Of Nights So Hollow, Of Legends So Great
Night Culture AU!Batfamily One-Shot
Word Count: 1.8K
Warnings: Angst, Uh..Scary? I guess?
Author's Note: This is based on the wonderful @bunnvoid Night Culture AU and I felt compelled to write this at midnight because I couldn't stop thinking about it. Bunn, I hope I did your ideas justice! Honestly, I keep going back and forth between the drawings to make sure! I had fun writing it! -Thorne
It was said that at the heart of every legend there was a grain of truth. Legends are just pieces of history fabricated beyond wildest belief, built upon by centuries of retelling, each story sewing a new thread into the tapestry from whence it came. But that’s all that legends are. Threads twined together, woven greater and farther than the original fable.
The old castle was a legend. Perhaps not the castle itself, but what supposedly resided inside. Supernatural creatures that skirted down cobblestone alleys and between taverns, seeking out fresh blood in the night. That was one form of the legend, if you believed it. The other form was that of creatures who skirted down cobblestone alleys and between taverns, seeking out evil and destroying it where it plagued innocence.
The chateau lied in the midst of the Devilwood Wilds, just outside the City of Old Gotham. Even during the days when the sun would peek through the gray clouds, it appeared gloomy, blackened stone walls, charred shingles and shutters. The giant Devilwood and Shadow trees prevented sight of the doors of the castle; only the top could be seen, to get the real view, one would’ve had to go into the forest. There was another legend: the horrors of the Wilds.
Whispers on the school-grounds told of a creature, big and terrifying that could be summoned with ritual stones and fresh bat blood; those that summon the beast are never seen again. The adults were less convinced of the idea, though they still forbid their children from reaching even the edges of the forested area. Whilst they believed those that went in were never heard from again, it wasn’t from a creature eating them, but a lack of guidance. Starvation. Wild animals. The freezing fog that made your breath turn to frost.
Timothy remembers hearing those whispers when he passed the old schoolhouse. His mother and father didn’t let him interact with the common children, instead his lessons were taught by private tutors from the wealthiest lands, paid for with the Drake treasure of gold and gemstones.
What more so Timothy remembered was the inhuman being that appeared in his father’s manor, striking down his mother with a slash of black magic, his father following. He remembers the way his father’s eyes rolled back in his skull, fear spreading through his body as he hid in the corner of the room, whimpering and crying. And he most certainly remembered the cold hand of the demon sliding between his shoulder blades before it dug into his skin, piercing his flesh, laughing as he cried out in pain as pricks spread out along his back and down his arms.
Warmth bled down his back as black feathers pushed from his skin and Timothy panted as his fingernails grew in length, sharpening as they darkened. He remembered scrambling to his feet, darting away from the creature as he ran. Forgetting the corpses of his family and staff around him, throwing the door open, bursting into the night, and sprinting down the street, leaving a trail of bloody, black feathers in the direction of the Devilwood Wilds.
The first night was the least remembered but the darkest. Violent and corrupting nightmares slithering inside his head as he tossed and turned along the frigid ground in a feverish deathlike state, the wings at his back only growing in size.
The second night was less nightmare-ridden, but much more painful. Timothy had pierced a wing on a stray Devilwood tree, the syrup like poison only infecting the wound. He was hungry and cold. Exhausted and scared. He tried to remember all the books he read as a child of the knights facing the elements for a week in order to ascend knighthood; he couldn’t seem to recall a thing.
The third night seemed to be his last. He lay huddled up against a raised Shadow tree root, the ebony wood providing stability for his wounded wing. Timothy sniffled, dragging his knees to his chest as he lay his chin on his arms, ignoring the grumbling of his stomach as it ate itself in hunger.
A tree branch creaked above him, and he craned his neck up, eyes widening when he saw the glowing eyes of the masked creature. The legends were right. The creature’s head twisted sideways, reminding Timothy of an owl, then the other way, like it was observing him. It made a noise and he scrambled to the floor of the forest, curling his injured wing above his head and over his body to protect himself.
Timothy whimpered, ready to be torn to shreds, but when no vicious claws or snapping teeth came at him, he carefully peered between his open wing. There lie a satchel, as long as his forearm and as wide as his middle was. He looked up towards the tree branch to where the creature had sat, but there was nothing there anymore; he glanced around, it wasn’t in sight.
He blinked and shuffled towards the satchel, untying the drawstrings with fumbling clawed hands. Inside lay a pair of thick wool socks, a small blanket, and another small bag. Timothy pulled it from the satchel and opened it; half a loaf of bread and a chunk of meat the size of his hand were stowed inside.
Timothy forewent the etiquette he was taught as a child, giving into his ravenous desire as he devoured the meat. It was tender and juicy, the glaze a mixture of honey and cinnamon.
A memory flowed to his mind, the dinner after the rising of the first star, his family and staff all surrounding the dining table, a divine feast laid before them. The smiling faces of his mother and father stilled his hunger and he placed the food back in the satchel, uncurling the wool blanket. Timothy lay underneath the raised Shadow tree roots, one wing curled around him, and he fell into a restless sleep with tears frozen on his cheeks.
When he awoke the next morning, his wing was no longer torn and infected. A new feather had appeared where the wound had been. Timothy wanted to learn to fly. He’d owned a bird once. A Ruby Firebird, with long, crimson-colored feathers and big ruby eyes. It had been his only real friend and he’d watched it a lot. It couldn’t be that hard.
He stretched his wings out, unable to fight the urge to touch them with a single black claw. It tingled. Timothy blinked and beat them, unsure. He beat them again, this time a little harder, keeping at it until with each beat he was able to blow the long grass flat against the ground. A giddy smile came across his lips when the tips of his toes grazed the ground.
What he had not counted on was how tired he was going to get after only a few brief minutes of trying. His wings felt sore. Timothy would try again tomorrow to rise above the tall grass.
The creature would appear at odd times during the night and Timothy had stopped feeling the cold fear in his gut when it did. It never came near him; it just watched with the cocked head, back and forth, then would drop the satchel again and disappear. Sometimes there were scribbles inside. He didn’t know what they meant; but he knew the language. Thaatisgani. An old language his writing teacher had shown him one day. A language long died out amongst the common and even the elite folk.
Timothy wanted to know what it meant. He wanted to know what the creature was. His determination drew him to the front of the castle during the night of the harshest season storm. Lighting crackled across the sky, the thunder rolled along the clouds and the rain came down in torrents. He was freezing and soaked to the bone and the weight of his wings had him crawling up the steps, collapsing at the door.
He weakly raised a clawed hand, one nail scratching the black glazed door and he descended into darkness.
His mother liked to wear scented oils. They smelled of Queen’s Briar and Golden Belladonna. Before he was older, she used to let Timothy sit beside her when she would apply them to her wrist and ears. She would smile at him and tell him stories of far away lands.
Warmth spread across his eyes, and he rolled over in what he thought was his dream, only to roll onto the ground, landing awkwardly on his wings. Timothy whined and unfolded himself off the ground, rubbing his eyes, only to see the creature a hair’s breadth away from his face.
Timothy choked on his fear and scrambled away, only for the creature to grab his shoulder.
He halted, looking back at it. “You speak the common tongue?”
The creature stared at him. “You are Timothy Drake. Son of Earl Drake.”
“I am,” Timothy responded, then looked at his hands. “But my family is…is dead.”
“Killed by a slithering demon from the Farstead realm.”
Tears prickled Timothy’s vision. “It killed my parents and cursed me.” He looked at the creature. “I’m a monster.”
“You’re cursed to believe what you think you are.” The creature waved a glowing hand and Timothy blinked in shock as the wings disappeared and his hands turned to normal. “It’s merely an illusion. You’ve only been tainted with cursed magic.”
It was much too complicated for Timothy to pull apart now. “Can I be healed?”
The creature blinked its glowing obs. “Cursed magic cannot be healed…but it can be trained.” They leaned forward, getting in his face. “I can teach you to control and transform.”
“You’re not going to eat me?”
“Are you sure?”
“You hesitated just a bit right there.”
A bottle rolled out from the corner of the room and the creature sighed, turning its head to it. “Richard. Jason. Come here.”
Two young boys, not that much older than Timothy appeared from behind a corner, guilty looks on their faces as though they’d been caught eavesdropping.
The creature nodded to Timothy. “Take him upstairs. He is dirty and tired.”
The tallest one, Jason, crossed his arms over his chest. “Just like that, Bruce? You’re going to take the witch boy in?”
“Pot-kettle,” Richard coughed, smiling when Jason elbowed him.
The creature, now known as Bruce, sighed. “Take the boy. He is tired.”
Jason and Richard obeyed, each hauling Timothy up under the armpits, leading him to a dimly lit staircase.
“Are you two going to eat me?”
“Yes,” Jason replied without hesitation.
“Jason!” Richard barked. “Stop.” He looked down at Timothy. “We’re not going to eat you Timothy…we’re going to help you. And that includes having a warm bed to sleep in and hot food to eat.”
Tears once again gathered in Timothy’s eyes, and he lowered his head as he sniffled. For once since that night, he felt safe.
These were the legends that prowled the city streets. They were supposed to be vicious and dark, evil and bloodthirsty, not ribbing and warm.
But then again, what are legends, but threads twined together, woven greater and farther than the original fable?
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Damian: I can excuse murder, but I draw the line at animal cruelty!
Tim: ... you can excuse murder?
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Your favorite character has now been destroyed.
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Fall Like Rain On Sunday, Bonus!
“I thought you weren’t doing patrol tonight?” Kon’s voice was curious, warm and laughing, and Tim sighed, tucking himself a little further into the armchair and Kon’s stolen blanket while the super-clone made French toast in his tiny kitchen. Tim’s parents hadn’t cared too much for their only heir, but they did give him a hell of a stipend every month, so Tim had invested most of it into Kon’s apartment, taking some of the strain off the Kents and letting his boyfriend enjoy actually living without guilt or Lex Luthor’s ever-present hand on his shoulder. And…for Tim, it was living too, and he smiled a little as he turned his gaze back on Kon’s figure, wearing a frilly apron (a present from Jason and Bizarro) over a pair of sweatpants and nothing else, and tired as Tim might be, he really did love being here, early as it was.
He picked up his binoculars again, though, and glanced back out the window, just about making out Steph’s apartment and the distant figures of Jason and Steph snuggling on her couch, Steph an amorphous bundle of blanket and blonde hair in Jason’s lap. He freely admitted he was being a creep, but…he grinned a little when Kon took the binoculars, clucking his tongue in disapproval.
“Just making sure the plan worked out. Which, judging by their cuddling, it did.” Kon blinked, eyes wide, and Tim shot him an innocent grin.
“…Timothy Jackson Drake, did you steal Steph’s waffles to force Jason to ask her out?!”
“DID YOU SET UP THE WAFFLE DATE AND MAKE ME COME ALONG ON PATROL TO GET GLARED AT BY B JUST SO THEY’D GET TOGETHER?!”
“…You are an evil genius.”
“Ye-up.” Kon rolled his eyes and leaned down for a kiss, and Tim snickered against his lips. “C’mon, it worked, didn’t it?”
“And you embarrassed yourself in front of Dami and B for the ruse too.”
“Eh, it was worth it if it makes Jason feel more like a part of the family. I know he’s not super fond of me, and I…didn’t make the best first impression…but I think he’ll forgive me once he figures things out.” Kon raised an eyebrow at that, and Tim gave him a smooch.
“Do you really think Jason will figure it out? He’s not exactly Dick or Dami, and definitely not you. No offense, but…” Tim just chuckled a little, standing up with a wince and limping on his good foot to the kitchen, purring when Kon picked him up and carried him to the little table.
“Trust me, Kon. He’ll figure it out. He’s B’s favorite for a reason, even if Bruce won’t outright admit it. And if he doesn’t…Steph will. Steph knows me too well.” Kon blinked at that, and flushed; Tim patted him on the arm. “Babe, you’re thinking of the way Jon jumps into things; Jay and Steph grew up learning to look before they leapt, and that only got better when they became Robins and beyond. But hey, it all works out; they’re now a couple, and they’re happy; that’s all I was going for.” Kon smiled at that, setting a plate of fresh, deliciously smothered in maple syrup French toast, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, and Tim groaned. “Fuck yes, my favorite reward.”
“Love you, Red Robin.” Kon chuckled, leaning over to kiss him again, and Tim kissed him back, cupping his cheek.
“Love you too, Superboy.”
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— 𝐭𝐢𝐦 𝐝𝐫𝐚𝐤𝐞
❝she's from gotham❞
being a girl in gotham isn't easy, but you know what is? hiding your gun
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Therapist: You need to Love yourself
Tim: I'm not my type
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Steph: [examining a body] No shell casings,, no skull fragments, no brain matter. He was killed elsewhere and then dumped here.
Tim: Yeah, tell me something I don't know.
Steph: A pig's orgasm lasts up to thirty minutes.
Tim: I'm not going to ask
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Tim: Have we checked all food to see if exploding them makes them into something better or did we stop with corn?
Kon: Please go to sleep.
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Our dashing die-cut stickers have made it to the Batcave!
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DC refuses to give us good Batfam Bros content so dangit I guess I will
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Jason: I’d like to remind you all that your lives would be pretty dull without me.
Dick: What did you do this time?
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Based on this headcanon post I made.
Tim: If ONE MORE old, rich white man questions my position as CEO I'm going to scream.
Damian: Do you want me to stab him?
Tim: No! ... No? Maybe.
Dick: NO STABBING!
Tim: Aren't you supposed to be in Blüdhaven?
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Kon: Are you alright?
Kon: You don’t look alright.
Tim: Well then, stop looking.
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Dick: Treat your lady like a queen.
Tim: Even Cass?
Tim: NONO! I’m not saying Cass doesn’t 100% deserve it, but, like, “Cass” and “Queen” just don’t give off the same vibes, you know?
Jason: He has a point. Cass doesn’t need anyone to cater to her or serve her. She wouldn’t want to be treated like a queen, right?
Tim: You’re more like a service dog, Cass. Like, you have such a big heart and everyone knows you help people, but people will only know your true worth once they get to know what an absolute golden person you are. Plus, we would die for you at all costs.
Damian: I agree with this assessment.
Jason: What do you think, Cassie? *wraps his arms around her shoulder and gives her a brotherly shake*
Cass: *smiles and nods happily*
Damian: How would you propose we treat Barbara? She does not emit this “queen” energy either.
Dick: What? Yes she does-
Jason: She’s a refrigerator. We have a bad habit of forgetting her worth but we always go to her when we need help.
Babs: Thank you.
Jason: We depend on her to sustain us with the information we need to work-
Babs: THANK YOU.
Jason: But without her we would starve.
Babs: FINALLY SOME ONE GETS IT!
Damian: Speak for yourself, Todd. The boy wonder does not require her assistance.
Babs: Is that so? Then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind asking Drake to help you study for your physics test next week.
Damian: … Noted and regretful.
Dick: Guys this was supposed to be about how we treat the women in our life, not what obscure, everyday animal or object they resemble the most!
Tim: C’mon, Dick, I love the refrigerator! *pats Bab’s knee*
Babs: Awww, thanks squirt! *ruffles Tim’s hair*
Steph: Ooh! Ooh! What am I!?
Jason: Oh you definitely give off queen energy.
Cass: *nods in agreement*
Tim: Are we talking about the same Steph I used to date or…?
Steph: Awww heck yeah! Thank y’all! Except for you, Timmy, you need to learn a thing or two about how you treat your women. *Tackles him and starts a playful fight with a lot of martial art poses and very little physical contact. The others laugh at them*
Dick: *to Alfred* This didn’t quite go the direction I meant, but at least they’ve got the spirit.
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Tim: *waking up after being stabbed* I need painkillers.
Tim: and coffee.
Tim: not necessarily in that order.
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Steph: I can burp my ABCs
Steph: so that means I can burp spell the word “fart”
Steph: whilst actually farting in real life
Steph: while flossing to some ridiculous pop culture song
Steph: unfortunately for you guys, I’m a sophisticated lady and won’t do that
Tim: thank God-
Jason: WELL IM NOT! *proceeds to do everything Steph just listed with Never Gonna Give You Up playing in the background*
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Red Robin and Jason have been battling each other in an abandoned building for the past fifteen minutes and the fight ended with Jason victorious and Tim flat on his back on the ground. Both of them are bleeding and have several internal wounds.
Jason: *going to jump out of a nearby window* It’s been fun, replacement! Though I have to admit, I think you’re getting a little rusty. You used to be so strategic, but now you’re just pure chaos. I like the change but it makes you pretty easy to beat. Probably should start thinking things through again.
Tim: *deadpan, unflinching, staring at the ceiling*
Jason: *Confused because just a couple of seconds ago Tim was bustling with squirrel-like energy* Hey man, you good?
Tim: Yeah man just rethinking my life.
Jason: Ah. *goes to jump out the window but then hesitates and looks back at Tim. Not a single muscle in his body has flinched. Jason figures he had better stick around and keep an eye on him since he’s pretty sure he heard bones breaking during their fight and he wants to make sure he didn’t paralyze or give Tim brain damage.* You wanna talk about it? *goes and sits down next to Tim*
Tim: Eh, life sucks, you know? Fight all night, work all day, study. I’m supposed to be the smart one, right? What if I can’t keep up? What if I crack and lose it? What if someone smarter comes along? Besides, I can’t help but feel like I’m just ticking every one off.
Jason: *surprised but slightly amused that his straight-rod, genius brother would have such a poor opinion of himself* Heeeey, come on, little Red! You don’t suck that much! I mean, I do get sick and tired of your virtuous crap every once and a while, hence me beating you to a bloody pulp right now, but you’ve got a good head and heart! What’s making you feel so down?
Tim: Tried to make supper the other night. Alfred got food poisoning. He’s still in the hospital.
Jason: So you’re guilty?
Tim: *smiles* Yes but that’s just a part of it. I’m in charge of making my own food now, but since I’m scared that I’ll poison myself I’ve only been drinking a concoction I made up a while ago that I know won’t kill me.
Jason: Yeah? What?
Tim: Iced coffee made with Red Bull instead of water.
Jason: ……. .. . …
Jason: That sounds disgusting
Tim: It absolutely is.
Jason: How long has this been going on?
Tim: About a week?
Jason: ??? And that’s all you’ve had?
Tim: I mean, I ate some Nachos￼ last night and I have an emergency stash of pop tarts in my room that I finished off the first two days.
Jason: AND YOU DONT EAT OUT WHY???
Tim: *shrugs* The Red Bull iced coffee gives me energy. Kinda sucks though because I crash when it wares off and have another identity crisis. I should really get some more before the tremors.
Jason: CHRIST TIMOTHY I THOUGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SMART???
Tim: You know, there’s a line between intelligence and wisdom- oh crap here they come. Totally jinxed myself.
*Jason stares in disbelief as Tim’s whole body starts shaking. He start to say something but Tim- doubled over in pain- holds up a hand to make him wait. The tremors stop after a few seconds.*
Tim: I should probably grab some more coffee or something before that happens again. You wouldn’t happen to have an energy drink on you, wouldja? I’d get some myself, but I’m pretty sure you broke something in my leg and it hurts to move it.
Jason: For the love of God, Tim, you need professional help. Call Bruce to come pick you up???
Tim: I don’t really feel like talking to Bruce right now. I don’t want to get lectured again.
Jason: Fair enough, but I’m not leaving you here like this. I may not be an exceptional brother or anything but I’m pretty sure it would be considered child abuse if I let you torture yourself this way.
Tim: *laughs* you just broke my bones and beat me into submission.
Jason: you were being annoying.
Tim: And besides, Bruce doesn’t stop me.
Jason: IF YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT IM GOING TO LET YOU PUT ME ON THE SAME LEVEL AS THAT MAN THEN YOU ARE DEAD WRONG. *Basically picks Tim up*
Tim: ??? Where are we going?
Jason: TO MY APARTMENT SO YOU CAN GET THE PROFESSIONAL CARE THAT YOU REALLY NEED.
Tim: Bruce is gonna be ticked. I’ve still got another hour on patrol.
Jason: IF YOU THINK FOR A SINGLE GOSHDANG MOMENT THAT IM GOING TO LET YOU STAY OUT HERE WITH A BROKEN BONE AND CAFFEINE-INDUCED SEIZURES THEN YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!
Tim: I don’t wanna tell him that-
Jason: GOOD BECAUSE I DO. HOLY COW, TIM, ARE THE OTHERS AS BAD OFF AS YOU ARE?
Tim: I mean? Dick’s been out of town so I’m gonna assume he’s doing fine. The Kents have invited Damian’s vegan butt into their household until Alfred recovers. Pretty sure Babs, Steph and Cass are surviving on hot pockets and chicken nuggets.
Jason: NOT MY GOOD GOOD GIRLS! That’s it, you’re coming home with me and are not leaving until you are fully recovered. I’m gonna call the girls too. Tonight you four are going to have a round, home cooked meal. *carries him down the stairs* Geez, kid, you’re skin and bones. On no accounts should you be this light. And you look like a zombie! Is this just the malnutrition, or are you not sleeping either?
Tim: I mean, I’ve passed out a couple of times…
Jason: TIMOTHY DRAKE WAINE
Tim: The caffeine made sleeping virtually impossible, though now that it’s wearing off I do feel a bit drowsy…
Jason: Normally I would not give an idiot like you the permission to rest while I’m helping them out but for the love of everything that is holy, Timothy, go to sleep!
Tim: Dope. *immediately passes out*
Jason brings Tim to his apartment and puts him on the couch. Jason already has a nutritious vegetable and beef stir fry ready for the girls when they arrive. He’s also made broth that Cass spoon-feeds Tim when he wakes up shaking. They’ve all turned off their coms, so when Batman desperately calls Red-Hood’s home phone for help, Jason tells him what a horrible father he’s been lately and that even a problem child like himself would make a better parent. Cass, Steph and Babs leave after supper, but have agreed with Jason to eat lunch and supper at his place until Alfred got back. Jason called Nightwing up, told him the situation and asked him to come back to Gotham to deal with Bruce. The next morning Jason brought Tim to the hospital to get an X-ray done on his leg. When they found out it was fractured, Jason arranged for a very exhausted but thankful Tim to stay at his apartment until it healed, even when Alfred recovered. During that period he was able to break Tim’s eating habits and introduce him to healthier options. According to Jason, “I might be a ‘danger to society’ and a ‘homicidal maniac,’ but at least I can make a half decent home cooked meal for my poor starving siblings!”
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Holy fuck that was a banger of a match. That was amazing.
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theres been alot of great big extreme tag team matches on nxt recently.
and yet again thatcher/ciampa are really good, i hope they win the tag belts asap, big fan of both of them.
im also glad GYV are on regular nxt man, they’re such a great force.
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