“Are you sure about this?” Jason asked and all Bruce wanted to say was ‘No absolutely not, let’s go home again and fall asleep in the living room in front of the TV’.
But that wouldn’t stop Jason’s nightmares, wouldn’t keep him from waking up screaming and shattering every object in vicinity. He needed the training if he wanted to move on.
(If he ever could. Bruce still had a hard time falling asleep. He kept seeing the warehouse explode right in front of his eyes, kept hearing the Joker’s taunts about dead little birds. How was Jason supposed to keep living when he’d died? How was his son supposed to move on when the Joker was still alive when all Bruce wanted to do was-)
“It’ll be fine, Jason. I’ve known Zatanna basically all my life and Jason Blood and John Constantine are experts on all things occult. They’ve… interacted with many necromancers over the years. I wouldn’t trust them with your training otherwise.”
Jason didn’t look convinced. His green eyes (they used to be blue, the kind of shade that romance novels wrote entire paragraphs about. Bruce had thought the space taken up by those descriptions had been wasted, but now all he wanted to see again was blue, blue, blue) darted to the part of the gardens where John Constantine’s house was currently floating above Bruce’s roses.
“You mean Blood's killed plenty of necromancers,” Jason muttered. “I did my research. They all go mad after a while, the more often they die, the more likely they are to become brainless zombies. I already- I mean-“
Jason’s hands began to shake and Bruce reacted on pure instinct. He put one of his hands on Jason’s shoulder, grounding him, while he reached into his pocket with the other, pulling out his keychain. Nowadays, Jason used Bruce’s fidget cube more often than Bruce himself. He had a hard time keeping track of his own belongings (the new ones, the things bought after-), so Bruce had adapted to having the most essential items on hand.
“Deep breaths, Jaylad. Count to ten. It’s September 15th, a Monday. You’re sixteen years old. Dick came over yesterday and we played Mario Kart all day. Today’s your first day of school.”
Jason began to laugh, light, and dry. It sounded more like he was trying not to choke on tears. But at least he was laughing again. It was better than the screaming or the crying (or the silent hours spent staring at his son’s-).
“I already talked to Zatanna and Blood about your curriculum.”
At length. He had discussed everything from what books they’d use to what side-effects the spells they’d practice with Jason could have. As much as he trusted his Dark Justice League with his own well-being in the face of magic, he hardly trusted himself with his son these days.
“Of course you did,” Jason mumbled.
“They’ll start with theoretical lessons and mediation first. Then move on to practical lessons.”
Slowly Bruce and Jason got began to walk towards the flying house. Jason was still holding onto Bruce, his fingers lingering on Bruce’s wrist, right where he could tell Bruce’s pulse. He was good at that now. Picking out where you could feel the pulse, knowing how the body worked in great detail and so on.
“Like what? Raising the dead 101?”
“Basic magical disciplines,” Bruce replied. “If you’re going to be Gotham’s magical expert, you can’t just focus on your own craft.”
Jason stopped dead in his tracks. “Wait, what?”
Bruce continued on. If he stopped now, he wouldn’t be able to let his son go, even if it was just for one morning, every day from nine until three like an average school day.
“Well, now that Robin’s real magic, we can’t just let you be average, can we? You have to make up for Batman’s utter lack of magical skill.”
Jason stared at him in disbelief. “You really think so?”
There was no doubt that Jason was meant for greatness. And if greatness were only that his son would start feeling alive again, then Bruce would be content.