To Jon, Damian was the embodiment of what he would call a “dumb intelligent”—in other words, he was amazingly stupid for a smart person. He was clearly a prodigy, as seen in academic scores that he would carelessly boast about whenever the two compared their school lives. To Damian, much of his classmates were just “simpletons”. Jon could never understand why the smaller boy wasn’t in high school—no, college yet at the ripe age of 13, but his father had assured him that Batman, or “Uncle Bruce” as Jon had internally dubbed him, just wanted him to “make friends his age”. To which he would retort, “Why would I need to make friends with anyone else when I already have Wilkes, Little, Ducard, Darga, and Kent?”
“Ducard” was immediately registered as Maya, a friend of Damian’s that he mentioned every so often. “Darga” was somewhat familiar as he remembered the older boy mentioning him when he talked about “Ducard”. The name “Little” was also recognizable as she was a friend of Damian’s that was also residing in Gotham, in fact, she was also attending Gotham Academy through a scholarship brought by Bruce himself; however, “Wilkes” was still a stranger. Jon never pushed on the idea whether to ask who “Wilkes” was since Damian would either: one, avoid the topic, or two, answer with a typical “Tt” before marching off. Jon had made it a personal goal to get to know who “Wilkes” was.
Nights in Gotham were always beautiful despite the crimes that occurred, of course. It was much different from Metropolis. The overall atmosphere was much darker and gloomier, but that left a good impression on him alone. If he could, Jon would’ve been flying all over Gotham but his powers were still developing, leaving only the ability to leap great distances to make up for it. While Damian jumped from roof-to-roof, Jon was practically soaring as he flung himself several buildings over. He watched the smaller teen scowl as he reached the building Jon had landed on.
“Must you be a such a show-off?”
“Show-off? Oh, c’mon I’m just being myself, Robin!”
And like that, the conversation was cut short and Damian was off. Jon rolled his eyes before following in suit of his friend. Tonight was just another patrol night. The task at hand was to simply watch from the skies and to interfere when necessary. It would be the typical routine. Going roof-to-roof while making small talk, jokes (if Jon was lucky), or petty arguments that would either be set aside for another time or dropped altogether. Normally it would be once every three weeks where he and Damian would have these almost ritualistic patrols, but since there had been a three-day weekend, Jon decided to come over for the first two days before returning home on Sunday.
Jon kept a good distance away from Damian as they travelled, making sure to let the boy cool down despite his claims of “not having a mood” and just “trying to keep his ‘usual’ cool”—of course, Jon knew better. He kept his searching the city with every leap before ceasing himself a building next to Damian’s. Judging from his body language, he could tell he was on the edge, but slightly different. If you squinted real hard (and understood Damian’s body-language), you could see his fist visibly clench and unclench. Jon knew damn well that Damian was contemplating something.
Usually, if he was ready to fight, his fists would stay clench and relax his body as he came up with a plan of attack; this, however, was different. In addition to the fist-clenching, Damian was leaning forward as if he was trying to get a better look at something. From what he could understand, his patrol buddy was concerned and now contemplating on whether to go to that somewhere or not or he’s just having another moment of emotional constipation. He decided to go with the former—though the latter wasn’t too far off option.
As much as Jon wanted to approach Damian about this concern, he was aware of how private the boy was. Even after years of knowing him, he’s only ever revealed little things about himself or his personal life. It didn’t bother him much; more like it left him curious about what his best friend did when he wasn’t around—before he was around. He felt himself debate whether he should call to him or watch to see what would happen next. He could only really balance the possible consequences for either. If he were to call out Damian, Jon would never find out why he stopped—he’d be left in the dust. On the other hand, not saying and just following Damian could answer some questions but also lead to an unfortunate demise. Man, weighing stuff like this was—holy cow, was Damian actually going?
Jon leapt to the building that Damian was on previous and watched him glide towards an open garage. What about the garage made it so interesting that caused him to check it out himself? Now, Jon was really debating on whether to follow Damian or not. Well, they had to stick together, didn’t they? It only made sense if he just—His thoughts were cut off by lighthearted laughter.
“Dames! It’s to see you on this wonderful evening!”
“Tt. Don’t ‘wonderful evening’ me.”
Dames? The idea of Damian with even having a nickname was scary.
“Why not?” Jon chilled at the chuckle. It was so carefree and light. “What brings you here?”
“You had your garage door open and the lights on. Speaking of which, why is it wide open? You do realize someone could notice and next thing you know you—”
“—Calm down, Dames! I appreciate the concern, I promise. Anyways, I planned to go out for a drive for my evening patrol.”
“Evening patrol? Why go by yourself when you could’ve come with me tonight?”
Jon stiffened at that, extremely tempted to lift his head to see who he was talking to. There was no way he’d tell someone so casually that they were free to go on patrol with him unless they were close.
“I didn’t want to bother you and your friend as it seems that you two don’t do patrols together often.”
“Oh please, you wouldn’t be bothering anyone. If anything, you would’ve been— Uh… Anyway…”
Jon snickered as the Damian trailed off. He was flushed and judging from the sudden quietness, he was about to say something either embarrassing or unbelievably cute. It was rare to witness the smaller male like that as his common expressions were either a variety of the bat-glare, scowls, or just really smug smirks. If you were lucky, you’d be alive to tell someone before you vanished the next day.
“Dami— “, There goes another nickname, but this time a much softer voice. Jon assumed it was a sort-of reserved name. “—You practically go on patrol with me every other night!”
“Tt.” Typical Damian response, Jon noted.
“Besides, I’ve been meaning to meet this friend of yours. He seems like a really cool guy, not by being the son of Superman and all, but your stories about him make him interesting.”
Jon grinned. So, Damian talked about him around others? And this guy thought he was interesting? If he wasn’t so scared shitless of Damian, he probably would’ve jumped down by now to meet the one Damian was talking to. But of course, Jon treasured living to see another day rather than have whatever life left beaten down by the wrath of the youngest Bat.
There went a deep inhale. “Well, if you wanted to meet him so badly, then fine. Kent, I know you’re listening so I’d suggest you might as well get yourself down here.” Crap. Sometimes, Jon wished he wrote his will and revised once a year in case he’d die. This was one of those times he felt desperate.
Silently praying, Jon lifted his head from behind the wall and grinned awkwardly. Predictably enough, Damian looked like he was about to kill with that intensified bat-glare, but the kind smile from the redhead next to him made the situation less dangerous than originally conceived. It was almost as if all his regrets were wiped away just before he went to face death. Almost. Death by Damian one of the ways he did not want to go but alas, Jon felt the need to comply. The boy leapt from the roof top, landing in front of the garage with only a subtle (and hopefully unnoticeable) stutter in his landing. He then lifted his head, his blue eyes immediately meeting a pair of soft, almond ones and a hand. Jon immediately grabbed his hand, helping himself up.
“You must be Damian’s friend! I’m Colin Wilkes!”
“Wait! You’re the ‘Wilkes’ Damian always talks about?”
Colin hummed in amusement as he glanced at the (now shortest) boy beside him. Damian crossed his arms and turned away, embarrassed. Remember what he said about squinting? If you did that again, you could see a faint blush dusted on his cheeks. Jon would’ve found it cute if he hadn’t been scared of his consequences for ease dropping. He swore that Damian caught his glance and was already planning his demise.
“Oh? So, he talks about me?” The amused smile on Colin’s face could’ve killed him alone, damn.
“Pfft, Dames. Don’t be like that.”
“I’m not being like anything!”
Now, Jon was confused for a moment. How did Colin—someone who was as pure as a duckling—know someone like Damian—the literal Devil’s reincarnate? It was even more baffling to see Damian so much more relaxed around someone before. If it hadn’t been night, he was sure it would be the trick of the light to see glimpses of smiles. Jon’s blue eyes darted back to Colin’s soft face, mouth moving. Wait, what was he saying?
“Spit it out already, Kent. Also, let go of Wilkes’s hand while you’re at it.”
“Dames, give him time to recover—Anyway, what’s your name?”
It took a few moments to comprehend before (hesitantly) releasing the older boy’s hand. He tried his best to restrain from looking the boy up-and-down so his gaze returned to Colin’s brown eyes. They were simple but vibrant—not vibrant, but very lively. “My name is Jonathan Samuel Kent, but you can call me Jon. Y’know, just in case my entire first name is a mouthful. I— It’s really nice to meet you, Colin!” he greeted. Jon rubbed the back of his neck and grinned awkwardly. He noted how warm it was but pushed it away as his body combating the chilly breeze.
Colin smiled warmly at the younger boy. At this moment, he felt blessed to meet the “Wilkes” that Damian practically gushed about. For first impressions, the redhead had managed to win him over with only his smiles and eyes. He wouldn’t be surprised at all if every felt the same way about him. His blue eyes followed Colin’s change in the gaze which let him share brief eye contact with Damian. The two shared a moment before the smaller boy scowled. At this point, Jon was used to it but for once his blood ran cold. Damian looked up at his friend, face softening once more to his default stare. The half-Kryptonian made note of the subtle changes of the little bat. It was clear that Colin meant more to him to displayed.
Damian squeezed Colin’s bicep, grabbing at his attention. It took Jon just now to realize how tall he really was in comparison to Colin: one, he’s really short that the boy couldn’t help but suppress a snort; and two, he almost looked like a child compared to Colin who was practically a head above him. The younger boy watched the scene play before him. It almost felt like he was seeing a child tugging at the sleeve of an adult. Like when they really wanted attention—their attention especially.
His blue eyes watched Damian’s actions, still unsure what it was. It seemed obvious but the younger boy never wanted to assume. So, he didn’t say anything. Instead, Jon looked up at Colin and made several mental notes of his own. For one, he had a lot of freckles and was really tall. Remembering what Damian ever mentioned about him, Jon knew he was about 13 years old so definitely tall for his age. Colin was just like a gentle giant.
“What’s up, Dames? Was there anything you wanted to say?”
“Don’t ‘What’s up, Dames?’ me, Wilkes. I—whatever. Tt. Just—If you ever plan on doing patrols just call me, okay? I don’t— “
“’—want you to get hurt.’ I know, Dames. I promise next time I’ll be sure to drop a call. But for today, you already had a patrol planned and I wanted to be sure you got time to spend with your other friends—And don’t you dare try to cut me off, Damian. I know what I’m talking about.”
“I, uh—I mean you can if you want.”
Though it was entertaining at first to see Damian to stumble over his words, it became awkward to watch. Jon wasn’t sure if he could take his own hint. For the son of a detective, he was surprisingly dense. (Then again, so was Uncle Bruce himself, but Jon would never have the heart to say anything to anyone—not even to his father.) The younger brunet sighed, looking up at the sky. He felt an itch that said there was still more to do. The moon was still up, but he knew that time was just wasting away. As much as he’d like to stay and chat, Jon knew there was still a purpose as did Damian. The bird kept silent, waiting for Jon to finish his thought.
“I know that you’re fine going on your own but it’d be really awesome if you wanted to join Damian and me on our patrol.” Jon offered, smiling.
“I mean if you still don’t want to that’s fine because— “Jon felt a squeeze on his shoulder, causing him to squeak. His eyes locked with a serious, but warm gaze. “I’d love to, Jon,” Colin smiled graciously, leaving a burning feeling on Jon’s neck. The younger boy decided that he definitely likes “Wilkes”—no, Colin. Yup, he likes Colin Wilkes.