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Back to the Nest

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There was a groan from the bed.

Artemis looked up, straightening in her seat. Jason blinked his eyes, squinting in the low light, face drawn into a grimace.

She sighed, relieved. "You're awake."

"Unfortunately." He brought one hand up and rubbed at his eyes. "The fuck happened?"

"Bizarro and I did not get to you in time," Artemis said. She clenched her hands into fists in her lap. "I should not have let you go off alone."

Jason snorted. "You can't 'let' me do anything. It's fine. I made my choice."

"I'm not sure your family think that," Artemis said. She wasn't sure she did, either. Not after the last week.

"The fuck do they have to do with it?" Jason asked, before he frowned and took a look around the room they were in. "Wait. This is the manor."


"We were on the other side of the world." Jason sat up, frowning and running his hands over his chest. "I distinctly remember getting stabbed in the lung. How long was I out?"

"A week." Artemis smiled tightly. "Bizarro and I notified your family after getting you to the hospital."

"Oh, God."

"Your father was very concerned for your well-being." Understatement. It was such an understatement it was dwelling in the underworld and playing fetch with Cerberus.

Jason buried his head in his hands and muffled a groan into them.

"Superman was off-planet or your father would have removed you from the hospital sooner."

Jason looked up. "Wait, what?"

Artemis shrugged. "He decided that despite the hospital staff stabilizing you that it was not worth the risk, allowing you to remain so injured. He took you to be healed by alien technology."

"I need to leave," Jason said. "The walls are closing in."

"I think that is your family's smothering, actually." Artemis leaned back in her seat. "Do not try to escape. I have suffered for a week in their company. You will not get away so soon."


The first to visit was the little one's grandfather.

"I'm healed, Alfie." Jason was trying to extract himself from the bed, to no avail. "Alien technology and everything."

"You've been unconscious for three days," Alfred said, placing a tray with a bowl of soup and some toast on the bed beside the little one. "You're staying in that bed until you recover completely, Master Jason. I will not have you fainting down the stairs because you inherited your father's stubborn pride."

Jason slunk down in the bed, shoulders hunching. He turned wide eyes on Artemis, who grimaced.

"I will remain on guard," she said to Jason's grandfather. He nodded at her before staring at Jason until he picked up the spoon and started to eat.

"Very good." Alfred fussed with the little one's blankets before turning to leave. "I will return to collect the dishes, Master Jason. Please finish everything."

"Sure, Alfred." Jason stared after him until the door clicked shut and then straightened up. "What the fuck?"

"You nearly died on three separate occasions within the first twenty four hours of reaching the hospital," Artemis replied. She thought back to way Batman had loomed over the medical professionals. "It was a very stressful time for your family."

"That's their problem," Jason muttered, scowling into his soup.

Artemis rolled her eyes. "Don't be obtuse."

"Will you please help me escape?"

"No." Artemis turned away. "Bizarro will return soon from the toy store. He’s acquiring you a soft animal for your recovery. He has been very upset. I never want to experience your family and Bizarro worrying about your impending demise ever again. You will suffer their smothering and you will be thankful for it."

Jason huffed. "And if I don't?"

Artemis glared. "I will break both your legs and you can suffer them for another six weeks."

By the time his grandfather returned, Jason had finished his food and put up with the fussing with minimal complaints.


Bizarro returned six hours after he had left on his quest. In his hands he held a large, fluffy soft toy. Artemis refused to think of it as cute.

Jason stared as he was presented with it. "Is that a giant hamster?"

"Bizarro found best Ham-Ham for Red Him." Bizarro nudged the toy into Jason's hands and waited patiently. "Ham-Ham good friend for Pup-Pup."

"Oh, sure." Jason stared down at the toy. It was larger than his head and very round. "Thanks, buddy."

Bizarro nodded and very carefully reached out to pat Jason on the head. "Red Him feel better soon."

"Ham-Ham will help with that," Jason replied. He tucked the toy into the bed next to him while Bizarro watched, nodding approvingly.

"Red Him not go off alone again," Bizarro said, once Jason and the hamster toy were settled. "Bizarro not get to Red Him in time. Bizarro feel bad inside when Red Him hurt."  

"I'm sorry," Jason said. "I didn't mean to worry you."

Bizarro nodded. "Red Him forgiven. Bizarro am happy Red Him okay."

Once Bizarro had wandered off to go retrieve Pup-Pup so he could be formally introduced to Ham-Ham, Jason turned to Artemis and grimaced. "Holy hell. He has mastered the art of guilt tripping."

"He's very dangerous." Artemis was extremely glad that she was not the one Bizarro was aiming his large watery eyes and sincere admonishments at.


The first of the little one's siblings to appear was, of course, Nightwing.

Jason eyed him with a frown as he slid into the room. Nightwing closed the door quietly, exchanging a nod with Artemis.

Jason slid down further in the bed. "Are you here to lecture me too?"

"I'm too exhausted to yell at you for being a fucking idiot," Nightwing replied. "I feel like you did this on purpose somehow. You got healed by Kryptonian technology and then slept for another three fucking days just to tire me out so much that I can't properly express what a colossally stupid idea it was to run off alone without your superpowered teammates and nearly get yourself killed. Again."  

"You're expressing yourself pretty well."

"Fantastic." Nightwing approached the bed, folding his arms and staring down at his little brother. "How are you feeling?"


"Excellent." Nightwing climbed onto the the bed next to Jason, shoving him over to make room. "Then this will encourage you not to repeat your stupidity."

"When's the last time you slept?" Jason asked, frowning down at his brother.

Nightwing sighed. "I've been getting a few hours here and there. I'm good."

"You're both idiots," Artemis said.

They turned to look at her.

"You heard me."

Nightwing blinked at her. "What did I do?"

"Your existence is enough," she replied.

Shaking his head, Nightwing turned back to his brother. "So, I've decided something, little wing."

"Oh fuck no." Jason closed his eyes.

"Little wing?" Artemis asked, delighted.

Nightwing grinned at her. "Remind me to show you my old photos of Jay when he was a kid."

"I hate you." Jason flopped down, shoving at his brother, who captured his arms and pulled him into a hug.

Artemis rolled her eyes. Finally.

"I've decided something," Nightwing said again, arms clamped around Jason and ignoring his dark muttering. "Clearly, this incident was a cry for attention."

Jason turned desperate eyes on her. "Arty, save me."

"No." Artemis looked away. "This is the least you deserve."

"Did you two bond while I was unconscious?" Jason asked, looking between them suspiciously. "Is that what's happening here?"

Nightwing shrugged, loosening his hold. "We may have teamed up in the name of keeping you alive."  

"I hate you both."

Artemis snorted. "As if that is any deterrent."


Nightwing ended up falling asleep. Jason shoved him over to the other side of the bed and put the hamster between them. The little one then found his phone on the bedside table and picked it up, typing away and muttering to himself under his breath. Artemis ignored his complaints.

Fifteen minutes later his sister arrived through the window. Black Bat waved at Artemis and climbed onto the bed, squeezing between her brothers and putting the hamster in her lap. "Glad you're okay."

"I'm fine." Jason nudged her shoulder with his own. "You didn't bring the stuff."

"No." Black Bat reached up and pushed his hair back from his face. "Not rewarding bad behavior."

Jason made an aggrieved noise. "Cass."

Black Bat shook her head. "No."

"I'm being held prisoner against my will." Jason scowled, slumping back against his pillows.

"Recovering," Black Bat replied. "Or grounded." She shrugged. "Either is fine."

"i'm going to get you back for this."

"Little brother can try." Black Bat gave his leg a light pat and then climbed off the end of the bed. She grinned at Artemis. "Spar?"

Artemis shook her head. "He will attempt to escape the moment my back is turned."

Black Bat hummed. "Later?"

Nodding, Artemis watched at the little one's sister left the same way she'd come in.


It was the little brother that brought a pile of books with him. Robin glared at her as he crossed the room. Artemis raised her eyebrow and smirked back.

"Thank you." Jason took the books and started flipping through them.

"Our debt is settled," Robin said. He frowned over at Nightwing, still sleeping on the other side of the bed. "You worried Richard and Father."

Jason snorted. "Not you?"

"Don't be absurd." Robin turned away and stared at the far wall.

Artemis watched as Jason stared at the books and Robin kept his gaze fixed on the wall. They remained in silence for several minutes.

Robin folded his arms across his chest. "I almost called Mother."


"I'm no fool," Robin said. "I know how to get in contact with her. I would've done it."

"I'm not sure if I should be thanking you for that," Jason said. He placed the books on the bedside table.

"I wouldn't need your thanks." Robin gave a haughty little stiff, sent Artemis one last glare and then spun on his heel and marched out of the room. The door closed with a sharp click behind him.

"That was almost cute," Artemis said.

Jason sighed, picking up one of the books and opening it. "I dare you to go say that to his face."


By the time the last visitor of the night arrived, Jason had joined his brother in sleep.

The little one's father only glanced at her briefly before moving to sit on the side of the bed, reaching out with one hand to stroke the side of Jason's face gently. Jason twitched, batting at the hand and prying his eyes open to squint up at him.

"Dad?" Jason mumbled, pushing the hand back. "'m sleeping, stop it." He rolled over onto his other side, burrowing under his pillow and his brother's arm. Nightwing stirred, opened his eyes briefly and pat the little one's hair absently before his head lolled back onto his pillow and he fell asleep.

Batman watched the two of them silently.

The chair creaked as Artemis stood, stretching her arms above her head before turning to leave the room and give him privacy with his children. She paused with her hand on the door. "It will not happen again."

Batman grunted, not looking away from his children.

She closed the door behind her and went to hunt down the little one's sister for that spar.