Heart of Glass
A HightoppsMadness Fanfiction Short
Author's Note: the following is a series of short looks at the characters of the trilogy the author has written, including 'Why you never hear a Robin and Cardinal Sing Together,' 'Restringing A Bow,' and 'Dance of the Bad Luck Lovers.' This highlights the years after the epilogues of each, in respective order. Please note that the characters not owned by HightoppsMadness are property of DC comics. Also, "Crimson Paradox" and "The Reverse Paradox" are property of a close friend, Christopher Hancock, who created them and let the author use them for 'I want to Fly with you' and any other appearances I could show them in.
Confession of Jason Todd #1: I don't know how Rozalin deals with these two kids.
The day was beautiful. Only the fluffy white clouds that made fanciful shapes graced the skies. The home in Charlotte, North Carolina was just like all the others in the subdivision, with black shutters, a red front door, and white siding. A small shed in the back matched it in design. Inside the house's walls held something very different from all the other homes, though.
"Jason! Can you watch over Bruce for a while, I've got to get Kathleen to her doctor's appointment." Rozalin Todd called out to her husband as their daughter ran out her bedroom door, screeching.
"I don't wanna go! The doctor's scary!" she cried, her nude form tearing through the house.
"At least put on some clothes, for God's sake!" Rozalin tore after her.
"Yeah, I'll get him up from naptime," Jason answered her. Naptime was a farce; the little boy almost never slept. It didn't surprise either parent, as they themselves had lived in a nocturnal clock for years as vigilantes. The child was gripping the bars of his crib, hoisting himself up and bouncing. A tuft of red hair graced his head, and his ice blue eyes, so much like his mother's, gazed up happily at his father.
"Up you go." Jason held Bruce Richard Todd tightly, letting his squirm his little legs energetically. He carried the boy to the front door, and kissed Rozalin as she pulled her purse over her shoulder. Kathleen was already halfway to the car, as evidenced by the door wide open and her joyful squeals erupting from the front yard. Apparently, she was over her fear of the doctor.
"I promised her that she could wear the mask once we got home if she was good." Rozalin whispered to him, and he smirked. That girl was obsessive over her father's Red Hood helmet. If it wouldn't get him arrested, he would have let her take it to show and tell at school by now.
"That's fine. It'll be just Brucey and I having some father-son time, right?" he bounced the boy on his hip affectionately. Bruce giggled happily.
"Yep. Be sure he doesn't get into any trouble. He's taken a liking for the stairs as of late." she warned him as she closed the door after her. "Bye bye, Brucey. Have fun with Daddy, Okay?"
After the door closed, Jason scoffed. "Please. I spend so much time with these kids. How much trouble can just one of them be?" he looked at his son.
Bruce smirked up at him with the three teeth he had shining. Not a good sign. Jason dismissed it as just the way he was smiling, and took him into the living room, where all the toys were organized into tubs by the wall.
It took all of three minutes for Bruce to throw all the shiny, loud toys all over the floor and become more interested in the corner of the coffee table, with its protective squishy padding wrapped around it. Rozalin had super babyproofed the house after Kathleen had hit her head on a cabinet four years ago. She was fine, but she was loud and tearful for an hour. It took three lullabies and her sunflower stuffed toy to get her to calm down.
Jason smiled at his son's insistence to chew the padding, and went to clean up the mess he had made. He hadn't finished, but the sound of his son suddenly stopped. Jason turned around. No baby. Problem found. He dashed out of the living room, to hear Bruce's coo come from the kitchen. He recalled that he had left the back door to the patio open in there. Panic raced through him, and he ran into the kitchen to find he was right; Bruce was in the backyard already, playing in the sandbox that Kathleen had left her Barbie dolls in. Bruce threw one out of the sandy pit, and laughed as it bounced off the ground, it's plastic smile still intact.
"Thank God," Jason breathed as he scooped up the boy, who was covered in dirt. "Come on, let's get you cleaned up." He took the boy into the bathroom and ran the water, checking it with his free hand. He shut off the water and tried to get Bruce into the water, but the year old child was having none of it, squirming and screeching at the top of his little lungs.
"No!" Bruce yelled.
"Yes, it's bath time. Mommy'll have a fit if she comes back and you're covered in dirt. Come on, buddy. Don't make this hard for me. You know I have to wash you." Jason lowered his son into the tub, and the resigned child sat still while his father lathered his red hair with tear-free shampoo.
The Beastie Boys started playing in Jason's pocket, and he whipped out his cell phone, still washing the little boys in the water. "Hello, this is Jason Todd."
"Hey, it's Roy," came a familiar voice over the line. "Just wanted to thank you for Dinah's birthday present. She loves it."
"Don't thank me," Jason grinned at his boy. "Kathleen and Rozalin picked it out."
"So, whatcha up to?"
"Just giving Bruce his bath." Jason laughed at his son's sour expression. "You should see his face. It's priceless."
"I remember when Ro-Ro and Ollie made those faces," Roy sighed. "God, can you believe they're getting driver's licences now? I feel so old; my thirtieth is coming up, and I'm starting to use hair dye to cover up the grey in the red. Gloria doesn't even seem to age, not a grey hair in sight. She says it's her German genetics."
"Mmm," Jason grunted as he rinsed off Bruce.
"Anyways, did you hear? Wally and Linda just celebrated their fifth anniversary. Should I drop a congrats from you and the Mrs.?" Roy asked.
"If you could. Rozalin and I have our hands full with these two. Kathleen just found the joys of makeup, and Bruce has discovered crawling. It takes the both of us to keep up with them." Jason dried Bruce off, and the baby giggled cheerfully.
"I remember those days with Gloria. Imagine two at once." Roy wistfully sighed. "Anyways, I'm off to visit Jupiter and Hank. I heard he just proposed."
"Finally. I was starting to think she would give up on the stubborn bastard and go for that speedster." Jason took his towel-clad child into the nursery to change him into one of his onsies.
"Adam Cane? Please, not her type. After all that time she spent with Hawk and Dragon, the Phoenix has to have a bruiser for a husband. Only natural for her." Roy scoffed. "Talk to you later, Todd."
"Alright. See you later, Harper." Jason closed the phone and looked at the onsies available. All Batman themed. He and Rozalin really needed to have a talk about that. He picked out the least offensive one, one with a little red bat signal on it. He turned to see Bruce leaning over the side of the changing table. "Jesus, Bruce!" he dove for the kid, only to have Bruce lean back, safely seated on the table. He smirked at his father as Jason picked himself off the floor.
"Don't smirk at me like that. You know I worry about you. Now hold still while I get you dressed." Jason put a clean diaper on Bruce, then pulled on the onsie. Bruce made a small noise once Jason finished, and Jason checked Bruce's diaper and quietly cursed, setting the boy back onto the table and fishing out another clean diaper. "I wish you could warn me before you do that."
About two hours later, the door banged open, followed closely by Kathleen's joyful peals of laughter.
"The doctor is so nice! Why don't we go more often, Mommy?" she called behind her. Obviously, the doctor had given her candy of some sort. Along with the receptionist, the nurse, the other mothers in the waiting room who thought she was cute...
"I don't know, sweetie," Rozalin sighed in response, following her little girl and entered the living room, where an exhausted Jason held his little boy.
Jason looked up at his wife and smiled. "Hey, Cardinal."
"Hello, Birdie. Have your wings clipped?"
"More like ripped out. I don't know how you do it." Jason gave his son over to his mother and stretched. "The kid does nothing but cause trouble."
"Just like his father," Rozalin commented. "Kathleen, come and get your juice, I'm pouring it now."
"The purple grape?" Kathleen cautiously asked.
"Yes, the purple grape," Rozalin poured the liquid into a plastic cup with pirates printed on it. "Jason, can you get your helmet? She's been good today."
"Anything for a moment of peace with you," Jason sighed. He returned with the Red Hood, which he handed over to his daughter. He observed her purple mouth. He would have to clean the helmet before going out on patrol tonight. Jason glanced over at Rozalin, who was holding their sleeping son. "How did you get him to sleep?"
"You exhausted him. Come on, let's put him down for another nap. I need to make dinner." Rozalin laid the boy in his crib.
"Can we have Kuchen?" Kathleen asked; ever since Gloria started teaching her German, she'd been using it all the time.
"No, no cake for dinner," Rozalin calmly smiled at her daughter.
Honestly, Jason didn't know how she was able to handle the kids when he was at work.