Too Late

by Lara Wilson


He doesn't turn, simply continues to wipe the blood from the blade. His hand trembles, though.

Not in reaction to the blood or its source, but at the voice, rough with sorrow.

"I'm sorry."

He holds up the blade, examining it, then reaches for a whetstone to sharpen away the nicks.

Hitting bone always damages the blade.


There's pleading in the voice now and it makes him shake his head as the stone grates along the rough edge. A spark flits to the ground, then another as his hand moves faster.

"Please look at me."

That's begging.

"Batman doesn't beg."

"I'm not here as Batman." And now there's anger, frustration, so many little petty emotions. "I'm here as your brother. I'm here to bring you home."

Slowly Tim turns, the sword raising until the tip brushes beneath a clenched jaw. "I don't have a home. I don't have a family. You saw to that, Dick." The name is a curse from his pale, bitten lips. "You took everything from me."

"You wouldn't listen." Feeble protests now. "I didn't want you as a subordinate. I needed you as a partner. You're grown up now. Robin's a kid."

Tim lets the words pass over him, allowing them no impact, but he gracefully flips the sword over his back and into its sheathe. "That's only part of it. You wouldn't listen about Bruce."

"Tim, you're...not well."

Painful pleas now that only make him snarl. "I'm not sick or delusional. I will find our father. I'll do anything, become anything to do that."

"Please come home."

"No, not without him, but, even then, I won't be welcome back. Jason had the right idea."

That startles him. Good.

"What...what do you mean by that?"

"Sometimes the Bat's morals are too constricting. Maybe you did me a blessing, Dick, in letting me go. I needed to grow up." A deliberate step to the side and he watches the horror blossom on his brother's face.

A headless body still oozing blood will do that.

"You're too late, Dick."



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