{where are all the goddamn knives?}

"Oh fuck."

See, this was why Jason didn't work with the Bats. Or, well… one of the many reasons. The fact that he'd been injured meant that he just had to be dragged back to the cave. And waking up in his old room? It was like waking up in a fucking tomb. Untouched after so many years of being uninhabited. The damn posters were still tacked to the ceiling above his bed, and the stacks of old CDs he thought he'd never see again were just as disorganized as they'd been when he'd left the room that last time. It seemed Alfred hadn't had the heart to touch them. His bookshelf was still the mess of leather and paperbacks, spines cracked over and over from excessive reading. After awaking in his old bed, he'd nearly forgotten for a split second. The familiarity had been too much.

Of course, it all came flooding back to him like a disembodied soul pervading the shriveled corpse of a fifteen year old fuck up.

He bolted out of bed, and gave an involuntary shriek as he crashed to the ground, his left leg buckling with pain and giving way, unable to support his weight. His hands flew out to break his fall, and a string of curses flew off his tongue before he could even gather his bearings. His heart rammed against his chest, and he swallowed hard as he gritted his teeth, pushing himself to his knees. When he looked at his left leg, it was bound in gauze. His head was pounding, and he groaned in spite of himself.

Jason was as pissy as expected.

When he struggled to his feet, he wound up hobbling to his old desk. It wasn't dusty, which didn't surprise him, but there was a notebook laid open beside his old laptop, and a book was open beside it, laying face down with its bookmark set aside. As Jason leaned against the desk for support, he stared down at the notebook, and his breath hitched a little. English notes. God, if I had known

Jason limped to his door, pushing away from his desk and shaking his head profusely. No use dwelling on it. He'd died, and that was that. The unfairness of it was as bitter as the bite of steel, but even so, it had happened. Jason knew that he hadn't been a bad kid, no matter how warped he'd made the image of his past self look. He knew that he'd been happy, and he'd been good. Genuinely good. He didn't play hookie (too much, anyway), and he did his homework, and he got good grades, and he had just tried so hard. It had never been enough. It never would be.

Not that it even matted anymore.

"Ow," Jason hissed, grappling at the railing as he reached the landing of the staircase. "Okay, fuck, ow."

He could hear a vaguely distant chatter of voices coming from the dining room. Jason stood for a few moments, his eyes adjusting to the pale white-gold glow of morning sunlight streaming through the windows, gleaming against the hard wooden floor of the landing. It felt surreal. Like stepping into the past. Nostalgia was a creeping spider of a thing, with spindly legs twitching and lurching, spinning a web of expectations and disappointment. Longing for the past would do nothing for him.

Jason moved at an agonizingly slow pace. When an injury actually impaired him, it was a special kind of torture. Feeling helpless left a bad taste in his mouth, and he hated it so much. It was a reminder that he would always be the weak one. He wasn't a weak little boy anymore, desperate for attention, and this wasn't his home, and this wasn't his family. It was just a stupid dream for a stupid child, and nothing was ever going to change.

He stood in the doorway of the dining room, leaning against the doorframe to take the weight off his injured leg. The scene before him was insanity. Actual, absolute insanity unfolding in a loud, obscene fashion across the dining room table. It was like everyone in the world who he didn't want to see right now had decided to plop themselves down and dine for the shits and giggles.

"Give it to me, Brown!" Damian was snarling, half thrown across the table to grapple at the air around Stephanie's fingers. Dick was holding the boy around his chest, dragging him backwards. Jason felt a little dizzy just watching them. Cassandra was the first one to notice him, and she made immediate eye contact. Jason didn't know that the girl was still living at the manor. And Tim had moved out, hadn't he? And Jason knew for a goddamn fact that Stephanie had never lived there.

"What the fuck?" Jason blurted. Dick raised his eyes to Jason's, and he smiled weakly, still trying to wrangle Damian. Tim raised his head to glance at Jason, and his expression remained unchanged as he took a bite a piece of bacon. His face looked very bored, and very punchable. Fuck, why wasn't there any knives on the table…?

"Morning, sleepy head!" Stephanie chirped, twisting in her chair to face Jason. He noticed she had an ipod in her hand, and he could only guess that was what Damian was so angry about. "Have a rough night?"

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Jason asked, his brow furrowing. He almost flushed for his slip up. "What the fuck am I doing here?"

"Well, we're all eating breakfast," Stephanie said.

"Attempting to, at least," Tim added. "You can leave, Jason. You're only here because you weren't waking up, and we just logically opted to put you in your room."

"Not my room," Jason growled.

"Well, it was," Tim said offhandedly, pushing his scrambled eggs around his plate.

"Well it isn't anymore," Jason snapped, gripping the doorframe to keep himself upright. "So shut the fuck up, Replacement."

"Jason, calm down," Dick said, finally getting Damian to settle down in his seat. "Steph, give Damian back his ipod."

"I just want to see what he's listening to," Stephanie whined. "God, the little monster is so touchy."

"I will personally see to the maiming of your fingers, Brown," Damian said darkly, his eyes hollow and narrowed at the girl's face.

"Try it, brat." Stephanie took a large bite of her waffle, and chewed obnoxiously at the boy. Dick had to slam his hands down on Damian's shoulders to keep him from leaping again.

"Sit," a soft voice said from beside him. Jason jumped, nearly toppling over as he glanced at Cassandra, who had risen from her chair to stand at his side, her sharp black eyes watching him curiously. "You're hurt. You should sit."

"No thanks," Jason sneered. Cassandra was the one he knew the least. Dick and Barbara had been there when he'd been Robin. Essentially, he felt the most connected to them, though he hated to admit it. Sometimes he even stopped by Barbara's apartment to just… chat with her sometimes. He brought coffee, and she let him sit at her table and talk. Tim was probably the one he was most acquainted with, though… not in a great way. Jason couldn't even say he hated the kid anymore. He didn't even feel bitter. He just felt utter apathy for the boy who had replaced him. He didn't regret the numerous times he tried to kill him, though. The kid had it coming. Damian and Stephanie he knew from various interactions, usually fights against him, but hey, they'd had their share of team ups.

Cassandra, though? Jason was pretty sure this was one of their first meetings.

"C'mon, Jay," Stephanie teased, waving him over. "You might as well, I mean, this concerns you too!"

"Someone get me some fucking crutches," Jason said, scowling at the girl's back. "Or else I'm crawling home, you assholes."

"Jason, they're right," Dick said, plopping down beside Damian, who was still glowering at Stephanie, his little body shaking with rage. "Sit."

"Fuck you."

"Just sit down," Tim said. He met Jason's eye, and he shook his head in disbelief. "It's not going to kill you."

"You'd be surprised how low self-preservation is on my list of priorities." Jason scowled at his replacement. "Also y'all drive me fucking insane. Like, literally. You sent me to Arkham, you bastards."

"You're better now," Stephanie pointed out.

"Oh, don't make me shoot you, blondie."

"Please do," Damian piped up, sounding far too eager, and yet his voice was low and glum.

"Shut up," Stephanie said, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "You'd be lost without me, kid."

"Shoot her," Damian said, staring at Jason with widening eyes. "Do it."

"He doesn't even have a gun," Stephanie scoffed. "Tough luck."

"This is the most dysfunctional breakfast I've ever had," Tim said dryly, smirking a little between the two of them. "Bravo."

"Shoot Drake too."

"No one is shooting anyone!" Dick gasped, holding his hands out in distress. "Jason, sit down!"

"Make me, Dickie," Jason taunted, finding himself grinning a feral grin.

Cassandra, with a shocking amount of strength, scooped him into her arms.

"Holy fuck—" Jason gasped, his limbs flailing a little in shock. The girl was easily almost a foot shorter than him. And she deposited him on an empty chair with no effort, her eyes narrowed at him. She pointed at him, and prodded his chest with very little force behind it. Is this chick even human, holy shit…?

"Stop that," she demanded. She rounded on Stephanie, and yanked the ipod out of her hands. "You too."

"Aww," Stephanie said, pouting a little. "C'mon, Cass, we were only joking."

"You were," Damian said, snatching his ipod back. "I, however, am completely serious. Never touch my belongings again, Brown."

"You're such a Dami Downer," Stephanie said, resting her chin in her palm with a bored expression.

"Dami Downer," Dick repeated, glancing at Damian.

"No," Damian said, his jaw clenching.

"Dami Downer." Dick grinned, blocking a swat from the boy. "Oh, I like that."

"Are we not going to talk about the fact that this five-foot-nothin' girl can fucking bench press me, the heaviest fucker here, or…?"

"I'm taller than that," Cassandra said. Jason stared at her blankly. It wasn't said matter-of-factly. It was just an absent observation. Jason blinked as a plate was set in front of him, and he looked up at Alfred. He felt a little sick to his stomach from apprehension and fear and confusion. He didn't like this. He didn't like feeling like this. He didn't like the nostalgia and the creeping and the horrible knowledge that this would all be torn away again.

"Good Morning, Master Jason," Alfred said, smiling down at him. Jason couldn't help the creeping feeling of warmth that spread through his chest. He had to look away.

"Yo," Jason said quietly. He gave the old man a two finger salute, not knowing what else to do. He could feel Tim staring from across the table.

"Cass is built like a tank," Stephanie said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You just can't tell because she's like, the tiniest thing in the world."

Cassandra gave a shrug. She was staring at Jason, which was making him very uncomfortable. He decided to ignore it. "Okay, whatever," he sighed, running his fingers through his hair. It felt too shaggy, and he grimaced as it curled around his forehead. "What the hell is going on here, exactly?"

"We're discussing a matter of utmost importance," Stephanie said, her voice going low as she mimicked someone else's voice. Damian's, most likely, if the faux scowl-like pout was anything to go by.

"The most fun time of the year," Tim said, waving his fork around. "Yay. You're actually sane enough to join in, for once."

"I'm going to stab that fork into your eye if you say another goddamn thing about my sanity," Jason said, his nose scrunching in distaste.

"Is that extended to everyone?" Dick asked, staring down at his phone. "Because Babs— who I'm about to skype, by the way, so heads up— just asked how crazy you were when you woke up."

Jason stared at him incredulously. "I can't stab Barbara if she's not here, you moron." He winced as he heard the soft beeping of a skype call being initiated.

"Hey, Babs," Dick said, smiling down at his phone. He whirled the phone around the table. "Everyone say hi!"

There was a strange, half-glum, half-energetic chorus of, "Hi, Babs." The woman looked rather shocked, and she gave an awed sort of smile as her eyes lit up from behind her glasses. She waved. Stephanie and Cassandra and Tim waved back, while Damian and Jason slumped into their chairs. Alfred was standing behind Jason's chair, and when Jason looked up, he saw the old butler smiling.

"Oh, wow," Barbara said, her voice a little soft from the audio of the phone. "All of you are there. If I had known, I would have stopped by."

"It wasn't planned," Tim said. Dick moved the phone to him. He took it, and he shrugged. "We were all fighting together last night, you know, for once, and then… well, Jason got hurt."

"Yeah, how did that happen?" Jason glanced down at his leg, moving it to and fro idly. "Did I hit my head too?"

"Bane tried to use you as a battering ram," Damian said, giving Jason a strange look. He was smirking, Jason realized. "Pathetic."

"Um." Jason rubbed his head, and he winced as he touched the bandage around it. "Ow. Okay, that explains the headache?"

"I bet," Dick said.

"Anyway, we all decided to crash for the night," Tim said. "Also, with Bruce away it's kind of perfect timing."

"For what?" Jason's eyes narrowed at the boy in suspicion. "What are you little shits planning? I want out."

"You're already in too deep," Stephanie whispered, her fingers fluttering, as if she was telling him something spooky. "We'd have to kill you."

"You're welcome to try."

"It's very tempting," Damian said.

"You don't want to be here," Tim told Barbara, his eyes wide. "It's a dysfunction junction."

"Aw," Barbara said. "It sounds like fun. And nobody's tried to kill anyone yet?"

"Almost," Jason called over the table.

"Nuh uh," Stephanie said, snatching the phone from Tim. "Come on, Barbara, we're much more mature than that. Give us some credit."

"You and mature do not belong in the same sentence, Brown," Damian said.

"Yeah?" Stephanie asked, her eyebrows rising. "Just because you're a little grandpa doesn't mean we all have to be grumpy all the time!"

"Jesus fucking—" Jason groaned, slapping his forehead in frustration. "What the fuck is going on?"

They all glanced at each other for a few moments. Dick was the one who spoke, his smile strangely subdued. Still bright, but… subdued.

"We're going to throw Bruce a birthday party," Dick said, looking a little sheepish.

"So don't screw it up, Todd," Damian said, his eyes flashing dangerously. "Or else."

Jason sat for a moment, utterly stunned. Bruce's… birthday?

"Um, oh," he said softly, blinking rapidly. "Fuck."

This was so cute, and fun to write too, I just can't!

No, I won't write about Bruce's birthday. Use your imaginations about what happened, please. =]

Another prompt filled!