Damian slips into the Cave, carefully eyeing the others gathered there as they move through their daily tasks. All appears to be well, with no unusual displays of concern or alarm. He begins to relax, his pulse slowing as he gradually realizes his qualms were for nothing. Clearly no one suspects a thing. He smirks, glancing around the Cave again as he moves to change into his uniform. Grayson and Todd are sparring, Drake is hunched over the computer as usual, and Father…
Is missing. Damian’s eyes widen an instant before a large hand clamps down on his shoulder.
“Where were you earlier this evening?” The deep growl of the alpha, the Bat, is present in Father’s voice. Damian twists in his grasp, jaw clenching as he squares off against him. The others stop what they’re doing and turn, tensely awaiting the imminent confrontation.
This is exactly what he had been trying to avoid. He knew it wasn’t safe to meet in Gotham, and yet…! Jon with his damnably blue eyes is apparently far too convincing for Damian’s wellbeing. “I was merely studying at the library—”
“Don’t lie to me!” Father thunders, causing Drake to jump as he stares, wide-eyed from his position by the computer. “I grew concerned when you did not return after your school let out, so I tracked you down via traffic cameras and saw you with that boy.”
“Holy shit,” Todd whispers gleefully. He crosses his arms over his chest, grinning. “Where the fuck’s the popcorn? Timbo, go get me some popcorn.”
“Screw you,” Drake mutters without heat, scoffing.
“Gross! That’s fuckin’ sick, Baby Bird.” Todd laughs out loud as Drake rolls his eyes in visible disgust at his crude joke. Grayson stifles a snort at their immature antics before turning worried eyes to the tableau of Damian facing off against the leader of their Pack.
“Dami…” The older omega takes a small step toward them, clearly wishing to intervene before either one says something which can’t be taken back. “B, Damian’s eighteen now. There’s nothing wrong with him dating—”
Father growls, obviously not planning to be talked down. “Jonathan Kent is an alpha with super-strength and I refuse to trust him with my son.”
Grayson opens his mouth, hands clenching into fists, and Damian will not allow his romantic life to become the topic of a family fight. He narrows his eyes. At least, not just his romantic life. “Todd is allowed his paramour and—and Drake has been dating the Clone!” He raises a brow and smirks as he awaits the fallout of that little revelation.
Across the Cave, Drake chokes on the popcorn he and Todd somehow managed to procure and then nearly falls out of his chair as Todd wallops him obligingly on the back. “Oh shit,” the small omega gasps, shrinking back as Bruce slowly turns his furious, protective alpha attention on him. “Damian, you suck.”
“Tim,” Bruce growls. “You have three seconds.”
Tim purses his mouth and thinks on it. “It was an accident?” he offers.
Damian snorts. “It was not! An accident implies that it was unintentional when there was nothing but intention when you and that Clone were fornicating in the—”
Dick slaps his hand over Damian’s mouth, muffling his indignant cries. “You’re welcome,” he tells Tim.
Bruce stares, apparently unable to quite believe what he just heard. He shakes his head. “Neither of you are leaving this Cave without one of your brothers as an escort until you turn thirty.”
“NO!” Tim is surprised to hear both himself and Damian yell at the same time. His youngest brother shoots him a small glare, clearly deeply indignant at being in agreement with him for once, but Tim ignores it. Right now, he needs to get Bruce to listen to him, not fight with the twerp.
Then of course, Damian has to ruin it by talking. “I assure you, Father, that Jon has been treating me with nothing but the most courteous and pure intentions, unlike Drake and his filthy inamorato—”
“You take that back!” Tim cries, irritated at the implications. “Bruce, if you must know, we used protection and Kon was a perfect gentlema—”
“Stop,” Bruce orders, his voice Batman’s as he rubs the spot between his eyes.”I do not want to hear anymore about my sons’ sex lives. For now, the both of you will keep your contact with those alpha boys to a minimum—limited only to Titans’ business for you, Tim—while I conduct the necessary investigations, interrogations, and—”
Okay, no. It will take weeks before Bruce is thoroughly satisfied, weeks. If he ever does give his permission, which isn’t exactly likely considering his standards. “But, Bruce—”
“Yo, B,” Jason says, taking this opportunity to chime in. “You ever wonder how freaky and controlling it sounds that you’re so heavy-handed in your adult kids’ romantic lives?”
Huh. Jason is actually being helpful. Well, that’s a nice change of pace. Then again, he definitely has a horse in this race too. If there’s one thing the older omega is good at, it’s irritating Bruce enough to make the man just throw up his hands and back off out of sheer exasperation.
“Exactly!” Tim quickly jumps in, calculations running through his mind. “Even Lex and Clark handled it better than you’re doing!” There. That will definitely give the alpha pause. If nothing else, it may redirect him into a diatribe against Luthor for being, well, Luthor, and Clark for not telling him as soon as he found out the news about their relationship himself.
He feels a moment’s compunction for throwing poor Clark under the bus like that, but it fades quickly. After all, he wants to be able to see Kon tonight, not six years from now when he hits thirty and B finally relaxes his ridiculous rules.
“What!” Bruce thunders. “Clark knew? Lex Luthor knew?”
“Clark found out sooner than planned, sure,” and in a very embarrassing manner at that, “but he’s been nothing but supportive. As for Lex, he figured it out and gave his full approval.”
Tim pointedly fails to mention that Clark found out because of his super-hearing being super-invasive during Tim’s six month anniversary date with Kon. There are some things he has no desire to recall, much less tell Bruce.
“And—and just how long have they known!? Clark is bad enough—I’ll be having words with him about keeping this from me—but Lex Luthor, a business rival? A supervillain? Unacceptable!” Bruce scowls darkly, huge arms folded over his chest in a very forbidding manner.
Tim throws up his hands. “See, this is why we didn’t want to tell you! Why can’t you be like a normal parental figure for once, and just—”
“Why can’t the two of you be like Dick?!” Bruce exclaims with irritation. “Dick’s the eldest of you and he isn’t seeing anyone! Emulate your oldest brother!”
Silence. Jason snorts.
Oh boy, Dick thinks. Not that it’s a secret to anyone but the big ol’ Bat, but... This is as good an opportunity as any to come clean, isn’t it? He’s got to support his little brothers, too. There’s no way he’s going to leave them facing an overprotective Batdad on their own, not when he can do something to take some of the heat off them. It’s now or never. “Actually—”
“No.” It’s a little hilarious really to watch the Batman moan in disbelief. Of course Dick has to continue. “So, you know that Babs and I have been hanging out a lot right? And, well, Bludhaven isn’t Gotham, so Wally could visit whenever he pleased—”
“This is unfair,” Tim slumps where he stands. “Kon and I had to plan months, months ahead for every single meeting, and Wally just waltzes in—”
Damian tt-s in agreement. His face suggests irritation, possibly at the fact he had to agree with Tim, of all people. Whatever, Dick’s learned to take what he can get when it comes to those two. The fact that they’re agreeing on anything at all is something to celebrate, really.
Bruce turns to his last son, opens his mouth to complain, then stops as he clearly recalls he not only knows of Jason’s longtime arrangement with Roy but has, in fact, gone out of his way to support it. The things the man will do to get one up on Ollie… It’s a bit sad, but Dick can’t complain when he’s well on his way to establishing himself as Lian’s Best Uncle™ alongside Bruce’s bid for Best Grandpa™. Looking more than a little constipated, all Bruce manages is a somewhat strangled, desperate, “Jason?” He gazes at the one son who, for once, he clearly hopes against hope has not disobeyed him. It probably also helps that Roy is an omega as well, and not a terrible alpha who could hurt his precious baby boy.
But who is he kidding, this is Jason. Dick sits back and waits to see how this will pan out. He hears a loud crunch and glances over to see Tim has retrieved the popcorn and is enjoying it while watching the show. Mmm, popcorn… He makes grabby hands and then grins in delight when his little brother tosses a few pieces into the air for him to catch in his mouth.
Jason just laughs, long and loud. “Who, me? Did you think I would be shacking up with Roy and Kori for years now only to keep it completely G-rated?” Bruce jerks in shock and his right eye begins to twitch in an alarming manner. Jason grins like a bastard, because of course he does. “No way. And yeah, Roy’s not the only one, I’m dating an alpha meta too. Sorry to disappoint,” he says with a shit-eating grin, not looking sorry at all.
Bruce lets out a choked noise faintly reminiscent of a cat coughing up a hairball.
“You weren’t nearly this bad when Cass announced she was dating Steph, or when Jason announced he was dating Roy,” Tim mutters mutinously. “Sexist much? Unless you’re so backwards that you honestly think just because they lack certain equipment, they can’t—”
“Enough!” Bruce interrupts, just going to prove that he is indeed the killer of fun they’ve always suspected him of being. “Stephanie is an approved operative under Barbara’s jurisdiction, and isn’t liable to compromise her partner. I would have expressed just as much concern had Cass chosen to associate with anyone implicitly untrustworthy and potentially dangerous.”
The big alpha frowns, possibly realizing a little too late he has just insulted the chosen partners of all his sons. Or maybe he’s just constipated—with Bruce, it can be difficult to tell the difference.
Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Not that Jason will admit he cares about standing up for the lil’ bros just like ol’ Dickie, the big softie, but Kori deserves as much respect as Roy, instead of being kept on the side like some dirty little secret. So. He’d planned to tell at some point anyways, and now is as good a time as any. Definitely not just because he wants to help out his little brothers and keep B from making a gigantic ass of himself. Well, more than usual for him anyway. He snorts.
Bonus points for helping his brothers give Batman an aneurysm. Or rather, have his brothers help him give Batman an aneurysm. He pauses, struck by a brilliant idea.
Jason feels his own lips stretch into a wide grin. “Yo, B!”
The man gives him a wary look, clearly recognizing the current expression on his face and not trusting it in the slightest. Smart guy. Still doomed. “Yes?”
“How many clones and Tims does it take to change a lightbulb?”
To his delight, Bruce looks pained, and so does the Replacement, who freezes, blushing. Whatever, soon he’ll realize this is for his own good. “Jason—”
“None, ‘cos they’re all too busy screwing in the mansion attic!”
Tim groans and covers his face, muttering promises of vengeance. Jason’s not worried; as soon as Timmy catches on to his plan he’ll be forgiving. Probably. Whatever, it’ll be worth it. Baby Bird will forgive him for outing his favorite local hookup spot with his boyfriend once Bruce caves under the onslaught and grants them all free reign. Then those two horny little fuckers will be able to screw to their hearts’ content in Tim’s actual bed for once.
He and his back will definitely be thanking Jason later.
Dread falls upon Goldie’s expression too, as he realises what Jason’s about to do. Demon Brat’s still smirking at his predecessor, enjoying Tim’s discomfiture and not realizing the implications of Jason’s words.
He’s about to.
“Why did Jon Kent cross the road?”
Oh, to watch the brat’s eyes widen in alarm. Kid needs to lighten up. And if Jason manages to both show B he’s being a hidebound asshole about all this and teach the brat about having a sense of humor, well damn. That’s a goddamn accomplishment right there. “Todd—” He sounds horrified, and appears half-disbelieving that Jason’s actually going to roast him as well.
Jason waggles his eyebrows ridiculously. “To suck face with your son right under your nose!”
Good, now Dickiebird is too busy trying to stop Baby Bat from reaching for his katana to prevent what’s gonna happen next. Excellent. And Tim’s muffling laughter, watching Damian sputtering curses and Bruce looking increasingly like he just wants to flee the room and forget he ever had children in the first place. Well, that’s sure as hell better than looking like he wants to weld chastity belts onto all of them and call it a day.
“A Golden Boy and a Wally West walk into a bar— oh wait, they don’t, they’re too busy screwing in the Batmobile!” Okay, that one was a little mean. But he deserves it, damn it! No one should ever walk up to the fogged-up window of a motionless Batmobile, worried that one of his brothers might be injured or worse inside, and unexpectedly see that.
This is Jason’s just revenge.
“JASON!” Ooh, Dickie looks pissed. Good thing his temper is explosive but short-lived, and he still has his hands full with containing a furious Damian. By the time that little situation calms down, he’ll probably be in a more reasonable mood.
“Lalala, can’t hear you—” Annnnddd that is Timbo plugging his ears and singing loudly in denial. Sweet music to Jason’s ears. If he had to suffer catching Dick doing unspeakable things in the Batmobile with his lover, it’s only right to share the horror.
As for the old man, well. Jason hasn’t seen him look this stunned and haunted in his life and un-life, and that’s saying something. He cackles aloud. Damn, this day turned out way the hell more entertaining than he’d expected.
“You didn’t know any of that, did you? Oh man, and they call you the world’s greatest detective! You’d be a grandpa six times over by now if it wasn’t for all the Bat-precautions your kids take.” Thinking about a surly, shell-shocked Bruce surrounded by wailing babies, Jason dissolves into peals of laughter.
Hell, he kinda wants to see it now. He’d pay good money to watch the goddamn Batman attempting to change a messy diaper.
Damian sputters in horror at the implications, blushing, and Dick snorts, apparently unable to hold onto his anger at the hilarious mental image summoned by Jason’s words. Tim snickers, then tosses Jason some popcorn in a show of forgiveness for him embarrassing them all in his attempt to wear down B’s stubborn resistance using every weapon at his disposal.
He snaps the popcorn out of the air and chomps on it. Mmm! The next one bounces off his forehead, and then a third nails him on the nose, hard. Okay, maybe not forgiveness exactly, but whatever. Close enough.
Anyway, now it’s up to B. Hopefully, Jason’s managed to shake him from his stubborn stance with his ridiculous nonsense. If not… He scowls. Whatever, the younger brats can come meet their boyfriends at his safehouses if it comes down to that. There’s no way he’s going to let Bruce’s pigheadedness ruin anyone’s life.
But it’s not because he’s protective of them or anything. He just likes to stick it to the Bat. He nods, scowling. That’s definitely all it is.
Bruce finds himself at a loss for words, still trying to process the magnitude of the evening’s revelations. Not one, not two, but all of his omega sons are secretly dating alphas. And not merely run-of-the-mill civilian, baseline-human alphas, but metas. Thank goodness for Jason, at least showing a modicum of sense in his choosing of Roy—and not just because it gets Oliver’s goat, either. Still, the fact that Oliver hasn’t shown any concern over his eldest being involved with an overpowered space alien isn’t ideal, but Bruce has long known that the man is far from what anyone of intelligence would call acceptable parent material.
Not that any of that changes the fact that Bruce’s boys are romantically entangled with people who could snap them like twigs if they so choose. Or become compromised and cause devastating injuries or worse while mind-controlled or subverted in some manner.
This is intolerable.
He needs to put an end to the danger immediately. All of his protective instincts rage against allowing his boys to continue to put themselves so horrendously at risk. Surely, they could simply subvert their… youthful urges… into increased training? Maybe a nightly round of soothing meditation…
But as he glances around the room and takes in their expressions, his train of thought grinds to a halt. Damian and Tim are standing a few feet apart, both looking uncharacteristically vulnerable and unsure. Dick is standing slightly closer, looking back over his shoulder at his younger brothers with a deeply worried expression on his normally cheerful face.
Jason is the only one who is looking at Bruce. Though “looking” perhaps isn’t quite the right word—he’s glaring at him as though positive he is about to open his mouth and catastrophically fail at parenting.
Well. Perhaps, just this once, he can attempt to do better. Take care of his children’s wellbeing while also at least trying to understand and accommodate them. His eyes narrow. After all, the last thing he needs is any of them fleeing to the arms of their still-untrustworthy paramours to escape his tyranny like ingenues in a gothic novel.
His lips twitch into a faint smile. Jason looks immediately worried, Tim calculating, Damian bewildered but attempting to conceal it, and Dick grins back, bright but watchful. “Then… I suppose we will have to invite all of your… partners… over for dinner this weekend. To get to know them better,” he forces himself to grind out.
“Wait, really?” Tim sounds stunned.
Jason eyes him suspiciously. “You’re not gonna interrogate them, are you? I’m not bringin’ my mates over here to let you give ‘em a hard time.”
Bruce mentally recalculates when he should interrogate Jason’s partners. Perhaps he can get them alone during a joint mission with the Justice League at some point, or pay them an impromptu visit on their island. “No, of course not,” he replies.
Damian eyes him carefully before slowly nodding. “In that case, perhaps Jon would be amenable. I shall convey a list of his favorite dishes to Alfred.”
“That sounds like a great idea, then!” Dick drapes an arm over Damian and Tim’s shoulders, hugging his little brothers close and offering comfort as they all begin to relax and chatter amongst themselves while Jason resumes his brotherly teasing.
Bruce smirks. He has a great deal of research to do, surveillance to set up, and contingencies to put into place to protect his precious boys… but it’s worth it, to see them all so happy. As long as their chosen partners continue to treat them well, he will refrain from intervening substantially.
Still, they’re vigilantes, and nothing ever goes quite according to plan. The sooner he gets those contingencies ready the better. He’s going to need a lot of Kryptonite.
As he watches, Damian flushes faintly and attempts to hide his besotted smile, clearly thinking about the younger Kent boy. Bruce has never seen that look on his youngest son’s face before.
He’s surprised to find he’s actually looking forward to this. Perhaps it won’t be so bad after all.
Jason’s loud voice crashes through his peaceful reverie like a wrecking ball. “Fuck yeah, me and Kori and Roy are gonna christen all the couches in the library this weekend!”
“Disgusting, Todd! That is unsanitary!” Damian looks suitably appalled.
Tim shrugs, raising a brow. “You do you, I guess, but I wouldn’t risk it. Oracle has cameras all over this Manor even B doesn’t know about. You really want to hand her that kind of blackmail material?”
Dick looks suddenly uncomfortable. “Wait, all over the Manor? Uh… What about the den? And the hallway in the east wing? And the pantry, the conservatory, the second office, that bathroom on the main floor with the huge tub…” He gives a sheepish grin as his brothers all give him judgemental looks.
Bruce facepalms. For the first time in his long and vaunted career as a detective, he’s discovering there are some things he really doesn’t need to know.