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If You Really Cared For Me

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I guess that pills are more important, all you have to say is no.

 Bruce isn’t paying all that much attention to the radio as he drives through the middle of nowhere, Kansas. He thinks he can be forgiven though, he’s a little preoccupied trying to navigate through this nightmare of a cornfield and referee the fight between Tim and Damian that Dick was refereeing but has now become involved in by taking his own side.  So Jason turning the sound up doesn’t register as anything more than his second eldest trying to drown out his siblings.

Curse Alfred for calling dibs on his quieter children.

He’s already threatened to turn the car around so he’s about to very calmly shout at his children to please for the love of Alfred’s homemade pie shut up, when Jason casually unlocks the door and jumps out of the moving vehicle.

He slams on the breaks hard enough for the seatbelts to lock up. As he fumbles to get his off, he can hear the worried shouts of his other children. Finally he manages to get the blasted thing off and manages to shout at them to, “Stay put.”  

 

You gave everything you had plus your life to them pill bottles

He manages to catch a snippet of the song playing as he jerks the door open and he freezes in alarm. As he dashes out of the car, he snaps, “Turn that off.”

Dick scrambles into the front seats, but Bruce doesn’t stay to watch. His eldest can handle the startled younger ones, Jason... Jason has a very specific way of dealing with hurt, and only himself to deal it out to.

Cornfields truly are of the devil. The corn leaves cut at his exposed skin, shredding it. Thankfully it’s not hard to find Jason. Even if his scent wasn’t thick like fog in the air, his half strangled sobs cut through Bruce like a knife. He stumbles upon his son curled up and bloody, half hidden by the stalks. Massive though he might be, Jason looks so tiny as he pulls his lips back to bare his teeth.

Bruce backs up a foot or so and crouches down, doing his best to project a calming scent. Maybe he should have sent Dick or Tim instead, he knows that Jason is alway more volatile in his presence. “I just want to be sure you’re okay. You jumped out of a car, Jason.”

“Trapped.” The omega drops his threatening snarl and gasps wetly. “It was... I was...”  

The words dissolve into heavy sobs as Bruce dives forward to pull Jason up into his arms.His heart is torn to shreds by the omega, but he can’t help the part of himself that relaxes at the solid, breathing weight. Every time he has Jason in his arms, he can’t help but remember the much smaller, more broken body he’d cradled close. He compares the two, reminding himself that the now is real. Jason is here. “It’s okay, It’s okay.”

“It’s stupid.” Jason hisses. “She’s been dead more than half my life, I was dead. It shouldn’t, I shouldn’t—“

“She was your mother. You’re allowed to grieve.” Bruce murmurs, stroking his back. “You’ll probably miss her the rest of your life, and it’s okay to do that.”

“She wasn’t though, my mother.” Jason swipes at his eyes. “Sheila was.”

“Catherine loved you in the best way she knew how.” Bruce murmurs, holding tighter and trying desperately to say something Sheila that he’ll regret later. His son doesn’t need to listen to him rip into his birth mother, regardless of whether or not it’s true. “Whether she birthed you or not, she was your mother.”

He’s always done his best to not badmouth his children’s birth parents. Both Dick and Duke had excellent, loving parents, and it’s his hope that Duke will someday get his back. The Drakes weren’t physically abusive at least, though they were sickeningly neglectful. Talia... has had her redeeming qualities sometimes. Cass and Jason both had the scum of the earth.

But Cass, while unerringly loyal, has never seemed to place much stock in blood and has taken to the pack like a fish in water. Jason, on the other hand has always seemed to struggle with idea that he can belong to a family without some obligation forcing the others to accept him. They were making okay progress when he was younger, but of course his death destroyed any progress that they’d made.

That his birth mother traded his life to try to save hers certainly doesn’t help things.

So Bruce presses another kiss to Jason’s curls and rocks gently. If he could, even if it meant he would never get to have his son, Bruce would bring Catherine back. He wishes more than anything that he could spare his children the pain of losing a loved one to death. “Sheila didn’t deserve you.”

“Cath—Mama was... she was sick.” Jason insists, gripping the fabric at Bruce’s sides. Since the day they met, Jason has always been quick to defend Catherine’s addiction. “It wasn’t her fault.”

“It wasn’t her fault. Your mom was very sick, and she didn’t have the help she needed.” Bruce agrees, lifting Jason’s face a little so he can press their foreheads together. The pressure should offer him a grounding point along with comfort. “It wasn’t your fault either, Jason.

The omega jerks back with a heart splitting whine. Jason grabs at his own arms before Bruce can stop him, digging his nails into a cut until more blood seeps down his arms. For once he isn’t even tryingto bluff a brave face. Instead naked pain twists through every part of his body. “I just can’t help but think... would she have stopped if I was hers? Maybe I just didn’t do enough. If I’d stayed awake that night—“

Is this what Alfred felt when he was trying to convince Bruce it wasn’t because he’d chosen pearls that night his parents died?

“Shh.” He soothes, grabbing Jason’s hands and holding them tightly. He presses gentle kisses to his son’s bruised knuckles before pulling him in close. “There’s nothing you could have done, Jason. You’re not responsible for her actions.”

“I bought it for her. Maybe if I hadn’t?” Jason chokes slightly. “I... her dealer was the first alpha I... I didn’t know what else to do. She kept getting what she couldn’t afford and he was going to hurt her.”

“You did your best.” He reassures, stamping his anger at the situation far down. There’s no doubt in his mind that Catherine loved Jason, that she did her best, but sometimes your best isn’t good enough. Jason should have been removed from her care years before she died, if only long enough for her to go through rehab.  “Sometimes all you can do is your best.”

“She needed me.” Jason rasps out. “She needed me and I was asleep. I was curled against her and she was cold, but it was cold. I didn’t know she was gone at first. I made her breakfast.”

”I’m sorry, Jason. I’m sorry baby.” Bruce repeats over and over because he simply doesn’t know what else to say. All of his children have been there to see their parents die, and he wishes more than anything he could have prevented it. This is more than Jason’s ever shared before and his heart his breaking anew for his boy. “I’m so sorry.”

 Jason slowly calms, giving only the occasional sniffle. Bruce sits there, just holding him, for a few more minutes. Eventually, with one son calmed, his worry starts to fixate on the others. Gently he stands, cradling the omega close to his chest. He’s so much heavier than the last time; he’s breathingthis time.

Bruce savors the few steps he manages before Jason is squirming free and to the ground. He chuckles as the omega straightens his clothes with a grumble. “Listen, B. Thanks an’ all, but there is no way I’m letting you carry me back like some damsel.”

“Duly noted.” Bruce nods, walking alongside Jason as he methodically removes any evidence of his tears. “But for the record, your brothers aren’t going to care. They’re very worried about you.”

“Bruce...” Jason gives him a baleful look. “I just jumped out of a moving car. Sure they’re worried now, but give it a couple hours and I’m never going to hear the end of it.”

“Hmmm.” Bruce considers that, slinging an arm over Jason’s shoulder because his alpha instincts insist on keeping his son close. It’s true his other children seem to enjoy ribbing Jason for his dramatics, though it’s honestly incredibly hypocritical. “Tell you what, if they try to make fun of you I can bring up their own dramatics. I think you’ve broken far less furniture.”

“Yeah?” Jason’s voice is small in a way that it hasn’t been since his death.

Bruce tightens his arm briefly. “Yeah. All three of them start throwing things when they get angry to prove a point. Plus you have the most normal suit. Discowing is most certainly a dramatic statement if I’ve ever seen one, and Nightwing isn’t much better. Red Robin has the black cowl and feathered cape. Damian has a katana that he’s not actually allowed to use on people.”

Jason perks up with every step until he’s nearly swaggering. He climbs up into the seat, allowing all three of his present siblings to scent mark him. He doesn’t give them the opportunity to make fun of him, hissing that he’s willing to go through on a lot of threats if this incident is ever brought up again.

Dick meets Bruce’s eyes over the omega’s head and Bruce does his best to communicate the situation to his second. The younger alpha pulls a mournful expression and then pulls Jason to the back seat to smother him with the help of Tim. Damian, now in the passenger seat, takes control of the car’s music through his phone and the car’s Bluetooth.

The rest of the drive is almost pleasant. When they reach the Kent farm, he gets another brief hug from Jason while they unpack.

If he quietly preens afterwards, only Clark is there to see. 

 

Some say it's fun to get the high but I am not laughing