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Pain.

the first thing he felt after coming to again, agony; his arm was definetely broken, that was sure. and there might be something wrong with his neck, besides the fact that he was being pulled along by his helmet for gods sake, still he needed to fake the illusion of still being unconcious if he was to ever get out of this

it all came to him again, finding out about willis, penguin, his confrontation with the bat, and... oh god, they were gone weren't they? artemis and bizarro, gone

because of his inability to do anything, because of him letting his anger get the best of him once again
and because of the man currently dragging him off to presumably arkham, maybe blackgate. hell it wouldn't suprise him if batman handed him over to waller personally the man, protector of gotham, had prioritized beating his son over saving the lives of two bystanders

Jason felt the familiar pull of the pit boiling inside him, and fought to keep it down
it would do him no favours to go on a rampage with his body this damaged

as they came to the edge of a roof, he felt batman's grip loosening

this was his only chance

using strenth he didn't know he possesed, he bolted upright, ignoring the way his back screamed at him. and pulled out one of his pistols, batman turned around in record time, but he wasn't fast enough, as he came face to face with the barrel of a gun resting between his eyes, he remained stoic. staring down the barely standing jason brandishing the pistol

"Jason." he growled, unmoving as the gargoyles that littered gotham's rooftops "put the gun down." there was that tone again, he was close to snapping once more. only this time Jason was prepared, he took a wobbly step back, putting distance between him and the batman

Jason smirked despite the agony he was in "cowl off" he said. the man opposite him made no move to do such a thing

Jason huffed, "alright fine, the pointy ears stay" Jason took another step back and flinched as he put more pressure than he'd liked on his right foot (that's broken too) he thought. he didn't have that much time to think about it however, as batman rushed forward. clearly hellbent on disabling the one weapon he thought Jason would have

he was wrong.

acting on pure instinct, Jason summoned one of the all-blades, a dangerous venture at the best of times, and now? well he was going to be feeling that for a while

he struck at the same time as batman did, driving his blade to the hilt into batman's shoulder

the older man collapsed almost instantly, clearly not having expected resistance of that calibre from the crippled vigilante

Jason however fell over, the backlash from using the all-blades when his body was in such a state being more than even he could handle
a roar of pain escaped him as he fell onto his back,probably further damaging the already fucked back he had

nevertheless he stumbled to his feet. taking note of the way batman struggled to get up

willing his body forward, he came to a halt not even a foot away from batman, he grabbed the cowl and ripped it off. revealing blue eyes, hardened with hatred staring at him

"see, was that so hard" jason said.

"why" jason blinked "what?" batman spoke again "why Jason, what are you doing?"

Jason blinked, "as if you don't already know B"

batman ignored him, "why did you shoot penguin"

Jason snarled at the question, "if you want to know, check the damn audio, I am not answering any of your questions B, not that you even care. seeing as you beat me to a pulp before asking"
turning around he struggled forward. before stopping again and levelling the most hate filled look he could at the person he once considered his father.

"you know what, I think I'll take this opportunity to get something off of my chest."

batman looked at his estranged son, face stoic. he was expecting a bullet, or perhaps another blade. he knew the blow wasn't fatal and help would arrive before he had the chance to bleed out, he simply couldn't say anything because it simply hurt too much, speaking with his shoulder in ruins and him focussing on jason instead of the creeping darkness at the edge of his vision

what he got was worse

"since you're too busy trying to stay concious to spew some self righteous bullshit about me being a fuckup, or a disgrace. failure even, you sure love to throw that one around" Jason spat out, vitriol evident in every syllable that permeated the very word

"fuck you B, fuck you for everything, since you always like to name the shit I did wrong. I guess I'll take this opportunity to offer counterpoints"

"first and foremost, you let that bastard live, after everything. after what he did to barbie, tim and me. you allow that monster to walk the earth, more than 3000 people have died because of that maniac, and you keep telling me it isn't worth it? you're either too far up your own ass or simply retarded if you still believe that!" by the time he'd finished he was screaming, the cowl he still clutched in his hand probably broadcasting the words he was saying to every single bastard and bitch on B's payroll

"also, you're a fucking hypocrite, so killing is wrong right? what about dick, when he beat joker to death huh? what about damian, although to be fair they get a pass for being your favourite and actual son respectively, Cassandra I can't fault because that shit must mess with her head, but what about barbara huh? you really think there haven't been any casualties because of her and her birds. or even Kate, she shot clayface and she's part of the team." tears were flowing freely, his voice getting louder and angrier with every

"hell you even put a bullet in darkseid didn't you? haven't seen you kill anyone since so what you told me that night was a lie wasn't it?"

bruce's eyes widened, he didn't think any of his children knew about that, apparently the worst one to find out had done just that

"but when I do it? what do you fuckers do? you slit my fucking throat, dick threw me in arkham next to the fucking joker, and even now you're so lost in correcting a mistake that you let my friends become a part of your vendetta against me." Jason didn't miss the way bruce's eyes grew wide. not that it stopped him "yeah B, there were people on that base, people you could have helped, instead you insisted in beating me so hard I can barely stay upright."

Jason sighed, his shoulders sagged and he thought about his next words, words that would hopefully forever seperate him from the family, or at least B

"here's what's going to happen, I am going to drag my ass off of this building, call in barbara and see if she can stand the sight of me long enough to patch me up a bit, grab my cash, and leave gotham. and this time I'm never coming back" Jason limped away, pausing on the edge of the building

"if you come after me, doesn't matter when, I will fucking end you"

and with that Jason was gone, using his good arm and his grappling pistol to clumsily get himself to the clocktower, leaving batman waiting for help on an abandoned rooftop free to think about the things said and left unsaid. and realizing what had happened

by the time red robin and robin made it to the rooftop, bruce had simply looked angry, obviously too hopped up on adrenaline to notice the gaping wound in his shoulder

he kept staring ahead, even as he blacked out, wondering about what to do next.

------------------------------------------------------------------at the clocktower--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason had expected the clocktower to be hermetically sealed by the time he got there, so imagine his suprise when the usual vigilante entrance was unlocked, keeping himself upright via the walls he made his way to the center of the operation, oracle's room. once he got there however he was greeted with an unexpected sight

barbara gordon was staring at him, her hand resting on a taser in her lap, stephanie brown; batgirl numero tres was eyeing him warily, she looked torn between helping him and scolding him

cassandra cain was another story

She looked livid, probably not far away from literally growling at him and protectively standing in front of the others "what are you doing here" barbara said, her voice dangerously level, as if a single wrong word could set her off.

Jasond held up his hand in a mock surrender, a bad move considering one of his arms was broken. and collapsed onto the ground, which ended up agitating his ankle and back because he screamed in pain, panting at the exertion he looked at the three in front of him. only to find that there weren't three anymore

Cassandra and Stephanie had ran off somewhere, if the faint sound of boots on wood was any indication. barbara however was still staring at him, her brow furrowed a bit

deciding to ignore her for just a moment he dragged himself over to the couch in the corner, climbing up on it with a lot of effort
looking over he saw barbara still looking at him, still lost in thought it seemed

he decided he had to do something to cut through the tension, because damn that staring was starting to get creepy

"I hope you don't mind" he grit out, and he didn't miss the way her eyes seemed to narrow. "but if you want me to move I have to say I cant"

that got a reaction out of her as she wheeled over to him, "what do you mean you can't move?"

"cmon barbie, you saw what batbitch did, I was lucky that that kick didn't take my head clean off," he grunted "does appear to have fucked with my spine however"

barbara's eyes widened, and she reached for the commlink, quickly giving orders for stephanie to call koriand'r
he looked up at her, and she took the questioning expression he had as an invitation for an explanation

"look if the damage is anything like what I'm expecting, you're gonna need alien tech unless you want to end up like me, she said motioning to her wheelchair, however I know supermanwould hand you over to bruce afterwards and starfire won't"

he nodded slowly "thanks" he said before drifting off into sleep.

once it was clear that Jason wasn't waking up any time soon barbara sighed, this wasn't good. she'd seen red hood put the bullet between penguin's eyes, but she'd also heard the audio

Jason had panicked, that was true; but she wasn't sure that she would have acted differently if she were in the same position. he'd let his anger get the best of him and accidentally revealed bruce's secret identity by extension, she didn't agree still and probably should hand him over once he's in no danger of becoming paralyzed

but still...

the visciousness with which bruce had gone after Jason had shocked everyone, she wasn't sure she would ever forget alfred's pained pleas for him to stop completely falling on deaf ears

(i was a fool for ever believing in you)

nor was she sure that Jason would forget bruce's words, that bridge might have been burnt, and not by jason as everyone had expected
but still, he was her little brother, well younger brother. and she would be damned if bruce's emotional constipation was going to destroy this family again
so a plan began to form. she'd honor Jason's request, but she'd require a failsafe if her plan was to work. as stephanie and cassandra stormed into the room again, she smiled

she'd found her failsafe.

first however was directing the two girls she'd taken under her wing

"cass, make sure he's lying down in a stable position, his spine is really messed up and I don't want to risk damage. cass nodded and went over to Jason, bringing with her a thick blanket in case she needed to prop him up.
in the mean time barbara turned to stephanie, who had worry and guilt practically dripping off of her if her body language was anything to go by

she took stephanie's hand in her own, "he'll be fine, Jason is one tough bastard. now how long did kori say it would take?"

Stephanie snapped out of her daze, "she said she can't be here in person but she'll beam up a healing chamber within the hour. apparently she's having an instruction manual translated into english as we speak."

"allright, well I guess I better say what we're all thinking, Jason isn't going back to the manor"

Cassandra, who had decided that Jason looked good enough and had instead tucked him in, chose that precise moment to speak up

"why?" Cassandra truly didn't get it, Jason had broken the one rule that came with the symbol, should he not be punished?

barbara sighed, "because I can't trust bruce around jason, and I can't trust jason around bruce, especially not after tonight" the situation is complicated and right now I'm siding with my brother over batman

stephanie nodded, cassandra however looked angry, she pointed to Jason's sleeping form. "he broke the rule, that symbol means NEVER KILL...... why would he?"
barbara sighed, of course Cass would take it badly, she was even more strict in her no kill rule than bruce; and nobody would blame her, she looked betrayed at one of her brothers having broken the most important rule that came with being a bat, even if that brother was the one who had broken it before

there was however one thing she didn't know

"Cass, the symbol of the bat means you don't kill, you're right about that. but that's not what the symbol's meaning is" cassandra's angry expresssion dropped, if only a tiny bitshe didn't speak up however, which allowed to barbara to continue.

"the symbol means you're part of the family, simple as that. the no kill rule is second to that. it means familyto jason too, and bruce knew that."

Cassandra paled a bit, she had not thought about that, did that mean that?-

"Jason not family anymore," she quietly spoke

barbara nodded solemnly, "as far as bruce is concerned, yes. Jason is no longer part of the family, but he'll always be my little brother." barbara's eyes went dangerously wet as she spoke

Cassandra shook her head. "no, Jason still big brother" that got a chuckle out of barbara and a snort out of stephanie, as jason stirred barbara instantly went into oracle mode she needed to create an identity for Jason fast and get him out of gotham once his body allowed it,

but then there was also her plan and the things she needed to set up for that

"girls, there's a stretcher in the surgery room, when the machine arrives use that to move him, we can't risk more damage to his spine." the two junior batgirls nodded

now she just needed to figure out how to get alfred to the clocktower.

--------------------------------------------------------------------an hour later, nightwing.----------------------------------------------

Nightwing was racing across the rooftops, trying to make it to the clocktower as fast as he could, with every step he took his anxiety grew
what if jason hurt them, what if they're injured, are they okay

those three questions repeated themselves endlessly in his head as he scaled the tower, coming up to the entrance he noticed a small puddle of blood laying on the ground

he was instantly on high alert as that blood probably belonged to Jason, and the only thing scarier than a pissed off Jason todd, was a wounded, angry and cornered Jason todd

He couldn't afford to hesistate however, as he burst through the door and took off towards oracle's computer room, navigating the corridors with ease untill he came to the door in question, steeling himself briefly he burst through the door and into the room, eschrima sticks at the ready for the confrontation to come.

only to find the three ladies he was worrying about looking at him

said ladies had their eyes locked onto him with varying degrees of wariness, from Cass' questioning gaze to Steph's angry one and Barbara's concerned look

"what is going on here?" he asked, putting the sticks away and moving closer

apparently that was the wrong thing to do as the girls instantly became defensive, Cassandra taking point whilst stephanie hung back, just in case

"woah," he held up his hands in surrender, "I'm not here to fight, I'm just here-"

"for jason." barbara spat, she looked pissed off, that was never something that bode well for the person under her glare
unfortunately enough, he was said person at this very moment.

Dick sighed, "yes. I'm here for Jason, B is at the cave getting patched up and I couldn't trust damian not to escalate the situation. tim wanted nothing to do with this, so I volunteered."

he looked at the girls in front of him, scanning for a sign that they would understand.

Cass crushed that hope with a single word

"why?" she was looking at him warily, and damn did dick hate that look from his younger sister,
she looked at him like a possible threat, and that was not something he enjoyed being viewed as.

'"You know why Cass, Jason broke the rule." dick tried to de escalate the situation by putting his hands up

Cass' eyes lost their steely gaze for but a moment, sadness clouding them, before they looked at him again, with anger this time
"Yes," she said. "But you will not take him."

Dick sighed. he hated playing the bad guy, still if he had to....

"Look I don't like it either but Jason broke the rule again, there need to be consequences"

he moved past Cass, trying to convince barbara. whilst he knew it was going to be hard, he had to try
a single look at her confirmed she was as, if not more adamant than Cass when it came to the topic

"Look-" he tried, but was yet again stopped before he could get a single word more out

"No, there's been enough consequences tonight, richard."

Dick flinched, that was not good, barbara only used his full name when she was mad at him, and right now? she looked like she was trying to incinerate him with her mind,nevertheless he didn't halt his advance, "look I don't like it either but he needs help."

barbara snorted, "yeah he does, and that's why I'm getting him out of here as soon as I can"
Dick stared at her for a good few seconds before his brain caught up with his ears, and anger flooded through him

"What is this? did he threaten you or something, why are you suddenly all protective of him, he's done horrible stuff, he's almost ripped the family apart multiple times, what is going on barbara? he tried to kill penguin in broad daylight! jury's still out on if he survives."

Cass and barbara merely glared at him, stephanie on the other hand.

Dick noticed it too late, one moment he was yelling at barbara, the next a fist connected to his temple and he went down, looking up he met the cold blue eyes of stephanie

"y'know, my dad is a villain, and he was a shitty father, but he didn't beat me half to death because of a broken rule." stephanie was winding up a kick to his stomach, but Cass stopped her

barbara sighed, "Dick, I don't care what happened with penguin tonight, not in comparison to what Bruce did to Jason, you heard alfred didn't you?" barbara's eyes began to flood with tears. "the way he begged bruce to stop? and he didn't stop, even when Jason was down, no he just kept beating him"

Dick looked at barbara, who was still desperately trying to hold her tears. and he recalled the words penguin had spoken before Jason had put a bullet in his head

"-and batman's, by extension." Dick's eyes widened, the realization of what had pushed Jason over the edge clear in his mind.

Barbara was crying now, and Dick went to comfort her, she pushed her head into his stomach, and uttered the words that would haunt him for a long time

"Bruce beat him harder then Joker ever did"

Dick's blood ran cold, a quiet "what" escaping his lips before he could catch it, he stumbled back and looked at barbara's eyes, desperately looking for any sign of a lie when he found none, the strenghth left his legs and he crashed onto his knees.

what do you mean?

"arm broken in 2 different places, cracked shoulderblade, torn muscles all across his body, dislocated shoulder
massive internal bleeding, 3 broken ribs, a cracked skull, broken ankle and foot, and spinal damage." she named the injuries as if they'd personally
happened to her, and Dick flinched at each new one she listed, his blood froze anew when the spine damage was listed

"what? is he-" he motioned to barbara, insensetive to be sure but he couldn't get himself to say the word

"no, it didn't come to that, but he wasn't far off from being paralyzed, he couldn't feel his legs," Dick, barbara was pleading with him now, and damn it if he wasn't starting to see her point, this was not going to go over well and would certaintly result in strained relationships across the family.

Dick sighed, "fine.... can I at least see him?"

Cass piped up at that, "you can, but he not awake, do not wake him." she walked to the other side of the room, opening a door and motioning for him to follow

He quickly made his way over to the room, and seeing Jason, scarred and bruised, laying underneath what he recognized as a tamaranian healing pod, he felt anger rising again this time however, it was at bruce.

He made his way out of the tower as soon as he could, but not before getting a piece of paper from barbara. he was told to give it to alfred, and alfred alone.
as he sped off into the night he kept wondering how it had all gone so wrong so quickly

--------------------------------the cave, later.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bruce grunted as Tim stitched up his the wound in his shoulder, it had fortunately been a clean cut, still Tim's stitching skills left much to be desired
Alfred had refused to even look at him, Damian was livid and insisted to go after Jason himself, and if Tim wasn't currently stitching him up, he would probably have told him to go fuck himself

the sound of an engine alerted him to Dick's arrival, he kept still as the sound cut off and rushed footsteps were heard across the cave

When Dick grayson appeared, seemingly without Jason, bruce was instantly on high alert

"Nightwing, where is he?" Bruce grit out as Tim yanked on his stitches, Nightwing said nothing, instead turning his gaze over to Tim

"Tim. you can go once you're done here, I need to have a talk with bruce," tim wordlessly nodded. finishing up the stitches and leaving the cave in a rush

as soon as the door closed, Dick was upon batman, eyes cold with fury as he kicked one of the medical cabinets, he made a mental note to clean that up later so alfred wouldn't have to

"What the fuck did you do to him bruce? this is a new low even for you," batman however ignored him and walked out of the infirmary, grabbing a sling on the way outDick was stunned at the sheer disrespect, he didn't even acknowledge what had happened.

storming off after the bat would do nobody any good, any other day he would've said fuck it to that logic and made sure that the emotionally constipated bastard was aware of what he'd done... now however, Dick simply walked out of the cave, looking for alfred.

after stalking through the mansion for a good few minutes he heard commotion from alfred's room. from the sound of it, afred was...

Dick's eyes widened, alfred was packing his bags? never mind bruce, the entire family would tear itself apart without the kind old man at it's heart
He opened the door, to find the butler indeed packing his bags.

:"Alfred..." Dick choked out, when the old butler turned around a small frown adorned his face. if grayson had seen any signs of crying from his grandfather, he didn't mention it

"I do believe, master grayson, that I taught you that entering a room without knocking is impolite." Dick gingerly nodded. even when the older man was obviously on the verge of a mental breakdown he still had time to enforce proper etiquette. a small smile spread across Dick's face at the notion, before he remebered why he was here

"Alfred, it's about Jason," he said as he pulled the paper out of one of the hidden pockets of his suit, alfred's eyes fell at the mention of the estranged grandson, though he still accepted the paper, his eyes somehow regaining a bit of a spark as he read it. stuffing the piece of paper into one of his pockets he started packing his bags with renewed vigor

"Alfred, you're not going to leave, are you?" Dick asked, his voice... fearful, the old man stiffened at the notion
"No, I am not master grayson, at least not permanently. I am merely taking a couple of vacation days, I reckon I could use a change of scenery due to recent.... events"

Turning around he saw master grayson still looking at him, this time the younger man's arms were open, clearly expecting a hug
rolling his eyes the older man obliged, do not worry master grayson, I shall be back in due time

take all the time you need, and with that Dick stood aside, allowing alfred to pack his bags into his old volkswagon beetle, with help from master grayson of course. and drive off towards his appartement in town, of course he had to take a detour first, after all he still had to check up on his grandson who was currently located in the clocktower.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, in the batcave--------------------------------------

Bruce was getting frustrated, He couldn't get into contact with oracle, black bat and batgirl had their comms off as well, and as for Nightwing, he was probably not going to get anything but a fight from him.

frustrated he leaned back into his chair, shutting off the batcomputer.

Bruce took his cowl off, rubbing his eyes, why couldn't things just go right once, first Selina left him, then he'd let his anger get the best of him when it came to Freeze, and now Jason had broken his rule again. He truly didn't know what to do at the time, and he'd lashed out more violently then ever before. Sure he regretted it, but right now finding Jason was more important.

suddenly, movement on one of the cameras caught his eye, was that?.. alfred's car
Bruce's eyes widened, he couldn't have, would Alfred really leave him. His heart broke a bit, surely the old butler wouldn't leave just like that
he was so dumbfounded that he didn't even hear the fuming nightwing making his way toward him untill it was too late, a fist connected with his jaw and one of the biggest fights he and Nightwing had ever had commenced.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------the clocktower----------------------------------------

Jason decided that yes, this was fucking awful. the second he woke up

first was the fact that there was a bright fucking light pointed straight at him.

second was the immense pain he was feeling, he wasn't sure where the new pain ended and where the old phantom pain began

but most of all, he felt tired, sadly enough sleep did not come for him fast enough, as the door slammed open, the harsh sound alerting Jason to the fact that yes, he apparently also had a migraine.

"fucking wonderful" he muttered as he slowly turned his head to the source of the noise

Stephanie Brown was, apparently the cause of his disturbance, with her hideous outfit and too damn bright smile, if she took notice of his discomfort, she ignored it. instead opting to walk towards him.

Jason struggled to sit up, even going so far as to accept stephanie's help when she offered it. He looked at her then, she was smiling sure, but it didn't reach her eyes in the slightest "Hi," he choked out, now Jason was expecting a slap, to get yelled at even more, hell even a hug was in the realm of possibilities

instead she simply put a hand on his shoulder

"you ok?" stephanie said

Jason shrugged, flinching a tiny bit. been better, feel like that clown prick worked me over once more, how are you?

Stephanie sighed, "well, I just watched my brother get beaten half to death, drag himself halfway across town, collapse on the couch with an offhand comment about spinal damage, and had to carry said brother over to an alien healing machine that printed out a list of injuries that's about as long as one of barbara's shopping list, so I'm not feeling too good at this particular moment in time."

Jason opened his arms a bit in response, she gladly accepted the invitation and lightly hugged him, careful not to agitate his wounds further

"I'm sorry steph" Jason muttered into her hair "I'm sorry that I made you go through that"

"s'not about me, ya big boob" she muttered into his shoulder, and hugged him a bit tighter

"steph, a bit too tight" he choked out as the pressure on his bones became a bit too much.

Stephanie snorted, but resleased him "if anything you should feel sorry for My poor back, you weigh too fucking much"

"Hey," Jason said slightly offended," I'll have you know 225 is a perfectly reasonable weight for a fit human being"

"for a guy a foot taller maybe, you're basically a brick shithouse, be glad we had cassandra on hand or I would've had to roll you into this room"

Jason laughed a little at that, mental image of batgirl rolling an unconcious man through a hallway was funny in his defense

"Where is Cassandra by the way?" he looked past Steph, looking to see if she was standing in the doorframe

"she's currently gathering your money," Steph explained, "you did want to grab your cash right?"

Jason laughed, "was only a matter of speech, most my money is on my bank account, though if she brings me cash it'll be easier to go off grid for a while"

Jason grimaced a tiny bit at the reminder that he probably wasn't welcome in gotham anymore. where would he go? maybe try going south? or maybe just leave the country entirely, he had always wanted to see scotland. maybe get a nice cottage up in those hills

a voice dragged him out of that train of thought

"About that"

his eyes fell on barbara, who was currently making her way towards him with something on her lap

"I have a proposition for you, Jason. I can set you up with a new identity to lay low, and maybe even do something you've always wanted to do."

she handed something in her lap to Jason, his eyes disappeared into his hairline

in however long he'd been asleep she'd gone and created an entirely new identity for him, complete with family tree, personal information, and even falsified diplomas, damn barbara was scary, if this is what she could do in a night he shuddered at what she could do in say a week

"Barbie, this is amazing!" he couldn't believe it, if he accepted her proposition he would finally have a life again, he kept reading detail after detail, immersing herself in the intricatebackstory she'd written, she'd strangely enough kept most of it the same, he was a child originating from an abusive household, who ended up living in the streets of gotham for years, before getting adopted by an older gentleman called.... wait that couldn't be right, he turned the paper over again, and his eye caught his new name

"barbie..."Jason drawled, taking note of the way both barbara and stephanie perked up

"why is that my last name?" he muttered, pointing to the name in question.

"because I thought it would suit your new identity better than your old name, Master Jason"

Jason's eyes snapped to the doorway, his blue eyes meeting the kind eyes of the single best person he knew, Alfred Pennyworth, for all intents and purposes the old man was the only thing Jason had ever had that resembled a grandfather- scratch that, alfie was his grandfather.

:"Hi alfie," he sheepishly waved, flinching a bit when the old man made his way towards him, alfred stopped a short distance in front of Jason

"As you can see master Jason, this document would ensure you don't have to spend the rest of your life destroying yourself, as you would legally be alive"
Jason nodded, it sounded perfect, or at least as good as, before he remembered something, barbara had mentioned this being a deal, not a gift, so what was the catch. Alfred obviously caught on to his look of uncertainty, "of course, as miss Gordon has said, this does come with a few conditions," Jason visibly deflated upon hearing that

 

aaaaand there it was.

Alfred however was not deterred in the slightest

"number 1. you will contact me or miss Gordon once a week"

jason hadn't expected that one, still he wasn't going to complain, y know gift horses and all that.

"alright that sounds reasonable"

"number 2. you will go to college and get yourself a degree, I believe literature still interests you, right?"

Jason blinked, he couldn't have heard that right, could he?

"number 3. you will make some time for this old man once in a while."

Jason looked at alfred, expecting the punchline to this obvious setup, instead he was met with a warm smile and a hand
"does that Sound reasonable, master Jason? "

Jason swept past the hand, swooping Alfred up into a fierce hug, and broke down

"t-thank you" he sobbed into the old man's shoulder, alfred responded by hugging Jason tight, patting his back.

"it's quite alright master Jason, it's quite alright."

Chapter Text

sherwood, ohio. the end of the summer vacation

"so, has anyone found somewhere to stay yet?"

"nope. this is why I said we shouldn't have left it this late."

"I suggested that first"

"shut up heather."

Heather Chandler sighed, this sucked, the heathers and Veronica were at Heather Chandler's house, discussing where they were going to stay whilst going to Remington college. as of now the results weren't looking too good, there were some places that they could stay, but they were ridiculously expensive, and since Veronica wasn't loaded like the rest of them, that was of course a no-go, even after the numerous "it's fine" and "I'll find something" 's that veronica had shovelled out in an attempt to convince the heathers to pick one of those expensive ones.

So, here they were. currently scouring the web for any trace of a couple of dorms at least moderately close to campus
and with they that meant Veronica and Heather duke, who were currently seated on the floor, Chandler herself was listening music whilst lounging in her bed, and Mcnamara was getting them all drinks

after a couple of minutes, Veronica was the first to crack, halfheartedly flinging her phone away and groaning,
"this sucks, we're probably never going to get a dorm in time" Duke, who had apparently also had enough of the constant searching,
shut off her phone and leaned back into the pile of pillows she was seated in

"So, what are we going to do? we could always try getting into one of the mixed dorms?" Heather Mcnamara suggested as she walked into the room, a tray of drinks in her hands

"NO!" said Veronica and Heather Chandler at the same time," I am absolutely not taking the risk of being stuck with kurt and ram for an entire year, thank you very much." Veronica nodded, agreeing with Heather Chandler on the subject of the idiotic jocks.

Heather Mcnamara went around the room, passing everyone their drinks, before settling in next to Veronica, phone in hand as he also started looking for a place to stay Maybe we can rent an appartment? heather chandler suggested, holding up a picture of an appartment in a nearby town

Veronica snorted, and Duke looked at her questioningly

"Yeah heather, that's not gonna work, not only do we not have the funds for anything close to campus, believe me I checked, but you and Duke over here haven't figured out the art of not burning toast, or the wizardry behind laundry"

Chandler rolled her eyes, "that was ONE time, and I was trying to be nice"

"You almost burned down my house! Duke shouted" before the four of them burst into giggles

"man that was such a shitshow, I'm still suprised at how you managed to set sugar on fire"

"god that smell, I thought your mom was going to kill us Heather" Veronica said before bursting into another fit of giggles

"Well at least I can make a good cocktail, unlike mac over there who thought adding an entire bottle of 151 rum to a bowl of punch was the correct measurement, I've never seen so many people that drunk in such a small time before, actually kinda impressive" chandler admitted

Veronica shuddered, "oh yeah I remember that one, didn't miss FLeming start singing dancing queen?"

"Yup" Mcnamara confirmed, "still not sure if I'm more impressed that she actually is nice whilst drunk, or the fact that she could sing"

"definetely the being nice part" Duke muttered, resulting in a chorus of "yes" from the other girls

"maybe we could just risk the commute and stay at home?" Veronica sheepishly suggested, a decent lie but something the heathers saw through immediately
"'Ronica, you're one of us now, and we stick together" Mcnamara said, giving Veronica a slight elbow in the side.
Veronica smiled at that, though the smile didn't quite reach her eyes. nobody commented on it, and nobody mentioned it if Mcnamara and Duke
suddenly leaned more into the tallest member of their group.

Chandler rolled her eyes, grabbing her phone, she started looking if there maybe was a way to get onto campus, sadly enough she didn't have enough blackmail to get kurt and ram out of their dorm rooms, and courtney was one of the few people that heather didn't look forward to fighting with, especially after the utter clusterfuck that had been their last year at sherwood high , when something caught her eye

"how many dorm buildings does remington have again?" she asked to nobody in particular.

Veronica answered quite quickly, I believe there's 10 houses in total might be one or two less
Heather turned her phone around, showing a map of remington's campus, with indeed 11 buildings pictured there
"it looks here like there's a new dorm. maybe we can go check it out?"

Veronica eyed the map warily, "I don't know Heather, seems kinda strange, seeing as nobody has been talking about it. it might very well be some elitist dorm room or even a prank" Heather merely shrugged, "worth a try at least, besides, we could stop for corn nuts on the way there."

"you and your corn nuts" Duke muttered from behind her copy of moby dick, Chandler side eyed the smaller girl

if anyone else had objections, they didn't voice them. Chandler took that as a sign of willingness, seeing as she walked out of the room in a hurry, beckoning the rest to hurry the fuck up or get left behind.

Chandler and Duke made it to the cars first, and after a quick argument, it was decided that Duke's car would probably be more suited to hauling around the four of them, not that chandler would ever willingly concede that point to Duke, she simply demanded shotgun in exchange. once they'd settled in began the long wait on Mcnamara and sawyer, who as per usual had forgotten where exactly they'd left all their stuff

Heahter groaned, this was going to take forever, didn't those two pillowcases understand that they'd be back here later today, there was literally no reason to grab all their stuff. Duke chuckled from beside her, elicting a glance from the redhead, Chandler wondered what it was going to be this time, insult towards the women in the house or suck up to her

"think they're fucking?" Duke suggested

Chandler blinked, apparently there was a third option now, make a joke, not something that would've come out of Heather duke a year ago,
then again, last year had changed a lot of things

"nah" Chandler quietly said, "she's probably still not over Jd" she spat out the name like it was the drain cleaner he'd tried to kill her with

Jd, the name itself stll brought back memories to one of the worst days of her life,
and that was including the day when Veronica puked all over her and when david and brad were present at remington parties

Duke noticed her lost in her thoughts, and sighed. "you're probably right, by all rights she should hate the bastard, what do you think?"

"I don't think Veroinca is capable of hating someone at all" Chandler said. "after all, she's trying to fix our merry band of bitches isn't she?"
Duke scoffed, "she's trying, and I'll give her credit for that. first one to actually give a damn"

Chandler nodded, that was somethign she and Duke agreed on, a thing that was strangely becoming more and more familiar as time passed
"duke?" she said. looking at the house where the other two were still running around after their stuff

"yeah" Duke muttered whilst looking on her phone.

"Start the engine."

"you're kidding right? are you seriously suggesting we leave them here?" Duke said, looking at Chandler Like she'd gone crazy

Chandler smirked, "just do it."

"alright" Duke huffed. and turned on the engine

the effect was instantanious

an ungodly ruckus was heard from within Chandlers house

"HEATHER WAIT DON'T LEAVE ME!!!!!" Mcnamara screeched as she bolted out of the front door

Chandler began mentally counting down

3

2

1

"aaand now" She spoke, earning her a glance from the other girls

"DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE!" Veronica roared from within the house, a couple of seconds later Veronica almost broke down the front door in her mad dash
once she saw Heather smirking from within the car however, Veronica merely flipped Chandler off

The other heathers glanced at eachother, before shrugging.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------half an hour later--------------------------------------------------------

The fact that Chandler had gotten shotgun be damned, the fact that they could possibly get a room on campus be damned, Chandler was never fucking stepping in Duke's car again, Looking at the back seat she could only imagine the sentiment was shared by Mac and Veronica, seeing as the former had gone pale enough to give a vampire a run for its money, and the latter had such a death grip on the.. what were those handles above the door called again? never mind, Chandler would be suprised if that thing hadn't bent, looking at the white knuckled grip Veronica had on it.

in summary

"WATCH OUT FOR THAT DUCK!" Mcnamara yelled, and the car was thrown a couple of meters to the left, launching Mcnamara through the car (she'd forgotten her seatbelt) and prompting Chandler to dig her nails further into her seat as Duke threatened the avian menace with various forms of torture.

yeah Duke's driving wasn't the best

an hour and several near death experiences featuring several other types of wildlife later they made it to Remington's campus, even now it was still mildly impressive, the sheer size of the campus

they went to ask for directions at the help desk, whose personnel simply told them to get into contact with JP, saying that his phone number should be on the site, blatantly ignoring the girls showing them that in fact there was nothing there, after half an hour of arguing Duke had gotten sick of the back and forth arguing, and had demanded the adress

and now here they were, looking up at an utterly gigantic frat house, well it was more of a mansion than anything, less vertical than the other houses yet wider
and as far as they could tell it seemed more or less abadoned, no lights were on in the entire building, at least no visible ones, the only sign of life was the small red light next to the front door, indicating an intercom that was on

"Maybe we could try the intercom?" Duke suggested

"Probably not going to work, I cant see any cars, so they're probably not here" Veronica said, pointing to the apparently empty parking spaces to the side of the house Mcnamara simply shrugged, "worth a shot" she said as she moved to get out of the car with haste
all eyes were on the blonde as she made her way over to the intercom, as it turned out, there was somebody home, seeing as the front door opened shortly thereafter and Mcnamara motioned for them to get out, after parking the car in one of the designated spots they made their way over to Mcnamara. who was still standing on the front porch

as the group made their way over to the front door, they were taking bets on the appearance of this mystery JP

"I'm telling you he sounds young" Mcnamara said, obviously having caught wind of the conversation from her place at the front door

"Maybe he's hot?" Duke suggested

"I mean he's all by himself in an outer corner of campus in a gated dorm, either he's a princess or he's ugly as sin" Veronica chuckled out

"Chandler snorted, as long as he isn't a creep" they all nodded at that.

"Well then, let's get this over with" Veronica muttered, and they all made their way into the house

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason did admit he was suprised when someone called over the intercom, even more so after someone had apparently asked about housing, he thought about it. He did own the building, which in no small part was due to his blackmailing of a couple of officials, so that woudln't be the problem. the question was, should he? He just wanted to finish college and look for jobs or not, he could always get back into vigilantism, only away from gotham.

but right now? he was going to read his book and talk to these people, who knows? maybe he'll actually find himself enjoying their company, besides this was a house that was a little bit too big for one guy alone so company might actually be nice, deciding not to think about it untill after he'd actually met the people he focussed back on his book

he thought about what he'd want to cook tonight, maybe something with rice? he also still had that piece of pork belly in the fridge, maybe he could-

BOOOM

that plan was abandoned almost as quickly as it had formed when he heard a crash in the hallway, with a sigh he got up to check the cause of said noise
as he rounded the corner he found it to have been.... a brunette woman who was currently lying face down on the carpet, with 3 other women standing right beside her in various states of laughter, the blonde in particular seemed to be having a hard time containing herself when faced with the other girls compromised position

the source of which appeared to be a box that he'd forgotten to pack into his bedroom, he'd have to check that later, now however he had more important things to do

the black haired woman at the back caught his eyes as he caught hers, he didn't miss the way she was eyeing him, he simply decided that he didn't care in the face of the human shaped lump clogging up his hallway, so he decided to make his presence known to the others

"uh, hi."

within a second all eyes were on him, the brunette scrambling to her feet in front of him whilst the redhead flinched and the blonde visibly jumped

Jason used that time to observe the four of them, curse his name or not, working with the bat made one notice a lot of things very quickly

height was the first thing he noticed, the brunette obviously being the tallest, even when she wasn't wearing heels like the others, the redhead was second
with the blonde and the raven haired girls coming third and fourth respectively.

the second thing he noticed was colour, as the four of them appeared to be colour coded, the brunette's outfit being dark blue jeans and shirt, with the other three having red, yellow and green dresses, he chuckled internally as he noticed their not so subtle resemblance to a traffic light.

guess he'd better ask if they wanted anything to drink.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

all eyes were upon the source of the noise as fast as they could, pairs of eyes widening as the house's occuppant made himself known, he was tall. that was the first thing everyone noticed taller than kurt and ram no doubt, the second thing was that he was built, broad in the shoulders and with massive limbs, his most interesting features however revealed themselves in his face. a tuft of snow white hair draped loosely over his forehead, and bright blue eyes looked at them confusion, even as Veronica bolted upright from where she'd tripped over her own feet and the heathers jumped in shock.

"Y'know, staring is impolite, the boy said with a huff of amusement before turning around and walking back the way he'd come.
turning the corner before anyone had even gotten the chance to get a word in

"anyone want some tea? he called out"

Heather Duke chuckled, "guess I was right", Mcnamara nodded along whilst Veronica did her best to hide her blush after having been caught in that very compromising position

Chandler smirked at the others reactions

"So who's calling dibs?"

"Shut up Heather...."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

a few minutes later everyone was seated in what appeared to be living room of the dorm, sipping away at tea in the mystery boy and Veronica's case, whilst the heathers were drinking water from their spot on one of the couches, Mcnamara eyed the room, it was gigantic, and appeared to have been customly decorated, if the gigantic chairs and couch were anything to go by. and eyeing the kitchen at the other end, probably more. The others were seated in silence, staring, some openly; others not so much, at the mystery person sipping tea on one of the multiple gigantic chairs

a content sigh escaped said person's lips as he set the now empty teacup on the coffee table. he looked around the room and started talking

"So I guess you'll be wanting to stay here the coming year? Name's Jason by the way."

Mcnamara caught a tiny flinch coming from the chair that housed Veronica, as Chandler simply continued staring at my- no, Jason with a curious expression
duke however caught on to the wording

"isn't there supposed to be an advert or something for this place, we couldn't find it anywhere" Jason merely chuckled
"that's because I didn't put any up, I was planning on keeping the place for myself this year, but if you're interested I could grant you all a room" he said
Heather Chandler frowned at the wording, but decided to keep her mouth shut, Veronica however, did not. standing up from her spot on the recliner she rounded on jason sitting in the other one, elicting a quirked eyebrow from the boy.

"And what's the catch here, because if you're trying to get some kind of harem out of this I'll tell you in advance you can go fuck yourself."
she huffed and crossed her arms, staring at the seated boy in front of her, the heathers looked between the two of them, Chandler reaching out to grab Veronica in case this escalated, which appeared to be exactly what was happening as Jason stood up, towering over the tallest member of their group with ease,
his expression unreadable. Veronica herself took a tiny step back but kept staring him down.

Mcnamara and duke were busy staring at Jason, who appeared to be struggling with something, was he about to start screaming and ranting at them?

suddenly, Jason's expression broke, a small grin appeared on his face as his shoulders started shaking, Mcnamara and Duke looked on in suprise, they'd expected anger from the boy

Instead, Jason simply started laughing. He was hunched over and his shoulders were heaving with mighty force as he laughed
It sounded more like a really loud chuckle than anything, but he was undoubtedly laughing his ass off, like he'd just heard a hilarious joke

"good god" Jason choked out, wiping a tear from his eye as he stared at the four girls, who were staring back at him like he'd gone insane
"did- did you really thing I was after some 13 year old's fantasy? fuck no! for all I care you guys move in tomorrow."

the four girls blinked, clearly not having expected that.

"what?"

"I mean I own this place, so it doesn't really matter" Jason said

"WHAT?!"

Jason sighed, "Name's Jason Pennyworth, I'm the current owner of this humble abode" he held out his hand at the girls, clearly expecting a handshake
Veronica stepped up first, "Veronica sawyer" she said holding out her own hand, which appeared to be.... shaking slightly? Jason raised an eyebrow, but took her hand regardless

"pleasure to meet you." Jason's eyes flicked over to the three girls sitting on the black leather couch

"anyone else? I cant keep referring to you three as a traffic light for the rest of the year can I?"
that got them to move, as the redhead stood up and extended her hand

"Heather Chandler," she said as she shook his hand

the green one was next

"Heather Duke," she said. as she shook his hand, Jason's eyebrows creased, that was odd, Heather wansn't that common a name was it?

finally, the Blonde stood up, extending her hand

"Heather Mcnamara, pleasure to meet you," Jason dumbly stared at her, as he took her hand in his

"You're not fucking with me, are you?" he thought aloud.

"Nope," Veronica said."they've actually got the same name, trust me, you get used to it after a while" she said as he looked at her with a questioning gaze
well now he'd have to think of nicknames for the three of them, would their colours work? oh yeah they'd first have to agree to live here before any of that could take place, and if that happened he'd have to clear out at least 4 rooms, maybe more if they had a lot of clothes, and even then would he have to buy four times the food and drinks he usually di-

"uhh, can I have my hand back?"

Jason's train of thought skidded to a halt as he looked at his hand, and the hand of Mcnamara that he was, in fact. still firmly grasping
He let her go quickly, muttering a quick apology as he racked his brain for the next cause of action

"alllright," he drawled out. "how long till school begins again," he said as he made his way over to the dinner table on the other side of the living room
motioning for them all to follow

"about 18 days," Veronica supplied after a while, fidgeting slightly with the hem of her shirt as she sat down opposite him, flanked by Mcnamara and Duke respectively as Chandler took a spot at the head of the table, Jason started asking them what kind of stuff they would bring and what he needed to buy for the house, completely ignoring the meek protests from Veronica that they could arrange it themselves and that he needn't trouble himself, Jason huffed at that,

even if he hadn't wanted to help them alfred would have his head if he didn't.

Jason went over the list," so, four beds, four closets, and some desks or nightstands for your rooms? I'll see what I can do, I'll probably have the stuff this time next week, so we can go over room placement and the like then? does that sound good? "

the four of them nodded.

Jason leaned back in his chair, balancing the thing on its back two legs as he looked them all over once more

"So, anything else you guys want to ask me?"

"What will it cost us?" Duke asked, Jason grinned at that, straight to the point. he liked that

"Well, seeing as I own the place, and I don't really need a source of income at this point in time, how bout nothing?"

"What?" the girls chorused

Jason rolled his eyes, "fine, if you guys insist on limitations I'll throw you guys a bone"

1. "the kitchen is mine, and unless you prove yourselves adept at cooking it's off limits"

2. "no drugs in the house, you do them somewhere else? I don't care, but if I see one of you popping pills or snorting coke I'll throw you out before you can utter the word sorry"

3. "if you're gonna smoke, do it outside, I really don't fancy having to repaint the walls. again"

Chandler scoffed, "how are we supposed to eat if we cant use your kitchen? you don't really expect us to get take out every day do you?"

Jason blinked at that, "what do you think? I'll cook"

Chandler laughed at that, "you? no offense but you don't seem like the type that can cook in the slightest"
Jason's eyebrows shot into his hairline at the accusation, without warning he stood up, and made his way over to the kitchen, grumbling to himself

Mcnamara elbowed Chandler, "what was that about? did you really need to piss off the guy who owns the place we're trying to stay in?"
Chandler huffed at that, "don't be such a pillowcase, I'm merely making a joke, if he can't handle it it's his fault, besides." her eyes flicked to veronica, who was still a bit pale "ah never mind." Her eyes met Duke's, and from her expression Chandler got the idea that Duke knew the sentence left unsaid

Veronica suddenly spoke up, "why were you hackling him anyways? didn't we go over the fact that you set sugar on fire like an hour ago?"

Chandler blushed. "shut it you pillowcase"

Suddenly Jason called out from the kitchen

"Hey, have you guys eaten yet?"

Chandler frowned at that," no. why?"

"What time do you guys need to go home?" Jason called out again

Chandler opened her phone, the time read 16:24, so still a good few hours till they needed to go home

"Couple hours, why?"

"alrighty then, wanna stay for dinner? I'm making pork belly"

Chandler looked at the others, Veronica shrugged, whilst Duke mouthed a "why not" and Mcnamara nodded

"alright then." she called out, "how long is it gonna take?"

"about 2 hours," so make yourselves comfortable, WIFI password is on the router next to the TV. Jason called out yet again
Need some help? Mcnamara asked, Jason appeared in the doorway moments later, a pair of onions in his hands

"depends, can you cut some of these without crying?"

Mcnamara gasped, "and ruin my eyeliner? never"

Jason chuckled at that, and motioned for her to come with him

based off of the fact that she didn't walk out again. she was probably proving herself useful

Chandler turned to the other girls, who were eyeing Chandler questioningly

"So what are we supposed to do?"

Chapter Text

A couple minutes later, the girls were snooping around the gigantic house, checking out the various rooms across the 4 floored building, so far they'd found 3 bathrooms, all with baths
and showers, a couple of empty bedrooms with walk in closets, as they scoured across the building they kept themselves busy by discussing their landlord

"He seems ok." duke admitted, as she opened a door to yet another walk in bedroom, probably the 3rd they'd come across in their impromptu quest to discover the house
Chandler snorted, "He does seem to at least be above kurt and ram, still needs to work on his sense of humor I think"

"Yeah" Veronica said. still a bit shaky from earlier, the way he'd towered over her was eerily familiar, too familiar in her eyes
she focussed herself on the Red and Green clad girls in front of her, lest her imagination gets the better of her

Chandler put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, you ok there?" Veronica looked at the redhead with a sad smile "not really, if I'm honest"
Chandler sighed, "alright, that's fine. just let us know if it gets too bad ok?"

"Yeah sure" Veronica pushed past them, Chandler and duke sharing a glance, before following the brunette

----------------------------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, in the kitchen--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"YOU'RE SUCH AN ASSHOLE" Mcnamara cried, running around the kitchen like a headless chicken in search of a way to get out of this pain
He'd lied to her, this was hell on earth. that bastard was going to get it good if she could get out of this situation

Jason on the other hand, was on the floor, trying to remember how to breathe as Mcnamara ran around the kitchen, apparently Ms. I like spicy food
couldn't handle a tiny piece of chili and was currently running around the kitchen like the hounds of hades were after her, if her screams were anything to go by
they were indeed after her, Jason didn't care at the moment of course, he was too busy trying to ignore the way his ribs started hurting from his laughter

He did however grant her a small mercy, he pointed to the cabinet that currently housed a gallon jug of milk, which she promptly bolted for and chugged like she was at a party as Mcnamara inhaled vast quantities of milk Jason pulled himself to his feet via the countertop, still chuckling he dared a glance at Mcnamara, who was currently glaring at him between gulps of milk, her eyes red and her mascara and eyeliner running down her face

He shook his head and sat himself down on one of the stools at the kitchen isle and hazarded a glance at the offending spice, reaching across the black marble countertop and grabbing the board that currently housed the source of his guest's pain. as he inspected the pepper closely, he made a discovery, one that brought another chuckle to his lips

"you didn't take out the seeds, didn't you?"

Mcnamara shook her head, jug of milk still at her lips

grabbing the knife on the board he carefully cleaned the inside of the pepper, using his knife to show her the white membrane and seeds inside of it

"these." he said, pointing to the contents on his knife. "are the spiciest bits of a pepper,
that's how you control the spicyness of a pepper, by leaving them out or including them"

"I'm still gonna kick your ass." Mcnamara said between gulps of milk, sighing he stood up and went over to one of the cubboards, pulling out two glasses

he set them next to Mcnamara, prompting her to pour the two of them a glass of milk

He sat down again, this time a bit closer to the blonde

he sipped his milk "so, I thought you liked spicy food?"

that comment got him another glare, "I do, I like taco bell, not that stuff."

Jason snorted, "Taco bell aint spicy, and you know it"

Mcnamara, who was halfway through chugging another glass of milk, pouted, sending Jason into another wave of chuckles, because she looked not dissimilair to a chipmunk "What's so funny?" she asked

"nothing, nothing." Jason said, shaking his head, he glanced over his shoulder to see that their interference currently wasn't needed, as the pork was currently slow roasting and the onion soup was boiling merrily

"Seeing as we're currently not needed here, I suggest we start fixing that jackson pollock painting of a make up job you currently have on your face" jason motioned in the direction of her face, a slight frown on his own face

Mcnamara gasped, pulling out her phone and confirming that, yes, she needed to redo her makeup entirely

"You're gonna pay for this" she semi-seriously threatened Jason because damn it now she was going to have to waste another hour of her day on makeup
then she realized that she didn't have her makeup kit with her and she panicked yet again

"oh no no no no no, what am I gonna do? I cant go out looking like this they'll laugh at me again."

"hey"

She whipped her head around, glaring daggers at the person behind all of this

Jason held up his hands in surrender, "don't worry, I still have a makeup kit around here somewhere, and luckily for you I somewhat know my way around makeup"

Mcnamara raised a brow, "why's that? you like to dress up all pretty?" she joked, putting on an accent

Jason stiffened a bit, that had sounded a bit too close to harley quinn for his liking

"nah, that's not the reason" he said

"g̡͜o̶̴od̨͜͏ ͢f̕o̢͡r̸ ̵̧h͢i͝d̸̨i͏̷n̵͢g ͞͠b̢͜r͜͞͝u͠i͏̢s͢es̢̛͢," a dark corner of his mind spat out

"I used to do my mothers makeup" he thought

"I just learned over time, I guess." he said

Mcnamara nodded, and he left to go search for the wayward makeup kit
am I forgetting something? he thought as he opened up a storage closet, there in a corner lay a basically brand new kit,
he'd bought it shorty before his banishment from gotham, and hadn't really found a reason to use it since

a small sting made its way across his body as he thought about gotham
shaking his head of the thoughts he made his way back, he could have those thoughts later

 

-------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, with the others---------------------------------------------------------

 

Veronica and the heathers were currently making their way through the third floor of the building, half because the house had taken a huge ammount of time to get through,with its size and all but mainly because heather and heather wanted to find Jason's room, thus prompting them to check every. single. room in the house she sighed as Duke opened yet another room, to her utter (not) suprise it was empty, just like the last 5 rooms they'd come
across, Chandler on the other hand was evaluating the decor, in other words she was judging him based on his personal tastes

she wasn't even sure why they were even so interested, he seemed ok, at least at the moment, but she still wasn't 100% behind the fact that they'd left Mcnamara behind with him, so she just continued slogging behind the extremely excited girls as they made their way,

and then the girls in front of her stopped, apparently they'd found the room they were looking for, with its door slightly ajar and what appeared to be a light on inside

"Should we go in?" Duke asked

"what's your damage, too scared to go inside now that we're finally here?" Chandler snarked back, before pushing open the door fully and stepping inside
for all she'd hyped up the room in her mind, this was. dissapoingint, a very large bed, possibly even king sized sat agaisnt the middle of the wall, two nightstands flanking it, honestly the only really weird thing she could see was the gigantic ammount of books stacked across the 3 shelves, a small desk with a pc sat in the other corner

as she stood there, duke took to examining the books

"Shakespeare, Tolkien, Nietzche, hell there's even history books here, seems like we've got ourselves a literature nerd" Duke smirked

Veronica chuckled, "seems like you've finally found a kindred spirit, huh?" Duke huffed and chandler laughed, Veronica's eyes travelled through the room, and she froze, something was moving beneath the blankets, and two bright eyes met hers

"guys, we need to go." Chandler scoffed, why should we, don't tell me you're getting cold feet right now?

"guys, please" Veronica pointed to the eyes peering out from beneath the blanket, as the heathers looked over, they too froze

"what the fuck" Duke muttered, as she slowly backed away, prompting the others to do so as well

suddenly whatever was underneath the covers moved, and the heathers bolted

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" they screamed, not one of them daring to look back at the creature on their heels

-------------------------------------------------about 10 seconds earlier, the kitchen-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mcnamara blinked in the mirror, she'd have to admit Jason had done a really good job on her makeup, as she turned around she was something in the corner of the of the kitchen

"Uhh, Jason" she turned to the man currently stirring the onion soup, why is there a dog bowl in the kitchen

Jason stiffened, before dropping his head in his hands

suddenly an almighty racket broke out upstairs, screaming was heard as the three other girls currently in his house tried their best to break down his stairs

at least, that's what it sounded like

"fffuuuccckkk" he groaned out

a few seconds later, the three girls all but flew into the kitchen. each bolting on top of one of the stools, and each of them spewing various curses at him, as Mcnamara looked on in confusion Jason merely walked out of the kitchen, and into the hallway

"what did you guys do?" she asked the currently quite pale and panting group, all she recieved were glares in return

"never mind" she said. shrinking away from the withering glares

her question was soon answered however, as Jason made his way back into the kitchen, something big in his arms

Heather gasped, before squealing as the ball of fluff turned to look at her

"PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

--------------------------------------------------a few minutes later, the living room------------------------------------------------------

they were seated in the same positions that they'd been earlier, only with a new guest among their midst

said guest being a 4 month old caucasian shepard puppy, currently enamoured with the three heathers seated on the couch, if it's yapping and whining was anything to go by, the heathers themselves were trying, and losing the will not to pick up the small fluffy creature and set it on one of their laps

Jason on the other hand was many things, annoyed that he'd forgotten about the young pup in his care, annoyed that three of the girls had decided to go snooping around his room, and kind of amused that a small puppy had sent them into a panic fueled sprint down the stairs

"Alright then" he huffed. instantly all eyes were upon him, except cerberus' of course, no the little rapscallion had taken to trying to jump on the couch of its own accord, with quite a low rate of succes, he might add.

"everyone meet Cerberus, he's my puppy, he's 4 months old and he's a caucasian shepard." the pup in question turned its head for a second when it heard its name, but soon resumed his climbing training, this time trying another route,
mainly up Duke's legs, who was gingerly sitting there and flinching a bit because damn this thing's nails were sharp

"you can pick him up, y'know" Jason said, and Duke obliged, picking the gigantic pup up behind its front paws and setting it on the couch next to her, to which the pup responded by simply
lying down next to her and going to sleep

"uhh, is he supposed to do that?" Duke asked, she'd had dogs before, normally they were almost too hyper to control at this age
however this one seemed to be completely content in dozing off next to complete strangers

Jason shrugged, "that's what I thought too, brought him to the vet and everyting, turns out he's just lazy, now on to another subject however..."

"why were you in my room?" he asked chandler, duke and veronica

the three girls in question stiffened

"we, uhh, wanted to see it?" Veronica gingerly supplied

Jason pinched the bridge of his nose "and what, pray tell, did you find out?"

"Apparently you're a book nerd" Chandler said. crossing her arms and smirking at him

Jason levelled an unimpressed glance at her "that a problem?"

"Nah" chandler smirked yet again, "you'd get along fine with Duke here." she pointed to the green haired girl currently petting Cerberus
said girl immediately started glaring at the redhead, still petting the puppy of course

"fair enough" Jason said, grabbing a remote from the table and turning on the tv, maybe something was on

they spent the time till dinner in relative silence, watching a couple episodes of futurama and lazing about

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------dinner----------------------------------------------------------------

Dinner came sooner than expected, as the four girls seated themselves, duke and Mcnamara on the right side, Chandler and Veronica occupying the left, with Jason seated at the head of
the table

Jason himself had gone to fetch the main course, the pot of soup still already stood on the table

Soon enough amazing smells filled the room as Jason returned with a plate housing a gigantic piece of pork, a bowl of gravy in his other hand

he set the plate down, taking his seat

"dig in" he said

and dig in they did, Duke had originally planned to stick to the soup, but a tiny bite of the pork cured her of those premonitions, and she piled her plate high, Veronica was inhaling the food, whilst Chandler and Mcnamara were eating steadily, if not almost as fast
whilst Jason was quietly matching the lot of them in terms of food consumed

damn this is good, they all thought

the food disappeared almost as soon as it'd arrived, leaving 5 very full people hanging around the dinner table

"y'know, I could get used to this" Chandler said, earning herself a nod from the others

Jason smirked, "now who cant cooK?" Chandler glanced at him, I will admit, "you can cook well" she paused "for a bookworm of course."
Jason chuckled, "and for such a dignified girl you sure scream like a banshee"

Chandler glared, but didn't dignify that with a response

Duke suddenly spoke up, "so uhhh where are you from? I've never seen you before so you're obviously not from Sherwood, and you don't seem to be from around here in general, with that slight accent you have and all. you from New york or something?" suddenly the groups undivided attention was on him, probably curious as well.

Jason raised an eyebrow, this girl was smarter than she let

Close, but not quite, he paused. "I'm from gotham"

four sets of eyebrows found their respective hairlines as Jason was suddenly bombarded with many questions

"what're you doing here then? Isn't that the city with all those supervillains and such?
wait isn't that the city where that batman comes from? how was it there?"

Jason tried to defuse the situation but the questions kept piling on, he grit his teeth,
this was getting a bit annoying. he couldn't get a word in sideways,
he just kept withering the stream of questions and prayed for it to all be over soon,
when it became evident that this wouldn't blow over on its own he finally said something

"quiet" he snarled, a bit too agressive in hindsight, as the girls all paled. Jason sighed, "look as much as I'd love to share my tragic backstory with the lot of you, we met like 3 hours ago, so can we please, calm. down. a. bit." he snapped, and the temperature felt like it'd dropped by couple degrees by the time he finished

Jason glanced across the table, seeing yet again that they were uncomfortable, he frowned.
blowing up like that was uncalled for, no matter how annoying they were being, still he needed to clear his head a bit before he answered, a tense silence enveloped the room as he cleared his mind, taking deep breaths in order to calm himself down a bit, he even felt a hint of the pits gnawing at him
he supressed that immediately, when he'd finally calmed down he thought about what to say

alright then, he thought, first thing's first

"my apologies, that was uncalled for, it's just that I don't have the fondest memories of the place, with all the lunatics running around"

"But aren't you guys protected by batman?" Duke asked

Jason snorted, "you'd think that, but in my opinion he's the craziest of them all, fucking furry."
the last part he muttered, sending the heathers into a fit of giggles

Veronica snorted, yeah alright, still, mind answering a few questions?

Jason crossed his arms, leaning back. "alright, but." he held up a finger. "for every question you guys ask me, I get to ask one back"

the girls nodded, that seemed reasonable

"Allright, I'll go first, veronica said, Gotham's got one of the best universities in america, why go all the way to Ohio?"

Jason sighed, before walking into the kitchen, the others watched him go, before glaring at Veronica
"what?" Veronica shrugged, "thought it was a reasonable question"

"it was" Jason said, walking back into the kitchen, a can of beer in his hand

"Are you even at the legal drinking age?" Chandler said, pointing to the beer can," you don't look older than 18"

"that's because I am, Jason said, turn 19 in a week or two" he took a swig of his beer

"as for the other question, I wanted to get to know a bit more of the world, y'know, get to see a side of the world that isn't filled with criminally insane people and a gigantic furry"

Jason frowned a bit, man this round of questions was going to be annoying, he thought. if he was going to have to lie about everything

not̡hin͜g͝ ̢new h͠ere, a snide voice remarked from the back of his mind

Shaking his head, he levelled a glance at the brunette, his smirk making her fidget a bit

"My turn." he mouthed

Veronica stiffened a tiny bit

"Got any other friends besides the terrible triplets?" Jason asked, Veronica blinked, that wasn't what she'd expected

"There's Martha, and betty, and uhhhh yeah that's pretty much it" Veronica racked her brain, coming up empty to her own suprise

"I feel sorry for you" Jason choked out in a suprisingly good emotional voice

Chandler rolled her eyes, "alright drama queen, my turn"

"Hit me" Jason said, taking another big gulp of his beer

Chandler smirked, "you still a virgin?" she called out in a sultry tone, watching Jason go red enough to match her hair, the girls around her devolving into laughter,
duke even gave her a fist bump

Jason choked on his beer, eyes bugging out as he pounded on his chest

"why..." he choked out. resulting in another fit of giggles,

"Just wanted to know" Chandler calmly said, a shit-eating grin streched across her lips

Jason glared at her, before baring his own teeth in an admittedly handsome smile
"Sorry red, first ride's already been taken, if that's what you're wondering"

Chandler flustered, turning a shade of crimson as the other girls resumed their laughter, this time Joined by Jason

"Ooh can I go next?" Mcnamara asked, actually raising her arm like she was expecting to get picked in class

Jason shrugged, "sure"

"you doing any types of sports or not?" Mcnamara asked

that gave Jason pause, was kicking criminal's teeth in a sport, probably not

"I practice a couple of martial arts, and I go to the gym a couple times a week"

"Where?" Mcnamara asked, "can you even get off of campus? I didn't see a car parked here"

"that's because it's parked in the garage" Jason said, "and besides, there's a gym on campus, right near the football fields" he pointed in the general direction of the fields

"huh, didn't notice that before" Mcnamara said. "now I won't have to travel to train" she smiled

"What for?" Jason asked

"I'm a cheerleader" Mcnamara said. flexing her arm, that actually had a decent ammount of muscle on it
Jason flexed his arm in return, and he swore he saw a coule of the girls flush,

Mcnamara nudged him, "maybe we could hit the gym together sometime" she suggested

he took another sip of his beer. "yeah, why not"

Mcnamara cheered, "finally! a workout buddy"

"I think it's time for my question" Duke said

"Alright, let me hear it"

"Favourite book?" The others groaned, clearly having expected it

Jason thought about it, for quite a considerable time actually

"the great gatsby" was the eventual answer

Duke scoffed, "why? "

"I relate to gatsby" he shrugged

"Because you're both rich or something?" duke teased

"nah, because we both died" Jason said, a hint of a smile on his lips

Chandler subtly leaned to whisper something in Veronica's ear, which didn't work because "now he's just bragging" was clearly heard by everyone

Jason sighed, death Jokes didn't have the same punch when the person you were telling the Joke to didn't know about your death, damn it
he was going to have to get new material, like 80% of his jokes were about his own death, and now. apparently useless

"What's your favourite book?" he asked Duke

"Moby dick" she answered within 5 seconds

'Good answer." he nodded, Was kinda worried you were going to say something like Twilight or something of that ilk

Duke shuddered at that, "no thanks, I'm not touching that stuff with a 10 foot pole" he couldn't help but agree, how had a writer made a series that made vampires uncool into a phenomenon
oh yeah, horny 16 year old girls, he'd almost forgotten

as they talked a bit more time flew by, untill finally Veronica checked her phone

"Fuck" she swore, we need to go now. it's way too late, she said, showing the others her phone, the time itself read 21:13

"alright then. See you guys next week" Jason said. piling the dishes up high

"See you next week!" they all cheered, and took off down the hallway, Cerberus almost following them before deciding to simply take another nap

"wait a second." Jason swore internally "I never asked CHandler that question"

well, he guessed he'd have plenty of time for that later

"what an interesting year this is gonna be." he said to cerberus, who was currently snoring in the hallway

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------Duke's jeep, 10 minutes later---------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, guys, what do you think? Veronica asked the heathers

"He's ok" Chandler said, the others nodded

Veronica chuckled, "that he is"

Chapter Text

10 o clock in the morning, sawyer household

the blaring of an alarm filled the household, said alarm was shortly shut off when Veronica sawyer, in her tired state, grabbed the offending piece of tech and threw it across the room, unplugging it in the process

Veronica! stop throwing your alarm, I'm not buying you another one! her mother screamed from downstairs

the brunette rolled her eyes and slowly but surely extracted herself from her blanket, she'd never been a morning person, and now she was craving a cup of coffee a quick glance at the calender reminded her that today was the big day, they were moving onto remington's campus, on one hand Veronica was excited, on the other hand this was going to be one hell of a change, she hadn't actually lived anywhere else but home before

well, at least I'm not going to be alone, Veronica thought, as she grabbed a pair of pants and a purple T-shirt, everyone is going to be there
Duke, Mac, Chandler, betty and even Martha

Veronica smiled, apparently martha had managed to worm her way into one of the other dorms, some part of her felt a bit sad that she hadn't been able to convince martha to join her in the house with the heathers and Jason, then again, putting martha in the same house as the people who had tormented her for years wasn't the best call Betty on the other had had looked at Veronica like she'd gone crazy, before turning her down, saying she'd gotten lucky enough to room with martha

That kinda saddened Veronica, she and Martha weren't really all that close anymore, although Martha didn't have it in her to hate anyone, a trait she'd probably inherited from her parents she probably still bore some kind of grudge towards the heathers for making her life hell, and the fact that Veronica still hung out with them probably didn't help her and Martha's friendship

that was however something she could focus on another day, now she just needed to be ready in time for whenever Jason decided to make himself known

Sighing, she made her way downstairs, in her sleepy state she almost tripped on the various suitcases her mother had helped her pack the previous day, god her parents had been worried when told about her arrangements for college, her father to talk to Jason about his supposed real intentions and her mother subtly trying to convince her that maybe the commute wasn't that bad Veronica couldn't really blame them, after all last year another tall black haired boy named Jason had almost ripped sherwood apart, and though her parents didn't say it, she knew that Jason's similarity to Jd, at least from how she'd described him, didn't help her cause

eventually however, her parents relented, on the condition that if anything strange happened, she was to move back home immediately

suddenly the smell of coffee reached her nose, and she moved a bit faster, eager to get something good out of this early a morning at least
as she entered the kitchen she was greeted by her parents, her father reading the newspaper and her mother drinking a glass of juice
Veronica gave them a quick "good morning" and made her way over to the black gold, pouring herself a big mug before taking her seat at the table

"So when is this Jason arriving?" her father said, not even looking up from his newspaper

"He told us he'd be here around 11, why?" Veronica said, finishing her cup of coffee

"alright then, was gonna ask if you would pop over to the store, but you're probably gonna be gone soon"

Veronica smirked, "dad, are you worried or something?"

Her father lowered his paper, "no I'm not." he gruffly said

"not even when your darling daughter is going to be gone soon?" Veronica teased, treating her father to her best sad expression

"Nah" he said, "finally some piece and quiet again." earning him an elbow from Veronica's mother and a chuckle from Veronica herself

"alright then, if you're sure I wont be missed, any other advice you've got for me?" Veronica smirked

Her father lowered his paper completely, "use protection." he deadpanned, Veronica went crimson and her father got another elbow in the side from her mother

as the minutes ticked away, they sat there in comfortable silence, talking a bit

suddenly the doorbell rang, Veronica moved to get up as her parents exchanged a glance

"Veronica" her father said, "please, I'll get it" Veronica rolled her eyes. "alright dad, please don't scare him away, I kinda need the room" she called after her father

He chuckled, mentally applauding himself, it was always fun to scare the shit out of boys that came near his daughter, as he answered the door however, he wasn't met with this Jason he'd heard about, instead he was met with Heather Duke

"uh, hi Heather, how are you, wasn't expecting you, by all means come in." he moved to let her into the house, which she did

"Hi Mr. sawyer, is veronica here?" Heather duke asked, closing the door behind her

"Yeah sure, she's in the kitchen, this have to do with you guys moving today?"

suddenly Heather Duke's smile dropped "yeah, about that.... we kinda forgot to give him our adresses." she sheepishly admitted

"Fuck!" Veronica screamed from the kitchen

Mr sawyer buried his face in his hands, a loud sigh escaping his lips

these girls were doomed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------30 minutes later-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

"God we're a bunch of idiots" Veronica lamented, how could they have forgotten something so simple

Duke merely nodded along, "maybe Mcnamara has his number, she might've gotten it whilst they were cooking?" asked Veronica, praying that the blonde had Jason's number

Duke shook her head. "I called her this morning, she doesn't have it either, about sent the girl into a panick attack"

"and chandler?"

"I'm not waking her up for something like that, she'd have my head!" Duke admitted

Veronica pinched the the bridge of her nose "so now what?"

suddenly a loud honk was heard, and every head snapped towards the direction of the sound, Veronica's father walking out of the room, probably to check on whoever it was

Duke sighed, "that's probably chandler coming for our souls" veronica nodded, so this was how they were going to die? quaint.

when a second honk wasn't heard, the girls grew suspicious, heather chandler normally would've had them begging for mercy on their eardrums by now
but nothing, not even screaming, which further drew their suspicions

Veronica stood up suddenly, "no way." she muttered, as she walked after her father

at first she didn't believe it, but there stood Jason, in a pair of jeans and a leather jacket, talking to her father, who; for all that talk about finding out his so called true intentions, was more interested in Jason's ride then he was in Jason himself, said ride being a huge, charcoal grey pick-up truck, the words 'ram' and '2500' visible on the sides Jason's eyes flicked over to hers, before he engaged himself back into the admittedly one-sided conversation he was having with Veronica's father

-----------------------------------------------------------a couple minutes later--------------------------------------------------------

Jason and her father had finally made their way back into the house, complaining about ridiculous fuel consumption and overblown design choices, Veronica smirked, so Jason also liked cars? that was bound to get him a couple bonus points when it came to her father, even after the two of them had taken a seat at the table they were still conversing about cars, having moved over from Jason's monster of a truck and instead complaining about buisness practices of several foreign car companies, none of which interested Veronica and Duke, mostly because they didn't have a clue as to what they were talking about

after a particulary snide comment Jason made in regards to BMW's and the resulting laugher from her father, he finally paid mind to them

'So." he said, taking one of the cookies her mother had laid down on the table during his conversation with Veronica's father, "thank's for the adress",
he took a bite of the cookie, watching Duke and Veronica squirm underneath his glare, whilst Veronica's parents were trying their best not to laugh

"Wait, how did you even find us?" Duke muttered. "I mean we're more than an hour away from College, and sherwood isn't exactly big, so finding it on the map must be hard"

"Correct" he amended, still chewing on the cookie, "luckily for you however, phone books are still a thing, didn't take long to find the name Sawyer in that, like you said Sherwood isn't that big, as for the latter part, well navigation is a thing." content with the answer, Jason returned to his cookie

"fair enough" Duke admitted, "where did that car come from though?" didn't see it last week

"oh, that. yeah there's a garage underneath the house," Jason casually admitted, earning wide eyes from everyone else seated there

"How rich are you?" Veronica blurted out

"Veronica!, you can't just ask that." Her mother chided

Jason chuckled, "let's just say I'm set for life and leave it at that, okay?"

"alright then, wanna get to actually moving stuff into the trunk?" Veronica suggested

Jason pushed himself up. "let's get to it then."

 

------------------------------------------------------------half an hour later-----------------------------------------------------------

the fact that Veronica didn't have that much stuff made for easy packing, and within 20 minutes they were on their way to Duke's house, which appeared to be on the other side of town, Veronica had opted to hop into Jason's passenger seat instead of getting into a car with Duke, a fact that she chalked up to being easier, when in all actuality she refused to hop into any car with Duke at the helm anytime soon, still not over the traumatic experience from last week.

"My dad appears to like you" she commented off handedly

"I don't know, when he answered the door he looked like he wanted to murder me, I think he likes the car more than me."

Veronica shrugged. "he's always been a motorhead"

"I can relate," Jason said. "By the way, how long til we get to Duke's place, I kinda dont feel safe" he eyed the dangerously swaying car in front of them warily

Veronica snorted, "Imagine being in that car with her" she shuddered at the memory. "it's down right nightmare fuel"

Jason gave a bark of laughter, prompting Veronica to chuckle as well

"By the way." Jason jabbed a finger at the trunk of his truck. "think we have enough room back there?"

Veronica turned around. looking at the trunk and how much stuff there was in there, "if we're lucky and Duke puts some stuff in her own car, yeah. But Chandler and Mac usually do have a ridiculous ammount of luggage, up to and including their entire wardrobe"

"thank god I already have the furniture placed." Jason muttered. he didn't want to have to build four beds after all this was over, he needed to find a post office today if he wanted his letter to make it to gotham on time-, oh who was he kidding, it was never going to arive on time anyways

"Wait, didn't you say you were gonna go over the placement of the furniture today?" Veronica asked

"that's correct, but I've got a few errands to run later today and I think the four of you would like a bed to sleep on tonight? am I right?"

"fair enough, still. where did you even place us?" Veronica tried to recall the layout of the house and where he might have placed them

Jason scratched his neck, "yeah about that.... I kinda didn't know where to place you all so I just put beds in every bedroom, together with a couple of closets and wardrobes
so you'll still have the opportunity to pick out your own room, don't worry about that"

"you didn't know where to place us. so you just filled out the entire mansion?" Veronica deadpanned

"woe betides my wallet, and my back." Jason said, "took me a good couple of days to put them all together, that with taking care of Cerberus."
Jason sighed. didn't even get time to go to the damn gym, so you guys better be grateful, he pulled up to a driveway where Duke's jeep was already parked, he made to get out of the car

veronica called after him, about Cerberus, "aren't pets, at least dogs and cats." forbidden on campus?

"service dogs arent." was his reply, before he shut the door behind him.

Duke's luggage ended up being significantly more than Veronica's, though the ammount he put into his trucks trunk was significantly less, due to the fact that Duke adamantly believed that her most precious luggage would be safer in the car with her, something that brought a slight chuckle out of Veronica and Jason

next up was Mcnamara, who. true to word, had a ridiculous ammount of luggage, when asked what possibly could take up that much room her only reply was "clothes" after the twelve. TWELVE! suitcases were packed into Jason's car they made for Chandler's house, where there appeared to be zero movement

even after Jason and Duke started honking their horns there was no reaction from within Chandler's house, a neighbor had however told them to "keep it the fuck down" Jason, at this point in time 110% done with this bullshit, mainly due to the fact his back was killing him. came up with a devious plan

he backed up the truck, angling it so it was perfectly aimed at a window that didn't have a curtain covering it, according to the three other girls, that was apparently Chandler's room

he got out of the car, angling the spotlights mounted on top of his car so they would shine directly into said window, and climbed back in, putting his hand on the switch that would turn
them on

"You sure this is going to work? Heather's a heavy sleeper" Mcnamara said

Jason shrugged, "if this doesn't work, she's probably dead." and flipped the switched

as the spotlights turned on the three girls were treated to a lightshow of epic proportions, it looked more like a sun had just collapsed on Chandler's driveway, Duke and veronica flinched, this was not going to please Chandler in the slightest

"WHAT THE FUCK!" was suddenly roared from within the house, prompting Jason to smirk. "told you it'd work"

any reply was cut off by Chandler stroming out of the house,only clad in her nightgown. murder in her eyes, Veronica tried not to flinch, she really didn't but by god that glare was something else, still it was nice that it wasn't directed at her, instead at Jason, who was actually matching her glare in intensity with the smugness of his grin

she came to a stop next to Jason's door, glaring it at him with the fury of a thousand suns, something that miraculously didn't faze him

"what." she growled out. "the fuck. are you doing?"

"We said be ready at 11, it's quarter past 12, so the better question would be, why the fuck are you still not ready?" Jason quipped back

by some miracle Chandler's glare got even more terrifying, by now even Jason was getting a bit nervous, thankfully the imminent nuclear fallout was saved by virtue of two idiots

"what're you doing Heather? you inviting us inside?" Kurt kelly leered, earning him a fistbump from ram sweeny

Chandler rolled her eyes, "aren't the two of you supposed to be in a relationship?" she was way too tired to deal with tweedle dumb and tweedle idiot
earning herself a glare from the jocks she walked back towards the house, the other girls following her, Jason remained seated in the car

ram rolled his eyes, kurt however called after Chandler's retreating form
"aren't you supposed to be an angel deep down? at least that's what your 'suicide' note said." The girls stiffened, Jason perked up. that didn't sound good

Chandler spun on her heel, levelling another glare at the two idiots currently stood in her driveway "mind repeating that?"

"you heard me" Kurt sneered. he pointed at Veronica, "why haven't you done anything about that bitch? last I heard she tried to kill you, her and that Freak JD"
Jason looked between the lot of them, contemplating if he should jump in or wait a bit more.

Veronica appeared to be getting uncomfortably pale, whilst Duke and the others were getting angrier and angrier

"Fuck off kurt, she's made enough amends and you know it. now get out of here!" Duke spat, taking up position in front of the taller girl, Mcnamara said nothing, instead levelling the best glare she could at the two

"Kurt let's just go" Ram gently tugged at his friend's arm. Kurt shook him off, stalking off towards Chandler

"I don't care about amends, you keep your mouth shut about that or I will tell everyone what really happened last year" he threatened, trying to use the four inches of height he had on Chandler to intimidate her. Chandler remained unimpressed, instead finding her nails more interesting, ? aren't the two of you step brothers? that's kind of fucked up, isn't it?" Kurt raised his hand, fully intent on smacking the little bitch in front of him, when he heard a door slam shut next to him.

"if I were you, I'd put that hand down buddy" the stranger said

Kurt turned to look at the new arrival, blue eyes met blue eyes, though if he didn't know better he said they were glowing an eerie green

"and who might you be?" Ram said, coming up behind Kurt

"Name's Jason" he said, leaning against the truck.

"You her new boytoy or something?" Kurt asked, pointing towards Chandler, who bristled in response, and from the likes of it was being physically restrained by Duke and Veronica

"no, I'm not, though if I were would that make any difference?" Jason asked

Kurt snorted, "watch out for them, they're a bunch of soul sucking demons." Jason raised an eyebrow in response, "that's all well and good,
but you're being a proper bastard at this point in time, so for your own sake, I'd suggest you move along"

Kurt stomped over to the taller boy, "is that a threat or something?" Ram walked over, trying to de-escalate the situation

"Kurt, let's just go, they're not worth the effort." Kurt once again shook Ram's hand off

"no, you think about them the same way I do, you're just scared to say it." Kurt shouted out, getting in Jason's face

"did you just threaten me?" he spat at Jason

Jason merely glanced towards the girls, who appeared to be observing the discussion,

Sighing, he pushed himself off of the truck, getting in Kurt's face, using the extra height he had on kurt to his fullest as he towered over the boy

"look buddy, I don't have a problem with you, I got a problem with the way you're acting towards those girls, now scram."

Kurt and Ram glared at him, but walked away. leaving the four of them alone

"So, shall we get to packing up your stuff"

Chandler nodded, motioning for him to follow, leaving the others to think about what just happened

"Did you really mean that duke?" Veronica, muttered. still struggling with her breathing

Duke sighed. "yeah, I did"

Veronica smiled, "thanks." Duke nodded before following Jason and Chandler into the house, Mcnamara hugged Veronica and the two of them went into the house together

-----------------------------------------------------meanwhile, with Chandler and Jason---------------------------------------------------

Jason was staring at the ungodly ammount of suitcases piled high in the corner of Chandler's room, trying to understand how a single person could possible pack that much clothing

"how, Just... how?" He whined, already envisioning the biblical backpain he was going to have tomorrow

Chandler rolled her eyes, "could you get out first? I need to put on some clothes"

Jason stiffened, "right." he rushed out of the room, closing the door behind him

"Hey Jason." Chandler called from within her room

"yeah?"

"Thanks."

"No problem."

when he heard nothing more from her room, Jason resolved himself to waiting for the others, which he did not have to wait long for, as they soon made their way up the stairs to them

"Where's Heather?" Duke asked. "in her room, she's changing clothes apparently." he pointed over his shoulder, to Chandler's room, the other girls merely looked at him, something Jason wasn't at all comfortable with

"alright, what is it?"

"why did you stand up to them, we barely know eachother." Duke asked, prompting a shove from Mcnamara

"Sorry, she didn't mean that." Veronica quickly added

Jason chuckled, "yeah she did. I just didn't like the way things were going, so I stepped in, did I do something wrong?" he was genuinely curious.

"You didn't," Duke added, "Just didn't expect it." she looked down, rubbing her arm

Jason decided not to comment. instead grabbing his phone, he was wondering why Roy wasn't answering his calls. was sanctuary that off-grid that even their wifi was nonexistant? he decided not to think about it, and opened up one of the games on his phone, spending his time getting his ass kicked by one of the bosses was at least less boring then waiting for Chandler to finally get ready

a couple minutes later Chandler walked out in tight black denims and a white shirt, her hair tied in a loose ponytail with a scrunchie. she observed the scene in front of her; Duke and Mcnamara were talking animatedly, Veronica occasionally joining in. Jason was leaning against the wall, absorbed in some kind of mobile game, rolling her eyes she tapped him on the shoulder.

Jason turned to look at her. "wanna help me with all this stuff?" Chandler asked, Jason closed his phone and nodded, walking past her and into her room, coming out a minute later with four of her suitcases in his arms, grumbling as he made his way downstairs

"you gonna help him?" Veronica asked

"nah." Chandler grinned, payback was a bitch wasn't it?

------------------------------------------------------------later, on campus------------------------------------------------------------

Jason was tired as fuck, nevermind it being only 5 in the afternoon, he needed sleep.

he pulled up to His house, stopping in front of the garage, and began looking for that damn electric remote, he was gonna need it if he was gonna get his monster of a pickup and the Heather's cars into the garage. as he kept padding his pockets, he found that he didn't have it on him

"Veronica, I cant find the key, could you look in that glove box in front of you?" he continued his search throughout the various orfices in the cabin of the truck, as Veronica began looking through the glove compartment in front of her.

"let's see, I've got a pack of bubblegum, a pencil, a couple post-it notes, a packet of tylenol, a letter adressed to an A.T.C.Pennyworth, that your father or something?" Jason snatched the letter out of her hands, "Grandfather." he said, not even looking at her as he was all but upside down in his chair, his hands reaching underneath his chair

"Uh Jason," Mcnamara suddenly piped up, "what does that thing look like?" Jason grunted, extracting himself from the quite uncomfortable position he was in

"it's about 3-4 cm long, grey, with a yellow tip", Mcnamara looked over the fron of the car,"oh. you mean like that thing that's dangling off of your keys?"
Jason facepalmed whils Veronica chuckled, "well then. we found it at least."

Jason looked completely dead inside, and instead of responding merely clicked on the bigger of the two buttons on the remote. the garage door slid open, revealing a ramp, Veronica quirked an eyebrow, this house kept revealing more and more secrets, Jason slowly rode down the ramp revealing an underground garage that was easily the size of the house above it, there was a red bike and another car already parked there, looked like a mustang to Veronica but she couldn't be sure.

Jason parked his car in the closest spot to what appeared to be the exit, shutting off the car and getting out, Mcnamara and Veronica following him. Soon enough Duke's black jeep and Chandler's crimson porsche joined them. Jason paid them no mind, instead fiddling with the keys, after a couple seconds of struggling he got two of the keys off of the iron ring

tossing the others to Chandler he grabbed his bike, he needed to get this letter delivered if he wanted to get that letter to Gotham before the 16th. he paused a bit before turning to the Heathers who were currently staring at him

"I've got to get a letter ot the post office, the black key is for the house, I trust you guys can handle the unpacking by yourselves?"
a chorus of "yes" was his answer, satisfied with the answer he put on his helmet and gloves, before gunning it up the ramp, actually getting some air as he roared out of the garage

Veronica looked to the pile of luggage in Jason's truck, this was going to take a while

"well. let's get busy"

------------------------------------------------------------------------two hours later, with Jason--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

nothing was working, the adrenaline of going 50 miles over the speed limit, the cold wind, not even his numerous breathing excercises and mental excercises were working, and he was fucking terrified, he was panicking, that much was true, he'd felt the pit stronger then he'd felt it the past months, if a few juvenile taunts and someone threatening to slap a girl got him that close to losing himself in the pit's madness he was going to have a long year ahead of him.

the thing that scared him the most, was how damn familiar the scene was, when that jock, Kurt was his name. raised his hand towards Chandler he didn't see them, he saw Catherine and Willis, that was the reason he'd stepped in. he shook his head, pushing his bike even further. that was in the past, another life,

another Jason.

l͍̺͘i͙͖̦͚̜͇ͅar̫̘̦̻͜!̢̜͙͚̜̱. that infernal voice spat again, Jason grimaced, if there was anything to be gained from his almost loss of control it was that he'd finally found out the cause of the voice. the pit, it was as if the lazarus pit itself had a spot inside his head, whispering and manipulating him from within his own mind.

now however, he had other worries on his mind. he knew that there was no way he could get the letter he'd written to Gotham in time, he'd honestly forgotten before today and well, he couldn't just have the letter arrive a week late, Alfie deserved more than that, so he was forced to use the nuclear option

Jason finally found what he was looking for after a couple more minutes of driving, a suitably empty field, he pulled over and walked into the field. after a couple of minutes he came to a stop, gulping he mentally braced himself

 

"Uncle Clark" he whispered, so quietly that nobody could've possibly heard it

but someone did.

Chapter Text

Jason sighed, there was no going back now, instead he braced himself, closed his eyes and waited, he didn't have to wait long.
first the faint pop of sonic booms could be heard, followed by the distant roaring of a supersonic object approaching, opening his eyes, he was met with the signature S of the world's strongest being, floating a few feet in front of him.

at the frown adorning Superman's face Jason hesitated a bit, if Clark decided to drag him kicking and screaming back to gotham, there was nothing he could do. swallowing he decided to take a chance

"how you doing?" he tried, Clark didn't say anything in response, instead lowering himself down to the ground, for all Jason's height, Clark still stood a good couple of inches above him and the continued glare was really not helping his anxiety at the moment, so he flinched a bit when Superman closed the distance faster then he could blink. sweeping the smaller man into a hug, Jason just stood there, shellshocked. this was not something he'd expected from Bruce's best friend. still he didn't try to break out of the hug, he wasn't sure if he could even if he wanted to. due to the bone breaking intensity of the hug

"ow" he groaned, he was pretty sure he felt a couple of his ribs cracking. that was going to hurt in the morning.

clark released him soon after, still keeping his hand on Jason's shoulder. the frown replaced by 'that' smile, the one that somehow reassured millions when it was flashed, and he kinda understood why now, as the worry melted off of him suprisingly quick

"Jason, how are you" Clark inquired, that same megawatt smile plastered on his lips, Jason kind of felt like a little kid again

"I'm good, haven't seen you in a while" Jason sheepishly said.

"yeah, how long has it been?" Clark mused, he really couldn't remember the last time He'd spoken to Jason face to face "a couple of years I think?"

Jason's shoulders sagged, "last time we saw eachother? probably a year ago, last time we actually spoke? before I ended up on the wrong end of a crowbar" that wiped the smile off of clark's face really fast, a melancholic frown replacing it

"I think you might be right, but why did you call for me? it's been months since anyone heard of you, not since that incident in gotham" Jason stiffened, he really didn't like being remembered of that night. he still had nightmares of that night

"let's not talk about that" he grit out, taking a step back and shaking Clark's hand off of his shoulder.

"alright, alright I won't mention it. still, how are you?" Jason relaxed a bit at that, thank god Clark wasn't as emotionally constipated as Bruce, and could take a fucking hint

"I'm good, getting my life together bit by bit, staying far away from gotham, not giving the big bat reason to go after me again"

Clark sighed, Jason was more affected by whan happened in gotham than he lets on, if him tensing all over was anything to go by, Clark didn't mention it instead trying to comfort him "Jason" he sighed "Bruce isn't looking for you, don't worry about that, he got a severe talking to when he came back to the watchtower, diana was pissed" Jason chuckled a bit at that

"Im guessing that means Bruce got his ass kicked" Clark merely nodded, "she almost strangled him with his own cowl" the mental image flashed across Clark's mind, there was a copious ammount of cursing and threats on Diana's part, some of those were really colourful

Jason was chuckling openly now, "I'd pay any ammount to see that" Clark made a mental note to send the copy to oracle later on, that was if Bruce hadn't deleted the footage already. he probably had, of course.

"oh, by the way. has anyone heard from harper? I cant seem to get him to respond to my messages, has anyone even bothered installing wifi into that place?"

Clark wondered, they hadn't heard from sanctuary in a bit now, maybe he should go check it out sometime soon

"I'll see what I can do, now lets get down to buisness" Clark crossed his arms, Jason merely grabbed a letter out of one of his pockets, handing it to Clark

Clark read the name on the letter, eyes widening a small bit, before it clicked.

Alfred's birthday was in a few days and Jason couldn't just walk into the manor anymore, with him being banished from gotham.

"you want me to deliver this to gotham?"

"alfie would be nice, but if that's probably not possible, so please just get it to oracle, she'll be going to the manor on the 16th so it'll get there all the same"

"alright then, is that why you called me here? you sure you don't want to deliver it personally, if I went with you we could maybe talk it out with bruce"

Jason merely shook his head "I've been through this song and dance with him again and again, it just doesn't work. at this point I'm just trying to move on with my own life, let's hope he can do the same" Jason turned around and walked away "I'm not going to lie to Bruce if he asks me who I got this from" Clark said, waving the letter around, Jason just waved back at him

"wouldn't expect you to, have a good night uncle Clark" and with that he walked over to his bike without another word, roaring off back into the distance and leaving Clark standing there, still looking at the letter and wondering how he was going to proceed, before blasting off towards gotham

naught but an hour later he arrived at the clocktower, he could've made it in a minute, but had to clear his head for a bit before making way to gotham
there was probably going to be some explaining to do later, as he hadn't asked the bat for permission beforehand, but that was a conversation for another day
he landed at the usual entrance, quickly going inside

he'd hoped to be met with oracle, and only oracle. but as soon as he entered the room, he was met with Bruce, batgirl and oracle all staring at him

"Superman" batman growled out, "what are you doing in gotham" putting himself between superman and the girls in the room

Superman rolled his eyes, why couldn't Bruce just get that stick out of his ass for once, they were in one of the most secure places on the planet
and yet he was still being suspicious as ever

"I've got a letter for alfred here, so you mind letting me past, I've been instructed to give the letter to oracle"

a miniscule twitch found its was onto batman's face, which probably meant that he was really suprised, still he didn't move out of the way, instead holding out his hand

"I'll take it" Clark just shook his head, "sorry Bruce, but this is for alfred's eyes only" Clark walked past batman, holding out the letter to oracle, who accepted it hesitantly

"who's that letter from?" batgirl asked, moving closer to oracle in order to get a better look at the letter, "who is the letter from, Clark?" batman asked

"it's from Jason" Clark said, keeping his back to the dark knight, based on the fact that oracle and batgirl were smiling they had expected this, batman however, had not

"what, where is he?" Clark turned around, shrugging, "I don't know, he met me out in a field, said a few things about wanting to get alfred something for his birthday, and left"

"bullshit, you know where he is clark, tell me" Clark rolled his eyes, typical bruce, always so single minded

"I know where he is, roughly, but that's it Bruce" clark made to walk out of the watchtower but a hand shot out and grabbed his arm

"clark, I'll not ask again, where. is. Jason." from the tone Clark could tell he was serious, but he didn't really care at the moment, he merely shook Bruce's hand off and kept walking, he was in no mood to deal with Bruce's emotionally constipated ass right now

"clark" that stopped him in his tracks, that tone was something he didn't hear all lately, gone was the usual bat-growl, this was bruce himself talking

"what?"

"how is he doing?" if it'd been another situation Clark might have even laughed, Bruce sounded smaller then usual, uncertain of himself, though with the current situation he couldn't really find it in himself to indulge the softer side of his best friend

"he's moving on" was the only thing Clark said, before walking out of the clocktower, blasting off into the night, leaving the three gothamites to their devices

-----------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, on campus--------------------------------------------------------

the girls were ridiculously tired, turns out dragging a literal ton's worth of clothing up three sets of stairs wasn't all that comfortable on ones back, after haphazardly packing their suitcases into their rooms, the four girls dragged themselves downstairs, collasping onto the the couch and chairs in the living room

"I'm going kill that bastard" Chandler wheezed out, she'd had the worst of it, even with the help from the other girls it'd taken almost half an hour for just her stuff

"where is he anyway?" duke asked from her position on the couch, earning a shrug from veronica who was laid next to her, fiddling with her hair

"he said he was going to deliver a letter to the post office" Mac answered, still not out of breath as the rest of them were, turns out being a cheerleader did give you some advantage when it comes to dragging suitcases up stairs.

Chandler frowned, everyone knew that the nearest post office was on campus, and even then the nearest one after that was about 45 minutes away, Jason had been gone for well over two hours, it was getting dark already, and the roads around these parts were pretty shit, though that train of thought screeched to a halt when she looked at Veronica

Veronica was playing with her hair, that wasn't good. everyone always thought of Chandler as a dumb bimbo, and though the bimbo part might have been true up untill recently, she noticed stuff, like how Mac's mood instantly soured whenever Veronica brought up the newest ridiculous adventure she and her mother had gone on, or how Duke stiffened whenever someone got sick at a party, Veronica playing with her hair meant she was anxious or scared, and when Chandler recalled the rest of the day, there was probably only one thing that could've set her off

"Ronnie, you ok?" she asked, Veronica's eyes instantly met hers, she looked like a deer caught in headlights "not really" she admitted, Duke sat up in response to that, stirring Cerberus who had been sleeping next to her, Mac spoke up first.

"Ronnie listen, none of us blame you for last year, that was all JD, you know that too" Veronica shakily nodded "yeah, I know, but still it sucks getting reminded of it" Duke shrugged, "what's done is done, no use crying over spilt milk, what happened last year was messed up, yeah. but-" Veronica cut Duke off "I know that, that's not what scared me so, Jason did" she admitted

"what do you mean? he's been nothing if not nice" Chandler was a bit confused, trying to recall what might have set her off, then as she recalled the way he'd stood up to Kurt a small detail crossed her mind

"his eyes" of course, Chandler hadn't really paid attention to it, but his eyes were almost..... glowing? Veronica nodded, hugging her knees "yeah" she choked out, "they seemed to be glowing green, it just reminded me of Jd"

"Veronica, Jd can't hurt anyone anymore"

"I know" Veronica sighed, they were right of course, still it unnerved her to see that much of Jd in Jason, she reminded herself that he was dead, in a grave at the back of the cemetary, a grave that not even his own father visited, he was never going to hurt her again. she calmed herself a tiny bit, not feeling great but... better, and honestly she was okay with that.

suddenly the roaring of a motorcycle was heard, and everyone perked up, that probably meant Jason had returned

"finally" chandler huffed

a couple of minutes later Jason walked into the living room, an unlit cigarette on his lips, he saw them sitting there and quirked an eyebrow "how did it go?" when Chandler literally growled at him he got his answer "alright, alright, I'm not in the mood to cook tonight, so anyone up for pizza?" everyone nodded

"alright then, I'm gonna go smoke, just get me a cheese pizza. pizza place's number is written next to the calender." with that he opened the back door and stepped out, Chandler exchanged a glance with the others before standing up "I'll see if I can bum a smoke off of him, Mac would you mind calling the pizza place? hawaiian for me"

"I still don't understand how you can eat that stuff" Mcnamara commented as she walked into the kitchen

Chandler rolled her eyes, grabbed her coat and walked out the back door, Jason was sitting on a chair on the patio, next to.... was that a pool?! she'd not noticed that before. she walked up next to him "can I get a smoke too?" Jason merely handed her the pack, she grabbed one and lit it, frowning at the taste that filled her mouth as she inhaled

"this is menthol, how can you smoke this garbage?" she coughed a bit as she took a seat next to him

Jason merely rolled his eyes "it's bad for you either way, plus I like the taste" he shrugged "y'know I've been trying to quit"

"so why haven't you?"

Jason shrugged again "it calmes the nerves I find"

Chandler sighed "about earlier today, what those two said- Jason held up his hand, "I've got the feeling this is Veronica's story to tell, not yours"
"kinda" Chandler admitted "but it affected us all, if you want a quick version, she had a boyfriend last year, he was bad news, and he had green eyes" Jason stiffened a bit at that, had they seen? what was he going to tell them

T͙̝̭̖͖͟R͏̼̬̘u̱̘͘̕͟T̵̙̦̜͓̤͓h̙̗̺̺͚͈͇̣̕S̙̖͎̗͙̰̙͢ ̷̱̟͖̮̣͝C̦̲̖͓̰̝ǫ̬̯̩̠͕̮̱̠M̴̟̗̗͓ͅi̸͈͖̪̦͙N̹̲̟G̻̞͓͜ͅ ̪o̪̙͈͈͟͢U͙̭̖͍̭̹͝͡Ț̠̞̰̮̦̫͡͞ͅ ̶̞͉̤͙ the pit hissed, and his eyes flickered green again, something that Chandler noticed

"there it is again, why do your eyes do that?" Chandler pointed at him, more specifically his eyes, which were undoubtebly still speckled with green

Jason grimaced, taking another drag of his cigarette "didn't come back right" his mind grinded to a halt as the words left his mouth

FUCK. that wasn't the right thing to say, risking a glance at Chandler revealed that she was currently processing the words as well, when she finally seemed to regain control of her motor functions, a quiet "what" escaped her lips

Jason took yet another drag of his cigarette, throwing the bud into the ashtray at the center of the table "I'll tell you another time okay?" Chandler weakly nodded, obviously still trying to make sense of the words

"did I scare Veronica?" Jason asked, that seemed to snap Chandler out of her stupor "kinda, you didn't scare her, more reminded her of something that scares her" Jason nodded, grabbing another cigarette "want me to go apologize?" Chandler merely shook her head "she'll tell you when she's ready, so it'd probably be best to act ignorant, y know, I really don't like breaking her trust like this" she pointed at Jason again "and when she does I expect an answer less cryptic then the one you gave me tonight" she made grabbing motions to the pack of cigarettes in Jason's hand "gimme"

Jason chuckled "sure" he chucked the pack at her "didn't you just say that you didn't like they way they taste" he teased, she merely gave him the finger

"shut up ya pillowcase, I need my nicotine fix"

they sat there for a good few minutes, their conversation devolving into the pros and cons of throwing the two jocks into the pool, Jason ended up winning the argument by bringing up the fact that they probably would contaminate the water, much to Heather's annoyance, duke ended up calling for them to come inside, apparently the pizza had arrived, Jason motioned for Chandler to go ahead, he still had a call to make

grabbing his phone he dialed barbara first, it would probably be just late enough for her to be in the tower, yet early enough that she didn't have patrols to oversee
when the phone kept ringing he frowned, it wasn't like barbie to not pick up the phone within seconds of it ringing

suddenly however, someone picked up

"hello?"

"Jason"

Jason flinched, barbie sounded pissed

"hi barbie"

"don't you barbie me, what kind of stunt was that?! sending Superman to deliver me a letter, you could've just brought it to the post office!"

"listen, I know I screwed up, but I forgot to deliver it earlier, and I wanted alfie to at least get it on his birthday y'know"

he could hear barbara sighing on the other line "fine whatever, there's bigger problems either way"

"what?"

bruce was at the clocktower when Clark arrived

"oh" was all Jason said, this was indeed not good

"why was he even at the clocktower that early? he never goes to the clocktower unless absolutely neccesary"

"he's forced out into broad daylight because the powervacuum that penguin left is slowly gettig resolved, violently"

"If you're expecting an apology don't hold your breath, how is that slimy bastard anyway?"

"still in a coma, now why are you calling me on this line?"

Jason hesitated for a moment before answering, something that instantly made barbara realize what he was calling about

"it's the pit, isn't it?"

"yeah" Jason admitted "a couple of girls came by a week ago, said they needed a place to stay, since I don't fancy living in what's essentially a mansion alone, I told them it was okay to move in, I was helping them move when a couple of jock showed up and started making trouble, I intervened but apparently the pit rose, and I'm honestly not sure what to do"

in the clocktower barbara was speechless, she hadn't expected such an honest answer from Jason, especially when it came to the pit

"why did the pit rise Jason?"

"one of the jocks, Kurt kelly I think his name was, tried hurting Heather, and I don't have the best experiences with men hitting women, so I stepped in"

"alright, lets see what I can find" a went by before barbara spoke up again

"kurt kelly, 18 years old, lives in sherwood ohio, currently applied for remington college, a couple of fines for underage drinking and a DUI but nothing more, seems like your run of the mill jock"

Jason smirked, "he acted like it too, all bark no bite"

"speaking of bark, how is your dog doing? decided on a name yet?"

"he ate my socks one day, I called him a dog from hell and the name kind of stuck" Jason sheepishly admitted, he could practically see barbara pinching the bridge of her nose

"you named a. puppy. cerberus?"

"yeah"

"you're really not the best with names"

"I thought you would've figured that out when I named my vigilante persona 'red hood' aren't you supposed to be the smart one?"

"watch it you, don't make me come over there" barbara chuckled, it was good to hear Jason in such good spirits again

"though in all seriousness, need me to send the girls to you? are you scared you'll lose control?"

"nah, just giving you a heads up, though if it happens again you have full permission to sic cass on me"

"noted, now about these girls"

Jason groaned, of course, he should've expected this

"there's not much to say, three of them are called Heather I shit you not, the other one's called Veronica"

"oh, in that case, any of them catch your eye~"

nope, nu-uh, he was not doing this, fuck that, cease and desist

"yeah, no. bye barbie" and with that he shut his phone off, cutting off barbara's indignant reply, unbeknownst to the both of them, another person was listening in

"Sherwood ohio" Batman said, "so that's where he is"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, sherwood ohio--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason's day was getting better and better, he'd put on a couple of episodes of brooklyn nine nine and was enjoying a pretty damn good cheese pizza, though the mood was ruined slightly by Chandler's disgusting pizza. he couldn't help glaring at it like it had personally offended him, something the others noticed

"are you ok Jason?" Mcnamara questioned

"yeah, just wondering who came up with such an abombination" Jason chuckled as Chandler huffed at him "fuck off, it's healthy"

"its PIZZA!, it's not supposed to be healthy!" Veronica exclaimed, Mcnamara nodded solemnly in agreement

Chandler rolled her eyes "coming from the girl who prefers soda over corn nuts, your opinion means nothing"

"what are corn nuts?" Jason quietly asked Duke, who was seated next to him

"cant really describe it, they don't taste good though, I'll tell you that for free"

"noted" and with that Jason continued demolishing his pizza

when the pizzas were eaten and the episode was done Jason fed Cerberus and went to grab himself a beer from the kitchen

"anyone else want a beer?" he asked the Heathers as he walked into the kitchen

"me" Chandler and Duke replied

"do you have soda for me and Mcnamara?" Veronica asked

"cola okay?" Jason called from the kitchen

"sure"

a minute later Jason appeared back in the living room, a couple of beers and two glasses of soda in his hands

"by the way, on which floor are you guys staying?" he asked, taking his seat on the couch

"mcnamara decided it would be a good idea to set up on the same floor as you, man what a lot of dragging that was" chandler pointed to the blonde, who was looking at Jason

"I thought you might like some company all the way up there"

Jason shrugged, "why not?" he made a mental note to check if he at least was wearing underwear next time he exited his room

--------------------------------------------------four nights later, 2:23 o'clock 16th of august-----------------------------------------------

as the nights crawled past, the five of them found themselves falling into a rythm, Chandler left first, complaining about beauty sleep, Duke followed her about half an hour later Veronica stayed up quite long, though when the clock struck 2 she usually made her way upstairs, leaving the blonde heather and Jason all by themselves, well, Cerberus was technically there but he was doing what he does best. sleeping on the couch between Mcnamara and Jason

even Jason was beginning to feel a bit tired, tearing his eyes away from the tv he hesitated a glance at Mcnamara, who appeared to be wide awake
he'd been keeping an eye on her, suprised by how long she stayed up, she even outlasted him some nights, a feat that was quite impressive for a civillian
the thing that caught his attention the most however, was that she was always fiddling with her legs whenever she didn't think Jason was watching

he had apparently been staring for a bit too long, because her blue eyes suddenly met his, Jason hastily focussed his eyes elsewhere, though she'd already caught on

"i-is there something?" she asked, tilting her head

"nah, just wondering how you're still awake, even I'm getting a bit tired, and I've been doing this for years"

"oh" Mcnamara shrunk in on herself a bit "its just that, I cant really sleep all that good"

Jason sat up a bit straighter "yeah, I know the feeling, too much energy?" he joked, hoping to lighten the mood

Mcnamara shook her head "cramps"

"like, period cramps or just limb pain?"

Mcnamara grimaced, "mostly it's the latter, though sometimes both"

Jason hissed, that did indeed not sound like a nice thing, he knew firsthand how awful limb pain could be

"have you tried sleeping pills?" he offered, as she stiffened he realized he'd said something wrong

"I had them, don't use them anymore however" the reason went unsproken, but Jason had a good idea what the cause was,
'huh' his mind supplied, the most damaged people do smile the brightest

"Heather, this might sound weird, but I know where you're coming from, I've been in that place too"

Mcnamara looked at him, a sad frown on her face "you probably dont, I've been training for years to be the best of the best at
cheerleading that there's been some adverse effects, I sometimes have these cramps in my legs, usually at night. and they just. wont. go. away."

"I mean, I did this to myself, and it sucks that I'm going to have to live with it, but it just seems to keep getting worse" she was rambling now
tears beginning to pool in her eyes

Mcnamara broke into a light sob near the end, momentarily stumping Jason, her situation was kind of familiar to his. he was debating telling her he really did understand when she broke off into a tirade, openly sobbing now

"and the worst part is, I don't even like cheerleading anymore!" she all but screamed "it's just that, mom used to cheer for me at games, before the alcohol and all that, so I guess I had this weird hope that if I got good enough, maybe she'd come see me again" she started weeping, something that Jason really didn't have a clue how to deal with,

'cmon, you can dismantle a bomb within seconds, how hard is it to comfort a crying girl, think, THINk!' his mind screamed at him, before it clicked, when in doubt, grayson it. with that in mind he scooted over to her, quickly moving Cerberus out of the way. and put an arm around her shoulder, her response was to latch onto his shirt and sob into his chest, pulling herself into his lap, he quickly pulled her into a hug, unsure of how to procede

after a bit of mental discussion, he decided to make her understand that he understood her

"hey goldilocks, I gotta show you something" he quietly said, slowly peeling her off of him, she grabbed the hem of his shirt tighter and tighter, sighing he gently clasped a hand over her smaller ones "listen, I understand, but I want to show you that I do, okay?" he grabbed her chin, making her red and puffy eyes meet his own "is that okay?" after a couple of seconds she nodded, slowly sliding off of him

Jason stood up, mentally bracing himself for what was to come, and pulled off his shirt. Mcnamara gasped, his body was absolutely covered in scars, faint lines from blades, neat holes from where he'd been shot, jagged and curved lines from when he'd come across metas with claws and teeth or people with improvised weaponry, he was pretty sure he had a scar from a screwdriver somewhere on his calf, though he guessed that wasnt what Mcnamara was focussed on, that would probably be the giant Y shaped scar on his chest, his autopsy scar

"look, I know it aint pretty, but I've gone through some shit as well, and I feel some of them to this day, scratch that. I feel most of them, even if it's faintly"

Mcnamara didn't respond, probably too shocked to give a proper response, before she started crying again

shit. this wasn't supposed to go this way, it was meant to make her understand he knew what she was going through, not make her break down even further,

he hastily put his shirt back on and sat beside her again, pulling her into an embrace, this time stroking her hair, like his mother had done for him when he'd broken down in her arms, he even felt his own eyes water a little.

"I-I'm so sorry" Mcnamara sobbed into his shoulder "I shouldn't be crying like this, you've probably got it way worse, I'm just being selfish again" Jason frowned at that

"this isnt a competition goldilocks, it never was. how late is it anyways" he grabbed his phone, eyes going wide as he saw the date

"it's my birthday" he whisper yelled, how could he have forgotten his own fucking birthday?

"Mcnamara nestled herself further in his arms, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like "happy birthday" before she fell silent, a few minutes later even breathing could be heard from the girl, she'd apparently fallen asleep, Jason merely rolled his eyes, before angling the two of them so he was in a more comfortable position

he ended up falling asleep like that, one hand wrapped around the blonde sleeping on his chest, the other dangling off the couch

Chapter Text

Jason peter todd
height: 6 feet 2 inches/188 cm tall
birthday: 16th of august. as of chapter 6 is 19 years old
his look: http://inkydandy.tumblr.com/image/164238603235

Veronica sawyer
height: 5 feet 7 inches/170 cm tall
birthday: november 6th (barret wilbert weed's birthday) currently 17
her look: https://pm1.narvii.com/6495/315bb0ecc2be3d15b9bdd9d49ec06ad99d449769_hq.jpg

Heather Chandler
height: 5 feet 5 inches/165 cm tall
birthday: december 4th, currently 17
her look: https://66.media.tumblr.com/08675b2b5819c0573896655087b19287/tumblr_omrw6cId2u1t6cnaoo1_640.png (she has freckles under her makeup and she's a redhead/strawberry blonde but this is how I imagine she looks) (artist is norvegia)

Heather Mcnamara

height: 5 foot 3 inches/159 cm tall
birthday: september 16th, currently 17
her look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmx7KXMHl1w (blonde hair, blue eyes and again. freckles)

Heather Duke
height: 5 foot 1 inch/154 cm tall
Birthday: april 9th, currently 18
her look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuCux-Dtk-0

heights: Jason(188cm)--->Veronica(170cm)--->Heather C(165cm)--->Heather M(159cm)--->Heather D(154cm)

(34 cm height difference Jason-duke)

age: Jason(19)--->Heather D(18)--->Heather M(17)--->Veronica(17)--->Heather C(17)

I hope this clears up their designs and all

Chapter Text

Jason didnt really know what to do once he woke up, since there were a few problems he had to deal with. simultaniously apparently
first of all, there was the fact that he was freezing, he really should've grabbed a blanket, secondly his arm was killing him, he really should've laid it on the couch or somethingthird was probably the fact that he'd forgotten his own birthday. again. and last but not least there was the fact that a tiny blonde was currently using his chest as a pillow, making it virtually impossible to move without disturbing said blonde. instead he took to glaring at the ceiling like it'd personally offended him

a small chuckle rung out beside him, dragging him out of his self imposed glaring contest with a ceiling, glancing over he saw Veronica sawyer standing in the doorway, 'just great' his mind supplied him, this wasn't going to go over well

"need a bit of help?" Veronica called out, walking over towards him, this wasnt what she'd expected when heading downstairs, apparently the blonde Heather had gotten herself into a predicament with the resident boy, she softly chuckled at the situation before her, Mcnamara was clutching his his shirt like a damn koala and Jason looked like he welcomed death's sweet embrace

"yeah" Jason groaned, this was quite emberassing, all things considered, he slowly pushed himself up, careful not to disturb the person sleeping on top of him, Veronica slowly extracted Mcnamara's fingers from his shirt, and Jason slowly slipped off of the couch, afterwards they laid her back down, Jason grabbing a blanket and draping it over top of her

as the two of them stood there Jason caught a small smile from Veronica out of the corner of his eye, turning to look at her he found that the small smile had turned into a full smirk complete with raised eyebrow and all

"what's so funny" he grunted, turning away. he needed some tea

Veronica followed him to the kitchen. taking a seat on one of the stools as Jason prepared a nice cup of tea

"could you make me some coffee?" she asked

he grunted in reply, turning to the coffee machine and making a batch, after that was done he took a seat opposite Veronica, taking a good sip of the nice darjeeling he'd made, maybe she'd let the display from earlier go, considering she hadnt brought it up untill now, he was silently hoping that she wouldnt mention it, but that smirk from earlier reminded him too much of Steph, and thus he knew what was about to come his way, he mentally counted down the seconds till the innuendos started

"so what happened?" Veronica asked.

"suprised you didnt start of with 'did you guys fuck?' " Jason snarked

Veronica snorted, "yeah like that'd happen, we've known eachother for what? a week?"

"fair enough"

Veronica's expression sobered "but seriously, what happened?" Jason shrugged, "she said some things, cried a bit and fell asleep clutching me like her life depended on it, not really my place to say anything, so ask her yourself if you want the full answer"

Veronica nodded, walking over to the now full coffee pot and grabbing herself a mug before chuggging almost the entire thing in one go, leaving Jason with a nasty case of deja vu Veronica in turn noticed his gobsmacked expression "what?"

"I havent seen someone chug black coffee like that since Tim" Veronica raised an eyebrow at that, "who's Tim?"

"little brother" he answered

"so you're not an only child" Jason shook his head at that "how many are there?"

"there's Dick, barbie, Tim, steph, Cass, Duke and demon brat, and then there's me" Jason tried recalling if B had adopted any others recently

Veronica whistled, "that's a damn lot, do you all live in the same house back home?"

"nope" Jason said, popping the P

"alright" Veronica shrugged "got anything planned for today?"

"I'm gonna be making chili dogs today, so there's that" Jason said

Veronica raised an eyebrow "dont those take like an hour tops?"

"normal ones maybe, but I'm gonna be making these ones special"

"why's that?" Veronica asked, Jason merely shrugged "it's apparently my birthday" resulting in Veronica facepalming so hard even he flinched a bit at the sound

"how the fuck do you forget your own birthday?!"

Jason shrugged again "shit happends"

"well then, congrats, how old are you now?"

"19" he said after a bit of hesitation, which made Veronica roll her eyes, apparently Jason couldn't even remember his own age

"how late is it anyway?" Veronica asked, Jason shrugged, taking out his phone. once the screen lit up however he froze

"are you ok?" Veronica asked, walking over to see what it was, when she checked his phone screen even she flinched a bit, below the time '8:25' stood a phone icon with 3 digits next to it in red, missed calls.

apparently he had over 100 of them, Jason remained unmoving even as Veronica made her way to the living room after stealing the full pot of coffee
muttering something akin to "good luck with that"

"fuck this life" Jason said after a good few minutes of mental breakdown, checking over the messages he found 22 from Dick, 13 from Cass, 15 from Stephanie, 4 from Damian, 1 from alfred 42 from Barbara and 10 from Tim, over 100 messages in total, he probably wasnt going to get to making those chilidogs today

dialing the first number he mentally prepared himself for a verbal putdown of biblical proportions

1 ring, 2 rings. He swallowed, it never went to more than 3

"hello master Jason, it seems you didnt pick up your phone earlier " alfred spoke, his tone betraying nothing of his actual feelings

"Hi alfie, how are ya? happy birthday to you" Jason spoke, trying to divert the conversation as soon as possible

"I am fine master Jason, and likewise. but please don't try to change the subject, the others seemed quite distressed when you didnt pick up"

Jason chuckled a bit, of course it didnt work, still. he tried

"sorry about that, I was sleeping, I know its tradition to congratulate someone on patrol but I wasnt awake"

"I see, I trust you got a full 8 hours of sleep?" the tone again betrayed nothing of alfred's actual feelings, but it did succeed in making him flinch

"not really no" he sheepishly admitted. hey it wasnt his fault he had a shitty time sleeping

"alright, I trust you will try to do so in the future, yes?" Jason actually nodded at that, despite the fact that Alfred couldn't see him

"yeah, I'll try. anyways did you get my letter?" he asked

"that I did, master Jason. I'll be sure to try some of those recipes and maybe read one of those books you reccomended, if I find time to myself" Jason grinned at that, seemed like it was an over all succes

"though I must say, be careful, the decision to have mr. Clark deliver the letter on time was well meant but I fear it has gotten master Bruce interested in your current wherabouts"

damn it, Jason thought. oh well it was always going to be a matter of time

"alright, I'll keep that in mind, and alfie, could you please stop with the 'master' schtick. I'm legally your grandson now, remember?"

an awkward pause followed. Jason really hoped he hadnt said the wrong thing

"I'll be sure to remember that, I'll see you soon.... my boy" Jason actually broke into an all out smile at that, completely ignoring the other content of that sentence, after a couple more minutes of small talk they both said their goodbyes, alfred hanging up first.

"on to barbie" he said to nobody in particular, this was going to be a long day

-------------------------------------------------------------later. the living room--------------------------------------------------------

Heather Mcnamara slowly opened her eyes, taking in the surrounding room with a hint of annoyance, it was too bright for her tastes. though she did notice a fair few things, Jason was gone, unlike the few times she'd sleepily opened her eyes throughout the night, there was no sign of the black haired boy anywhere, a small frown broke out on her face as she recalled the events of the night before, her breakdown seemingly out of nowhere and the resulting tears, though one thing stood out amidst the myriad of thoughts forming in her head

that scar, she'd seen some crime documentaries before, watched a few CSI show here and there, that was a scar that no living human should have, right? it looked like the cut she'd normally see when the usually very snarky forensics expert pointed to whichever part of the vitcims body had given out, it looked like an autopsy wound, was that even possible? before she could delve further into theorycrafting various reasons for which such a scar, not including the multitude of other scars she'd seen. it became clear that she wasn't alone

"hey" Veronica's soft voice called out from one of the couches, Heather looked over to find the brunette seated on one of the chairs, a mug of coffee in her hands and a sleeping pup on her lap, she slowly sat up, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and taking another glance around the room. still no Jason

"hey" she responded, unsure of what to do next. Veronica took the initiative when she stood up, carefully making her way over to Mcnamara with a sleepig puppy in one arm and a mug of scalding coffee in another, it was quite the comedic sight, Mcnamara had to admit.

"you holding up alright?" Veronica asked, holding Cerberus out for Mcnamara, she merely nodded, gladly accepting the ball of fur and swooping him up into a hug and cradling the somehow still sleeping puppy in her arms. Veronica took a seat next to her. putting an arm on the smaller girls shoulder

"what exactly happened last night?" Veronica asked, "Jason gave me the gist of it, but said it was your story to tell" that actually positively suprised Heather, he hadnt said anything but the basics.

"the cramps in my legs, they were worse then normal, much worse. Jason said something to try and cheer me up, but it kinda backfired, I guess?" Mcnamara sheepishly admitted the questioning look from Veronica told her that there was probably more that she'd expected as an answer. Mcnamara sighed, and continued

"I started freaking out, crying and such, I told him why I even have these pains in the first place"

"you told him about your mother?" Veronica gasped, that was something that she hadn't expected in the slightest, it had taken months before Mcnamara had even mentioned it offhandedly to her and they were basically bff's at that point

Mcnamara nodded in response, "it kinda slipped out, he was really nice though, hugged me and told me he understood" she was beginning to shake a bit, hugging Cerberus a bit tighter, Veronica pulled the blonde Heather into a one armed hug, who calmed down a bit at that, absentmindedly petting the puppy in her lap

Jason made his way into the living room then, too occupied with his phone to notice them, he seemed to be having quite the argument with the person on the other end

"if you don't get your head out of your ass and ask her out god damn it I will personally come down there and propose to her for you, banishment be damned!" Jason shouted into the phone the person on the opposite end appeared to be talking, which seemed to piss him off even more

"none of that shit steph, I just spent HALF AN HOUR having this exact same conversation with Cass, ABOUT YOU, so go ask her now or I swear to god I'll sic alfred on you. BYE!" he angrily ended the converstation, before pinching the bridge of his nose

"I swear to god they're going to turn the rest of my hair white one of these days" he muttered, he could already feel a migraine coming on, his self loathing was interrupted by a small
chuckle.

turning his head to the source of the noise he found Veronica and Heather Mcnamara currently trying, and failing to keep their laughter under control.

"guess you're finally awake huh" he said, turning to the girls on the couch "its a little past 10, anyone want something to eat?"

"could you maybe make a couple of waffles?" Veronica suggested, Mcnamara agreed. Jason walked back into the kitchen, undoubtedly preparing a couple of waffles for them. and knowing Jason they were probably going to have to wake up the others, he did have a habit of making too much food.

veronica finished her cup of coffee before staning up, grabbing the pot sitting on the table "I'm going to try and wake the others, alright?" Mcnamara smiled "sure

Veronica nodded, walking into the kitchen, where she found Jason measuring ingredients for waffle mix, as she returned the now empty pot to its stand Jason gave her a questioning look

"what? I like coffee" Jason scoffed "like? you're almost as bad as tim for cryin out loud!"

"by the way, who were you talking to?" Veronica asked

"Steph, she's kinda my sister, though she's got a crush on my adopted sis, the feeling's mutual and their constant dancing around one another is getting on my nerves"

Veronica raised an eyebrow "so your sister... likes another one of your sisters?" she was really questioning what was going on at the moment, Jason simply waved her off "its not like that, you see me and the rest are all adopted, none of us are related by blood, steph and barbie? they've been hanging around so much that everyone sees them as family" with that explanation out of the way Jason resumed weighing out his ingredient for the waffles.

that did make a lot more sense now that she thought of it, Veronica had to admit.

"I'm going to go wake the others, Mac is still on the couch, if you're curious" she jabbed her finger in the general direction of the smaller girl, Jason merely nodded slightly, still focussed on the ingredients in front of him, he did however open one of the drawers and take out a small red object. without even looking he tossed it into her waiting hands

veronica blinked, staring at the object in her hands, was Jason crazy? this could get them all killed!

"you do know how to use one, right?" Jason asked, pointing to the objects top "you press that button, and the magic happends" Jason said, mimicing an explosion with his hands

Veronica rolled her eyes "of course I know how an airhorn works, I'm still doubting the choice itself, seeing as Heather will try slaughtering you most likely"

"god, finally" he joked.

"allllright then I'll be on my way. see ya in about 10 minutes" and with that Jason found himself alone in the kitchen again, not very long however. as a certain blonde quietly pushed open the door

"hey" Mcnamara said, announcing her presence, Jason turned his eyes to the blonde. "hey goldilocks, how ya doing?" he smirked, taking a bit of pleasure from the way her cheeks flushed at the nickname "I'm okay- I really am" she added when Jason raised an eyebrow, when Jason turned his eyes back to the mixture he was pleasently suprised, it was exactly as thick as he wanted it, Jason nodded and moved over to the waffle press, pouring a bit of the mixture into the press and closing it.

"I hope you like waffles"

"meh, I prefer pancakes, I'm probably the only one though" she admitted, taking a seat on one of the stools, Jason slid her a couple of wet-wipes.
"what are these for?" Mcnamara asked, Jason merely pointed to his face. "your makeup smudged, again." he simply stated

"oh, alright" with that she set to work removing the makeup from her face, meanwhile Jason went back to making waffles

a couple of minutes later there was a decent pile of waffles ready to be served up, Jason mentally pat himself on the back at how good they looked, should he make some whipped cream? nah. he probably had a can of the stuff in his fridge already. "Jason?" he was dragged out of his thoughts by Mcnamara

"yeah?"

 

"about yesterday-" Jason rolled his eyes. "listen goldilocks, I'm not gonna tell anyone if you dont want me to, alright?"
Mcnamara shook her head at that "thank you for that, really. but.... what happened to you?" Jason blinked, well then. he didnt expect her to be so blunt about his scars.

"me? I've have a fair few tussles back in gotham, why do you ask?" Mcnamara merely brought a finger up to her own chest, tracing a Y across her own skin
"I mean, what happened there? I thought that was an autopsy scar, but that's impossible right?" Jason sighed, a humourless chuckle escaping his lips, suprisingly enough the pit's influence wasnt felt by him

"there's a lot of things people find impossible" he merely said. "I'll tell all of you when I'm ready, promise. but I'm not right now"

"alright, I promise not to tell anyone- can I?" she pointed to the plate of waffles. Jason rolled his eyes and slid the plate to her, grabbing the can of whipped cream as well. sliding it over to her as well, he grabbed a waffle off of the pile, munching on it whilst he filled Cerberus' bowl. within seconds the unmistakeable pitter patter of paws on wood was heard as Cerberus made his way into the kitchen, completely ignoring Jason and Heather

"I swear to god if someone breaks in he's not even going to look at them" Jason wondered how he'd gotten the single laziest puppy in existance, it was better than having a hyperactive pup bounding across the walls and ceiling he had to admit, and he had to admit that the sheer aura of calm that Cerberus exuded had helped him avoid a couple of panick attacks, but he didnt even want to think about how lazy Cerberus was gonna be when he got older, he reckoned he'd have to buy a wheelbarrow to transport him

as they sat there eating waffles, Jason wondered why Veronica hadnt sounded the airhorn yet. he shrugged, maybe he'd missed it

-----------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, upstairs------------------------------------------------------------

 

"GET HER!"

"I'M TRYING"

"WELL TRY HARDER!"

"you'll never catch me alive!"

"Good, I WASNT PLANNING TO!" Chandler roared, launching herself at the taller brunette, how dare that bitch wake her up like that, 'fuck' she mentally cursed as Veronica dodged her yet again, somehow always being a step ahead of the two girls, it was honestly really starting to piss her off

Veronica chuckled nervously, dodging Heather duke yet again, the horn had had the desired result, supremely pissing the other girls off, as well as leading to a revelation. all the rooms were basically soundproof, seeing as after having used the horn on Duke, she'd found Chandler still sleeping soundly. well... more like sprawled out on her matress like some kind of snoring starfish, but that's neither here nor there

"come here you bitch!" duke snarled, briefly catching Veronica's pants, before losing her footing and falling face first into a wall. elicting a snort of amusement from the other girls, as Duke extracted herself from the wall she saw Chandler running after Veronica down the stairs. following them downstairs she found the two of them bickering with Jason over whose plan it had actually been to scare the living daylights out of the heathers.

Duke's stomach growled, she grimaced. should she eat something or not? lately she'd been eating more, mainly due to the fact that Jason's food was actually really good, but she wasnt at 100% just yet, she quickly grabbed a waffle off of the quickly dwindling pile and chowed down, ignoring the voice at the back of her head the best she could, instead focussing on the quickly devolving situation in front of her

apparently Chandler and Veronica had decided to put aside their differences and blame Jason fully, who was now defending himself all on his lonesome. Mcnamara opting to stay on the sidelines and quietly laugh at the banter

what a change, she thought. just last year we'd have been kicked out of the clique for even daring to think some of these words, Duke mused.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------later------------------------------------------------------

after it all calmed down, Mcnamara stood up, pointing towards Jason

"lets adress the elephant in the room" she spoke, "Jason has failed to tell us something" Jason sheepishly grinned, whilst Veronica chuckled "is this really neccesary?" he asked

"of course" Mcnamara nodded "today, is Jason's birthday." every girls eyes snapped to Heather Chandler. whose eyes had gotten an uncanny sheen

"birthday you say?" she asked in a seductive tone, Jason shrunk in on himself, apparently not comfortable with being eyed like a piece of meat,"you know what that means~" Heather drawled out, watching Jason shrink further into his seat

"what?" he squeeked out

"PARTY" Chandler screamed, throwing her heands up "christ don't you get it, you're getting a birthday party. Heathers style" she added

"alright then" Jason shrugged, he could deal with a party he thought, though the looks the other girls were giving him didn not do the best job of reassuring him of that fact

 

"alas poor Jason, we knew thee well" Veronica lamented, wiping away a fake tear. Jason didnt really get it, why would he-

"alright then, first we'll have to get you some good clothes, lord knows you wont make a good first impression looking like you walked straight out of grease, we'll also go over who's invited and who's not-" Heather chandler rambled off, and Jason understood. he'd just ok'd this. there was no going back now. why didnt he think this through?

this was going to be a living hell. well at least there was going to be alcohol at the end of it, Jason thought

 

-------------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, gothatm--------------------------------------------------------

Bruce sat in front of the batcomputer, pondering what to do, it was Alfred's birthday, but it was also Jason's

Jason, the name made bruce frown, the stray bird, the black sheep, bruce's grea- bruce shook his head, he couldnt allow himself to think like that, that line of thought had already done a lot of damage to Jason's fragile psyche. he mentally beat himself up over it, of course but. what's done is done, and there was nothing that could change that

he'd kept an eye out on the phone lines today, and surely enough. every single person in the family (except him) had gotten a call from an unidentified phone from the same location, the date itself meant that it could only be one person, Jason. he'd traced the calls back to what appeared to be a campus. Bruce cracked a small smile at that, atleast something good came out of him kicking Jason out of gotham

Bruce now faced a dilemma, he was going to visit Jason one way or another, he just pondered if he should go as Batman or as Bruce wayne.

he analyzed benefits and negatives to going as one or the other, in his mind batman's greatest negative was that batman had been the one to hurt Jason so, whilst bruce's biggest negative was that he'd attract too much unwanted attention to the both of them.

he recalled alfreds words, when he'd asked where Jason was. alfred had merely pointed out that Jason would probably prefer being left alone than seeing him right now, still. Jason was his son. and he needed to at least try to explain his motives, right? Bruce flinched slightly as he remembered the events of that night, he'd gone overboard, what much was true, but yet again, what's done is done and he couldnt change it now

and then there was the problem of the other members of the family, the last time he'd brought up Jason it had resulted in loads of screaming, blaming and had ended with most of the family simply leaving the manor entirely, leaving him, damian and Alfred the only people at dinner that night

he also pondered Clark's words. he'd said that Jason was moving on, but he wondered, was he maybe finally overcoming the pit madness? he'd find out when he talked to Jason again, which would be very soon, if he had anything to say about it

suddenly an couple of alerts popped up on his screen, there was apparently an arkham breakout and a situation at sanctuary, he was suprised that such a breakout was occuring during the day, but he was needed there. pushing the latter situation to the background he made his way to the batmobile
speeding off at blinding speeds whilst he called the rest of the family for assistance

 

Jason could wait, gotham needed its dark knight.

Chapter Text

days passed, and Jason considered himself lucky to have escaped from one of Heather chandler's shopping sprees, as the other girls had called them. though Veronica had taken the liberty of warning him to not go anywhere alone with Chandler, as she was currently making it her mission to 'make him look presentable' Jason rolled his eyes at the accusation, he looked fine, thank you very much

at the moment however, his imminent demise via clothing was put on the backburner. today was the day school was starting and Jason couldnt help but be excited at the prospect of starting a normal year for once. as such Jason had made sure to wake up on time (he hadnt slept at all) and was currently in the process of starting his bike and going to school when he heard someone stomping down the stairs into the garage, curious. he waited

a few seconds later Veronica revealed herself, dishelved and panting. she obviously must be in a hurry.

"Jason, wait." she begged "apparently my classes start the first hour as well" Jason frowned, "didnt the heathers tell-" Veronica glared at him, shutting him up "yup, they told me we didnt start untill second period, apparently they were only talking about themselves" she almost growled, Jason chuckled at that "want a ride?" Veronica nodded, climbing onto the bike behind him, Jason handed her his helmet, mentioning that he didnt need it, and roared off towards school

a few minutes later they made it to the main school building, Jason dropped Veronica off and went to find a place to park his bike, once he'd found one and parked his bike he made his way to the main building, taking in the seas of students he found himself among, he frowned slightly, he didnt particularily like crowded spaces like this. y'know gotham instinct and all, be quick or be dead was taken very literally by its inhabitants, and crowds meant being slow. he was dragged out of his own mind by a couple of eerily familiar voices, scanning the crowd for the source of the voices he soon found them.

Jason frowned, great. just great. there stood Veronica next to the main stairs leading into the building,
glaring up at two familiar jocks, he quickly made his way closer, not interfering but close enough, just in case. he told himself
in truth he was kind of curious as to what those two jocks were being complaining about now

he stopped a few meters from the argument, deliberately making eye contact with Veronica, she. to her credit, noticed him quite quickly, frowning a bit.though she didnt let up in her tirade against the two jocks, the brown haired one... ram was it? appeared to be apologizing for something

"look Veronica, I'm sorry for what happened last week, tension got a bit high and some things were said that shouldnt have been said, so. we cool?" apparently he was trying to apologize for the things that happened a week ago, Jason was almost impressed. he'd expected the both of them to be incorrigable, but at least one of them seemed to-

"Ram, just drop it, all of us know you're just trying to get back into the Heathers' good graces, and as far as I'm concerned you're not the problem here" Veronica stuck her thumb out to the blonde standing next to him, "he is" said blonde bristled when Veronica pointed at him

"fuck off sawyer, I'm not apologizing for shit, now are you gonna tell the Heathers or what?" Kurt snapped, prompting Ram to facepalm and Veronica to cross her arms

"nope" she said, popping the P. a smirk making its way across her lips. "hi Jason" she waved at him, Jason took that as a cue to move up. shooting the three of them a lazy grin

"hi, they bothering you again?" he said, pointing over his shoulder at the jocks, Veronica merely shook her head "nah" Jason nodded "good" he shot a quick glare at the two other boys, making them slink off back into the crowd, when he turned back to Veronica however, a frown had made its way onto her face

"did I do something wrong?" Jason asked

"what was that about?" Veronica snapped

Jason blinked, suprised at the harsh tone "again, what did I do wrong?" he asked

"the whole, stand threateningly off to the side schtick?" Veronica blurted out seemingly quite pissed off

Jason rolled his eyes "look, last time you guys ran into those idiots it almost came to blows, remember?" Veronica flinched a tiny bit at the memory

"alright, fair enough, though next time just step in or walk away, don't just lurk. okay?" Jason merely shrugged, fine by him. the two of them continued their way into the school. Jason taking in the admittedly large size of the building and memorizing the signs, just in case he ever lost his way, Veronica on the other hand was looking through the crowd, maybe looking for someone? Jason thought. he did notice the way her face lit up after a few seconds, following her line of sight he saw a further two girls, both brunettes, both also had glasses, though where one of them stood quite tall, maybe even taller then Veronica, the other one was short, and for lack of a better word. plump

"betty, martha!" Veronica shouted, making her way to the others, Jason following after her, he still had a few minutes according to the clock on his phone, so he might as well hang around a bit, the two girls almost instantly turned around, waving back at Veronica. though the taller one frowned a bit when she caught sight of Jason, Veronica almost flew into the embrace of the shorter girl

"martha, how are you? I havent seen you in forever!"

"I'm doing fine, how are you Veronica?" the girl, apparently called Martha asked

"I'm doing well, moved into that house I was telling you guys about last week, its been fun"

"even with the Heathers around?" the taller girl, who had to be Betty quipped, Jason raised an eyebrow at that, the Heathers apparently werent well liked

Veronica's shoulders slumped "betty, you know they've changed" Betty merely rolled her eyes "whatever, who's tall. dark. and angsty behind you?" suddenly all eyes were on him again

"name's Jason pennyworth" he said, Veronica suddenly perked up a bit "oh yeah, this is Jason, he's the one that owns the house we're staying in, and guess what. he has a puppy!"

"REALLY?" suddenly Jason found himself uncomfortable, martha was beaming at him and it felt uncomfortably like looking into a mini star "yup, I do" Martha almost squealed, Betty however frowned, he didnt know what her problem was. he hadnt done anything wrong had he?

"maybe we could, y'know. revive movie night?" Veronica asked, sounding quite sheepish, Martha appeared to be considering it, but from the way Betty's frown deepened. it seemed like she wasnt

"and where would you have us hold movie night?" betty said "we dont have a Tv in our dorm"

"maybe with us?" Veronica asked, suddenly the air felt a few degrees colder, probably had something to do with the ice glare Betty sent Veronica's way, pushing herself off of the locker she motioned for martha to follow "no thanks Veronica" the saccharine tone didnt really sit well with him. though from Veronica's body language he guessed it was worse for her

"it was worth a try" she muttered, almost too quiet to hear, Jason didnt comment, instead merely following her a bit closer when she decided to start walking again, after about 5 minutes Veronica stopped in front of a classroom, probably hers

"I've got class till 3, meet us at lunch?" Veronica asked, Jason nodded before walking past her to his classroom, luckily they had class in the same hallway or Jason probably would have been late to his first ever lecture.

after a couple more minutes of walking he found himself standing in front of the classroom in which he'd have his first lesson since well, before he died. bracing himself slightly he pushed open the door, only to be greeted by, a suprisingly empty classroom, there were likely over 100 seats yet less than 30 were occupied, apparently this wasnt a popular class.

"please take a seat, class will be starting shortly" he was dragged out of his musing by a stern voice, belonging to an older looking man, he looked like the typical hardass high school teacher you see in movies, glasses, dark brown hair, a beard, and a slightly enlarged belly. Jason made his way over to the older man, holding out his hand.

"Jason pennyworth, pleased to meet you" the older man blinked for a few seconds before accepting the hand "David Johnson, pleased to meet you. now go take a seat" Jason merely nodded, looking for a seat, he decided to take a seat at the back of the class in the far corner, passing the girl. Betty, he corrected himself. that apparently had something against the Heathers. not long after the bell rung, and class was officially in session

the older man began speaking "well then, I see this year's class is even smaller then last years" he looked a bit saddened at that "well anyways, as some of you might have heard, my name is David johnson, and I'll be your teacher this year. work hard, and dont disrupt the class, and we'll get along fine this year. now then lets get to know you all a bit more, shall we?"

Jason rolled his eyes, of course, the first day of the year was almost always spent 'getting to know eachother', or as he liked to call it, wasting his time. nevertheless he listened along< maybe someone let slip something that would interest him

his general disninterest not withstanding he did notice the subtle eyes people sent anyone that said they were from westerburg high, maybe there was a rivalry between the two schools? weren't Veronica and the Heathers from westerburg as well? he tried to recall if any of them had said so

a few minutes later, his own name was called out

"Jason Pennyworth, mind telling us a bit about yourself?" Mr. Johnson said, Jason perked up a bit, finding the class' eyes on him.

"not much to tell really, I moved around the world a lot, and now I'm studying here" he said, quick and to the point. this was apparently not good enough, as the class stared at him

"got anything else to add?" Mr. Johnson said, arms crossed. Jason sighed again. exasperated

"fine, I'm 19 years old, I like tinkering with cars and the like, and I love reading"

"cmon, everyone else had at least a story or something" Mr. Johnson chuckled, Jason merely raised an eyebrow, promting Johnson to sigh

"alright then, we'll do it like this, where are you from?" Jason rolled his eyes, fine by him

"gotham" that sent a murmur throughout the class, the loony capitol of the states was apparently an interesting topic of conversation

"gotham eh? why're you here then, Gotham u is as good if not better than remington" Mr. Johnson inquired. Jason chuckled a bit at that, at least he was honest.

"because here I can go out in the evening without having to worry about if the daffodils will try to choke me" Jason snarked back, elicting a chuckle from Johnson

"that seems like a good call, gotham does have a reputation for weird things happening"

"you don't know the half of it" Jason chuckled, they really didnt. gotham was another world entirely compared to the quiet he'd experienced in ohio

"care to enlighten us?" Jason saw the twinkle in Mr. Johnsons eyes, he was baiting Jason. he knew it, but still... the opportunity to just rant for a bit was looking mighty fine

"alright then" he sighed, no going back now "gotham sucks balls, and I'm not kidding. if it's not because of one of the resident crazies trying to get the attention of gotham's very own furry-" the class chuckled at that "-it's because one of the mobs has decided that they want a new piece of turf, and even then. the commute sucks, the food's terrible, the news stations are awful, one half of gotham smells like shit, the other half is covered in it, the cops are of two varieties, useless and corrupt. the commisioner being possibly the only exception, and that's not even half of it" at the end of the rant half the class was looking at him in awe, whilst the other half was trying and failing to keep their laughter under wraps

all except two, Mr. Johnson was looking at him with a quite unreadable expression, and Betty was analyzing him, at least that's what it looked like to him.

"well then, I think we've got an idea of what Gotham's like now" Johnson chuckled, promting the others to follow along, even Jason chuckled a bit "after that... rather enlightening piece of information, I think it's about time we start with class, and as such" Johnson paused, and a familiar glint caught Jason's eyes, that was the same glint Roy would get whenever he was about to make someone a guinea pig to one of his most recent inventions, this was going to be fun "I will be expecting a paper on some of the themes of one of your favourite books" Jason raised his hand at that "yes Jason, what is it"

"any other requirements, like genre and how the books fit into their genres?"
Mr. Johnson appeared to be going over the question "you know what, new idea. pick your favourite book, or book series and write an essay
as to how the themes the author gave to it fit into the story of the book itself, complete with motivations and the like" Jason smiled, that sounded like it might actually be a decent challenge... if he hadn't already made one of those a couple of months ago, man he loved psychology. the rest of the class appeared to be less thrilled about it, glaring at him.

he mentally shrugged, he wasnt here to make nice with anyone, but he was damned if he wasnt going to actually challenge himself a bit, flipping open a copy of the silmarillion he started reading, ignoring the heated glances the room's other occupants were sending his way

"well, if I'm honest I'd expected to have a full class for once, so I didnt exactly plan this first lesson" Mr. Johnson sighed "so off you go, see you all wednesday" one by one, everyone left the classroom, Jason didnt move, he was almost at the end of the chapter, and he'd been meaning to finish this book this week

"ahem" a voice rang out

Jason looked up from his book, standing in front of him was Betty from earlier, who was glaring at him. weird, he couldnt think of anything he'd done wrong, he shut his book. placing it back into his bag

"can I help you?" he asked, crossing his arms

"why'd you let the Heathers and Veronica move in for free?" she asked

"simple, they needed room. and I wasnt using it

"really?" he nodded

suddenly she got up in his face, startling him. his hand automatically hovering over to the spot where usually one of his jericho's would be
when he grasped at air he frowned slightly, he needed to work on that. couldn't really explain that one if someone noticed, could he?

"what do they have on you?" the blunt question suprised Jason so much that he didn't know what to say for a good few seconds

"wh-what?" he looked up at her

"just tell me, and I'll be able to help you" she whispered in his ear, 'holy shit this girl is actually serious' he realized

"alright then, nice theory. but no" Jason pushed himself up, grabbing his bag and walking past the brunette, only for her to grab his arm

"I'm serious, I only want to help you" she looked at him with hopeful eyes, he merely shrugged her off

"even if they were blackmailing me, why are you so interested? aren't you friends with Veronica" he asked, she rolled her eyes

"was friends, to be specific. though I don't think she's realized that" Jason bristled a bit at that, he really did not like this girl. at all.

"well, she's my friend, and I'll be sure to let her know" he growled, stalking out of the classroom

"me and Veronica were friends since diapers, martha too. yet she left us the second she could to hang out with those sluts" Betty called after him, Jason paid her no mind

--------------------------------------------------------lunch time--------------------------------------------------------------

Jason looked over the mass of people huddled together on benches, damn there were a lot of people present. though he was looking for a few people in particular. he was really getting curious as to why everyone seemed to loathe the Heathers so much, from his experience they were okay, well. Duke was a bit secretive, Chandler was demanding, Mcnamara was really honest and Veronica, well she had a temper, he still chuckled at the sight of her chasing Duke throughout the house after an incident with a glass of orange juice. some of the language she'd used was definetly going in his vocabulary

suddenly the crowds seemed to shift, and screaming broke out somewhere in the center of the newly formed mass of people, Jason, interested as he was. made to move with the crowd, curious as to what has happening at the moment when someone tapped his shoulder, turning around he came face to face with the people he'd been looking for, food trays in hand

"well then, nice to see nothing's changed" Heather Chandler dryly commented as suddenly stuff went flying everywhere. Jason blinked

"this is common?" he asked, pointing at the fight, which had now all but devolved into a moshpit, the others merely nodded

"unfortunately" Veronica said

"well, lets get a table" they made their way to a table reasonably close to the center of the cafeteria, though far enough away as to not be bothered by the free for all happening in the same room. Jason frowned a bit as he saw the brown goop the girls had on their plates, was that supposed to be something edible, he genuinely couldn't tell

"what is that" he said, pointing to the offending substance

"pudding" the girls said in unison, looking about as thrilled at the prospect of eating the stuff as a hare would be when served a steak

"well, at least it tastes better than it looks" Mcnamara sheepishly said, like that was something worth mentioning, it looked like literal shit. so setting the bar a bit low in Jason's experience, maybe he'd subtly drop off an alfred approved recipe at the kitchens, the usual bantering and bickering was nowhere to be seen from any one of the girls, was something wrong? the silence persisted for a few more minutes, before Jason couldn't really take it anymore

"so, how were your days" he asked, hoping to get a conversation started, he really wasn't good at this. but apparently he had to be the social one

"it was... fine" Heather chandler muttered after a few seconds, the others nodding along with her

"that reminds me, Betty said some strange things earlier" the girls all seemed to stiffen a bit at that "what did she say?" Duke inquired

"well, she thought you guys were blackmailing me" the girls didnt look amused at the insinuation, but he continued on "and she said that she and Veronica werent friends anymore, apparently Veronica left her and Martha for you guys?" Jason wasn't one for tact, so he thought simply retelling what had been said to him would be the right way to go

the moment a literal growl escaped Heather Chandler's lips, he realized it probably hadn't been

"where. is. she." Heather calmly asked, Jason was honestly impressed. if he'd been a normal teen at the recieving end of that glare, he'd be scared shitless. but he knew barbie's wrath, still. comparing a forest fire to a volcanic eruption was really unfair, they were both disastrous for the people around, one only more violently so

when his eyes fell on Veronica however, he realized that he probably should've been a bit more tactful, tears were welling up in her eyes, and all the colour had drained from her face,
as he noticed Veronica's breathing become shallower his eyes widened.

"Veronica" he sternly said, he eyes snapped to him, he almost couldn't see her pupils, damn this was not good "do you feel dizzy?" she shakily nodded, 'alright' he thought, he now knew what to do

"Mcnamara, get her somewhere private, now!" putting on his best commanding voice he told the blonde what to do, and once the two of them were clear of the cafeteria he sighed a bit. he was going to apologize to her later, now however. he had some explainig to do, as both Duke and Chandler's eyes were on him

"what the shit was that about?" Duke hissed

"did you guys not notice she was having a panic attack?" he asked

"no, why would we. she's never had one before" Chandler said

"never had one, or you've never noticed before?" the two of them at least had the decency to look away, Jason frowned nevertheless.

"how did you notice anyways?" Duke asked

"why do you think I own cerberus?" was his response "I've seen enough, and had enough panic attacks to know the signs"

"is there anything we can do?" Chandler asked

"get her someplace quiet, and get her to focus on her breathing, that's what usually works for me" he supplied, the girls nodded

"so there's nothing we can do?" duke asked, Jason shook his head "I'd tell you to join her but crowding someone who's having a panick attack is one of the dumbest things you can do" the two of them nodded again, though Chandler kept sneaking glances to the entrance, as if waiting for the two of them to return any moment now, though she couldn't see very much through the sea of students rushing out of the cafeteria, apparently teachers had gotten involved and nobody wanted to get detention on the first day of school

"I'm going to kill that bitch" she thought aloud

"what happened last year?" he asked "I told you, we'll tell you when everyone's ready" chandler snapped, before rubbing her temples, Jason actually flinched back a bit at that

"sorry, it's just. this sucks" chandler muttered, reaching into her bag and pulling out a box of advil and a bottle of water, popping the painkiller into her mouth and using the water to wash it down.

"amen to that" Duke admonished, stabbing her fork absentmindedly into the brown goo

"everyone been treating you guys like shit?" Jason guessed

"yup" chandler said, popping the P, "we're not top dog around here... yet" she quickly added the last part "so people think they can get away with this shit, unlike last year when we ruled westerburg. and with that, everyone fell silent, Jason grabbing lunch out of his bag, mouth watering a bit at the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his hands, he dug in. intent on at least getting something good out of the remaining 10 minutes of luchtime

he should've know it was the calm before the storm when he'd gotten through his lunch without a hitch, suddenly a shadow cast over him, and the Heathers stiffened

"hello there, you appear to be in our spot, Jason turned around. looking at the source of the voice

it was a blonde guy wearing a remington jacket, same type he'd seen Kurt and ram wear earlier today, though he couldn't find a trace of those two idiots among the crowd, rolling his eyes he turned back around. he was in no mood to be dealing with immature dick measuring contests this early. or, y'know. period, suddenly someone shoved him

"hey, didn't you hear what I said" the same blonde grit out, casting a quick look at the Heathers, who'd still said nothing about the affair. he stood up to face this annoying twat. it was moments like this, that being rare ones, that he was grateful for the lazarus pit's erasure of his years of malnourishment, because the couple of inches he had on the other guy was really working in his advantage, though he didnt appear to be alone, a brown haired boy, slightly shorter than he was. was standing behind him, though the two of them quickly moved away when his soured mood became apparent. man he was really getting annoyed at the ammount of people that seemed to want to prove themselves today. as he sat back down the two Heathers were staring at him in shock

"how'd you do that?" Heather Chandler whispered, eyes wide "what do you mean?" was it really that big a deal that he'd scared away a couple of jocks? "you got Brad and David to leave" Duke said, like that meant anything to him "and? I did the same with Kurt and Ram last week, remember?" Chandler shook her head "no, usually Kurt and Ram will leave us well alone if we tell them enough times, David and.. Brad however" Jason didnt miss the way she subtly paled "they don't listen to anyone" Jason made a mental note to check the two of them out sometime later, there seemed to be more than meets the eye with those two, if Heather's paleness was anything to go by

lunchtime ended soon there after, leaving the lot of them to head to their respective classes. this wasn't that great a start to the year, but he'd had worse. he chuckled a bit at his own morbid joke, sauntering towards the next lesson

------------------------------------------------------Gotham, the clocktower--------------------------------------------------------

Barbara was exhausted, a couple days ago there'd been a breakout at arkham, one of the worst ones they'd dealt with in recent memory, with almost every single inmate escaping, even now. the likes of killer croc and twoface still eluded them, the real reason for her exhaustion however, was some of the worst news she'd gotten in years.

sanctuary, the secret home for rehabilitating superheroes, had been massacared. so many dead, Barbara lamented, though one of the names on the list stood out

"roy harper" she said, the name unfamiliar to her lips, truth be told she was unsure if she'd ever actually spoken to green arrow's former protege, but that wasnt the problem. the problem was that Jason had apparently just lost his best friend, and Barbara was facing a crossroads at the moment, if she didnt tell him he'd probably graduate college, but when he found out she'd hidden something from him he'd probably lose himself in his rage again. the other option wasnt that much better in her opion, sure she'd tell him what had become fo Roy, but Jason wasn't one to let such things be solved, and would undoubtedly try to find out who'd done it. no doubt putting him back on the league, and by extension. the bat's radar.

what she didnt know however, was that batman was currently making that decision for her.

Chapter Text

a couple days later-

Barbara leaned back in her chair, patrols were wrapping up for the night, by all accounts it had been a remarkably slow night, not because of any interventions by it's defenders. but rather, because gotham itself couldn't be reasoned with. thunderstorms crashed throughout the night. a torrent of water flowed throught its streets, the dilapidated sewers unable to handle the volume of water poured upon them, it was dangerous to even go outside, those winds made sure of that, barbara had experienced them all too often, the hazing winds that sweeped across the city were one of the reasons that grappling was so dangerous, a single gust of air could knock you out of the air if you werent careful enough

barbara would know, it'd happened to her often enough, she was just about to sign off when she looked at the radar again, batman's signal was closing in on the clocktower "great" she mutterd to herself, wheeling towards the kitchen and setting a kettle to boil "mr. judgemental swinging by again" tensions ran high since Jason was banished from gotham the central part of it's defenders, batman and his family, were slowly drifting apart. nightwing had retreated back to bloodhaven, only coming to gotham when absolutely neccesary, red robin had moved out of the manor completely, deciding he was better off in a penthouse in the east end, 'to stick closer to work' he'd used as an exuce, though the real reason went unspoken everyone knew

Tim and Jason had been close, strange considering their first meeting, but Tim was more like a brother to Jason then Dick had ever been, barbara silently mused if it was simply because he despised being the 'little brother' anyways, Tim wasn't like Bruce or Dick when it came to anger, where the latter two would explode violently, Tim boiled with a silent fury. and it was beginning to show more and more

the others? well; most were remaining neutral, her birds of prey and the outsiders chief among them, though Cass and Stephanie stood firmly on her side

each night the patience of every member was strained, communication was a necessity rathern then a tool to batman nowadays, barbara knew it was because Bruce blamed her for Jason getting away

she was dragged out of her thoughts by the door slamming open, batman stalking in, it didn't take long for his eyes to find her.

"oracle" he greeted curtly

"Bruce" she replied, tone even

"no names in the field" was his only response, he moved over to the computers, waiting for her "I'm making some tea, want some?" she offered, batman shook his head, she shrugged, his loss. as she made her way towards him he spoke

"I need you to bring me into contact with Jason" the sentence made her blood run cold "absolutely not" she snapped, turning back around and moving back into the small kitchen "I trust you can show yourself out" she called to him

"Barbara, stop these childish games and just call Jason" he called out after her, Barbara wheeled back around, shooting a fiery glare in his direction "so you can beat him half to death again?" Batman stiffened at that, she dared bring that up to him, like he didn't know what he'd done wrong. but it had been neccesary at the time. he needed to show Jason that he couldn't just galivant around batman's city after having broken the one deal he had

"I did what was neccesary" was his gruff reply, the crackle of a taser soon filled the silence

"out. now." he turned toward barbara, who had procured something akin to a cattle prod, this was getting him nowhere 'fine' he thought, guess it was going to have to be this way

"I know where Jason is, either you get me into contact with him, or I will go to him" the response was instantanious, barbara stared at him with wide eyes, dropping the cattle prod on the floor, she shook her head in disbelief, before throwing her head back and letting out an ugly laugh

"god you're pathetic bruce" she chuckled "do you really hate him so much that you'd chase him down after all that happened" Bruce frowned at the implication that he hated Jason, he just needed to relay a message, and he told her as much

"it's about Roy" he stated, barbara grew still at that "I'm assuming you havent told him yet?" barbara shook her head, "no" Bruce was confused, why hadn't she told him yet, had he dropped off the grid or something?

"why not?" he asked, the glare returned full force

"because" she breathed "Jason is finally moving on with his life, we both know it's going to drag him back in when he hears this, he's going to be gunning for revenge" barbara sighed. Bruce did understand, Jason wasn't one to let someone remain unavenged, he couldn't tell if it was out of spite for his own death, or if he just did what he considered 'right' or at least as right as could be, with the lazarus pit clouding his mind

"do we have any idea who it is?" barbara asked, batman solemnly nodded "I was able to recover some of the footage, it's harley" barbara gasped at that, how could harley have done such a thing, never mind the fact that she'd been doing fine for multiple years, the simple fact that harley quinn had been able to take on some quite powerul metas on her own boggled her mind

"how" was all she said in response, bruce once agains shook his head "we have no idea, we're keeping this under wraps untill we find quinn, I'm worried about what happends if some of the less reserved vigilantes find out about sanctuary" she could understand that, there'd be a cry for blood, and the chances of it becoming public were too high, they just couldn't risk something like that happening.

barbara sighed after mulling things over for a few seconds "look, I'll call him later today alright? he's probably still asleep" bruce shook his head again "no... I need to be here" barbara pinched her nose under her glasses, damn Bruce and his infernal stupidity when it came to emotional matters

"alright, lets play this out, I call him and you're here with me, what do you think is going to happen?" Bruce opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by barbara "he's going to 1. realize that I've essentially betrayed his trust and go dark, or 2. he's going to bolt and we'll never find him again" she sighed "and then there's option 3, and when that happends the streets will run red" couldn't bruce just take the damn hint, Jason wanted nothing to do with him anymore, she'd tried to explain it so many times already

"I won't do it Bruce, sorry. I'm not risking the relationship we still have with Jason on some stupid matter of pride of yours" she grabbed the teabags and a cup, pouring herself a cup of chamomille, she was going to need it at this rate

when she turned back around, she was suprised to find that Bruce had actually taken his cowl off. he did not look good, the bags under his eyes were extreme, even for him. his eyes looked red, his hair looked messy, and he looked pale, paler than usual, anyways

"this isn't about batman and red hood, this is about me and Jason" he reasoned, barbara rolled her eyes, was he serious "you're a bit too late with that bruce, a couple of years too late"

Bruce bristled "what do you mean by that"

"I mean that you're a little too late in trying to act like his family, hell. we all are except a few, Tim and Jason were almost as close as Dick and damian, Cass and Steph lit up whenever Jason stepped into the room, the rest of us? even I was too hung up on the fact that he wasn't the same person that died anymore, but I've come to realize, that deep down he's still our Jason"

"how can you say that, knowing the things he's done?" bruce asked

"there's blood on all of our hands bruce, even yours." batman frowned at he notion, not wanting to give her the reaction she'd hoped for "the difference is that Jason admits it"

"even so, what was I supposed to do, we made a deal" Bruce sounded defeated

"what would you have done, had it been one of the others?" barbara asked him,

"what are you insinuating?" Bruce growled, Barbara threw her hands up in mock surrender. "nothing, I"m genuinely curious."

"it's not just the fact that it was Jason breaking another promise, there were other factors at play" he tried to reason

"OTHER FACTORS DO NOT EXCUSE WHAT YOU DID TO HIM THAT NIGHT" Barbara roared suddenly, actually taking him by suprise. he jumped a little at the volume.

"I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE FACT THAT SELINE LEFT YOU, I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE PROMISE, I.. I " the words stopped coming out, devolving into sobs

"you're right, it was wrong... that was one of the other reasons I need to talk to him"

"no you're not." barbara stopped him before he could go into detail "you don't get to make amends now, you should've thought first when you went after him"

"if you're so sure he wants nothing to do with me, why do you not want me to apologize?!" bruce grit out, barbara held her head in her hands, probably cursing his name. when she looked up tears had shown up in the corners of her eyes "because" she took a shaky breath "despite it all, he'll forgive you, he always does, and this whole cycle continues" she steeled herself "and I'll be damned if I let Jason break himself more for someone like you, who tosses him under the bus at every given chance"

she hazarded a glance over to him, expecting him to be red faced in rage, mere seconds away from exploding, she instead saw steely determination, she wanted to scream at him, threaten him, but that look was all too familiar, Bruce had set his mind on something, and nothing. not even Alfred would be able to dissuade him now. she could only hope Jason really had moved on, and hit the call button.

-------------------------------------------------------meanwhile, campus-----------------------------------------------------------

Jason's eyes snapped open, alerted by the tell tale sound of his ringtone. it took him a few seconds to orient himself, scanning the room for any intruders 'at least I'm out of that nightmare' he thought, shuddering at the memory, same shit. different day. a clow, a crowbar, and fire. though lately the dreams were a bit more varied, sometimes instead of a clown laughing at him, it was B, with that damn look of dissapointment as he beat Jason to death.

shaking those thoughts from his head before the pit could latch on to them, he answered the phone, flinching a bit as pain shot through him

"you better have a good reason to be calling me at this time, barbie. because I was enjoying some free time for a change"

"grow up Jason, we both know school is a piece of cake for you. is there anywhere you can talk on camera" Jason got out of bed at that, making his way to the door, grabbing a pair of sweatpants and a shirt along the way

"yeah, just gimme a minute, cant exactly walk around in my underwear right now"

after wrestling with his sweatpants for a bit, he was making his way to the garage, making sure not to wake the girls, it wouldn't do him any good for them to start wondering where he snuck off to in the night

"so what's this about?" he asked as he made his way onto the ground floor

"I'll tell you later, but I have to warn you, bruce is here" Jason stopped at that, she wouldn't? would she? had Barbara given him up to bruce

"what." he snarled

"Jason please, it's not what you think, I'll explain everything"

"alright" Jason said after a few shaky breaths, 'keep in under wraps' he said to himself, it would do nobody any good if the pit came out to play, he said nothing more as he made his way into the garage, walking to one of the walls he felt around for a bit, before finding his secret button. this was one of the things he was most proud off, he'd put a fake wall in the garage about 1/4th of the way through, leaving him with ample space for a decent base of operations, it was accesible via a special door that normally only opened via a hidden print scanner, and he'd done such a good job that even he couldn't find the door without feeling around, he opted to leave the door open, in case this was some sort of setup, and stepped into his own
personal cave, his new uniform, various rifles, pistols, swords and a multitude of explosives lined the wall, various pieces of training equipment took up most of the space on the floor. when he came around to telling the heathers about himself he might let Mcnamara use it if she wanted to, he thought. but that wasn't why he was here. he made his way over to the very back, where'd made a sort of mini batcomputer, of course it wasn't nearly as high tech as barbara or B's, but it would suffice, should he deem it neccesary, after all. that was why he'd built this base of operations in the first place, somewhere he could store his vigilante gear safely, should he ever find himself needing it

he started up the camera, and not long after he found himself face to face with Barbara... and Bruce, his eyes narrowed a bit when he looked at the older man, as if daring him to speak. when he didn't, he focussed his attention on Barbara, who appeared to be very nervous

"explain. now" he stated, crossing his arms, he was quite interested in how this could've happened, barbara pinched the bridge of her nose

"look Jason, I know it looks bad" he chuckled humourlessly "that it does indeed, do I need to worry about dickhead and demon spawn jumping me anytime soon?" Barbara looked over to Bruce for an answer, he merely shook his head

"good" he breathed "because if this was some attempt of bringing me back to gotham-"

"you're never coming back to gotham" bruce cut him off, and Jason felt rage bubbling inside of him, from the scandalized way Barbara was looking at bruce, he could tell she felt the same way

"not that I'm not enjoying the fact that you think I still take orders from you" the way Bruce's face darkened at that amused him slightly, the man did really hate not being in control "I believe there was a point to this, unless it was to make fun of Bruce, which I'm all for by the way" Barbara shook her head

"I'm really sorry Jason but he wanted to talk to you, said that if I didn't put him into contact with you he was going to come looking for you himself" Jason raised an eyebrow at that, man did the bat have balls, there was no way in hell he was going to get away with a stunt like that scott free, he almost smiled at the thought of Dick finding out, instead he shrugged "seems like Barbie's still looking out for you Bruce"

"what do you mean by that?" there it was, he'd expected it sooner if he was honest, but Bruce had done a remarkable job restraining himself from using the batglare, which meand he'd lasted all off.... 2 minutes, that must've been a new record. Jason checked the time, frowning as he saw 3:53 on the computer's screen, looking back at the feed from the clocktower he saw barbara nowhere in sight, she'd probably moved somewhere else to try and retain some of her sanity

"it means that I would've ripped your head off, had you shown yourself" he casually stated, watching Bruce go rigid in respone "now I love being woken up at 4 in the fucking morning about as much as the next guy, so are we done?"

"Roy's dead" was the response, and Jason felt his blood run cold, he quickly reached for a chair as his legs began to give way, collapsing into the chair
"what?" Jason choked out, so that's why he hadn't been responding to any calls, he'd thought Roy hadn't bothered to check his phone when in actuality.... oh god his best friend was dead, Jason's breathing quickened, he could feel a panic attack coming, and Cerberus was nowhere to be seen. as he started hyperventilating he could see Barbara moving back into frame, he faintly noticed her shoving bruce out of the way, though he didn't catch what she said to him

"-ason, Jason? JASON CAN YOU HEAR ME?" Jason's eyes snapped towards the picture of oracle "breathe, remember" he shakily nodded, concentrating on his breathing, this continued for a good few minutes before he came to his senses

"what happened?" was the first thing he asked, "who was it?" was the second, Bruce made himself known again then "we recieved report some time this week that sanctuary had been massacared, as for the who. security footage shows it being harley quinn" that didn't make an awful ammount of sense in Jason's mind, but the name harley quinn brought another response entirely out of him, most things associated with the joker did

"what" the sound that came out of his throat sounded primal, hungry for blood, cold fire poured into his veins and he briefly caught his reflection in the mirror, his eyes were an almost glowing green. though he was suprised that he didn't hear any voices this time, he couldn't find it in himself to care, he stalked over to one of the gun racks, digging through a box of ammo, grabbing one of his custom 9mm rounds and making his way to the screen again

he held up the bullet for them to see

"how many died?" the question was simple, nevertheless it took the bat a good minute before he answered

"12" he said,

Jason pointed to the bullet "this thing is going straight into her skull" batman stiffened as he heard the words

"Jason, I forbid you from going after harley quinn" suddenly bruce was gone, and batman made his appearance

"I told you before Bruce, I don't take any more orders from you, now tell me where this bi-"

"Jason" barbara cut him off, he spared her a glance

"please, don't do this. you're finally moving on with your life, don't throw it all away for revenge" barbara pleaded, and he did begrudgingly admit that she had a point, though he really wanted to make that bitch suffer for what she'd done, he would effectively be throwing all he'd built away. an idea began forming in his head, he had a couple of burner phones on standby, and if he was correct he still knew a particular person's phone number

his shoulders slumped "fine, he'll probably be back in a couple of years anyways" he joked humourlessly, death really seemed like a part time thing in the world of superheroes, not that he cared. he preferred life, thank you very much.

"Jason" he looked over to Bruce again, his posture seemed.. different, nervous even "about that night" Jason's eyes widened in realization, fuck that, he was not doing this

"save it for someone who cares B, I'll stay out of your city" he said, mockingly quoting the 'your' part "and you stay out of my life, I like this arrangement of ours, well more specifically, the things you told me as you were beating me into a pulp" Jason quite enjoyed the way bruce went rigid. man he really couldn't handle having something shoved back into his face, could he? even if he was the one responsible

"please just listen to-" that has been the wrong thing to say, as Jason's eyes. which had previously been steadily turning back into their normal blue colour, suddenly blazed with a sickly green light again

"why should I?" Jason began "why in fucks name should I listen to you? you've never listened to me, have you, not once. so you can take your begging, you can take your city. you can, take those worthless fUCKING APOLOGIES OF YOURS AND YOU CAN BURY THEM RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE YOU BURIED ME!" at the end Jason was screaming, and Bruce shrank in on himself with every word, Jason decided to take the 5-6 ish seconds that he'd just bought himself with that and made a dash over to his burner phones, already halfway through the number he was planning on calling before either of them caught on

"Jason, what are you doing?" Bruce's gruff voice called out, Jason smirked as he typed in the last letter, hitting the call button.

putting the phone to his ear he turned back to the two people in the clocktower, a feral grin on his face

"I promised I wouldn't go after her" he saw the way both Barbara and Bruce paled when he emphasized the I in that sentence "never said anything about anyone else"

"Jason, please don't" barbara pleaded, he looked at her sadly, but this was something he had to do

suddenly the ringing stopped, and a deep, animalistic voice rang out, he'd put the spone on speakers so Bruce would be able to hear it

"what do you want?" the impossibly deep voice called out, and he didn't miss the way both barbara and Bruce stilled as they recognized the voice

"hi there waylon" he began, "It's about roy" he'd stopped paying attention to the commotion in the clocktower, but he could tell out of the corner of his eye, that the both of them were trying something, not that he cared anyway

"hood? is that you?" the person on the other line rumbled "the one and only" Jason smirked, looking at Bruce's angered face

"what's this about roy?" the smile faltered "roy's dead" he said

"what?" Jason found himself feeling sorry for the guy, there was so much pain in that single word Jason felt it even through baritone of the voice itself

"yeah"

"who did it?" there was the anger Jason had anticipated,

"harley quinn" was all he said, or got a chance to say. as suddenly the call cut out, also cutting off the roar of pure fury that killer croc had let out, finally turning his focus back to the clocktower, he found no trace of the big bad bat, instead Barbara was glaring at him

"Jason sat back down in the chair, feeling extremely pleased with himself, thank god for loopholes

"what do you think you're doing?" the tone almost made Jason flinch, though he did meet her glare with his own heated look

"setting things right" was his answer

"you do realize that he's going to come for you when this is all over, right?" barbara said, tone flat

 

"I thought I'd made my intentions towards him extremely clear" Jason said, to Jason's suprise Barbara cracked a tiny smile at that, shaking her head. he decided against teasing her about morality, one pissed off bat was quite enough for a single day

"hey, are you ok?" barbara asked, and suddenly his mind wandered back to the fact that his best friend was apparently dead.

"it makes no sense barbara, it really doesn't. how was harley quinn of all people able to kill a dozen people, all but one of them being metahumans"

"I agree with you on that, but we won't know anything untill we have quinn" she gave him a pointed look, he scratched the back of his neck at the obvious jab

"just hope that B catches her before croc does, then"

"Jason"

"hmph?"

"anything you need?" Jason closed his eyes, groaning a bit

"yeah, just. talk to me for a bit? not sure i'm comfortable alone with my thoughts at the moment." barbara nodded at that, she seemed to be pondering a topic of conversation "barbie, lets just ask eachother questions"

"alright then, my turn first?"

"yeah"

"your eyes, they're glowing a bright green, how are you feeling?" suprised, Jason took a glance in the mirror, finding that his eyes were indeed glowing almost neon green, weird; he thought. the voices hadn't appeared at all, at least he thought so? he hadn't heard anything had he?

"weird" he admitted, "I feel what I normally do, heightened senses, a tightness in my chest, yet suprisingly I don't hear those voices anymore" he could feel himself actually calming down a bit as he tried to come up with a question of his own

"how are things in gotham?"

"busy, lots of nights spent trying to contain the war for penguin's turf, which isn't made all that easy by the family's current state" Jason quirked an eyebrow at that, he'd honestly expected the rest of the family to be sticking closer together after that night, that was normally what happened when one of the- 'stop thinking you're a bat Jason' he shouted in his head. when one of them got hurt in any way

"how bad is it?"

"really bad" barbara looked tired, and Jason felt guilty, he was partly responsible for this after all "Dick refuses to even look at Bruce, he stays in bludhaven untill there's no other choice, Tim moved out not long after you were banished, Cass now lives with me, Stephanie too. "suddenly her hands buried themselves in her red locks "and Damian" she sounded broken "Damian is terrified to even be in that house, he's worried that if he slips up, if he kills someone-"

Jason finished the sentence "-that he'll do to damian what he did to me" Jason felt disgusted as the words left his mouth, he'd never really gotten along with the demon brat but he understood the fear of ones own father all too well, especially the 'physical discipline' that willis used to be so fond off

"let's move on to something lighter, shall we?" Jason nodded "how's school?"

"it's what I expected, we're starting PE next week though, I'm looking forward to showing off"

"to one of those girls you've got living under your roof?" barbara teased, Jason could feel himself flush. he needed something to derail this conversation ASAP

"nah, too busy with school at the moment, suprisingly enough I'm not aceing everything" there came the patented eye roll from barbara "dick had time for me whilst he was in college" she remarked off handedly

"yeah, because he's such a good role model when it comes to being a functional adult" barbara hid her startled laugh behind her hand, 'he has a point' she thought to herself, Dick wasn't a functioning person, hell he could barely qualify as an adult, if the fact that he couldn't even make a simple dinner without setting fire to at least 1 pan, he was lucky he was on B's payroll, or. was? she didn't know, otherwise he would've gone bankrupt years ago from buying new pans every week

"fair enough" the smirk returned "still haven't found yourself a girl that fits your tastes?" he just waved her off this time. standing up from his computer
"well barbie, it's been.... decent, but I gotta catch some sleep, would you please allow me to do so?" she nodded, shutting off the belltower's feed after a quick goodbye from both parties

as soon as the feed cut off, Jason slumped in his chair, maybe it'd finally hit home

Roy was dead.

Roy was dead, lying six feet under, whilst he got to move on with life, the bitter irony wasn't lost on him, though he couldn't bring himself to laugh at it, he buried his head in his hands. and not long after a silent sob wracked his body

Bruce. Roy. it was all getting too damn much for Him, every time he thought back to the conversation a myriad of emotions washed over him, anger. regret and spite when bruce appeared in his thoughts, a sense of melancholy, sadness and cold acceptance accompanied Roy in his mind, he hazarded a glance at the door, finding it unopened still. 'good' he thought, nobody could see him

with that piece of information, Jason todd finally broke down, sobbing into his hands, he hadn't allowed himself to cry since his mother's death, vowing to be strong, tears still streaming from his eyes he made his way over to one of the punching bags, throwing punch after punch at the object untill his fingers bled, when that was done he made his way upstairs. sat down on the couch, and poured himself a glass of some of the most alcoholic drink in his current posession

he wasn't going to deal with this sober

he couldn't.

Chapter Text

9:24 am

Heather Chandler's eyes opened, still dazed with the after effects of a long night's sleep, dragging her long locks out of her face she hazarded a glance at the clock, seeing that it was still very much morning, she rolled over. trying to lull herself back to sleep, the problem however. was that there was this.... sound? she didn't know what it was, but it annoyed her, as most things did before the clock passed 12 o'clock, it was no secret that Chandler was not a morning person. so whoever was making that sound probably had a deathwish

still, she felt too tired to get out of bed and deal with this insolence, besides. who in their right mind would get up at this hellish time, it was that school made those torturous times mandato- wait a minute, she was in college now, attendance wasn't mandatory. suck it school system.... wait, wasn't it sunday? she sighed. this mental discussion was for another time. sleep now, she grabbed another pillow, one of the many that lay all over her bed. and pressed it to her other ear, hoping to drown out the noise somewhat

it failed. spectacularly. whoever was doing this was really asking for an asskicking weren't they? she chucked her pillow at the door, resulting in a satisfying thunk. that and the following scream of "people are trying to sleep here!" would hopefully be enough to shut whoever it was up.

a few seconds later however, the sound continued, this time she could actually hear what it was, it sounded like...

scratch scratch scratch.

"wha-" what was making that sound?

scratch scratch scratch

"oh you've gotta-"

AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Chandler sighed, moving to get up out of bed, 'of course' she thought to herself 'of course it's that dog, Jason's probably still sleeping and the thing wants to pee, grumbling she slid her feet into a pair of fluffy slippers, grabbing her silk nightgown from its position on the floor, she not so silently opened her door, resulting in it hitting the wall with a dull thud, not that Heather cared at the moment, her sleep had been interrupted, whoever did it was going to pay. stomping over to the room next to hers, she wrenched the door open, revealing the source of all her trouble staring at her, a quick glance into the room revealed that Jason was in fact, not in bed. well that was something to care about later, right now she had to figure out how to deal with this ball of- oh who was she kidding?

she tried to be mad at it, she really did. but damn it even westerburg's mythic bitch had a soft spot for puppies, well puppy was a bit of a loose term when it came to Jason's dog, she could've sworn it was half this size when she'd originally seen it. when it'd scared the absolute shit out of her, Duke and Veronica. she grabbed it into her arms, making her way downstairs, though halfway to the ground floor something.... weird happened, Cerberus became anxious, like he was excited, he was growing restless in her arms. and she was struggling to keep a hold of the pup

"fine, fine. go on then" she set it down, watching it race down the stairs, she followed, her pace naturally a lot slower.

when she finally got to the ground floor, she decided to take a quick detour through the kitchen, making a pot of coffee would be a wise decision. it would severely decrease her grumpyness towards the others, and she wouldn't feel like utter shit. yeah coffee sounded good

walking out of the kitchen and into the dining room, she quickly spotted Cerberus pawing at the doggy door, she quickly unlocked it. watching with amusement as the pup squirmed its way through the way too tight door. what to do now? she honestly didn't know, maybe watch Cerberus racing across the backyard from the living room, or maybe watch a couple of episodes of that new series on netflix, Mcnamara said it was good, so it probably was.

when she walked into the living room however, those plans were thrown out of the window

there sat Jason, in one of the chairs. even from where she stood she could make out dried tears on his cheeks, the biggest concern of hers was the alcohol that sat on the table, more specifically, the sheer volume. she spotted at least 2 bottles of fireball, a bottle of tequila, and... was that fucking knob creek? that stuff was dangerous, you didn't know how much alcohol you were consuming untill it was too late with that stuff, did taste good though, but that was besides the point.

slowly making her way over to the table, as to not wake Jason, she grabbed one of the bottles, suprised to find it empty. the next one was no different, as was the one after that.. or the one after that.

with each bottle Chandler grew more and more nervous, that was a lot of alcohol, frankly she was suprised he was still breathing, even if there was a sip's worth in half of those bottles she knew for a fact that the currently empty bottle of tequila had been full not 24 hours ago

she was really contemplating calling 911, when Jason suddenly opened an eye, a striking green pupil met Chandler's own stormy grey eyes before just as quickly turning a deep blue, and Jason shifted on the chair, moving up into a sitting position he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, suddenly the telltale ding of the coffee machine was heard, Jason pushed himself up.

at least, he tried to, he was pushed back into the chair before he got a chance to really asses the situation, resulting in him grabbing Chandler's arm in a viscious grip, it took him a few seconds before he fully realized where he was, and who precisely he was excercising a death grip upon. his eyes travelled up to the source of the arm, finding stormy eyes glaring at him

"sorry" he let her arm go, leaving her to rub the sore skin on her forearm

"what the fuck happened here?" she asked, well it sounded more like a demand, but when Chandler was in a bad mood, like she evidently was. the two of them were usually interchangeable

"what do you mean, I fell asleep on the chair, is that so weird?" his only answer was the redhead pointing to the table, where... his eyes widened, that was a lot of alcohol, had he really drank all that? he could feel a slight headache, but that ammount should've killed him

"what the fuck?" he must've sat there, slack jawed for a good few seconds, because the next thing he noticed was a cup of coffee being shoved in his face, along with a glass of... was that an egg? he accepted the coffee, though he just stared at the glass for a few seconds

"it's a pairie oyster, hangover cure" he just held his hand up, accepting the weird concoction. though he didn't really know what to do with it, looking to Heather for advice resulted in her rolling her eyes at him "just pretend it's a shot" he nodded, bringing the concoction to his lips and after a few seconds.. swallowing it, he shivered as it passed through his throat, that slimy sensation was disgusting.

"thanks" he said, before washing that, he hesitated to call it a drink, down with a few gulps of scaulding coffee. he went over the events of the prior night, barbara, B.... roy, he remembered grabbing a bottle of liquor and pouring himself a drink, after that however. nothing, at least nothing that could explain the copious ammounts of liquor he'd apparently drank, or the fact that he still breathed after having drank said liquor

"so, wanna tell me what happened here?" Heather said, having moved over to the couch. "I honestly have no clue" he admitted

"did you have people over last night?"

he chuckled "nope, you four are the only people besides me to have set foot in this house in at least the past year"

"alright then, what's the deal with your knuckles?" at her mention of his knuckles, he checked them out, they were covered in blood, he recalled having beaten them raw against a punching bag, yet there was no visible damage on his knuckles, not even the scars he'd usually have with his increased healing, curtosey of.... it finally clicked

the lazarus pit, something must be going on with the lazarus chemicals in his body, that would explain how he could've consumed all that alcohol without y'know. dying again. he made a mental note to send a blood sample to oracle sometime, now however he needed to come up with a lie to tell Heather, or atleast something to get her off of his back for long enough to create a more convincing lie. but that would mean telling her about Roy, the mere thought caused his hands to shake, something that didn't go unnoticed by Heather

"my eyes, were they-"

"-green? yup" well that confirmed the lazarus pit having something to do with it

"you ok?" she asked, feigning disinterest, though her eyes betrayed some worry, he nodded. focussed a bit on calming himself, and took another gulp of his coffee. 'fuck it' he thought. might as well

"I got a call last night, he admitted.

"what about?"

"my best friend died last week" as he said the words he didn't miss the tiny gasp from Heather's direction.

"how?"

"havent heard anything about that, but I'll tell you" he levelled a dangerous glance at Heather "it wasn't natural"

"was he murdered?" Jason flinched as he heard that, she really wasn't one for mincing words was she? still, it was a fair question

"that's what it looks like" suddenly a hand made its way onto his shoulder, he flinched a bit, but didnt pull away

"I'm so sorry"

"don't be" he admitted "I ended up punching something, cant remember what however, probably something hard judging from the blood on my hands" she nodded along "after that, I grabbed the tequila, had a few glasses and..." did he really want to bring his mother into this? again he mentally admonished himself, that was in the past "let's say I've seen what substance abuse does to people" internally he chuckled at the irony, that was exactly the reason Roy had gone to sanctuary, and it ended up getting him killed. "so I ended up dumping the rest into the sink, no idea why I ended up setting it on the table though.

suddenly he realized something, and he scrambled out of the chair, reaching over to grab some of the bottles, only to be stopped by Chandler tightening her grip on his shoulder

"what are you doing?" she looked at him questioningly

"Mcnamara, she'll have a fit if she sees all the empty bottles" Heathers eyes widened minutely, before she herself grabbed a few bottles as well

"I keep the glass bin downstairs" she nodded, following him along into the garage, once they'd deposited the various pieces of glass, Jason noticed something, something that made the hairs on his neck stand on end

he was a fucking idiot, an utter, incompetent, brainless, idiot. he'd left the door to his supposed SECRET base open for the world to see, now he could only hope Heather didn't notice. thankfully, it looked like she didn't, as she made her way upstairs. he quickly rushed over, closed the door and typed in the passcode, crisis averted he thought, if Talia had seen that her wrath would have known no bounds, hell even B would've had a lot of choice words to say about that particular failure. shaking off the mental image of Talia and Bruce's dissapointed looks he made his way back upstairs

the only problem was, unbeknownst to him, she had seen.

when he got back into the living room he noticed Heather's posture looking a bit stiff, though he chalked that up to the fact she'd just heard from someone their friend was... murdered. the sheer thought of what Quinn must have done to Roy made his blood boil, if he ever came across her again, under Joker's control or not, there wouldn't be any mercy for her, not anymore, and never again. noticing how Heather was looking at him worryingly, he turned to the kitchen, hoping to busy himself with making some food, the dull headache still hadn't completely faded, despite heather's supposed hangover cure. he was really starting to wonder if she was just fucking with him, but with his current predicament, a full english sounded pretty good

turning on the stove and grabbing the things he'd need, he called out to Heather "I'm making breakfast, want any?" a few moments later she made herself known, hopping onto one of the isle's stools "sure, what are you making?" she glanced past him, trying to catch a glimpse of what he was making, he held up a packed of sausage and a couple of mushrooms in respone

"full english, want some?"

she eyed the sausage sceptically "sausage for breakfast? you sure you don't just want to binge?" he chuckled at that, though he took her silence as a yes, a few minutes went by, noticeably less tense then the prior silence, before Heather spoke up once more

"what did he look like?" Jason stopped stirring the beans, grabbing his phone he looked for a picture of Roy that wouldn't immediately give away his superhero identity, eventually coming across a quite old one, it was a photo of him, kori (in her human form) and Roy laying on the beach together, drinks in hand. Roy still had that stupid trucker hat on. he showed it to her, and she appeared to be assesing him

"that hat is hideous" was the only thing she said, he spun around so quickly he got a bit dizzy, pointing at her with a wooden spoon "thank you" he said, trying to put as much faked emotion as possible into the two words, resulting in her cracking up a bit

half an hour later, the two of them were indulging in a gargantuan breakfast, Jason had of course overcompensated for his own huge appetite, and ended up making enough for 6 regular people. aka, just enough for 4 heathers and a single Jason. though at this point in time it was just the two of them, from the sounds upstairs, Heather could guess it wouldn't be that way for very long. the tell tale tired groans of Veronica and Duke could be heard, and that would mean that Mcnamara would soon wake up by osmosis. the blonde had the weird habit of waking up whenever Duke woke up, Chandler had theorized in the past it was because the two of them were psychically linked, a genuine possibility in a world that had superman flying around, she thought at the time, looking back it all seemed so silly.

the sound of a chair dragging across the floor pulled her out of her musings, apparently Jason had demolished his own breakfast in about 5 minutes, he left without much further ado mentioning that he was going to be taking Cerberus out for a walk, she nodded along. not really paying full attention, her thought flickered back to the door she'd seen in the garage earlier. she could've sworn it wasn't there before, though a small problem presented itself

she had no idea how to bring it up to the others.

---------------------------------------------------------with Jason, some time later---------------------------------------------------

Jason was quietly making his way across campus, Cerberus walking alongside him. strangely enough the pup had no enerby except when it came to walks, if walks were involved Cerberus suddenly had the energy reserves of a damn rabbit, he took in the cool autumn air, felt the wind brushing through his hair. "this was a good idea" he said to nobody in particular as he strolled through the green fields of grass that flanked the various roads across campus, maybe he'd go to the pond, Cerberus seemed to like it there, if only because he liked chasing the ducks around

suddenly his phone vibrated, reaching into his pocket he saw that barbara was apparently calling him, he frowned a bit. he didn't really want to deal with her right now, or at least not right this second, that's why he was going on this walk in the first place, he needed to clear his head. well, that and the fact that Cerberus could use the excercise, he might not have been the best detective when he was one of the bats, but even a blind person would've noticed the copious ammount of treats the heathers were sneaking the pup

long story short, Cerberus was getting fat. still, that brought him no closer to the answer for his current dilemma, to pick up. or not to pick up? after a few seconds of deliberation he realized it would be better to deal with an apologetic barbara than an angry barbara, and so he answered

"hello?"

"Jason... how are you?"

"well, I just found out B knows where I live, and my best friend died. so not very well at the moment"

"I'm so sorry about that Jason, I tried to stop him but you know how he gets. I don't think alfred could've stopped him"

"Alfie couldn't stop him before" Jason said, a little harsher than he'd intended "not for lack of trying though" he quickly added, hoping to not give barbara the wrong idea

"anyways, how are you holding up?"

"well uhh, I've got a bit of an anomaly at the moment" he could practically feel barbara's eyebrow raising over the phone "what's the problem?"

he sheepishly rubbed his neck "well, I kinda punched my knuckles raw and drank enough liquor to kill a small elephant?" at the end his voice was a mere whimper. preparing for the worst

"what" Jason flinched at the tone, that was not good at all

"listen, I know it's bad. but something happened"

"you mean, besides you apparently drinking yourself into a coma?"

"barbara, I wasn't kidding, I counted multiple liters of alcohol, and none of those bottles were under 30%, I should've died from such a large amount of alcohol"

"what are you saying"

"when I woke up, one of the girls was there. she said that my eyes were green, I woke up with a light headache and no visible damage to my knuckles, the blood was still there mind you but there was nothing, not even a trace. it was as if I'd never hit anything that night"

"so you're saying something happened with the lazarus pit?"

"exactly, that's probably also why I didn't hear any voices last night"

"voices?"

Jason sighed, he'd once again let too much slip out "yeah, voices" he muttered, glancing around to check if nobody was around "the pit, it's not what B thinks it is, it's not a controlling power, it's a voice at the back of your mind, whispering to you. enabling some thought to enter your mind, it's not as much a force that controls you as it is a force that heightens your emotions, anger becomes rage, sadness becomes anguish. the thing is, it's never in control. it just makes you feel like it is

"but these... voices, you didn't hear them tonight?"

"no, it felt strange, normally when the pit bubbles up. I get this" he struggled for a bit to find the right words "enhanced perception, for a lack of a better word, it's like everything is moving a bit slower, I'm more in control of my body. it's like my blood turns to adrenaline, the voices usually come after that, yet tonight-"

"the voices didn't come, yet the rest did"

"exactly, I'll be sending over a blood sample soon, would you mind checking it out?"

"I'm curious, what does this have to do with you surviving drinking that much, and healing without any damage?"

"thing is, when I got out of the pit, turns out it granted me a small healing factor, that's why I was able to keep coming after you guys"

"how small are we talking?"

"the usual, bruises take hours, deep cuts take days, and bones take a week or two less to heal"

"sounds handy"

"it damn sure is"

"I'll check the blood sample when you send it, though next time. please just call me or alfred, you know we're there for you"

"fair enough, it's just. I didn't want to wake alfie, and I couldn't be sure B wouldn't be tapping into our conversation"

"alright then, anything else?"

suddenly Jason felt a small tug on one of his pant legs, Cerberus apparently decided it was time to move on

"yeah, the dog is getting a bit tired of me just standing here, talk to you another time?"

"sure, bye Jason"

"bye"

Jason ended up wandering across campus for a bit, he spotted what appeared to be a small coffee shop out of the corner of his eyes "weird, havent seen that one before" he said, to himself mostly. checking his pockets he found that he'd brought some cash, at least he was going to get something to drink out of this. he sauntered over to the shop, suprised to find it mostly full, no small feat considering it was around 11 in the moring, on a weekend. he looked the place over, it didn't have any overly bold branding so it was probably owned by the school itself, it looked quaint, yet modern. probably designed to be cheap yet pleasing to the eye, if the stylish brown chairs and actually quite nice looking tables were anything to go by, once he tried to enter however he saw a no dogs allowed sticker on the door. he turned to Cerberus

"stay"

the dog to its credit, sat down immediately, before deciding that sitting was for suckers, and promply falling asleep within 10 seconds

Jason shook his head affectionately, 'what a weird dog' he thought to himself, before heading inside

to his pleasant suprise, there were no lines, as most people appeared to be using the place as a means to study together, he sauntered over to the counter. before noticing a very familiar face behind the register, Veronica's friend he believed

"hello, how can I-"

"you're martha right?" the girl seemed to deflate a bit at that

"that's correct"

"veronica's friend right?" at that she seemed to perk up a bit, nodding enthousiastically

"you're free to come visit her any time you want by the way" aaaand she was back to her dour mood

"that sounds nice, but I really don't want to be around the heathers" Jason wracked his brain for a bit, an idea formed. an idea that would strain his patience, will to not slaugher everyone, and what preciously little remained of his sanity. 'fuck it'

he sighed, "look, me and the heather will be out of the house next friday, something about taking me shopping for a birthday party" he mocked air quotes at the last two words "so if you're free then, I'll make sure she's there. deal?"

Martha beamed at that, and Jason looked away, no one person had any right to be this cheery at such a time in the moring "so can I get your order?"

he just threw 20 dollars on the counter, just get me your most expensive tea, the rest is a tip, he swiftly turned around, not willing to suffer through another one of those 1000 megawatt smiles

"I'll be outside" he glaned over his shoulder "by the way, the dog is here too" the following squeal was of such a high pitch that he was worried it'd deafen Cerberus

he walked out without another word, taking a seat on one of the nicer looking chairs and browsing his phone, he'd gotten a few condolences from the rest of the family, he'd replied to all of them and was halfway through sending alfred a voiced in message when suddenly an expensive mustang skidded to a halt in front of the shop, obnoxiously loud music could be heard from inside, Jason rolled his eyes, casting a sidelong glance at the people that jumped out, one of the guy's jackets had the words wrestling club on it, so he guessed these were the other jocks

as the group walked in, Martha had the misfortune of walking out, getting pushed aside by the lead jock, she miraculously managed to save Jason's tea but her face did fall slightly when some of the guys threw insults her way. Jason wanted to go teach them a lesson, but he thought better of it. he could probably get away with it, considering the ammount of blackmail he had on various people in the school, but he just didn't feel like it

"here ya go" Martha said, placing a steaming cup of tea in front of him "need anyting else?" Jason shook his head, instead inclining his head towards the puppy sleeping next to him

Martha's face lit up "can I touch him?" Jason nodded, taking a sip of his tea. suprisingly they had some damn good tea, he might have to come here more often. he drank in silence, watching Cerberus get utterly pampered by the copious ammounts of petting Martha gave him

"dog person?" he asked

"just love animals" she giggled as Cerberus started licking her "what's this guy's name?"

"cerberus" Jason chuckled "destroyer of socks"

just then, the jocks walked out, accompanied by a girl. the jocks paid them no mind except maybe a mocking glance, which was promply ignored. the girl however, she stopped

"if I were you, I'd keep a better eye on that dog, Dumptruck over there might eat it" she smiled cruelly as Martha lost her smile, Jason set down his tea

"thanks for the advice, I assume you have an orgy to get back to" he cast her a smug glance, chuckling at the way she went completely red

"how dare you, do you even know who I am!" she almost yelled 'great' Jason thought 'a malfroy wannabe' he took another sip of his tea before answering

"nope, and I really don't care" he started unwrapping the biscuit he'd gotten with his tea when he noticed one of the perviously mentioned jocks walking up

"this guy bothering you?" Jason tuned out the rest of the conversation, untill he noticed. thankfully so, out of the corner of his eye, a hand reaching for his dog, Jason moved before the guy could react, grabbing the jocks arm with one hand and the collar of his shirt with the other, having stood up during the move

"what might you be doing?" he said through gritted teeth, the guy appeared unimpressed, maybe even offended "you better stop touching me, I just wanted to take a look at that dog" Jason glanced backwards, Cerberus was growling at the jock

"well, you ask me first. capiche?" he let the jock go, suddenly the other three made themselves known

"the fuck is your problem?" a scrawny blonde at the back said

"don't touch my dog" Jason answered, he noticed a glint of steel from one of the boys in the back, probably the same blonde 'great, one of them has a knife' well, he better try and de-escalate the situation, unfortunately. because he was focussing on the concealed knife he didn't notice that Cerberus had slipped out of Martha's grip, at least he didn't untill he noticed the dog biting one of the jock's shoes

"hey what the fuck" the Jock kicked Cerberus away, probably harder than neccesary. he sailed through the air, landing with a small crack, a crack that made him freeze in his tracks

he vaguely noticed the brunette woman hitting the fuckwit responsible in the arm

"lance what the fuck is wrong with you!"

"calm down Courtney, it's just a stupid do-"

he was cut off by the haymaker Jason sent his way, dropping him to the ground before he could finish his sentence. Jason was upon the bastard before he had a chance to stand up, delivering an axe kick to the jock's groin with such force he was sure his grandchildren would feel it, that was. if he was still able to have them of course

suddenly a stinging pain bloomed in his right shoulder, looking over he realized that he'd in fact been stabbed. he blinked a few times, before his glare found the person responsible suddenly he felt something blooming from within him, rage. unholy rage, he was sure his eyes were a toxic green right now, not that he cared anyways.

he had some lessons to teach these punks

--------------------------------------------10 mins later, with Chandler and Mcnamara--------------------------------------------------

Chandler gasped for breath, wishing to just curl into a ball and die already, why had she agreed to this form of torture agains? a few feet away from her Mcnamara was merrily humming the chorus to some k-pop song or something, not that she cared at the moment, she was trying to not die from asphixiation at this very moment.

"why" wheeze "did I" groan "agree to this again?"

"because you somehow got the idea that you look fat into your head, Mcnamara said, taking a sip from a bottle of water she'd been smart enough to bring along, Chandler unfortunately had not been as smart. and was feeling the effects of it, and man were there a lot of effects.

suddenly a figure rounded the corner not too far away from them, seemingly in a hurry, Chandler was fascinated by the blacks spots dancing around her vision, and couldn't really make out whoever it was, Mcnamara apparently could, as she waved. Jason was walking towards them, still in his sweatpants and long sleeved shirt, albeit he did have his jacket on

"hi Jason, good morning" she smiled cheery as ever

the figure did not reciprocate her greeting, though Jason did speed up a bit, as he got closer Mcnamara frowned, he was carrying Cerberus in his arm. and he looked kind of worried, and.. were his eyes green again?

as he neared within 5 feet of her, her eyes widened. he had a fucking knife in his shoulder, oh god what the fuck what the-

"hi goldilocks, here" she wordlessly accepted the pup that he gently deposited into her arms, "watch out for his right leg, it appears to be broken"

"what happened?" Chandler asked, having finally caught her breath

"someone called Lance, know him?" Jason started walking back to the mansion. the girls following swiftly

"lance, isn't he the head of remington's wrestling club?"

"and Courtney's boyfriend" Mcnamara added

"might be, he's also a massive dick to animals" Chandler's eyes widened, had Lance done that, he'd seemed like he was at least decent compared to the likes of David and..... brad the name still made her lose a bit of colour, and made her feel disgusting, 'stupid heather, no time for self loathing' she mentally screamed to herself, she finally noticed the knife< stuck in his shoulder, and freaked out a bit

"where are you going? don't we need to call the police, or the ambulance" Jason merely quickened his pace

"don't worry, I've got everything I need at home" Mcnamara alternated between looking at the pup that was whimpering in her arms and looking behind her, worried that those jocks might be looking to go after Jason,

"why are you looking back?" Jason asked her

she shot him a worried glance "maybe those guys are gonna come back?"

Jason actually laughed at that, she had no idea how he wasnt screaming in pain at the moment "don't worry about that, if they manage to catch us I'll be impressed, hell if half of them can even walk right now I'll be impressed"

"what do you mean?" Chandler asked

"I mean that I just gave the campus physiotherapist 4 new patients" his smile had a dangerous edge to it, so she decided not to push it.

they arrived at the frat house not long after, Jason didn't go for the front entrance as they'd all expected, instead power walking over to the garage door

"what are you doing?" Mcnamara called out, still cradling the whimpering pup

"this is faster" was all Jason said, opening one of the garage doors and all but running inside, they followed him, and Chandler was suprised to see him walking over to the wall she'd seen a door in earlier

"Jason what are you doing, this pup needs help" Mcnamara screamed, a bit of panic making its way into her voice, suddenly, the wall Jason had been touching opened up, and he walked inside.

"what the fuck?"

Chapter Text

new mexico-

deep in the ruins of an abandoned prison, a sole figure was watching his plan be set in motion, he allowed himself to smile. it'd really gone better than expected, the so called dark trinity had been wiped out, rather than imprisoned like he'd planned, the two major players were gone and this so called Red hood had gone underground, next project eden had gone smoothly and his moles in the planet would soon make the story public, he chuckled a bit. it melted off of him quicly enough as he cast a glance at a name that popped up

"y'know, I'm not really sure how nobody has figured it out." he monologued "it's really simple, you can connect the dots so easily its ridiculous" he mused a bit at that

"Gotham is rotten, has always been rotten, and will continue to be rotten till the day it finally collapses. you should've just let it collapse, what are you gaining with this idiotic crusade? more deaths li-

He calmed himself down before saying the name, it wouldn't do anyone any good if he were to destroy his valuable research

Gotham had destroyed the only thing he'd ever cared about, but Bruce waye?

he was the reason that he'd never be able to fix it

and for that, he would suffer. they all would, together.

that he swore

-------------------------------------------------------Campus---------------------------------------------------------------------

"GET IN HERE!"

Mcnamara sprang into action , rushing into the room she hadn't known about untill about 5 seconds ago, her focus still on the dog in her arms. though as she walked through the door a sense of curiosity overtook her. the room she walked into looked to be some kind of gym, dumbells and punching bags littered the room, the next things< she noticed however made another emotion overtake her, the walls themselves were lined with weaponry of all kinds. knives, rifles, pistols, explosives, swords, spears and even a god damn RPG were among the things she saw, there were also a couple of weird things that she'd never seen before. in the corner a strange tube stood, though she couldn't see through the glass, in another one of the corners stood a couple of computerscreens at various angles. some of them were on, she recognized them to be pointed at various things like the living room, the garage and the front door. a few more of them appeared to simply black screens

 

"I'm here" the voice snapped her out of her stupor. she walked into another room, and what appeared to be the final one, this appeared to be a medical facility, an operating table at its center, she couldn't see all the way to the back as there were a few curtains blocking that portion out,and considering what she'd seen. she didnt really want to. Jason quickly threw things that were sat on the table onto the floor, making Mcnamara flinch, though when she looked at him her eyes widened

he'd lost his jacket somewhere, and now the true extent of the damage was visible, the plain white shirt was soaked in blood, and the bleeding didn't appear to be stopping if the speading dark spot was anything to go by, she quickly laid the pup on the table taking a step back out of instinct when Jason appeared to be getting a bit closer. she didn't know what to think anymore, what would Jason need all that stuff for?

"Jason" she tried, but Jason gave her no response, he seemed to be searching for something. grumbling to himself

"Jason" she tried again, this time a bit louder. he still ignored her

"WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS ALL OF THIS?!" Heather Chandler roared, appearing behind her. Mcnamara almost jumped a full foot into the air at
the sudden scream, though that did get a response from Jason

"Later ok? I first need to help him" Jason turned around a few seconds later, a mask in one of his hands, a metal cylinder in another

"hold him, this is aneasthetic" he slightly shook the metal canister he was holding, Mcnamara and Chandler reluctantly agreed, Chandler grabbing Cerberus' body and Mcnamara his head< trying to keep him still as he struggled when the mask was put over his snout, a few seconds later Cerberus closed his eyes. if not for the fact that in the past weeks Mcnamara had noticed the dog having narcoleptic tendencies, she'd have been worried. but the gentle rising and falling of the small creature's chest eased away any leftover fear she might have had

"turn him onto his side, I need to be able to get to his leg"

oh yeah, the fear suddenly returned. looking at Jason with wide eyes. Jason seemed to pause a bit as his eyes caught hers, before he turned around to grab what appeared to be some sort of computer. Chandler ended up turning Cerberus over. before taking a few steps back, grabbing Mcnamara's hand and prompting her to take a few steps back of her own

"what is that thing?" chandler snapped, as Jason passed the thing over Cerberus' body

"portable x-ray" was his only response "gotta check if there's no further damage" a few seconds later Jason swore once more, apparently the results had come in

"h-how bad is it?" Mcnamara squeeked out, Jason turned to look at her, a sad smile on his lips "well, he definetely broke his leg, but thankfully that's all"

"can you fix it?" Chandler asked, tone still standoffish

"sure, just need to set it and put it in a cast. thankfully he's still growing so it'll probably not have any lasting effects" the two of them nodded, both of them relieved at the news 'at least some good news' Chandler thought

"you might want to step out, this isn't something you want to watch" Jason said, looking over to them "when this is over we're going to be talking about all of this" Chandler said, shooting Jason a glare, he nodded "by the way" Chandler stopped in the doorway "where's Duke and Veronica?" Jason asked "they've gone shopping I think" Chandler replied before stepping out herself, closing the door behind her and leaving Jason to his own devices

as she took another look at the room she'd ended up in, the hairs in her neck stood on end. there was enough weaponry in here to level a small city, who could need things like that? she walked around the room a bit, spotting Mcnamara in front of one of the punching bags

"what are you doing?" she asked the smaller girl

"this thing is covered in blood" Mcnamara said, prompting Chandler to take a look at the bag herself, sure enough there were trails of dried blood on the bag

"so that's where he got that blood from" Chandler muttered to herself, Mcnamara looked at her questioningly. prompting Chandler to explain "I found him earlier today, sleeping on the sofa. his hands were covered in dried blood, he said he punched something and looks like he wasn't lying" Mcnamara merely frowned

"what has he been lying about, though" the blonde asked Chandler, and chandler had to admit, that was a good question given the current circumstances.

"honestly Mac, I have no idea" she thought over something that Jason might have said that could explain this

"do you think he's some kind of terrorist?" Mcnamara asked. Chandler's eyes widened, that would explain a lot. and she didn't like the implications that would have

"why I'm offended you even think that" the two of them spun around Jason was standing in the opening of the door, apparently relaxed despite the fact that he still had a knife stickingout of him, which Mcnamara decided to point out, literally. Jason appeared to take notice of it, muttering a small curse before grabbing the hilt of the blade

Chandler's eyes widened, "hey what do you think you-" she was interrupted as Jason yanked the blade out of his shoulder in a single pull, Chandler suddenly felt sick, Mcnamara however

-THUD-

yeah Mcnamara had fainted, Chandler was secretly thankful to the quite soft floor covering as she crouched to check up on her friend, she could hear some rustling from the other room but ignored in favour of slapping Mcnamara's cheek lightly, trying to get her to wake up

"Cmon wake up" she said, before trying to check for a pulse

"you're doing it wrong" the voice almost made her jump, Jason crouched beside them, gently pressing two fingers against Mcnamara's neck "that's how you do it, he said"

"Jason what the fuck is all this?" Heather asked

Jason's eyes darkened a bit at that, and Chandler grew anxious, before he sighed "I was gonna tell you all of this when I was read, but desperate times" he handed her a small vial "that's a smelling salt, pop the cork and let her have a whiff, but dont hold it under her nose too long" Heather nodded, popping the cork and passsing it underneath Mcnamara's nose a few times, Jason made his way out of the room as the smelling salts began to take effect, Chandler had to hold her nose shut as 'by god that stuff smells'

a few seconds later Mcnamara's eyes blinked open

"wha" she groggily said, moving to sit up, Chandler placed a hand on her shoulder, stopping her before she could completely sit up "take it easy, you fainted" Mcnamara pinched her nose shut "what died in here?" despite the situation Chandler couldn't help but chuckle

Jason walked back into the room at that exact point, shirt off and wound covered up "what's so funny?" he asked, CHandler gave him no response. instead standing up and kicking him in the shin

"ow, I'm wounded here, can't you see that?" he said, half seriously. Chandler on the other hand wasn't all that amused

"what" she said through gritted teeth "is all this"

Jason instantly lost his joking demeanor "something I wished I'd been able to keep a secret for a bit longer" he admitted, before dodging Chandler's second kick, this time aimed at his groin, he held up his hand in mock surrender "fine, fine. I'll tell you" he made his way over to the glass tube, and suddenly the glass became clear, Chandler was pretty sure her heart stopped as she realized what the costume was, though Mcnamara seemed a bit more puzzled

"no way" Chandler whispered, horrified. Mcnamara looked at her worriedly "what's going on?" the smaller girl asked Chandler

Chandler gulped "y-you're the red hood?" she asked, though it came out as a statement more than anything, Jason simply nodded, Chandler almost bolted for the door, resisting the urge to pull Mcnamara along. if he wanted to he could kill them in seconds, Jason took a step forward

Chandler took one back, before shakily grabbing one of the swords off of the wall "stay back" Jason held up his hands as Mcnamara just looked on in confustion.

"I'm not going to hurt you" Jason tried to say, which ended up pissing Chandler off more, if the sudden presence of a katana's tip at his throat was any indication

"why should I believe you for even a second" Chandler hissed, despite her shaking hands she tried to keep the blade at Jason's throat

untill she blinked, at which point the blade was in Jason's hands. she backed away instantly, this time pulling Mcnamara with her

"can't we just talk this over?" Jason asked, throwing the sword down on the ground

"why should we, you kept something like this from us!" Chandler roared, resisting the urge to go over and kick him

"guys what's going on?" Mcnamara tried to cut in "I'm a vigilante" Jason said in response

"you're a mass murderer" Chandler countered

Mcnamara's eyes widened, Jason was a vigilante? the red hood didn't ring any bells in her head, at least not at the moment, though the fact that Chandler had called him a murderer scared her slightly, Chandler wasn't one for name calling without proper cause. Jason seemed to dislike being called such, as his frown turned to a glare

"I'm many things, but a mass murderer isn't one of them" he spat the words like they were poison

"you've killed hundreds! I'd say that qualifies you for the part!"

Jason's eyes flickered green "83" Chandler blinked, her anger momentarily forgotten "excuse me?"

"83 people, that's the ammount I've killed"

Mcnamara's eyes widened, what? Jason, the same one that had let her weep into his shirt as she complained about her legs, had killed dozens of people, the thought itself just didnt make any sense to her. it was all wrong, they couldn't be the same guy

could they?

Chandler scoffed "like that's supposed to make things better!"

"please tell me how I could've told you without you freaking out?!" Jason roared gesturing to the room "it's not like I could go 'hey I'm Jason, I'm a vigilante and I've killed people, come on in" he mocked bitterly, now only about a foot away from her

"you could have at-" Chandler begun

"ENOUGH" Mcnamara roared suddenly, shocking the two of them into silence "I don't know what's going on, but we're sorting this out" the tone was cold, completely unlike Mcnamara but it worked, the two of them

"You" she pointed to Jason "will answer every question I ask you" he sheepishly nodded, eyes still wide, she turned to Chandler "and you will calm down, You're doing us no favours at this point in time" Chandler looked insulted

"I'm trying to keep us safe, he's a murderer!" she pointed to Jason, who merely glared at her

"what kind of monster do you think I am?" Jason spat out "I don't kill people, I put down filth" he said, his voice unwavering, though he shut up when Mcnamara turned back to him, this time glaring at him

"explain" she snapped, and he found himself shrinking back a bit, she was quite similair to stephanie when she was pissed off, he found

Jason clasped a hand over his eyes, "where do you want me to start" he asked

"how about the fact you mentioned your name being different?" Jason raised an eyebrow 'she'd caught that?' he was almost impressed

"well" he began, rubbing the back of his neck "my legal name is Jason pennyworth, but I was born under the name Jason peter Todd" he caught Chandler's eyes widening minutely in recognition, though she kept her mouth shut

"ok, so you changed your name?" Mcnamara asked, Jason nodded "why?" Jason blinked at the question

"what do you mean?"

"why did you change your name and come here?"

Chandler answered the question for him "because Jason peter Todd is dead" both of them turned to her

"what do you mean?" Mcnamara asked, Chandler rolled her eyes. don't you remember? it was all over the news a couple of years ago. Jason peter Todd, adopted son of Bruce Wayne tragically dies whilst on vacation to Ethiopia" she said flicking a questioning gaze over to him

"but it appears that that was a lie" Mcnamara continued, Jason merely shook his head

"nope" he tapped the scar front and center on his chest "autopsy scar" he said, watching the two of them exhale wide eyed

"but that's impossible" chandler all but shouted, he once more shook his head, taking a few steps back "heaven doesn't have pearly gates for the likes of us, more like revolving doors" it was a sick joke, but accurate considering the times it'd happened

"how did you die?" Mcnamara asked

"trust me, you don't want to know"

"but how are you standing here right now if you died?"

"again, that's best left for another time" Mcnamara nodded slowly at that, before taking a few steps towards him, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at him "you still haven't answered my question, why are you here?"

"what does it look like?" he looked at the room and realized that probably wasn't the best question, "alright forget I asked. truth is, I'm honestly here because I want to finish school"

that seemed to suprise Chandler, if the minimal raise of her eyebrow was anything to go by "really?" she asked, he nodded "believe it or not, vigilante life isn't the most fun, or stable"

"so that's why you decide to quit?" Chandler asked, though she appeared skeptical about the whole thing

"nope, I never said I'd quit for good, I'm merely making sure I've got options if I decide to hang up the mantle for good" he admitted, he'd honestly never really thought about an after, too busy finally getting a semblance of a normal life to really consider the fact that he had an option to just, stay out of the vigilante life.

"what's it like?" Mcnamara asked

"it's never dull, I'll tell you that much. you're either fighting for your life, trying to help people or getting patched up after losing a fight" he could see her fidgeting a bit and it didn't take him long to piece together what she'd really wanted to ask

he sighed once more "alright goldilocks, spit it out" she squeeked at that, looking up at him a bit anxious

"why did you-"

"kill those people" he cut in, he reached into the pocket of his sweatpants, he realized he didn't have cigarettes on him, he looked past the blonde to the redhead glaring at him "could I bum a smoke?" her glare deepened, but she did reach into her pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes, throwing it at him. he caught it easily, quickly putting a cigarette to his lips and lighting it, he needed a smoke if he was going to explain this

"quite simple really" he said

"they were scum" he said, tone hard. Mcnamara frowned at that, and Chandler looked like she wanted to speak up, he tossed her back the pack of cigarettes, which she easily caught. putting a cigarette to her own lips

"scum?" Mcnamara asked, he took a drag. offering it to Mcnamara, which she refused "suit yourself" he said, exhaling "tell me" she pressed on

he closed his eyes, thinking about how to bring it "what kind of people do you think deserve death?" Chandler's glare darkened and Mcnamara took a step back

"that's not your choice to make, is it?" Chandler sneered, and Mcnamara nodded.

he took another drag "it's not, you're right about that" he put the cigarette out into the palm of his hand "they make that choice"

"what's that supposed to mean?"

"when someone sells children into slavery, if a bastard murders someone for a couple of dollars, if a scumbag drug dealer decides to sell crack to school children, etc. etc" he didn't miss the reaction those descriptions gave the two women, disgust "that's where I come in, every piece of shit I kill saves 5 people, sometimes even more"

he stepped out of the room for a bit, allowing them to mull over the information given for a bit, as he looked for a shirt, he came out a few minutes later clad in a noticeable less bloody shirt

"cerberus is still sleeping" he commented off handedly "I'll move him to your room, if that's okay?" Jason nodded at Mcnamara's question, as she passed him she stopped, saying a few words that had him pleasantly suprised. soon enough she was out of the room Chandler turned his eyes upon Jason

"so, that's it" she asked, "we get some half assed explanation as to why our landlord is a mur- vigilante" the words still didnt sit right on her, and she probably wouldn't look at Jason the same way again, but if what he said was accurate she couldn't really blame him for the lives he'd take. that of course didn't mean she agreed

"I was going to tell you guys when you all found it time to explain what happened last year" he admitted

"why?" Chandler asked "it's not like our lives are that interesting compared to your global escapades"

Jason chuckled a bit at that "y'know most people don't know this, but that might hit the nail on the head as to why I never got along with batman"

Chandler raised an eye "batman? the one you oh so generously labelled a furry?" Jason chuckled at that, the humor once more returning to his voice for the first time in the conversation

"the very same" Jason paced over to the wall, picking up an ancient revolver "this thing belonged to a crime boss near where I used to live, horrid man. but his family were alright"

"batman would've put him in prison and left the family itself in ruins" he put the revolver back with care, Chandler crossed her eyes "and what did you do"

"I put him in the ground, gave his familly enough money to start a buisness of their own and told them to get out of gotham"

Chandler thought about picking out another cigarette, deciding against it at the last moment "what's the difference here?"

"the bat and his family fight for the city, I fought for its people" suddenly his shoulders dropped

"fought?" she asked

"yeah" he rubbed his shoulder, flinching a bit as he agitated the wound "got exiled" he mocked. rolling his eyes

"for what?" he didnt answer immediately, instead prompting to close the door to the infirmary and locking it

"if you want the media's take, just look it up" he turned to her once more, a lazy grin on his face "if you want the real story, you'll have to wait"

"what about duke and Veronica?" Chandler asked

Jason thought about it, he honestly would prefer to tell the four of them the entire story together when they were all ready. but that would mean they couldn't be told right now

"when I'm ready, you'll all get the full story" she said

Chandler sighed but nodded "I still don't like it" Jason nodded "understandable"

"but I'm willing to give you a chance" she raised a finger "just promise me this, from here on out. no more secrets, the past will come to light soon enough I reckon" Jason nodded at that, holding out his hand "if you can promise the same" Chandler shook his hand without hesitation, before the two of them realized something

he was shaking her hand with his right, the one that had gotten stabbed, and yet he didn't even flinch as he shook her hand, instantly he peeled his shirt back off, tossing it to Chandler who spluttered with the offending object. Jason carefully removed the bandages, to find the wound

gone, both their eyes widened as they realized. Jason gingerly touched the spot where the knife had went in, he couldn't even feel a scar. which prompted further suprise from him

"that something I need to know about?" chandler pointed to the once wound

"I have no idea what's going on" he admitted, she looked unconvinced "I honestly have no bloody clue" he pressed on. and she relented, sighing once more

"fine, but once you find out. tell us" with that she made her way out of the room, leaving him to contemplate what had just happened, he remembered Barbara's words and decided now was as good a time as any, he set about fixing up a blood sample for Barbara to analyze

 

------------------------------------------------------------meanwhile--------------------------------------------------------------

Batman glared at his prisoner as he flew back to the cave, he'd just captured Harley Quinn, who appeared to be in some sort of trance at the time he'd found her. well not exactly. he'd found croc, who had been sitting next to Quinn. the scene confused him at first. but when he'd seen Harley questions kept piling up

she'd been holding onto her knees, rocking herself back and forth and constantly muttering two words, two words that made little sense to batman. yet he still needed to investigate the situation, something didn't feel right, normally Quinn would be in one of 2 mental states, them being harleen quinzel and Harley Quinn respectively.

yet this, she was something else, she sounded.... broken, for lack of a better word

those words continued to interest him, even as he landed the batplane and launched himself into doing research on the batcomputer

"what happened" he could hear the words echoing through his skull, every time he closed his eyes he saw the weeping form of Harley Quinn, it just didn't make any sense, he needed to find out what had prompted her to do this

no.

he would find out

he owed his colleagues that much

Chapter Text

Jason stirred, even as the first rays of sunglight stretched across his room, preferring to bundle himself up further instead of facing the day he'd been dreading, he now understood the utter contempt people around him seemed to have about the day.

"fucking mondays" he grumbled, taking a glance at his alarm, smiling to himself as he saw that he still had another couple of hours to himself before school called

suddenly however, his phone rang. cursing under his breath he grabbed his phone, suprisingly it was a call from Veronica. he answered

"hello?"

"Jason what the fuck did you do?!" he blinked taken aback by the frantic tone

"what do you mean?"

"there's talk all over the school that you attacked lance and some of his friends"

'oh no' he thought, facepalming. he'd fucking forgotten to tell the other two about what had happened, instead heading straight to bed to catch some sleep, he'd felt incredibly drained after the fight with Chandler yesterday. come to think of it, it was kind of ridiculous he still felt tired after having slept for almost a full day.

"oh"

"oh?" Veronica snapped, Jason looked at the phone as if it was posessed "you better have some good explanation for this"

he sighed "I do, I'll tell you when I see you next"

suddenly Veronica's tone shifted, she sounded nervous "uhh. about that, the principal has requested your presence"

"does he not know I've got the first couple of hours off?"

"he does, he just doesn't seem to care" Jason mentally cursed himself, he should've known that this shit would happen

"you close to the principal?" he heard a commotion on the other end of the line and suddenly a booming voice was shouting in his ear, prompting him to momentarily drop his phone

"GET OVER HERE. NOW!" the voice yelled

"sure, just let me get my stuff first"

he got no response, merely an annoyed grumble. after that the phone cut off, 'well. today just got interesting' he thought to himself.

he ended up taking over an hour to get ready, mainly due to the fact that the moment he'd stood up his muscles collectively decided to fuck his day, or at least. thats what it'd felt like, every ligament screamed at him, every muscle tore itself apart. even his bones felt like they were cracking, it stayed that way for around 10 minutes before it disappeared as quickly as the pain had come. leaving Jason panting on his bed. silently cursing his own mind for the images that accompanied the pain,

'you'd think I'd gotten used to it by now' he grimaced, even though he knew he never was going to get used to it. at least not in the near future, he quickly showered, got dressed and made himself some breakfast before coming up with a plan to tackle the principal, he knew the man couldn't expel him. he'd made sure of that with his copious ammounts of blackmail; the thought brought a frown to his face, the principal was one of the more clean members of the school, still. taking bribes from rich families to allow their children to study even with massively insufficient grades wasn't something he looked favourably upon

his plan was simple really, he bound his shoulder using the bandage that he'd forgotten to properly dispose of yesterday, making it look like he still had the stab wound. he brought the knife of course, putting it in a simple zip-loc bag instead of the fancy forensics bags he'd usually use, he also ended up bringing Cerberus with him, he ended up putting a cone on the dog's head for fear of him chewing off the things that held his leg together.

he arrived about 90 minutes after Veronica's call, walking to school took a bit longer, as he couldn't ride with his supposedly damaged arm. and the fact that he couldn't just put his dog on the bike, so he ended up carrying a way too heavy pup in his left arm with his right arm in a sling and a knif in his pocket as he meandered over to school. leather jacket thrown over his shoulders, providing limited cover to the cold wind

when he finally stood before the entrance, he could see the principal looking at him with what probably ammounted to annoyance in his eyes, he didn't bother trying to return the glare principal Gerold Stokesworth was an average sized man, with white hair and a big beard. but his very presence radiated a commanding nature, something that Jason respected, if only mildly

 

"finally decided to show up eh?" the principal said, looking over the younger man "what's all this?" he asked, gesturing to the sorry state he was in

"I assume this has to do with yesterday?" Jason asked, the older man nodded. motioning for him to follow along

"what happened yesterday?" the principal asked, walking besides him

"can't I explain whilst we're there?" the principal looked a bit sullen at the response

"probably not, the boy's parents have gone raving mad" he admitted, prompting a suprised snort to escape from Jason's lips, the older man quirked an eyebrow

"something funny?"

Jason shook his head "its nothing, just seems that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"

suddenly the principal took a right, heading into an abandoned classroom, motioning for him to sit down, he obliged. placing Cerberus on the table.

"talk" the principal said

"was walking this bugger here" Jason said, petting Cerberus "needed to clear my head a bit"

"what for?"

"friend of mine died last week" the older man's eyes widened, before a sad smile danced across his lips "my condolences"

"thanks"

"please continue"

"alright" Jason sat up a bit straighter "saw a small coffee shop open, so I decided to grab my self a cup of tea, then these jocks showed up. got myself a cup of tea and the waitress ended up petting him"

"and what happened after, that it ended up like this?"

"the jocks came back out, a girl called Courtney with them, she ended up making a snide comment towards the waitress"

"was that waitress perchance Martha Dunnstock?"

Jason nodded "yup"

the old man grumbled someting under his breath "what did they say?" he ended up asking

"called her dumptruck, and said I needed to watch my dog or she'd eat him" Cerberus ended up perking up at that, though he looked kind of nervous, principal Stokesworth looked livid, eyes dangerously dark

"you related to her?" he ended up asking, the old man nodded "I'm her grandfather's brother" he said

"you close?" he nodded again, "closer than her actual grandfather" he spat the name as if poisoned, after a few seconds he appeared to have calmed down a bit, though it did interest Jason that there appeared to be some bad blood in Martha Dunnstock's family of all people

"go on"

"well, I ended up asking her if she was running late to an orgy, which appeared to piss her off a bit" the principal's lips twitched upward, if even for a second, he continued "this ended up bringing Lance into it, who tried to grab him" he nodded towards Cerberus "I grabbed him and told him to back off"

"and he didn't?"

"he did, but his friends decided to show up"

"what happened after"

"they were trying to scare me, when this little rascal decided he wanted to protect me" he scratched Cerberus under his ears, elicting a pleased whine from the dog, Jason remembered what happened after, a scowl making its way onto his face "he ended up latched onto Lance's pants. which apparently warrented Lance kicking him so hard his leg broke" he motioned to the cast on the puppy's leg, principal Stokesworths face seemed like thunder, he was furious. that much Jason could tell

"I understand" the old man ended up saying "Still it's not enoug-"

"that's not why it happened" Jason admitted, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the knife. Stokesworth went pale at the sight

"why do you have a knife?" he asked nervously, Jason shook the jacket off of his shoulder, lifting up his shirt. the bloodied bandage succeeded his succeeded in returning colour to the principals face

he was red with rage

"I kicked Lance in the dick. which apparently was enough reason for one of the guys to stab me" by this poing the principal waa shaking in rage, even Jason had to admit he was impressed at the aura of pure loathing that washed off of the old man

"any permanent damage?" he asked through gritted teeth

"luckily not" Jason replied, he cast a wary glance at the principal, the older man was livid, and his eyes reminded him of a caged animal. hoping to take a swipe at the next person it saw then, as if a switch had been turned. the older man shoulders sagged, a hand went to his face, and a plethora of curses escaped him

"god damn it" he grit out, pounding his fist on the table "god damn it" he paced around a bit, seeming lost

"there's nothing I can do" he eventually admitted, Jason frowned at that "what do you mean?"

"come on boy, you blackmailed me into giving you that house, never cared to check where all that money comes from?" Jason's eyes widened a bit. eyes instantly drawn to the corners of the room, scanning for any cameras or microphones that might be hidden

"what?"

Stokesworth chuckled "don't worry, there's no equipment in the room"

"well, in that case. what's the problem?"

the principal looked at him with tired eyes "Look, I don't like the fact that I take money on the side as much as you do" he paused a bit "but quite frankly, I cant do anything else, the previous principal ended up running away with almost all the funds, leaving the school hundreds of thousands in debt" he grabbed a chair and collapsed into it

it clicked "you're using the money these people give you to pay off the debts?" the principal nodded, Jason suddenly found himself with a bit of respect for the man. he hadn't been able to trace the money further than the school itself, and had assumed it to be dispensed via here. not used to keep the school standing. this was starting to sound like something he might even want to investigate

"I take it that Lance is a son of one of these investors?" another nod, and something interesting was beginning to form in his head. a plan, you could call it

"that he is, two of the others as well" he pinched the bridge of his nose "and now I'm fucked, you can ruin me with a letter, they can as well. and here I stand, about to be taken from both ends, and unsure as to which one I'd prefer" a humourless chuckle escaped the broken mans lips

"why are you telling me all of this?" Jason asked

"don't you think it's kind of obvious?" Stokesworth said "I'm asking you for help"

that suprised Jason, not something he'd expected to hear coming from Dunnstock's family, though in retrospect he'd only met Martha for a grand total of 10 minutes, and he was a shit judge of character. Sheila Haywood was enough evidence of that, still this could be interesting. so he decided to hear it out

"what kind of help?"

"you managed to find dirt on me, whilst my records are under watch from over 30 different companies, without a single one of them noticing. that takes some skill" Jason did admit he had a point, but maybe he could get some more out of this

"and let's say, I agree. what can I expect in return?" Jason asked, this was the time to see what kind of character Stokesworth really was, when he reached for one of his fingers Jason stiffened 'he isn't really about to?-"

the old man took the ring off of his finger, placing it onto the table. Jason quicly snatched it up to prevent Cerberus from eating it, he wasn't an expert in anatomy but solid gold would't mix well with a digestive system, at least. that's what he thought

"I'm not taking this" he said, tossing the ring back to the principal before the old man had a chance to reply, he stood up. gingerly picking up Cerberus and walking out of the room. he stopped halfway through the door when the old man called after him

"and?"

"give me till thursday" Jason said. before walking out, intending to go home and figure out what to do

 

-------------------------------------------------------------Later----------------------------------------------------------------

"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"

"BLOODY IDIOT"

Jason flinched as soon as he walked through the door, the screams only really succeeded in making Cerberus positively lose his shit, tossing and turning around in Jason's grip. still he held the squirming pup tight, dropping him now would do his paw no good, Jason knew it. looking down the hallway he could see the matching glares of Veronica and Duke. and if he was any ordinary boy he would have felt more than a little nervous

but, things being as they were. he strolled through the hallway, eyes locking on the two of them, eyebrow quirked. questioning what was going on at the moment

"what happened" Duke asked as he stepped into the living room, taking notice that Chandler and Mcnamara were seated on the couch, both of them looking kind of nervous

"what did you guys hear?"

Veronica answered "we heard you got fucking stabbed!" she gestured to his bandaged arm

Jason shrugged "lightly stabbed"

"LIGHTLY??!!!!" four voices shouted at once, making him flinch 'yeah. making jokes about vigilante life at the moment isn't the best idea', suddenly Duke's eyes caught the cast on Cerberus' leg, and a fire lit in her eyes. Veronica noticed it a few moments later. scowling, she pointed to the splint "what's that?" she asked

"that's to make sure his leg stays straight" he answered, walking over to the couch and depositing Cerberus in Mcnamara's arms

"I'm going to kill courtney" Duke spat, all eyes were on her after that

"what did she say?" Jason asked, Duke looked at him. eyes still blazing

"that Lance nudged your dog aside and that you attacked him for it" drawling out the "nudged"

Jason collapsed onto the chair. planting his legs on the table "what happened after?"

"Dunnstock did" Chandler said, that made Jason perk up a bit. probably because he'd just gone over how to sabotage various big companies with a relative of hers. a part of him was also curious as to what had happened

"Dunnstock, don't you usually call her Dumptruck?" Veronica asked, genuinely curious. Chandler looked back at her, seemingly very proud "any person who can cuss out country club Courtney like that deserves at least a little respect" the others were staring at her as if she'd grown a second head

Duke shook her head as if trying to wake up from a bad dream "lets get back on track, were you stabbed?" he shrugged "its almost healed already" he admitted, Duke nodded "and Cerberus?" Jason looked at the pup that had fallen asleep on Mcnamara's lap "he'll be fine, young pup. his leg will heal within a few weeks"

"and what of the others?" Veronica asked

"did goldilocks and red riding hood over there not tell you?" he asked, pointing to the two women sitting on the couch

"no. they did not" Duke said arms crossed "you were asleep all day yesterday, remember? and the two of them said it'd be better if you told us what happened yesterday" she glowered glare at the two girls sitting on the couch

Jason shrugged, he was honestly suprised they hadn't told anyone. "I gave them a thrashing, well deserved if you ask me"

"not that I'm disagreeing" Veronica said "but they've got a lot of influence around here, you sure it wont come back to bite you in the ass?" Jason smirked at that, eyes flicking over to the two women on the couch, who stiffened slightly "don't worry" he calmly said "it's being worked on" Chandler seemed to want to open her mouth to protest, but clicked it shut just as quickly.

the conversation trailed off after that, with Duke and Veronica asking the odd question here and there, mostly about how he'd owned the wrestling club on his own, a tale he regaled with a slighly manic vigor, much to Mcnamara and Chandler's discomfort. the rest of the day was spent on small talk, Jason brought up the fact that there still was a party to be planned and that he was able to go shopping with them on friday. the dangerous gazes that the Heathers shot him did nothing to soothe his worries, if anything they amplified him. but Dunnstock had done him a solid, and he planned on repaying it, so he off handedly remarked Dunnstock having an interest in reviving movie night to Veronica when the two of them were washing dishes

 

the rest of the night crawled past, Jason tried not to focus too mmuch on the slightly worried gazes that Mcnamara and Chandler were shooting him and eachother. he'd find out later tonight he reckoned

he was right.

 

it was around 2:30 in the morning when he heard footsteps coming down the hallway, he shifted into a more upright position, careful not to wake up the blonde that had fallen asleep on his shoulder, as she had done almost every day for the past week. a couple of seconds later the mystery person was revealed to be Chandler, dressed in sweatpants and a black T-shirt with some obscure reference on it. he wasn't sure what plus ultra meant, and he wasn't going to ask. not today, she said nothing at the display on the couch in front of her and walked off into the kitchen

he was busy extracting himself from Mcnamara's way too strong hug when a beer all but got shoved into his face, curtsey of Heather Chandler. who all but threw herself into the chair opposite of him

"hey watch it, those things cost a lot"

Chandler smirked "you saying I'm fat?"

"no, I'm telling you to have mercy on that poor chair"

Chandler rolled her eyes, taking a sip of her beer "anyways" she said "what happened today?"

"principal took me aside, said he wanted to get away from Lance's parents screaming" the redhead snickered at that "sounds like Lance is a cut off the old block"

Jason nodded "exactly my thoughts" he took a sip of his own beer "you sure you're not staying here because you've got free booze and unlimited access to said booze"

"mmmmaybe" Chandler chuckled "and what happened after"

"well. apparently the principal is related to Dunnstock, and he's taking bribes from various families to have children stay in school even with vastly underwhelming grades" Chandler frowned "not sure what's weirder, the fact that one of Dunnstock's relatives is dirty, or that none of those kids have boasted about it yet" she levelled a cautious glance at him

"what's your plan?"

"was thinking of calling in a few favours, making it look like the cash these companies are throwing at Stokesworth are directed somewhere else, and let the companies tear themselves apart"

"Why?" Chandler asked

"what do you mean?"

"why are you helping Stokesworth?, last I heard your whole schtick was punishing the guilty, wasn't it" Jason glowered at that "nope" he said, perhaps a bit too harshly "fact is that Stokesworth is accepting these bribes to keep the school afloat, so he's doing the wrong shit for the right reason" Chandler nodded at that, apparently satisfied with the answer

"he asked me to look into it"

"why you?" Chandler asked

"how do you think I got this house all to myself?" Jason took great pleasure in the way he could see the gears in Chandler's head turning, her face suddenly grew slack. her eyes wide "you fucking blackmailed the principal?" she asked, appearing to be somewhere in between shock and awe. Jason chuckled, nodding

"I'm impressed" Chandler admitted

"thank you" he mock bowed, at least. as far as he could bow whilst seated and with someone still hanging off of his arm

"so you're not going all rambo?" Chandler asked. Jason shook his head "no need, at least for now" Chandler looked at him with a blank expression "you sure that's a good idea?"

"why wouldn't it be?"

"last I checked, fucking phil managed to stick a knife into you. what happends when someone competent comes across you" she admmitted, looking slightly miffed

"you wound me, to doubt my skills this much" he shifted closer to Chandler, taking another sip "which one is phil?" Chandler laughed at that "the one whose hands are, at this moment held together with willpower and broken shards of bone" Jason thought for a few seconds "yea that's the one" he admitted

"you're not worried that they'll come after you?"

"should I?"

"they've got some dangerous friends, or so I've heard" Chandler cautioned

Jason chuckled a bit at that, downing the rest of his beer "I reckon I'm a bit more dangerous"

"probably true, just watch yourself" Jason nodded, he watched as her eyes began to drift, it looked like she was looking past him

"something interesting?"

Chandler pointed to his hair, "that streak. it makes you look like a skunk" she chuckled at the affronted expression that graced Jason's face. suddenly she began laughing in earnest

"what's so funny?" he asked

"i-it's just that" she looked like she could barely keep herself together, "pepe le pew" she burst out. and almost fell out of the chair

"what? he was looking at Chandler as if she'd gone crazy.

"with the names you gave us and all, I thought it fitting" she wheezed out. doubling over in the chair, Jason just sat there. unsure of what to do, this was... weird. so he just sat there, watching her fall into fit after fit of laughter. unsure of what to say or do, so he just laughed with her. the two of them made a curious sight he was sure, laughing together at night at the mention of a cartoon skunk

"why can't you be like this at school?" he asked full of mirth once the laughing had subsided

she smirked at him "I've got a reputation as a mythic bitch to uphold" she said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, though this time the smile didn't quite reach her eyes

"well, I better get to bed" CHandler said, getting up and moving upstairs, leaving him with alone with his thoughts, a sleeping Mcnamara. and a plan beginning to form. as well as another feeling that he couldn't quite place, in the pit of his stomach

------------------------------------------------------------the clocktower----------------------------------------------------------

Barbara was getting more and more confused the longer she looked at Jason's blood, something wasn't normal. that was for sure, the fact that he'd apparently woken up without as much as a headache after having drank enough to destroy a persons liver 20 times over. the message about having healed a stab wound within a few hours was worrying in more ways than one, his blood continued to be an enigma, when the tests had come back, something interesting had happened. instead of the 99% match that Jason's blood had been due to the lazarus pit.the match was 100%, almost as if the lazarus chemicals had disappeared. yet when looking at his blood she still saw the telltale lazarus molecules, only this time they appeared to be stuck to something, as if fused.

there was almost nothing known about the lazarus pits, mainly due to Ra's al ghul and his league fiercely guarding the knowledge. and she wasn't
about to ask Talia, who besides her father would be the foremost expert on the subject on the pits, she would incite an ungodly shitstorm by simply being in the city. probably because she'd almost gutted Bruce the last time they'd come across eachother, furious about what he'd done to her son. or so she'd called him, she cringed at the memory. Damian had cried himself to sleep that night, muttering things about not being good enough for his mother and father beating him like he'd done Todd. it had taken both Dick grayson and Alfred combined hours to convince the boy that his mother still saw him as a son and that Bruce would never touch him. an uphill struggle all the way, only solved when Dick had given up, for lack of a better word. and called Talia himself to have her explain, she hadn't hacked into the call out of respect for Damian's privacy. but whatever Talia said, the boy cheered up considerably

that aside, Jason's DNA seemed wrong, by virtue of it being for lack of a better word. clean, Jason had never been all that good, genetically speaking. looking over his records revealed that he'd suffered complications from birth due to his mother's habits. she hated the word damaged, but that was exactly what Jason had been. he'd been damaged from birth, but now. none of that damage was visible, there wasn't even a trace of it. it was as if his DNA had repaired itself. Barbara's eyes widened in recognition. it couldn't be, could it?

she quickly brought up DNA records of his parents, Sheila was normal as could be, but Willis.

Willis had a metagene, a dormant one. if the prison records were anything to go by, and Jason had inherited it. it all made sense

everything except for one thing, why had it not presented itself before?

suddenly it all clicked

Jason's metagene hadn't expressed itself because. it couldn't, the damage his very DNA had taken whilst in the womb had damaged his metagene, the chemicals in the pit had erased the years of abuse and malnourishment he'd undergone. so it wouldn't be that much of a stretch if they'd healed his metagene to the point of it being able to express itself

it could also explain the more complete match in DNA, a metagene could very well adapt to incorporate other things into itself. would that mean that Jason had lazarus powers? she didn't know, another question rang in her mind. a metagene normally only expresses itelf in high stress or traumatic situations.

but when had it. -oh

Barbara felt sick, it was making too much sense. yet she wished with every fibre of her being that it didn't

the beating Jason had undergone at Bruce's hands, the emotional trauma alone would have been enough to trigger a metagene, but with the damage his body had sustained.... it would in turn explain how he'd healed so quickly, Starfire had said that even with the machine it should have taken months for him to bet back on his feet. instead he'd been gone after a week

she typed her finding into a document, and sealed it under a level of clearance that only she had access to. and started thinking about how to explain this to Jason, she didn't know what his reaction would be. happy? maybe, angry? probably, uncomfortable? definetely

locking project: phoenix and shutting off her computer, Barbara went to sleep, she'd think of a way to break the news to Jason later, right now she needed to process it herself

 

------------------------------------------------------the next day------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason did not expect this, he'd expected scorn and nasty looks, after all. he had hurt some of the most popular boys in school. or so he'd thought, he probably didnt notice it yesterday because he was busy talking to the principal. that and making sure Cerberus didnt leap out of his arm to notice the looks everyone was giving him, today however. he did

he was pleasantly suprised, he got an overwhelmingly positive reception, of course there were people. like Courtney, who shot scornful looks at him. but he really didn't care, at one point someone had actually congratulated him on winning the fight, calling it a mighty scrap and so forth. it was really weird

though none of that helped him when compared to his next activity. much to the amusement of the Heathers, he'd enrolled in a debate club. and a book club, but the second one was his and Duke's shared secret

so he opened the door, and prepared himself for another hour of bickering. 'god help me' he silently prayed as he walked inside, only to find that the big man in the clouds had proudly held up his middle finger at the plea Jason sent him

for there, on the board. today's subject was revealed.

Vigilantism.

Jason's shoulders sagged

"for fucks sake"

Chapter Text

Jason grumbled all the way to his seat, on the right of the circle, he appeared to be one of the last ones, as almost every seat seemed to be filled. in them were some of his least favourite people in the world

michael, or mick. as he insisted people call him, was a guy of average build with hazel eyes and dark black hair, he had a charming smile and a decent build. he also was one of the most ignorant people Jason had the displeasure of meeting, somehow with mick it was always the fault of a foreign person. didnt matter if his coffee was too cold or if his car had a dent in it

Jessica was probably one of the dumbest people Jason had ever beheld, he'd seen more autonomy some of pyg's pet projects, all she said was regurgitated from one of the people she followed. or in the rare occasion she decided to pick up a book. she tried passing off pieces of literate treasue as her own gospel, something Jason found pleasure in when he corrected her, she was the stereotypical dumb blonde with blue doe eyes, and Jason was sad that Mcnamara probably got tossed in with the likes of her.Jack was just an asshole. you know when people say that they're born in the wrong year? this fuckwit belonged in a cave, painting horses and waving around a club. he had an unnatural fear of technology and was one of Mick's best friends, if robots were to take over the world, he hoped that these two werent at the forefront of negotiations. because he had the eloquence of a rock. he kind of looked like Mick too, only he was a bit shorter and probably a good 20 pounds heavier

Patricia was stuck up, spoiled, and someone that was completely convinced that the world revolved around her. the less said about her, the better. the dumb raven haired brat had called him almost every bad name under the sun when he disagreed with her once

and then there was Betty finn, the only person besides him and their teacher that actually went into the lessons with an open point of view, he hated her purely out of spite. the fact that she actually tried to put on a friendly face in front of Veronica the day after he'd told Veronica her real thoughts cemented it for him, she was a two-faced lying bitch. the two of them clashed the most, almost every time the club met in fact, she made it a point to disagree with everything he said. she brought up some good, if naïve points at times, and she really got on Jason's nerves. probably adding to their mutual dislike of eachother

their teacher was a kind woman, and probably the best part of the entire club, she was a little biased in some subjects, but she did an amicable job nontheless. yeah Emilia Roberts was ok

he still hated that she'd picked this subject in particular though

"ah, Jason. you're here. we were almost going to begin with you" Emilia said, she'd asked the people in her debate club to call her by her first name whilst these debates were being held, she mentioned that it helped to make her more a part of the group and less a teacher that was forced to be here.

"yeah, was held up a bit" he said, leaving out the bit that he'd been held up by people asking about the fight he'd gotten into on sunday

"take a seat, we'll begin shortly" Jason nodded and took a seat a couple places over from Patricia and Jessica, who were currently gossiping about something, though the foul look that Jessica shot him gave him an idea about the subject

a few minutes passed in relative silence, before it became clear to Ms. Emilia that this was the ammount of people that would be attenting today's debate. her shoulders slumped slightly. probably because she actually found the lesson fun and it made her kind of sad that the sentiment wasn't reciprocated

"so" Emilia began, clapping her hands together. to their credit everyone turned to the teacher "as you all can see, today's subject is vigilantism. something that's become increasingly common in today's society, with the justice league and other organisations popping up over the last few decades" Jason was kind of impressed at the way that the subject was being brought up

out of the corner of his eye he saw Jessica stick up her hand "yes, Jessica. do you have something to say" the slightly exasperated tone betrayed the fact that Emilia wasn't looking forward to what was about to come, Jessica persevered ignorant to the looks she was getting from the other people

"why is this even a discussion? isn't it illegal?" there. it. was. Jason resisted the urge to groan, how the fuck did she still not know the point of a debate club

"that is true Jessica, but that's what we're discussing here today. if condoning vigilantism is good or bad and the reasons why" the unspoken 'the fucking point of this club' went completely over her head and she nodded quickly enough

"alright, now we're going to be going over a few examples of vigilantism. and discussing them individually first, before comparing them to the other ones. is that okay?" everyone nodded and Emilia smiled in earnest, glad that this was finally going somewhere. Jason smiled, this was finally going somewhere

"the first subject we're going to talk about is Gotham and it's caped crusaders"

the smile dropped from Jason's face 'should've expected this' he thought, though he kept listening

"batman started patrolling Gotham's streets over 20 years ago, soon after he was joined by robin. after that batgirl joined, after that Nightwing made his appearance, and so it continued, and now the city of Gotham is home to one of the highest populations of Vigilantes in the world" Emilia drawled on, giving an admittedly pretty detailed explanation of what made the bats what they were today

"what is the one thing all these people have in common?" she asked afterwards, Jason knew the answer. but he wouldn't be caught dead with those words on his lips, not anymore. instead Mick decided to answer

"the no kill rule" Jason grimaced at the mention of that idiotic rule that had driven a rift between him and the bat. 'all because of a stupid rule' he bitterly thought. his displeasure was apparently noticeable enough for Emilia to pick up on it

"is there something wrong Jason?"

that startled him out of his train of thought "it's a stupid rule" Jason said

"and why is that?" Betty's voice suddenly called out, looking down her nose at him

"because at the end of the day, it doesn't work" he admitted

"why would you say that Jason?" Emilia said

he turned to her "I'm from Gotham, remember?" he looked at the rest of the class and saw the words taking form in their heads

"what's it like?" Mick asked, seeming genuinely interested for once

Jason shrugged "it's not so bad" he clasped his hands together "if you want to spend every day worrying about what's going to happen to you, if arkham is going to get broken out of today, if one of the twisted fucks that are locked up there takes an interest in your family" he took a quick glance around, finding pale faces all aroun "and if that's not happening, you worry if there's going to be a shootout between the various mobs, or if the drug dealers are going to be shooting up the building you're in because someone didn't pay their debt in time" he wanted to add something about himself, but he bit his tongue before he could. 'no use bringing it up' he thought, looking at the rest of the room some of them looked to be on the verge of being sick, Jessica and Patricia being the ones

"that's horrible, but what has that got to do with the no kill rule?" Betty spoke up again

Jason rolled his eyes, turning his gaze on Betty

"it's all well and good, having the moral high ground and all. but it just doesn't work"

Betty scooted forward in her seat, eyes narrowing "and what would you suggest?"

he waved his hands around "it's simple math, the really bad ones. its kill a single one to save hundreds"

"what about arkham? it's there for a-" Betty began, but Jason cut her off

"Arkham. doesn't. work." he glared at Betty who seemed to be trying to come up with a response

"what do you mean by that?" Jack asked, Jason turned to him

he held up a finger "there used to be a doctor, pretty young girl. around our age, really wanted to make a difference. though she was extremely interested in one of arkham's more twisted patients" he could see some of the people in the circle beginning to make the connection. Emilia being the foremost of them, paling considerably

"she ended up becoming the joker's darling, the signs were there for months. or so the doctors said after the fact, yet nobody did anything" he glared at Betty again "why do you think that is?"

"arkham is a prison, not an asylum. simple as that" he said

"what would you prefer, some muderous fiend like the red hood?" Betty spat at him, giving him pause.

Jason froze. he didn't reply, abruptly he stood up

"miss Emilia, I'd like to suggest the topic of the red hood to be next week's subject" after that he walked away, leaving the rest of the class dumbstruck and Betty finn with a confused look on her face, not that he cared 'the fucking gall' he thought 'the alternative to batman' he almost growled at the implications, wrong and right. black and white, or in this case black and red. lost in his thought he plowed through the crowds. untill a familiar voice called out to him

"Jason!" Duke waved him over, he stalked over to Duke. who appeared to have been in conversation with Veronica about something 'good' he thought, something to clear his mind after his temper had almost failed him, something he really needed to work on, as the chances were slim that he'd get the chance to vent his frustrations on a few jocks in the near future

"sup" he lazily greeted the two girls who were deep in conversation. the subject apparently being a who would win argument between lord of the rings and game of thrones, a show he'd heard a lot about. but hadn't really gotten into yet, the first book's abundance of smut had turned him off when first reading in. and now Duke was constantly pestering him to pick it back up or at least watch the show with her

"I'm telling you Duke, lord of the rings owns game of thrones" Veronica whispered fiercely

"why? the most impressive thing that happends is gandalf killing one of those fire demons, and even then he died fighting it"

"balrog" the two of them hissed at the same time, catching Duke off guard

she looked back and forth "what?"

Jason shook his head "the demon, its called a balrog"

"oh" a smug smirk made its way onto Duke's face "can you please explain to her that the lord of the rings isn't all that powerful in terms of magic?"

Jason shook his head, sticking his hand into his bag and rummaging around, he probably had it somewhere in there. just a case of finding it, he flinched slightly when his finger poked a pen he'd forgotten to close "lord of the rings themselves, maybe. the lotr universe? not a chance game of thrones wins" a smile dashed across his lips 'found it'

Duke tried to come up with a counter argument, but was silenced when he all but pushed a book into her face

"what's this?" she asked

"the silmarillion" he said, handing her the book "read that, it's about lotr's lore" she looked at the book for a bit, before turning her gaze onto him again "only if you watch game of thrones with me" she held out her hand. he sighed and shook it, "fine"

out of the corner of his eye he saw Veronica looking skeptically at his shoulder, he rolled it. making her flinch minutely "doesn't that hurt?" she asked him, he shrugged "a little" he lied. "it wasn't as deep as originally thought" he gave as explanation, which she seemed to accept easily enough. the three of them chatted for a few minutes, before Jason caught sight of Chandler and Mcnamara walking throught the crowd. from the wary look on Mcnamara's face and the angry one on Chandler's he could guess something was wrong, and when he noticed Chandler walking with a slight limp he realized that something had gone tits up in a colossal fashion. the students parted around Chandler as fast as they could, casting her frightened glances

"hey" he tried, Chandler gave him an annoyed glance but didn't stop, almost running into the bathroom. Mcnamara stopped next to Veronica, and looked as if she wished the ground could come up and swallow her whole

"what happened?" Veronica asked, putting a hand on Mcnamara's shoulder. when the blonde flinched away Jason knew something was very amiss, he scanned over the crowd but could see nobody that looked in any way suspicious

"Courtney" was all that Mcnamara said, Jason's eyebrows raised. 'lance's girlfriend?'

Duke grabbed Mcnamara's other shoulder "what did Courtney do?" she hissed, Mcnamara flinched a bit. but spoke soon after, apparently Chandler had confronted Courtney about what happened to Cerberus and himself, all things that Courtney denied. then she'd apparently started insulting Chandler, the term school bicycle was used. Jason had no idea what that meant, but it didn't sound nice, after that a massive catfight had broken out, Chandler apparently walking away the victor

Jason had half a mind to get Courtney's side of the story right now, scanning the crowd for the brunette. his eyes did catch Mcnamara's blue ones looking up at him... happily? in fact, the longer she looked. the more her composure seemed to be breaking, then suddenly the word "pepe" was heard, Jason groaned. of course Chandler had told Mcnamara. Mcnamara ended up explaining the joke to Duke and Veronica in the few instances she had breath to spare, and soon enough the other girls were laughing with Mcnamara. drawing some odd glances from the crowd

the sound of heels clicking against linoleum dragged him out of whatever circle of hell this was as Chandler stopped beside him, arms crossed. she shot a questioning look at Jason to which he simply mouthed the word Mcnamara had giggled out earlier, the smirk that formed on Chandler's face was positively evil, though what happened next shocked him

she reached up and ruffled his hair, whilst cooing at him. to be honest the seemingly genuinely affectionate tone shocked him more than anything, leaving him shocked as Chandler assaulted the perfect hair he'd spent all of 3 minutes on this morning

"iz wittle Jason angwy" she chuckled, apparently Chandler enjoyed shadenfreude. or she was getting giddy at the fact that she was making fun of a man wanted in 40 countries by mocking him to his face, if black mask could see this. well Jason would probably strangle him before he had the chance to laugh, but laugh he would

"seems like little red riding hood has tamed the fearsome skunk" Duke shouted, drawing in yet more curious looks from the crowd

Jason grabbed Chandler's arm in response, lifting it off of his head. he glared at Duke, before an evil smirk of his own formed "I wouldn't talk" he paused a bit "Mrs Grinch"

the response was instant, the previous giggles were full blown snorts of laughter now, the ones laughing had changed however, Duke was doing her best to glare him down but the emberassed blush spread across her cheeks made the withering glance all but ineffective. if anything it added to the amusement of the group, especially when Veronica started singing you're a mean one. which promptly turned into a duet with Mcnamara. the four of them stood there for a while, making stupid jokes at eachothers expense. untill the bell rung, the five of them had gym together and Jason was lucky enought to be able to bribe the judge into letting him play, supposedly healing arm and all. the game was dodgeball, and Jason had the good fortune of finding himself matched up against Kurt and ram, whilst teamed up with Chandler Duke and Veronica. Mcnamara had the misfortune of being paired up with the two jocks and a few people who Jason couldn't remember the name of

a smirk formed, not that it mattered anyways. he thought 'they're all going down either way'

the coach blew the whistle, and pandemonium erupted

for all their personality flaws, he had to admit. when it came to sports the two of them were a well oiled machine, their years of experience in football made them experts at leading targets that tried to dodge, and their throwing arms were equally impressive, knocking Duke and Chandler flat on their asses with their very first throws, leaving Jason and Veronica with two boys whose names he didn't really care about against a full team

fat load of good it did the enemy team though

the two boys they were paired up with were good at dodging, some bloody good footwork as well. Jason had to add, as the two of them ducked and weaved between the barrage of balls that Kurt and ram were laying into them. the balls being thrown so hard that in the event of them missing, most of them simply bounced off of the back wall back into their half of the field

Jason had been systematically whittling down the enemy team. his aim was excellent, and his throws hard. even without the help of his main arm

the real star of the show however, was Veronica

were Jason excelled in pelting rubber through the air at breakneck speeds, Veronica kept herself busy with catching every. single. ball. that was thrown their way Jason even grudgingly admitted that without Veronica he probably wouldn't stand a chance. his left hand still had some damage from when he'd went after killer croc a couple of years ago the nerves were still not at full strength and with the fact that he couldn't use his right for appearances sake. that meant that he was shit at catching any ball not thrown center mass

instead he opted to twist and duck out of the way of incoming projectiles, using some of the tricks Dick had taught him over the years, not that he'd ever admit it to the man child of a big brother of course, his pride woudn't survive the fallout

he pulled a neo level dodge on a dodgeball that looked deliberatly aimed at his groin. at the same time that Veronica knocked Kurt out of the game with a beautifully placed arm hit. pulling himself back up, he was thrown a ball by the brunette next to him. the glint in her eyes only meant one thing. they were finishing this

now

Jason reared back his arm. trying to figure out which one he'd go for. Ram or Mcnamara, who had so far evaded every ball his team had thrown her way. her Cheerleading experience coming in handy when in order to dodge a couple of balls thrown her way. she fell into a perfect split, much to the awe of every girl there.

after a few seconds his target was decided. he was going to take on the challenge that Mcnamara posed, and he was going to go for her

Veronica and him locked eyes again, as if to mentally discuss the ones they were going for. a quick nod, and they launched their balls. the rubber spheres sailing through the air at ludicrous speeds towards the cheerleader and the jock

both of them ended up finding their mark as Rams got hit full in the head whilst Mcnamara was hit center mass. Jason flinched ast the ball made contact 'maybe a bit too hard' he thought as Mcnamara quite literally had the wind knocked out of her.

Ram wasn't all that much luckier, he crumpled to the ground instantly. clutching his nose which he insisted was broken

a beat of silence followed

and the bystanders went wild. everyone was cheering, and the ammount of sound made it seem like there were a lot more than 30 people in the hall at the time. after a quick fist bump Veronica and Jason made their way over to the side of the hall. where the Heathers themselves were already seated. Mcnamara included

Jason smiled as he collapsed onto the bench. today was a good day

----------------------------------------------------------later that day-------------------------------------------------------------

Tim was dead tired, last night had been awful. Stephanie wouldn't stop talking his ear off about the if's and what's about Cass taking an interest in her. the board meeting he'd had today was horrid, and to add insult to injury his trusty coffee machine had broken down at the start of the day, in retrospect Tim should've used that as a sign and just crawled back into bed, nightmares be damned

well, at least that was what he wa-

his phone rang

grumbling he fished the offending device out of his pocket. paling as he saw who it was, he raced to his secret room. turning on every signal jammer that worked on the bat's frequencies. he really didn't want another lecture curtsey of Bruce about helping criminals and the like. despite the fact that the person on the other end of the call wasn't a criminal

probably wouldn't make a difference, and he was expecting the dark knight any minute now. so he answered the phone

"hello?"

the other line was silent for a few seconds. untill

"oh, my apologies. I thought this was the number of a Caroline hill?" Tim rolled his eyes

"she's here. only problem is that she'll only speak to a certain rason rodd" he replied, growing smug at the pained groan coming from the other end of the line

"fuck off"

"hey, you started it" Tim said

"yeah yeah, look I need some help"

Tim's eyes darted around the room. a reflex more than anything, as was him lowering his voice to barely above a whisper

"what kind?"

"nothing too hard. you near your computer?"

"hold on" TIm quickly made his way to the false wall he'd installed, after typing in a 30 digit code on a hidden panel he moved into the quasi batcave he'd set up in his apartement. he quickly booted up his pc before focussing back on the call

"what's the problem?"

"apparently the school I've decided to go to has some corruption issues"

"and how do you want me to help?" Tim asked, he let the question linger in the air for a bit

"thing is, the principal isn't doing of for personal gain. its more to keep the school running, problem is that I got into trouble with one of the donator's kids. and now they're apparently pressuring him against me"

Tim rolled his eyes "really Jason, you want to blackmail a few big companies because you played fistycuffs with someone?"

"yup"

Tim sighed, "fine. what's the name of the principal?"

"Stokesworth, I reckon you already know the school I've chosen?"

"yup, how's school?"

"well there's some teachers that actually want to teach, so it's better than gotham u

Tim chuckled, he remembered the lazy attitude that Gotham's teachers had, at least the ones that had survived

"so how do you want to play this Jay?"

"simple, trace the ammounts back to the companies, I'd reckon the people that pull this are higher ups, CEO level I'd reckon."

"and when that's done I'll compare the names to any students. after that it's only a time of some blackmail against the companies that doesn't take down Stokesworth with it" Tim finished "what do you want to do with the school afterwards?"

Jason shrugged "that's your call. there's some good kids here, not a lot mind you. maybe convince the principal to replace all his faulty equipment and all that with waynetech stuff, in return waynetech supports him. how does that sound?"

Tim chuckled "you're just doing this to fuck with Bruce aren't you?"

"fuck what Bruce thinks" Jason said, only this time there was no humor in his voice

"how are you holding up Jason?" Tim asked

"well the nightmares are still there, and the phantom pain is still a bitch. so hurrah for consistency-"

Tim flinched, he himself suffered from the same problems often enough. probably one of the main reasons of his refusal to go to sleep unless biologically mandatory, he might hate sleeping to the point of insomnia but he'd rather face a nightmare than Alfred's dissapointed look

"- at least there's a positive to it all, my roommates are nice"

"oh" this was a suprise, Jason had roommates?

"oh yeah, forgot to mention. I kinda used that blackmail to get my very own frat house. I own the place now so it shouldn't be affected by your little incursion into the bank accounts, but I recently got some company"

"what are they like"

"exhausting"

Tim quirked an eyebrow, he reckoned Jason must have realized how shitty that sounded because he scrambled to correct himself

"they're balls of energy really, three of them have the same fucking name I shit you not"

"really?" Tim asked, half laughing

"yup, Heather Chandler, Duke and Mcnamara"

Tim laughed "must be a pain to remember who's who"

"Nope" Jason actually sounded pained when he said that "they're fucking colour coded"

Tim was chuckling at the mental image that invoked, only the sound of his code being typed in sobered him up

"B's here, talk to you another time"

"alright, see you around Miss Hill"

with that Jason hung up, leaving Tim alone in the room, though he wouldn't be for very long. Tim sighed, reaching into the mini fridge next to his computer to pull out a can of energy drink, he would need to be awake for B's lecture. y'know appearances and all

Chapter Text

Jason was not having a good day, not in the slightest, well technically the day hadn't started fully yet he was getting sick of it already. he'd awoken sometime around 6 in the morning and had one of the worst fits of muscle pain he could remember, it had taken him hours before the pain had subsided. leaving him dead tired before the clock had even struck 10, the nightmare he'd woken up from wasn't all that fun either 'same shit, different day' Jason sourly thought, again the joker was at the forefront of his mind, that bastard would probably die laughing if he knew the effect he'd had on Jason

despite the tough guy act he always insisted on showing when it came to his own wellbeing, he begrudgingly had to admit that since Cerberus had been moved downstairs, mainly due to his injury. He was sleeping less and less soundly, probably had something to do with his peace of mind. which despite it all still lingered on the joker's laughing face in his dreams. that same cackle that haunted every night, despite Jason's various attempts to distance himself from the incident. he also couldn't help but worry about joker, even if the bastard was still locked up in arkham, the madman was more crafty by half than anyone seemed willing to give him credit for

the thought made Jason scowl even harder. the mere thought of joker knowing where he was made a feeling of unease settle in the pit of his stomach. 'what if croc knew from where he'd called?' that had not been one of his most clever decisions, Jason had realized after the fact. Batman's threat of coming for him was still not fulfilled. probably due to the rest of the family, but he would come. Jason was sure of it, B wasn't in the buisness of making false promises.... when it came to his nighttime buisness. he added after he fact

pushing that thought to the very back of his mind, Jason slowly got up from his bed. his muscles aching as if he'd spent the entire day working out. he clumsily dressed himself in a red hoodie and a pair of grey sweatpants. stumbling downstairs, it appeared as if he was going to be staying home today

after an admittedly terrifying descent, curtsey of Jason losing his footing no less than 3 times. 'too tired for this' he grumbled to himself Jason walked into the kitchen, where. to his suprise. an equally haggard looking Mcnamara was seated, those pale blue eyes looked no less tired than his own, Jason took a seat opposite Mcnamara, prompting her to slide a half empty pot of coffee his way. he quirked an eyebrow at her, Mcnamara wasn't a coffee person

"nightmares?" was the only thing she said, voice hoarse

"yup" he confirmed, forgoing cups and instead downing the lukewarm coffee straight from the pot

"ew" she said half heartedly "it's not even warm anymore

he shrugged, he couldn't care less

"I hate days like this" Mcnamara spoke, shoulders slumped

"they happen often?" he asked

she shrugged "couple times a year, doesn't make them any more pleasant though"

a humourless chuckle escaped Jason at that "I know the feeling"

if Mcnamara had anything to say in response, she didn't instead looking at him with an unreadable expression, as if studying him. the look wasn't all that foreign to Jason, as it was one that Tim often sported moments before coming to some weird revelation.

he sighed "just say it" Mcnamara atleast had decency enough to look slightly ashamed at being caught staring, and stumbled over her words for a bit

"uhh... I've just been wondering about-"

"-my life as a vigilante?"

she looked at him again, "no. not that"

that suprised him "what then?"

"your name.. you said it was-"

Jason pinched the bridge of his nose, had she made the connection? "Jason peter Todd" he finished, "was that what you meant?" she nodded, seeming more confident. if only slightly as she was still fidgeting with a lock of her hair

"I was just wondering how one of Bruce wayne's children ended up here"

Jason bristled at being called Bruce's child "Bruce is not my father" he said before calming down somewhat 'lets not blame her' he thought, it would do nobody any good for him to get angry at her for connecting the pieces

"what happened?" she asked

"I died" Jason said, a tone of finality gracing his voice, indicating his intent of halting the conversation then and there. and then something suprising came out of Mcnamara's mouth

"my father made Wayne's wedding ring" she blurted out suddenly, Jason blinked. before connecting the pieces, he slapped a hand over his face 'of fucking course' he thought, he'd heard talk around the school of Mcnamara's father being in the buisness of selling wedding rings,s and from the size of her house he must've been quite good at it

"what ended up happening to it?" he asked despite himself. he hated to admit it, but he was curious what had happended to the quite frankly ridiculously expensive ring. he'd quote unqoute, found the receipt whilst snooping around, and he'd almost thrown a fit then and there. a 5 fucking digit price tag for a ring?? then again he shouldn't be suprised given the fact that this was the same man that had spent millions on making 20 types of shark repellent on the off chance that he crashed his billion dollar jet into the ocean. too expensive wasn't a term that often made its way into Bruce's vocabulary

"a woman brought it back a few weeks before we met you, Selina kyle I believe her name was" Mcnamara said, suprising Jason. Selina wasn't all that known for giving riches back, her being a thief and all

"oh" Jason said

"where did you get that one from?" Mcnamara suddenly said, pointing to one of the small cuts on his fingers. a minor wound to be sure, but one with the most horrid tale out of all of his myriad of scars

"got that after I woke up in my coffin" he said, cringing at the memory. opposite him he saw Mcnamara paling considerably, he briefly worried she was going to faint again

"I'm not going to have to get some more smelling salts soon. am I?" he asked, hoping to lighten the tone somewhat

it worked, she chuckled somewhat, before casting a concerned glance his way "please tell me you're kidding" she half asked, half pleaded. his response was a simple shake of his head

"god vigilante life must suck" she muttered under her breath, though Jason heard it. prompting him to burst out in suprised laughter "yes it does" he said between chuckles

Mcnamara suddenly clasped her hands together "right, lets change the topic. how are preparations for the party going? "decently, Chandler wanted to arrange a couple of things. though I'm in charge of the drinks" Mcnamara looked confused at that "I've got a few fake Id's, one of them happends to be over 21 years old" he told her simply

"she's going to abuse the shit out of that" Mcnamara said, exasperated "for all her supposed love of alcohol, half the time I'm the one that ends up holding her hair as she vomits it all back up"

"and the other half of the time?" Jason asked curiously

"I'm still close" said, a smirk slowly forming "probably passed out in the bath next to her though" Jason let out a suprised bark of laughter at that, the mental image of Chandler puking her guts out whilst Mcnamara snored next to her was extremely funny to him

"at least you find it funny" Mcnmara snarked "most of the time I forget my fucking name the next morning" Jason stared at her after that

"what?" she looked at him confused

"didn't know you swore" he said simply

Mcnamara rolled her eyes "please, I'm not some nun."

Jason snorted "evidently" he brought the pot of coffee back to his lips, scowling as he remembered he'd drank it all

"what's that supposed to mean?" Mcnamara demanded as Jason turned to the counter, intent on brewing some more coffee, he didn't turn back around

"remember that debacle in the garage? you silenced Chandler with two words" Mcnamara flushed pink at that "yeah. I was confused" she meekly admitted

"if anything I'm impressed" Jason admitted "especially given the circumstances. she's chewing out a wanted vigilante and you silence her by losing your temper" Jason sat back opposite her head resting on his hands, a lazy smirk on his face

Mcnamara huffed, crossing her arms "I didn't lose my temper" her eyes darted to the ground "was kinda close to it though" she admitted

Jason chuckled again "I reckon the person that pushes you over the edge is going to get a nasty suprise

she pouted "I'm not that scary am I?"

he shrugged "not to me, though my perception on the subject might be a tiny bit skewed"

she snorted "should I be proud of the fact that the mighty red hood quivers before me?"

he suddenly leaned forward "do not tell anyone" Mcnamara paled a bit at the grave tone, suddenly a lazy smirk made its way onto his face "I've got a reputation to uphold"

she scowled, swatting at his arm as he laughed "that's such a dick move"

Jason ignored her, chuckling to himself "can you imagine the look on the faces of gotham's rogues if this gets out" the mental image seemed to amuse him greatly, as he started laughing in earnest "the red hood, scared of a cheerleader half his size"

"what's that supposed to mean"

"it means that you're one of the most unthreatening people I've come across" he admitted

"and why is that?" she huffed "is it because I'm a girl?"

he looked at her as if she'd gone crazy "what?" she said

"are you serious?" he asked in a deadpan tone

"yeah, why?"

"you do realize what kind of life I lead right? the kind where you run into wonder woman, supergirl starfire and the like"

Mcnamara rolled her eyes "like they count, wonderwoman is an amazon and the other two are aliens"

"who'd you prefer then? batgirl, batwoman, black bat, huntress? trust me i can keep this up for a good while" at every new vigilante named Mcnamara shrunk in a bit on herself, upon noticing the more or less miserable looking Mcnamara, Jason slapped himself upside the head. he was about to mention the reason he found her to be so harmless looking, and now he was actively contributing to the same thing he wanted to point out

he rested his head on his hands, elbows on the table as he cast a stern gaze at Mcnamara "you know what every single one of those people have in common?"

Mcnamara shook her head vigorously, though she seemed to be a bit more curious now

"the lot of them have some confidence in themselves" Jason usually wasn't one to mince words, but the fact that Mcnamara physically recoiled as he'd said that gave him an idea of how big he'd screwed up exactly, as Mcnamara seemed to be doing her level best impression of someone being sucked up by the floor, the way she just deflated made Jason feel like a piece of shit if he was honest, though he did mentally pat himself on the back when he saw she wasn't crying. he'd at least not fucked things up to that extent

and then Jason just had to run his mouth before his brain caught up

"I mean no offense, but at school you try your level best to not be seen, you're taller than Duke yet when you put the two of you side by side you're almost the same height, even when you're wearing heels and she'd not you try to shrink in on yourself as much as you can, almost as if you're scared of something"

'Jason you fucking idiot' his mind screamed to him as his braing caught up to his tongue, eyes widening as he looked at Mcnamara

the sight disturbed him to no end

sadness he could deal with, inexperienced at comforting someone as he wasy, anger he could always out-shout or deal with otherwise, hell even a cutting remark from her end would have been easier to deal with then the broken look that adorned her face, she looked... resigned for lack of a better word

he slowly reached out to her hand that was still laid on the table "you alright?" he stupidly asked 'really Jason, YOU ASK THAT' what must've been his consience screamed at him in incoherent rage

"you're right" she said, tone all but dead inside

'think you useless grey lump' Jason screamed at his brain, 'say something to make her stop looking like.... that, she's fucking making me depressed with that look'

she sighed "last year I tried to kill myself" Jason stiffened

"what" he breathed out, scarcely believing his own ears

"I mean last year. it was awful" she admitted "there was this big gathering, someone had commited suicide and I made the mistake of admitting the fact that I'd considered it before she laughed, a harsh sound escaping her lips, she shook her head "what a mistake that was"

she looked at him again, this time she looked kind of sick herself "I had this bottle of sleeping pills, y'know for my legs" she gestured in the general direction of the offending appendages "had the pills in my mouth when Veronica burst into the bathroom" a melancholic look crossed Mcnamara's face "we were awful to her, and yet she still helped me"

the fact that she seemed suprised when someoene had intervened in her suicide attempt told Jason all he needed to know about her mental state

in summary, not good

wordessly he pushed himself upright, walking out of the kitchen. a few minutes later he returned, dressed for going to the gym "we're going to be working on your confidence from now on"

he then shot a quasi pleading look at her "please don't tell me I changed for nothing, I'm still dead tired"

that snapped her out of her stupor, she send a small glare his way "that's not funny"

to her suprise he started celebrating a bit

"what are you doing" she asked at the quite frankly appauling display of so called dance

"death jokes work again" he said with the same tone of voice a child on christmas that had just seen the boxes under the tree

Mcnamara rolled her eyes "it's actually quite disturbing that you find amusement in that"

Jason shrugged "bad humor's kind of my thing" he paused "that and being a badass"

this time the smile was on Mcnamara's lips "oh yeah mr. badass, I remember a certain person's eyes beginning to water when a certain detective got married"

"Jake and amy deserved that wedding you heathen" he hissed at her

Mcnamara pushed herself up "let's go watch something and be sleep deprived together" with that she sauntered out of the kitchen, feet dragging a bit

Jason shook his head but followed her soon after, when the the others returned from school they found the two of them peacefully snoring on the couch together, an episode of futurama
playing in the background

------------------------------------------------------that night, Gotham-------------------------------------------------------------

Barbara was busy coordinating a joint op mission between huntress and red robin. the two of them were in the middle of detaining two-face when out of the corner of her eye she spotted a black blur on one of the cameras. sighing she pushed herself off of the consoles, the bat had come again. and when he did it usually didn't mean anything good

"B" she said blankly, watching the dark knight pool through the door

"oracle" he said, voice level

Barbara sighed "if this is about Quinn, I don't know what to tell you. there's no sign of magic or any drug related incident, so I don't know what to tell you"

batman simply reached into his belt, retrieving a piece of paper and handing it to her, as soon as Barbara saw what it was she paled. how had Batman gotten access to- oh,

she was an idiot. plain and simple, of course Bruce would check the blood tests being run by his machines, he'd probably installed a back door into the machine's files for that purpose she was going to have to destroy those things on any of her electronics later, right now she had more pressing concerns

"any reason" he raised his voice slightly, tone demanding "you decided to hide such things from me"

"and what would that be?"

"the fact that the red hood has got metahuman abilities"

"and what does that matter exactly? you've washed your hands of him, and this paper gives you another reason to keep Jason out. with your no meta's in Gotham rule"

he stalked over to her "do I need to assume you're compromised because of emotional involvement?" he asked. Barbara rolled her eyes once more, a threat as clear as day. yet not one he could follow up on, they both knew it

"and what, pray tell. would you do with this new information?"

"the fact is that an emotionally unstable individual with unrecorded metahuman powers is currently without supervision. I think the best course of action is obvious" he said icily

Barbara stared at him blankly for a few seconds "you're actually planning on locking him up, aren't you?"

she could practically hear Bruce's teeth grinding "what would you have me do? ignore him?"

"that's what you always did when he wasn't needed" she said, and she could practically feel the contempt dripping off of him as she spoke

suddenly he turned around. stalking out of the room, only stopping briefly to say something over his shoulder

"if you alert him, don't expect our cooperation to continue"

"If you go through with this, don't expect a family when you get home" she spat back venomously, glaring at his back

he didn't reply, merely walking out the door. a few seconds later she saw him disappear past the same cameras he'd appeared from

she pinched the bridge of her nose under her glassed, deciding to send a few messages, the first to the chat she and the other members of the family were in (minus bruce of course)

O: B is making a move on J, stand by

the second she sent to Jason himself, this time she attached the file she'd built up on him as well. hoping that he'd handle it well enough to be ready for Bruce

because if he wasn't, she had the sinking feeling that she was going to have to bury someone else close to her at the end of this. and that did not sit well with Barbara

it really didn't

Chapter Text

Gotham, around 23:06

Stephanie had a sinking feeling when she walked into the cave. they'd all gotten Barbara's message and to put it mildly they were not happy, Tim and Damian clashed about the right course of action whilst Dick was too busy playing peacemaker to voice his own opinion, as it stood right now the entire family minus Damian were firmly on Jason's side when it came to this foolhardy mission, Stephanie herself was quite proud of the insults she'd come up with on the fly

when she saw the assemblage of people in the cave however, dread formed in her mind. she really should've expected this, but B had called the cavalry it would seem the main family was only a part of the people he'd called in, the birds of prey and the outsiders were present as well. though when she saw black canary stood together with huntress talking to Barbara her worry was lifted slightly, the birds of prey were still Barbara's forces at the end of the day. and she doubted Dinah would be ok with Batman going after Roy's best friend, the red headed archer had been like a son to her after all

she waved to Cass, who was quietly listening to Dick and Tim bicker about something and made her way over, only to stop as she heard the clacking of feet on stone. it would seem tha the big bad bat had arrived

everyone fell silent, eyes on the dark knight as he wordlessly made his way over to the massive table at the center of the cave, he sat himself down. quickly thereafter flanked by Dick and Damian, Tim and Cassandra seating themselves next to the two of them, Stephanie sat herself down next to Cassandra as Barbara made her way next to Tim, sitting opposite to her

suddenly Batman's deep voice cut through the silence "I reckon you all know why I called you here?" a few nodded, thought most were silent, with a sigh Batman pushed himself up, hands resting on the cool metal of the table

"there has been a developement in the situation regarding red hood" he stated, waiting for a response. when he got none he produced a small tablet from within his utility belt, suddenly the great screens of the batcomputer lit up, a strand of DNA visible. Stephanie's eyes widened, that looked eerily familiar

"it has come to my attention that the red hood is in posession of a metagene, and that it has activated itself somehow" the silence was broken by a sudden snort coming from Barbara Batman's head whirled around so fast that Stephanie wondered how his neck wasn't broken yet "is there a problem?" the bat grit out, his scowl visible even with the black cowl covering most of his face

Barbara merely glared back at him, but said nothing, Dick on the other hand..

Dick had stood up sometime during the conversation, and was now glaring at batman with fierce intent "and what do you suggest?"

"I suggest a quiet in and out, we make our way to the place that red hood ha-" Stephanie decided to cut him off, having heard enough "you mean the School that Jason is attending?" a murmur went through the group, and this time batman's glare was focussed on her "yes" he said through gritted teeth

Dick sighed, a hand over his eyes "Bruce, just leave Jason be. please"

that had apparently been the wrong thing to say, as Batman stomped over to him "why does everyone insist on protecting that man? there is a way we do things here, and the red hood has never held himself to those rules"

"the red hood, has a name. one that you apparently have forgotten" Barbara's voice called out, the tone like ice. Bruce made his way over to her, looming over her like one of Gotham's many gargoyles

"I don't even understand why you are here, last time we spoke I told you that if you alerted Jason we would not be working together anymore, and I traced a message from the clocktower to Jason's new lodgings later that very night" he grit out, putting an emphasis on every time the word Jason left his lips

Barbara rolled her eyes "and the last time you and Jason spoke he told you something else" she said, glaring defiantly up at him

Batman scoffed "that was before this was revealed" he pulled off his cowl, glaring at Barbara with intensifying ferocity "that still doesn't answer my question though"

"quite simple really, the birds of prey answer to me, and since they were called here I decided to come to" she smiled mockingly at him "alfred was even so curteous as to let me in"

the silence that followed made all the previous ones feel meaningless, it was as if everyone had forgotten to breathe, so silent it was that even the bats appeared to have stopped their calls to listen to what was about to happen

Bruce didn't respond, merely walking back to his place at the head of the table "the plan" he said "was to take Jason with us, determin if he's a threat, and take the appropriate steps to nullify that threat"

Tim spoke up at that "and how are you so sure that Jason will come quietly, if at all?" a rhetoric question if ever there was one

"I am not expecting Jason to come quietly, that is why I have asked you all here" he gestured to the people seated at the table "I know some of your opinions about Jason well enough to know I will not risk you in the field up against him" he cast a glance at Cassandra and Stephanie

Dinah was the first that held up her hand "I'm out" she said, before walking off, huntress in tow

"is there a problem I'm unaware of Dinah" Bruce asked, the blonde turned to him "I've never met him personally, but I trust Roy's word, and he never spoke an ill word about Jason. I'm not going to be responsible for locking up his best friend" with that the two women walked off to their bikes

as the roars of bikes through the cave dulled, Bruce spoke up again

"Tim, Dick" can I expect you to follow my orders?

he got no response from either one, Dick appeared to be deep in thought whilst Tim simply glared at him. he sighed, before doing something nobody would have expected at the time

"Barbara" he growled out, as if physically pained by the thought of asking her "what did you send to Jason"

Barbara, clearly suprised at being asked that by Bruce took a few seconds to reply "I told him to be ready for you, and I sent him a file"

Bruce's eyes narrowed "what file"

"his file" was her response

a fist came down on the table, startling everyone to some extent "DAMN IT BARBARA, THESE ARE THINGS I NEED TO KNOW" he shouted, it appeared as if his already frayed temper had snapped

"why, so you could use them for some strategy to take him down, not on my life" she snarled at the dark knight

Bruce took a breath "did anything of use come out of the file" he asked

"it appears as if the lazarus chemicals have been fused to his metagene, and it appears as if they have somewhat altered the state of his metagene" she said, catching Bruce's attention

"care to elaborate?" Bruce asked

"Jason talked to me" she said "he said that the people he's sharing a house with have noticed his eyes flashing green sometimes"

"that's normal though, we've seen that plenty of times when Jason was angry" Tim cut in

Barbara nodded "correct, though Jason has found some oddities in these scenarios" everyone perked up at that "he described it as him being more in control of his body, as if everything moved at a slower pace whilst he was unaffected"

Bruce nodded "that sounds like enhanced senses"

Barbara swallowed "there's more" she looked around "the night Jason found out Roy died" she saw a flash of guilt across Bruce's face "Bruce was the one that told him, and apparently the stress got to him" she saw the group's eyes widening in horror "he drank himself into an early grave that night" she paused "or he should have"

that made Dick snap out of his thoughts "what does that mean?"

"it means that Jason woke up with a light hangover after having drank enough alcohol to kill a man several times over" Barbara said

"accelerated processing of toxins" Bruce said "and Jason has always had a bit of a healing factor after he.... came back" Barbara nodded "that seems like it's gone into overdrive as well"

Dick's eyes widened "Jason has always been the strongest out of us" some of them nodded "but there are times where he's really gone beyond, I saw him throw a piano clean through a room once"

"cant say I remember that one" Tim said "but I do remember all but launching me clean across rooftops on various occasions"

Batman had fallen silent, deep in thought. leaving Barbara to continue the conversation

"so we've got a Jason that could match any one of us except Cassandra without powers, and now he's for lack of a better word. better"

"I want to come back to something first" Dick said, turning to Bruce "what do you mean Bruce told him" Dick's eyes narrowed at Bruce

"I thought it best to tell him"

Barbara huffed, crossing her arms "and how did that end up?"

Dick sighed "can you not just leave people alone Bruce, must you control everything?" Bruce bristled at the accusation "I was trying to explain myself to him"

the look Dick shot him would have sent a lesser man running to the hills "surely you mean you apologized to him"

Bruce sighed "he wouldn't let me" as the words left his lips Bruce realized that he'd fucked up. Nightwing stood up so fast the chair he was seated launched itself a good few feet backwards. he stalked off, stopping a few feet before his bike "I'll be in Bludhaven, it's best if we don't speak for a few week" and with that he was off, for the what felt like the tenth time that night, the cave fell silent. in those minutes the outsiders excused themselves, Kate offhandedly mentioning that she'd be in contact if the plan was a go. Damian, who had been uncharacteristically quiet since Jason was mentioned. went back upstairs

"do you have any theories as to why the metagene has activated itself now of all times?" Bruce asked, cutting through the silence

Barbara's response was a hesitant nod "we- we know that metagenes normally activate in response to trauma, be it emotional or physical" from the minute way Bruce's eyes widened she realized that she'd confirmed his own suspicions. the scathing glare Tim was sending at Bruce propably meant he'd figured it out as well

"That night" Bruce choked out, looking.. ashamed

"yes" Barbara said, hesitating at the look of pain that flashed over Bruce's eyes. suddenly the pain disappeared, probably because the cowl was back over his face. Barbara sighed. Bruce's first reaction to a situation he couldn't control was to recede and let the batman take over. not something that would be of much use in this situation

"Barbara" she almost rolled her eyes at the modulated voice "yes?"

"what do you suggest"

Barbara blinked a few times "it's not a good idea to go after him bruce" the cowl's lenses suddenly became a tiny bit smaller, an indication that he was squinting "what do you mean by that"

"you heard what Jason said last time, didn't you?" he nodded, looking vaguely like he was frowning

"what did he say?" Tim asked

"he said that he quote unquote, would've ripped Bruce's head off had he showed himself"

Tim sighed and Stephanie spoke up "sounds like Jason alright"

"the best course of action would be to let Tim Stephanie and Cassandra go to him, they're closest to him" Bruce looked like he was considering it but shook his head "its too risky, Jason is dangerous. he came closest to taking on Cassandra out of all of us, and now he's got powers. Tim and Stephanie are good fighters but we all know he's beaten both of them before"

a collective sigh went through the cave "Bruce, to Jason those three are the closest he's got to family"

"he tried to kill Tim the first time he met him!" Bruce reasoned "I'll be coming with them" he said, eyes narrowing

"you almost killed Jason the last time you saw him in person" Barbara sneered "what do you think is going to happen if he gets his hands on you?"

"then what do you suggest, that I send them to deal with him on their own, he's dangerous and willing to kill"

"HE WAS YOUR SON!" Barbara screamed, causing everyone but Cassandra to jump a bit

"what do you mean was?" Tim asked

"Jason made it quite clear that he doesn't want anything more to do with Bruce" Barbara said. looking defiantly at Bruce, who appeared to be a bit shaken

"let him come, we keep the peace" Cassandra's soft voice rang out, she looked at Bruce then "ok?" everyone nodded at that

"alright, what do you suggest Tim?"

Tim pondered it for a bit, before he began explaining his version of the plan, they would meet Jason at a location of his choosing, from there the talk of his newly found powers would commence, if Jason felt himself inclined to come with them to do some test, they would. if not, there would have to be another plan. Bruce suggested monthly checkups, but Tim countered by mentioning the fact that it would make Jason suspicious, and a suspicious Jason is a Jason that's 1 mistake away from bolting, Stephanie suggested one of them be allowed to help Jason discover his powers, and the idea was put into consideration, but only as one of the last resorts

afterwards another huge argument broke out in which Barbara and Bruce argued if they should bring the outsiders as backup or not, Bruce wanted them to be on standby in case Jason started acting like a threat. Barbara argued that if Cassandra, Stephanie and Tim couldn't hold Jason back, that the outsiders would make little difference, in the end a compromise was reached the outsiders would join the mission on a second batwing, but they would only be deployed as a deterrent, something that would make Jason think twice about attacking Batman

in exchange for that Bruce begrudgingly promised to keep the talk professional, both of them were far from ready to have any sort of talk about the night that Jason got exiled in any way shape or form without it resulting in copious ammounts of violence, and with Jason's newfound powers. Gotham might just find itself without a dark knight, that or arkham would get a ticking time bomb within its walls, and when that bomb blew. Arkham would drown in the blood of it's inmates

"are we all in agreement then?" Batman finally said after the conversation had been finished, everyone nodded and filtered out of the cave soon enough. the moment the last person left Bruce turned back to his computer, there would be a double patrol tomorrow, tonight however he busied himself with looking over various files in regards to Jason and various other hereo related things, the file on sanctuary was still frustratingly small, its contents disturbing at best

Harley Quinn had told everyone under the influence of wonder woman's own lasso of truth that she'd seen the people of sanctuay try to kill her. that's why she'd taken her mallet to the lot of them, and without a trace of magic or-

he grimaced, a couple of news stations had gotten the news from some anonymous source, though batman had his suspicions. not that he'd voice them in front of clark of course, the news had lead to a number of disconcerting messages being sent to the league

Batman remembered something, a quick search revealed one of the many letters they'd gotten sent to them anonymously claiming to be responsible, most of them had been dismissed outright and the others had been checked up on, leading to dead ends. their writers dealt with appropriately

he scoured for it for a bit, before he found the letter he'd dismissed at first glance, in a new light the letter really should've caught his eye sooner

he scanned the letter multiple times, and every time he did so his suspicion and fear grew

"hello there, seems like your little sanctuary isn't really as safe as you'd like to think now is it Batman?"

"and to think everyone looks up to you, who just makes a habit of letting people down. to guide an entire community"

"don't make me laugh, but soon enough the world will, and you'll be the one being laughed at for a change"

"as for Quinn, don't worry. I left her mind undamaged, thought it's wonderful what a slight change in perspective can do to a person"

"yours truly."

"T"

the letter had some eerie similarities in its hadwriting compared to Jason's, especially when it came to the letter T, there was a weird little flourish on it that Jason used to do then there was the fact that he'd apparently made a habit of disappointing people

though the remark was stinging, it cut deep enough for batman to know whoever wrote this had some experience with him, another thing that pointed towards Jason being responsible

Batman shook himself of the thought, Jason wouldn't have done that. his best friend had gotten caught up in the massacre

"though" Bruce said to himself, as the others had said, Tim was one of the closest people to Jason out of them all, and their first encounter had ended up being one that resulted in Tim almost dying, if one way was possible. would the opposite also be.. "stop thinking like that" he grumbled to himself

the mention of laughter made his skin crawl, reminding him of that monster and all that he'd done, Jason had often used Joker killing him as an emotional knife to dig deep into the gut of whoever he was arguing with, Cassandra and Barbara were the only ones not affected by it at all, Bruce had been the worst response, probbly because Jason didn't dare make such a comment against Alfred, sadly enought he'd never had the relationship with Jason that his adoptive father had, and after all that had happened, he very likely never would

the line that drove his reasoning over the edge was the change in perspective one, that was one of Jason's arguments for killing people, he believed that despite the fact that in the family's eyes he would be no better than the people he put down, he was of the firm belief that every life he took saved 10 others. batman grimaced, the thought that one of his own children. Jason liked using guns so much was still a hotly debated point, at least before the night Jason had tried to kill penguin

however there was 0 evidence that Jason was at the scene, every wound could directly be linked to Harley Quinn or her mallet, the change in perspective could also mean that a meta had gotten their hands on harley and used her like that, it would make sense considering the fact that they couldn't detect magic on her, if she was made to believe something by a meta messing with her brain, it would be impossible to trace

there was the tiniest tip of a fingerprint available for scanning, but it wasn't conclusive, Jason had been cautious enough to keep his fingers out of the batcave's database, the mangled skin from when he'd climbed out of his coffin no doubt changing the way his prints look from when he was still a boy. the sparse times that Jason had been in the cave in which Bruce could've gotten his prints was mostly occupied with trying to stitch Jason back together, the pattern of scars across Jason's skin still made him feel uneasy

'nobody could go through all that and come out alright' Bruce snidely said to himself, even with the massive armoured form of the batsuit around him, he still got scars every now and then. touching his shoulder he remembered the night he'd gotten his latest one, an almost perfectly straight line on both sides of his shoulder, a reminder of that night. still the effect of such a life on a young boy could not be understated, he'd long suspected Jason to be suffering from some sort of ptsd, how could he not with the situation surrounding his death? that might explain things somewhat, maybe Harley provoked a reflex in him and caused him to do that?

'Jason is stronger than that' he berated himself

yet...

Jason had reasons to hate people at the scene, he'd probably be in a really bad place mentally. and add in the fact that Jason's metahuman powers seemed to have activated around the time as well? it all seemed to coincidental for batman

he really didnt'want to think about it, but Jason might very well be the person they were looking for

the real mastermind behind the massacre

the reaction Jason had given was reasonable enough, but every single one of his children could pull that off well enough. especially with a tv blurring parts of microexpressions that would give away a lie

his mind made up, he made a call

"Kate"

"yeah Bruce?"

"change of plans, we're taking him in for questioning. on my signal you are free to engage the red hood"

"....alright"

"oh, and don't tell this to Cassandra"

"right"

with that he cut off the message. moving upstairs, in a few days time he'd be seeing Jason again for the first time since the incident, and it would be to take him in he wondered often how it would have gone if he'd just talked Jason down, if they'd worked things out peacefully

alas, what's done is done, and dwelling on the past would do him no good. especially with the myriad of mistakes and personal demons that lay there

he only hoped that there was a good explanation for all of this

because otherwise, he had a feeling that alfred was going to be burying another Wayne

-------------------------------------------------meanwhile, Sherwood Ohio-----------------------------------------------------------

 

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH"

-THUMP- -THUMP- -CRASH!!-

Jason roared as the right hook he'd used on one of the punching bags sent it careening into one of the weapons racks, he could see an antique japanese katana snapping in half, but he didn't care. he needed to destroy something, to hurt something. he needed a distraction to the shitty luck he just seemed to posses

"FUCKING BRUCE" -THUMP- he roared as he sent a roundhouse kick into another bag, almost ripping its mounting point out of the wall

"WHO DOES HE FUCKING THINK HE IS!" -RIP- he howled out as he grabbed a dagger and disembowled another bag, its content spilling out the side and dirtying his floor, the destruction of his training room was doing him wonders, until he remembered the other part of the message

he'd inherited the gene from fucking Willis, the same piece of scum that had threatened him throughout his rather short time living with Jason and his mother, the same piece of shit that got his mother hooked on the very drugs that made him almost die at birth, the same fucking drugs that killed her. and- the same person that he'd shot penguin over, turns out Willis did mean something to Jason after all. 'stop thinking like that, you don't owe that scum anything' his mind screamed at him. and suddenly Jason remembered the reason he'd actually shot Cobblepot that night, if Willis had lived. shitty as it would've been, at least there would've been food on the table, then maybe his mom would've lived, but no. he didn't even have the common decency to do that, he had to go and get himself captured and killed, leaving Jason with a sick mother, a starving dog and bills to pay. he'd had to grow up at age 7 and that hadn't been pleasant.

he could probably trace it all back to Batman somehow, but even in his fury that wouldn't be fair. it wasn't like bruce had forged Sheila's name into that booklet, or lied to his face about being his actual mom, turns out that the best mom he'd ever had, was the addict he'd cared for all those years ago. it was almost a decade and he was ashamed to admit he couldn't even remember how she sounded, except in his nightmares. because fuck him he guessed

suddenly, a slow boiling hatred crept over his senses, and he felt an- no not angry. fucking furious. "that piece of shit" he growled out, Jason was sure that his eyes were pools burninga toxic green, the same colour as those damn pits. and he swung with all his might

the punch connected with the bag, and jason could feel the tendons ripping, the bone creaking and the ligaments straining, but his arm kept going. his arm ended up going straight through the bag, though not without damage. as Jason pulled out he could feel that some of his bones had definetely been broken, though with this stupid new power that would be over soon as well

"meta" he spat the word out as if poisoned, that's what he was. because of HIM

"fucking typical" he muttered as he felt tears welling up in his eyes "the only thing my old man ever gave me, and even that comes back to bite me in the ass"

the tears came full force, but Jason didn't sob. he just them flow silently, thinking about how it had all gone so terribly amiss, "I'm such an idiot" his shoulders sagged, head dropping

"people like me don't get happy endings"

he must have really dropped his guard, because he jumped when a small hand was placed on his shoulder

"what happened" a very familiar voice said, tone soft

Jason snapped his head to the voice so fast it might have broken on other people

he found himself staring into two pools of blue light 'Mcnamara' his mind suddenly spoke to him, finally taking a good look at her

"long story he said" a dry chuckle escaping his lips, devoid of any humour. he could see Mcnamara take a glance at the door which he'd stupidly left open, and the hole in the punching bag, she made her way over to one of the ruined punching bags, taking a seat upon it

she patted the spot next to her, a sad smile on her face

"I've got time"

Chapter Text

Jason sighed, he didn't have a clue where to begin. the night he died perhaps? or maybe when he came back to gotham. that would be a good point to begin, but it wouldn't be the full truth. so he was at an impasse, to tell the truth or not?

"where would you like me to begin?" he asked Mcnamara as he moved to sit beside her

"the start" she said "if that's ok?"

he nodded, guess he knew where to begin now, not that it made things any easier

"my father" he began. "was not a good man, at all. he was a drug dealer" Heathers eyes widened minutely at that, but she motioned for him to continue

"well, my father ended up meeting a woman called Catherine, this Gotham U student with a whole life ahead of her ended up buying some drugs from him. and eventually the two of them ended up falling in love somewhat" he snorted without humour "real modern day Romeo and Juliet isn't it?"

"that sounds... rough" she said, unsure of what to say. meeting his eyes reluctantly. he chuckled again without humour. "it really wasn't, untill.."

"untill what?"

Jason gestured to himself "untill me, at least that's what Willis used to say" the humourless smile was replaced by a grimace now "a couple of hormonal young adults with too many hormones and not enough condoms can end up creating a kid" he moved to grab a cigarette, but thought better of it.

"turns out getting a drug addict pregnant isn't too good an idea, especially if you're the person that got her hooked on said drugs in the first place. I ended up being born too soon, the hospital records said it was because of the drugs my mom kept taking, I believe the term is crack baby"

"apparently my old man's job, if you can call it such. wasn't enough to pay for an addict, a baby that the doctors said without extensive medical aid wasn't going to make it past his first year. a dog and himself. so he ended up taking risks, ended up doing several jobs for some bad men to keep the bills paid"

"that sounds like a good thing to do, doesn't it?" Jason stopped his story at Mcnamara's question, strangely enough he couldn't refute her. any other man might have just packed his bags and ran as far away from gotham as possible, but Willis stayed despite it all. not that it did them any good

"yeah, probably the only good thing he did" Jason admitted "after a while, the stress must've gotten to him. because he sought comfort in bottles of liquor rather than my mother, I still remember him threaten to grab his gun and clean up the mess he'd made, atleast. that's what he called it, though when he was sober he was-" Jason begrudgingly had to admit that on the scarce occasions that Willis abstained from the bottle his father was.... decent, if that. the time Willis had brought him to haley's circus was still a treasured memory. even if he refused to say that

"what happened after that? Mcnamara cut in again, no doubt sensing him getting lost in his own thoughts. again.

"turns out he took the fall for a job gone south, Cobblepot had him murdered in jail" he all but growled out the name of that fat sadistic piece of shit, though he could tell from Mcnamara's expression that she didn't have a clue who he meant

"Oswald Cobblepot" he said "commonly known as the penguin" he saw her pale a bit. in any other situation he'd be offended, she knew who the fucking penguin was but not the red hood?

"well after that, it was just me, mom, and the dog. after a couple of months they cut off the power in our little flat, in the middle of winter. dog died not long after, and then it was just me, this 7 year old boy forced to care for his own mother whilst she was often to weak to even get out of bed" that memory was one of the hardest, he remembered waking up one morning, and just finding the dog they'd had since before he'd even opened his eyes for the first time lying dead on the floor. it hadn't had a name, as Willis had just named it dog. but that old thing had been his best friend

"are you sure you want to continue?" Mcnamara said, leaning slightly into him, he looked down at her before nodding slightly "yeah" he said, voice thick "already started, might as well finish it" she nodded, though she still looked doubtful

"after that, I ended up doing whatever I could to keep mom happy, stealing stuff, running drugs, whilst she ended up using her body for money. it wasn't pretty, but that's life in crime alley" he shrugged at Mcnamara's horrified expression

"it wasn't enough" he continued "we made it a couple of years, but one winter she just.... faded, after all these years that's still one of the scariest things I can recall, just watching her get older by the day untill" he stopped himself there, intent on catching his breath. a small squeeze on his biceps dragged him out of his thoughts, and he looked at Mcnamara again

"you don't have to tell me anymore if you want to. if it's too much just say so and I'll leave you to alone" he chuckled again, this time a bit of mirth in his voice, Mcnamara must have picked up on it because she perked up a bit "don't worry, the hardest stuff is out of the way. the worst however. that's yet to come" she paled slightly at the jovial tone he adopted

"I ended up on the street for a year or two. sleeping in alleys, I made money by running drugs, jacking tires and mugging stupid rich people. one night, I was thirteen at the time I believe. I ended up coming across this beautiful black car just parked right in the middle of an alley, I was counting my lucky stars that night, though I got a bit nervous as I came closer"

"turns out it was the batmobile, and then I knew I knew I'd struck gold, one of those tires would have brought me enough to last a whole year. alas it was not to be"

"you tried to jack the batmobile's tires?!" Mcnamara exclaimed, seeming slightly amused

he made an offended noise "tried? I got cocky, if I hadn't snuck back to get the fourth wheel I'd have gotten away with it. was halfway done with the last wheel when I noticed this shadow looming overhead. turns out batman had been staring at me since I'd begun on the last wheel. almost scared me to death there and then" he snorted at the scowl Mcnamara shot him then 'long live the death jokes' he thought, before snickering at his own joke

"not funny" Mcnamara said, arms crossed

"to me it is" he replied, before continuing on

"so he just swoops down and the first thing he says is what do you think you're doing" he did a suprisingly good mockery of Bruce's voice at the last part

"what happened next?" Mcnamara asked, seeming genuinely interested now

"hit him with a tire iron" Jason said, earning a small snort from Mcnamara

"he ended up forcing me to put the wheels back on, though he did help me. after that he brought me along and got me a burger, I swear I'll never forget the look on that woman's face when she noticed the batmobile parked in the drive-thru" he admitted chuckling at the memory, that poor woman's jaw was on the floor

"after that, I came to know a few things. first of all, Bruce Wayne is batman" he rolled his eyes at her raised eyebrows "yup. Brucie is gotham's resident furry" he said the nickname Bruce was known for among Gotham's upper class with as much disgust as possible

"he ended up adopting me, and I ended up becoming robin. the second robin"

"who was the first?"

"Dick grayson" Jason said, watching Mcnamara's eyes widen to a comical degree

"is everyone in your family a superhero?" she blurted out

"vigilante" he corrected "the only superhero in our family is Alfred"

"Alfred?" Mcnamara asked

"Bruce's butler, and the man that essentially raised him after Bruce's parents died. he was more of a grandfather to us than our actual families, he'd scoff at the notion though. way too humble"

"so things were looking up then?" Mcnamara asked

Jason nodded "in general they were, though it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. the first time i met Dick grayson ended with him holding me in a headlock. turns out Alfred had given Dick's old room to me, and that ended with a huge fight between Dick and Bruce. apparently robin had been Dick's mother's nickname for him, and to him it was an insult that Bruce had given it away without his permission. he did eventually try to reach out to me, but we never got all that close" he hated to admit it, but sometimes he wished he'd had a better relation with Dick all those years ago. but with who they were now, it was better that their relationship was distant "Batgirl didn't like me at all, though I cant blame her all that much, everyone with a pair of eyes could've seen that she and Dick were head over heels for eachother" he chuckled at bit at the lovestruck looks the two of them sent eachother when they thought nobody else was looking, to the infinite amusement of Bruce, Alfred and himself

"I never called Bruce dad, didn't have the best track records with father figures after all. but deep down I thought he knew. we ended up being an almost unstoppable force, batman and robin. stronger than ever" he flexed, drawing a slight giggle from Mcnamara, which made his cheeks heat up a bit "as the years passed. all seemed to be going well, though my best friend was a gargoyle and in batman's words I was becoming reckless, I had the time of my life" he recalled the first time he'd quote unquote, flown across the gotham sky. a melancholic smile on his face

"robin gave me magic" he said

"and so it continued for some time, was 15 at the time when the first big fight between me and Bruce happened" Felipe garzonas. the name like a poison bubbled at the tip of his tongue but he wouldn't say it, the bastard didn't deserve to have his name uttered in the first place

"some sick fuck got away with raping someone" he said, deliberately being more vague "I tracked him down, don't know what I was gonna do once I got my hands on him, but I like to think he got off easy" he took another small break, this time to calm the rage bubbling within him.

"ended up finding him drinking on a terrace high up on one of Gotham's skyscrapers. leaning over the railing and laughing like he owned the fucking world. I jumped down and prepared to- well I don't know what I was planning, but I never got to"

"I ended up scaring him so bad that he ended up falling over the edge" Jason said "I didn't push him, but I sure as hell didn't help him after the fact" he breathed out "don't know if that's worse or not"

"batman found me a few minutes later, and a gigantic fight began. he accused me of pushing him over the edge and I kept on refuting him, things came to a head and he said something that took all the wind out of my sails" he glowered as he spoke the words "I'm not your father Jason, I don't need teenage rebellion" he snarled out

"keep in mind at that time I'd been living with him for over a year, had been introduced at no less than 6 balls as his wars. never mind the fact that he legally fucking adopted me" the memory of that night still infuriated him. though at the time he'd chalked it up to Bruce being shit at emotions as he always was, the things that had happened after he'd come back had given him more than enough reason to doubt his original thoughts on Bruce, perhaps he wasn't really Bruce's son. not in Bruce's mind at least

"after that?" Mcnamara asked. Jason stood up without a word, walking into the room where he'd set Cerberus' leg. leaving Mcnamara feeling horrible, Jason had drawn the shortest straw possible it would seem, it made her feel especially bad about the night she'd broken down in her arms. he'd comforted her but still.... he'd had it hundreds of times worse

suddenly a bucket was shoved into her hands, startling her. she looked up at Jason, confused, he merely shrugged "got a feeling you'll need it before the story is over, that is if you want me to continue?" Mcnamara paled a bit, it got worse still? "I told you before, I'm here to listen to you. not my place to decide when the story ends" she ended up saying

Jason nodded, taking his seat next to her back

"I found this booklet, apparently Catherine wasn't my real mother. a woman named Sheila Haywood was. and she was apparently being blackmailed by the joker" the name itself made Mcnamara turn green, though Jason didn't pay that much attention, too busy trying to keep his mind in check
it would do nobody any good if he were to have a panic attack right now.

"Batman told me to wait, warned me against trying to go up against Joker on my own" Jason could feel his breathing pick up a bit, he wasn't sure if he could finish it. suddenly though Mcnamara's blue eyes were looking into his own "just... focus on your breathing, alright?" she said, sounding mighty unsure of herself. the reminder however helped tremendously. it took him a few minutes, but eventually he got his breathing back under control

"alright, lets continue" Jason said, voice a bit rough. this was going to bite him in the ass tonight

"well, I ended up ignoring B's advice, because damnit I had a chance to get to know my mom, and I wasn't going to let some pale faced prick get in the way" he let out a shaky breath "boy was I wrong" his glare growing darker "turns out she was working with the joker" Heather gasped a bit at the revelation

"I'd told her I would be able to get her out, took off my mask and everything. B would've had my head for that" he chuckled slightly, a bitching out by batman looked positively heavenly compared to what had happened

"she told me to follow her" he continued "straight into the joker's clutches" he cound feel his fingers digging into the skin of his thighs, rage boiling in him

"well, there's no pretty way of saying this. I died in that warehouse" he saw Mcnamara pale even more at that, and wondered if she was going to faint again

what happened was unexpected

"how?" she asked, voice barely above a whisper

Jason sighed, shoving the bucket back into her hands, she'd dropped it when she helped him with his breathin. a slightly warm feeling bubbled in his chest as he thought of her helping him

 

"joker ended up beating me half to death with a crowbar" he said, blunt as ever, and suddenly Mcnamara turned green.

"yeah, ended up breaking like half the bones in my body" he grimaced as he felt a pang of phantom pain in his chest, his chest had gotten the worst of it. being a big target and all "though mommy dearest did end up getting a dose of her own medicine" he remembered his mothers face morphing from indifference to rage and finally fear with a sense of sick satisfaction

"didn't kill me though, turns out crime alley kids are just made out of tougher stuff" he joked slightly "but joker is nothing if not a persistent bastard" ended up trying Sheila to a pole and rigging the place to blow, I got to the door as well. but the fucker locked it" he left out the fact that he'd tried saving his mother as well, he didn't really want to waste any more of his breath on her

"the explosion didn't even do me in. it was inhaling all that smoke from the fire that finally finished the job"

"and?" Mcnamara asked, something she would soon regret

"woke up half a year later" he said, tapping one of the scars on his fingers. her face morphed to one of utter shock and-

-BLERGH-

Jason rolled his eyes slightly, 'knew it' he thought. looking over and seeing Mcnamara deposit a dinner he'd worked hard on into a brightly coloured bucket. once she was finished he retrieved the bucket from her, he'd clean it later. he suggested they move back upstairs, there was nobody else awake after all, he noticed the way she looked at him, eyes full of sorrow and had it been Bruce looking at him like that he'd told him where to stick it, Mcnamara though. something within him told him that it was genuine. the way she was shaking slightly was also not the best indicator as to how she was doing, she seemed close to a mental breakdown from the ammount of information he'd provided

once Mcnamara was seated on the couch, he went into the kitchen, retrieving another bucket. a glass of water and two bottles of beer, he ended up giving Mcnamara the bucket and telling her to atleast rinse her mouth a bit with the water, which she did. afterwards he opened the two beers, shoving one of them into Mcnamara's hands and sitting down next to her

"so, that's the story of how I died" he said taking a sip, Mcnamara was silent for a bit before meeting his eyes again "wanna hear the rest?" he asked

"tell me" she said, sounding more confident then earlier

Jason nodded "alright, but fair warning, it's not much prettier from here on" she nodded in understanding, and Jason found himself slightly impressed with the way she was taking all this

"I ended up roaming around gotham for a bit, don't quite know how long though. the damage from what'd happened to me wasn't all that healed in the first place, I was basically dead on my feet. wouldn't react to anything except the most basic stimuli. food, water, sleep, danger" he said. listing all of them off

"one day someone from the league of shadows found me. probably recognized me because next thing I knew I was in their headquarters. I'll keep that location from you for your own safety" when he added the last part he saw her shift a bit nervously

"apparently the league's head wanted to figure out how I'd well... come back from the dead" he paused a bit "yes I know this makes me a zombie, but don't think of sending me after Kurt or Ram, I'll starve. Mcnamara's suprised chuckle brought a smile to his lips

"this lasted for around 18 months, untill he tired of me. wanted to have me dealt with, guess I owe that one to Bruce after all"

"what do you mean by that?" Mcnamara asked

"the league's head. he's got a daughter, and she just so happends to be deeply in love with B" he stated, causing Mcnamara to roll her eyes. he ignored them and continued on "there's this pit that the league's head uses to keep himself alive, he's used it for hundreds of years" he dismissed Mcnamara's questioning glance "its called a lazarus pit. and it has the power to basically heal any injury, I ended up taking a dip in it"

he scowled as he remembered, the pit basically dragging his conscience back from the deepest depths of his phyche and thrusting it into overdrive, it felt horrible in all honesty, and so he continued on, leaving out various details such as the all caste, his various training regimes, the outsourcing Talia had arranged for him and his subsequent murder of said outsourcing probably best to leave out detailed information about an organisation as secretive and dangerous as the league, if the only thing she knew about the league was by being Jason's friend that would probably keep her safer then if she knew anything. Ra's would probably want to squash any chance of information getting leaked. the person that knew it included

eventually the conversation drifted over to a topic he didn't really want to bring up tonight, robin.

"I did some digging" Mcnamara admitted meaning doing a 5 minute google search "and everyone says that you and the batman don't really get along, fair question she thought, though the scowl that overtook Jason at the mention of the caped crusader probably said otherwise

"tell me, what do you know about the joker?" he grit out, startling her a bit with the coldness of the tone

"he's a madman, psychopath and all around creep. but he's locked up in arkham isn't he?" somehow Jason's scowl deepened even further

"correct, see any problem there?"

"I mean he seems to break out whenever he wants, so maybe locking him in a more secure prison?"

"nope" Jason said, sounding strained "the problem is that that fucker isn't rotting in the ground" he grit the last words out with so much hate that it scared Mcnamara a bit, something he hadn't done since yelling at them that first night. when they'd apparently pushed him a bit too far with their constant questioning

"I mean, batman is known for his no killing rule" Jason mocked "but at some point you just have to ask yourself, when does it end?" Jason gestured wildly "that bastard has done so many horrible things to the people around him, to gotham itself. and yet he values his moral code above them all"

"wouldn't the police have to arrest him if he killed someone?"

Jason snorted "in Gotham? they'd throw him a fucking parade, there isn't a family in gotham that hasn't lost someone to the joker and his antics, it's quite a depressing statistic but its true"

"so that's why you have a problem with batman? he didn't kill the joker?" Mcnamara asked

"it's not like that, I mean I thought he'd kill the joker after the bastard crippled Barbara and killed me, but nope. guess I was hoping for too much, my problem with him is, that his outdated sense of morality ends up ruining more lives than it saves" Jason said, though the tone made it sound incomplete for lack of a better word

"I get the feeling that that's not everything" Jason stiffened a bit at that

"know how long batman waited before he took on another robin?" Jason said, Mcnamara shook her head "six months" Jason admitted

"six months in the ground and he'd already picked up another sidekick, on a related note. you know why robin was so brightly coloured?" she shook her head again "to attract attention"

"that's an idiotic thing to do!" Mcnamara gasped out

"yeah it is" Jason said, looking strangely fond "when I heard about that, something inside me just snapped. I wanted to make him suffer, for everything he'd done wrong. so I ended up coming back to gotham after a few years of training and hatched myself a plan. I'd be better than batman ever was, and I'd do it without holding myself to that idiotic code of his"

"you mean killing?" Mcnamara asked, gripping the bucket tighter

"yup, first night back I ended up stuffing eight heads into a duffelbag" Jason admitted casually, causing Mcnamara to feel sick once more. she ended up puking up some bile, grimacing at the way her throat burned afterwards. she ended up gulping down half a beer to relieve the stinging

"what the fuck Jason?" she said, shocked once the words really caught up to her "why would you even consider that?"

"if it makes you feel any better, five out of them were convicted pedophiles and the other three had multiple homocides to their name. but I needed to send a message, and a strong one I wanted to take control of the part of Gotham they call crime alley, it's basically where all of the city's scum gathers. and the place I was born. my methods aside it worked, I got control of various parts of gotham via crime lords and informants, and I set about making the alley safer, anyone dealing to kids? bullet. anyone beating up prostitutes? bullet, it worked. simple as that, though eventually I ended up confronting batman. the end result wasn't pretty. Mcnamara could see Jason's hand moving to his throat, before he caught himself halfway

"I read a bit into you, said in the time before you left Gotham you killed less and less." Mcnamara asked, desperate to change the topic, hearing Jason talk so casually about killing was really unnerving her

Jason sighed "some things came up" he admitted. "it all started with Timbers, the robin after me. asking my help with some human traffickers, followed up by Stephanie asking for help when she'd gotten in over her head with killer croc, before I knew it I was being asked left right and center to accompany people on missions, and well. I might not agree with B's stupid rule, but the rest of them do. so we ended up coming to the begruding agreement that I wouldn't kill when I was partnered up with them"

"are they your family or something?" Mcnamara asked "because in that case I'm actually quite interested"

Jason chuckled "no longer interested in my kick ass tale of domination over a city" Mcnamara simply shook her head

Jason shrugged "fair enough" he leaned back into the couch "you want to know about the rest? knowing that I've got a relation to Bruce wayne you'd probably have figured out the rest soon enough." he sighed "there's Tim, also known as red robin. smart kid, has a problem with sleeping and personal space, Stephanie. the current batgirl, she grew up where I did, the crappy end of town, loves making shitty jokes and waffles. Dick is nightwing, as you'd already heard. he has a serious addiction to sugar and a temper, also has a tendency to consider himself the moral high ground. Damian, A.K.A robin is a fucking demonic creature and nobody can convince me otherwise, though he likes animals so he's not all bad. Cassandra, also known as black bat is probably the most terrifying person on the planet, and yes I'm including superman, she's super kind though and loves ballet. apparently Bruce also has a kid named Duke now, though I've never really talked to him I have to admit. Barbara is the kick ass older sister to us all. and is quite cheeky when she chooses, don't let her hear you say that though" at the end Jason was smiling ear to ear

"what about Bruce?" Mcnamara ended up blurting out, before catching herself "I mean if you don't want to talk about him that's fine" the damage has already been dealt however. Jason sighed deeply and all the joy just seemed to evaporate out of him

"there's a lot of bad blood between me and Bruce, so please excuse me if I keep that to myself for the time being. just know that one of the reasons I'm here at the moment is because I'm done with him and I don't want anything to do with him anymore. coincidentally you've just brought us back to the reason I was losing my shit down there" Mcnamara's cheeks flushed a bit at that "sorry, I was just wondering where you were, didn't mean to barge in like that"

Jason laughed her apology off "don't worry, if anything my dojo and my wallet are singing your praises right now."

"the problem is, Bruce can't let anything go, and now I have to deal with him yet again" Jason growled out, it was seriously disturbing Mcnamara how quickly Jason's emotions could just change. it was like Jason could be two different people at the same time,

"do you know what a metahuman is?" he asked, Mcnamara thougth about it for a bit, before shaking her head no

"a metahuman is someone with these extraordinary powers. I take it you've heard of poison ivy and killer croc?" Jason asked. to which Mcnamara ended up nodding her head yes

"that's basically a metahuman, its caused by this thing called a metagene. problem is that it only activates under a large ammount of stress" Jason said, and Mcnamara connected the dots, the glowing eyes, the hole in the punching bag, and the healing.

"you're saying that you're a metahuman?" Jason nodded

"yup, and Bruce found out. so now he's probably going to try dragging me to Gotham with him so he can run some tests on me and determin if I'm a threat"

"and will you?" Mcnamara asked, kinda nervous. she liked having Jason around to talk to

"fuck no" Jason spit out "though knowing the others they'll talk him out of that" he sighed again, hand pinching the bridge of his nose "unfortunately since Bruce is a stubborn bastard. he'll still want to meet somewhere, and I have no fucking intention of humouring him in said endeavour. but since I know he'll come for me otherwise, I have no choice"

"what kind of logic is that? you always have a choice" Mcnamara said, trying to cheer him up

"with him you really don't" Jason said, shoulders sagging

"so that's why you ended up beating up those poor punching bags" Mcnamara tried to lighten up the conversation a bit

"just" he paused a bit "brought some bad memories back to the top and needed to vent a bit" Jason said, obviously trying to avoid the subject, but with what he'd already told her she let it slide, it must've been hard enough already without any prying

"so when are you planning on holding this little meeting?" Mcnamara asked

"probably next week" Jason replied "I'll be damned if I'm going to miss my own party" he said, smiling again

Mcnamara chuckled, holding up the beer she'd all but forgotten about "lets make sure that it's going to be a banger then?"

Jason raised his own "I can hardly wait

Chapter Text

now Jason would usually be the first person to admit that his life hadn't gone off to a great start, nor the years after that. or the years after those, but he prided himself in only sometimes wishing to have never woken up in his coffin in the first place. yeah it was a shitty thought but he'd earned the right to be depressed after all he'd gone through goddamit

questionable mental state aside, Jason was silently praying for batman to have lost his patience and drag him out of the cafeteria by his ear. maybe even J- nope not that, never that. nevertheless he imagined that the rest of his family would have gotten quite a kick out of his current miserable state

the cause of said state? a Heather Chandler that had remembered that today was shopping day, he had half a mind to bolt and lock himself up in his base "stop thinking like that, you're the fucking red hood, you've faced demigods and laughed in their faces, a shopping spree shouldn't scare you this much" he silently cursed his mind for being right, it wasn't even that he was dreading the shopping itself, he was worried about his company more than anything, he still remembered the hilarious ammount of clothing that Mcnamara and Chandler had brought with them when they moved in, and he feared for his back and his wallet

"-ason, are you even listening?!" Jason looked up, oh yeah. he was engaged in a rather one sided conversation with Chandler

"not really, care to repeat?" Chandler narrowed her eyes, but continued on

"as I was saying previously" she stopped to send him another small glare, Jason simply rolled his eyes "please don't mind me, I'm dead tired" he chuckled as Mcnamara choked on her water and sent him a dark look together with Chandler's now intensified glare. Veronica and Duke were shooting the three of them questioning looks

"as. I. was. saying" Chandler grit out "I'm wondering what the arrangements for alcohol are. since you gave me free reign of the invitations there will be quite the crowd" Jason quirked an eyebrow at Duke who merely shrugged, he hadn't given her those privileges. had he?

"don't worry about that, I know a guy" Jason said, before hazarding a glance at the toxic goop that Veronica had on her plate "you gonna eat that?" he joked. Veronica simply slid the plate towards him "it's mashed potatoes.. I think" Veronica said, eyeing the goo as if it was going to attack her

"you thought about what you're going to be doing with Martha as I get dragged of to my excecution" Veronica shrugged "probably the princess diaries. again"

"I'll never understand your fascination with that movie" Chandler dryly remarked. Veronica rolled her eyes, nudging Chandler with her shoulder "you love it too, secretly you love happy endings" Heather flushed a bright pink "shut up!" she hissed through closed teeth, prompting the rest of the table to descend into laughter. Jason caught something then, groaning internally. Chandler's eyes were darting to and from Veroinca's chuckling form. flushed cheeks still present but now a ghost of a smile on her, Jason barely resisted the urge to slam his head into the table, instead pushing himself up and walking out of the cafeteria

he made his way over to the back of the school in record time. he was probably overreacting but he knew what that look meant, that was the same bloody look Cass shot Stephanie often enough he thought better of teasing Cass then, mainly because Cass would have wiped the floor, walls and ceiling with his ass. now this new development was interesting. he mused the ways he could circumvent the headache he'd given himself when he first volunteered to help Cass. man he missed the lot of them, but with any luck he'd be seeing them soon enough. and then be givng Stephanie an earfull as to why she hadn't taken the fucking initiative yet. Cass sure as fuck wouldn't

he was in the middle of lighting a cigarette when he heard the door opening, turning to the source of the noise Jason found himself staring at Mcnamara and Duke. relaxing slightly he leaned back against the wall, lighting the cigarette and taking a drag

"figured it out? Duke said, it was more of a statement than a question. Jason nodded

"why'd you leave?" Mcnamara asked, arms crossed. Jason rolled his eyes "I'm just preparing myself for the inevitable shitstorm

"what do you mean by that?" Duke asked

he took another drag before answering "because I've been through this before. still am in fact" he rolled his eyes before continuing "Cass and Steph both like eachother a damn big ammount, both of them had the brilliant idea to come to me for help" he chuckled at that "I mean the other options weren't looking too good, Dick often thinks too much with his namesake when it comes to the ladies, Tim wouldn't know if someone liked him till they quite literally told him to his face, and Damian. well the less said the better" He shuddered to think what kind of monster Damian would produce if he came across a woman that could stomach him for more than an hour

"so you're the resident expert aren't you?" Duke said, crossing her own arms. eyebrow quirked and a shit eating smirk on her face

he held up his hand in a stop sign "I'm gonna stop your right there, I have enough shit to deal with with two of them, I don't need another two"

"then what are we supposed to do, it's not like we have any experience with this sort of thing" Mcnamara cut in

"what's the problem? from what I saw Chandler likes Veronica. does she not feel the same?" at the question the two of them started fidgeting around, seemingly interested in various other things except his question

"am I wrong?" he asked

"it's not that-" Duke began

"-it's got to do with last year" Mcnamara finished, Jason sighed. he was really starting to get curious about what the fuck had happened last year, but instead of asking them to elaborate he took another drag of his cigarette "any way you guys could find out?"

"we could always ask her?" Mcnamara suggested

"and then what, it's not as if they'll be able to do anything with that information" Duke said, before turning to Jason "people around here aren't too open minded in general"

"well then, that's not good" Jason admitted

"how'd you do it?" Mcnamara asked him

Jason shrugged "told Cass that Steph liked her, and vice versa" the girls looked offended for a bit, prompting him to raise an eyebrow "what?"

"what if someone had heard?" Duke said, suddenly scanning for people nearby. Jason chuckled at the paranoia "I'm from Gotham, remember? people are too busy tryin to stay alive to worry about shit like that" he paused "and the people that do aren't worth hearing out"

"that's all well and good, but we're not in Gotham are we?" Duke snapped

"Calm down Duke, he's just saying something" Mcnamara said, gaze flicking between the two of them

Jason finished his cigarette "I really gotta stop these" he muttered, putting the bud out against the wall,"but if you're inclined in what I have to say" he kicked off the wall, turning to face the two girls fully "be supportive, but don't let on like I did, boy that backfired" Jason rubbed a hand over his neck, where Cass had dug her knee into it when she'd found out

"why are you so bothered by it Duke?" Jason asked. Duke's gaze instantly turned to the floor 'oh please not a fucking love triangle'

"i-it has to do wi-" Jason rolled his eyes, mildly relieved "with last year. yeah yeah, I'm getting mighty sick of hearing that excuse every other day" he grumbled, causing Duke to stiffen a bit "it's not like you've shared anything about yourself, have you?" it was Mcnamara's turn to stiffen at that, though Duke didn't appear to notice

Jason shrugged "if you want to know, I'll tell you when the four of us are going shopping, that alright?" Mcnamara's eyes widened to a comical degree, Duke's not far behind "sure" she huffed after a few seconds "still doesn't explain why you're here though" Duke tried to change the subject

"I'm not the best at keeping my mouth shut, and I don't think me shouting just fuck already would be much appreciated in the middle of the cafeteria" Mcnamara began chuckling at that.

Jason raised an eyebrow "anything funny, golilocks?" he said, a tiny smile on his lips

"just imagining their faces" Mcnamara said, sounding slightly winded "it would've made for some great comedy" Jason nodded, the smile turning fond as he watched her chuckle red faced. he caught Duke looking at the two of them out of the corner of his eye, a shit eating grin on her face and an eyebrow raised

"what?"

--------------------------------------------------------------later-----------------------------------------------------------------

after a pretty unanimous vote it was decided that the lot of them were going in Jason's monster of a truck. which incidentally meant that Jason would be driving, to the extreme pleasure of the Heathers, Veronica was probably gushing about the princess diaries right around now. as the lot of them drove to the location Chandler was reading out, they'd gone on and on about the things they needed to buy, something that made Jason want to grab his creditcard and chuck it out of the window in order to save it some abuse at the hands of the Heathers, but Alfred would find it impolite when he finally found out. and so he swallowed his pride, preparing to take quite the hit to his funds in the following hours

imagine Jason's suprise when the four of them arrived at the adress, only to find themselves on the parking lot of a bowling alley

"what's this?" Jason asked, turning to Chandler and Duke who were seated in the back"

Chandler scoffed "did you honestly think we were going shopping this late? the four of us will probably head to Sherwood later this week"

Jason raised an eyebrow "then why are we even here" the three of them shrugged, Jason rolled his eyes "fine. my credit card gets to live another day"

he didn't miss the way Chandler's eyes lit up at that, "not exactly" his shoulders slumped "we kinda didn't bring any money" she tried to play it off, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. a confident smirk on her lips, Jason seized the moment, leaning next to her, close enough to whisper something in her ear

"good idea, saving all that for when you ask Veronica out" Chandler went crimson within a second. struggling to come up with a response as the other Heathers struggled to contain their laughter

"wha-how-what the fuck-did-" Chandler seemed to be suffering the human equivelant of a computer error. something that amused Jason greatly. untill Chandler dug her nails into the collar of his shirt and with suprising strength, dragged him down to her level. a fire blazing in her eyes that reminded him all too much of Barbara

"if you tell anyone" she growled out "well, I know a secret of yours. remember?" she finished in a sickly sweet voice. and Jason was tempted to nod in agreement, so instead he just scoffed "I'm not gonna tell anyone, but you might want to work on how you hide stuff like that, I'm sure that if some of the people here grew a brain they'd figure you out in seconds. alas we are talking about Remington so your secret is safe" Chandler rolled her eyes but released him, opening her mouth as to respond before falling silent again

"am I that obvious?" Chandler said, voice sounding quite meek

"don't worry about that, I'm just rather observant, though the rest of the traffic trifecta over here caught on as well"

"hey!"

"I resent that name"

"resent it all you want, doesn't change a thing" Jason spat back, which resulted in the three girls glaring at him. Jason shrugged at that "well, since we've got nothing better to do. lets get inside?" the three of them seemed to agree with that, as Chandler and Duke turned around and headed towards the entrance, Mcnamara seemed to be looking at him nervously

he sighed "spit it out" he said, causing Mcnamara to jump slightly "I might have mentioned you not feeling too great to the others, and they decided to pull this last minute" she admitted running her hand through her hair "don't worry, I said nothing more. just that you weren't feeling too great, I think Chandler caught on though" Mcnamara shot a guilty look at him. Jason just sighed, waving her concerns off "don't worry, was planning on mentioning the situation to her later this week" she nodded, smile returning

"well then, lets get going. I've got a feelling that me and my creditcard are required elsewhere" he said, pointing to the two girls that were waiting, arms crossed, at the entrance of the bowling alley. once the two of them made made it there however he could see Duke smirking at him yet again, this time the smirk was mirrored on Chandler's face

"what?"

----------------------------------------------------meanwhile, at the house-----------------------------------------------------

Martha and Veronica were cheering as inigo montoya defeated the six fingered man, the two of them huddled on the couch, enthralled despite having seen the movie hundreds of times before cheering at the fight scenes and over all having a good time, though soon enough the movie came to an end, as the credits rolled past. Veronica hesitated a glance at Martha, who was doing the same thing

"wow, it's been a while huh?" Veronica said, Martha nodding solemnly "doesn't feel the same without Betty though" Martha admitted, causing Veronica to stiffen

"yeah" she admitted, absentmindely running her hand through Cerberus' hair, the pup had spent most of the evening on the couch and had fallen asleep during the movie.

"what happened Veronica?" Martha asked, brow raised. causing Veronica to pause her pettting and sigh, of course martha hadn't heard what had happened, how could she. it's not as if she'd told Martha via a message as she would've done a year ago

"Betty told Jason that- that we're not friends anymore. and he told me" she admitted, causing Martha to gasp

"are you sure?" Veronica nodded "what could have posessed her to say that?" Martha asked. causing Veronica to look at her like she'd gone insane

"the fact that last year happened, that I ditched the two of you to hang out with the Heathers? or that gigantic fuckfest with JD? maybe even the fact that you jumped off of a bridge?!"

Veronica was unaware of just how loudly she'd said all those things untill she saw Martha hunched in on herself. looking down at ther floor and fidgeting with her hands. Veronica scooted over, laying her hand on Martha's shoulder "hey" she began softly "none of that is your fault, if anyone is to blame. it's me"

"I-I know, but still. that was a cruel thing to say" Martha admitted "out of the three of us I was affected most, and I forgave you-" "-something I still don't agree with" Veronica cut in. a small smirk on her lips, causing Martha to sigh in exasperation "ayways, if I forgave you, why can't she?"

Veronica shrugged "not everyone is as kind as you, and the fact that I'm still friends with the Heathers isn't all that helpful"

Martha frowned "you said they changed right?" Veronica nodded "doesn't make a difference to Betty apparently, she asked Jason if they were blackmailing him to let them stay in this house" Veronica said, motioning to the giant building around them

"and, are they?" Martha asked, sounding genuinely curious "Martha!" Veronica gasped out, before breaking into a fit of laughter, soon joined by Martha

"what, it's a genuine question?" Martha exclaimed, though the giggles afterwards betrayed her mirth

"a year ago, maybe" Veronica said, sobering up slighty. Martha nodded, turning to the pup sleeping between the two of them and stroking its fur

"so, how's the host?"

"he's quite nice, actually" Veronica said "heard you were there when he fought Lance and those boys. that true?"

Martha actually paled, as if reliving a bad memory "that wasn't a fight, they didn't even get a hit in past the knife. it was really scary if I'm honest, he had this smug grin on his face the entire time, as if he knew he was going to win from the very start" she shuddered as she remembered the sound of bones breaking, followed by the screams of the people that had fought Jason

"that bad huh?"

Martha nodded, "it wasn't all bad though" she quickly added "first thing he did after winning was ask me if I was ok. kinda sweet really"

Veronica rolled her eyes "don't tell me your're gonna start crushing on him" Martha flushed crimson, causing Veronica to laugh

"of course not" Martha said, sounding about as confident as she could with her face a particular shade of red that wouldn't look out of place on a tomato

"and your crush on-" Veronica left the question open for Martha to answer

"that's over too"

Veronica wiped some imaginary sweat from her brow "at least that's good"

Martha nodded, slightly sad "anyways, where were we?"

"Jason" Veronica supplied "he's actually a pretty good guy, knows how to cook. loves this little rascal here" Veronica petted Cerberus heavily at that, somehow failing once again to draw a reaction out of the catatonic dog "he's also got some major snark, in other words. he gets along pretty well with the rest of us"

"where's he from again, Betty said it began with a G but I cant put my finger on it"

"Gotham" Veronica answered "or as he likes to call it, the looney capitol of the world"

Martha seemed awestruck "oh wow, he's from batman's city. does he talk about them often"

"you have no idea" Veronica deapanned, mentally trying to count the times she'd heard him make a joke where one of Gotham's were the butt of said joke

----------------------------------------------bowling alley----------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason cheered as he threw another strike, the 6th one of the evening, it seemed like he was on a roll. and even Jason, being the cynical bastard that he was had to admit that this was fun as could be. the night had gotten off to a rocky start when the shoe size he was confident he'd had since he came out of that pit didn't fit on his foot, instead forcing him to adopm a size larger shoes

to be honest, his other shoes had been feelign a tiny bit cramped, maybe it was time for some new ones

Jason pondered the colour combinations on a hypothetical pair of new shoes as he sat back down into his seat, they'd made the unfortunate error of deciding to play in teams. unfortunate, or the enemy team that was, Duke. he'd later found out, was the best out of the three Heathers when it came to this apparent tradition of theirs, Chandler and Mcnamara were both quite poor at the game, having been beaten by Veronica when she'd first joined them

he watched with barely contained glee as he saw Duke's ball take out 8 of the pins whilst Chandler's on the other lane landed in the gutter about halfway through

"woohoo" Duke cheered, holding her hand out. Jason rolled his eyes but returned the high five, apparently leaving someone hanging was a major crime when it came to high fiving

"alright goldilocks, time to get destroyed once again?" Jason taunted Mcnamara a bit, who grinned back

'"we'll see about that"

the two of them lined up their balls, releasing them at roughly the same time. thougg Jason's was moving noticeably faster than mCnamara's
and to the suprise of absolutely nobody, Jason scored his seventh strike of the evening. and then, to everyone's suprise. Mcnamara

Mcnamara took the opportunity to create some kind of victory dance, which she was faling at. horribly. Jason couldnt'help but stare at her making dance instructors around the world spin like tops in their graves, a small smile he was sure was on his lips

and for the third time that day, he felt eyes on him

tearing his eyes from the spectacle unfolding in frnt of him and turning to Chandler and Duke, he could see that saem weird expression on their faces once again

"oh come on, what is it?"