Jason was lying in bed, eyes still closed and his mind in that fuzzy state halfway between sleep and wakefulness, trying to puzzle out what had woken him – it had been neither his alarm nor Alfred, but he still thought something had to have pulled him out of his sleep too early – when he felt the strangest sensation trickle through him.
It was like bubbles popping inside a carbonated drink or butterflies fluttering against a net – something light but frequent tapping on his insides, though it was strangely only located…
“Oh,” Jason breathed, eyes flying open as he realised what was happening, “you moving around in there?”
Of course there was no answer to his question but Jason still felt the strangest urge to pull back the covers so he could look at his stomach as if he might somehow see the baby moving around that way already. Instead of doing so however he remained still, only letting his hands wander to lay down on the bump – he didn’t want to scare the baby into stopping by moving too much after all.
Now that he was concentrating on it he really could feel movement inside him – which was strange in a way, but also absolutely exhilarating, because that was his baby moving about and actually doing things – and dear god, but Jason felt tears prickle at the corner of his eyes, though there was also a big, stupid grin on his face.
He didn’t know how often he could have this realization, but once again it hit him that there was an actual little human being growing inside him, a little person that was now big and active enough to be felt by him.
“You’re a wonder, sweetheart,” he said quietly, sitting up oh-so-carefully, only moving far enough so he could properly look down at his ever expanding belly.
Reaching out a hand he grabbed his phone from the nightstand, shooting off a quick text to Roy. This was something he wanted to share with his boyfriend, even if he couldn’t be here physically.
The phone was barely halfway back to the nightstand before it was vibrating with an incoming call, and Jason couldn’t help but smile even wider as he swiped to answer and Roy’s excited voice was immediately sounding from the device.
“Is it still moving? What does it feel like? I could sneak down to the zeta and come over, I’m sure no one would even notice if I-“
“Roy,” Jason broke in, stopping the excited flood of words. “Breathe or you’re gonna hyperventilate.”
“Sorry,” Roy answered after a few seconds, sounding a little sheepish but no less eager, “this is just-”
“Exciting? Amazing? Terrifying? Yeah, I get it.”
“I wish I could be there with you,” Roy said wistfully, and Jason had to close his eyes for a moment from the feeling of sheer longing that was washing over him.
“Me too,” he answered truthfully, both of them falling silent for long moments.
It wasn’t like they weren’t seeing each other often; after Roy had been released from rehab a little over a week ago he’d actually been to Gotham nearly daily and they both understood why Roy moving into the Manor right away wouldn’t have been a smart decision, and yet - the heart wanted what it wanted.
“Is the baby still moving?” Roy asked eventually, and Jason was sure the impossibly big smile that came to his face when he answered “Yeah, quite a bit actually” was obvious in his voice.
“What does it feel like?”
“Like-” Jason began, searching for the right words to describe this totally new sensation which was quickly becoming one of the best things he’d ever felt in his life, “-like that swoop in your gut you get just as you jump from a skyscraper,” he finally settled on, receiving a huff of laughter from Roy in response.
“So our baby is like an adrenaline rush,” he said, sounding amused. “Sounds about right.”
“What else did you expect a mix of our genes to turn out like?” Jason asked, lying back down and closing his eyes, letting himself pretend that Roy was right there next to him in bed. “Mundane isn’t really in our vocabulary.”
“You might have a point there, Jaybird,” Roy answered with a laugh, and judging by the rustling Jason heard in the background he was also settling down in bed again.
“I think they can hear me talking,” Jason said, his free hand absently running across his belly as the fluttering inside picked up once again. “Feels like they move more when I talk. I could put you on speakerphone, see if the baby can hear you too.”
“Hi sweetheart,” Roy began when Jason had done so, and Jason could hear so many emotions at once in Roy’s voice he was barely able to identify them all – there was awe and wonder and happiness, all of them so intense it took Jason’s breath away.
“It’s your daddy out here. I don’t know if you can hear me, but I want you to know that I love you so, so much. You’re the best surprise of my life and I’m already so excited to finally meet you, little bean. Everyone is. Your grandparents talk about you all the time. They started watching online knitting classes to make shoes and hats for you themselves. The first ones are…well let’s just say it’s a good thing they still have a few months until you’re here, but they’re improving. And just last week…”
Listening to Roy talk with such pure adoration and obvious excitement Jason felt like the luckiest guy on the planet. After all their ups and downs over the last few months they had made it to this point where they were all just happy and safe and everything was coming together finally.
Yes, Roy was still working on managing his addiction and they were both trying to figure out what their life would look like in the future, but everything was under control right now and in some way Jason felt for the first time like they were a real, little family.
He absolutely loved it.
“I think the baby’s back asleep,” Jason said after what must’ve been a good ten minutes of Roy just talking to their child. The fluttering had actually stopped some time earlier, but he hadn’t wanted to interrupt his boyfriend – he quite liked listening to Roy talk, especially when he sounded so unabashedly happy.
“Little one seemed to really enjoy listening to you – got all wiggly when you started talking about that new foam arrow you’re designing.”
“Really? Aww, our baby’s going to be a little genius engineer, Jaybird!”
“Probably,” Jason agreed with a smile, deactivating the speakerphone and taking the phone back up to his ear, “it’s your kid after all.”
“Yeah, but it’s also yours. So maybe we’ll have a little bookworm who loves theatre just as much as you do.”
“Hmm, wouldn’t that be nice. Someone who actually enjoys listening to me ramble about Shakespeare and Austen and Bradbury besides Alfie.”
“Hey now, I enjoy listening to you, too. Those books make me fall asleep when I try to read them, but when you talk about them, I can listen for hours, Jaybird. I’d be thrilled if our little bean turns into as much of a nerd as you.”
“When did you come up with ‘little bean’?” Jason asked, barely suppressing a laugh. “Is that really the nickname you want to give our kid?”
“Why, don’t you like it? I’ve just been reading a little about how babies are made and develop, you know, and in the early stages they kind of look like beans, so…it seemed fitting.”
That was actually pretty sweet and Jason didn’t truly have anything against the nickname, but-
“Reading about how babies are made, huh? I think we managed that quite well on our own.”
“Oh shut up, you know what I mean.”
“Sure, sure. You were just innocently surfing the web in search for baby facts and whatever popped up popped up. Found out anything interesting?”
“A couple things actually,” Roy answered with a huff, though Jason could tell his boyfriend was amused rather than annoyed at the teasing. “For example, foetal movement is most often felt early in the morning or late at night at this developmental stage, because the carrier is more likely to notice in a relaxed state.”
“Hmm, that is indeed very interesting,” Jason agreed, pitching his voice as serious as possible despite the grin still on his face. “I stand corrected then – you’d never look up anything other than scientific facts, of course.”
“Here’s another scientific fact for you,” Roy went on, and Jason absolutely loved how easily his boyfriend just went with him here – banter had always been a hallmark of their relationship, even before they’d become a couple. “Apparently, pregnancy hormones oftentimes cause an increased libido. Say Jaybird, are you by any chance so interested in talking about making babies because you’re, well how should I put this, interested in repeating the process?”
“A very bold assumption for you to make.”
“That’s not a No I’m hearing.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Jason mused, “so where does that leave us?”
“Seeing as I played my part in getting you pregnant, it would only be fair if I helped you out with this, wouldn’t it?” Roy asked, trying to sound thoughtful and serious even though Jason could hear the cheeky grin in his voice clear as day across the line.
“It would only be fair,” Jason agreed, matching Roy’s tone. “And luckily I still have some time before I have to get up for school,” he tacked on after a quick glance at his clock - it was still pretty early.
“Excellent!” Roy declared, his voice getting noticeably deeper with an alpha timbre that made Jason shiver when he said, “then how about you get nice and comfortable for me, Jaybird.”
“Ah, Master Jason. I was just about to come upstairs to get you. We wouldn’t want you to be late for the first day back in school, would we?”
“Sorry Alfie,” Jason apologized as he rushed into the dining room, not even waiting until he was sitting down properly before reaching for a piece of toast and the marmalade.
“Are you feeling alright?” Bruce asked, lowering his newspaper slowly as he observed Jason devouring his second slice in under a minute while already reaching for another one with his free hand. “You seem a little…worked up.”
“M’fine,” Jason mumbled through his mouth full of breakfast, Tim and Damian wrinkling their noses in disgust at him from the opposite side of the table.
“Master Jason, mind your manners, please.”
“Sorry Alfie,” Jason repeated for the second time that morning, throwing the butler a sheepish look. “I’m just a little keyed up I guess. I felt the baby move for the first time earlier.”
“You did?” Bruce asked, his entire demeanour instantly softening from worried dad to proud grandpa.
“That is quite marvellous, Master Jason.”
“What did it feel like?” “Is it still moving?” Tim and Damian asked at the same time, and the rest of breakfast Jason spent answering their questions and promising to tell his family immediately the next time he felt the baby move, just in case it would be strong enough for them to feel it through his belly too.
“Okay, let’s go squirts. I’m driving,” Jason announced when he had polished off his breakfast (and probably half of Bruce’s too, but whatever - he was eating for two after all), grabbing his bag from beside his chair and already turning to head towards the garage.
“Master Jason, I can drive the three of you as usual, it is no-”
“Alfie, you’ve earned a morning off. And it’s better for the environment to make one trip less, isn’t it?” Jason wheedled, making his eyes big and earnest when the butler just raised a sceptical eyebrow at him.
“And I suppose this has nothing to do with you wanting to drive your new car?”
“…maybe that too,” Jason admitted, grinning when Alfred’s moustache twitched tellingly.
“Alright then. But you will take the minivan and not the Lamborghini, young man!”
“’Course,” Jason agreed easily – he loved his Lambo, but he wouldn’t turn into one of those airheaded rich kids flaunting their wealth at every turn just because he had a sports car now – catching Alfred in a half-hug that had the butler tut at him about rumpling his school uniform, which Jason skilfully ignored.
“Jay,” Bruce called just as he was about to leave the room, causing Jason to turn back.
“Yeah, dad?” Jason prompted when Bruce just stared at him quietly, his father’s mouth opening as if he was about to say something before closing again.
“When have I ever not?” Jason quipped back with a wink, a special sense of pride bubbling up inside him when Bruce actually chuckled. “We’ll be fine. Don’t worry so much old man - it’s just school.”
The smile on Bruce’s face dimmed a little, but he didn’t say anything else, only nodded at Jason when he finally left.
Tim and Damian were already waiting in the car and judging by the victorious grin Jason received from Tim in the passenger seat and the way Damian was sitting in the back with his arms firmly crossed and an expression that couldn’t be described as anything other than a pout on his face, he’d just missed the age old argument about the seating arrangement. It was a little ridiculous how worked up both his brothers could get about something like that, but so long as no one was left bleeding on his new upholstery…who was Jason to tell them off?
“Seatbelts?” he checked just like Alfred did every morning before turning the ignition and getting them on their way.
With Damian sulking in the back and Tim’s nose disappearing in his tablet barely halfway to the gate, the drive to Gotham Academy suddenly seemed a lot longer than usual to Jason – probably because he was used to reading or talking with Alfred instead of staring at the horrible Metropolis Meteors bumper sticker on the car inching along in front of them.
Boring as it was with traffic into Gotham typically clogged and slow and the radio doing little to distract him Jason found his thoughts wandering, inevitably turning to whatever would greet him at school in barely half an hour.
He wasn’t stupid; he knew what he could expect the second he stepped through those doors, knew exactly what Bruce had wanted to ask him one more time earlier.
Do you really want to go?
They’d had this discussion, multiple times in fact, the first of which had taken place back on Jason’s birthday when they’d talked about future plans with Roy, Ollie and Dinah.
Roy wasn’t going back to school – Ollie and Dinah didn’t think it would be conducive to him staying clean to come back into contact with some of his classmates, and Roy had agreed. For him it was better to finish his diploma from home, where he could concentrate fully on his sobriety.
Bruce had offered Jason the same option, home-schooling and maybe even online college courses if he was interested, but Jason had been adamant that he wanted to finish high school at school.
He wouldn’t hide away like there was something shameful about his pregnancy; if people wanted to talk, they could talk. Jason was going to live his life, and screw whoever thought there was something wrong with that.
It wouldn’t be fun, Jason could admit that to himself, but he knew how to deal with snobby rich kids looking down their noses at him – he’d been doing so since Bruce had taken him in, though admittedly it had gotten less severe over the years, when it had become apparent to them that Jason simply didn’t let himself be intimidated.
And it wasn’t like Jason would walk into school with his baby belly and people would only find out then – in wise preparation they’d actually released a short press statement a few days ago to announce the pregnancy. Nothing flashy, no press conference or even any pictures, just a short piece issued from the Wayne PR department relaying the fact that the Waynes and the Queens would soon welcome an addition to their families.
So yeah, the world knew now and everyone had their opinions on social media, but Jason didn’t bother to read about who thought he was a slut and who considered him brave – people could say whatever they wanted.
But, Jason thought as he parked in the school parking lot, several students already pointing at the minivan with raised eyebrows and haughty smirks, snarky posts on social media platforms he didn’t use were still something different to having to spend the whole day surrounded by snobby assholes shoving their opinions in his face.
Not that he couldn’t deal with that – he had faced far worse than gossipy teenagers even before he’d ever met Bruce – but that didn’t mean he would enjoy it.
But it was the principle of the thing, Jason thought as he cut off the engine and dragged in a deep, steadying breath – he wouldn’t let other peoples opinion of him dictate how he lived his life; that wasn’t what either the Waynes or their vigilante alter-egos stood for.
He was 17, pregnant, and unwilling to apologize for it; the world would just have to deal with that.