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“Man, fuck Mr. Freeze.”

 

Bruce couldn’t help but give a silent agreement to Jason’s assessment of the situation even as he ducked a freezing blast and scolded, “Language, Robin.”

 

Jason scowled and stuck his tongue out at Bruce like the totally mature 13-year old he was, then ducked down to scoop up a handful of snow. Already knowing what Jason was up to and wishing desperately he could stop Jason from doing it, Bruce threw a Batarang at the dome of Freeze’s containment suit, hoping it would be enough to break the glass.

 

It wasn’t.

 

The snowball that followed the Batarang, however, was apparently packed with ice and pennies from the store’s register, because it hit the glass with enough force to smash it like the plate-glass jewelry cases around them. Bruce could hear Jason crowing in victory, but that cheer was cut off by Freeze raising his freeze ray and firing one last bolt. Bruce saw Jason duck, saw the bolt miss him by a hair, but the movement cost Jason his balance and he toppled over, clipping his head on the side of the checkout counter and collapsing into a pile of snow. Freeze scowled as Bruce handcuffed him, spitting, “Insolent child.”

 

 

 

Jason woke up in his bedroom at the Manor, buried in a nest of blankets with a fire burning in the fireplace. His head was pounding and he felt somewhat nauseous, not to mention the way his ribs ached from the solid kick one of Freeze’s henchman had gotten. Bruce was sitting in an armchair beside the bed, reading through paperwork for Wayne Enterprises, but he looked up as Jason groaned, asking, “How are you feeling, Jay-lad?”

 

Jason mumbled a few choice words in German that he had picked up from one of his old neighbors and burrowed deeper into his blankets, grumbling, “Just leave me here to die.”

 

Bruce gave a relieved sigh, because if Jason was well enough to be dramatic, he wasn’t in any serious danger. He reached out to run his fingers through Jason’s hair, one of the few touches that the prickly 13-year old would allow while sick, and Jason gave a token grumble, but pressed his head up into Bruce’s hand despite it, closing his eyes as Bruce stated, “You did good tonight, Jay. I’m proud of you.”

 

He could see color rise in Jason’s cheeks as the teen covered his face and Bruce’s chest ached at how shy Jason got over the simplest of compliments. Before he even stopped to consider it, Bruce continued, “I’m always proud of you, Jay, even if I don’t say it.”

 

Jason’s ears turned red, but Bruce could hear the smile in Jason’s voice even as he teased, “When did you become such a sap, old man?”

 

Bruce smiled and ruffled Jason’s hair, joking, “Shhh, I don’t want anyone to know.”

 

Jason pulled his hands away from his face, smiling despite himself, and Bruce felt his heart swelling as he looked at his son.