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Nocturna Means Nightmare

Written by Felicia Rondo, Rated 18+

Summary: Jason Todd is only a boy when Natalia Knight gains custody of him. Only a boy when she does the unspeakable to him. When all society has to offer you is “suck it up,” who can blame a grown Jason for not telling a soul about what can happen even to a Boy Wonder?

Contains: CSA, described in fairly-vague terms but mostly discussed. Complicated emotions surrounding it, written from the perspective of a CSA survivor.

For those of you who want to skip reading any description of CSA, it is described vaguely during paragraph 6, and then more-explicitly in paragraphs 10-12. I’ve spoilered and added a CW/TW above each paragraph that you can click on to reveal or hide them.



It was what should have been a dark, beautiful night. His bed was located in the penthouse suite of The Ritz-Carlton, every material need of a growing boy was met, and he was with the woman that the child protective services had determined would provide him a home far better than “playboy philanthropist” Bruce Wayne could ever dream. The only evidence of how he had been spending the very late nights that had raised doubt in Bruce’s ability to competently parent him were the technicolor spandex stashed away in his new, spacious closet.


Everyone had been utterly bewitched by his new mother’s beauty, how to gaze upon her was like peeking into the wet dreams of Cosmopolitan editors and airbrushers alike. Her manner of speech, so dignified and note-perfect. Were it not for her past criminal acts as Nocturna with her lover Anton Knight, even Batman himself could not find any fault in her character - could not look into her eyes and discover anything but that which he and any other desired most.


To anyone from the outside looking in, Natalia Knight appeared to be nothing more than what sweet dreams were made of - a gift from the night to all who would succumb to its embrace in their slumber.


To one Jason Todd, all he would find in this—what should have been a dark, beautiful night—would be nightmares. Nightmares that paled in comparison to the waking life he had been led into by the very system meant to protect him. No, Jason’s true nightmares only began when he would awake in the home of his rapist.




He knew it was wrong. It had to be, right?


CW/TW: CSA
Memories of his late biological mother had faded since her death, he hadn’t really been searching for excuses to dig up that old trauma since, but she had never taken him to a room privately and guided his head down below her waist and instructed him to lick it.


But… in all of his precocious ‘snooping’ in the Batcave, where he would spend many a night learning of Batman’s foes and their depraved deeds, any reference to Rape was always perpetrated by a man against a woman. So… was this not rape?


Rape, after all, was supposed to be a heinous act - one that inflicted pain that would persist for years to come - or so he had read. What was transpiring in that dark room, shrouded in darkness, felt odd… but not bad. In fact, after the shock of the first few times had worn off, he had begun to take a liking to those strange feelings…


Or perhaps that was the ‘bedtime story’ talking - the one she would tell him every night. The one of “Mother Night’s elegance, and her soothing embrace.”


CW/TW: CSA
She is the source of darkness and security, the secret place where dreams are born,” she would breathe in his ear as her pale hand drifted from his smooth youthful chest to his crotch, her words lulling him into a trance-like state.


CW/TW: CSA
She is rest for the weary, comfort to all who seek and accept her…” The words would reverberate throughout his mind as he watched her take his young member delicately in her hand and stroke it, as though he was watching from some far away place while it happened before his very eyes.


CW/TW: CSA
She is the tapestry of graceful mystery… of surprises unseen… and of the impossible come true,” he heard, as his penis grew more erect with each of her strokes. It was a phenomena that was not unfamiliar to the boy wonder, as he had done some exploring of his developing body on his own time back at Wayne Manor.


In these instances, however, he couldn’t shake a feeling in his chest that spoke to him, telling him that what was occurring was wrong. It was the only thing that told him so, as everyone else around him—save for Batman… on occasion—regarded Nocturna as everything that one should want to have in their lives…


That voice, as distressed as it was, faded deeper into his mind each night, while the dulcet tones of Nocturna’s voice only grew louder.


She is sometimes lightning… sometimes thunder… but she is ever the peace of sleep…” It was hard enough to resist the first time she had come into his room to tell him of this ‘story,’ on one of the first nights he had spent in her custody, but even the famed Boy Wonder he would hear about from his fellow classmates at school had his limits.


… And yet hers is a sleep which may be transcended, by those with the will,” she spoke as his own will was drained from him each day she attacked his resistance with more sweet-sounding words, with another taboo taste of pleasures that an adult should only share with another consenting adult.


And in her dark clouds drifting under the moon—where fantasy freely floats, clad in jet and silver… Mother Night’s embrace is the most soothing of all…


Next thing that Jason knew, he was awake again in his luxurious bed. His pants were at his ankles, with the smell of sex permeating through the air. To the horror of any conscientious adult, if only they knew what occurred behind the walls of the penthouse suite, this was as familiar a scene for Jason to wake up to as it was mundane.


Still, he held on tightly to his desire to return home, to return to Bruce and Alfred, amidst these confusing feelings. To return to the Batcave, where he found purpose through the darkest of times in his young life… to return to his father, the Batman.


And return he did… eventually. Through a series of calculated efforts by the world’s greatest detective, his father was able to prove Natalia Knight’s guilt and return him to Wayne Manor - where most of him would stay.


However, a part of Jason would always remain in that penthouse suite. An innocence lost. A precious piece of his childhood ripped out by a depraved woman who cared only about what sated her wicked desires. He tried to paint it in a brighter light, tried to be proud of how much more “mature” he was for it. He even tried to reunite with her, all the way until her apparent death at the hands of the Night-Slayer.


But no matter how much he tried to convince himself that it wasn’t wrong, that it didn’t hurt him, he never dared to bring it up to anyone. Not to Alfred, not to Dick, not even to his father. Was it out of some guilt that it was his fault for not resisting hard enough? That if he had been enough of a man, it wouldn’t have happened?


Was it because of the words of his ally, Harvey Bullock of Gotham PD? Where one night, while trying to pin down the next criminal act of one Film Freak, he remarked that “real men don’t cry?” After all, these were the words of a man that both Commissioner Gordon and Batman trusted - and did he ever catch Bruce crying, even during the worst of times?


Perhaps each of these factors had ultimately played a part in what became of Jason, but couldn’t be blamed entirely. In a world of men that could leap tall buildings in a single bound, no one person could be blamed for the persistence of the cult of toxic masculinity - a cult we initiate boys into every day.




As Jason’s heart hardened throughout the years, what went on in his mind became more and more a mystery to everyone around him. He grew bitter, disillusioned, distant…


Love was totally out of the question for the man’s life. The closest he had come was in his boyhood, with a classmate named Rena, but his vigilantism put a stop to that before long. Even his double-life, however, could not be the sole culprit of his solitude - as he moved out of Wayne Manor far too early, if Bruce was to be believed, to live out in a shitty apartment where he could be alone with his thoughts when he wasn’t out prowling the streets of Gotham.


Each time he came close to intimacy with anyone, be it a partner in crime-fighting or otherwise, he pushed them away and attempted to retreat deeper into his loneliness.


One man that didn’t work on, loath as he was to thank him for it, was one Dick Grayson. He stubbornly, forcibly inserted himself into Jason’s life as much as he could get away with, inviting him to come along for Titans activities on slow nights. He had even worked together with the group when he was needed, and he had developed some begrudging respect for them after a time. But still, he kept his distance and tried not to let his guard down even for a moment. That is… until one fateful night.


Most of the other Titans had gone to bed at the ungodly hour of three in the morning, while Jason and Dick remained awake. Dick struck up a conversation with his fellow former Robin, as he always had to do to get anything out of him, and Jason for his part was holding said conversation better than he did on most nights. It was a better night, if not a good night for him.


“I think the most embarrassing was in the later years, where the Robin costume was gettin’ a little tight for me, I had all these raging hormones that just ended up making me useless whenever Poison Ivy was the villain of the week,” Dick remarked, as the conversation had shifted into reminiscing about their respective years as Robin.


“What do you mean ‘useless?’ I spent so many good nights trying to live up to your legacy and you’re telling me puberty brought the great Dick Grayson to his knees?” Jason replied, a smirk intruding on his usually-morose face.


“Oh come on, man, you’ve seen Ivy before - and aren’t you the one who teased me about that thing I supposedly have for redheads? I was under her spell quicker than she could have her killer plants spray me with those nasty mind-control spores of hers, like I wanted to get caught by her on some nights.”


Suddenly, Jason tensed up.


“But… you didn’t, right?” asked Jason, his eyes filled with something that almost looked like… fear.


“Of course not,” Dick answered, curiously, “I was just saying, y’know, it was like I wanted to get caught by her and all that.” When he saw Jason’s expression remain unchanged, his curiosity turned to concern. “You okay, Jay?”


Inside Jason, it was as if a dam had broken, as memories long-suppressed came flooding out to the forefront of his mind. The sound of her voice, the lingering smell of the morning after, the years he spent letting it eat him alive - it was overwhelming.


“I’m fine,” Jason lied, in vain, as at any other time he would have known better than to think he could hide the truth from Dick. This, however, was not any other time, as the hurricane of emotions shook his stoic demeanor more than even the most perilous of encounters with supervillains ever had.


“C’mon, Jay, you can tell me anything. You know that, right?”


It was then that a trembling voice that Dick had never heard before from Jason came out.


“Sh-she… she touched me… She touched me…” was all he could whimper out.


“Wait, what? Who touched you? Ivy?” Dick asked, any pretense of teasing melting away as concern took over his every word.


“N-no… N-n-noc…” Tears ran down his eyes, signaling what he thought to be the ‘death’ of his manhood. “G-god, Dick, forget it, i-it’s just some bullshit that doesn’t matte—”


Two hands firmly grasped his shoulders. Dick had never looked so stern.


Fuck that. Whatever it is, if it’s hurting you so much, it matters enough for you to tell me about it…” Dick’s expression softened, “… if you trust me enough. And it’s okay if you don’t, I mean it.”


“Goddamn it, Dick,” he cursed, “of course I fucking trust you. More than I trust anyone… e-even myself…” Finally, Jason turned his head to face Dick, tears and all. There was no hiding his ‘weakness’ any longer.


“… Natalia Knight… or, Nocturna… meaning nightmare… I don’t know if Bruce told you about her or not, but she… I-I was just a boy and she… I-I tried to fight it, Dick, I swear to god I tried but I—”


Jason was suddenly pulled into a hug. A tight one, at that. What was even more surprising to Jason, however, was the trembling in Dick’s hands as he held him.


“You don’t have to justify shit to me, Jason, just say what you need to say… I promise I’m not going anywhere.” His words were firm, but his voice told another story - one where each word was just him screaming ‘I love you no matter what’ to him over and over, as long as it would take until Jason believed him.


As best as he could, Jason took in a deep breath before he continued.


Years of repression were undone painfully, each word feeling as though they had been nailed to his heart and needed to be forcibly torn out before he could speak them - but speak them he did.


Each word, more gutting than the last. Dick hugged his brother tighter.


“I-I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, I’m sorry I, she, I’m sorr—”


“How fucking dare she,” Dick growled, causing Jason’s heart to skip a beat. But, for his own sake as much as his brother’s, Dick steadied himself. “J-Jay, listen… First off, it wasn’t your fault.”


“But I let it happen, and I-I even kind of liked it, and—”


“You were a kid! Kids aren’t supposed to know how to navigate a situation like that! Because they’re fucking kids!” Dick shouted back at him, “She was the adult, she’s the one who did this to you, and you have no goddamn blame in any of this!”


With that, Jason was a kid again, crying a cry he needed to have over a decade ago. He clung tightly to Dick and sobbed into his shoulder, holding on like if he let go he would fall somewhere he couldn’t come back from.


“Secondly, it’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to be in pain when someone hurts you. Accepting that’s the first step to healing.” Tenderly, he stroked Jason’s bleached blonde hair and tried to pour all of his love into each touch.


“What if I never heal? What if I’m always this fucked up shell of a person, who’s always an unlikable asshole that no one could love?”


I love you, Jason. I love you and so does Alfred, even Bruce… You’re not a fucking shell, and I don’t care how long it takes to prove it to you, ‘cause no matter how long it takes I’m gonna be there when it does. Right by your side, where I’m staying,” Dick stated as if it were a fact he’d known all along.


Jason continued to hold on to Dick, but didn’t say a word for what felt like ages. He didn’t need to.


Dick had settled them both down on one of the couches in the living room of Titans Tower when he finally spoke up. At first, his voice was so hoarse and spent from crying that Dick couldn’t tell what exactly he had said. When Jason looked up at Dick, from having had his face buried in his chest, his words were crystal-clear.


“I… I love you too, Dick.”


It was what should have been a dark, beautiful night… but, although the sun had not come up yet, the nightmare was over - it was finally morning for Jason.


And what a beautiful morning it was.


The End



Author’s Notes: Nocturna’s “bedtime story” is lifted directly from Batman #379 (January 2, 1985), written by Doug Moench. Obviously the original stories don’t go further than implying a one-sided attraction from Jason to Natalia, while Moench’s clumsy writing can be blamed for any of Natalia Knight’s dialogue towards Jason that was entirely inappropriate for a mother figure to say to a child.

I wrote this based on my experiences having survived CSA myself. It would be years after this was originally published before the repressed memories would come back to haunt me, but reading it now I can see my subconscious remembering it all too well. Please respect my privacy regarding this and don't be an asshole about it.


Originally-published on June 15, 2020.

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