Jason rose an eyebrow and turned his arm a bit, looking over the bruise. He didn’t even realize he had it, or the other ones. That was going to be fun to have to explain if it came up. It wasn’t like it was the winter. It was summer and it warmed up a great deal.
“We’re done for th’day then? ” He tried not to look too satisfied. Falling hadn’t been much fun. “
“We’re done for the day,” Bruce agreed. He reached out and ruffled his hair, a small grin on his features. “We’ll start again in a few days. For right now … ” Bruce trailed off to look at his watch. “I’d say you have a few hours’ free time. Just stay out of trouble.”
Time for bed. All those who would like a starter, please like this post. You’ll get them tomorrow.
If I’ve already promised you a starter, rest-assured, they will come tomorrow as well. I have a list.
Jason grumbled a little under his breath as he hit the mat again. His hands kept slipping or he’d flip the wrong way and he’d the ground repeatedly. How did Dick managed to make it look so easy when he demonstrated before.
Back on his feet he moved over to chalk up his hands, glaring at the bar.
“Yeah. I’m ready to give it another go.”
Bruce frowned, looking down at his second son. His eyes had caught something he almost had missed. He took Jason’s arm and turned it, looking at a steadily darkening bruise there. Matching the ones on his highs and hips, no doubt.
“We should leave it for now,” he said, simply. Too many bruises, too many absences from school so that the boys could recoup from injuries, these things drew attention to him. Anything could happen if a teacher picked up the phone and reported the injuries to the police. The boys could be taken away because of suspected abuse, they could be discovered as being Robins … All in all, neither were things Bruce was wiling to gamble.
[for meme. uvu] Teddie scuttled up to Bruce as fast as she could, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him close. To see the Dark Knight cry, even just a little... she didn't like the thicker atmosphere it brought. But she would be there for him if he needed her, and even if he didn't.
Bruce blinked, surprised for a moment. He thought he had found a safe, private place to vent. He thought, wrong, apparently. But, he didn’t dwell on it. Relaxing slowly, he reached up to pat her head.
” … I’m okay,” he muttered. “Needed a moment.”
The slap of bare thigh falling onto the safety mat echoed through the cave again, and once again, Bruce was there to patiently pull his protege to his feet. He had spent a lot of time doing that tonight. He didn’t remember ever helping Dick with it, and he had to remind himself not to compare his boys.
Dick was raised in the circus. Even at nine, all he needed was for Bruce to lift him up onto the high-bar. By ten he was able to straight jump it.
Jason was all elbows and knees at that age.
“Make sure you chalk up your hands,” Bruce reminded him, patiently. “The more, the better. Ready to go up again?”
Fighting back a flinch at the slight touch, Jason reached up to lightly bat Bruce’s hand away, making a face at his former mentor. For a second he felt like he was fifteen again, joking with Bruce after a patrol, and then the moment was gone, a strange hollowness taking its place. He couldn’t remember the last time he had just talked with Bruce about anything.
“Never been very good at doing that,” he said with a slight shrug. There were so many things he regretted, how he’d treated Dick and Tim, all the things he’d done in anger without thinking. Blowing out a breath, Jason ran a hand through his hair, the ginger curls as messy as they’d always been. “Bruce I… I don’t blame you, not for any of it.”
Bruce moved slowly, making sure not to make any sudden moves, anything that may spook or upset Jason … and very gently pulled him close for a hug.
He was weakened, tired, but he gave the best squeeze he could. He pat the younger man’s back, pulled away before he used his luck up.
The package is left quietly by the door to the manor in the middle of the night. It's not until the next morning, when Alfred opens the door to retrieve the paper, that Bruce is made aware of its existence. The box, once opened, reveals it contents. Inside is a bottle of Bruce's favourite Scotch, a copy of Killer Camp Co-Eds 3 (with a post-it attached that says 'Since you liked the first one so much') and the prototype software of an elaborate tracking system she had been working on for him.
… It was times and moments like these that Bruce realized that yes, sometimes, he did miss Talia. He missed her, on the good days.