Living, Learning, Loving

Along about the time that Batman knows Jason wouldn't be any kind of a Robin he could work with, Bruce has discovered he needs Jason just the same.

Jason was older than Dick was when Bruce took him in, but he was much more worldly. Not entirely mature, but…

Bruce knows it is wrong. He knows it is illegal…for at least one more year, in the state of New Jersey. That doesn't keep him from wanting Jason. Jason is so much like he was at that age, but much less restrained. It was a restraint he imposed on himself, to keep from becoming as…volatile as Jason sometimes is, but Bruce still feels the awe and rage inside himself, no matter how tightly he has constrained it.

He just doesn't express it. He feels the need for Jason, but does not let it show. Because it is wrong, and because he is…afraid.

Afraid to get what he wants.

None of that keeps him from telegraphing his wants in such a way that even Jason – who had not taken to the reading of body language as had Dick – can tell. Then again, Jason had street smarts long before Bruce ever tried to teach him algebra and science.

Bruce doesn't like to think that this is something Jason learned on the streets. The hesitancy as Jason approaches him could just be because of who he is; who they are to each other.

Once Bruce has accepted, however – and he can't do anything but accept, because Jason is him, but with a drive to live, and the need for vengeance only secondary to that – the tentativeness proves that in this one arena, Jay doesn't have as much experience as he pretends.

And in this one arena, Bruce can be the teacher, instead of Batman. But, considering Jay's usual flair for life and his innate…effervescence…Bruce will undoubtedly be learning some things, too.

Happiness is another thing Bruce hasn't had much experience with.

But he wants to…with Jay.