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One Cup of Tea at a Time

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This is a bad idea.

With a sigh Bruce steers his car into the Wayne Enterprise driveway, leading up to his private parking lot. He looks at the sleeping boy on the back seat, watching his little chest rise and fall with rattling breaths.

This is a really bad idea.

But sadly, he has no other choice but to take Jason with him. The meeting he has to attend today isn’t one he can simply miss and leave Lucius to deal with on his own. He has to be there, if he wants the collaboration with the company to work out smoothly.

And as if that isn’t bad enough, Alfred has to be on vacation for the week, visiting his family in Britain. So Bruce doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. It’s either take Jason with him to work, attend the meeting and go back home as fast as possible, or leave him alone in the giant manor without anyone to take care of him. Which option he should choose isn’t really up for debate.

He unbuckles his seatbelt and exits the car. With a few quick steps he’s on the car’s other side and opens the door by Jason’s seat. He kneels down and watches his son’s flushed face with a pinch of worry. He knows it’s only the flu, but he couldn’t help but have a bout of panic when Jason wasn’t up when Bruce entered the kitchen that morning. Normally the boy would be wide awake by the time Bruce made it to the kitchen, blinding him with one of his cheeky grins and wishing him a good morning that would never fail to make Bruce’s heart fill his chest with warmth.

But today, when Bruce entered the kitchen, it was empty. Upon checking on the boy, he found him still fast asleep in his bed, huddled in his blankets and shivers wrecking his small body. Worry immediately setting in, Bruce stepped up next to Jason’s bed and found the boy’s cheeks red with fever and his mouth open to allow him to breath.

It was fairly obvious what his next course of action should be. Call in to work, inform Lucius of the situation and take care of his sick son, but he couldn’t. Not today. So instead of doing what he wanted to, he woke Jason up, helped him get ready and pepped him up as best he could.

Looking at Jason’s flushed face now, he regrets his decision bitterly, but there’s nothing he can do, except get this over with as fast as possible and take the boy back home to his bed. The fever hasn’t gone up, thankfully and the boy escaped vomiting so far. Hopefully it will stay that way and won’t get worse.

Carefully, as to not wake Jason, Bruce unbuckles him and starts to gather him in the blanket to lift him up and carry him. But to his surprise Jason wakes up at the movement – always so easy to wake, the boy – and turns his bleary eyes towards Bruce.

“C’n walk,” he mumbles as he gingerly pushes himself up from the car’s seat and onto the pavement next to Bruce. He can’t help the hand he keeps at the ready next to Jason’s small body in case he loses his balance. A soft sigh of relief escapes Bruce when he realizes that his worry seems to be unfounded. The boy stands steady and sure on his two feet and looks up at Bruce with an eager expression as if to say, what are we waiting for?

Bruce stands back up and, after folding up the blanket and picking up his suitcase and Jason’s backpack from the passenger seat, he closes the door and locks the car. Then he turns back to Jason and extends his hand.

“C’mon, let’s get this over with and hurry back home,” he says and while he hopes for Jason to take his hand, he’s still the slightest bit surprised when he does. He strokes his thumb over the small warm hand in his and they head for the elevator that leads straight to his office.

It doesn’t take long for them to reach the upper floor, but it seems to still be long enough for Jason to lean into Bruce’s side and pressing his face into the hem of his coat with a small moan.

Bruce squads down to be closer to Jason’s height and pushes some of his sweaty curls from his forehead. “You can lay down in a few seconds and sleep some more, alright?”

All he gets in response is a small nod.

The elevator pings, announcing that they reached the top floor and the doors slide open to reveal the seating area outside of his office. To their right side is his secretary’s desk, where the woman already rose from her seat, walking towards the pair.

“Good morning, Mr. Wayne,” Linda greets him with a warm smile. He returns the greeting and watches as she turns her attention to Jason. “And good morning Jason.” There’s only a small nod from Jason in acknowledgement to her words, but its already better than Bruce expected in his current condition. “I heard you’re feeling a bit under the weather today.”

With practiced ease, the elder woman guides Jason to one of the couches, Bruce following close behind. He’s glad Jason already knows Linda, else this would probably not go over as smoothly as it does. He couldn’t be more grateful for the woman at that moment. He knows Jason will be in good care with her, after all, she already took care for an ill Dick numerous times in the past. He would feel bad about adding a sick child to her workload, but she had assured him many a time now that it was no problem at all. And it’s not like he doesn’t pay for the extra work.

As Linda retreats – to give the pair some privacy, no doubt – Bruce kneels down and helps Jason get situated on the couch. “If you feel worse in any way or need anything, don’t hesitate to tell Linda.” Jason nods and huddles down into the blanket Bruce is spreading over him, tucking it in at the ends to keep the cold out. Then he turns to Jason’s backpack and unpacks the book the boy insisted on bringing with him and puts it on the coffee table. Bruce is skeptical Jason will have the energy to concentrate on reading, but Jason insisted on bringing it with him.

Bruce looks down at his watch. He’s still got some time before he has to go to the meeting, so he takes a seat on the couch next to Jason’s head and keeps brushing the raven hair with his fingers.

“You feeling okay?” he asks.

Jason nods, leaning into Bruce’s touch. “Fine.”

Bruce stifles a fond chuckle at his son’s nasal voice, clearly contradicting his preceding statement of being fine.

“How long do we have to stay here?” Jason asks.

“I’ll make it quick. Two hours maximum,” Bruce reassures him and continues to comb through Jason’s hair. There’s a soft sound from the coffee table and Bruce looks up to find Linda putting down a hot cup of tea next to the book. “Thank you.”

On her way back to her desk, she gives him a small nod and returns to her work.

“Here, drink something,” Bruce says, nudging Jason softly and reaching for the cup. After helping Jason get upright enough to take a small sip, he guides the cup to the boy’s lips. “Careful, it’s hot.”

As Jason takes a few sips from the tea, Bruce’s gaze travels back to the book on the table. An idea pops up in his head as he waits for Jason to finish.

“You want me to read to you?”

Immediately Jason nods, swallowing down the tea quickly and laying back down. Putting the tea back down and picking up the book, Bruce lets out small chuckle. He should have realized sooner that this is why Jason wanted to bring the book along.

It doesn’t take long for Jason’s soft snores to reach his ears. He continues reading for a little while longer, to make sure that the boy is truly asleep, before he closes the book and places it back on the table.

He makes sure Jason is comfortable before he stands back up and with another look at his watch heaves a soft sigh. He would rather stay here with Jason and make sure he’s okay, but the sooner he finishes that meeting, the sooner they can go home.

It’s almost a full two hours later that Bruce is able to finally leave the conference room. He quickly makes his way back to Jason, the worry that was itching under his skin during the whole meeting worsening. Considering Linda didn’t interrupt the meeting he doesn’t really have a reason to worry, but he just can’t help it.

He finds Jason still fast asleep on the couch and Linda on her desk when he returns. The secretary looks up from her computer and gives him a reassuring smile. “He slept the whole time, only woke up a few times to drink some tee. Though his fever seemed a bit higher, the last time I checked.”

“Thank you, Linda.”

As she said, Jason’s fever seems higher than before, but the boy is still asleep. Bruce puts the book back into the backpack and slips it over his right shoulder. Then he turns to Jason and after only a small moment of debate, decides to carry him back to the car instead of waking him. Taking great care to keep the blanket around Jason’s shivering form, he lifts the boy up into his arms. Despite the fact that Jason grew quite a bit in the last few months, he is still so small he's barely a weight in Bruce’s arms.

He says his goodbye to Linda and enters the elevator.

There is another ping as the door closes and Bruce curses under his breath when Jason starts to stir at the sound.

He expects Jason to protest being carried around, as he does often enough, but to his utter surprise the boy lifts his arms and winds them around Bruce’s neck, burrowing deeper into his shoulder.

“We goin’ home?” he mumbles against Bruce’s neck.

“Yeah, we’re going home,” Bruce answers, stroking Jason’s back up and down as the boy relaxes back into his touch. “Time to get you home, chum.”