"You can't make me come," Red Hood said, staring down Tim on a random rooftop in the middle of Gotham.
"No," Tim said patiently, "but I can tell you that it's happening and do everything in my power to convince you to come anyway."
"It's not going to work, I can tell you now," Hood said.
"B would be really happy if you came."
"Now I don't want to go even more than I already didn’t want to."
"Black Bat would be really happy if you came."
"So?" Hood didn't sound quite as unimpressed with this line of reasoning as he had with the Bruce argument.
"So we all know that she's your favorite sister," Tim said, pouncing on this.
"She's our only sister," Hood pointed out.
"Oh, for – you know what I mean. She's your favorite sibling."
Hood crossed his arms. "Don't project shit onto me."
"You are the absolute worst," Tim said.
"Why’re you the one who showed up to invite me, then?"
Tim mumbled something under his breath.
"Sorry, what was that?" Hood asked, glee strong enough that it filtered through his helmet's modulator.
"I said I lost a bet, okay!" Tim shouted. "I have to do everything Black Bat tells me to do for a week."
Anyone looking in on the scene would have seen Red Hood absolutely howling with laughter, while Red Robin watched him with a look on his face that said he was severely contemplating violence.
"You should come to the gala," Nightwing said, settling down next to where Jason was watching a meet through the scope of his rifle.
"Already turned down the offer from Red Robin," Jason said. "Now go away, I'm working."
"Come on, little wing," Nightwing said coaxingly. "We all know that Black Bat's your favorite. Do it for her."
Jason looked up. "Did you two practice together?" he asked. Unbelievable.
Nightwing blinked at him guilelessly.
"If I said I'd think about it, would you fuck off?" Jason asked.
"Sure," Nightwing said, rising fluidly. "Don't kill anyone." He swung off the roof.
"Don't kill anyone," Jason said mockingly under his breath. "Jackass." Red Hood was only allowed to operate in Gotham because he didn't kill people anymore. He liked using a rifle scope to watch meets in case he had to fuck stuff up quickly, and Dick damn well knew that.
Just before Jason dipped his head back down to his scope, he caught a glimpse of a figure waving at him from the opposite roof. Jason flipped him off.
They saved Alfred for last. He was the big gun and they all knew it. Bastards.
“Master Jason,” he said.
“Oh my god, fine,” Jason said. “I’ll come.”
“Excellent,” Alfred said. “I assume you will come at a respectable time?”
“I don’t have any civilian clothes, though – I mean, not any fancy ones,” Jason said, like this would somehow absolve him of his promise.
“It will not be a problem,” Alfred said.
Jason scowled. “I really think it —”
Someone knocked on his door.
Even in the safety of his apartment/safe house, Jason had a knife in his boot and a gun tucked down the back of his pants. Still holding his phone, he opened the door, ready to reach for either.
“Little brother,” Cass said. “We’re going shopping.”
“Did you time that?” Jason asked incredulously. He held his phone back up to his ear. “Did you two time that?”
“I shall see you at the gala, Master Jason. Do have fun with your sister,” Alfred said, which was not an answer, and he hung up.
Jason glared at his phone. The worst part was that he did actually want to know. He wouldn’t put it past some preternatural ability of Alfred’s, which Jason had been in awe of since he was a tiny child, but god, someday he wanted to figure out how the hell Alfie did it.
“I didn’t know you knew where this safe house was,” Jason said to Cass. He should think about moving again. Goddamn Bats.
Cass shrugged. “Are you ready?” she asked.
Jason sighed heavily. Goddamn Bats.
“Just a sec,” he muttered, reluctantly losing the gun and grabbing his keys and wallet. “Did you drive?”
Cass’ license was very new; Jason hadn’t been in a car with her since she got it, but he had while she was practicing, and he wasn’t exactly looking forward to doing so again.
Cass didn’t drive poorly so much as she drove like she was always driving in a high speed chase. This likely came from learning much of her driving skills from a) the examples of her father and siblings (usually in the Batmobile) or b) practicing a good half of her driving in the Batmobile while her injured father/siblings gave terrible instructions from the front seat.
It was a wonder she had passed the exam.
“No,” Cass said, and Jason was sure his relief was obvious even if he tried not to show it. There was a time and place for driving like a maniac, and Jason wasn’t in the mood for it right now. “Steph. She needs a new dress.”
“Wonderful,” Jason said, locking his door behind him.
Cass smiled. “She wanted me to tell you she is Regina George.”
“She did punch me in the face once,” Jason said thoughtfully.
“’Get in, loser,’” Cass quoted.
“Oh my god,” Jason said, rolling his eyes, but he still laughed.
Jason took his gear with him to the manor the night of the gala. Hopefully there would be time after the gala to go on patrol. If nothing else, Jason could always sneak out early; there were a multitude of benefits to being legally dead, and the lack of obligation to stick out the entirety of the Wayne galas were high up there.
How had he let himself get talked into this?
Oh, right. Emotional blackmail.
At least the only ones here who knew him were his family, so he could stand in a corner and not have to deal with people. There was even free booze.
“You’re not old enough to be drinking that,” Dick said, plucking the glass of champagne out of his hand.
“Hey,” Jason protested. “I am too. You want to check my ID, asshole?”
“Your totally fake ID?” Dick shot back. “The one that’s completely made up because you’re still legally dead? Your birthday isn’t for another six months, Jay.”
Jason scowled. “What the hell else am I supposed to do here, then?” he asked.
“Talk to people,” Dick said. “For example: it’s really nice to see you here tonight. What have you been up to recently?”
“Planning your murder,” Jason said, and walked away. He grabbed another flute of champagne off a table as he did so.
He made his way across the room toward his sister.
“Happy birthday, Cass,” he said quietly, once he was in front of her. She smiled, pulling him into a hug—
–and pulled away with his champagne in her hand.
“Thank you for the drink,” she said. “Little brother.”
“Ugh,” Jason said.
Unbelievable. He just couldn’t win.