Jason wasn’t really sure what to expect when he arrived at the Teen Titans’ headquarters. He had never really thought about what it would be like there. He hadn’t had any reason to. After all, why would he ever go there to begin with? And yet, here he was, breaking his way through more security protocols than should be necessary ever on the way to visit Red Robin. Jason supposed that the bothersome task was just another thing he could be pissed at Dick for.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?” the blonde girl asked when he waltzed into their common room. Cassie, Wonder Girl.
“I’m looking for Red Robin. You know where he is?” Jason asked, subtly revealing the gun strapped to his waist. He wasn’t really expecting to intimidate her, but the show wasn’t for her. There was no way that he didn’t trigger some sort of silent alarm on his way in, and he was sure that Tim was watching from the security cameras. This was his way of telling him to get his ass out here. Jason had something to say, and the sooner he said it the sooner he could get his conscience to shut the hell up and get back to living his life.
“He’s out,” Cassie said automatically, stepping forward. Jason shrugged. That was a lie, of course, which he would have been able to tell even if Wonder Girl wasn’t exactly wonderful at lying. He wasn’t an idiot. Of course he had staked the place out before breaking in.
“Red,” Tim said, walking into the room.
“Red,” Jason responded with a smirk. Seriously, their family needed to be introduced to some different colors. Well, there had been blue. Jason started talking again, unwilling to follow that train of thought. “Nice place you’ve got here. Classy.”
“So, you know him?” Cassie asked Tim, who didn’t immediately respond. Christ, judging by the bags under the kid’s eyes he hadn’t slept in days.
“Yeah. You could say that. Cassie, could you give us a moment?” Tim said. Cassie shrugged and left. Frankly, Jason found Tim’s reaction a little insulting. After all, he had traveled quite a ways to check on the kid. Jason watched Tim sink into a fighting stance, eyes trained on Jason’s guns. Oh, right. Yeah, he should probably clarify.
“Not here to fight,” Jason said, holding up his hands. Tim relaxed slightly.
“Then why are you here?” Tim said.
“Nightwing,” Jason said simply, ignoring Tim’s wince at the name.
“What about him?” he said harshly. “He’s dead.”
“Yeah. He left a video will thing for me,” Jason said, suddenly feeling unsure. Why had it seemed like a not totally terrible idea to come here again? Tim gave him a look. “I know. Because those have gone over so well in the past.”
Tim snorted and Jason continued before either of them could interrupt or he could lose his courage.
“Yeah, so he told me that, as I’m the oldest now, I have to look after you and Robin. I guess he hadn’t updated it since. . .” Jason trailed off, and Tim winced. “So, I figured since you and I are the only ones left I should, I dunno, drop by?”
Tim stared at him, his face a blank mask that he must have learned from Batman. Jason almost wanted to wave his hand in front of his face to make sure he was still paying attention. Or, just leave. He could do that. He had said what he needed to, right?
“Well, I guess there’s Cass, and that other blond, Spoiler, right? And Babs, of course. But it’s different with them. They’re more Batgirl than Robin, y’know?” Jason said, unsure why he couldn’t seem to stop talking. Tim was still just staring at him, and it was getting pretty creepy by this point. “So, yeah. If you ever need my help with something, you could probably guilt me into it. Within reason. As long as it’s not too much of a pain in the ass.”
“God, Jason,” Tim said suddenly. He was still staring off into the distance, but he wasn’t focusing on Jason. Maybe he was looking at ghosts. “We’re the only ones left. We’re the only ones left.”
“Shit.” Jason crossed the room in a few strides, grabbing Tim’s shoulders. He had not signed up for dealing with a panic attack. What the hell was he even supposed to do?
“We’re the only ones left,” Tim repeated, clutching onto Jason’s shirt as if he was going to disappear.
“Shh, shh, It’s going to be okay. I’m not going anywhere,” Jason said, which was fucking stupid. It wasn’t going to be okay. There was no way he could make a promise to stick around. He had already died once, for crying out loud. It seemed to be the right thing to say, though, because Tim’s breathing stabilized. He had buried his face in Jason’s shoulder, though, and didn’t seem ready to move. Jason sunk to his knees, Tim coming with him and continued to mumble meaningless words.
“Red Robin, Cassie said—” a voice started. Superboy. Apparently Cassie had gone and gotten him before returning. He stopped talking when he saw Tim. Jason shot him a glare but had to admit that he was a little relieved when Tim pulled himself together at the sight of his teammate. “Is everything okay?”
“Fine,” Tim responded to Kon’s hesitant question. Jason raised an eyebrow, but he supposed that he didn’t have a monopoly on telling meaningless lies. Tim took as step back from him. “This is the Red Hood. He was just dropping by.”
“The Red Hood? Like, the crime lord?” Kon said, looking between the two.
“You’re familiar with my work,” Jason said with a cocky grin. Just because he was (mostly) not doing that any more didn’t mean he couldn’t take pride in a job well done.
“What the hell do you want with Red Robin?” Cassie said.
“Currently, I want him to catch a few hours sleep,” Jason said, glancing at Tim. That was what Dick would do, right? Jason thought he remembered Dick complaining about Tim’s sleep habits. The kid certainly looked like he could use it. So, he’d throw him in a room for a couple hours, call it good, then the nagging voice in the corner of his brain that sounded unsettlingly like their older brother would shut the hell up.
“I’m busy.” Tim gave him a stare that was impressively similar to their mentor’s.
“Busy falling over from exhaustion,” Jason said, grabbing the back of Tim’s shirt collar and dragging him towards where he assumed the rooms were. He turned back to Kal and Cassie. “Which one is his?”
“First door on the left,” Kon said, seeming a little flabbergasted. Jason followed the directions and threw Tim onto the unmade bed. Tim glared at him, but he hadn’t fought back nearly as hard as he could have, so Jason took it as a cue that he was doing something right. Something like Dick would have done. He took a moment to look around the room. It was a total mess. Papers, clothes, about ten coffee mugs. Everything just tossed haphazardly around. Jason suppressed a chuckle. Of all the things that Tim could do like a normal teenager.
“Hey, you have a kitchen here, right?” Jason said, not entirely sure why he asked. He had done his part, right? “I could make waffles.”
“It’s six at night,” Tim said.
“Well, it’s the only thing I can make better than Alfred. I’m offering you food, stop complaining,” Jason said. He stepped forward, maybe to ruffle Tim’s hair or some caring brother shit like that when he caught a glimpse through the crack of a door in the corner of Tim’s room.
“Oh, no. Tell me you didn’t install your pseudo-Batcomputer inside your bedroom,” Jason sighed, walking over to the door. “God, even B isn’t this bad. Seriously, no wonder you never sleep.”
“Wait, Jason, don’t—” Tim started. Jason opened the door and saw the computer screen. Jason blinked, not wanted into admit what he was looking at. Nightwing. Unmasked, bleeding. He watched the figures on the screen move.
“Tim,” he said softly, almost threateningly. He watched Dick cry out on the screen. It was too much. He slammed the door hard enough to make the frame shake. He didn’t turn around, just continued staring at the wooden door, wishing that the few seconds of video he had just seen would stop playing inside his mind. “Tell me you aren’t locking yourself in there watching his death on repeat.”
“I need to know if it would have made a difference. If I had been there,” said Tim. Jason spun around, defaulting to anger. It was easier to deal with than everything else.
“What the fuck? Watching that,” he gestured wildly at the closed door. “That is seriously the definition of an unhealthy coping mechanism.”
“Yeah, that’s great coming from you,” Tim said, rising from the bed to stand toe to toe with him, his own voice rising. “You literally shoot people when you get upset! Get out!”
Tim shoved him out the door before Jason could snarl a retort then slammed it in his face.
“Everything okay?” Cassie asked hesitantly. Jason ignored her. He took a deep breath.
“You still want waffles?” he asked the closed door. A pause.
“Yes!” Tim snarled at him. Okay, then.
“Where’s your kitchen?” Jason asked. Cassie pointed, mutely, and Jason followed. He made the waffles in silence, ignoring Cassie, who didn’t seem comfortable leaving him unsupervised in their base. She made some coffee and poured herself a cup, never taking her eyes off him.
“What was that all about?” she asked eventually, obviously not as used to extended silence. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Red Robin that worked up.”
“Go easy on him,” Jason said instinctually. He piled the last of the waffles onto a plate. “He’s had to bury two brothers in the past six months.”
“What?” Cassie exclaimed. Jason turned to be met with an expression of almost comical surprise.
“He hasn’t told you. Any of you,” Jason said. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them, he could almost see Cassie’s mind whirling.
“The last couple times he went back to Gotham,” she whispered.
“Funerals. Yeah,” Jason said. Something occurred to him. “Wait, has he even told you his name?” Cassie shook her head. “Dammit. Red!” He called out. Tim rounded the corner, probably having already been on his way after smelling the waffles. He made a beeline for the coffee pot.
“Your brothers died recently?” Cassie said softly. Tim shrugged and picked up the entire coffee pot. Cassie turned to Jason. “You said. . .you were the only ones left. You’re his brother?”
“Yeah,” Jason said. It wasn’t until Tim looked up from his coffee to stare that Jason realized he had never admitted that out loud before.
“Okay. I think you two need to talk,” Cassie said. She grabbed a waffle and left, casting one last glance at Tim that promised an interrogation to come later.
“You seriously haven’t told them anything?” Jason said. He ran a hand through his hair, realizing too late that that was just spreading the waffle batter that seemed to have ended up everywhere. “Come on. I mean, you modeled this after Dick’s old team. Teen Titans. He trusts everyone from there.”
“Yeah, and he got betrayed to Deathstroke,” Tim said.
“Yeah, well,” Jason said. “This, hiding everything and not trusting anyone isn’t what he wants for you.”
“Stop doing that,” Tim snapped at him. Jason looked at him. “Stop talking about him like he’s still alive. He’s not.” Jason’s eyes widened. He hadn’t even realized that he had slipped into using present tense.
“Sorry,” Jason said after a long pause. “You should at least think about telling them.”
“Since when do you give a crap what he wanted? Or about me?” Tim said. Jason hesitated. That was. . .actually a fair question. And he wasn’t sure he had an answer to it, even just for himself. All he could think about was the way Dick’s voice had sounded in the video he had left when he had almost begged Jason to look after Tim and Damian and how it was impossible for him to fulfill the entirety of that request even if he tried.
“We’re the only ones left,” Jason said instead. Tim nodded, but didn’t say anything else. They just waited in silence.
“Do you remember that one time when Nightwing fell off the roof?” Tim said suddenly. “When he was trying to impress Barbara?”
Jason smiled and tossed him a waffle. They both sat down opposite each other at the table.
“That was hilarious. Didn’t he land in a dumpster?” Jason said, and Tim chuckles slightly. They got silent again.
“I’m tired of loosing people,” Tim said softly. Jason nodded. After a moment’s hesitation, he reached across the table and squeezed Tim’s shoulder lightly.
“I know, kid. I know.”