Jason likes to blow things up, which seems kind of odd considering he himself was once blown up. But flying in the face of expectations is something he excels at, especially when he can piss off Bruce in the process. Even when he was Robin, watching something go up in flames got him excited in a way nothing else ever did.
Through his training with various international terrorists on his path towards revenge, he'd become quite proficient with the bomb building process. Roy appreciates his handiwork, but he likes a big boom as much as Jason does.
The real kicker is the Replacement. He hides it well, but Tim likes a big boom too.
And after the crap Dickie and I put him through with the whole beer goggles thing, I kinda feel like I need to make it up to him. That wasn't how it was supposed to turn out. Timmy needs a big boom. But...it's Timmy, so perhaps a more creative boom is in order.
With that in mind, Jason starts trawling YouTube for inspiration. There are a lot of explosions to sort through, but something sparks an old memory and he digs further. As he watches the clip in question, he grins in satisfaction. Perfect.
A few nights later, Tim arrives home to his apartment and finds a clear plastic bag full of jawbreakers on his kitchen table, along with a note.
It's from Jason.
Whatever else you do with these, do NOT eat them.
That's all the warning he gets, but his curiosity is aroused. Or rather, it will be in the morning after a few hours of sleep and something caffeinated.
Later that morning, Tim cautiously opens the bag and inspects the candy. He can tell something has been done to them but is not quite sure what. Knowing Jason, it can be any number of things. What is he up to?
Pulling out his phone, he sends a text to his older brother.
Tim: Safe to assume that if I microwave these, I'll get an explosion?
It's not long before the reply comes back.
Jason: If you want a new microwave, they're a sure fire way to do it.
If that’s not a hint, then Tim’s an idiot.
Tim: Free to meet me at the quarry this afternoon to see what happens?
Jason: Hell yeah! Mind if Roy comes too?
Jason drives his semi-legally obtained box truck down the bumpy dirt road leading into the quarry. Next to him, Roy kicks back and relaxes, one foot up on the dash.
“So how many things are we going to make explode today?”
“Jawbreakers and a water heater for certain. After that, it depends on what we’ve got left for daylight.”
“Didn’t we already blow up a water heater?” Roy asks, his brow crinkling in confusion.
“Yeah, but the Replacement’s still giving me shit about doing it without him. Apparently it’s a favorite of his.” Jason hits a pothole that couldn’t be avoided, sending them and the truck bouncing, even as he slowly drives over it.
“So what other options do you have back there?”
“Well, I couldn’t get my hands on a cement truck on this short of notice, but I do have a portable cement mixer and some dynamite.” Jason grins roguishly at his best friend.
Roy starts bouncing in his seat in excitement. “You Bats have all the fun.”
“We’re more creative. I mean, seriously, boxing glove arrows? How the hell are those even aerodynamic?”
Tim watches as the white box truck approaches, curious as to why Jason had brought such a big vehicle when all they were going to do was set off the jawbreakers his older brother had made for him.
Or does he have something else planned? It’s Jason, so anything is possible.
The truck stops several yards from where Tim’s perched on a rock, his motorcycle standing below him. As always, he’s dressed in uniform while here at the quarry. Jason and Roy both hop out of the truck, also in uniform, though Jason’s ditched his helmet in favor of his domino.
“Hey there, Red!” Roy shouts and waves in greeting. “Long time, no see!”
Tim grins. He’s always liked Roy Harper, even though he’s better friends with Mia and Connor. “No kidding,” he agrees as he jumps down from the rock. “How’ve you been?”
“Pretty good, all things considered. Still hanging out with this loser.” Roy jabs a thumb in Jason’s direction.
“Fuck you, Roy,” the other man replies without missing a beat as he flips him off and heads to the back of the truck.
“So what exactly are we doing?” Tim asks as he and Roy follow. “I brought the jawbreakers, but I thought we were just going to light ‘em and send them flying.”
“I figured we’d do something else while we’re here.” Jason grins as he unlocks the door and slides it up. “I’ll let you pick which one we do first.”
Tim gapes he takes in the two large pieces of equipment. “Water heater,” he says quickly. “I’ve wanted to do that one since forever.”
He misses the pleased smirk Jason shoots at Roy.
Roy stands back and watches Jason and Tim bicker as they set up the modified water heater. It’s not often (okay, never) that he gets to observe his friend around his brothers and this is the first time he’s ever seen these two interact. Through Dick, he knew about the rough start the two of them had, though, admittedly, the Pit really messed up Jason there for a while, not to mention the semi-brainwashing Talia al’Ghul had done to set him off on the third Robin. But they seem to have moved beyond that finally.
And it was all thanks to a single television show. Tim’s always been a nerd of the highest order (one who could and would kick your ass if you pissed him off), but seeing Jason get his nerd on is highly entertaining. The younger man is always so brash and self-assured, cocky and half-cocked at all times, so seeing him argue with Tim over the best way to use a blow torch to seal the pressure release valves on the soon-to-be-rocket amuses the daylights out of him.
He takes another picture to send to Dick later, knowing better than to send it now. If Jaybird wanted him here, he’d have invited him. Things are better on that front too but I still hear more about this little bird than any of the others.
Everything is soon ready and Jason and Tim retreat a safe distance and behind the blast shields Roy had set up. Learned the hard way last time that these are actually a good idea. That slice on my leg needed ten stitches.
“Okay, the pressure is slowly rising,” Tim comments as he checks the equipment in front of them. “300 psi, here we come.”
“This part takes fucking forever,” Jason says as he stretches, gloved hands reaching for the sky. “Where are those jawbreakers, Timmy? I want to see what happens when I shoot one.”
Roy laughs as Tim rolls his eyes and makes a snide comment. It’s obvious even through the mask he wears. Man, these two are a riot. No wonder Robin Number Three is Jason’s favorite.
Tim waits with baited breath as the pressure on the water heater approaches 315 psi. Any second now. Lord, I wish I’d known we were doing this today, I’d have brought my camera equipment. Jason’s got a single high speed camera set up, but man, I want to have more than just that one angle.
Next time, we’re building the little house too. I could rope Kon and Bart into helping. They’d like this.
The jawbreakers had been a good way to kill time while waiting for the pressure to rise. The first few, Tim had tossed in the air like a clay pigeon (albeit a much smaller one), but both Jason and Roy found their targets each time, the modified candy breaking apart in a satisfying mini-explosion from the gunpowder Jason had replaced their centers with.
Not wanting to embarrass himself with trying to use either of the other two men’s weapons of choice, Tim used a batarang to slice a jawbreaker in half while it was up in the air, courtesy of a toss from Roy. No explosion ensued, which didn’t surprise him since there was no spark to ignite the jawbreaker.
The next batarang he dipped the edges in gasoline and set on fire before sending it on its way. It was hard to tell who shouted louder at the ensuing explosion, him or Jason.
Tim knew he was grinning like a maniac the entire time. Roy had recorded that one on his phone and promised to send him the video later.
But the explosion about to occur in front of him is one he’s been waiting to see for years. If Bruce hadn’t trained the fidgets out of me, I’d be bouncing around like Dick. Come on…
“320 psi,” Roy says quietly. “The one we did went off at 322.”
“The waiting sucks, but this explosion is so worth it,” Jason replies, also in a low voice.
Tim’s not entirely sure why they’re both speaking quietly, but it fits the tense mood as they wait.
The equipment in front of them turns 326 when there’s a loud whoosh as the water heater explodes and rockets up into the air. It happens so fast that Tim almost misses it, but as he jerks his head back to watch the metal cylinder rise up into the sky, he knows he’s grinning like a lunatic. Next to him, Roy and Jason are shouting like sports fans cheering on their favorite team.
“Wow.” Tim lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding as the water heater comes crashing back to earth. His ears are buzzing, even with the plugs he’d put in under his cowl. He feels shaky as the adrenaline rush leaves him and he sits down hard.
“You okay there, Replacement?” Jason asks from behind, leaning over to peer into Tim’s face.
He tips his head back, grin still in place. “I wanna do that again. Next time, with a little house, and all my camera equipment.”
“Just say when,” Jason agrees. “This shit doesn’t get old.”
“No kidding,” Roy chimes in, sounding out of breath as well. “Do we have time to blow up the cement mixer? Jaybird’s got the dynamite.”