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When Nothing was Everything

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"Master Bruce, perhaps it would be a best to allow Master Dick to stay in his own room,” Alfred said from the doorway.

Bruce stared out of the window into the dark, stormy night. “No,” he said firmly, turning around and drawing the curtains. “It is too much of a risk.”

“He is but a boy,” Alfred said softly. “Tonight is terrifying enough as it is. Don’t you think he should be allowed to stay in a familiar, comfortable place?”

Bruce shook his head. “He knows how dangerous tonight can be. He understands, and he agreed it would be best if he spent the night in the Cave.”

Alfred sighed. He nodded once. “Then I suppose we should get down there. It is nearly midnight.”

With one last glance at the window, where lightning illuminated the darkness outside, Bruce turned and followed Alfred down to the Cave. They took one of the lesser used tunnels to a room that Bruce had specifically built in preparation for Dick’s eighteenth birthday – tonight. It was made of some of the toughest materials money could buy, and Bruce only hoped that it would withstand the events of the night.

Bruce approached the glass window and pressed his hand to it. “Hey, Dick,” he said, giving the teen a small smile.

Dick sat on the other side, on a practically bare cot. His eyes lit up when he saw Bruce and Alfred. “Oh, hey, B! It’s nearly time?”

Bruce nodded.

Dick played with his fingers nervously. “Then, are you sure you want to be around when it happens? I mean… it could get bad.”

Dick had metahuman blood in him. His grandmother on his father’s side was a metahuman, though neither of his parents were. Still, the metahuman gene could have very well skipped a generation and have been passed on to Dick. One could never be too careful. Dick was already an exceptional boy, but if he did have the metahuman gene, on his eighteenth birthday, he would become be extraordinary.

However, when a metahuman’s powers first manifest, they could cause destruction on mass levels. Bruce did not know how powerful Dick could be. So he prepared for it all. He just hoped the Wayne Manor was still intact after midnight. After all, Bruce did not want Dick to be taken by the government. Bruce did not want Alfred to be taken by the government. Bruce himself did not want to be taken by the government. Gotham needed Batman. So Batman needed to stay.

Bruce sighed. “I will be upstairs, but I will come down to check on you once midnight has passed,” he said.

Dick nodded, his knee bouncing nervously as the time ticked down.

Bruce winced silently. He remembered how nervous he had been on his own eighteenth birthday. Both of his parents were metahumans, so there was no way he was not one. Alfred had luckily also been a metahuman, having managed to keep his powers hidden for many, many years.

Alfred had been lucky. Unlike a lot of metahuman powers, Alfred’s was not so dangerous. Alfred had healing powers. But like all powers, he only had half of a pair.

Bruce had always thought that fate, whether it truly existed or not, was a funny little thing. Metahuman powers came in pairs. The individuals could be powerful on their own, but when they found their match, they were unstoppable.

Soulmates, Alfred liked to call the metahuman pairs. Bruce was not so sure about that word, but he really had no better way to put it. It’s what his parents were — soulmates.

His mother had the power to make people and animals fall unconscious painlessly. His father reversed that. He could wake up any unconscious person or animal, regardless of how long they were in an unconscious state. While this could have been very beneficial to the medical world, Thomas Wayne could not utilize his abilities to the fullest extent because if these coma patients all started waking up under his care, the government would quickly lock him up and ship him away.

Few knew about the Waynes' powers and even fewer know about Bruce’s power – extreme endurance. This was beneficial to Batman especially and it had certainly gotten Bruce out of many sticky situations. However, Bruce could not fathom what his “soulmate’s” power could be. As far as Bruce could tell, his power was pretty complete on its own.

Alfred, like Bruce’s parents, had found the other half of his metahuman powers. However, she had died while Alfred was away serving in the war. Alfred had very strong healing powers, but he could not heal painlessly. The process was excruciating, but he could bring one back from the brink of death. Alfred had saved Bruce’s life many times over, and sometimes, the healing hurt more than the injuries itself. Alfred’s wife also had healing powers, though they were much weaker, and she healed painlessly. If they utilized their powers together...

“Hey, it’s okay,” Bruce said to Dick. “You’ll be alright.”

Dick laughed weakly. “Yeah, if I destroy the Manor at midnight, I’ll be alright, and maybe you’ll be alright, but…”

“You won’t destroy the Manor,” Bruce assured, more to himself than to Dick. “Destructive powers are rare.”

“But not improbable,” Dick sighed.

“But not improbable,” Bruce agreed under his breath. He glanced at his watch. It was three minutes until midnight. “Well,” Bruce said. “I will be going upstairs now.” He did not know what else to say to comfort Dick without lying. So he just gave the teen a nod, and turned and went back upstairs.

Alfred smiled at Dick. “I’ll make tea and cookies,” he said. “And after midnight, we’ll have a quick celebration.”

“Even if I don’t get any powers?” Dick asked with a small quirk of his lips.

Alfred nodded. “Even if you don’t get any powers, Master Dick. It is your eighteenth birthday, after all.”

Bruce and Alfred sat in one of the living rooms, waiting and not speaking.

Midnight came and went. And nothing happened.

~

Three Months Later

“Soooo… you have powers. And Alfred has powers.”

“Yes,” Bruce said, stirring his oolong.

The young 15-year-old sitting in front of him shoved another cookie in his mouth. “I’ve always wondered how Batman survived a complete bite from Killer Croc. Turns out you’re hard to kill and you’ve got a magic healing butler. Cool.”

“I suppose so,” Bruce said with a small smile.

“What about Dick?” Jason asked, nodding at the portrait above Bruce’s head, which was a life-sized painting of the other boy, painted for Dick’s eighteenth birthday. “Does he have any powers? Wait, let me guess… He’s super photogenic and looks good no matter how you take a picture.”

Bruce hid his amusement behind his teacup and swallowed it with his tea. “Dick has no powers.”

“No?” Jason asked. “Aw, that sucks. Well, I mean, Nightwing’s cool on his own anyway. He doesn’t need superpowers to make him awesome.”

“I’m sure he’ll be happy to know you think of him so highly,” Bruce said.

Jason’s eyes widened comically. “Noooo! You can’t tell him I said that! Please, Bruce, please. He’ll- He’ll think I’m weird!”

“I’m sure he won’t. Dick is very-”

“Oh, Bruce~ I’m back!” Dick Grayson burst into Bruce’s office.

“Speak of the devil,” Jason said under his breath, curling into his chair a little more.

“Oh, hey, Jason!” Dick said, setting his shopping bags down by the desk. He ruffled Jason’s hair, making him squeak and eat another cookie. “So, I was going to go buy Babs’s birthday present, right, and I got her this new scarf that I know she’ll love. But anyway, I passed this nail salon, and I just had to go in because they were doing this special for Robin’s Day – did you know Gotham has a Robin’s Day? I didn’t know Gotham had a Robin’s Day – aaaaand, I ended up getting my nails painted.” He held out his hands. “See?”

Bruce’s eyebrows had been slowly rising as Dick told his story (all in one breath), and he glanced down at Dick’s nails, which were done in pretty shades of green and yellow and a violent shade of red.

“What do you think?” Dick asked.

“It’s… interesting,” Bruce settled with.

Dick turned his hands towards Jason. “Do you like them, Little Wing? They’re your colors.”

Jason nearly choked on his tea. “It’s, uh, yeah. I like ‘em.”

Dick smiled widely. “You should get your nails done in my colors!” Dick said, grabbing Jason’s wrist. “C’mon! We can go now! It’s not too far away either. I’m going to steal him, okay? Thanks, B!”

Jason barely had a chance to set his teacup down before being dragged out of Bruce’s office.

“I saw the prettiest shade of blue there, and you can get that with gold accents! Or, there was this other blue that was the exact same shade as your eyes, and it would look just charming!” Dick rambled as he pulled Jason to the garage. “C’mon, get in!”

It was not the first time Dick had taken Jason out on an impromptu adventure, though they had never gone to get their nails painted.

Sure, Jason really looked up to Dick, both as a vigilante and as a person, but he was fifteen, and Dick was eighteen. Jason grew up on the streets of Gotham, and Dick grew up in the spotlight. Jason was a kid that was halfway through puberty and gagging with awkwardness, and Dick was all grace and beauty. He could not wrap his head around why Dick wanted to hang out with him, not that Jason minded at all.

After the nail salon, and after Jason got his nails painted “the exact same shade as his eyes”, they went for lunch at a local burger joint.

“What’s on your mind, Jaybird?” Dick asked, wiping away ketchup with a napkin.

Jason thought for a second, then shrugged. “Were you ever disappointed you didn’t get powers?”

Dick looked amused. “No. If I had powers, I would have to learn to control them. It would have put Robin out of commission for a while, and… yeah. And, I don’t have to be super aware of myself in public and around others. It’s pretty nice. The only thing I’m a little disappointed about is that I don’t get to find a soulmate with the same powers as me. But lots of people don’t have that, so I’m not too upset. Why’d you ask?”

Jason sighed. “I dunno. Powers seem… badass.”

“Not when you’re hunted by the government, it’s not,” Dick pointed out.

“Yeah, but… I mean, look at Bruce. Or, or, Alfred. They save people because of their powers.”

“I save people without my powers,” Dick said with a smile.

Jason’s heart skipped a beat. “But you’re- you’re Nightwing. You’ve got all those flips ‘n shit. It’s cool stuff on its own.”

“And you’re Robin,” Dick said gently. “Robin’s awesome, Jay.”

Jason grabbed some of Dick’s fries and dragged it through ketchup. “I guess,” he said wryly. “And besides, I’m not eighteen yet. There’s still a chance I could have powers, right?” He smiled hopefully at Dick.

Dick gave him a fond look and nodded. “Yeah. You still have a chance.”

But Jason died less than a year later.

~

Red Hood sat on top of the roof, having just finished a smoke. He flicked the butt away and extinguished it under his heel.

Tonight was the night.

For his own eighteenth birthday present, Jason was giving himself the revenge he had been plotting since he dug himself out of his own grave.

Unfortunately, of course, not everything goes accordingly.

“Hood!”

Jason growled and turned around, not surprised to see Nightwing standing there, frowning at him.

“What are you doing?” Nightwing asked accusingly.

“What, you going to tell me off for smoking too?” Jason snarled. “Didn’t know it was a crime to give oneself lung cancer.”

Nightwing did not laugh. Ever since Jason beat up the new Robin, Nightwing had lost the chatty, flirty side and became stone cold.

“I asked what you were doing?” Nightwing said sternly. “I didn’t ask for smartass remarks.”

Jason shrugged. “I’m not doing anything, Nightwing,” he said. “So you can just skedaddle on your way and leave a man alone.”

Nightwing made no move to leave.

Jason frowned harder under his helmet. He knew that Dick was stubborn. He had forgotten how stubborn. Jason’s plan ran on a tight schedule, and he was already cutting it a little close. He had to get rid of Nightwing now.

In one swift movement, Jason pulled out his gun and fired two shots in Nightwing’s direction, purposefully missing. Nightwing sprang into action, coming towards him. Jason was not happy about that. He started shooting to graze. Then, he shot to hit Nightwing somewhere that would not instantly kill him.

Alfred could heal him later.

Nightwing got too close to keep using the gun, so Jason shoved it back into his strap and went in with his fists. Nightwing had his escrimas out, and within a few moments, they were rolling and fighting on the rooftop, spitting profanities at each other.

In the distance, sirens wailed. Jason had to go.

He kicked Nightwing hard in the stomach, sending the slighter man propelling off of him. Jason dived over the side of the building. Nightwing followed. Still, Jason headed towards the direction of the sirens, towards Arkham Asylum, towards the place the Joker had just broken out from.

~

The confrontation had worked out in the end. Mostly.

While Jason had to be aware of three enemies instead of the initial two, it was not so bad. Nightwing got knocked out early on in the fight by a brick thrown by the Joker.

And then they stood – Joker, beaten half to death but still laughing on the floor, Jason, a gun pointed at the clowns head, and Batman, a gun lying loaded at his feet.

“You either shoot me, or I’ll shoot him,” Jason growled.

“Hood-”

Shoot me, or I’ll shoot him,” Jason repeated, cutting Batman off.

Batman stayed silent, not moving. Jason could practically see the gears turning in Bruce’s head, trying to find the best way to get them out all alive. But Jason was not going to wait.

SHOOT ME!” Jason screamed. “OR. I. WILL, SHOOT. HIM!”

His hand trembled as anger coursed through his veins like liquid fire, painting his vision red with fury. He was shaking from the anger, and it was taking all his strength to keep his hand somewhat steady.

“Shoot me,” Jason said one last time, his voice dead and flat. “Or I’ll shoot him.”

In the next second, several things happened.

One, Batman threw a batarang, aiming it straight for Jason.

Two, Jason pulled the trigger, sending a bullet straight for the Joker.

Three, the clocks in Gotham struck midnight.

Four, the world froze in its tracks.

The batarang never hit its mark. The bullet never hit its mark. The hands of the clocks did not move past midnight, and Jason was left standing there, all alone, breathing hard.

He dropped the gun he was holding, and it clattered to the ground. The entire world was silent. Too silent. Jason never knew how much he had appreciated the noise of Gotham until it was all gone.

Now the silence was suffocating, and he was breathing too loudly.

“What the fuck?” Jason panted. “What the fuck.”

With trembling hands and shaky knees, Jason walked forward and plucked the batarang out of the air. He dropped it to the ground, where it lay unmoving.

Jason kept moving forward, past Nightwing, past Batman, to the hole in the wall. He looked down into the street. The cars were unmoving. In the alleyway, a cat was suspended in the air, about to pounce on a fat rat. Pedestrians were frozen like statues, mid-step. Even the clouds above had stopped.

Time itself had stopped.

Jason panicked when he realized that had happened.

It was midnight on his eighteenth birthday, and the entire world stopped moving, save for him.

“No,” he breathed aloud, the sound barely leaving his lips, but he felt as though he had said it through a microphone. “No!”

Now was not the time for this to happen, for his powers to manifest. Jason had honestly forgotten about the powers. He did not think he would have them. He had not counted on it in his plan that night.

And now, Jason was stuck, alone in the world, truly alone, with no idea how he made time stop, and no idea how to make it go again.

Suddenly, Jason gasped. What if he could not make time start up again? What if that was his soulmate’s power? And what if his soulmate had yet to get their powers? How would they ever get the powers now?

Jason had doomed the entire world. His little petty plan for revenge had frozen the entire universe, and Jason had no way to fix it.

With a quiet sob, Jason fell to the ground on his knees. He pulled off his helmet and threw it across the room. It hit the opposite wall and rolled to a stop. Then, Jason pulled off his domino mask and tossed it aside as well.

Then, he drew his knees up to his chest, and for the first time since he had crawled out of his grave, Jason cried.

Jason was not sure how long he sat there, seeing that time had stopped. But he sat there for a very long time, just staring at the still world around him. He wondered if his death would case time to start up again, or maybe it would leave the world frozen still.

Jason stared at his hands, clenching and unclenching them, trying to will the flow of time to begin again.

Jason did not like being alone. He was picky about his company, but he liked having company. He could not live in the world all alone like this.

It was then that Jason heard a quiet crunch behind him. Whipping around, Jason’s eyes searched for the source of that sound. That wonderful, wonderful sound.

Nightwing groaned and rolled over onto his back.

Jason scrambled to his feet, unable to stop the elation that burst inside of him.

“Dick!” Jason yelled, falling to his knees next to Nightwing. He first removed Nightwing’s mask, and then he grabbed his cheeks and squeezed them, lightly patting one cheek. “Hey, hey, wake up. C’mon, please wake up, Dick.”

It took a few seconds, but Dick’s eyebrows furrowed, and then his eyes fluttered open. Dick groaned again, his eyes focusing on Jason.

“J-Jason?” Dick winced. “Is that- Is that really you? Am I dead?”

Jason laughed in relief. “No, you’re alive! Oh, my god, you’re alive!” He pulled Dick up roughly into a hug, his hands tightening in Dick’s hair.

“Oh, um, okay,” Dick said in surprise, slowly patting Jason’s back. “Wait… if I’m alive, then you’re alive! But you- you died! And why is Batman just standing there- And there’s a bullet hanging in the air- And-” Dick cut himself off abruptly.

Jason did not dare pull back.

“Jason,” Dick breathed. “Are you- Are you Red Hood?”

Jason sighed and released Dick. “That really shouldn't be your biggest issue, but yes. I am. So what?”

“And you’re alive? You- How-” Dick then shook his head, his eyes filled with tears. “God, you’re alive. Jason, I…” He grabbed Jason by the neck and pulled him into another hug. “I’m so glad you’re alive,” he said into Jason’s neck. Then, he sniffled loudly and asked, “So, um, why’s everything frozen? And I think I did something to my ear because I can’t hear anything.”

Jason breathed in sharply. “Dickie… I think I stopped time.”

“You, what?”

“I stopped time. Everything just stopped at midnight, and I don’t know how to get it to go again, and- and I was scared that I had fucked up the entire universe, but if you started moving, and…” Jason looked, really looked, at Dick. His blue eyes were wide and serious. Despite the dust and dirt streaked all over his face, he was beautiful. Jason’s mouth went dry.

Even after dying and coming back to life and having everything changed, Jason never stopped looking up to Dick. Jason never stopped liking Dick. Then again, it was hard to stop liking someone such as Dick Grayson.

“But why me?” Dick asked softly.

“I don’t know,” Jason said. “Maybe- Maybe it’s whoever I want to be unfrozen that will be unfrozen?”

“And you wanted me to be unfrozen?” Dick asked. He cocked his head to the side. “Why?”

Jason wondered if the moisture in the air was slowly disappearing because his throat felt like sandpaper. “I don’t- I don’t know. I don’t even like you! And you’re supposed to hate me! And- And- ugh! Nothing turned out the way it was supposed to!”

Jason stood up, anger thrumming in the back of his head again.

“Hey, hey,” Dick said, pushing himself into a sitting position. “Take a deep breath, okay? Calm down and talk to me.”

Jason’s fists clenched. He breathed in, and he breathed out. The anger ebbed away. He sat back down next to Dick.

“Sorry,” he whispered. “I just- everything’s-”

“Hectic, I can tell,” Dick said softly. “But it’s okay. You stopped time, so now you have all the time in the world to get things in order, okay? Just- Just talk to me, and we’ll work it out together. And maybe when you finally get your bearings, time will resume again.”

“You think?” Jason asked softly, his voice vulnerable.

Dick nodded. “Of course. You can tell me anything, Jaybird. Start wherever you want. And I’ll listen.”

“You won’t… judge me?”

“No way, Little Wing. I’m on your side until the end.”

So Jason took a deep breath, and he let it all spill. And Dick listened.

Jason did not know how long he spoke for. He talked and cried and talked some more until his throat was raw and his voice cracked every few words. Dick silently handed him a water bottle, from which Jason gladly sipped from.

Jason explained how he crawled his way out of his grave, how he was dipped in the Lazarus pit and awoke with a strange anger that could so easily overwhelm him, how he travelled the world and learned different techniques, how he learned about the new Robin and about the Joker being alive, and how since coming back to Gotham, Jason had been more and more angry.

Dick listened patiently the entire time, interrupting only to give Jason a hug or to calm him down.

When Jason finished, they sat in silence together, neither of them saying anything. After a long time, Jason took a shuddering breath and nodded. “I’m okay now,” he whispered hoarsely. “Thank you.”

“Anytime, Little Wing,” Dick murmured.

“Does- Does your head hurt?” Jason asked. “I meant to ask…”

“A bit,” Dick admitted. “But it’s nothing too bad. I can deal with it.”

They sat in silence for a few more moments.

“Why isn’t anything happening?” Jason asked, panic lacing his voice. “Time isn’t-”

“Shh…” Dick said soothingly. “Jaybird, it’s okay. Maybe you just have to not worry about it. New powers, right? Maybe it’ll take a bit for you to get it under control. How about we go somewhere else? Get some sleep, and who knows, when you wake up, everything will be back to normal.”

Jason huffed. “What if starting time isn’t my power?”

“If it isn’t your power, someone else would have started it already,” Dick said.

Jason went silent. He stared at Dick for a long time.

“What?” Dick asked.

“What if they don’t know they had that power?” Jason asked.

Dick laughed. “How does someone not know they have metahuman powers, Jay?”

“Because… if their power was to start time up, time would have to be stopped in the first place. And if time had not stopped on their eighteenth birthday, they would not know their powers?”

Dick was still confused. He brushed a lock of hair out of Jason’s face. “What are you saying, Little Wing?”

“Dick,” Jason said faintly. “Your- Your grandmother was a metahuman, right?”

“Yeah?”

“And nothing happened on your eighteenth birthday?”

“Jason, are you saying-”

“Dick…” Jason closed his eyes and barely dared to breathe. “I don’t feel good. Let’s go somewhere else.”

Dick’s mouth opened and closed a couple of times before he nodded. “Okay,” he said. He stood up, and helped Jason up as well. They made their way out of the old building, leaving the frozen Batman and Joker up there. Together, they hobbled their way down the street to one of Jason’s nearby safehouses.

“Here,” Jason said. “Third floor, apartment C.”

They managed to trudge their way to the bedroom, where Jason fell down onto the bed, grabbed and pillow and hid his face in it. He said something.

“Hm?” Dick asked, hovering uncertainly in the doorway.

Jason turned his face to the side. “Wait for me to fall asleep before you test to see if you can start time up again. And don’t be here when I wake up. Please.”

“Jaybird-”

“Please,” Jason said. “I don’t- I don’t want to know.”

Dick took a deep breath. “Okay. Fine.”

Jason nodded and hid his face once more. It took him a while, but the exhaustion won over, and he fell asleep.

~

When Jason woke up, it was daylight outside. He heard the honking of car horns, the chirping of birds, the yelling of his neighbors. That only meant that time was running again. It also meant that Dick did have metahuman powers. And that he had the powers that matched Jason’s.

Jason groaned and scrubbed his face with his hands.

He dragged himself out of bed, took a shower, ate some expired cereal, and then started to pack. He had to get the hell out of Gotham.

~

Two Years Later

Nightwing was listening in on a group of smugglers as they drank beers and laughed, celebrating their “victory”. Little did they know, Batman and Robin were on their way to intercept the drugs already, and Nightwing was about to crash the party.

“You know, it’s not nice to spy on other people.”

Nightwing spun around, his eyes widening in surprise. He could not stop the strangled gasp from escaping his lips.

“Jason!”

Jason laughed. “In the flesh,” he said, opening his arms.

Though he did not intent to open his arms for a hug, when Dick jumped on him and hugged him anyway, Jason did not pull away.

“Getting short there, Dickiebird,” Jason teased.

Dick huffed, pulling on Jason’s leather jacket. He took a deep breath, breathing in Jason’s manly scent, which made Dick sad and happy at the same time. “Where have you been?” he whispered. “You disappeared. For two years.”

“Yeah…” Jason said. “Uh, sorry about that. I’ve been doing a bit of soul searching-”

Dick smacked him.

Jason laughed. “Okay, bad choice of words. Adventuring. I travelled around with some of your old friends. Made some acquaintances. Made some enemies. It was nice.”

“And you didn’t bother telling me anything?” Dick asked, unable to keep the quiver out of his voice. “Jason, I was so worried about you.”

“Aw,” Jason said. “About me? You shouldn’t.”

“Jay, of course I was worried about you! You’re my soul-”

Jason pressed a finger to Dick’s lips, shoving that word right back into Dick’s mouth. “Shh,” Jason said softly.

“What, still don’t want to face the truth?” Dick asked defensively. “Because there’s no doubt about it. You didn’t want to face it two years ago, and I didn’t make you. But I’ve faced it, and I’ve accepted it! I want to have a relationship with you. I want to be your partner. I want to help you. I want yo-”

“I said, shh,” Jason said again, this time grabbing Dick by the shoulders and kissing him hard. Dick’s words were forgotten in a second as he pulled himself harder against Jason. Jason pulled back after a couple of seconds, making Dick frown at him and lean forward for more. “Not yet, Dickhead,” Jason said with a soft chuckle. “You can have all you want when I have you in my bed in a couple of hours.”

“Wait, in your-”

“In a couple of hours,” Jason promised. “Didn’t you have something to take care of?”

Dick turned around to look at the men who were drinking and laughing earlier. They were gone.

“Hey! Where’d they-” Dick spun around again, and there was no sign of Jason on the rooftop either. Only a little piece of paper left on the ground where Jason once stood. Dick picked it up.

Sorry, Dickie. Those were my men. Wasn’t about to let them get caught so easily. Love you and see you tonight, J.

~

Several More Years Later

“What do you mean you can’t make it?” Dick whined. “It’s Dami’s eighteenth, Jason! You’ve gotta be there!”

“And watch as the little brat shoots me in the face with whatever power he gets? No, thanks.”

“I’m going to be there,” Dick said.

“Then have fun,” Jason said dully.

“What if I get hit in the face with whatever power he gets?” Dick asked. “Shouldn’t my time-stopping boyfriend be there to save me?”

Jason narrowed his eyes at Dick. “That’s manipulation.”

“No, I’m just saying. I could be in danger.”

“You’re trying to guilt-trip me into going,” Jason accused.

Dick smiled and sucked a lip into his mouth slyly. “Is it working?” he asked.

Jason glared at him. “Yes.”

“Great! Don’t be late, Jay!” Dick said, pecking Jason on the cheek before grabbing his jacket and his coffee. “See you later, babe!”

Jason huffed and rolled his eyes. “Unbelievable,” he said.

Dick giggled, pausing at the doorway of their apartment and smacked his own ass with a wink before disappearing out the door.

Later that night, Jason found himself sitting with the rest of the family, being tugged into several conversations at once. It was crazy and hectic, but Jason did not mind it so much. He found that the noise was much more welcome than the eerie silence in the rare moments that he stopped time.

When Jason first came to the Manor, he had thought it strange that there were two metahumans living under one roof. As it turned out, Wayne Manor was a magnet to metahumans. It was an ongoing joke that every child Bruce Wayne took under his wing was destined to manifest some sort of powers someday.

On Tim’s eighteenth birthday, he had nearly burned down the library because the fire from the fireplace jumped out at him and engulfed him in the flames. Thankfully, he learned how to control it easily enough and aside from some burnt toast in the mornings, there were no more instances. However, recently, Tim did hear about a metahuman locked up in a government facility in Iraq who could create fire from their bare hands, but not control it. He may or may not be planning a rescue mission.

Stephanie had telekinesis. On her birthday, she had sent an entire tray of tea crashing into the wall, just barely missing Bruce’s head. The tray had crashed into the wall so hard it created a hole, and the teacups had been smashed to smithereens. It took her quite a while to learn to get the speed of her telekinesis under control.

Funnily enough, Cassandra also had telekinesis. Her eighteenth birthday was an absolute breeze. Unlike her soulmate, Cassandra levitated the teapot and a teacup to Bruce’s office, poured him a cup, added sugar and cream, before levitating it all back to Alfred’s tray. She had done that all the way from her room two stories up while reading a book. Thing was, Cassandra could not move things very fast at all. It had taken her half an hour to pour Bruce’s tea. But Cass and Steph worked together seamlessly with their powers, and in a fight, it was certainly a sight to witness.

Duke found out on his eighteenth birthday that he could breathe underwater. It was great, but Duke could not swim. At all. Nearly everyone in the family had tried to give Duke lessons in swimming, but unlike normal humans, Duke could do nothing but sink like a rock. He had yet to find his match, but Tim suspected that Duke’s soulmate would be someone who could not breathe underwater, but could swim like a fish.

And now, the youngest of Bruce’s first brood was about to learn what powers he would receive.

There was no doubt from anyone that Damian was a metahuman. His father was a metahuman. The entire al Ghul line was made of metahumans.

As the clock approached midnight, everyone waited upstairs while Damian sat alone in what was dubbed the “Power Bestowing Room”.

Midnight came and went, and nothing happened.

“What if he’s not a metahuman?” Steph asked.

“He has to be,” Tim interrupted. “Biologically-”

“Maybe he’s like Dick,” Cassandra said quietly. “He will not know his powers until his soulmate turns eighteen.”

Dick gasped, poking Jason, who had almost fallen asleep. “What if his soulmate is Jon.”

Jason yawned and ignored Dick.

“Jon’s half Kryptonian. He can’t get metahuman powers,” Tim pointed out.

“One can hope, Timbo,” Dick huffed. “Who knows, maybe Lois’ great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were metahumans.”

“I doubt it,” Tim snorted.

Just then, the door to the living room opened, and Damian walked in, his hands clasped behind his back.

They all stared at him expectantly.

Dick spoke first. “Well? Did you find out what powers you have, Dami?” he asked.

Damian opened his eyes, which flashed a bright green for a second before dimming to his usual emerald. “I suppose,” he said. He turned to Bruce. “Father. Two-Face is at Gotham Square right now, and he has tens hostages. He should be about to call it in right now.”

“How do you know?” Jason asked.

“I saw it,” Damian said.

“Precognitions?” Dick asked excitedly.

Damian’s lips pulled into a sneer. “Tt, of course not. There was a cricket on the floor by the fountain. I saw it through the cricket’s eyes.”

“Ew, you became a bug?” Stephanie asked, fake gagging.

Damian looked annoyed, glaring at her. “It’s astral projection, you numskull.” He turned back to Bruce. “Father, perhaps we should go take care of it.”

Dick jumped up. “Jay and I will do it!”

“Huh?” Jason asked, jerking out of his drowsy state.

“We’ll be back in a second,” Dick said. “Don’t miss us!” He nudged Jason, who sighed. Then, in his mind, he envisioned time, who happened to just be a golden thread, and he cut it.

When he opened his eyes again, everything was quiet and still.

Dick pressed a kiss to his jaw. “I love it when you do that,” he murmured.

“You also said that when I offered to wash the breakfast dishes,” Jason pointed out.

“I love it when you do anything,” Dick said with a grin. “I love you.” He grabbed Jason’s wrist and started pulling him out of the living room.

Jason could not help the smile tugging on the edge of his lips. “You know, maybe your power is actually being able to convince me to do anything you want.”

Dick laughed. “Nah, that’s just my face.”

“Unbelievable,” Jason snorted as they made their way down into the Cave.

Dick blew him a kiss. “Race you to Gotham Square?”

“You’re on, Dickhead.”