the minimum, heroic
bruce/jason, 734, r
Jason scatters bodies like breadcrumbs all the way through Park Row.
(In his defense, not all of them are dead.)
He sits on the rooftop for maybe fifteen minutes, legs dangling off the ledge and bouncing off the side of the building with a dull thud. Batman lands a little ways behind him, not approaching, not acknowledging. He's not allowed to deign to Jason anymore; it's Jason's job to fix it, because Bruce is the hero, the one who doesn't give up, the one waiting behind an open door. He smiles at the thought, because Bruce wouldn't know an open door if it bit him in the ass. No, Jason knows, everyone knows, if you want to get to Bruce, you've got to break a fucking window.
Or an arm. Use what's at your disposal, resourcefulness is valuable. Jason stands up.
"Took you long enough," he complains, rolling his back and hearing the satisfying pop of his vertebrae. "I guess I should cut you some slack. I know coming back from the dead can be hard on a guy."
Batman looms harder, and Jason wonders what his eyes look like behind the lenses, if there are harsher lines scratched into his brow. When he turns, all he sees is the blunt edge of Bruce's jaw against Gotham's early morning dark. "Sorry I missed the welcome back party. My invite must have gotten lost in the mail."
"Jason." It's not a reaction by anybody's standards, but Jason knows a victory when he sees one, knows that his name out of that mouth, just this side of toneless, is more familiar than it has any right to be. For that, he steps closer, and knows that Batman will not turn away."The way I handled things—"
"You," Batman says, and Jason exults in the glimmer of frustration he's causing. "It—"
"I'm kind of over the self-loathing thing," he interrupts, and throws the punch he's been waiting on all night, the one he knows won't hit.
Batman barely tilts his head, grabs Jason's fist easily. Jason maneuvers himself around to aim a kick at his chest, but it's written plain as day along the lines of his body; he's stuck between the Bat and a long fall before his foot even leave the ground. He can feel the eyes on him, searching, violating in the way that only comes from being in their line of work, from years of looking for the tiniest shred of an explanation. Jason stands straighter, juts his chin out defiantly, because so what? If he wants to call Jason his mistake, his failure, his regret, well, Jason can do that. He doesn't know the half of it.
(His mistake, though, of or belonging to him.)
"Don't start this," and it rumbles through Jason's body like it should, but the hands, they're all wrong—the grip on Jason's fist is lax and half-hearted, the body closing him in, it's not intimidating, not a threat, because it's Bruce's voice saying, "Jay, I—" and with Bruce there's no risk.
Against Bruce, he always wins.
So Jason pushes up against him, grits out, "Don't you say it, don't you fucking dare," and kisses him, all teeth, holding him steady with his free hand on the back of Bruce's neck. Bruce kisses the way he has always kissed, with too much tenderness, too much feeling, like it's easier to deal with Jason with lips and tongues than with words. Jason supposes he was always the difficult son, even before he died, but he lets Bruce draw him in, falls forward into the confines of his cape while the open air tickles the back of his neck. He wonders how many times he's done this before, smaller and brighter but still him, how many times he let Bruce wrap him up like he was trying to hide him. Like he was trying to protect him.
Bruce was never a father. Not a good one.
He's heard that falls are bad for angels, but he's got a grapple at his hip, and the thing about Robins is that they all know how to fly. He lingers for just a moment—to grasp unsuccessfully at the cowl, to catalogue the hard planes of Bruce's body, to lick up all the words that won't come out of his mouth—and steps back, the wind rushing around his ears.