Jason opened the door with such heat; he could feel the tips of his finger nails drag across the frame. He felt weightless and heavy all at the same time, and the ringing silence in his ears from the lack of cars, and gun shots reminded him how foreign he was to the manor—how he didn't belong. He walked up the stairs with heavy footsteps, and when he reached his room, opened and slammed his door with just as much aggravated aggression he did with the front.
Bruce let his fingers hover over his keyboard as he listened to the thrashing from upstairs.
His sons were anything but perfect, but he knew that that was what made them so special. They had a level of emotion not many could understand, and thus not many knew how to deal with it.
Dick and Tim would go into fits of frightful screaming if they were to doze off in class when they first started living with him. The nightmares were always right behind their eyes, waiting to spring forward the moment they relaxed. He remembers the looks on the teachers faces when he meet with them the first time it happened. They looked as white as sheets as they described such intense fear and sorrow from such a young child.
They told him honestly "We didn't know what to do…he was so…"
Dick and Tim would cry every drop of water from their body's when this happened. To lost in the fear and heart crushing sadness to feel anything else, unlike Jason and Damian.
Jason and Damian were raised to never show weakness or risk the possibility of being killed. They held those tears in and lashed out with an anger that rattled the bone, an anger people rarely encounter, and understand.
Because it was anger they used to release such pain, he was called in more than he was for Dick and Tim. The teachers would forget what that anger was and only saw what it had done. Despite the explanations for the outburst, the school felt they had no choice but to give Jason and Damian strikes against them.
"Any more violent outburst and we will have to expel him for the safety of the other students Mr. Wayne…"
Since then, Bruce knew the difference between a bad day at school and a day that just cut to deep.
He made his way to his office door and opened it revealing a distressed Tim, flinching slightly at the commotion upstairs.
Tim turned his head "…Bruce?"
"Tim…" Bruce let the name hang, giving his son the chance to choose what say next.
Tim looked back up the stairs, debating if it was a good idea to tell Jason's business.
"Someone at school said something to Jason…" He replied softly. Bruce waited.
"I'm not sure what, but it had something to do with him…and the family…"
Bruce walked over to Tim, running his hand through his hair to smooth it back, and then letting it rest on his shoulder.
"Let me talk to him..." Bruce said making his way up the stairs slowly.
"Tell your brothers to keep their distance till were done, alright Tim"
Bruce stood in front of Jason's door, worried about the silence that now radiated from the room.
"Jason?" he called out quietly. He waited no sound to indicate movement.
The door creaked open a sliver, the sign for Bruce to come in, and close the door.
Jason stood in the middle of his room; possessions littered the floor along with some broken dishes that had been left behind. His shoulders were rigid and stiff, despite his heavy breathing.
"What happened little bird?" Bruce asked.
Jason was silent. Letting his mind and body remember who this was he was talking to, where he was, and remembering it was ok to just be…human.
"Someone…" it was hard, and he felt stupid and ashamed for it being hard. He kicked a book across the room, taking a step back, and a deep breath.
"…It's not true…I know it's not but still…" Jason continued on, his anger wearing him down.
"What happened Jay?" Bruce repeated, sensing Jason's distress and confusion. Jason finally looked at him, and Bruce was slightly surprised to see the brimming of tears in his blue eyes.
"There just some fucking stupid assholes…but…"
"THEY SAID IT WAS ALL A LIE, ALL FAKE AND MADEUP…" he suddenly screamed, feeling the burn in his throat at the sudden volume change.
"THIS" Jason yelled raising his arms in the air, staring straight at Bruce. His voice had cracked at the end, reminding Bruce of when he was younger. How it only pitched when he was holding back tears, when he was holding back everything that hurt.
Oh…now I understand…
Despite what people might think, Jason was the most emotional out of all his brothers. Growing up in the depths of hell taught you to turn those emotions into anger, to fight and yell. Jason had to learn to control that anger when kids teased him about…everything.
"I bet he dyed his hair to get attention."
"For someone in the Wayne family you think he would be better in school, I'm mean look at his brothers."
"He just sits there and doesn't talk to anyone, it's weird."
"I heard he's in some kind of gang with the Joker!"
"I bet Mr. Wayne only adopted him because he felt bad…"
Jason didn't have to say it but, the last one hurt him the most.
"They said that no one cared…that I didn't matter to you or the others…that I was mixed up with another kid at the orphanage…" he spoke softly now, shoulders sagging, eyes glued to the floor.
"…that this family really wasn't my family…"
Jason was suddenly in Bruce's arms, and Bruce could feel the instant crumble of Jason's body against his own.
If there was one thing Jason could not stand…it was when his place in the family was questioned.
Those kids cut him deeper than they could ever imagine. Bruce felt the sudden urge to hurt, to tell those kid's how easy it would be to ruin their perfect lives.
"Oh little bird…you know that's not true…" He squeezed Jason harder, feeling the boy shake in his hold.
"I know…but…I…" Jason pushed his forehead against Bruce in frustration, he knew they were lying, Jason new but…
"It hurt's…" he whispered, a soft sob at the end.
Bruce felt his heart break, felt the pain of losing your family, because he knew that was what Jason was feeling…like he lost his family all over again.
Bruce laid his hand on Jason's neck and pushed him back, looking at the familiar red rimmed eyes, wet cheeks, and trembling lip of his son.
"Jason…It scares me sometimes how much I love you, how much I care about you. How easy I can picture letting everything go if it meant keeping you and your brothers safe and happy. It frightens me when I think of something happening to you, of never seeing you again…"
Jason only stared ahead, his breathing slowing but the tears still falling.
"Some people in this world will never get to experience what it means to have a family, to never experience love that cannot be defined, but you Jason…" he moved Jason's head to meet his eyes.
"…were cursed to experience a life with both, and now have to live in fear of losing it." He saw the held back sob that Jason tried to hide, the silent agreement of his fear.
"…But I swear to you not as Batman, or Bruce Wayne…but as your father, that this home, this family will always be here not matter what happens…it will always accept you with love, and this will never be a place you need to fear losing."
Jason's face was a contortion of so much tears, and relief all he could do was wrap his arms around Bruce and hope he didn't wake up.
Bruce rubbed his back to ease the shakes and hushed away the broken sobs. He buried his face into Jason's hair, letting them both absorb the comfort the other gave. A soft knock was heard from the door, and Jason slowly gave himself some space from Brice before calling out a come in.
It was Damian of all people to pop his head into the room from behind the door.
Jason sniffed a little, trying to calm his nervous "Hey little D…"
Damian looked from Bruce to Jason "Jay…"
"Just open the door its ok…" came another voice before the door was opened completely revealing the rest of the Wayne trio.
Jason was a little taken back "What are you guys doing home so early?" he asked quickly.
Dick shrugged toward to his right "Tim called us." Jason looked to a nervous fidgeting Tim who wouldn't make eye contact, feeling slightly guilty for budding in.
Bruce looked to Jason then Tim, giving Tim the ok to enter the room.
Don't worry…he's ok now
Tim looked between Bruce and Jason, debating the idea when an arm was slung over his shoulder and he was pulled inside along with Dick.
"Come on Timmy, Jay Jay's not mad at you…are you Jay Jay?" Dick threw a big grin towards Jason, not missing the amusing look of annoyance at his nick name.
Jason rolled his eyes "I'm not mad…" he said feeling slightly embarrassed.
He crossed his arms and looked at the wall, gave a sigh, then looked at Tim "…Thanks…"
Tim only smiled.
"So what happened?" Damien asked all of a sudden, feeling no need to humor Jason's feelings.
"Damian" Dick snapped.
"No its fine, I'm fine" replied Jason.
"Some kids were talking about our family again" Bruce explained taking Jason and hugging him closer, Jason gave half a smile.
"What's the matter with kids these days..?" Dick shook his head in disappointment, and then suddenly stopped.
"No one's been messing with you two right?" he asked, aiming the question at Tim and Damian, the 'Babies' of the family replying with a no.
"Why only Jason then?" Dick asked
"Because Jason's the only one they knew they could hurt…" Bruce replied, an edge in his voice.
"What do you mean Father?" Damian asked.
"Dick's to popular with the kids to start anything with, they risk having the whole school hating them. Tim would feel no shame in telling a teacher what was helping, Tim believes that if something unjustly is happening, he should stop it."
Tim stood a little taller, while Dick gave Bruce a smile that he finally recognized he was popular despite his 'bad jokes' he tells all the time.
"…and Damian's to young for them to do anything, they would be playing a deadly game with the school system…and me" Bruce added with a smirk.
"I'm not young" grumbled Damian, face scrunching up slightly.
"Ok that all makes sense one way or another but they know Jason would beat the shit out of them for saying anything" Dick added taking a seat on Jason's bed along with Damian and Tim.
"He does have those strikes against him" Damian explained.
"I don't think that's the only reason…right Jason" Bruce looked to Jason, seeing the boys face flush slightly under the attention.
"…well…" Tim voiced.
"I…I didn't want to you know, embarrass you guys" he grumbled the end part, obviously embarrassed at the confession.
His brothers looked at him, the look of confusion on their faces. "What?" they all replied.
Jason huffed and shrugged his shoulders "You know, were the Wayne kids I'm supposed to be all…you know good and stuff…like you guys."
Jason's face turned red as he watched as his three brothers faces softened into a loving smile, an understanding gaze he could only find on the faces of his family.
"Shut up" he said suddenly.
Dick stood up "…Ohhh Jay Jay" he said taking Jason into one of his famous 'Dickie hugs'. Jason squirmed in the hug, until he felt two other arms reach around him. Tim and Damian had stood to join their oldest brother, smiles gracing their faces as they watched Jason try and hide his face.
"Don't forget me" said Bruce reaching around all his Robins with long, strong arms. Dick was the first to start giggling till his infectious laugh had the others going as well.
Jason tried to be annoyed at the amount of touching he was receiving but could not help but thank each of his brothers and father with a soft squeeze of the arm, or a ruffling of the hair, and finally with a smile that was rarely seen, a smile saved for the moments the mattered most.
"I feel like I'm on Doctor Phil…"
"Way to keep the moment going Jason…"