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And the birds don't sing, no they don't make a sound

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When Jason tracked an offshoot of the Falcone crime family to a warehouse on the far east end of Bristol, he didn’t expect the stakeout to end with him being blown out of a window as the building around him was destroyed in a fiery explosion.

 

The glass shattered around his body and the concussive sound of the explosion rang in his ears even after he had hit the ground, grunting at the sudden impact. Jason’s head was fuzzy and he could still feel the heat around him as he took deep breaths to calm the adrenaline flowing through his veins. There wasn’t enough air so he started to sit up, pushing himself off the ground only for his whole world to turn, the vision of the warehouse on fire shining like a beacon.

 

Jason groaned and reached up for the button at the back of his helmet, popping it off in a fluid motion, only for a sudden dull ring to bombard him, tuning out the distant sounds of police sirens and the closer crackle of the fire. It sounded like he was underwater, and Jason blinked wearily, shaking off the pain and ache he felt.

 

Slowly, he rose to his feet and stumbled only once before standing still and tried to get his ears cleared of the ringing.

 

It wasn’t working.

 

“What the hell-”

 

Jason suddenly stopped, his breath catching with the realization that he couldn’t hear his voice. Well, he could- it just sounded garbled and incomprehensible so he wasn’t even sure how loud he had spoken. The thought of being temporarily deafened by the explosion crossed his mind but then he wouldn’t be able to hear the police sirens, which were coming closer, and the crackling fire nearby.

 

He shook his head in a daze, whispering under his breath to see how much he could hear. And yet Jason’s own voice remained a garbled, watery sound to his ears much to his confusion and growing fear. He cursed mentally when a shrieking sound entered his ear and a garbled sound rang from it.

 

His comm.

 

Jason raised a hand and clicked the device, disregarding whatever was being said and by whom although he assumed it to be Oracle checking on him. He needed to head to the cave but had to make sure he wasn’t bombarded when he got there.

 

“This is Red Hood. Whoever’s talking, please kindly shut up and listen. I was tracking some of Falcone’s men when the warehouse blew up. I was blown through a window and I think the explosion screwed up my hearing. Call LT and Batgirl- I’ll be at the cave soon.”

 

-----

 

It was actually Alfred who had been on the comm.

 

The old butler had been monitoring his family’s progress, hovering over the footage being fed into the batcomputer. Nightwing fighting off some of Penguin’s goons, Red Robin and Spoiler chasing down Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Batgirl overseeing a drug ring and waiting for the right moment, Batman and Robin chasing down Killer Croc, and- where’s Master Jason?

 

Sure enough, Red Hood’s feed had gone black when it had been showing goons mere minutes ago. Frantic, Alfred tuned onto Jason’s comm.

 

“Master Jason? What hap-”

 

“This is Red Hood. Whoever’s talking, please kindly shut up and listen. I was tracking some of Falcone’s men when the warehouse blew up. I was blown through a window and I think the explosion screwed up my hearing. Call LT and Batgirl- I’ll be at the cave soon.”

 

Alfred froze. He was overwhelmed with joy that his grandson was alright but that relief was short lived when the rest of his message caught up. The explosion might have made him deaf.

 

Without any preamble, he did as told and hurriedly called up Leslie- who was supposedly busy at the moment but could be there within an hour, and then Cassandra.

 

“Alfred?”

 

“Miss Cassandra, you are needed at the cave.”

 

Cass ducked a punch on the screen as she fought the men who ran the drug deal. “Something wrong? Someone hurt?”

 

“Master Jason requires your presence at the cave. It is possible his hearing has been lost.”

 

Within moments, all of Cassandra’s opponents were down. “How? Jason careful.”

 

“Warehouse explosion, my dear.”

 

Alfred waited for a moment when Cass went silent and watched as she grappled to a nearby building.

 

“Be there soon.”

 

The connection dropped and Alfred sat back to wait for either of his charges’ arrival. It took maybe ten minutes but Jason arrived first, pulling in on his motorcycle. He had his helmet off and on its pedestal on the bike, grabbing it as he hopped off and headed over to the batcomputer where Alfred met his second eldest grandson.

 

“Hello?” Jason’s voice resonated throughout the cave, his voice louder than normal.

 

Alfred rushed over, walking into Jason’s line of sight so the man could see him. Jason looked instantly relieved at his appearance, watching his every move.

 

“Master Jason,” Alfred said, his voice pained as he watched Jason’s eyebrows furrow. “Can you hear me?”

 

A minute passed, and Jason shook his head. “Did you call Cass?”

 

Alfred gestured to the batcomputer a few feet behind them, where Batgirl’s vid-link was showing her driving her motorcycle through Gotham, on her way to the cave.

 

“Thank you,” Jason replied, his voice a little off but still loud. “Leslie?”

 

Alfred nodded in response.

 

Jason blew out a breath and ran a hand through his hair, stress radiating off of him in waves. He stood still for a moment then eyed Alfred who was watching him worriedly. A sudden sob caught his throat and Jason collapsed, Alfred barely catching him before he hit the floor of the cave. They sat there in silence after, the only sounds being Jason’s scared cries and Alfred’s soothing words to his grandson, despite the man being unable to hear a word he said.