt-cheeks for some other guy's -

So, I'm an idiot. You got a problem with that? Sue me. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bite me, okay? Since Dick converted the warehouse into living quarters with a loft for Garth, moved out of Clancy's place, and took up residence there, he's got plenty of room to spare. It's a big warehouse. It just never occurred to me that Garth was anything but a friend. They've been tight since they were my age and younger. I just figured Garth needed a place to stay after he cut out on Arthur and that Dolphin bitch. Jesus H. Christ on a fucking pogo stick, I never thought about it, okay? A lot of things had changed, about that time. Like me.

Christ, I just *had* to get out of Wayne Manor. It was either that or strangle to death on my own bile. You wanna know the truth? I never liked that dusty old mausoleum. Never. And after I got out of the hospital ...

"Here, let me get that for you, Young Master Jason! It's no trouble at all, I assure you ... "

"Easy, Jason. Careful. You have to allow yourself time to adjust to your new ... circumstances ... No! Damn it, don't do that! It's too dangerous!" Bruce. Cursing.

*Fuck* that shit.

Fuck *them*.

Goddamn it, I worked hard. Sure, the Joker's crowbar and that bomb messed me up good. This eyepatch isn't just for decoration. What's underneath it doesn't work, okay? I'm a one eyed ex-Boy Wonder, ex-mother's son, ex-partner, ex-back half of Batman and, ex-cute kid, ex-*person*. Live with it. What you see is what you get. What there is left of me, anyway. But shit I was trying; nobody can deny that. Hell, I was even still using the dye that turned my red hair black. You know ... the dye that made me look like an acceptable substitute for Dick. Bitter? Yeah, I was bitter. Better believe it. But I was, by God, gonna prove to those sons of bitches that Robin wasn't dead yet. That I could still make the grade. Cut the mustard. Insert your favorite cliché HERE. Oh sure. I was gonna show them all right.

Inside Aunt Danny Fanny's Tyler Texas Pitt Bar-B-Que here in The Corner there's this incredibly old, ratty jukebox with the world's largest collection of shitty country and western songs on it. I've gotten really fond of one of them.

Every time I go downtown
The boys all kick my dawg around!
Makes no difference if he's a hound,
Ought not to kick my dawg around!

Ever felt like that?

Yeah.

Sucks, don't it? And not very well, at that.

Guess, you'd have to ask Dick about *that*, though.

I sweated and I cursed and I whimpered with the pain, but I stuck with it and, eventually, I was back on my feet, ready to piss in the world's face and lick my weight in supervillains. Or at least gradeschoolers. It was a start, right? I just had to work a little harder, sweat a lot more profusely, whimper louder, and pretty soon I'd be back up to par. Right back out there on the street with Bruce. Honest to Christ it never occurred to me that Bruce might feel differently.

"No, Jason," he said in that quiet, relentless voice he uses when no further discussion is allowed. I'd rather face The Scary Voice any day, believe me. "It's just not possible, son. I'm sorry." Can you believe that happy crappy?

Goddamn him to Hell. Goddamn him *straight* to Hell. I needed ... I - I *needed* ...

Well, whatever I needed it wasn't *that* shit, I can tell you. Lousy bastard. At least Al tried. He really did. I just kept ... failing ... them is all. When Bruce wouldn't spar with me anymore, I sulked in my room for three days and broke a lot of things. But I started to figure out what I had to do. If I could just prove to Bruce ... Yeah. That was the ticket. So I started pretending to be a good little invalid boy. But you can believe that I didn't let any moss grow underneath my ass. When Al and Bruce were both away, I practiced. Every chance I got, I practiced until I hurt.

I think Al figured out what was going on. But he didn't say anything. Looking back, I guess he figured that this was just something that I had to do. So he let me make my own mistakes. Al is good like that. Smart, too. Bruce learned quite a bit from him while he was growing up, I'll bet. Too bad he didn't learn any of the important things, huh?

And then one day I was ready. Or so I thought. I shot out my grip-line, swung out, hit the mat, tucked, rolled, and bounced to my feet like a rubber ball. I yelled loudly and happily enough to be heard in Jersey, then did a little dance across the 'Cave. My right knee folded and I ended up flat on my face, but hey! I didn't care. I'd done it!

"Eat this, Brucie-baby," I thought, rubbing my knee and contemplating another practice run through. Damn it felt good. Like old times. Like I was alive again.

Like I was - was *whole* again.

I've never been so excited in my life. That evening I lured Bruce down into the 'Cave with some lie about finding something interesting in the BatComputer's databanks and waited. I had it all set up. Everything was perfect.

Everything but me.

I swung out, misjudged the distance this time, and fell like a ton of bricks. For a minute, I thought I'd done something really stupid like cracked a rib or broken my fucking leg, it hurt so much. I couldn't breathe. Just before I began, I thought I heard Bruce cry out a warning. Damn him! Made me lose my concentration, yelling at me like that. It wasn't the goddamn blinded eye. It *wasn't*.

Before I knew what was happening, I could feel Bruce's hands all over me, gently probing, checking for injuries with skilled fingers. The only thing I could do was lie there in his arms gasping for breath like a fucking landed fish. Pretty apt that. You don't get much more helpless than a landed fish, do you? Gasping and dying and out of its element. Nope. Not much more pathetic than that.

Unless, of course, you're Jason-fucking-Todd, ex-Boy Wunderkind.

But I was okay. Just had the breath knocked out of me was all. If Bruce hadn't broken my fall, though, with his own body, I could've been seriously injured. Don't try that at home, kiddies. It's really, really stupid is the name of *that* tune. It usually winds up leaving the heroic savior, which in this case would be Bruce, in worse shape than the poor dumb-ass savee. Which would be me, in this case. Again. Damn him!

His voice trembled with anger (had to be anger, didn't it? Couldn't be anything else. Couldn't be ...) when he sat up and shook me like a rat in the jaws of a terrier. "Don't *ever* do that again!" he cried. "For the love of God, Jason ... Never! Do you hear me?" I was the one who was shaking like a leaf, right? Not him. The Batman never shakes.

And when I reached out and clutched at him, burying my head on his chest in pain and despair, it was only a reflex. I was dizzy, okay? Had to have something to hold on to or I was gonna ... I was gonna ...

And my eyes were only watering from the pain, you got that? I was *not* crying in his arms. No way.

"Goddamn ... goddamn ... goddamn ..." I choked over and over again.

I think I heard him say my name, but I'm not sure. I wasn't really listening. When he tightened his embrace it was probably only to keep me from running away before he could lecture me. He always had to have the last word. Well, not this time.

Scrambling to my feet, I fled. I ran away from him and his pity. From him and his whole, perfect face and body that I could never, ever have hoped to equal even before the Joker crippled me. I left him alone, sitting in the Batcave in his torn Armani suit, soaked now with my tears and humiliation, watching my flight up those endless stairs out of the 'Cave.

The next day, I washed the fucking dye out of my hair and left Wayne Manor for good. You ever tried to wash that temporary dye shit outta your hair? Takes about twenty or more washings. I srubbed and scrubbed my scalp until it was practically raw. And then I scrubbed some more. Al was out shopping. Bruce was at a civic luncheon or some damn thing. Ask me if I care. But I gave him a parting gift.

I left it all in a huge pile right outside his door. He couldn't miss it and Al wasn't going to be able to clean it up before Bruce saw it, either. Everything Bruce ever gave me all in one neat collection. In pieces. I left Shakespeare and Rimbaud's poetry torn and bleeding the way he left me bleeding, their fragile, friable pages ripped and shredded in frenzy. Like me. I strangled Mozart in mid-aria and broke Telonius Monk and Louis Armstrong with my hands. Gucchi silk and fine linen from Ralph Lauren and Polo would make great dust rags for Al, now. I took off the $5,000 Phillipe Patek watch on my wrist and slaughtered it beneath my heel, then threw its corpse onto the pile.

And on top of it all, a colorful banner waving in the breeze of my righteous anger, I left the Robin suit, like a cross on a grave. The grave of something once very important to me. But not any more. I left it whole and intact. Hell, I even pressed and ironed it to save Al the trouble. All nice and neat and ready for the next Robin to come down the pike. Only fair. After all ... I'm a nice guy. No hard feelings.

On my way out the door, I tossed the $2.85 of Bruce's money that I had in my pocket into the fireplace and watched it burn. Then I walked and hitched all the way to Blüdhaven. Took me most of a day. I'm not really sure just how I ended up in front of Dick's door, empty and aching. I just put one foot in front of another until I was there. Running on instinct, I guess. He didn't say a word. Not one. He just pulled me inside, feed me gooey oven-fresh chocolate chip cookies washed down with chocolate milk, tucked me into bed, climbed in beside me and held me until I fell asleep.

Dick thinks massive doses of chocolate are the answer to everything; including the eventual heat death of the Universe. Maybe he's right. Worked for me.

But I guess you can see that I might not have been at my best for the first few weeks I lived with Dick. I was kind of distracted. So when I accidentally walked in on him and Garth fucking like minks, I wasn't prepared for it, okay?

I flung open the door like I owned the place, bawled, "Hey Dickster! You here - ?" and looked around for Dick.

And there they were; the two of them, Dick Grayson, Nightwing, and his Titan buddy Garth humping away at each other. My stomach lurched and I was just damn lucky I didn't spew my guts all over that polished hardwood floor.

I honestly don't know which was worse. The fact that Dick was there at all ... or the fact that *he* was the one on his belly.

"Jesus bleedin' Christ!" I hissed and was out the door so quick I'm surprised I didn't take most of the oxygen in the damned room with me. Running on instinct, I stumbled to the front door of the converted warehouse, fumbling blind for the door handle. I don't think I was crying. It's easy to forget how *fast* Dick is, you know that? Lots of people make that mistake. Once. I'm not usually one of them, but I was still surprised when he laid a gently restraining hand on my shoulder. Didn't need to hear his voice to tell me who it was, though.

"C'mon Jays ... please ... " he began.

I figured that was enough of *that* noise; so I hit him. I don't even think I meant to. At least I don't like to think I meant to hit him. I told myself it was just an instinct, you know? My body told me I was being attacked from behind by some piece of street slime and ...

The first thing I knew about it, my hand was smashing into Dick's face, he went sprawling and I sucked on my skinned knuckles.

"Goddamn," I whispered and told myself it was because of the pain; that it was only my knuckles hurting that made me speak and only the pain that took my breath away. Had to be, right? Had to be.

Jesus Christ ... Jesus Christ ... how *could* he ... ? "Dick," I thought despondently, " I goddamn *worshipped* you, man! Goddamn it, all I ever wanted to be was just like you. Hell, I wanted to *be* you ... And just look at what you *are*."

Dick's voice was still rough and hoarse when he spoke to me again. Like he was still yet crying out for Garth. And he was still naked. Shameless bastard hadn't even bothered to cover himself before he came after me. Christ. Naked. I don't *do* naked. Not anymore. Probably never again. Wide-eyed, I backed away from him, trying futilely to distance myself from sex and all its mysteries that I would never know.

"Jays ... Jays?" he said. "Are you okay? I - I should have told you, I guess. I thought ... I didn't mean to hurt you. I never meant to do that." I guess he must have seen the way my face twisted in disgust. And I completely missed the look of pain and anger on his. "What the hell is *wrong* with you, Jays?!"

Startled , the ugly words were out of my mouth of their own accord before I could stop them. "Y-you, you're a damned *fa - fag*...!"

Dick's expression fell cold, dark, like stone on a high windswept mountain and I swallowed hard. But I had gone too far to back down now. I watched him pull himself agilely to his feet and stare at me. "Jays," he said carefully ... so very carefully ... "you'd better be really glad right now that I love you ..."

I'm pretty sure I turned pale at that last. My eyes widened further and my chest tightened until I was certain I couldn't breathe. That I was gonna pass out right there. "*Love* me, Dick?" I thought, horrified at the sudden image that rose unbidden in my mind. I was the one on my belly, squirming and grunting while Dick poked and thrust at me, invading my body ... "Like you love Garth? Is that why I'm here, Dick? Is that what this is all about? Are you... grooming... me to, to join you and Garth in that... in that... GodGodGod... I truh, I *trusted* you! And, and you were just *using* me like everybody else!"

Dick just stood there naked, still smelling of sweat and *sex* and Garth and ... and ... passion. All those things I was never going to know about. Love ... desire ... Desire for *me*? I couldn't help myself. I just reacted automatically to the sexual tension in the air. My stomach heaved and when I felt the flesh between my legs rise and stir, the world turned red and I guess I just exploded.

Hell, I figured I was only going to get one shot at this so I'd better make it good. Dick scrambled to his feet and I drew back my fist for another hit.

That never landed.

In a flash Garth was standing in front of Dick, shielding him with his body. And holding my clenched fist still in midair. He didn't push me away or squeeze my hand. He just ... held it. When I tried to move, to push *him* away and jerk my hand out of his, I couldn't. Anger sparked in those weird purple eyes of his like striking lightning in a brooding sea storm.

"No."

That was all he said. Just ... "No."

Look, I'm not afraid of Garth, okay? Let's get that straight right here, right now. I am *not* afraid of him, got that? Good. Glad we settled that. I mean, Christ, who could possibly be afraid of Garth? He's like no taller than I am and so quiet he's damn near invisible when he wants to be. Which is most of the time. His English sounds funny and he *lives* in that freaking shower, man. He's ... he's ... he's ... a Titan. Who's strong enough to bend steel with his bare hands. Yeah, yeah. So what?

And all that bs about magic is a load of crap, if you ask me. *I've* never seen him do anything more serious with his so called "magic" than warm up a cup of herbal tea. Whoopie. I'm, like, really, really trembling here. Move over SuperDude! Here comes Microwave Lad. Dick says Garth has pretty much complete control of water temperature. And since 90% of the human body is made of water ... he could flash freeze or par-boil your ass with a gesture. Well ... maybe. But *would* he? Ha! Not! So it was only my respect for Dick, what little there was left of it, that made me back off.

Dick didn't even bother to wipe the blood from his streaming nose before he ripped into me. He looked me right in the eye. We're all three about the same height. They *can't* look down on me anymore.

At least not physically.

"You sanctimonious, hypocritical little prig! Where do you get off, Jays ... ? What gives *you* the right to judge me? I don't think God has bitten the big one quite yet, so you're gonna have to wait to fill *that* position, kid." To my utter humiliation and anger, Garth frowned and touched Dick gently on the shoulder. Dick's furious glance flickered in Garth's direction then softened into something damn close to an apology if I was reading him right. Dick immediately lost the brunt of the rage that was building in those bright blue eyes when he looked at Garth. For what, I wondered? Garth's smile was a tiny thing. I almost missed it. But Dick didn't. For a moment I was alone, isolated; an outsider.

"Dick," Garth said in that soft voice of his, "this isn't the way ... " Dick lowered his head and it began to look as if he was about to agree with that Atlantean sicko.

"Fuck you!" I cried before I quite knew what I had said. "I don't need your help here, Sea *Queen*, Jr." My eyes narrowed in contempt and what I tried to tell myself was righteous wrath. "How long did it take you, huh? How hard did you have to work to get what you wanted, I wonder? A long time? Or did you just go for the gold and throw him to the ground and - "

That's when Dick slapped me. Hard. But not as hard as he could have. Eyes stinging and watering, I stepped back, nursing my abused cheek. Damn him! He was letting me know *exactly* what he thought. In more ways than one. You *slap* a child. You *hit* another man.

"Bruce should have taught you better manners, Jays," Dick said levelly. He hasn't got a Scary Voice. Not like Bruce does, anyway. But what he's got works just fine, I can testify to that. Damn, he knew just where to hit me, too. He should. After all, we've got a lot of the same vulnerabilities, don't we? At the mention of the name of my former father my lips curled back in a snarl and my teeth ground themselves together audibly. "Dirty pool, Dick," I thought, enraged. "Bruce is off limits for fighting and you know it. Waaaay off limits."

"For your information," Nightwing said, voice as cool as an Arctic breeze, "*I* was the one who seduced Garth. I followed him to the beach at Montauk Point, stalked him, and practically ripped his clothes off. I took his dick in my mouth and licked and sucked until he came like a gushing oil well, Jays. And then you know what, Jays? Then I rolled over and let him - "

"Shut UP!" I shouted at him as if the sheer volume of my voice could cow him. I just barely stopped myself from covering my ears to blot out the sound of the high pitched pleading in my own voice. "Just shut the Hell up!" I'd never heard Dick talk like that before. I guess I always figured that he knew the words, but ... Use them? Dick is, like, Mr. Prim and Proper. Once I got away from Bruce I developed a real case of sewer mouth. Kind of a rebellion thing, I guess. Dick hates it but he's never said anything. But Dick? Christ Almighty.

Garth turned roughly the shade of his new uniform. But he didn't say a damn word.

"What's the matter, Jays?" Dick jeered at me. "Can't handle the truth? Sorry to disappoint you, little boy, but I'm not required to live my life to your expectations. Been there with Bruce. Done that that with Bruce. Hated the tee-shirt." I damned near hit him again. When Dick turned back to face me again he was a lot calmer. Wish I could have said the same.

"You wanna tell me what the problem is here, Jays? Talk to me, for God's sake!" He tried not to look hurt, I think, he really did. But it stabbed me like a knife in the gut anyway. "I love you, Jays," he said again, as if that were the solution to everything.

"Oh yeah ... you *love* me all right, Dick," I growled, hoping it sounded menacing and not like some puling, whiny kid or something.

Dick's face stormed over and his eyes darkened almost black with sudden fury. "Like a *brother*, Jays!" he spat. "I love you like a *brother*. Damn you! Do you have to turn everything into some sort of perverted -"

"Hey, buddy," I spat right back at him, smug in my indignation, "*I'm* not the pervert here!" Dick broke into the nastiest smile I've ever seen on his face before.

"No, Jays, you're not a pervert. You're not much of anything are you? Except a sixteen year old virgin who's never likely to know the first thing about love."

I couldn't help myself. Against my will my hand virtually flew up to my face and touched the patch over my left eye. All the blood drained from my face so fast that it made me dizzy for a second. The last thing I heard before the door slammed at my back was Dick's voice calling out to me.

"Jays, wait! I didn't mean ... Jays!"

End, Part One

Part Two!