aravistarkheena: (Comics: Emo Tim)
[personal profile] aravistarkheena
Title: The Wall
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Tim Drake/Bernard Dowd
Rating: PG
Warnings: Angst like a mother fucker. SERIOUSLY. It's sad. :(
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone is more than legal
Word Count: 1,300ish
Author's Notes: For [profile] zenithjolt's First Kiss Challenge over on LJ.

The Wall

Bernard had been in an editorial meeting when he heard about the monument. It would be a large granite wall with all the names of all the people who had been killed in the Gang War ten years ago etched into it. It was to be funded almost entirely by the Wayne-Drake Foundation and unveiled on the first day of summer that year.

Bernard wasn’t assigned to cover the story. Another journalist at the metro desk received that honor and Bernard couldn’t help but be relieved. After the Gang War, Bernard hadn’t seen Timothy Drake ever again. He had heard through the Gotham Gazette about Tim’s adoption and about his name change. He was Timothy Wayne-Drake, now and the CEO of Wayne Industries. He traveled abroad for several years, just like his adoptive father, before coming home with a college degree and new ideas on how to run the company.

Bernard tried to be disinterested in Gotham’s new First Son, but it was hard. He had liked Drake but Bernard very much wanted to forget all about that summer ten years ago. Drake was a large part of it so Bernard tried to forget him too.

Bernard couldn’t bring himself to attend the ceremony for the unveiling of the monument. The day of the ceremony was bright and sunny just as, Bernard thought bitterly, the first day of summer should be.

He spent the entire day avoiding the areas of West Gotham nearest the park where the monument had been erected. He pointedly suppressed the thoughts and memories of that summer that lingered in the back of his mind. He focused on the sunlight and bird song and chatter of the people around him. He went home that night tense and on edge and prayed to god for the first time since he watched Darla Aquista bleed to death in Tim Drake’s arms that he would not dream.

It took him almost two weeks before Bernard found the courage to visit the monument. He spent those two weeks working his way closer and closer to the monument, trying to catch a glimpse without actually visiting the place. He would purposely visit the restaurant nearest the park, telling himself he had just been craving falafel when he knew deep down all he wanted to see was that wall.

Bernard finally got so disgusted with the lies he told himself that he resolved to go and see the monument, no to visit it, the next day. Unfortunately, he woke up to a clouded sky and steady rain the next morning. Bernard sighed heavily, dressed warm, skipped breakfast and went out to catch the train into West Gotham.

The entire commute was spent pointedly not thinking. Even when he arrived in the park he didn’t allow himself the luxury, afraid he would convince himself to change his mind, until he arrived at the foot of the monument.

He had expected the place to be deserted. Nothing more than cold rock and empty tribute to people whose names didn’t actually matter. But the granite was a reddish orange that seemed warm even in this gloomy weather. There were people there, despite the rain. Flowers, crosses and stuffed toys littered the ground and Bernard had to pick his way carefully through them as he made his way up to the wall.

The surface was polished and without the sunlight to shine across the surface, Bernard could see his reflection clearly in the stone. He swallowed hard the sight of his serious face and focused his gaze on the names.

Juana Jimenez
Christopher M. Jims
Anabell Jits

Bernard swallowed hard and tried not the think as he turned left and walked up the length of the wall.

Tyrone Fickle
Yukimaru Fijiwaru
Gerard Fitz

Bernard’s throat tightened as he tried hard not to consider the people, the living beings, those names on the wall represented. All that lost opportunity.

Denise Clara
George Clark
Bryan Clern

Bernard’s heart pounded in his chest harder and harder the closer he got to the beginning of the alphabet. His mouth went dry and he licked vainly at his dry lips as he turned his face to look directly at the long list of names starting with the letter ‘A’.

His eyes skimmed down the list, quickly reading over the names without really registering them. Part of Bernard wanted desperately to see her name on the list, physical evidence that he wasn’t the only one who mourned her. That her death hadn’t gone unremarked or unremembered

That the tragedy that played out on the dirty sidewalk that summer afternoon hadn’t all just been a terrible nightmare that only he couldn’t forget.

James Aquan
Paul Aquest
Darla Aquista

Something hot and hard and painful clenched in his chest when he saw the name. Bernard closed his eyes and tried to block out the vision but the sight of her name etched in warm red granite was superimposed over the image of her blood covered shirt in his mind’s eye.

Bernard bit his lip until it hurt and tried to will down the prickle in his throat and the stinging in his eyes. His breath was harsh and hard in his lungs and he was breathing so quick it almost hurt. He clenched his hands at his sides until his knuckles ached with the force of it.

Bernard was focused so hard on image in his mind and the pain in his chest that he had forgotten everyone and everything around him. The wall, the flowers, the people and the cold rain all disappeared and Bernard was standing alone again, not in front of a monument, but on a crowded, blood spattered sidewalk in front of a school, a place that was supposed to be safe.

A hand came down to rest on Bernard’s shoulder and he jumped, startled. The image in his head disappeared as his eyes flew open and was replaced by a face that Bernard would have recognized even if fifty years had passed, rather than just ten.

Timothy Wayne-Drake’s mouth was tight and his hair was wet and he was watching Bernard with serious blue eyes that reflected all the pain and fear and grief that had roiled around inside of Bernard every day since Darla died.

Bernard swallowed hard and impulsively threw his arms around Tim’s shoulders, pulling him close and burying his face in Tim’s damp neck. Tim wrapped his arms around Bernard and held him tight, clinging to him with a desperation that didn’t surprise Bernard in the slightest.

Bernard had lost Darla.

Tim had lost more.

Tim had felt everything Bernard had felt, was feeling, time and time again. He had known that Gotham needed this monument because Tim needed this monument. Tim needed to remind the city that some things, and some people, should never be forgotten.

Bernard swallowed hard and tilted his head until he could look into Tim’s face. Tim’s eyes were closed and Bernard didn’t know if the droplets on the dark eyelashes were tears or rain but at this point, it didn’t seem to matter.

Bernard pressed a kiss softly to the corner of Tim’s lips. It was dry and it was chaste and it was more than ten years too late but it warmed something deep inside of Bernard and he sighed against Tim’s mouth.

“Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you so very much.”

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