The baby was small.
Like, really small. Smaller than Damian, small. Dick thought he could probably hold it in one hand. It was wearing red footie pajamas, had a shock of black hair, and was staring up at Dick with enormous blue eyes.
“Goo,” said the baby.
“Shit,” said Dick, before snapping his mouth shut because babies shouldn’t be exposed to cursing.
The baby was in a basket, because why not, Dick figured. Baby turned up on his doorstep, it was in a small basket. Okay, then. It was a Friday. He could probably handle this.
It occurred to him that the baby might have a darker purpose. Weirder things had happened than infants trying to kill people, especially in Dick’s life. Maybe it was cursed or something?
“Are you cursed?” Dick asked the baby, who just stared up at him with its big blue eyes and shoved its thumb in its mouth.
“No, probably not,” Dick muttered. He looked both ways down the hall. There was no trace that anyone had been there.
Why would anyone in their right minds leave a baby for him? Maybe they had just happened to choose his door. He still wasn’t ruling out villains of some kind. What was he supposed to do with it?
Looking at the tiny infant, he softened. It was a baby, villainous or not. Something had to be done.
“Okay, baby,” he said, picking up the basket. “Lucky for you, I know a guy who has a bad habit of adopting orphans.”
“Ba,” the baby said.
Dick lifted the basket to eye level. “Black hair, blue eyes, you’ll fit right in,” he told it.
The baby just sucked its thumb.
“What is that?” Tim asked when Dick went to the manor. “Oh, God, is it a baby?”
“Probably. It could be a serial killer.”
Tim gave Dick that look that he sometimes got, that said something along the lines of “Did you piss off someone who can cast a spell on your brain?”
Dick hefted the basket. “Tim, meet Baby.”
Tim eyed the bundle warily. “Dick, honestly, where did you get a baby? And why is it in our home?”
“Someone left it in front of my door. And who do we know who’s in the business of adopting small children?”
Tim got a long-suffering glint in his eyes, but he sighed and stepped aside. “Fine, but I’m not going to feed it.”
“Of course you won’t. Alfred will.” Dick started towards the Batcave. “Besides, it doesn’t like you.”
“How can you tell? It’s a baby.” Tim followed Dick. “Why wouldn’t it like me?”
“It’s a psychic baby. I’m it’s favorite.”
“Is it really?” Tim asked with interest.
“Maybe,” Dick said. Tim deflated.
“If it was a psychic baby,” he grumbled, “it wouldn’t be talking to you.”
“Batman’s gone, by the way,” Tim said. “He left a few hours ago.”
“Fine,” Dick said cheerfully. He gave the basket an experimental bounce. The baby gurgled happily. “Baby, time to meet the rest of the family.”
Damian, of course, didn’t like the baby, and no one was surprised.
“But why is it here.” It was a flat statement more than a question. He had retreated slowly to the other end of the cave and was watching the squirming infant warily.
Dick set the basket on the table and reached in to wrap the blanket tighter around Baby, whose face was starting to get disturbingly red as he got closer to a temper tantrum.
“It’s here because it doesn’t have a home, Damian, and it needs a father.” Dick frowned at the small boy, still in his Robin outfit, eyeing the baby with wariness that would better suit an advancing warlord’s army.
“Not here,” Damian said. “Here, here. The Batcave. Why did you bring it down here?”
“Where else was I going to bring it?” Dick set the basket on the bat-keyboard. Baby squirmed and made a spluttering noise. Tim peered over Dick’s shoulder, a little bit wide-eyed, at the strange child.
“Tt. Do we need to feed it?” Damian asked, sliding forwards a hesitant step and glancing towards the basket. “Should I go get Alfred?”
“Yeah, probably,” Dick said, “seeing as no one here knows how to take care of a baby.”
“I do,” Tim piped up.
Dick and Damian turned to stare at him. Tim crossed his arms and jutted his chin out defiantly. “I read a lot.”
“Okay, Mom,” Dick said, gesturing to the baby, which was starting to make alarming whining noises. “Please make it stop.”
Tim carefully lifted the baby out of the basket, holding it gently in his arms and supporting its head the way you were supposed to. He bounced it softly. The baby cooed and bubbled, squirming in Tim’s arms, but it stopped crying.
“Well whaddya know.” Dick lifted up the blanket in the basket, intending to look in the basket for clues about where the baby came from. He didn’t have to look far; a piece of paper fell out of the blanket and onto the computer. Furrowing his brows, he turned it over. The writing was black and messy cursive, like the handwriting of someone who was in a hurry.
It read, “Red Hood got in the way of a spell and I accidentally cursed him. Should wear off in a few days. Sorry about this. -Constantine.”
Dick dropped the paper.
“What is it?” Tim asked, still bouncing the baby.
“Uh, I don’t really know how to say this,” Dick said slowly. He pointed to the bundle in Tim’s arms. “But that baby’s Jason.”
Tim’s eyes went round. He carefully held Baby Jason away from him. “What?”
Damian picked up the paper, reading it quickly, before he looked back up. “Grayson’s right. It’s Constantine.”
Dick couldn’t help but laugh. “Quick, guys, start taking pictures. I’m going to send them one by one to Jason over a period of months. This is gold.”
Bruce didn’t find it as funny.
He stepped out of the Batmobile, looked at them, and froze. Dick could almost see him wondering whether getting back in the ‘mobile was an option, but his detective side apparently won out, because he pulled down his cowl and stalked towards them.
Dick was swiveling back and forth on one of the chairs in front of the monitor, snapping pictures of Baby Jason, who Tim had gratefully handed off to Alfred, though the elderly butler didn’t look particularly pleased about it. Damian leaned against a wall with his arms crossed. His tiny, brooding expression would one day put Batman’s to shame.
“Will someone please explain what’s going on here?” Bruce asked.
“Jason got turned into a baby,” Dick said, “and we’re not sure how long it’s going to last. The note said a few days.”
“What note?” Bruce spotted the piece of paper on the computer and snatched it up, reading it with furrowed eyebrows. “Constantine,” he grumbled.
“Father, what are you going to do about this?” Damian scowled.
Bruce sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with two fingers. “If it’s only a few days, he can stay here. Alfred--”
“I can see that all Master Jason’s needs are attended to, sir,” Alfred said with a crisper accent than usual. He still didn’t look happy. Dick wondered if their butler’s seemingly endless list of skills extended to taking care of an infant.
“Great,” Bruce said, sounding just as unenthused. “Dick, stop taking so many pictures, it’s annoying.”
Dick, who had been crouched on the floor in a pose impossible for probably most people in order to get a better angle, looked up. “Aw.”
Having a baby in the manor wasn’t as different from not having a baby in the manor, except Jason screamed, like, all the time.
Or so Dick was told by a ruffled Damian. He had escaped back to his apartment as soon as Jason had started crying. (Hey, he was a superhero. He could take a lot. Babies crying wasn’t really one of them.) Despite that, he found himself back at the manor nearly every day while Bruce was at work so he could chat with Alfred and take more pictures of Jason. It was quickly becoming one of his favorite pastimes. He cackled to himself, downloading all the pictures onto his laptop sitting criss-crossed in one of the rooms in the manor.
Tim peered over his shoulder.
“Go to that next one,” he encouraged, laughing just as hard as Dick. “Look, oh my God, look at his cheeks!”
Dick fell off the couch, he was laughing so hard. Tim caught the laptop and flipped through the rest of the pictures, giggling to himself.
Tormenting Jason wasn’t generally something Dick would consider. He wasn’t that kind of guy. But he figured that the next time Jason was a dick he could send him some pictures as a pseudo-punishment. Plus, Baby Jason was pretty adorable.
No one saw head nor tail of Damian for three days. Dick was informed by Alfred that he came down for meals when the baby was asleep and disappeared right after. After that brief encounter on the second day-- (“I don’t like babies,” Damian scowled as he stormed past Dick in the Batcave one night. “He screams.”)-- it was like Damian had vanished without a trace, going out on patrol more than usual to escape the house.
Bruce reacted similarly. Though he must have some kind of parental instinct to raise, like, five or six kids, he didn’t seem to know how to act around Jason, now that his former ward who still kind of hated his guts was back to living in his house, albeit twenty-something years younger. He was found down in the Batcave more than usual in an attempt to awkwardly avoid the infant.
Stephanie spent as much time as Dick around the baby. When he cooed or burped, they were both there to go “Awwwww,” and snap pictures. Cass didn’t look as enthused, but she did pat his shock of black hair awkwardly once, and then immediately retreated to watch from afar. Harper came by on the second day, and she picked up the baby immediately, going “You guys got a baby?” and then not waiting for an answer before she started bouncing Jason in her arms, holding it for hours when he wouldn’t go to sleep. Dick got an adorable picture of her zonked out on the couch with Baby Jason in her arms. He wouldn’t have guessed that she would like babies so much, but he never really knew what to expect from Harper.
Duke stoically bore the presence of the baby existing in the same house as he did. “He’s cute,” he told Dick once. “But he screamed for hours last night, so he is now less cute. No, I don’t really want to hold him, thanks.”
Babs came by once, which was a little awkward, but they were in a neutral place, and besides, she liked babies. “To an extent,” she informed Steph as she held out Baby Jason’s bottle to him. “Besides, I have classes, so I just wanted to come by to see if the picture on Dick’s Instagram was as cute as the baby is in real life. Drink the liquid, Jason, and please don’t throw up this time.” The picture definitely was cute. Dick was considering a career in baby photography. (If he didn’t go into hiding for a year after Jason found the pictures on his Instagram and immediately tried to kill him.)
“A few days” turned out to be a week, and then a week and a half. They were all beginning to get used to the baby as a constant presence in their lives. Even Damian came out of his hiding place to peer curiously at Jason as he slept happily in his cradle. (Dick maybe got a picture of it. He was planning on framing it.)
Alfred handed off the baby to Bruce once, saying he had to go take the cookies out of the oven, but Dick caught a glimpse of his smile on the way out of the room. Bruce, meanwhile, looked murderous for a total of thirty seconds, before Jason went, “Ba,” and his flint-sharp blue eyes softened.
Steph and Dick crept out of the room and then highfived in the hallway. Tim, passing by, rolled his eyes.
“How long do you think this is going to last?” He asked. Dick shrugged. He knew Bruce had tried to track down Constantine, but the man was nowhere to be found. He could be in between dimensions for all they knew.
When Roy and Kori showed up two weeks in, no one was really surprised.
“Oh, hey, come on in,” Dick said as Roy barged past him into the kitchen. Kori smiled in his direction briefly and awkwardly before she followed Roy.
They both stopped short, staring at the baby in Steph’s arms. She curled her arms around him protectively and eyed them. “Cass and I are adopting Jason and you two can’t have him,” she said. Dick couldn’t tell if she was joking or not. Cass, standing by the door, rolled her eyes.
“Give him to me,” Roy said in a surprisingly gentle tone. “I actually have a daughter, you know. You’re holding him wrong.”
Steph narrowed her eyes, but she passed him off to Roy, who demonstrated how you were supposed to hold a baby if you were holding it upright while Kori peered at Jason with wide eyes.
“We got a note this morning,” Kori said in a low voice so he wouldn’t wake Jason. “From Constantine. We were wondering if he had been abducted, but it said that he had accidentally turned Jason into a child and dropped him off with Nightwing. We had looked everywhere, at all of Jason’s safe houses, at least the ones we know about, but we figured that this would be the last place he would go. Until the note.”
“I thought you guys followed me on Instagram,” Dick said. Roy and Kori looked at each other, and then at him.
“No offense, dude,” Roy said. “But your Instagram kind of sucks.”
“What!” Dick said, affronted.
“And I’m not really one for technology,” Kori said. Dick threw up his hands.
“You have a Twitter!”
She quickly said, “Oh, look, Jason’s awake.”
“I know you’re changing the subject,” Dick told her, “but it’s okay because I need to get more pictures. For my Instagram. Which rocks.”
Steph patted his shoulder reassuringly as they all crowded around Jason. But looking at Roy and Kori together, something twinged at the back of his mind, the detective part that had been trained to notice everything.
He ignored it. It was none of his business.
They stayed for hours, Roy glaring fiercely at anyone who tried to take Jason from him, but reluctantly handing him off to Alfred so they could eat. Alfred had made sandwiches, and they both knew from experience that Alfred’s food was heaven.
“So you guys,” Dick said through a mouthful of mozzarella and tomato sandwich. “You’re all a team now, right? With Jason?”
Roy and Kori glanced at each other. There it was again-- the twinge in Dick’s mind.
“Yep,” Roy said. He took a bite of sandwich. “Uh, when’s Batman getting back?”
Tim and Damian were both gone, out with Batman for the night. Dick shrugged. “Dunno. Tomorrow morning, probably. The rest of us are off patrol tonight.”
Kori nodded. “Roy’s scared of Batman,” she informed Dick, Steph, Cass, and Duke, who had shown up for dinner. Dick laughed as Roy shot a look of pure betrayal at Kori.
“I am not! He’s just a creepy dude!”
Dick laughed harder. He hadn’t seen either of them for a long time, and while he and Roy had always been a bit at odds, it was kind of nice to catch up. Any remaining awkwardness had dissipated when the sandwiches appeared.
Later, with Kori holding Jason and Roy lounging on the couch, Dick snapped a picture. It was a nice moment.
When he came back to the manor the next morning, they were still there. Roy was conked out, snoring softly, and Kori dozed with her head on his shoulder. In the kitchen, Jason was sleeping in his crib, and Alfred was making pancakes. Bruce, Cass, Damian, and Duke sat at the table, talking in low voices so they wouldn’t wake Jason.
At Dick’s arrival, Bruce looked up. “Why are Roy Harper and Starfire in the house?” he asked grumpily.
“They heard about Jason. Apparently they were looking for him.” Dick slid into a seat and made an appreciative noise at the tall stack of pancakes Alfred handed him.
Bruce took a sip of coffee. “They shouldn’t be here.”
Dick shrugged. “I get the feeling they plan on staying for as long as Jason’s here. They’re weirdly protective of him.”
Bruce made a grumbling noise. “Fine. Let’s hope he turns back soon.”
Dick had to agree. As amusing as the situation was, it did feel a little strange. He wondered how long the spell was going to last.
Duke and Cass excused themselves to go practice down in the Batcave, and Damian followed with a look at the sleeping Jason. It had less malice than usual, and Dick hid a smile.
“Welp,” he said. “Gotta run some errands. Later.”
He had been by the manor more often than he was normally with the arrival of Baby Jason. As a result, he had gotten to talk to the other batkids a little more than he usually did, but he had other obligations, too. It wasn’t bad, the awkward placement of everyone now that there was a baby in the house, but it had to end eventually.
Dick found himself away for a couple of days before he returned. Much to his surprise, Roy and Kori were still there, but they were in new clothing. They must have been back to wherever they lived a few times in the days Dick had been gone. They were seated at the table with mugs of tea in front of them, talking while Kori rocked Jason’s crib with one hand. Despite himself, Dick was curious, so he stopped outside the kitchen to listen.
“It’s been weeks,” Kori said. “How long is he going to stay this way?”
Roy rubbed his chin, looking exhausted. “I dunno. We can always hunt down Constantine and make him fix it…”
Kori shook her head. Her fiery red hair gleamed in the early morning light. “No one can find him. Remember what he said before turning Jason?”
“Yeah,” Roy sighed. “That alien wasn’t fucking worth this. We’re never showing up to investigate strange magical activity again.”
She made a noise of agreement. Dick decided to stop stalling and go into the kitchen, pouring himself coffee from the pot Alfred left brewing.
“Hey,” he said. Roy didn’t respond, and Kori smiled tiredly. “How’s Jason doing?”
“He was up all last night and Batman said that since we insist on staying we have to deal with it,” Kori said. They both certainly looked like they had been up all night. Dick resisted the urge to smile.
“Yeah, and changing my boyfriend’s diapers isn’t exactly on my fucking bucket list,” Roy said. Dick choked on his coffee.
Roy raised an eyebrow. “In a stunning turn of events, Jason doesn’t exactly want to share his personal life with you people, and you’re surprised somehow. Got a problem, Grayson?”
Dick backtracked quickly. “No, not at all, I just didn’t know. I thought you and Kori were a thing, actually.”
“Well,” Kori said. “We are.”
It was too early in the morning to deal with relationship drama, particularly his adoptive brother’s and his ex’s. Dick wasn’t processing it. “Huh?”
“Polyamory, you idiot. Look it up.” Roy sounded like he would be annoyed if he wasn’t so tired.
“I,” Dick started. He did actually know what polyamory was, he just wouldn’t have expected it from Jason, Roy Harper, and Kori, of all the people in the world. “Oh. Okay. Yeah, I got it. Sorry.”
Roy rolled his eyes and took over rocking the crib from Kori. Dick took his coffee with him to escape the suddenly awkward silence in the room. Behind him, though, he heard Roy say, “The minute Jaybird grows up we’re outta here.”
He found Tim in the study, playing something on his phone.
“Hey,” Dick said. “Did you know Jason’s dating Kori and Roy?”
“Hang on,” Tim said, biting his lip. He had his phone raised and was swiping it with a finger. “Okay, got it. What?”
“Jason, Kori, and Roy,” Dick repeated. “Are you playing Pokemon?”
He flushed a shade of pink. “Maybe. I’m trying to level up faster than Kon. He cheats, though, because the game developers didn’t take flying clones into account when they made the egg hatching thing. Crazy mileage in like ten minutes.”
“I literally have no idea what you’re talking about,” Dick said. “Anyway, did you know?”
“Well, yeah,” Tim said. “Jason and I talk.”
“Wh-- we talk!” Dick spluttered. Tim eyed him doubtfully. Dick amended, “Sometimes.”
“There you go.” Tim’s phone buzzed and he looked down at it. “There’s a Pidgey on your head.”
“I do not understand and I never want to,” Dick said before leaving.
It was Dick’s turn to carry Jason around to put him asleep that night, and he decided that he no longer thought that Baby Jason was funny when he threw up all over Dick’s t-shirt.
“Eurgh,” Dick said, holding Jason away from him. “You’re going to pay for that, Todd. When you’re older. Because I don’t hurt babies.”
On his way out the door Tim had handed him Jason and said, “Your turn.” So while he should have been at home eating takeout and watching bad crime dramas, he was babysitting while Kori and Roy slept (on the couch again, despite having been offered a bed) and everyone else was out on patrol.
As he clumsily tried to wipe off his shirt with one hand, Dick found himself hoping that Jason would turn back soon.
Three weeks and two days in to Baby Jason Hell, he changed back-- at the worst possible time.
“Can you hold him for a minute?” Steph handed Jason off to Bruce, who looked vaguely stunned at the sudden baby in his arms. His expression was priceless. He was in full Batman mode with the cowl pulled down, about to go on patrol. Dick, Steph, Tim, and Damian were also in their outfits, getting ready to leave.
“Hold on, I’ll bring him back up in a sec, I just need to get his bottle so he’ll shut up and I can give him to Alfred.” She was digging though the baby bag Kori and Harper had put together over the past week.
Bruce eyed Jason warily.
“Bru!” Jason babbled.
He carefully adjusted Jason in his arms so he was holding him correctly, bouncing him a little. Dick and Tim exchanged a look. Both of them were trying to bite off smiles. They had each walked in on Bruce holding Jason at least twice, either having picked up the baby when he started crying or having been handed Jason by someone. Once, Dick had seen Bruce gently rocking the crib in the very early morning, a very slight smile on his face. It was so uncharacteristic that Dick had crept out of the hallway and never mentioned it.
“Can you--” Bruce started, and then there was a sound like tearing paper.
Baby Jason exploded in a tumble of dark limbs, yelling obscenities at the top of his lungs. Having been caught by surprise, Bruce barely managed to catch Jason before he fell on his ass. His naked ass. Okay, Jason was naked. The onesie he had been wearing fluttered to the ground in red scraps of fabric.
“Oh my God,” Stephanie said, dropping the bottle.
“Jesus,” Dick yelped.
“Dude, hands off!” Jason yelled. Bruce promptly opened his arms and let him fall. “Ow.”
“You’re back!” Tim cried. “Someone-- Steph, can you go get Starfire and Roy?”
Steph ran up the steps of the Batcave, looking grateful to have an excuse to leave. Everyone was averting their eyes as Jason scrambled to his feet. He grabbed the towel that Damian handed him (scowling, looking away) and wrapped it around himself quickly.
“Kori and Roy are here?” He asked. “Wait, what happened?”
“What do you remember?” Bruce said somberly, crossing his arms. Jason shrugged.
“Not a lot. We met Constantine fighting an alien and joined in, and then everything went black. I have weird flashes of memory, but they don’t make a lot of sense. God, I feel like shit. Do you still keep the Ibuprofen in the same place?”
Kori, Roy, and Steph appeared at the top of the stairs, Roy leading the way as they stumbled down. He caught Jason in a tackle hug and almost bowled him over.
“You have no idea how happy I am not to have to change any more diapers,” Roy said sincerely, before pulling back and clapping Jason on the shoulder.
Kori hugged him next and said, “I second that statement,” into his chest.
“Oookay?” Jason said, looking around. “Uh, will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”
Kori and Roy explained it while everyone else was on patrol. Dick came back to see Jason sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands, wearing what must have been Roy’s extra clothes, while Roy laughed.
“You also threw up on, like, everyone at least once,” he cried. “It was hilarious but also kind of shitty, so, you know, the next time I get poisoned I’m not going to go hunt for a trash can.”
“Throw up on me and I’ll kill you,” Jason groaned. “Three and a half weeks. God damn.”
Kori rubbed his shoulder reassuringly. “You were a very cute baby, but I prefer you as an adult.”
“I also prefer me as an adult,” he grumbled.
A slow smile spread over Dick’s face as he came into the room. “I have pictures if you want to see.”
Jason glared. “Tell me you didn’t.”
“Oh, I did,” Dick said solemnly. “So very many pictures. I will be using them as blackmail.”
“You’re going to wake up with a bullet in your spine,” Jason told him. Flinging himself into a chair and pulling up the gallery on his phone, Dick said cheerfully, “Here’s you pooping!”
An hour later, Alfred came down to see Dick on the floor laughing while Jason smashed his fist into Dick’s phone, cracking the already thoroughly destroyed glass even further.
“Do that all you want,” Dick said, gasping for breath. “I have another phone and two backup flash drives.”
“This isn’t over,” Jason growled. “Watch yourself, Grayson.”
“Sure thing,” Dick said, laughing. “Good to have you back.”
Thanks for reading!