The scene Jason walked in on was alarming. He’d heard some comm chatter about an incident with Damian and Crane and was concerned when he’d never gotten the all clear. So, he’d made his way (ran) to the warehouse everyone’s locators were placed to check it out. Last he had heard the boy had apparently had a bad run in and was reacting poorly to the antidote on hand.
It was working but-
“Ukhai!” Came a wail from the top of a stacked pile of crates. The pup’s voice was filled with fear and exhaustion. Jason nodded to Batgirl as he walked by her and strode towards the group of men next to the crates.
All three wore their concern differently. Nightwing the most openly. Red Robin just looked annoyed but Jason could scent the worry underneath. Bruce just looked impassive as always but it was the “I’m-blanking-to-not-show-my-fear” impassive.
“We don’t even know what he’s saying.” Nightwing whispered furiously. “He’s snapping at anyone that comes near and he won’t come down. I don’t know what to do.”
“It’s a League word.” Jason said as he joined them. “It means, roughly, ‘lead omega that is not mated to pack alpha’.” Jason unlatched his helmet and set it on a crate. “He’s calling for his big sister.” Jason clarified at their slightly baffled faces. Shouldn’t Bruce know this? Didn’t he train with the League? Maybe pack dynamics weren’t a part of what they taught.
“But we don’t have a pack omega.” Tim groaned. Jason snorted softly. “And he’s never mentioned one before.”
“Ukhai!” The mournful cry came again and the scent of distressed pup flooded his senses.
Jason winced and dug his nails into his palm. “How long has he been like that?” He asked, strained.
“33 minutes.” Bruce said, gruffly. “If we can’t coax him down we’ll have to tranq him.”
Jason snarled sharply, “The fuck you will!”
The three looked at him, startled. Yeah. Betas don’t do that. Despite Jason’s tendency not to act like a traditional beta, instinctual defence of a pup like that was solid omega territory. He suddenly realized with Damian’s compromised state, there was no way he was getting out of the warehouse with his lie of omission intact. (Was it omission after he’d intentionally perpetuated it? Probably not.)
“Ukhai?” The voice was hopeful now and eyes peeked over the edge of the crate. At him specifically. Well, shit. The kid needed him more than he needed to protect his designation.
Jason looked Bruce in the eye for a moment before turning to look up at Damian. “I’m here, Dami. I came.” The boy scrambled down the crates and Jason met him at the bottom. He quickly found himself with an armful of distressed pup whimpering and jabbering at him in League dialect. He soothed the boy, cupping a hand at the back of his neck.
Jason heard Tim ask, “What is he playing at?” but ignored it and turned away from the others, focusing entirely on the distressed pup. Damian’s small fingers reached up and peeled off the scent blocking patches he wore. The boy buried his nose in his neck as the soft scent of omega and calming pheromones began to drift through the warehouse. Jason allowed a soft purr to rumble through his chest.
“Apparently, he’s playing at being a beta, Tim.” Dick snapped, unhappily. Many incidents they’d encountered with Jason suddenly snapped into sharp relief. Behaviors they were confused about, interactions between him and other members of the pack, especially Damian, took on a new light.
Bruce scrutinized Jason with a different eye and found he didn’t like what he saw. If Jason was a beta, he could dismiss the paleness of his skin and the dark circles under his eyes as exhaustion: overexerting himself, the nature of vigilantism. The growing thinness as a result of take out and poor diet. The heat seeking behavior because he had grown used to the warmer weather of Nanda Parbat, regardless of how well Damian had adjusted to Gotham.
Now, though… they were signs of an omega lacking the support of the pack structure. The heat seeking was a replacement for the skin to skin contact that omegas needed to maintain their mental and physical health. The pallor and thinness a manifestation of his body struggling to absorb proper nutrition. Exhaustion from fitful sleep without packmates surrounding him. And this was his fault.
He’d thought they were having a bit of a battle of wills. He had been waiting for Jason to ask to be readmitted to the pack. As a beta, he needed to present himself in supplication. Bruce couldn’t go to him or it would upset the entire pack hierarchy. It was just a formality, really.
He’d thought it was only a matter of time. Jason was always pack, had never stopped being pack. He’d expected, when it would eventually happen, that it would be a minor thing. Jason asking to spend the night at the manor or to borrow a car. Small things; pack things. It would have been enough. He would have let it be enough.
But if Jason was an omega… Fuck, that changed everything. Jason could have come to him. It would have been proper, too. But Jason was never the type to come, throat bared, in submission. Omegas like Jason had to be invited. Or won. And Jason’s instincts would have accepted no less. He would rather die before admitting he needed anyone. A few more months and he might.
Jason was oblivious to Bruce’s thoughts, as he ran a soothing hand up and down Damian’s back. After a few moments, when he stopped shaking, the boy asked, “Can we go to the den?”
“If your Alpha is alright with it.” The omega agreed.
Bruce hid a flinch. Your alpha. Jason didn’t even consider himself pack anymore.
The boy snarled something in League, Bruce caught the word he had been calling again, but Jason only replied in a patient tone. They went back and forth for a few moments, Damian steadily becoming less aggressive but… grudgingly accepting. Finally he settled but seemed more coherent than he had since the incident. He looked around, took in the others and Jason and whined softly in embarrassment.
“Go.” Bruce ordered, word out of his mouth before he’d even thought about it. Everyone’s attention snapped to him. “Take Damian to your den. We’ll talk later.”
The omega hesitated only for a moment… before sweeping the pup onto his hip and out of the warehouse. Bruce sat down heavily on one of the crates, sighing.
Stephanie walked over, eyes wide and darting between the three men and the door the fourth just left through. “So, uh… what was that?”
“Hood being a drama queen.” Tim snarked.
“Red, no.” Dick said disapprovingly. “Hood helped Robin, at the expense of his privacy, apparently.”
“And now he’s an omega.” The other man stated, waspishly.
Bruce tilted his head. “Yes.” He paused. “It puts quite a few things into perspective, doesn’t it?” He observed in gentle patience. He was unsurprised when Dick and Stephanie nodded in agreement. “This is my fault.”
“How could this possibly be your fault, B?” Tim asked, still agitated.
“Why do omegas hide their status from their family?” Bruce slowly asked his own question in response.
“Safety.” Stephanie offered. “They fear their family will hurt them for it, that they will be considered unequal or lessor for being omegas. Or they worry that they’ll be abused.”
“Control.” Dick stated. “Omegas can have their autonomy taken from them and their entire lives controlled by an alpha.”
“Abandonment.” Tim grudgingly contributed.
“I threatened to throw Hood in Arkham when he was at the height of Pit Madness, and we can probably now assume Bond Broken, already out of his own control. I told him in not so many words he wasn’t worth as much as Red Robin.” Bruce pursed his lips.
“An alpha.” Stephanie sighed.
Dick whined, “You think he was Bond Broken?”
“Do you think the League would let his bonds fade in time?”
“I just… Robin?”
“I think they must have had a strong one.” Bruce observed softly. “They stayed very far from each other they first few months Robin was with us. Almost like-”
“Feedback.” Tim stated. “Christ if they were both experiencing bond break feedback… It’s no wonder Robin was at his throat then.”
“For what it’s worth, I’m glad they’ve obviously gotten passed that.” Steph said softly.
Dick nodded, looking pained, before asking, “What are we going to do?”
“I’m going to fix this.” Bruce rumbled, determined. “We’re going to win Jason back to the pack.”
Jason thought the manor never looked more imposing... Yeah, okay, he was being dramatic. He was allowed the indulgence occasionally. Damian pushed him gently. “I’m sorry I messed up your bullshit secret but you are not a coward, Todd.”
The man grunted, “I don’t know why I can’t just drop you off with Alfred and go home.”
“You’re better than that.” The boy stated flatly. “You don’t owe anyone an explanation but you do have to face them.”
The man just sighed and followed Damian up the steps. Alfred, of course, answered the door. “Master Jason.” The ageless butler smiled. “It is wonderful to see you again.”
“Hi, Alfie.” The omega shuffled his feet. “Just bringing the kid home.”
“Yes. I heard it was an eventful night.” The older man commented as he herded them into the kitchen. Alfred kept a light stream of conversation as he set about giving Damian a thorough examination, including a blood draw.
The chatter eased Jason’s nerves as the familiar tones of his childhood washed over him. He watched with a smirk as Damian unenthusiastically submitted to the fussing. He, like all of them, had learned that Alfred was not-to-be-deterred when it came to the health of his pups.
“Alright, Master Jason, your turn.”
“What?” The man said, startled. “No, Alfie, I’m fine.” He protested. Obviously, he didn’t learn as well as he thought.
“Sit, young man.” The old beta ordered, motioned to the stool the pup had just vacated.
“I didn’t get into any trouble last night.” Jason cajoled. He got an eyebrow for his trouble and quit while he was ahead. He sat. Damian smirked instead.
“You are much too thin.” Alfred gently chastised. “Have you been eating?”
“Yes.” Jason answered honestly. “I just must be burning it off too quick.”
“Working yourself too hard does no one any favors, Master Jason.” A dozen snarky replies were on the tip of his tongue but the truth was buried deeper. He didn’t have anything else. A light squeeze on his shoulder told him there was nothing he needed to say.
“I will be sending over a vitamin blend for you. I expect you to take them.” Jason nodded, less of an assurance and more of an acknowledgement. Alfred would accept nothing less than complete obedience when it came to such matters.
After the mildly humiliating exam, Alfred invited Jason to help him prepare lunch. The omega’s eyes darted around warily, as if waiting for Bruce or Dick to pop out from behind a door. The butler soothed his worries.
“We are the only ones in the manor at present, young master.”
That brought him up short. “Really?” Jason was here at the manor, he had lied for more than two years about his presentation, and Bruce wasn’t going to come down like a hammer of god to bust his ass about it?
“Yes.” He busied himself gathering ingredients for lunch. “It was perhaps thought that an inquisition would be more likely to do more harm than good.”
“Who do I have to thank for that particular miracle?” Jason sighed. It was a welcome relief for the moment, but honestly it was just delaying the inevitable. It would have been better to get it over with. Damian pressed into him in gentle support.
“Master Bruce is the one who thought it best to give you space.”
“With a little prodding from you, Alfie?” Jason grinned wryly.
“I am happy to say that any prodding I may do was unnecessary in this matter.” He looked over the rim of his glasses at the omega. “We all care very deeply for you, Master Jason.” Jason had no response to that. He just collected the potatoes and started rinsing them.
Damian tried to scoff at the ‘servant’s work’ but he didn’t exactly want to leave Jason’s side. He was still not settled from the incident the night before. So he perched himself next to Jason and watched.
The omega patiently explained what he was doing as he washed and peeled and chopped all the vegetables that were going into lunch. He even directed the pup in slicing a few himself, the careful eye he kept more for the vegetables than for Damian. The kid had been handling blades before he could walk.
The kitchen felt warm with the three moving around, light conversation and soft instruction filling the space. As the dish was cooking (it didn’t escape Jason’s notice that it was one of his favorites) he started the water boiling for tea. Alfred fetched his stash of special occasion loose leaf.
Jason coaxed Damian into telling them about his art projects at school and how his animals were doing. Alfred inquired after Roy and Starfire but there wasn’t much to tell. After Kory left for Tamaran, Roy just withdrew to focus on Lian. Jason asked after Alfred’s roses and orchids and was brought up to date on the breeds the man had managed to grow.
In the end, instead of carting everything out to the dining room and having Alfred serve, they ate in the kitchen. It was only the three of them, after all, so Jason was able to entice Alfred to make an exception. He believed the fact that it was the first time he’d been back to the manor proper, not that cave itself, was the deciding factor but he was going to enjoy his “family” lunch damnit.
As Jason collected the plates, he asked, “How long are the others going to be gone?”
“Until I tell them to come home. At least another couple of hours, I’d say.”
Jason slowly smiled. A few hours at home without worrying about the others interrupting or anything happening. A few hours with Damian and Alfred. It had appeal. A lot of it.
It would be a shame to waste it… could he talk Alfred into baking a batch of cookies?
Jason set a tupperware container of Alfred’s cookies on his counter and draped his jacket over the back of a chair. He’d spent the better part of the afternoon at the manor in the company of the pup and butler. Honestly, he felt better for it. He’d missed them.
He sighed at the wave of melancholy he felt, knowing he was going to be spending the rest of the evening on his own. The greater part of the rest of the week, if he were being honest. Outside of patrol he rarely interacted with anyone unless he was getting groceries. Though, he was running over to New York to visit Roy and Lian next weekend. A bright spot in an otherwise colorless monotony.
He busied himself straightening the apartment… mainly from breakfast this morning. After finishing he wondered, listlessly, around the handful of rooms checking for little things he could do. Unfortunately, he kept a fairly clean house so he was left with nothing to really fill that hangover space left after having a good day with other people.
He flopped on the couch, annoyed with himself. He didn’t need other people. He’d made a point of it to not need other people. He’d always thought that bit about omegas needed regular skin to skin contact and interaction with packmates was bullshit and here he was proving it. He was just fine on his own.
He reached for his ancient laptop and caught a glint of blue from the corner of his eye. Turning his head, he could see something next to his window on the fire escape. Upon further examination, it was a medium sized box of heavy cardstock colored a rather stunning shade of indigo. It was tied lightly in that brown jute that hipsters had taken to using for everything these days.
It didn’t… well it certainly didn’t look like any kind of trap or bomb but that didn’t mean that it shouldn’t be handled cautiously. Once his checks were done and he determined (as much as possible) that it was safe, Jason cut the twine.
Breathing soft sigh of relief he moved the box to his countertop and carefully lifted the lid. The soft scent of basil and eucalyptus drifted up. Six perfect-in-their-imperfection cakes of his favorite, high end soap… the kind he’d fallen in love with before his death but had never been able to justify buying since... sat on a bed of that saw-dusty packing stuff shops used why they were trying to be fancy.
He brought one to his nose, sniffing gently. He could tell the formula was a little different. The scent was muted, better blended to appeal to heightened omegan senses. He was willing to bet there were added moisturisers, too.
This was thoughtful. Welcome… and frankly a little creepy, because who the fuck would have remembered the soap he liked? Alfred’s fingerprints were all over this. At least, he hoped it was Alfred. If anyone else was getting that familiar with him, then he might have a problem. The gift somewhat soothed a part of him still a little shaken (okay, a lot shaken) from the encounter in the warehouse the night before. He felt like he’d lost a piece of armor with the revelation of his designation. Almost bare.
He stood there appreciating the calming scent of the soap for a few more minutes before putting them away in the bathroom. One replaced the harsh cheap stuff he’d been using in the shower itself. A wave of drowsiness washed over him. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to take a nap.
After a surprisingly uneventful patrol and a morning shower with his new soap, Jason slept deeply and woke, for once, refreshed. He stretched, rearranged some of the blankets in his den, and rose for the day. He almost reapplied his scent blocking patches, he always wore them just in case any of the bats came tumbling in his window, before putting them away.
Halfway through making breakfast, his phone rang. He didn’t bother to look at the number before he answered. So, he was moderately surprised when an unfamiliar voice greeted his casual, “Talk to me.”
“Is this Mister Todd?” The voice, young, female, hesitantly asked.
“Um, yeah, sorry. Who is this?”
“This is Lisa down at Orchard Market. We have a delivery for you arranged by a Mr. Pennyworth? We were just checking when a good time to run it by would be.”
A memory of Alfred and vitamins flashed through his mind. “I’ll be home pretty much all day so any time would be fine.” He answered.
“Great, we’ll send someone over soon, then. Thank you for your time and thank you for choosing Orchard!” She said brightly before hanging up the phone.
He stared at the phone for a moment, a small bemused smile on his face, before finishing up his breakfast. When the doorbell rang 45 minutes later, he was ready for a kid with a small bag of vitamins.
That is not what he got.
What he got was, in fact, two kids with several bags of groceries between them. Jason blinked at them.
“What the hell?”
“Delivery for Mr. Todd.” One of them said. “Lisa called?”
“I mean, yeah, but this was not… I just-” Jason wiped a hand over his face and grumbled. “Let me guess, Mr. Pennyworth sent all of this.”
“Yeah!” The other nodded then hesitantly asked, “Can we, uh, come in and put this stuff down?”
“Right, sorry.” Jason grabbed a few bags from the boys and helped them bring it all in, setting it down by the breakfast bar.
“Oh, here.” The second kid rummaged in his bag before handing Jason a small white paper bag. He felt the familiar shape of a pill bottle within it.
“Thanks. Let me find some cash for you.”
“No need!” The first said as he ushered his partner out the door. “All taken care of! Lisa will call to set up next week’s delivery. Have a good day, Mr. Todd.”
“Next week’s?” Jason asked but it was too late, they were gone. He looked down at his feet and the bags of groceries, and to the bag in his hand, and to the door.
Jason was startled by a knock on his door while he was putting away his new groceries. He paused and answered it, a little wary to discover Stephanie on his doorstep.
“Blondie.” He observed, “What can I do for you?”
“Hi!” She said brightly, beaming at him. “I’m here to get you.”
“Who’s hurt?” He demanded, moving to start grabbing gear.
“Whoa, whoa.” She put her hands up to slow him, “No one’s hurt. I’m dragging you out of the house to hang out.”
He slowed to a stop and looked at her oddly, “Hang out.”
“Yeah.” She nodded, her sunshine back, as she slinked her way around him and into his apartment.
“We’ve never hung out, Blondie.” He stated flatly as he absently shut the door. “Why now?”
“Well everyone’s been keeping us apart kinda intentionally because they were afraid we’d ‘escalate each other’s reckless tendencies’.” She used air quotes for fucks sakes. “Direct quote from Babs, beeteedubs.”
“And now that everyone knows I’m an omega I’m suddenly not reckless?” He asked incredulously.
“No, now I’ve just decided to be stubborn enough to not give a damn anymore, especially since they all seem to think we’d get along like a house on fire.” She grinned at him.
He stared at her flatly before sighing. “Look, I’m going to level with you. This bullshit is pretty much exactly why I didn’t tell anyone I was an omega.” Jason continued, face impassive. “I don’t want to be someone’s obligation or responsibility. I never have. Go home, Stephanie.”
Her expression turned serious. “That’s not what this is, Jason. I really want to get to know you. I wanna be your friend.”
“Bullshit.” He reaffirmed. “You feel responsible. You’re an alpha. I’m a packless omega semi-related to you in your territory. It’s making your instincts itch.”
“Jason, I’ve never been the most in touch with my instincts.” she rolled her eyes. “And I don’t really give a damn about pack dynamics or lack thereof. I just wanna be your friend.”
Lime sincerity sharpened her already bright orange and mint scent and leaving no doubt to her truthfulness. He was floored. So, in true Jason fashion, “I’ll run you off in two weeks.”
“I’d like to see you try.” She smirked.
She bought him the best milkshake he’d had in 3 years.
Okay, so the groceries and the soap and Stephanie dropping by were odd. After that, things just got weird.
Red Hood was patrolling Park Row when Nightwing tackled him in a hug by the cathedral. A shout of “Hood!” in Dick’s loud joyous voice was the only warning he got before he hit the concrete. Or, well, almost hit concrete. He heard a low oh shit and Dick twisted them in the air so he landed underneath.
It was a move the older man never would have pulled three days before… before knowing Jason was an omega. That bothered him. He could take the hit. He could take care of himself.
Regardless, he landed on top of Nightwing either way and the breath was knocked out of him. It took a few seconds to recover.
“Sorry, Little Wing.” Nightwing said contritely as he helped the Red Hood to his feet.
“Yeah, yeah. Did you hurt yourself with your little maneuver there, Dickhead?” Jason asked, casually, trying to hide his concern.
Dick hid a smile, “Nah, I’m alright.”
“Great, now what did you come barreling into me for?”
“A few things actually.” The acrobat pulled a small nylon bag off his shoulders, the kind they kept in the cave for hauling around extra equipment or folded up in their belts in the event they needed to carry evidence.
The man reached into the bag and fished out an earpiece. “Oracle finished some new comms yesterday so I’m dropping yours off. Better shielding and clarity. Ability to tune into multiple channels if you want to monitor different teams at the same time.” Dick forced a cough that sounded like B.
Since his helmet hid his expression, Jason allowed himself to grin in amusement.
“All conveniently able to be controlled via a new batwatch. Or, ya know, your special headgear.” Dick motioned to the helmet. “O made this one custom so it could integrate with your tech. But I have a watch for you in case there’s issues or if you don’t want to wear your helmet.”
“I’ll call her and thank her later.” Jason said sincerely.
Nightwing nodded, smiling, and handed the bag over. “This is a selection of some of our newest tech. Someone noticed you’re in need of upgrades. That should cover quite a bit of it.”
“Someone.” Hood stated flatly.
“Got a good look at your tech the other night, I believe.” Nightwing agreed, cheerfully.
Damian. Damian was sending him gifts now.
“And this,” the man dropped something over Jason’s head quicker than he could react, “is from me.” He went serious. “Thank you for checking in the other night and taking care of Robin.”
Jason examined the pendant on the plum color cord that Dick had dropped on him. He went still, staring. “‘Wing?” His voice was loaded with questions. Cheif among them being how the fuck did Dick know anything about this?
The other man’s voice was gentle. “I do pay attention, Hood.” He shook his head ruefully, “Though obviously not as much as I should have. I’m sorry.”
“For what?” Jason asked as he carefully tucked the pendant into his shirt. “Believing the front I was showing everyone? I did it on purpose, Nightwing. Maybe not at the very beginning but once I realized everyone thought… well, then it became intentional.”
“Still.” Dick shifted awkwardly.
“D-Wing, this whole self recrimination thing has got to stop. You and B both. Christ, you’re not infallible. You’re human just like the rest of us and no one expects you to be perfect. No one except yourselves.” Jason shook his head. “I trained under B, too. If anyone was uniquely suited to hide something from you two, it’s me. Stop kicking yourself for this.”
“Hood-” He started.
“No.” Jason huffed. “I don’t even understand why you’re upset with yourself. You should be angry with me.” He stepped away, putting some more space between them. “Go home, Nightwing. Get some sleep. You never get enough.” He grappled away, unsettled.
Why weren’t they yelling at him?
The next morning he found a collection of the two of the softest blankets and set of sheets he had ever felt in his life on his fire escape. He could barely stop himself from burying himself in them and going back to sleep for a year.
Instead, he did the responsible thing which was get up and make himself a healthy breakfast with the groceries Alfred had sent over. While he ate, he mulled over his conversation with Dick the night before.
He thought he had it figured out. Being outed as an omega meant that certain members of the Bats were feeling that bullshit guilt/self-annoyance over not figuring it out. (coughBruceandDickcough) They’ll get mad after they get over their embarrassment. In the meantime they’re… what? Making themselves feel better by providing for him?
Pretty much, yeah. That’s what he figured. It’s in an alpha’s instinctual make up to provide for omegas and they probably feel like they’ve messed up pretty badly. It’s soothing their instincts to attempt to provide for him now. The gifts are also likely a way to thank a non-pack omega for assisting with their pup.
He’d probably have to ride it out for another week or so before they’d finally get the yelling over with and things would return to normal. He could handle it for that long, he thought. And he wasn’t above appreciating the gifts since he sorted out the reasoning behind them… even if it was still weirding him out a little
As far as Alfred goes, Jason would bet the old beta had just been looking for an excuse and seized upon the first one that had come his way.
Jason pushed aside those thoughts as he settled onto his mat for his daily meditation. Talk about a need to find his inner peace.
Stephanie drug him out to lunch that afternoon and told him Cassandra had flown back into town the night before. He’d always liked Cass. She was an oasis of calm in the hurricane of the Wayne pack.
He wondered if he’d get to spend more time with her like Stephanie was doing. He didn’t have to wonder long as both Tim and Cassandra joined them for ice cream after lunch. Jason shot the blonde a scathing look at the lack of warning. She just grinned brightly at him.
Tim was snarky but to be honest, Jason loved it. They shot back and forth at each other until Jason noticed the tension in Tim’s shoulders was mostly gone and the smile on his face looked more sincere. Then he turned his attention to the other one.
Cassandra had been plastered pretty much to Stephanie’s side since she’d arrived. The beta woman had always had a strong bond with the blonde alpha. Yet, she had been staring non-stop at Jason and it was a persistent prickle right between his shoulder blades. It was driving him crazy.
“Cassandra, how was Hong Kong?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Dirty. Noisy. Busy. I’m glad to be home.”
“There’s no place like Gotham.” Stephanie started humming No Place Like London.
“Yes. Gotham is dirty, noisy, busy home. With all of you.”
This was getting ridiculous. There was an armor crate on the fire escape when he got home. It must have been dropped off very recently because there’s no way anyone would risk one of those getting into the wrong hands.
Though, he had to admit, he was really appreciative of their new found respect for his goddamn privacy. No one had so much as put a toe over the line of his den without invitation since they’d discovered his presentation.
To be honest, the overt change in behavior had lowered his stress levels. He didn’t realize how much having them barge in all the time was bothering him until it wasn’t happening anymore. He guessed there was a reason omegas were considered territorial even if he’d never considered himself to really be so until now. Not about space, anyway.
They were being very considerate about respecting all of his boundaries if he was being honest. For the most part, no one was initiating contact without some cue that it was welcome.
Except Damian. Damian had always been that way, though. Save for those few brutal months when he’d arrived at the manor and they had to deal with the feedback.
That had been hell.
God, Talia was such a fucking bitch.
Not only had he had to deal with the residual pain himself, he’d had to watch Damian experience it. So he’d stayed away, to keep the pup from feeling the sharp headaches the bond break feedback caused. The kid didn’t understand; had lashed out. Of course, that was exactly what it was designed to do - break down relationships. Keep cast out omegas from coaxing pups from the pack.
He wasn’t ashamed to admit that he’d cried when the kid had come to him a few months later with books and questions. Fuck, he’d practically raised Damian. It was his nest the boy crawled into at night when he had nightmares. Him that Damian had proudly shown his accomplishments off to. He’d have stayed in the Al Ghul pack until Damian was grown if Talia hadn’t… well, it didn’t matter. She had made it impossible to stay.
Jason refocused and pulled the crate into the room. After closing the blinds, he deftly turned the clasps and flipped the lid. He idly noted he’d let his security lapse when it came to gifts left on his freaking fire escape and that he should do something about it..
“What the fuck, B?” He breathed, running hands over the armor. It was the latest tech, painted a dulled dark grey so as not to stand out. Jason’s crimson bat was splashed across the front in sharp relief. There was absolutely no way that Lucius had cranked this out in the last few days. Bruce had been sitting on it for awhile.
That… Jason wasn’t sure how he felt about that.
How long had Bruce been sitting on this? When did Bruce order him armor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Why?
“What. The. Fuck. B?” He repeated. Jason sat down hard on the floor and stared.
Just looking at it, he could tell that it was functionally similar to the Batsuit. Bruce would have made allowances for their different styles but it wouldn’t need much accommodation on the baseline. He’d have to get a closer look to see any of the specific differences but he wasn’t sure he could move just yet.
Christ. Trust Bruce to be over the top.
When he went out for patrol that night, he could have sworn there was a faint hint of Bruce’s scent lingering on the armor. Like he’d packed it into the crate himself. Jason hadn’t felt so protected in years.
It was a bit of a relief for Jason to get out of Gotham over the weekend. As he caught up with Roy, he spilled all of his frustration and confusion with the new attention he was getting from the Batpack.
He’s talked about having to reveal his presentation and how everyone had been acting around him. He talked about the gifts that had been left (and were still showing up) on the fire escape. He talked about how first Stephanie but then Tim and Cassandra drug him out of the apartment to hang out. He talked about the little things he had been getting on patrol.
Small things, things he just automatically accepted before realizing it had happened. Casually being handed a new book or tea blend; Stephanie showing him a new cuff bracelet by putting it on his wrist and then never taking it back. Damian bringing him his favorite honey candy and sneaking handful of it in his pocket.
Dick just blatantly handing him things when he’s distracted.
The new top of the line laptop that showed up in the saddlebag of his bike at the end of patrol. It had come preloaded with a connection to the Batcomputer and a number of all kinds of interesting programs and apps. Tim’s metaphorical fingerprints were all over it.
“I just don’t fu-udging get it, Roy! They’ve all been replaced with pod people!” He ranted as he fed Lian another banana slice, waving emphatically with his unoccupied arm. An arm, Roy noticed, adorned with a beautiful silver cuff bracelet he’d never seen Jay wear before. He’d never see him wear jewelry at all before, if he were being honest. His back was to the redhead so he didn’t notice the restrained mirth as the older man’s shoulders shook.
“One minute they’re-” The omega turned around and noticed the state his friend was in, “Are you laughing at me?”
Roy’s rich laughed filled the air as he stopped suppressing it, “Jaybird…” He chuckled some more. “You cannot possibly be this oblivious.”
“What?” Christ, he was. He really was.
“They’re courting you, you idiot.”
“Bullshit.” The word was harsh. A burst of air straight from the chest. And too quick for it not to be something Jay hasn’t already thought of… and dismissed out of hand.
“No. No way.” The man turned back around and continued feeding Lian, the lightheartedness of a few moments before gone.
“Jay, denying it isn’t going to make it less true.”
“They don’t want me.”
“They’re doing a pretty good job of proving otherwise right now.”
He got a snort in response.
Roy rolled his eyes. “Look, I know you were hurt when they didn’t invite you back into the pack.” If he hadn’t been watching, he would never have seen the way his friend’s shoulders tensed. He pressed forward anyway. “Jaybird, they didn’t know you were an omega. You know pack protocol. You can’t hold that against them.”
“The fu-reak you don’t. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have been upset with them when they didn’t ask you back.”
“I don’t hold it against them.” Jason stated emphatically.
“Then why are you so upset right now?”
“Roy, they don’t want me.”
“The he-ck they don’t. They wouldn't be courting you if they didn’t.”
“That’s not what this is. It can’t be.” Jay shook his head.
“Well, why not?” The ginger threw his arms up, frustrated.
“I don’t know, obligation?” His voice wavered, unsure. “No one wants me.”
“Bullshit.” Roy’s was just as harsh and twice as firm. “You know better. You knock that shit off right now. Kory and I showed you better than that.”
Jay winced. “Sorry.”
Green eyes softened. “It’s okay. We all have those days. But denial doesn’t suit you, Jaybird. It never has.”
Jason caved with a plaintive whine. “What do I do, Roy?”
“Do you want to be Batpack again?” He asked reasonably.
“They’re my family.”
“That’s a yes.” Roy sent a sidelong look at Jason. “And Bruce?”
Lian’s young voice squealed, interrupting the conversation, full of toddler delight, “Bullshit!”
A flush, not purely caused by Lian’s sudden outburst, crept over the omega’s face. “Don’t look at me, you said it too.” Thank god for timely intervention.
Roy spent the weekend setting Jason’s head straight. Jason loved spending every minute with Lian and his best friend, even if he was being forced to face truths he didn’t want to face. It was just as good returning to Gotham as it was to get a break from it.
It was still home, after all.
His boots hit the roof of the warehouse and paused to gaze over the Alley. It had been a quiet night. That made him suspicious. Why was everyone off the streets and who was trying to draw his attention?
He was about to contact Oracle when he spotted movement. Shit, what were the Mauet family doing back in business? He thought he’d shut them down. Carefully, Red Hood lowered himself into the alley and let himself into the warehouse. Time to get to work.
Jim Gordon didn’t often get called to scenes these days and when he did… well it didn’t usually bode well. He was met at the warehouse by a pair of beat cops and a single ambulance crew, neither running their lights and all looking uncomfortable. All off protocol. What the hell were these kids up to?
“What’s the situation?”
“Commissioner, sorry to bother you but masks…” One kid started. Rookie, he thought. Fresh from the academy.
Jim’s gaze sharpened. “What about masks?”
“Got one in the building. Wild. Can’t get near him.” Corporal Lance stated, taking over. “You know that Bats best. Thought maybe you could talk him down.” He looked around nervously.
“You have more information for me, Corporal?” Gordon demanded.
“It… it’s the Hood, sir.”
“Shit.” Gordon cursed. Just what he needed. A crazed Red Hood on his hands. “Alright. I’ll see what I can do.” He grabbed his flashlight and headed toward the building.
“Wait!” The rookie called, running over. He pressed a gas mask into Jim’s hands.
The commissioner stared. “You’re kidding.”
“I wish. No one knows what it is.”
Jim cursed again and nodded in thanks before fitting the mask over his face, making sure it sealed well. He carefully entered the building, making sure to announce his presence. A lesson well learned over the years: never startle a hurt Bat. A purple haze hovered in the air.
“Hood. It’s Jim. Can you hear me?” He stumbled over something and looked down.
That was a whole lotta red.
Shit. Batman wasn’t gonna like it if he had to arrest the Hood for manslaughter.
He knelt and checked for a pulse and sighed in relief when he found one.
He stumbled over a few more unconscious bodies as he went. A few in danger but all alive. He did what he could for those close to the edge. He wasn’t going to cry if a few bled out before he could get the paramedics here but B tended to take a hard line on it. Harder than the city, that was for sure.
“Hood. You alright?” Jim called again. There was a low growl from the back corner of the room. He shined a light over there.
And damned near shit his pants.
Hood was crouched low, protectively over a handful of curled up pups. His helmet was broken, half shattered by what had to have been a substantial blow. It had to be a trick of the light, but Jim could almost swear the eye he could see was glowing green.
The voice modulator was making his growl unearthly. An icy trail of real fear slivered up his spine. It was only decades of experience that kept the old beta where he was. “Hood?” He tried again, “Can we have the pups?” The kids just curled up tighter and whined, all of them resting a hand somewhere on the vigilante.
A wordless threatening snarl. It clicked. Jim suddenly understood. He immediately backed up thirty feet and took out his phone. He called the Batline. As far as he was aware, he was the only one in the city that had a direct line to the Batcave and he didn’t need to advertise that fact. It rang once, a pause as the call was rerouted, then rang again.
“Commissioner.” Batman’s low voice came over the line. Wind whistling over the line told Jim that he was on a rooftop somewhere. “We’re a little busy. Is this important?”
“Do I ever call you for anything unimportant?” Jim asked, affronted.
A pause. “I apologi-”
“Save it. Why the hell would you not tell us that Hood was an omega?!”
Another pause and then a relieved, “You’ve found him.”
“Didn’t know he was missing but yes. You need to get down here! Immediately. He’s feral and we can’t get near him or the pups he’s protecting.”
“What?!” The alarm in Batman’s voice broke his controlled gravel tone.
Jim pinched the bridge of his nose and counted to three before giving the address. “As quickly as possible, B. Wear your gas mask.”
It took less than five minutes for Batman to show up, all thunder and bark as he bulldozed his way past the patrol and crew. He swept into the warehouse and froze. Whatever tech in his cowl showing a much clearer scene than Jim could get with his flashlight.
A throaty growl began to rumble through the warehouse. A chill ran down Jim’s spine. He’d never heard such a sound come from the Batman before. He backed up further, slowly. A highly trained pissed off alpha was the last thing he wanted to get in front of. No matter how long he’d known the kid.
It cut off abruptly as the commissioner watched the Dark Knight take a deep breath and struggle for control. Christ, Jim hoped he wasn’t about to see fight. He knew there was a lot of tension between Hood and Bats but it was obvious to him that this wasn’t a normal case. Something sent the Hood feral. Everyone was alive… so far anyway. Please don’t let him have made a mistake by calling in Batman.
As he watched, Batman slowly approached the omega, palms raised in supplication, carefully stepping around the unconscious bodies. His voice was pitched low, just a touch of alpha rumble.
Hood snarled at the approach, keeping himself in front of the pups and the perceived threat. Yet, as Batman got closer, he looked… confused. He responded. Hood raised his head like he was trying to scent the air. When he couldn’t catch a scent he snarled again.
Jim watched, amused despite himself and the situation, as Batman reached under his cowl and pulled his scent blocking patches off. He held a hand out to Hood again, covered in his scent. The old beta’s jaw nearly hit the floor as Hood almost immediately relaxed. Tension bled out of the omega and he purred a greeting to his pack alpha.
“Jim.” The commissioner started at the low call. “Come get the pups.”
Jim approached slowly as Batman carefully extracted the kids from the omega. One at a time, he took them outside, to the EMTs. When he came in the final time, he found Hood, bare head buried in the neck of the alpha, shoulders shaking.
“We’re leaving.” Batman picked up the Red Hood like he weighed nothing and vanished into the night. Jim sighed and rubbed his eyes. Dealing with the Batpack gave him heartburn sometimes. All that “I am the night” bullshit. Why couldn’t he just use a damned door?
“Alright.” He yelled, “Let’s get a couple more medic crews and get these assholes taken care of.”
Bruce fought viciously against his instinct to sweep Jason off to the Cave. He wouldn’t appreciate the assumption. Instead, he carefully picked their way to Jay’s den over the rooftops. The omega wasn’t quite out of it, but he was close. Bruce was thankful he was aware enough to be guided through the window rather than carried. He was Batman, not a miracle worker.
Once they were in Jason’s den; once he’d sensed he was in a safe place, he’d quickly devolved further. The omega clung to Bruce, not wanting to let him go; afraid he’d leave. It made his heart hurt and fury turn in his gut at the same time. What had Jason been hit with that stripped him of himself so thoroughly?
Protective instincts roared in his blood. He needed his omega safe and cared for. Needed to make sure he was okay. It itched at Bruce that they weren’t in the family den, but they were surrounded by Jason’s scent and that was better than nothing. Being in the family den would be worse for his omega right now. Would break the building trust.
Carefully, he was able to extract Jason from his armor and get him wrapped in soft clothing. He growled at every injury he found on the other man. Every bruise. Every scratch. Jason, lost in his haze of instincts, tried to comfort Bruce. He nosed at the alpha, offering his own neck for scenting. His calming earl grey aroma permeated the air.
It helped soothe Bruce’s urge to find those that hurt him. To harm them in response, for trepasses committed against his omega. To protect his pack. Yet it amped up his need to care for Jason. To make sure he was safe in the den. In the nest.
After getting them changed, Bruce gave further into his instincts and compelled the omega into bed. Jason needed rest. Needed to sleep off whatever drug was in his system. Bruce needed him to be in his nest.
Once there, the alpha built an impressive wall of soft blankets and sheets around him, scenting all of them as he went. He wanted Jason to feel safe. To feel protected. A full nest was the best way to do that. He kept up a steady rumble as he worked, soothing the omega and himself.
When he was satisfied, he slipped in beside Jason, wrapping him in his arms. He’d keep watch. Keep them safe. Jason fell asleep with his nose buried in Bruce’s neck, breathing in his scent.
Jason refused to wake. Everytime he felt himself drifting up, he found his head hurt and tried to retreat back to sleep. The third time this happened, he felt a hand comb through his hair.
“Jay, you need to wake up.”
“N’. M’h’d ‘urts.” He groaned into his pillow. God, when did he start using a new detergent? It smelled just like Bruce; sage after a rainfall. He wasn’t leaving his nest.
“I have something for your head.”
Jay cracked an eye. That. That was a lot of muscled alpha chest in front of his face. “Br’c?” He whimpered.
“I’m here, Jay.” Those fingers carded through his hair again and he whined. “Just take these and I’ll let you sleep for a little bit again.”
That sounded… excellent. He could do that. Jason lifted himself slightly, just enough to take the pills his alpha gave him and drink the water. Then, he let himself fall back into the nest. Bad plan. Bad fucking plan. It send a shockwave of pain through his head. He whined.
But the gentle hands were back in his hair so maybe it was worth it. He drifted off again to Bruce’s hands in his hair and his scent surrounding him.
How the hell was he ever supposed to get to sleep without them again?
When he woke again, unsure how much later it was, the pain in his head was a dull ache and Bruce was still there. His alpha was curled around him, hands splayed protectively across his back. He stirred, looking around the room.
The last thing he remembered was dropping into an alley to follow the Mauet grunt. What the hell happened?
“Jay?” Voice sleep rough and low. It stirred feelings Jason should probably squash.
“Bruce.” He acknowledged, confused but all of his instincts telling him to relax and enjoy. A pleased purr stuttered out of his throat, surprising him. Strong arms drew him closer and Jason found himself tucked into the alpha’s chest. He was surprisingly okay with this. Only Bruce had ever been able to bring out his instincts like that. Only Bruce had ever made him feel that safe.
“What happened?” He asked, voice low as he nosed his alpha’s throat.
“I was hoping you could tell me.” Bruce sighed, rubbing soothing circles on Jason’s back. “You were pretty out of it when Jim found you. I came as soon as he called.”
“I don’t know. I don’t-” He breathed, “I don’t remember anything. I-”
Hazy clouds of purple hanging in the air.
Pups huddled together.
Blood splatter across concrete.
“Fuck.” His breathing quickened. His eyes unseeing, trying to remember. “I didn’t - I didn’t hurt anyone did I?” Didn’t kill anyone he meant. He’d tried so hard to control the Pit. Struggled so much to keep it at bay. Daily meditation, a different world view. Don’t let it all be for nothing.
“The pups?” Kids were always a priority with Jason. Always would be.
“Are fine.” Bruce soothed. “I heard from Jim this morning. Everyone is fine. Do you remember?”
Jason shook his head, his eyes clearing, “Pieces… Flashes.” He focused on the feeling of Bruce’s arms around him; on the chest pressed against him. Allowing the sensations to ground him.
“Everyone’s fine.” Bruce reiterated, seeing the worry still splashed across the omega’s face. “Samples are running in the lab. We’ll figure out what they hit you with. How’s your head?”
“Better.” Came the admission, attention partially diverted.
“Well enough to shower and eat?” A nod. “Good. I’ll get us some breakfast.”
A scoff. “I’ll skip the food poisoning, thanks.”
“I can handle a couple of omelets, Jay.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it.” The omega teased lightly, pushing other thoughts out of his mind.
“Prepare to be amazed.” Bruce reluctantly withdrew from the nest, heading into the kitchen and leaving Jason to get up and showered. The omega grumbled at the loss of body heat and warmth and paused in realization.
Jason turned to stare after the alpha for a moment before turning his attention to the bed and linens compiling the nest - their nest. Their heavily scented nest. Did… did Bruce realize what he’d done? He’d offered… Jason grabbed the duvet and wrapped up in it again, drowning in the alpha’s scent a moment longer.
Bruce had built and scented a nest in his den for him.
That was a mateship offer.
By sleeping in it… Jason had accepted the courtship.
Things just got a lot more interesting.
Alfred dropped Damian off after school for their planned trip to the aquarium. The boy was surprised to see his father still present in the apartment but rolled with it pretty well.
Bruce was the one that stared. “I thought you had a study group after school on Mondays.” Damian flushed. Jay smirked. Bruce sighed as realization hit. “You could have told me that you spend time with Jay.”
“Could I?” The pup asked, honestly.
“Yes.” The alpha said, sincerely. “You don’t have to hide things. I would absolutely have allowed it.”
The two stared, surprised, before Jay broke the tension by giving the pup a light shove towards the bedroom. “Go get changed, brat.”
With a click of his tongue, he disappeared into the bedroom - where Jason kept a handful of casual outfits for him specifically for their outings. Nothing like what he wore at the manor or out with the rest of the family. Jason insisted they blend in when they were out. The last thing they wanted was paparazzi swarming them.
“How long have you been his ‘study group’?” Bruce murmured.
The omega snorted and admitted. “Probably since he told you that. He used to sneak out and surprise me until I told him he couldn’t do that anymore. Then, he started coming by after school. I just - I didn’t ask. It became a thing. I take him out.” Jay shrugged.
“We go to museums, movies, the zoo. Whatever. Sometimes we stay in and I show him bad tv, eat junk food.” Those were usually days one of them was hurt. “Alfred started dropping him off a few months ago instead of him catching the bus.”
They chatted for a few minutes about the events and places that Jason had been taking Damian to before the boy came out. Jason grinned when he saw what the kid had decided to wear. The little shit must have felt like riling up his father because he was in a pair of ripped jeans and artfully vintage superman t-shirt Jason had grabbed for him.
Both were things he had intended to be bum-around-the-apartment items but hey, he wasn’t going to judge. Especially not when Bruce’s eyebrow twitched like that. They were perfectly serviceable casual wear, anyway.
The pup looked at Jason, wide-eyed, and the omega furrowed his brow. What could he have seen that caused that reaction in the bedroom? There wasn’t anything he had to hide from the kid… the nest. Oh. He returned the wide eyed stare and shook his head slightly.
“This must be for you, Father.” Damian handed Bruce a small duffel large enough for a change of clothing. Alfred really thought of everything.
“I guess I have my marching orders.” The alpha remarked wryly, slipping into the bedroom to change and leaving the omega and pup alone.
Damian stared at Jason for a moment before asking, “Is that a-”
“Zip it!” Jay hissed.
The pup smirked. “It is!”
“It’s nothing!” Damian shot the omega a smug look. “Stop it, Dami. Just because you want something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”
“Because I want something or because you want something, ummi?”
Jason’s stomach twisted at the term. The sharp retort on his lips died as the bedroom door opened and Bruce joined them again.
“Ready?” He asked, oblivious to the undercurrent in the room. Jason stared. Where the fuck had Alfred found those jeans? Buried in the back of the closet from when B was sixteen? They hugged the curves of his ass and thighs like they were painted on.
And that shirt… Where had he found a damned Red Hood shirt and why was Bruce wearing it?!
Damian subtly nudged him. “Yeah-” He squeaked and cleared his throat. “Yeah, let’s go. You ready to go to the aquarium, Dami? Let’s go to the aquarium. See the fish. And the sharks. And the turtles.”
The pup rolled his eyes and followed him out the door, pulling his bemused father along behind him.
“What is this?” Voice rough - choked with emotion - Jason laid the pile of papers in front of Tim.
The alpha calmly looked up at him, “Your life back.”
“Why? You don’t-you never-” The omega swallowed and looked down. “Tim, you hate me.” He didn’t see Tim rear back like he’d been slapped. “I never blamed you. Not after the shit I pulled when I came back. But this… Why?”
“Christ, Jason, I don’t-I don’t hate you!” Tim stood and moved around to sit on the desk in front of the other man. “You pissed me off. Annoyed me. Drove me up the wall. But I don’t hate you!” He rubbed his hand over his face and sighed. “Especially the last year. We all took notice of the way you changed. The way you tried.”
“I didn’t think anyone noticed.” The omega muttered.
“That’s because you stayed away, Jay.” Tim stated calmly. “You didn’t join us. But we all saw.”
“Oracle and I have been working on it for a while, actually. It takes time to bring someone back from the dead.”
“I know, who’d have thought.” Tim joked. “Everything clicked a couple of weeks ago and the paperwork came through the other day.” He nodded to the folder. “There it is. You’re good to go. All alive and everything Mr. Jason Peter Todd.”
“Thank you.” The words were heartfelt. Full of meaning.
“You could have done it yourself, Jason. If you’d wanted to.” Shrewd blue eyes measured him. “Why didn’t you?”
The omega shrugged. “Didn’t seem important, I guess. Being dead had its uses.”
“And it means more coming from us.” Tim stated in realization, voice low. “It means we wanted you alive.”
“Christ, Tim.” Jason laughed shakily. “I’m leaving now.” He picked up the folder and darted out the door.
The alpha stared after him, thoughtfully.
Jason was… happy.
It was a relatively foreign emotion. He’d been content. He’d been angry. He’d been terrified and passionate and desperate and furious and elated and lonely and the whole spectrum of emotion. But rarely… rarely had he been truly and simply happy.
He had his family back and it had grown. If he wasn’t being drug out to lunch with Stephanie and Cassandra, he was having tea with Alfred or dinner with Bruce and Damian. Dick was swinging by and patrolling the alley with him. He was finding treats and gifts in his pockets when he wasn’t looking, new books and oddities on his fire escape.
Bruce was being… extravagant.
Like the armor wasn’t enough.
A new bike had been delivered the next week.
When he returned from his GED placement test the following Friday, three first editions were waiting for him. Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations and Frankenstein. He didn’t know what to do with that except carefully wrap them and set them on the shelf.
He continued to stare at them for ten minutes.
The new Waynetech phone was infinitely more useful, preloaded with all kinds of apps and media streaming services. He assumed he had Dick to thank for that one. He’d have to remember to do so. Someone needed to keep Bruce in check because he would devolve into the ridiculous soon.
Not that he hadn’t already.
Three first editions.
What the fuck, Bruce.
Tim Drake: Do we nd 2 talk abt B courting J?
Flying Grayson: Tim… we’r tryn 2 bring Jay bk 2 the pack. U know this.
Tim Drake: No like COURTING
Tim Drake: Matebite n evrythng Dick
Flying Grayson: no way
Flying Grayson: how long has it been since u slept?
Tim Drake: Im SRS!!!
Flying Grayson: Get sme sleep
True Heir: As much as I hate to agree, Drake is correct.
Tim Drake: C!! Dmnbrt cs it 2!
True Heir: Your texting is appalling.
GoddessCass: I dont understand when you write
Flying Grayson: Wat r u 2 tkn abt
Tim Drake: Sorry Cass!
Worst Robin: B is courting Jason
Worst Robin: Really courting
Worst Robin: O real mature brat
Demon: Father made Jason a nest.
Golden Boy: WHAT
Blood Son: Father made Jason a nest. In his den.
Smartest Robin: I TOLD U
Best Robin: WHEN DID THAT HAPPN???
Brat Attack: A couple of weeks ago. The incident with the gas.
GoddessCass: Its sweet.
GoddessCass: Theyre cute.
Pretender: I’m so glad I said something. You are just as clueless as B
Batman the Second: When???
GoddessCass: Steph says - ur dumb, it was obvs
Future Batman: Father and Jason have been pining for ages. It was ridiculous.
Yumm!: Does B even realize he’s courting Jason?
Little Shit: I do not believe he is fully aware.
Guys Be Nice: ??!!????!!!?
[--add1001001-- Oracle has been added to The Colony ]
Yumm!: Babs, you gotta stop hacking our group chats.
Oracle: [multimedia message]
Oracle: [multimedia message]
GoddessCass: :) They are so cute
GoddessCass: Stephanie made a noise I cannot translate. What is a squee?
Jason walked into the cave, smile spread across his face and a piece of paper clenched in his hand. Bruce looked up from the samples on the table and smiled, a pleased rumble of greeting vibrating from his chest.
Damian and Dick looked over from where they were going over katas.
“Ukhai!” Damian ran over and wrapped his arms around the omega. The boy had been much more open with his affection the last few weeks.
Dick smiled slightly. It had been good for the family, courting Jason back to the pack; bringing him back in the fold. They’d needed the calming influence of an omega. And man, that had not been an association he had ever expected to make with Jason but the more they were around him, the more true it rang. They were just as good for him as he was for them.
Blue eyes darted over to watch the older alpha. Bruce. Now that his attention had been brought to it… his siblings were right, it was obvious. The way they looked at each other. The aborted attempts to reach out.
Dick wondered how much he had missed.
“They think I should just take the exam. That I shouldn't bother with a prep course.” Dick tuned back in.
“That’s great, Jay.”
“I told you, ukhai.” Damian sniffed. “You don’t need any test.”
“Well, the university requires the tests, brat, so I do need them. But I don’t need the prep course, so that’s good. 12.9s straight across the board.” A please look settled on Jason’s face.
“Congratulations, little wing.” Dick said, walking over. “When’s the exam?”
“She said she could set me up next month.” The omega beamed.
“We’ll be sure to schedule around that.” Bruce rumbled.
“I am vibrating with energy, B. Wanna spar?” Jay asked
“Always.” The alpha answered automatically. He glanced around, “Now?”
“Yeah!” Jason turned to the other two, “You two don’t mind if we interrupt your lesson for a bit?”
Dick shook his head and clapped a hand over Damian’s mouth before he could say anything. “Not at all. Go ahead.” He smiled slyly as he watched them head over to the mats, shucking shoes and jackets as they went. As they squared up, getting ready to start, he subtly snapped a few photos with his phone and sent them to the group chat.
As he slipped it back in his pocket, he already felt vibrations of new notifications. They could wait.
It was beautiful, watching Bruce and Jason spar. Both were excellent combatants and top hand to hand specialists. It wasn’t often, or ever, he got to see them go against each other. At least, not since Jason lost his hostility. He’d seen them at each other's throats plenty of time, then. Dick was glad they made it past that time.
Jason must really be feeling his blood as he kept showing off, using difficult moves to catch Bruce off guard… and it was working. Dick wondered how much he really held back, both now and then. The alpha was getting obviously enjoying the challenge but Dick wondered when-
A low growl echoed through the cave.
“Damian, time to go upstairs.”
A pleased rumbled vibrated through Bruce’s chest as pinned his omega’s arms over his head, straddling his hips. Jason lifted his neck in submission. Yes. He was victorious. Fangs bared, he lowered his head to claim his mate.
Bruce’s mind cleared, instincts forced back, as his fangs scraped skin. He froze. He ached, every inch of him pressed against Jason. The omega strained up against him, throat bared in submission. Neck ready for a mate bite.
This had not been the plan.
Oh, but Jason felt so good underneath him. Such a strong omega. A fine mate.
Bruce pulled back. He couldn’t resist the groan as teeth left flesh. Instinct screamed at him to finish the claim.
“Jay?” He rumbled, strained.
“What are you doing, B?” Jason panted, arching up, a barely there whine escaping from his throat. “Fucking bite me!”
“What?” Confusion flooded the man’s face. “You want me to claim you?”
Amusement flared in teal eyes, “Are you kidding me? I knew you were oblivious but this takes the cake.” Jason’s voice went low and he clearly articulated every word, “You made me a nest in my den, Bruce. You practically painted it with your scent.”
Oh. Oh. He did do that. He flushed. He hadn’t even realized.
“And you…” Bruce swallowed. “You slept in it.”
“I slept in it.” Jason agreed, rubbing his cheek against arm next to him. “Very sneaky of you, by the way, considering I was a complete wreck at the time. Your reaction tells me the manipulation was at least subconscious and not intentional.”
“The others…” Concern laced Bruce tone, even as his hips involuntarily ground down, seeking more contact and dragging groans from the both of them.
“B, Dick took Dami upstairs as soon as he realized sparring was turning into a claiming fight. You’re the only completely oblivious one in this pack.” Jay smirked, strained. “The others even did the courting for you.”
“Mine?” Bruce asked, instincts winning and a growl beginning the back of his throat.
“You better fucking bite me.” The omega agreed, before teasing, “I don’t think I can lose on purpose a second time.”
The growl deepened and the alpha surged forward again, fangs sinking into vulnerable flesh. Jason let out a strangled moan, mixed pain and pleasure from the bite and the mating hormones flooding his system. The older man groaned at the feedback on his end; the beginnings of the bond.
Already hard, he thrust against the hips underneath him, causing both of them to moan. He released Jason’s arms and carefully extracted his teeth from his throat, unable to resist nibbling at his jawline.
“Bruce…” The omega groaned before pressing his lips to the alpha’s own throat. A rumble of encouragement was all he needed before Bruce found the Jason’s slightly smaller fangs buried at the base of his neck, where it met his shoulder.
The sharp sting abated quickly with the haze of euphoria the bonding pheromone brought, completing the match. Bruce felt himself get impossibly harder and groaned. Jason wasn’t much better. He could smell the sweet spice of omega arousal on the air, paired with the soothing earl gray that was uniquely Jason.
A rumble built in his chest, echoed by a low purr from his new mate. Mate. What a surprise. He didn’t get long to dwell as callused hands tangled in his hair and pulled him down for a demanding kiss.
An hour and a half later they emerged, fresh from the Cave showers and still heavy with each others’ scent. They were discussing logistics: moving Jason’s belongings to the manor and transitioning his apartment into a safehouse.
Bruce spied Damian poking his head around the corner.
“Damian. We’re heading down to dinner. Would you like to walk with us?”
The boy padded cautiously out into the hallway, delicately sniffing the air. Jason could feel the blush creep over his skin. “Damian, what do you think you’re doing?!” He’d taught the kid better manners than that!
The boy looked shyly at the pair and Bruce stared. He had never seen that look on his son’s face before. “Ukhai?” The pup asked softly.
Jason understood. Suppressing a smile, he bent and swiped his cheek over Damian’s hair, marking him with the mix of scents from his father and himself. “Not anymore, pup.”
Small but strong fingers fisted in his shirt. “Ummi?” The boy whispered, half afraid he was wrong.
Jason nodded. He was unprepared for the sudden torpedo. Thankfully, Bruce was there to steady him as Damian threw himself into the omega’s arms. “Ummi!”
He hauled the kid up to rest on his hips and let him cry, running a soothing hand through black curls. Bruce looked on, confused.
The omega rolled his eyes. “You’re freaking useless, you know that? This is why you need a pack omega.” He teased, fondly.
The alpha huffed.
Jason felt gentle fingers probe his bitemark and winced. “He’s happy.”
Damian snuffled. “Ummi.”
“Ummi.” Jason agreed, smiling softly. “What you’ve been gunning for for eight years, pup. Congratulations.”
“Please. You were obviously the superior candidate.” And he was back. The omega rolled his eyes and nodded to Bruce that they were alright to move on, adjusting his grip on the kid so they could walk again. Damian was, of course, refusing to get down.
They walked into the dining room to find the whole family present. Jason froze in the doorway. “The fuck?”
Whispers and giggles filled the room.
Alfred calmly announced. “It’s about time, sirs.”
Bruce gently squeezed Jason’s hip.