Damian’s eyes rolled so much he could see the back of his skull. Now the jackass is hugging the parents like he’s done some kind of big thing. What a cornerstone. Beacon Of Hope Junior.
“Big thing, almost getting his super ass vaporized.” He mumbled under his teeth, arms crossed strongly over chest. After that saving, he was leaning on his motorcycle, just watching.
When Jon glanced behind, at him, with that big, wide, stupid smile of his, Damian was already concluding that Superboy was using his super honesty and dignity to tell who was responsible for their daughter ultimate saving.
“Jon, if you tell them I did it and bring them here I swear I’ll finish that alien’s job in disintegrating you.” He said under his breath.
“That's a team job, tho!" Jon shrugged when he looked at the parents and scratched his nape, feeling a little embarrassed and a lot proud of himself.
It wasn't easy and he knew that he wouldn't have been able to do it alone, but after those years he's started to give more credit to himself. Otherwise Damian would lecture him about it again, even though the lectures are mainly about how he was the one to be praised. Still giggling, even blushing a little after a hug from the girl they had saved, Jon gave his back and waved as he flew to where Damian was waiting.
"Hey, why do you always stay away when people are thanking us? They're so nice!"
Damian snorted, shaking his head.
“I don’t need them to acknowledge a good work. Even because they wouldn’t see one. All they saw was a flying sixteen year old with their own teenage daughter on his arms, standing tall like he’s done something admirable and heroic and not completely tactically stupid!” Helplessly he was raising his voice tone. “Are you honestly proud of what you did, Jonathan?”
Jon crossed his arms, twisting his lips for a moment.
"Of course I am! She's safe, isn't she?" a smile took place of the twist on his lips and he placed his hands on his waist, speaking now with an almost mocking tone "And I'm fifteen! A fifteen year old guy saved her! Are you angry about it, mister eighteen?"
Damian scrunched his brows. How dare Jon to correct him about that? His sixteen birthday was a few days from now, does this brat think he doesn’t know that? The plan is all up already and for a little there wouldn’t be a birthday boy at all!
Fuck, he’s such an idiot!
“I couldn’t care less about your ID age, you’ve always been a child anyway!” Damian climbed on his motorcycle. “If she’s safe it’s not thanks to you. Just because you took the first blow in the S for Stupid you get in your chest it doesn't mean you two would survive the next ones. I had a plan for all the alien manipulation they had and you almost blew it all away because a pretty girl shrieked.”
"It's not true!" Jon crossed his arms again and bent closer to look at Damian's eyes. "The S stands for hope, I told you a million times!"
Of course that it would be the one thing that Jon would argue about. Damian wouldn't listen to anything about his super, amazing, brilliant tactics and Jon was too used to it to keep arguing about it. Yet he blinked a few times and placed his feet on the ground. Maybe he should have been more careful, but he always ended up acting impulsively and following more his heart than his head. Glancing back to where the family was Jon sighed and thought about saying something to Damian, but then he remembered about something else.
"You think she's pretty?" a teasing grin grew on his face and he chuckled indeed like a kid. "Do you want her number? That's why you’re so angry? Because she clearly liked me the most?"
Damian lifted one brow, shaking his head slowly.
I could punch this beautiful dumb face and he wouldn't even feel it.
Damian knew he was actually so fucking grateful that Jon was safe. It was an unusual situation, to actually fear someone or something could hurt him, and he really didn't know what to do with that kind of feeling. And the more he was aware of that, the more he hated it. He's got better things to do with his mind than to worry about that boy's safety. He just wished Jon grew a little bit out of that clueless kid sometimes and actually make do with that oh-so adult mien he's got and that flat of hand he is taller than him.
“It's like you have ADDH or something. I don't want anything to do with any girl, Superboy. You're fully free to invite her to be your pair in the ballroom dance of your Sweet Sixteen party." He turned the engines of the vehicle on, making it roar loud, way louder than necessary. "You don't have to thank me for the thousandth time I saved your ass this year so far. Just do us all a favor and avoid falling flat on a kryptonite dagger while I'm not around. It's a wonder the Teen Titans accepted and kept you. Guess it's the laser beams and the blue puppy eyes." Damian finished before speeding out, keeping the frown on.
Rage is always easier.
Jon was frowning too, but because he was bothered. When would Damian give him some credit? He wasn't a kid anymore, he was just a little... reckless.
"And I don't want anything to do with any girl either!" Jon said to himself and flew after Damian, so that they could keep bantering for a little longer.
Later, when Jon arrived home, he sighed as he fell on the couch and stared at the ceiling, feeling tired as he isn't used to feel.
"Tough day, son?" Clark asked as he entered the living room, holding a plate with a sandwich. He was smiling as usual, like everything in the world was made of happiness and rainbows, and it was hard for Jon to not to smile along with him.
"More like tough partner!" Jon answered, sitting straight to grab the other half of that sandwich.
"Damian's giving you a hard time again, hn?" Clark just smiled, but squeezed his eyes to Jon, chuckling a little. "You two should be used to each other by now, don't you think?"
"Dad, he's my best friend! But he looks at me like I'm still a kid, and he's not that much older than me! Two and a half years only!"
Clark sighed and gazed at his downhearted son for a small while. He was still sweet and naive like a child, but that attitude and that mood was definitely from a teenager.
"The Waynes are hard to deal, but that's the real good thing about them!" Clark made a dramatic pause only to catch Jon's attention and then kept speaking, a little lower, as if it was a secret and their house was bugged by the Waynes themselves. "They don't waste their time with anyone or anything that they don't think is worth it, so if they stick around it means that they really care."
Jon listened carefully and slowly a smile grew back on his lips. Yeah, his father was right, and actually Jon didn't know how he could think that Damian was sick of him or anything like that. Damian indeed was his best friend, and if he cared enough to stick around, Jon would do the same for him, like they have always done for each other.
“How did the menace in Riverside this morning got handled?” Bruce said as he entered the training site, a cup of coffee in his hands. Damian was in leg workout, wearing shorts and tank, pushing weight with his feet while sitting.
“I’ve filed the report already, sir .”
“Don’t take it as if I’m unaware of what happened. If I’m here it’s because I want to hear it from you.”
“If you’re here it’s because you want to interact and see if I’m in one piece. I’ve just scraped my arm, dada. Already patched myself up.” Damian said with an acid sarcasm, lifting his arm to show the bandages on his left arm.
“Actually, I came here to prove a point, on how your teenage behavior gets worse when you spend time with the Kent kid. And to think you're basically an adult.” Bruce said nonchalantly, sipping his coffee, while Damian made his best not to roll his eyes and scoff and prove Bruce right. “He would do fine without you in that battle. The Kents might be heart but their heads are in place. You don’t have to worry.”
“Worry.” Damian ended up scoffing before he could help himself. “Don’t you worry, Bruce. Your stepson is safe.”
“My son-in-law, you mean.”
“I’m not the Wayne in love with a Kent, here, Bruce.”
“If you say so.” Bruce's voice was plain as always, not more than thin, uninterested irony. He walked closer and laid one hand on Damian’s shoulder for a moment.
Damian just remained in silence. Bruce left the site and Damian stopped, letting his legs drop.
It was not the first time Bruce poked him about that. Which was weird, because it wasn’t the kind of thing he used to do. He was way better minding his business and, in fact, whatever it is he knew, he wouldn’t need bothering him like that to find. It was like he was maybe trying some twisted parenting now that he was an adult already. Or maybe that he was actually concerned about his son’s heart or whatever, which was even more awkward.
"You better check the inconsistencies in the readings. I'm sure you noticed them as well." Bruce said before leaving, meaning the content of his report, making Damian clench his teeth. He was wondering again whether it wasn’t time to just go out of that house already, but he would just go back everyday anyway to their training and then to their projects, so it indeed sounded like a stupid thing to do. If Bruce wanted to find him, he would. It wasn’t like they are running into each other in that fucking mansion by accident.
Truth be told, he was a little lost on what to do, in everything, and admitting it to himself was the kind of thing that made him go to the punching bag and the simulated fight to try to get a distraction. It all passed by so fast. Their partnership, friendship, and now this. He’s in his PhD and is in love with a teenager.
He’s known that since he was seventeen. Jon being underage was already creepy enough, when he puts it into this perspective it’s even creepier. Yet it had never made him feel like it’s wrong. Even when he was jealous of him, it was also because he was his one friend, his only friend. He didn’t want to lose him to someone that would take his partner away from him, even though he knew he could work very well alone. It had always been the two of them against the world and that kind of crush he had was completely pure. But it's been a while he had been really wanting to kiss him. He was preying around girls and boys who started approaching Jon, threatening with his presence like once he had been with whoever tried to bully him (but the bullies, on the other side, didn’t go out of that physically unharmed). Everyone already thought they were boyfriends. Obviously the only one who didn’t see that was Jon himself. God, the boy was thick sometimes. Most of the times. Idiot. He was in love with an idiot.
It was about three a.m. when Damian stormed out of his lab, aware of how late it was already. From there to the Kent’s he was just a fast blur slicing the night in his motorcycle. Speed limit is for nuns.
“Stupid. Stupid, stupid.” He was repeating that like a mantra, and worst part was that it was to himself. How could he have missed it? Of course that it was more than just a random attack to a random girl in a random spot of these already alien-driven streets. Damian read the signals of the attack and he knew it was dangerous for kryptonians, that was exactly what made him so afraid of it in the first place. Why was it that it didn’t get to hurt Jon, then?
It didn’t want to.
It wasn’t incompetence, mistake, miscalculation or anything of sorts. It was learning. It read Jon. The droids outside of them made the whole work.
It was twice as dangerous considering that they came from a planet orbiting a giant star of intermediate mass, 2 solar masses to be more precise, outer atmosphere inflated and tenuous, roughly 4800 Kelvin degrees.
As the Kents use to say, a red sun. Very alike Krypton itself used to have.
To Damian, climbing up to Jon’s bedroom in the middle of the night was a regular Tuesday, and as such would be to break into it pick-locking his window. He could do it already easily to any lock, much more being so used to this one particularly. It felt too slow, right now, however.
“Jon! Fuck, Jon, wake up!” He pulled Jon by the shoulders to make him sit down forcefully, and he was really about to lift him on his shoulder and throw him off the window. That fucking alien sleep he’s got.
"Damian?" Jon asked even before open his eyes, still a little dizzy and sleepy. "What-?"
When he finally started paying attention around, he looked at his friend's worried face and it sent all that lethargy away, putting him in an alarmed mode. He sat down straight and held Damian's hand, blinking fast.
"What's going on? Are you hurt?”
“No, but you could be very soon. Those aliens you were fighting, they’re from a, a red sun planet and now they know you are, too. They can’t destroy you, but they can abduct you and do it there. They have so called magic and wormhole tech to do so.”
Damian picked Jon’s Converses on the floor and pushed them against his chest. “I’ll explain later, pick these and fly the fuck away from here to the Wayne manor. I’ll explain everything later there. I’ll wake your dad up too, go!”
"What-?" Jon gasped but left the bed automatically, following whatever Damian said. When he was putting the second shoe on he gasped and got up, looking at the door of his room. "Dad!"
All he had time to do was to get up and try to fly to the door. He couldn't understand everything that Damian was talking, but if he was right, as he usually is, he couldn't leave without his father. Damian had held Jon’s wrist in an attempt to stop him, already aware that by strength only he wouldn’t do a single thing. It was more like a cry for his reason, which had always been a shout in the dark. If only he had time to explain. His calculation was wrong for seconds, but seconds were more than enough, and seconds were unacceptable. The trepidation, like the beginning of an earthquake, the sound that seemed to come from inside his head, making them momentarily deaf.
Everything that happened next was so fast that not even super-speed could do something about it. In fact, they were frozen in place. Jon heard the voice of his father calling his name like a distant echo. He remembered answering and then everything was blank, like he was dragged inside a globe of light.
It was when everything bursted into white.