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the world after

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They don’t like to let him out of their sight.

And he likes to remind them that he has survived for a very long time on his own before they ever came along in what remains of what should have been rightfully the end of the world. But Jason still relents when he finally runs out of gasoline and pushing his motorcycle for another mile (or five or six) has him thinking thoughts of murder in a world that barely has anyone left in it for him to kill.

So, he lets Bizarro pick up his motorcycle from the dirt road hidden beneath all that sand and starts walking after Artemis who has already went ahead of them.

“Bizarro like when Red Him rely on Bizarro.”

Jason can’t help but smile, ducking his head and letting the red rim of his hoodie hide his eyes. “I owe you one, big guy.”

Bizarro just gives him the biggest grin as he hoists the motorcycle a little bit higher on his shoulder, taking wider strides with Jason next to him as they try to catch up to Artemis.

She stands, looking impatient and unflinching as the sharp desert wind whips the length of her red hair through the air.

And it is often at singular moments like these that has Jason registering the world might actually be a better place. When the oceans have gone nearly dry, and with it, resources going downright scarce, those that do survive live in what can be considered peaceful coexistence while most men die. In the war that men started, this is more than fair when the aftermath is the survival of metahumans that have zero inclination to repeat the mistakes of men.

“I do not understand why you always insist on turning us down even though it is far more efficient to ask for our help.” Artemis points out, glancing to Jason’s bike that perches lightly atop Bizarro’s shoulders. The reverse-engineered Kryptonian not breaking a sweat even under the sweltering sun.

Jason deliberately doesn’t follow her gaze to answer: “I think we call that pride, Artemis.”

“What a silly thing you humans like to hold on to.” She scoffs, handing over the map she has no inclination of following.

Jason laughs because admitting to his flaws has always been an excruciating thing, but this isn’t that. This is Jason learning to become someone deserving of them both. “Nah, it’s really more of a men’s thing.”

Maybe this only happens when the earth starts anew. Fire torching it all the way down to the roots.

Jason Todd has no idea how he survived the end of the world, he is just glad he did when he takes the map from Artemis’ hands and goes looking for what he is pretty sure he's already found.