It's easy to forget sometimes, that goddamned Bruce Wayne is Dick's adoptive father because Dick doesn't act like he grew up around money. God, no. Not unless the elite rich are all about wandering around their homes in the morning on the weekends in their underwear in search of the funny pages.
Jason wouldn't know, he grew up in a group home after his mom passed away. And after that, he had the tiny living space above the bike shop he planned to buy into with Roy when the old bastard running it retires. Dick had the circus and Wayne Manor and now this tiny apartment that's too small for them and half the time Jason doesn't know what Dick's doing here, with him, but he's too much of a coward to ask. (Never ask a question you don't want the answer to, you won't like what you hear.)
So, yeah. Not a lot of time spent studying the lifestyles of the filthy rich on his end of things.
“Dick - “
“They're going to love you, Jason. Trust me.”
And see? Things like that. Dick asking Jason to trust him is just looking for trouble. “Like I trusted you not to get shot?” He knows it's a low blow, but it fucking scares him whenever Dick puts on his uniform and goes to work because Jason knows Gotham. She's cold, heartless, and she doesn't care who she breaks.
“Jason.” Dick sighs, lost for words.
They've had this talk – fight, whichever – before. Loudly and at length because he loves Dick so damn much and the idiot is so fucking reckless sometimes.
“Hey,” Dick holds up a hand, fingers spread the tiniest space apart to show how much danger he was in from the gunshot wound, like that's supposed to make everything better, make everything okay. “The guy barely grazed me. Just a crease.”
A crease that had needed stitches.
“Jay, you know I had to.”
“I know,” Jason says, almost a snarl. He hates Dick's job, but Dick loves it. Loves going out there and helping people however he can, from giving tourists directions to helping little old ladies cross the street (and God help him, that's actually a thing with Dick, not something out of a book of clichés) to getting shot in a bank robbery gone wrong. “I fucking know, Dick.”
Dick has proven to have spectacular timing in the past. (That, or it's just that he planted a bug on Jason somewhere, which. Not outside the realm of possibility with Dick.) It's the only explanation as to how Dick knows to come down to the shop in the middle of a work day because a customer is being a complete and total ass and Jason is seconds away from doing something regrettable, like introducing said customer to his fist. (Jason doesn't have anger management issues so much as dealing with assholes issues.)
Or the times when Jason's having a shit day for whatever reason (and admittedly, he has a lot of those) and Dick just shows up at work with food or a story about the people he works with (certified loons, all of them), or wants to eat junk food and trash talk reality show contestants after a long day.
So, yeah. Dick has some of the best timing Jason's ever seen, but he also has some of the worst, too.
Dick's only been back on the job for a week, a week, and he's acting like everything's fine. Like hey, getting shot is no big deal (in Gotham it really isn't, and isn't that sad) and he doesn't know why Jason's so upset about it, and by the way, Bruce and Alfred want to meet you, what do you say?
The thing is, though, Dick knows. He understands why Jason can't get over this as easily as he can, can't let go of the thought of Dick getting hurt on the job. Dick always knows, but he can't stop being who he is, and Jason knows that too. Knows he can't ask Dick to stop being Dick because that's not how it works. It's not how they work.
“They're going to hate me,” Jason says. He knows what he is, who he is. No way he's good enough for Dick, for what Bruce and Alfred want, hope for him.
“They're going to love you,” Dick says firmly. “Jay, they're going to love you.” Dick crowds into Jason's space, hands coming up to frame Jason's face. “Jason.”
Jason sighs, rests his forehead against Dick's. “You're a fucking moron.”
“Yeah,” Dick says, with a quiet laugh. “I get that a lot.”
Wayne Manor is exactly the kind of place Jason wants none of. None.
“Jesus.” Jason says, looking back at Dick who's getting their bags out of the back of Dick's car, an efficient little hybrid that gets fantastic mileage and loves the environment and is everything right and good in the world of automobiles.
Betty was apparently some kind of punishment from Bruce for Dick getting himself shot. (A man who would do something like that to Dick deserves Jason's respect.) Dick had whined for days afterward about how she barely hit 110 on the back roads outside of Gotham, and Jason, Jason, she's a beauty but she'll never win for speed, Jason.
“How many bodies do you guys have buried here?”
And, because Jason's just that lucky, “Remarkably few, I'm afraid. Perhaps we can do something to ameliorate that problem in the future, if you'd like?”
Dick, the bastard, is collapsed against Betty, laughing his little black heart out because he is, and Jason may not have been clear on this before, a bastard.
“Uh. That won't be necessary,” Jason says, turning to see someone who can only be the Alfred Dick talks about with a soft look in his eyes that even Bruce doesn't get. “Sorry about that.” What do you say in situations like this? Jason doesn't remember Miss Manners or Dear Abby covering these kinds of things.
“Hey, Alfred,” Dick says, throwing an arm around Jason's shoulder and pulling him along. “Sorry I haven't been by recently because you know. Things.” Dick sounds sheepish, tipping his head towards Jason. “And I'm really sorry I didn't bring Jason before now.”
Alfred smiles, eyebrow arched. “Indeed. It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Master Jason.”
“Just go with it,” Dick stage whispers. “He does that with everyone.”
“Hm, yes,” Alfred says, taking their bags from Dick despite his protests. “I'm terribly sorry my manners upset you so, Master Richard.” Except for how he really isn't.
Dick grins. And this. This is just a little strange, isn't it.
“Master Bruce is in the sitting room, I'm sure he would welcome your company,” Alfred says in a way that's not so much a suggestion as it's a suggestion.
Bruce Wayne is. He's not really what Jason was expecting. Before he met Dick the only thing he knew about Bruce Wayne was that he had a bit of a reputation for being. Well. Not the brightest bulb around, really. And then Dick happened and the way he talked about Bruce -
You don't have be a genius to be a halfway decent parent figure, is the thing. So Jason's personal opinion of Bruce didn't change so much as slip sideways a little, replacing idiot billionaire with idiot billionaire who obviously loves the hell out of Dick, in his mind. And if Bruce didn't always show it in conventional ways, he was rich, wasn't he? The guy could afford to be considered eccentric instead of crazy.
Getting to meet Bruce Wayne in person is. Something, that's for sure.
Bruce takes everything Jason thinks he knows about him (except for that part where he loves Dick like his own flesh and blood and is fucking terrible at showing it) and throws it out the damn window. He's got the charisma and charm that has Gotham socialites lining up to being Mrs. Bruce Wayne, but the look in his eyes?
He's no idiot, that's for damn sure. Smart, definitely smarter than he lets on to the general public. And the way he looks at Jason? Sharp, assessing? The man's dangerous, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.
Dick, though. Dick just goes right up to Bruce and wraps him in a hug, and Bruce looks like he as no idea what to do, how to react. Which. How is that even possible if he raised Dick? Dick is all about hugs and cuddles.
“You must be Jason,” Bruce says, talking to Jason with Dick hugging him like that's perfectly normal, and really? With Dick it kind of is.
“Please,” Bruce says, showing a set of perfect white teeth. “Call me Bruce.”
“All right, Bruce,” Jason says, smiling back. He doesn't show his teeth though because that's considered a sign of aggression in the animal kingdom and something about Bruce puts him in mind of a big cat. Some kind of predator at least.
There's a moment of awkward silence then and Jason has no idea what to say to fill it. Bruce is watching him, and really. What does Jason say now?
“Hey, I'm sleeping with your adopted son. It's great.” or “So, what do you think the Knights' chances are this season?” or “I have no idea what I'm doing here, please don't add me to the collection of people you killed for seeing Dick and have obviously buried on the grounds.”
Alfred must be as magical as Dick claims he is because he pops in right then (maybe that's where Dick gets his timing from), all proper British butler.
“Master Richard, if you are not otherwise occupied, I would appreciate your assistance in the kitchen.”
“It's fine,” Bruce says, amusement in his voice as Dick pouts outrageously as he untangles himself from Bruce. “Alfred will keep an eye on him.”
“Hey, I'm not that bad!” Dick protests.
Bruce and Jason both look at him because, yes. He really is.
Dick sighs like they're crushing all his culinary hopes and dreams. He leaves with Alfred, muttering about how the two of them don't appreciate him and a whole load of special snowflake bullshit he got from the daytime talk shows he watched while he was on medical leave.
And then it's just Jason and Bruce and the frankly terrifying look in Bruce's eyes.
“Dick's told us quite a bit about you, Jason,” he says, gesturing to one of the armchairs arranged by the fireplace. “I thought it might be nice to get to know one another on a one-on-one basis.” and then Bruce smiles.
Jason's seen Bruce Wayne's smile hundreds of times over the years on television or in the papers, but this. This is not any of those smiles. This is the kind of smile a protective parent gets when faced with their kid's significant other. This is the look of someone who won't hesitate to crush Jason if he makes one single misstep in regards to Dick. (Alfred had had that look to him too, although his is far more subtle, the promise of a threat, instead of what Bruce is showing him.)
It's fucking terrifying and reassuring all at once because it means Dick has them on his side. Two people who love him so much they'll do whatever it takes to keep him safe.
Jason's convinced Bruce and Alfred must have killed at least one of Dick's significant others and buried their remains on the grounds somewhere. They just give off that kind of vibe.
“What's with you and your fascination with Bruce and Alfred being murderers?” Dick asks, poking Jason's shoulder.
It's late, and Jason is still going over the conversation he had with Bruce earlier. Nothing overt like, “If you hurt him, I'll kill you,” for Bruce, oh no. It was all very subtle and understated and still scary as hell because Bruce actually has the resources to follow through on any threat he makes, even if - no, especially if – he's smiling while he makes it.
They're spending the weekend at the manor, so there are more funtimes with Dick's family ahead for them. A bright spot in all of this is that Dick's old room wasn't kept as some kind of shrine to his childhood because that would just make things even more awkward than they already are.
“Your family's fucking terrifying, Dick.”
Dick hmms, sounding amused and fond. “They like you, though.”
“Seriously,” Dick says, nudging Jason's shoulder until he rolls over to face him and sees Dick looking at him, a fond little smile on his face. “They only break out the scary faces when they like someone.”
And wow, is that ever not reassuring.
“I told you they'd love you, Jason,” Dick says, smiling like they haven't taken a detour into crazyville.
“Fucking terrifying,” Jason reminds him, because yes.
Dick laughs, curling up against Jason like a fucking octopus, arms and legs everywhere. “Bruce is a teddy bear (grizzly more like), and Alfred's... Alfred.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Jason asks, because really. The fact that Dick calls Bruce a teddy bear is all kinds of wrong all on its own, but that he can't think of anything to call Alfred? Well. Okay, no. He gets that. Alfred's so very much himself that it makes sense, but.
“Yeah,” Dick admits. “It makes Bruce crazy when I call him that.” There's a grin in Dick's voice that says he loves making Bruce crazy though, so.
Jason shakes his head and elbows Dick lightly. “Don't make the crazy murderer angry, Dick. That never goes well.” Especially with Jason in reach.
“They're not murderers,” Dick says, like Jason's being unreasonable.
Except for how they totally are. And maybe Jason wouldn't be so stuck on the whole crazy murderers thing, if it weren't for the manor. It's huge, echoing and something like out of an old black and white movie, or any horror movie ever. Whoever designed it must have had a thing for bats and Gothic tragedies.
Jason tries to imagine what the manor must have been like with a younger Dick running around and getting into God knows what kind of trouble. Probably hanging from the fucking chandeliers like a damn monkey, among other things. Jason already knows the idiot slid down the bannisters as a kid because he did it just that afternoon even though he's a grown man and Jesus Christ, what the hell is wrong with the idiot? It's like he thinks gravity only applies to other people.
“We should get Bruce a dog,” Dick says out of nowhere. “The manor's so quiet now.”
“I'm sure he'd love that,” Jason says, because no. Bruce would probably hate it.
“What kind of dog do you thing he'd like?” Dick asks, propping himself up on his elbow. He has a disturbingly earnest look on his face. “One of those teacup breeds, maybe?” And now he's just being an ass. “Or maybe a Corgi. Like the Queen.”
Jason listens to Dick debate the merits of various breeds with himself, all of which are the tiny annoying yappy kind of dogs because Dick is an ass who means well. And as much as Bruce and Alfred scare the hell out of him, Jason wouldn't wish that kind of fate on anyone. Well, almost anyone. There are a few assholes who'd deserve having a tiny yappy ankle biter of a dog.
“Great Dane,” Jason says, wishing he'd kept his mouth shut when Dick stops talking mid-word.
“...Great Dane?” Jason says. They're big, friendly. Kind of dumb, sometimes (like Dick) but they also have giant fucking hearts and that's something the manor, Bruce and Alfred, need without Dick around as much.
“Ruh roh,” Dick says, collapsing over Jason's chest and laughing like an idiot.
Jason sighs. “Look - “
“No,” Dick says, leaning up to press a kiss against his lips. “That's a great idea.” And of course Dick cracks up at that, him and his fucking terrible sense of humor. “Bruce can rationalize it away as getting a guard dog, and Alfred will spoil it. It'll be fantastic.”
For a moment Jason thinks about calling Dick on saying Alfred will spoil the so far non-existent dog, but then thinks about about the way Alfred's treated Dick, them, before now. The care packages he'd sent to their apartment. Those times he's come by when they were both at work to restock their fridge or clean up a little.
“They're going to bring it into the crazy murderer fold,” Jason mutters.
“Probably,” Dick says agreeably, smirking when Jason glares at him.
“You're a fucking moron,” Jason says because it's something that doesn't get said nearly enough in his opinion.
“Yeah,” Dick says, with a quiet laugh. “I get that a lot.”