The smoke curled slowly away from him, drifting off into the city.
Jason sat on the edge of a roof, staring over the Gotham skyline. It was familiar, despite any changes that had come. The first few weeks back in the city had taken some getting used to, several buildings having been torn down, replaced, refurbished, under new management.
It had all changed so quickly for him.
The years he spent six feet deep were years that Gotham spent evolving.
He knew that it wouldn't ever stop, not for him, not for anyone. But still, he wished it would. He wished that he could just be Robin sometimes. Even with his downplayed fear of Bruce just finally, finally snapping and turning into Jason's own father. Even with the go-bag tucked under his bed, and the decoy one in the closet. It had been simpler then. At least Bruce didn't look at him like he does now.
Bruce barely ever looked him in the eye anymore, but he followed every single one of Jason's movements with such a calculating, careful distrust and anger. Jason didn't want to care, he wished he could just tell Bruce off, snap at him, tell him about every passing angry moment.
But Jason still wanted his dad to watch him with pride. He wanted Bruce to trust him, he wanted to be able to go into the manor and eat Alfred's cookies and listen to Dick swing around on the uneven bars. Jason wanted to just be part of the family. Hell, at this point he'd take Bruce's grumpy orders, and slightly less grumpy "Nice work, kid", and- and he didn't want to think about it. He didn't want to want that. He wished he could just move on, like Bruce had.
Except he hadn't, Jason had learned that. Tim had stepped in to help Bruce, not to replace Jason.
Fuck, Jason didn't know shit about Tim either.
The more Jason thought, the farther down he went. He wanted to be a good big brother. He wanted to be a good son, to have one of those rare but warming smiles from Bruce after a mission went well.
If Jason thought about it too much, he'd tell himself he was too old to feel like this. But he didn't analyze it, not this time. For now, he'd sit here, smoke, and have his loner moment.
Fuck, ok, maybe he won't have a loner moment. He pulled in a deep breath, steadying himself, already thankful for the dark sky and shadowy rooftop.
Roy moved closer, dropping down to sit beside Jason. He plucked the cigarette from between Jason's fingers, pulling a drag from it.
Jason looked over at him, "Dude, that-that's fuckin gross, I just had my mouth on that." His voice wavered, he hoped it sounded normal enough.
A puff of smoke came out of Roy, as he leveled a look at the other man. "Jay, my dear, we've kissed before. You've put your mouth on mine, I think it's fine."
He just sniffed, "I'll still complain about it."
"Oh," Roy laughed, "Of that, I have no doubt."
They fell into a silence, there was something else to be said, and they both knew it, but Jason couldn't seem to get himself to start it.
"Why were you up here?" Roy asked, poking Jason's arm.
He swatted Roy's finger away, "I- Just for thinking, for a while, at least." Roy stayed silent, now looking over the city, "I never wanted him to hate me, I just wanted to- I wanted revenge and he didn't give it. And now- I just- I wish they didn't look at me like that..."
Jason gave a little glare, yeah, ok, Roy didn't know what he was talking about. How convenient.
"Like I was the worst thing that could've happened to him."
Roy was silent, Jason said too much didn't he. Thanks Bruce, great teacher for kickin' ass, but couldn't handle emotions worth a damn.
Jason snatched the cigarette back, trying to act like nothing had happened. That was stupid of him, just blurting everything out like that. Roy hadn't even asked, why would he care? It's not like Jason was a confidant or anything like that.
"Well," Roy started, "It's not much, but I know you're not the worst thing to happen to me."
Jason startled a little, but smiled hollowly, bumping shoulders with Roy. "Yeah, no shit"
He knew the smile was fake, and it slid off too quickly, but Roy didn't seem to notice.
"Asshole." he paused, "But, seriously, even without the missing arm or Ollie counting, you aren't the worst thing."
Roy rolled his eyes, leaning against Jason's shoulder. "I take it back, you're the biggest dickwad I've ever met in my life."
"Yeah, yeah, ok, sure I am, Speedy."
"I'm gonna kick your ass one day, just for that."
Jason grinned, just a little up-tick of the corners of his mouth, but better than before.
"Oh, I'm counting on it babe."