A/N: Hi! Here's a little piece following my head cannon of "Fall of the Night, Rise of the Hood" between Bruce and Jason. Again I would like to thank everyone who followed, faved and reviewed that story! ^.^
It was New Years Eve and to accompany the array of fireworks, echoing like the sound of canon fire over the ground, those who stood in the grand ballroom of Wayne Manor toasted in a second choir of jovial clinking. The sound from inside the high roofed room was similar to that of wind chimes but was lost on the young man, perched in solidarity on the manor roof.
Jason had come here, this sanctuary, to get away from the party underway several storeys below. He had never quite felt he belonged at any of the black tie affairs Bruce had the liberty of hosting. Then again, he'd never quite felt like he belonged within the Dark Knights family, his chosen elite. And it seemed Bruce was of the same opinion.
He supposed this was how the Replacement felt. Tim always seemed to have it in his head that he was unneeded, unwanted. But he could never truly understand what it was to feel alienated from those you once considered family. At the end of the day, despite his brooding, he was much loved. Jason didn't have this privilege. For him, all he had was himself. He was his own best friend, his own protector.
One of the main reasons he disliked Drake was probably his inability to see when he had it good, to tell when he was lucky. But other than that, and maybe he was just growing soft, he didn't mind the younger man so much anymore. He kept to himself and he didn't intrude on Jason's business, so in the brief time they'd stayed under the same roof of late, they had refrained from maiming one another.
Damien was another story. Dick, well he loved the kid. He was like a mini Bruce and that was the same reason why Jason was not so keen. He barely got on with the original, let alone Wayne Mark 2. At this moment, the boy was standing next to mantelpiece, in the warm glow of a blazing fire. The orange light would illuminate him as the demon he was while he plotted his revenge on each and every one of the party goers separately. He supposed in that way the boy was a little like him too. But at least he had decided to take the high road and avoid them entirely.
The "Golden Goose" was most likely the life and soul of the party, confined to his chair for a few more weeks yet but a little more accepting on his recent limitations. He was most certainly pleased with himself to have the lovely Barbara Gordon perched upon his lap the majority of the night.
A beam of light emerged, trailing a path from the doorway to where Jason stood. A tall shadow formed in the doorway, a deep voice breaking through the peaceful silence Jason had masterfully forged.
"Jason? What are you doing out here?"
"Minding my own business, Bruce", snapped the younger man. "Why don't you give it a try?"
Bruce moved cautiously out onto the icy rooftop. "You'll catch your death if you stay out here, come inside."
"What difference would it make to you if I did? Catch my death, that is." Jason was hardly going to spare Bruce's feelings in his current, foul temper.
"Excuse me?" Bruce was suddenly towering next to his shoulder, laying a harsh hand down upon it. "Don't be ridiculous, Jason, come inside".
Jason recoiled away from the touch, biting back a near feral hiss. "Go back to your party, Bruce".
Bruce was about to do so when he spotted a half consumed 6-pack of beer sitting on the head of one of the gargoyles nearby. "Are you drunk?" He accused, attempting to tie this in with Jason's earlier comment.
"No, I'm a little too sober and I think that's the problem", as he spoke, Jason reached out to retrieve another can, making quick use of its contents.
Bruce made a quick swipe at his son, attempting to snatch the beer can from his grip. Jason quickly dropped the object and dodged sideways and away from the man, chuckling to himself as he did. He teetered a little too close to the end and sent this guardian's heart flying in panic before he regained his balance.
"Inside", the billionaire commanded, "now".
A stare off commenced, until Jason suddenly turned and progressed in the other direction. He took the last beer can and shook it vigorously as he walked a tight line on the edge of the manor.
Jason let the beer can drop over the edge, it landed somewhere on the patio and bursting open on impact, made a mess of some Gotham Socialites dress. He could hear her shrieks of surprise and indignation from where he stalked amongst the gargoyles.
He continued along the roof, slowing descending despite the dangers and much to his adoptive father's fury, until he reached a windowsill into the level below.
Turning on his heels, Bruce stormed downstairs. He was tempted to go and confront Jason but he had other duties to attend to, guests to smile through gritted teeth at.
Jason moved through the crowd of party goers in distain. They turned to watch him as he passed, whispering behind their hands, mouths curled upwards jeeringly. As he proceeded through the crowd, the more reluctant they became to move out of his way and the louder their whispers grew. Eventually these whispers turned to full on raucous laughter and he had to forcibly push them out of the way in order to get by.
And then they descended upon him like a mob and he was no longer trying to moving deeper into the gathering but find a way out. His screams were met by deaf ears as ripped and tore at his clothes and hair, gouging violently at his face and tugging at his limbs.
Above their taunting and laughter, a single cackle split the air.
The rest of the room fell again into hushed whispers and the crowd finally moved away from him, instead forming a large circle around him. He carefully arose to his feet and stared around at some very familiar faces. Bruce, Dick, Tim, Damien and the rest, everyone was there. They stared right through him and again, the cackle made itself known. It was a manic laugh that haunted him constantly. And so slowly he turned to face its owner and found himself inches from a pale face framed by a mop of sickly green hair.
The red lipped, toothy grin widened and with eyes a light with joy, the Joker pulled a long, slender crowbar from inside his purple jacket sleeve.
In desperation, Jason turned to those of the circle he knew and trusted. He ran to his older brother, shaking him roughly by the shoulders. "Dick!" He shouted.
"Dick, please! Help me!" Dick simply gazed blankly down at him. Jason hit him across the face, hoping this would wake him from whatever zombie like state engulfed him. The acrobat didn't even flinch, the only movement being a twitch of the corner of his mouth which slowly grew into an unnatural, twisted smile. Around him the faces of others began to melt and form the same ghastly appearance.
Jason was met with pain to the back of his head. He collapsed onto the ground and received several more brutal strikes from the crowbar. All the while the Joker laughed controllably, barely gaining enough composure to issue the command out to his brainwashed soldiers.
Again they crashed down upon him, set to tear him limb from limb...
Jason awoke with a start, shooting upright in a cold sweat. His whole body shied sideways and he very nearly fell over the side of the bed, had it not been for a set of arms ready to catch him.
"Jason", a soft voice spoke out to him, cradling his shaking form close as he tried to steady the young man. "It's alright, calm down".
Jason did not recognise the voice, panic swelled within him but he could not calm himself enough to focus.
A hand carded reassuringly through his hair and though Jason tried to shoo the person away, warn them to stay back, only a choked sound escaped him and he could nothing but lean into the embrace that held him so tightly.
The gentle voice continued to shush him, with soothing words and even a hand to his forehead at one point. He detected no fever. Still, it was several minutes before Jason's breathing returned to something considerably normal. But at that stage, the young man was truly exhausted, falling again into sleep, still in the arms of his father.
Bruce rested his chin atop Jason's dark hair and remained with the boy until he was sure sleep had taken him. He then eased his son back into a resting position on the bed, pulling the duvet up around him with care.
Had he had his wits about him, Jason would probably have fought him. It greatly sadden him that it was only in such a distraught state was he able to comfort his wayward son.
He'd heard many New Year's Resolutions tonight, some to give up smoking, others to stay away from alcohol, some to get fit or take up a new skill.
Bruce rested his head back against the wall with a sigh.
Jason was most definitely his New Year's Resolution.
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