Jason is on his feet before he even registers what's actually happening. It's instinctual, a conditioned response to years living at the manor. Alarm goes off, and that means it's time to go.
This time, at least, he knows what the alarm means. The alarm means Slade and Bruce have come back. It means they're done waiting.
Jason bolts out of his office as fast as his legs will carry him.
He reaches the cave door (left open for exactly this reason) in record time, taking the stairs three at a time. Behind him, he can hear the scratch of nails on the floor as Titus shoots down the hallway, no doubt just ahead of Damian.
"Dick!" Jason hollers. "Report?"
He's pretty sure Dick's supposed to be on watch, and he's rewarded by an indignant noise that he'd recognize anywhere.
"I think they came through!"
"You think?" Jason yells back.
He hits the bottom of the stairs and spots Dick already heading for the holding cell. He spots Slade there, separated from them by bars, and there's no question about which Slade it is. He's in the suit they sent him over in, rather than the street clothes they made his counterpart wear.
His backpack looks the same as it did before, but it's the appearance of a bright red roller suitcase at his side which throws Jason off the most. When he spares a glance to Slade's face, he doesn't get the happy recognition he's expecting.
No, Slade looks absolutely terrified. He looks like he's about to be sick, and Jason knows deep down that it has nothing to do with portal sickness.
"Let me out," Slade says, "right now." His voice sounds strained. Jason can't remember the last time he heard him sound like that. He's not sure he ever did.
Dick's already popping open the cell, and the moment the door starts to open Slade wastes no time in shoving it open, brushing right past them as he heads for the computer. He seems panicked, operating a mile a minute without even a moment for a hug and a round of welcome backs.
Slade slaps his hand down to authenticate the highest alert level he can manage. It'll summon everyone in the vicinity to the cave, and put people as far as the west coast on high alert.
Jason can't tell if it's an overreaction.
"It's fine!" Dick yells, scrambling over to the computer. "Bruce should just be upstairs-"
"Slade!" Bruce yells down the stairs with Damian at his side. He sounds just as terrified as Slade does, which in turn is making Jason panicked. Everything seems fine. They're both there and intact. So the fact that both of them are acting like the world is ending is extremely alarming.
Clark's already there, flying close to the ceiling as he shoots down into the cave, and there's a mad scramble near the top of the cave as everyone pours out of their rooms, following the alert and the alarm. Barry zips through the scramble, stopping just beside Jason and looking at him expectantly.
Jason can only shrug.
"Clark!" Slade yells, holding his hands up. "Fly me, now!"
Clark does not stop to ask for explanations. He zips down, scooping Slade up, and blasts out of the cave at top speed. Clark obviously has no idea where they're going, but he's operating on pure adrenaline as Slade directs him.
Bruce slaps a cancelation for the alarm, completely ignoring the half dozen questions being thrown at him, and Jason is not prepared for him to scramble into the storage room, digging around frantically.
"Bruce," Jason says. "Jesus, what the hell is going on? What are you doing?"
"Emergency," Bruce snaps. "Talk later."
He grabs a shovel, shoving it into Barry's hands. Barry looks absolutely bewildered— he barely even looks awake for that matter—but takes it anyway.
"Second grave from the right, out back, dig it up and open it."
"What?!" Barry says.
"What?!" More or less everyone else says.
"Now!" Bruce says in his most commanding I'm-Batman voice, and it works because Barry zips away.
Bruce is already going after him.
"Are you going to explain what the hell is going on?" Jason says, jogging after him. "What the fuck?"
"We brought people back with us," Bruce says. "And if they weren't with us, then there's a good chance they're with their counterparts."
"Hold on," Jason says. "You brought people back?!"
In the distance, Jason can see chunks of dirt flying into the air as Barry speed digs the grave. Second from the right is...
"Thomas?" Jason chokes. "You brought back Thomas Wayne?! Isn't he dead?"
He was really, really hoping for a nice little family reunion. Even if it's barely been forty-eight hours since they last saw them, it's been closer to four days since they actually had a moment to relax.
"It's a different Thomas Wayne," Bruce says, which is right around the time that they get close enough to hear the banging. Not just the sounds of Barry's frantic digging, but a loud, desperate banging as something hits against the lid of a coffin.
Dick curses, and Jason glances behind him to spot everyone else currently staying at the house making their way across the lawn. Titus is bounding towards them, with Damian, Tim, Jon, Lois, Diana, and Roy following close behind. There's no sign of Alfred, and Jason suspects he's chosen to handle things in the house.
Barry cracks open the coffin as they reach the side of the hole, and a man—apparently Thomas Wayne—sits bolt upright, gasping for air.
Bruce hops down into the grave, grabbing the man by the arm and helping him to his feet. Jason's having a hard time getting a first impression beyond looks pretty alarmed. He supposes that's justified, considering he just woke up in his own grave, but it's definitely coloring his perception of things.
"It's fine," Bruce says. "We've got you."
Thomas drags a hand down his face, clearly needing a moment to catch his breath, and Diana leans over the edge as Barry climbs out.
"Perhaps getting him out of there would be ideal?" She asks, offering a hand.
Thomas looks up at her and seems to recoil, repulsed by something Jason can't understand.
"Up," Bruce says, and helps Thomas Wayne out anyway.
Jason doesn't hesitate to hop down himself, leaning down to inspect the coffin.
"Empty," Jason says. "Pretty sure you just shot our Thomas Wayne back where you came from." He doesn't wait for confirmation before he climbs right back out. He's not eager to hang around a coffin like that.
"What about the kid?" Thomas asks. He sounds almost as panicked as Bruce does. "Where is he?"
"Who the hell else did you bring back?!" Jason asks, rifling through a mental list. People not at the manor who might have wanted to come back. People-
There's absolutely no question in his mind from the moment he thinks it. It explains the sheer terror. It explains the need for Clark to fly him without even asking questions. Slade is living out his worst nightmare all over again: His son dying and him being too slow to save him.
"He should have... he should have hours," Jason says quickly. "Maybe." He doesn't believe that. The you have hours worth of air fact only takes into account the freshly buried. It doesn't take into account the rot that must have happened, poisoning the air.
"I'm sorry," Barry says. "Who?"
"I'm more curious as to how many," Diana says. "And what exactly is going on."
Bruce hasn't let go of Thomas's arm, and Thomas doesn't really look like he's relaxing either.
"Two," Bruce says, even if it sounds strained. "Thomas and Joey. He's buried in Indiana. I'm not sure..."
He trails off, the explanation clear.
"Where in Indiana?" Barry asks. "I'm going."
Jason rattles off the address and he's pretty sure Barry's gone before he even finishes.
He's not sure he's fast enough. He's not sure Clark is fast enough.
Jason buries his face in his hands and tries to breath as the seconds tick by. There's nothing they can do until they know the answer. There's things they should be doing, and yet none of them are willing to move as they wait.
Lois's phone rings, and she very nearly drops the phone in her haste to answer.
"Clark?" She says. It's silent for a moment as she listens, and then she breathes a sigh of relief.
"They got him," she says. "He's fine. Just shaken. Clark says he's going to deal with the cemetary staff and then they'll come back a bit slower than they got there in the first place."
"I'm pretty sure Clark's top speed would peel the flesh off anyone who didn't have Slade's enhancements," Roy says. "I've seen how fast he can go."
The immediate crisis is over, and Jason can't make himself wait any longer. He walks right over, throwing his arms around Bruce, and is relieved when Bruce lets go of Thomas to hug him back.
"You scared us," Jason mutters into his shoulder. "Don't go... don't go wandering the multiverse again, alright?"
Bruce hugs him tightly, and Damian, Dick, and Tim cue up just behind him for their designated hugs.
"Hold on," Bruce says as he breaks the hug, turning his attention to where Diana, Roy, Lois, and Jon stand. "Thank you all for your help, but I'm hoping for-"
"Some privacy," Diana says. "Understandable. We were staying near by to ensure that Deathstroke did not escape, but assuming he is gone and not returning, I think we are safe to return to our normal lives."
"He's gone," Jason says, glancing towards Bruce, who offers a solemn nod.
"He won't be back," Bruce says. "Their Clark was waiting for him on the other end."
"Barry and I were going to go tour the city," Roy says. "I'll give him a call and we can go tour around."
"We'll need to have a meeting before long," Diana adds, "but I think you need a little while to yourselves."
Jason glances to Damian, but Jon's beat him to it, already pulling a protesting Damian into a hug with a quick I'm happy your dads are back before he heads off with his mother.
Thomas seems to have relaxed a bit in the minutes since his rescue, but he still doesn't look terribly comfortable.
"Why don't we go up to the manor," Bruce says. "Slade can meet us there."
Jason can't fucking wait to hear all this explained.