Death in the Family AU - where at the end, Jason Todd does not die. Instead, Batman got to Robin's side just in time to get them some help. Sheila Haywood was never heard about. Jason Peter Todd Wayne has slipped into a coma.

That was a year ago...

Disclaimer:The characters used are not owned by me. They are owned by DC Comics.


It was a stroke of luck, and there was never going to be a moment when Bruce Wayne didn’t think that it was luck and good, that he had made it to the boy’s side when he had. A minute later, seconds later, and it could have been too late. He could have been too late.

And Jason Todd Wayne would have been no more.

Instead, the boy was on the very brink, his heart barely beating and he wasn’t breathing on his own. It had taken little time for Batman to replace his own and Robin’s gear and become Bruce and Jason before the local rescue team arrived.

And now it was a year later.

In the beginning, Bruce had been adamant about not leaving Jason’s side. After the second month, they transferred Jason into Wayne Memorial Hospital and started trying to spark Jason’s attention.

After the sixth month, and Batman’s lack of return from Europe had not gone unnoticed, and a young boy by the name of Timothy Drake emerged, and the Batman had an unwelcomed but highly talented Robin on his side.

Bruce still visited Jason. It was his son, how could he not. But it was different now. There was talk about the passage of time, and while Bruce could talk up and down about all the cases were people did return, how Jason just needed more time, he could see that everyone was looking and treating him like he had lost his child.

Eight months after following a bratty and disobedient Jason to Europe, Bruce had to take in another lonely little boy. An old acquaintance of his, a man who had for almost half a year himself fought off a coma, a man who had woken just a week earlier, only to be the victim of a cruel Gotham crime, left Tim Drake an orphan.

Tim had already been like a son to Bruce. He idolized Dick and he had great conversations with Alfred and he actually listened to Bruce and learned from him. All things that Jason had once done, when he was younger, and had stopped doing into his terrible teens. Tim had started spending the night at the manor when a case ran to long, eventually he had ‘his’ room and rarely went back to his empty house. At his father’s death, it just became official. Now Bruce had three sons – Dick, Jays, and Tim – but everyone only ever spoke of two.

It finally dawned on the billionaire, that while the great Bruce Wayne had refused to accept defeat – had in fact devoted personnel and money to finding some way to bring his boy back, Batman was grieving.

And he was not grieving well.

First, there was the fact that there was a new Robin in Gotham. At first, Batman had refused the new boy, and Tim had been flying with Nightwing – who had been staying rather close to home and ignoring his studies, something that Bruce and Batman would have not tolerated otherwise. Bruce wasn’t sure when exactly, but little by little, he had taken Tim into training sessions and finally out on patrol.

Jason’s Robin uniform was in a case. Bruce liked to think that it was waiting for Jason’s return. Tim was becoming a very good Robin, and Bruce couldn’t help but compare him to Dick’s Robin, though the younger had much to learn and do to get to Dickie’s level. He never put to thought what exactly he would do if his second Robin did return.

A year passed, a full year to the day that Jason was a brat, and Bruce really should have just tossed the kid – his kid – over his shoulder and gotten them back home. He should have had the chance to yell the teen’s ear off about disrespect and stupidity and whatever other hundreds of things he could have thought to reprimand the boy. He should seriously not have stopped disciplining the boy so soon and been a better father to him and – damnit, he wanted his son back!

Bruce visited almost weekly now. He had Dick in college (barely) and Timmy in mourning and Batman was on the streets of Gotham every night, as well as the Bruce Wayne act to keep appearances. Sadly, Jason was falling into the back burner.

"Master Bruce," Alfred had said, entering Bruce’s bedroom to find the thirty-two year old dressed as he had been the previous night, for a board meeting party thing that he had been trying to avoid.

Bruce looked up from the book he was not reading from and his blood shot eyes glistened up at his loving and loyal father figure.

"Morning Alfred."

"Will you be joining the young masters for breakfast," Alfred asked, drawing the curtains open and not pointing out how the bed was untouched or how it was obvious that the man hadn’t slept but had rather taken to his armchair and his thoughts all night. How Bruce had just been home a few hours from patrol as Batman, even though he had sent Tim and Dick back home before midnight.

"Not today Alfred," Bruce said, placing his book down beside him as he stood on tired legs. "I think ," he sighed, crossing his arms in front of him. Bruce looked away from his old friend and mentor, the savior and guardian of his youth, and saw instead his own reflection in the dewy glass of the autumn morning window. He saw a man of strong breed, his form straight and firm, his presence demanding. He couldn’t tell just by looking at this man that the spoiled rich playboy was a father, a broken man grieving the year’s passing of a young boy’s rebellion and innocence and longing to belong. "I’ll be heading out early today," Bruce said to his reflection.

Behind him he, Bruce could tell that the butler was still standing there, still watching him, as he was watching himself in the glass. It was hard to not the dread in his eyes or the wet glint they gave from his night’s mental torment.

He wished, more than anything, that he hadn’t had to leave Jason behind, hadn’t had to choose between staying beside his son and warning the cargo of the Joker’s gas that they were unknowingly carrying. He wished more than anything to have Jason at his side now and not have to mark this in his mind as such a failure, could instead mark it as any other day.

"Very well," Alfred finally said, clearly not liking what he was seeing, but knowing enough about his charge to see that there wasn’t anything he could do for Bruce. Not now and not twenty-four years ago.

In an hours’ time, the Jag could be heard pulling out of the garage and the two young men that sat quiet at the table shared a glance. Today was not a day they welcomed either.


Jason’s face was healed now. He didn’t have a mark of the ordeal he had gone through a year ago, not a scratch or a hair out of place. It was certainly longer than he had ever allowed the boy to have it, Bruce had had someone trim it six months back, and he should probably do so again.

Not that many people saw Jason these days.

In the beginning, the Justice League – the ones that knew who he was - had stopped by. They offered their condolences to Bruce Wayne, and declared their willingness to aid Batman in taking down the culprit.

But Batman already knew who had tried to kill his son, and he wasn’t willing to play nicely alongside anyone.

When Superman had been placed to stop Batman from coming at the Joker, the new UN representative for Iran who now had diplomatic immunity, Batman had turned his back on the others. Sure, in the end, Kent had come around, but the damage was done. Batman had lost Robin at his side, and Bruce had lost his younger son Jason. Nothing was going to be the same again.

Now, he did have a Robin at his side, but while he sat at Jason’s bedside, he felt his son was further gone from him than he had been all year.

There was talk about taking the boy off of life support.

The boy had recently turned sixteen. Bruce, accompanied by Alfred and later joined by Dick and Tim, had marked the occasion by sitting by his son’s side and trying not to think about how he should be fighting off girlfriends and asking his dad for driving lessons and car keys and to have parties at the mansion.

Instead, Bruce sat there, monitoring the monitors that indicated his son wasn’t breathing on his own. Jason’s heart had twice during the year shut down. The blood was flowing to the boy’s brain, but just barely. Any day now, the doctors were saying.

To mark the year of his coma, Bruce sat silently in the private suite of a hospice room. He couldn’t believe that he was seeing his sixteen year old right alongside some of Gotham and New York’s wealthiest and oldest.

A year ago from today, he had been in Europe, chasing the Joker and worried about his runaway brat of a good kid.

Now, the Joker was presumed dead – though Batman wouldn’t declare it such until he had the body – and his brat was wearing a hole in Bruce’s heart as the stillness of the teen remained as it had when he had found Jason amongst the rubble and his biological mother, just on the other side of a warehouse that the Joker had rigged to blow up.

His son, who Joker had beaten to near death and had left the blast to finish off the job.

Bruce reflected on all that Jason had missed out on this year. His sixteenth topped the list, Tim’s joining of the family, Dick’s graduation and subsequent joining of the Gotham University, Dick turning nineteen and getting his own apartment, the fact that Dick still hadn’t unpacked in said apartment and that he spent more time at the manor than Bruce did. He would have loved to make fun of his big brother for that, and the thought made Bruce smile sadly.

It had been a tough year. And Bruce wanted his son, all of his sons, to be happy and healthy and getting on his nerves for reasons that didn’t include life support and getting beaten by a crowbar and left to die.


Damian’s arrival was a surprise to everyone, but most of all for Bruce.

The four year old was almost five years old and he was Bruce’s biological son. With Talia Al Ghul. And the boy’s birthday present from his cold-hearted and unloving mother, to drop him off at his father’s doorstep without even an overnight bag.

The kid was strange. He was raised by the League of Assassins, by one of Bruce and Batman’s biggest enemies Ra’s Al Ghul. The kid was livid on being his father’s favorite and he took to fighting the other boys if they so much as breathed near him wrong.

And all Bruce could think about, as the days turned to months and the kid started to lose some of his edge and vigor, was that Jason would have really like the kid. They would have bonded over their crappy childhoods and creepy mothers or something. Or just the fact that Damian seemed to instantly know what to say to get under everyone’s skin.

Damian is five now and Jason has been in a coma for sixteen months. Bruce still visits his son, but now he has a five year old Damian to adjust to, a twelve year old Tim who is probably the most mature of his boys but who still manages to get into screaming matches with his little brother, and Dick who seems determined to fail out of college. It’s Alfred who’s taken to visiting young Master Jason at least twice a week, and Bruce suspects its less that the older man wants time away from the chaos the manor has become than the butler’s way of saying both his apologies and his farewells. Bruce knows that Dick visits about once a month, and has taken Tim with him a few times. Bruce himself has brought Damian once, but the five year old didn’t seem the point in visiting with someone unawares of his presence and Bruce decided not to bring his youngest again.


Its seventeen months and twelve days since that dreadful trip to Europe and Bruce is sitting in his office at Wayne Enterprises, having just left a long meeting about their finances, and he’s thinking about how he should have better handled his bratty runaway.

Clearly, he shouldn’t have indulged the boy’s desire to seek out these women without knowing more about them.

Bruce had to admit, at least to himself, that the very thought of having ones parent back, well it was something he and his sons all shared. Even Damian, who was with his biological father and whose mother didn’t care for him long, wished to somehow reunite with the woman. Damian wished to gain her affection and respect and thought that maybe, one day, she would love him. Love him for being more than just a means to the woman – who had basically created him in a lab and had often gone days without so much as glancing in his direction.

He should have taken the threat of the Joker being in the same foreign country as them as enough to send the kid home with a firm reprimand and handled the situation himself.

Bruce thought back to an eight year old Dick Grayson, tears still fresh from the nights that he dreamt of his parents’ cruel demise, and had tried to run off and return to the Haley Circus life that had also abandoned the heart broken boy. It was the first time Bruce had really felt like a father.

It had been almost three weeks since Dick had moved into Wayne Manor and Bruce was a bit embarrassed now to recall how it had been mostly Alfred that was caring for the child. Bruce hadn’t changed a thing in his schedule. He still had his breakfasts on the go, his lunches were likely board meetings and his dinners were endless dates to keep up his player persona. His nights were filled with Batman and Gotham and a little boy sat alone and seemingly unwanted in a house larger than the tent he performed in with his parents.

Batman had been viewing his city from atop his own Wayne Enterprise building, courtesy of high powered binoculars, when he had the frantic call.


Bruce frowned at the familiar voice in his ear. It was extremely rare for Alfred to call him when he was out and about. It was a first for the man to call him when he was Batman.

Instantly, Batman straightened up and frowned into the darkness. Something must be terribly wrong.

"A? What’s

"I’m sorry to bother you sir, but I can’t find the young master anywhere."

Batman frowned. He hadn’t expected the call to be concerning Dick. In fact, the boy was rarely in his thoughts. When he did allow himself a moment to ponder his ward, it always filled him with sadness and unwelcomed memories and he rather just not do that.

But as soon as Alfred said that the child was missing, Bruce thought back on a lonely child that had so much wanted to know that things were going to be okay. He’d recalled times of despair when nothing seemed to matter and he felt like the greatest of failures. And he’d had Alfred, ever a friend and loyal to the Wayne family for many years.

Who did Dick have?

The answer should have been himself. Dick should have had Bruce to turn to, and Alfred too. That had, after all, been the point of taking the boy in. Bruce shared the boy’s lost and thought that he could make a difference for Dick. He could be there for Dick like no one had been able to be there for him. Even Alfred, who Bruce could recall for his whole life, hadn’t initially known how to handle a young, traumatized child. He had been Thomas Wayne’s right hand man, but the childrearing was all Thomas and Martha.

Instantly, Batman was on his way back home. Gotham, with all of her treasures and riches, sorrows and tragedies, could have a night without Batman in the shadows. Dick Grayson, however, had had too many a night without his own superhero in his midst.

When Bruce found Dick, the child was curled up under a bus bench. Whether he was there to hide from the people or from the rain, Bruce wasn’t sure. What he did know was that once the relief of seeing that small, dark haired frame was safe and sound; once he had taken the startled boy into his arms and walked them both back to his car among the frowned and curious glances that they were given; once all was right in the world and he was driving up the mile long driveway – he was overcome with anger.

The eight year old was stupid in running away. He wasn’t the kind of man to sugar coat things, even now when he considered himself to have a much better grasp on the parenting thing. He wasn’t without fault in the matter, but he would take his own punishment out on the criminals of Gotham and the training mat. But as for one Richard Grayson?

Once the thought entered his mind he was both shocked at the implication and surprisingly calm with the realization. In his mind, he had questioned what can I do to punish Dick? It should be something that clearly stated Bruce’s position on the matter and left it a non-debate. He’d frowned at the response his mind gave him, even more when he realized it came in his father’s longed for voice – a spanking. Bruce had been eight years old when he had lost both of his parents in one fast and cruel swoop. He’d been such a child then, in ways that Damian and Jason never were, Bruce was carefree and loved. And whether his parents meant to or not, Bruce was a spoiled little rich kid.

Thomas Wayne, having grown up himself quite a rich child and having lost his brother when Bruce was much too young to remember him, along with Martha Wayne, who while she hadn’t grown up in quite as affluent a family as the Wayne’s (who had really?) was a well-rounded woman herself. Neither parent allowed Bruce to get away with anything, even if they often smiled at his youthful antics. Had Bruce pulled a runaway scheme at the rip age of eight, there was little doubt in the then twenty-two year old’s mind that he would have found himself over his father’s knee and pleading a losing case.

Actually, Bruce’s thoughts further interrupted, had his father been around when he was fifteen and had taken to Europe and parts unknown for the training it had taken him to become the Batman he was since his return to Gotham at twenty-one, he was certain the man would have followed him to those unknown parts and preformed the same task as effortlessly as he had on a four year old Bruce who wouldn’t keep to his parents’ side like he’d been asked.

And it was such that when Bruce Wayne reached his childhood home – young child in tow – he knew enough to lead the sniffling boy up to his new room and proceed with telling young Dick that under no circumstances would his actions ever repeat themselves. He had told Dick, for the first time, that he loved the boy and that the thought of losing Dick had not only scared him – which had brought the eight year olds eyes up off of his stocking feet and meet Bruce’s matching blues with startling realization – but had disappointed him as well. He informed Dick that if he wanted to go anywhere, Bruce would be more than happy to oblige, but he was to ask and not ever run off. Then, he had spanked the boy, nothing long or traumatic for either of them, but it had happened. Dick had cried and later that day, Bruce had as well. But, with further startling realization, Dick had been completely receptive to the action. He had bounced up after the few smacks to his bottom and had thrown himself into Bruce’s arms and had apologized and mentioned how upset his own father would have been. Dick confessed, through tears and hiccups, that this was the way his father would have punished him too, had he been alive.

With Jason, years later when he’d Dick had been an experienced Robin at the ripe old age of eleven-almost-twelve-turning-fifty, he hadn’t had too much qualms in following much of the same mannerisms. Dick by then knew what actions would have led him to experience a week’s worth of uncomfortable dinners, and Jason was brought on to follow the same rules that were laid out for Dick. After four years, Bruce had pretty much gotten the hand of being a parent, but being a parent to two was a completely different ball game. Jason liked to test the boundaries and rattle his older brother, father, and surrogate grandfather Alfred. He thrived for their affection, but he settled to garner their attention in any means possible.

Had Jason not gotten himself thrown into a coma, Bruce would have very well taken the same actions that he had with an eight year old Dick. He would have reminded the fifteen year old that world traveling was a reward in their family, one that they often took together, and that under no circumstances was he to run off like that again. Jason had certainly gotten further than down a few blocks that Dick had managed.


Its seventeen months and twelve days since that dreadful trip to Europe and Bruce is sitting in his office at Wayne Enterprises, having just left a long meeting about their finances, and he’s thinking about how he should have better handled his bratty runaway.

And he gets a call.

"Yes Helen," he says to his secretary as she beeps him.

"There’s a Dr. Sara Keaton on the line for you."

There was no need to tell him who the doctor was, it was engraved into his brain for over a year.

"Put her through please, Helen."

Bruce took a nervous breath, tilting his head back with a groan. Dr. Keaton was Jason’s doctor. She had been taking care of Jason since he had been brought to Gotham. Bruce had called her in specially, brought her in all the way from San Francisco because she was old enough to have been in the field of neuroscience to gather experience and a name for herself but young enough that she wasn’t turned off on experimental procedures. She had tried everything, Bruce was hard pressed to admit, but they hadn’t been able to get Jason to wake up. Now, the doctor had relocated to Gotham, had started making a life for herself there and rarely called Bruce for anything. She had a direct line to Wayne Medical Finances to support any of Jason’s cares and treatments as well as his declaration to keep trying to bring his son back to him. But all the money in the world couldn’t get Jason to wake up.

"Mr. Wayne?" the doctor’s voice’s was as clear and professional as it had ever been.

Bruce had even heard that Sara had started dating another of the hospitals’ doctor’s and he was happy for them, truly, but he could care less about the happenings in the hospital if it didn’t concern his son.

"Dr. Keaton," Bruce replied, taking a more professional position, even though he couldn’t be seen through the receiver. He could always tell when someone was slouching or walking or whatever they were doing by the sound of their voice, and he was set on making a lasting good impression. Besides, his mother and Alfred had taught him not to slouch. "What can I do for you this evening?"

The line was silent for a while and Bruce frowned. Usually, the doctor was pretty straight forward. As far as he knew, she wasn’t trying any new treatments on Jason. She would occasionally call to schedule a meeting with him to go over a new procedure, and Bruce was aware that while the treatments hadn’t had much progress on Jason, it had helped many in Gotham, Bludhaven, New York, and Metropolis, and probably more that he didn’t even know about. His son, however, had remained the same.

"Doctor?" he leaned forward, quieting the fears playing through his mind. Jason was dead. His son was dead. Jason was gone. "Is…is everything okay?" He asked, though that wasn’t what his mind was screaming at him. No, he wouldn’t say the words. He shouldn’t be thinking them, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself from those.

"Yes, sorry," she finally spoke. "I mean, I believe them to be, yes."

"Dr. Keaton, I’m afraid I’m not understanding." Not dead. Not dead.

"It’s concerning Jason, Mr. Wayne. But, I’m afraid we’ll need to talk in person. I know you’re a very busy man, but the sooner you could stop by-

"I’m on my way," Bruce said, already standing up and grabbing his jacket from the coat rack. "Should be there in fifteen minutes."

"Yes, okay. Thank you." And the line was de- ended.

Not dead. Not dead.

Bruce pulled his jacket on as he walked out of his office.

"Helen," he addressed his long time secretary, a woman of strong ethics and beliefs. He knew she had struggled through the years to raise her children single-handedly after her husband, a firefighter, had perished the same year Bruce had been born. Helen was a strong, black woman that was a grandmother in her own right and often indulged Bruce’s own children. She was one of the few that wouldn’t take any crap Damian dished out.

Helen glanced up from her typing and instantly frowned.

"I’ll call Tom to meet you at the front," she said, already pushing in the young man’s number.

He might be the world’s greatest detective and Batman, but he had nothing on Helen Dellacroix-Robbins.

"Thank you, Helen," he nodded at her, taking to walking towards the elevators. It was probably best that he didn’t drive himself to the hospital and let his driver do the, well driving. The young man, would normally be in town, running errands for Alfred or driving Jules, the manor’s ‘errand’ girl, around.

"Bruce?" she called out when he was a few steps away. While she had been around at since Thomas’ time, it was rare that Helen addressed him with such familiarity. Not that he hadn’t insisted before, but she liked to keep to her ways and it was one of the many things that Bruce liked about her.

"Yes Helen?"

"Would you call me, if something –

"I’ll let you know once I know something," he said, seeing her struggle for words. While she was mostly his office secretary, not at all involved with his home life, Helen’s true position was his personal assistant. She often knew more about the boys’ schedules than he did (disregarding the nightly recons and other such secret assignments of course) and would leave him reminders of parent-teacher meetings and mathlete meets and dentist appointments and all kinds of things. Between her and Alfred, well it certainly made being a single father to four boys, billionaire philanthropist, and caped hero much easier.

Still, while Helen would greet the boys with such motherly kindness and concern, she couldn’t bring herself to outright ask to be informed about Jason’s condition. She had been the one to pinpoint Sara Keaton for him, and he would be eternally grateful.

Helen nodded thanks. "Tom should be out front in three minutes," she informed him.

He nodded back and turned on his way.