Here it is. The big finale. I'm sad but happy since I normally never finish my stories (of course, three chapters is totally manageable). I enjoyed writing this story and I am so glad to see so many people have enjoyed reading it. Thanks to: unsanctuaire, Grayson's Gal, TheNewBatgirl, Luminores, Chaseha-Wing, 5-STAR, colerfulldarkness666, Zany Orange Dude, konohaflameninja, and to the three anonymous Guest reviewers (to the one who asked why I'm turning Jason back? Because little-Jason is a stud muffin, but older-Jason is one hell of a sexy beast! Plus the story needs to end at some point ...). Thanks to everyone else who has followed or favourited this story. It's been a fun ride!
The Curious Case of Jason Todd
Part 3: Birds of a Feather Flock Together
After a late meeting that ran hours past its end time, Bruce returned home a couple hours after dinner had ended. He had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of Alfred's disappointed: "Master Jason was asking for you tonight." Perhaps after the disaster that was Jason's last life in the Manor, Alfred positioned himself as Jason's guard dog. Whatever the reason, Alfred wasn't letting Bruce get away with shoddy parenting this time around. Taking his butler's not-so-subtle hint, Bruce stopped by Jason's room after changing out of his suit but found it empty. Seeing the light in Dick's room was on he popped in but found it also Jason-free.
Dick sent him an amused look from behind the pile of papers he had stacked in front of him. "Well hello to you too."
Realizing that his oldest wouldn't let anything slip, Bruce decided to humor him, "Hello Dick. How are you?"
"Fantastic! Thanks for asking, Bruce! I am just loving all this paperwork for Haly's!"
"Good, now where is Jason? I thought you had him for the day?"
Dick gestured to the paperwork on his bed, "As you can see, stuff came up. Timmy has him now."
Bruce frowned at how his son was being handed off from one brother to another, "Where is Tim then?"
"Where is he normally?"
"The cave," Dick affirmed.
Bruce could feel a headache forming, "He is in the cave, with all those cliffs and sharp objects and explosives."
Dick paled, "With a five year old Jason. Ah crap, didn't think about that."
They ran down to the cave, vaguely apologizing to Alfred when they sped past him. The Batcave was lit up for when patrol would start in a couple hours. Damian was practicing throwing batarangs at straw dummies in the training area and Tim was parked in front of the computer. Remarkably, Titus the Great Dane was sleeping soundly at Tim's feet rather than hanging around at the edge of Damian's mats. Jason was nowhere in sight.
"Tim! Where's Jason?"
Tim jerked up at the sound of his name and stared wide-eyed at Bruce and Dick. He turned around in the chair and paled after looking over the cave. A box of crayons was lying on the floor behind the chair and several different colored crayons were spread across used paper. The child that had been using the crayons was long gone.
"He was right behind me not thirty seconds ago! I swear!"
Bruce felt his stomach churn and tried to not let his panic show. Instead, Dick was quite literally freaking out. "Oh crap! Oh crap! Jason! JASON! Come on buddy! Where are you?" Damian shot a dirty look at Dick for breaking his concentration but the eldest brother seemed immune to Damian's irritation. Bruce moved to help Dick search but paused at an unusual sound.
A quiet giggle echoed behind him and he turned to stare at Tim's face. His face was blank but amusement glinted behind his eyes. The giggle sounded again from under the computer's desk. Bruce grabbed the arms of the leather chair and yanked it away from the desk. He ignored Tim's exclamation of surprise and stared down at the small black figure curled into a ball next to Titus.
"Jason?" Bruce crouched down next to his giggling son and pulled back when Jason raised his head to smile at his dad. He was wearing one of Bruce's older cowl and cape combination, it fit him poorly but the child didn't seem to mind judging by the brilliant smile.
"I'm not Jason!" He jumped up and pulled the cape around him. The black material was far too long for him and fell in folds at his feet, "I'm Batman!"
"You certainly are," Bruce chuckled. Right now it was all fun and games, but it made his heart skip a beat to see his son wearing the cowl. There was just too much danger involved. "Now where did you get that?"
"Timmy!" Jason pointed at a sheepish Tim with his stuffed bat toy that was now named Myles. Jason stumbled over to his mess of pictures and gathered them up. He had to push the cowl up when it fell over his eyes. "Here, Daddy," he shoved the mess of papers in Bruce's arms and started picking up his crayons, "I drew those for you."
Dick leaned over his shoulder while Bruce flipped through the pictures. There was one of Titus and Alfred the cat, scribbles of bats and birds, Jason apparently driving the batmobile (Dick snorted at this and Bruce couldn't help a wry smirk), and six stick figures, one with Alfred's mustache and the other five of varying heights with black hair and blue eyes.
Dick swiped a picture that supposedly had him and Jason racing in go-karts. "Little Wing, this one's going on my fridge. I'll never let you live this one down," he grinned charmingly at the confused boy and bounced back up the stairs, apparently satisfied that Jason wasn't going to fall to his death or blow himself up with unsecured explosives.
"I don't get it. He's so weird," Jason looked up at Tim as if the teen could answer the mystery of Richard Grayson. Although Tim understood that Dick was collecting blackmail against the older Jason, he couldn't very well say that to the younger one. Instead he shrugged at Jason and spun his finger in circles beside his head. Jason smiled at that and Tim couldn't help but agree with Dick that it would be so much nicer to keep Jason young.
"Okay, kiddo," Bruce gently lifted Jason up and settled him on the side of his hip. "How about you and I watch a movie before bedtime?"
"Can I pick?"
"You can pick something other than Cars or Cars 2. Why don't you try a new movie?" Jason puffed out his cheeks in annoyance and snuggled Myles closer.
"I guess so …"
"Great! Tim could you …" he nodded his head to the cowl and cape. Tim maneuvered equipment off Jason's head but had to promise the child that he could wear it again when Jason almost burst out in tears. They had an additional temper tantrum this week when Damian informed Jason exactly how the meat ended up on his plate and how many animals had died so he could eat. Poor Jason was so upset at the fact that the chicken on his plate was once alive that he refused to eat anymore. Damian's comments had hit on Jason's sensitivity and compassion. Now there were two meat free plates at the table. Bruce doubted it would last long; the five year old had been drooling over bacon this morning.
Bruce carried Jason upstairs, Titus following closely behind them. Tim looked down when Damian moved to stand next to him.
"Even my dog is obsessed with him."
"Get over yourself, Damian. Zatanna will turn Jason back to his moody, angry self and we'll see him only when he needs help, which he'll never admit to. So relax, he won't be around much longer," although Tim and Jason had actually been getting along before the incident, he could tell that Damian was still uncomfortable with the situation.
The next morning, Damian was awakened by a quiet knock on his door. The clock said that it was just past 9:00 am and later than usual for Pennyworth to wake him. However, he did not hear Pennyworth's voice, only shallow breathing from the other side of the door. Damian rolled off his futon and opened the door just a crack.
Jason Todd was smiling up at him from just below his chin. Damian was immediately suspicious.
"What do you want, Todd?"
Todd's smile faltered just a little bit, "I know you don't really like me and I don't know why. But when people want to be friends they give presents right? So here!" Todd turned around and picked up a giant stuffed dog. The toy was even bigger than the child and he almost fell over putting it in front of Damian.
Damian stared at the toy, then at a beaming Todd, and back at the toy. He had absolutely no use for the item. It was completely worthless to him. Yet for some reason, Damian could not bring himself to chew out Todd for his horrible taste in gifts. He had been rude to the boy when he first arrived and ignored him for the rest of his time at the Manor. However, here was Todd attempting to be friends. It was absurd, it was ridiculous, it was … rather pleasant.
"I appreciate the gift, Todd," Damian lied and picked up the toy by its neck, "I shall consider a suitable gift for you in return. Wait there while I get changed. Without someone to watch, you will no doubt trip down the stairs due to your incompetence."
"Uh … okay! Does that mean you're coming to breakfast?"
"Yay! Sit next to me kay? I'll eat what you eat."
"Jason! Come here! You can't run off like that or I'll never find you!"
"Sorry, Daddy," the little dark haired boy looked up at his father and wandered back to his side.
"Hold on to my hand," Bruce's hand dwarfed the tiny palm Jason held out, "Good boy. Now let's go find your brothers."
"Tim went that way! I saw him!" Jason pointed in the direction he had tried to run off. Bruce let Jason lead, keeping one eye on his son and the other on the lookout for his other sons. The July 4th festivities in Gotham always attracted a huge gathering of people and this year was no different. They had skipped the early afternoon Independence Day Parade through Old Gotham and the Financial District due to a late night out by three of the Manor's occupants. Jason wasn't particularly interested with the parade on television but insisted that everyone had to go to the amusement park set up in the largest green space available.
Jason was not tall enough to ride either of the two rollercoasters but had a blast on the other rides that he could go on. He was mostly enthralled with the bouncy castles and almost managed to give Bruce a heart attack when he disappeared in the ball pit. Tim and Damian had quickly lost interest in the children's rides and wandered off to find something else to amuse themselves with. Dick had disappeared for some privacy on the phone and never came back. That left Bruce alone with his de-aged son.
Bruce quickly realized that he had a problem. Tim had briefly mentioned something like it before but Bruce had been in Batman mode and avoided any external distractions from the mission. The problem with being a father to a rambunctious and overly adorable five year old, is building up the courage to say "no". Jason was probably the toddler who shoved dirt, bugs, and everything under the sun in his mouth. His mother must have pulled her hair out trying to keep her son from ingesting toxic items, something Bruce was failing magnificently at. Chili dogs (as predicted, Jason caved to Alfred's steak), carbonated beverages, cotton candy, and ice cream had all weaseled their way into Jason's stomach and Alfred was not going to be pleased. Bruce wasn't too happy with himself either but he could blame this all on the fact that tomorrow Jason would return to his angry teenaged self and be out of Bruce's reach yet again. Zatanna was ready with the counter-curse but claimed she needed one more night to prepare. In reality, he knew that she was just offering his family one last chance to be with young Jason before she reverses the spell.
"I don't see him! Where'd he go?" Jason looked inquiringly up at Bruce.
"Here," Bruce easily hoisted Jason onto his shoulders. The boy laughed loudly at his new height and weaved his fingers into Bruce's hair. "Now do you see him?"
"Yeah! There! The blue tent!" Jason pointed at the tent housing the photography competition. Bruce firmly held on to Jason's legs as he weaved them through the crowd. The volunteers at the tent were just starting to clear out as the natural light was fading. Tim was speaking with one of the judges but broke away when Jason screamed his name.
"Wow Jason! Look how tall you are!" Tim laughed, "Did you have fun?"
"Yeah! I went on the bouncy castle and the place with all the balls and the merry-go-round and the bumper cars-" Jason paused to take a breath, "-and I got my face painted, see?"
Tim chuckled at his brother's enthusiasm and complimented the American flag painted on one cheek and the Batman insignia on the other. He was also having a hard time imagining Bruce on the carousel. "I saw Damian down at the shooting games just ten minutes ago," he informed Bruce.
"Your information is outdated just like you, Drake," Damian appeared from the crowd behind them, "Are we almost finished here Father?"
"Not yet, Damian. We still have to watch the fireworks."
Jason cheered while Tim checked his phone, "Dick says he has a spot down close to where the bouncy castle was set up."
They headed back through the crowd towards where Dick had saved a spot for the fireworks, stopping once to buy several flexible glow-in-the-dark sticks. Jason immediately put one around his neck which lit up the bottom of his face in a green glow. Another he dropped one top of his father's head like a headband.
"We match Daddy!"
"Yes we do," Bruce chuckled, "I see Dick." They maneuvered around the limbs of people spread out across the grass. Dick was sitting on the large blanket he had brought with a familiar pretty redhead.
"Look who I found!" Barbara smiled at their greetings and Jason's enthusiastic hello.
"Barbie! Hi!" His father let him down and Jason stepped over Dick to wiggle himself in next to Barbara. He shoved Dick's leg over without looking away from her, "Want a glowy stick? We can match!"
"Thank you Jason," Barbara smiled and dropped a kiss on the boy's forehead, "I will take good care of it." Jason's cheeks flushed at the kiss but his beaming grin turned into a scowl when Dick poked him and he retaliated by elbowing his elder brother in the stomach.
"Ow! Your elbows are pointy!" Dick grabbed Jason's flailing arms and picked the boy up under his arm, "There's not enough room here twerp. Go sit with Dad."
"Why?" Jason squirmed and wiggled in Dick's hold, "She likes me better."
"She's just nice to you because you're a little kid," at least, Dick hoped that was the case. He dropped the struggling five year old on Bruce's lap, "Hang on to your son before I send him into the sky on a firework."
"What did you do, Jason?" Tim asked and Damian also looked curious.
"He's mad 'cause Barbara's gonna be my girlfriend," Jason huffed and crossed his arms at their amusement.
Bruce wrapped an arm around Jason's stomach, "Not until your older, hotshot," Bruce chuckled.
As the glow from the setting sun disappeared behind the wall of skyscrapers, the whistling of the first firework being launched echoed across the crowd. The explosion of red sparks was quickly followed by white and blue. The crowd 'ohhh'ed and 'ahhh'ed appropriately as the Gotham City Fire Department set off their 15 minute show. Jason reached up as one firework created a large explosion of gold glitter right above them. The sounds from crackling and twirling fireworks reverberated across the park. A short series of happy faces and hearts appeared in the sky and the crowd laughed and hooted when one of the hearts was distorted and closely resembled a part of male anatomy. Jason cheered and clapped with the rest of the crowd at the grand finale and although he was less vocal, Tim could see that Damian was just as enchanted.
When silence fell back over the park, the crowd clapped in appreciation and began to pack up their stuff. Bruce stood up and held Jason against his chest so the boy could rest his head on Bruce's shoulder. It was far past his normal bedtime and Bruce was hoping to avoid any crankiness. Dick gathered up the blanket and the group of six followed the crowd out of the park to their cars.
While waiting for the crowd to move forward, Jason turned his head to whisper in Bruce's ear, "Daddy?"
Bruce tapped Damian's head when his youngest spewed vulgar language at his third son, "Yes Jason?" Bruce whispered back.
"Do you love me?"
Shocked at the random question, Bruce turned to look at Jason. His son's head was resting tiredly on his shoulder, but the boy's eyes were staring imploringly up at Bruce. "What brought this on?"
Jason lifted one shoulder in a lazy half-shrug, "Don't know."
Bruce smiled and ran his free hand over Jason's shaggy hair, "Yes, Jason. I love you very much." That was the first time he ever said it to Jason. Something he would have to repeat later.
"I love you too, Daddy," Jason smiled and closed his eyes as he snuggled further into his father's shoulder. The others were oblivious to what had happened between father and son. Bruce was happy to keep the moment private.
Bruce had chosen to take a night off of patrol and went to bed early. He couldn't say no to Jason's plea to sleep in his bed. Dick had offered to take his place and Damian was quite pleased to work with his old partner. Tim did some research on one of his cases before also calling it a night.
The clock on the nightstand told him it was 2:43 am and he couldn't figure out why he was awake. Jason had rolled onto his chest around midnight, so it wasn't Jason that woke him. It was the light footsteps outside his door, the slight click of the doorknob, and the quiet creak of his bedroom door opening. Dick poked his head into the room and smiled when he saw that Bruce was awake.
"Any problems?" Bruce whispered, careful not to wake Jason.
"Nope," Dick shuffled into the room and climbed on the other side of the bed. He had changed into a pair of loose gray sweatpants and a navy blue t-shirt. Shuffling over until he was almost touching the arm Bruce had wrapped around Jason's back, Dick snuggled under the covers. "Mind if I join you?"
"Apparently, I don't have a choice," Bruce replied.
Dick lightly brushed his hand through Jason's hair, "I wish I could go back in time and change things. I gave him my number but I knew he'd never call. He's too much like you, that's probably why I avoided him at first."
"There are a lot of things I wish I could change. He needed a father, but I couldn't see that."
"Just like he needed a big brother but I wasn't interested. At least, not until after he was gone. I guess that saying is true, you don't realize what you have until it's gone."
Bruce laid a hand on Jason's back when the boy twitched and clenched Bruce's shirt tighter in his small fists, "I just have to keep reminding him that this door is always open for whenever he wants to come home. I know it will never be the same, but I want to make it work."
"One day. Maybe tomorrow?" Dick was ever the optimist. Bruce started to let sleep over take him at the dream of having all his sons together under one roof, permanently.
However, it felt like not 30 seconds later that he had Tim sneaking into the room. "What's wrong Tim?"
Tim's eyes were wide and his face paler than usual. He had another nightmare. "I-I just … um …"
"Here, Timmy," Dick patted the space next to him. The teenager slid in next to his older brother and relaxed at having his family surrounding him.
Bruce had almost fallen asleep again when he felt a presence hovering next to him. "Damian? Bad dream too?"
"-tt-" Damian crossed his arms and looked away, Bruce couldn't tell in the dark if his son was blushing, "I was simply curious about this spontaneous sleepover in your bed Father."
"Well, it is spontaneous. We're just missing one more. You're welcome to join us."
Damian eyed the two men, one teenager, and one small child all piled onto the king-sized bed. He climbed over his father's legs and wiggled himself in between Bruce and Dick.
"Glad you could join us Little D," Dick mumbled sleepily. Damian chose not to respond and all five people in the bed fell asleep.
Dick was promptly woken around 7 am by having Jason land on his stomach and knock the wind out of him. He groaned in annoyance.
"Morning!" Jason chirped.
"Jay? What -?" Jason scrambled off Dick and woke up Damian by accidently kicking him in the solar plexus. Tim grunted next to him when Jason's leg got tangled in the bed sheets and he tripped right on top of Tim's chest.
"Todd!" Damian snapped as he rubbed at his chest, "What are you doing?"
"I'm hungry," Jason whined, "Daddy said I can't eat until everyone gets up!"
Tim, Dick, and Damian all glared at Bruce who had just stepped out of the closet fully dressed. Bruce chuckled at their glares, "Come on Jay, let's get you dressed for breakfast."
"Oh no you don't!" Dick reached out to snatch Jason before the boy walked over him again, "I think you deserve to be punished by the tickle monster!"
Jason laughed and squealed as Dick assaulted his stomach. His legs squirmed every which way and his hands tried desperately to push away Dick's fingers.
"No, no, no, no!" Jason reached behind him and grabbed a small throw pillow that he used to deck Dick right in the head.
"Hey!" Dick raised his hands in defence but Jason continued to assault him with the pillow. Dick picked up his own pillow and threw it at the boy, only to have Jason duck and let the pillow smack Tim right in the face. "Timmy …"
The look on Tim's face was dangerous as he raised the pillow above his head. Feathers flew everywhere when he brought it down on top of Dick's head. Jason exploded with laughter and jumped up and down on the bed, trying to catch the soft, white feathers. Damian expressed his discontent with Jason stepping all over his legs by smacking the boy in the stomach with another pillow.
Jason sat up and grinned from where he had been knocked over and threw one of the pillows spread haphazardly across the bed. If there was one thing that the Wayne boys had in common, it was a tendency to never back down from a fight, no matter how ridiculous.
The four Wayne boys headed down for breakfast after the feathers had been pulled from their hair. Barbara arrived – to Jason's delight - just after finishing breakfast and they went down to the cave where Zatanna was waiting. Alfred had set up one of the medical cots for Jason to sit on and they crowded around as Zatanna pulled out her wand.
"Okay Little Wing? Remember what I said about magic? Well, Zatanna is going to perform some magic for you," Dick reassured the small boy. Jason was rather confused by the huge amount of attention he was getting but he didn't complain.
Zatanna perform some basic magic tricks that involved a lot of flashing lights and colors to keep Jason entertained before performing the real counter-curse. Jason was delighted by the little robins that she conjured out of thin air. Once the magic show was over, Zatanna packed up her kit, directed a pitying look at Bruce, and left the cave.
Jason let out a huge yawn and leaned over on Tim who had been sitting next to him the whole time. Zatanna warned that they had less than three hours before Jason would revert to his regular age and size. The first symptoms were tiredness followed by passing out.
"You look exhausted kiddo," Bruce tried to keep his voice steady as he picked his son up, "How about you have a quick nap. That pillow fight took a lot out of you."
"I'm not tired," Jason mumbled in denial of his eyes drooping closed. Bruce carried the child upstairs to his room, Alfred following behind. They completely undressed him and place Jason under the covers. Alfred turned to leave the room but Bruce paused.
"I think I'll stay here," and Bruce sat down in the chair beside Jason's bed. Alfred nodded and closed the door behind him.
For the next three hours, Bruce sat leaning on his knees with his hands clenched into fists as Jason went through fourteen years of growth. His bones cracked as they grew and reshaped themselves and his body grew larger under the covers. The skin on Jason's face tightened and stretched as the facial bones restructured. His face lost its baby fat, his cheekbones became more pronounced, and the angles of his jaw were sharper. Jason twisted and moaned but did not wake up throughout the process and Bruce was thankful for that.
About three and a half hours after Zatanna cast the counter-curse, Jason woke up.
"Oww …" Jason gently wiggled in bed and opened his eyes to stare at the ceiling.
"Jason," Bruce's face popped into his vision, "How do you feel?"
"Ow!" Jason jerked in surprise and winced at the pain that racked his body, "That shit fucking hurts! Don't scare me like that Dad!"
Bruce blinked in astonishment and his hand paused just inches from his son's shoulder. The last time Jason had called him Dad – excluding his time as a child – was just before his death. But the grown Jason in front of him seemed oblivious to Bruce's surprise and was cataloging the pain in his body.
"What the hell happened? I feel like I got run over by a train. Last thing I remember was … going to bed in my safe house. Why am I back home?"
His heart jumped into his throat but Bruce forcefully swallowed it down. That was the first time since Jason had been resurrected that he referred to the Manor as home. He reached over and placed a hand on Jason's shoulder which the young man didn't shrug off, "There was an accident with some magic. You've been out of commission for almost two weeks."
Jason rubbed his forehead as he considered Bruce's words, "Magic? You mean that crazy-ass wizard? His spell actually worked? I guess that's why my head is such a mess."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it feels like my memories are out of order or something. Like time is screwed up," the young man furrowed his eyebrows as he concentrated on determining what was bothering him so much.
"I can explain," Bruce leaned back in his chair and gave his son a steady look, "when you took the spell for Damian – which I am very thankful for – there was some damage done to you. You were de-aged by fourteen years to the age of five, both physically and mentally. It took some time to discover the counter-curse since ancient Gaelic spells are not Zatanna's specialty so you have been at the Manor for nearly two weeks. Following Zatanna's recommendations, we left your memories alone as we feared that could cause further irreversible damage."
Jason stared, "So that's why I have memories of everyone else being so much older than me and why I somehow lived with you and my Mom when I was five?" At Bruce's nod Jason flopped his head back on the pillow, "Fuck my life."
"Jason," Bruce gripped the young man's hand in his own, forcing Jason to look at him, "I know we have our differences and I know that you have gone through so much because of me, but I want you to know that this door is always open if you ever want to come home."
Jason studied his face, "I told you this before, you have this problem with guilt. Just so you know, not everything is your fault. I make my own choices."
"You do," Bruce agreed, "but you make those choices from this feeling that I have wronged you. And I have. I should have seen that you are not Dick, who had two loving parents. Rather than a mentor, you needed a father. I couldn't see my failings until after I lost you and this past week has just made them all the more clearer. I know that I am asking a lot of you, but Jason, please give me another chance to be your father. I love you, son."
Jason blinked furiously and gave a watery smirk, "You are totally taking advantage of my confused memories aren't you? Fine … but don't screw it up! And I'm going to need some space-" Jason broke off when Bruce pulled him into a bone crushing hug. Shocked by Bruce's complete disregard for his personal space, Jason hesitated before wrapping his arms around his father and returning the embrace. "Thanks Dad."
Bruce pulled back and smiled – smiled! – at Jason. He hadn't seen that expression on Bruce's face in a long time, "I really like hearing that, except you were calling me Daddy."
"I know you worked hard on your tough guy reputation –"
"What the hell did I do?"
"Hey Little Wing!" Dick sauntered in unannounced and leaned against the bed's headboard. Tim, Damian, Barbara, and Alfred crowded in at the door. "How ya feelin'?"
Jason glared, unimpressed by Dick's poor attempt at a Bowery accent. "Like my brain had been thrown in a blender and then squished back in through my ears. How do you think I feel?"
"-tt- some things never change, Todd," Damian crossed his arms and smirked, "Your attitude for one."
"Like you're any better, Damian!" Tim turned back and smiled at Jason, "You were all right as a kid, but I like you better all grown up."
Dick pouted and jumped on the bed to pull a protesting Jason into a hug (Tim thought it looked more like a headlock), "Speak for yourself! You were so cute Jason! All obsessed with cars and food and Bruce. And that time when you followed Batman around the cave, stepping on his cape, you were like a little duckling!" Jason was slowly turning red and Tim couldn't figure out if it was because of embarrassment or Dick's arm around his neck.
"Perhaps you should release Master Jason so he can breathe, Master Richard." Dick sheepishly loosened his headlock and Jason leaned back to catch his breath. "I am glad to see you are back to normal, Master Jason." Jason couldn't tell if Alfred was lying or not but he thanked the old butler none-the-less.
"Jason, come have lunch with us," Barbara requested, "It has been a long time since we were all together."
"Fine, but could you give me some space here? I'm kind of going commando," Jason gestured to his lower body that was thankfully still covered by his bed sheets.
Bruce started herding the others out the door when Jason called out: "By the way, Barbie, I have a very important question to ask you since I'm all grown up!"
Barbara blushed and Dick paled to the amusement of the others, "Jason! Don't you dare!"
"Why?" Jason called back at Dick, the sound of a smirk in his voice, "Afraid she might actually say yes?"
"No!" Dick denied quickly, "I just don't want you bothering her!"
"Just because you're a coward doesn't mean I have to be, Dickhead! Barbara! Wanna be my girlfriend?"
"Babs! Don't answer that!"
"What? Why don't you let her decide for herself?"
"You little twerp!"
"Bigger than you! In more than one way … Dick!"
In a rare moment of camaraderie, Tim and Damian shared an exasperated look. "Jason's trolling again," Tim sighed.
Damian snorted, "Like I said, some things never change."
Bruce hid a smile as he stepped in to break up the argument before it escalated. Although he could do without the fights, it was a dream come true to have his prodigal son home and his family together under one roof. Perhaps he did get his second chance after all.
For once, Jason and Bruce can have a happy ending. Whether it would stay that way is anyone's guess. I'll just leave them be for now.
I have a Jay and Babs one-shot in the works. Nothing romantic but definitely more emotional. It should be coming out soon for anyone interested. As for other fics ... I have some ideas ;)
Tell me what you guys are thinking by leaving a review.