It wasn’t until the next night that they were able to get Jason home. Some test had taken time, and more than one doctor wanted to keep him until morning. Finally, it was decided that, while Jason wasn’t awake, he wasn’t heading back deeper into his coma. He could easily enough be maintained in the kind of environment that Bruce Wayne was more than capable of tossing around enough money to provide.
It was very into the night when Bruce carried a heavily concealed Jason, frail as he had been more than a year back, in his arms to an old, darkened Ford SUV in an alley beside the hospital. Tom was poised as driver, Bruce and Jason following Dick into the backseat. In this way, they were concealed in the dark vehicle and avoided any sighting from the press or Gothamites alike.
“All set,” Dick said, closing the van door. He held the IV drip, still attached to Jason’s arm, worrying his lip as Bruce sat beside him with Jason on his lap.
Dick tried to smile, thinking about how the teenager would have been horrified to find himself in such a position.
“Very well,” Tom nodded. He slowly emerged from the alley, checking to make sure there were no pedestrians or press alike, and then he took a right turn and soon left Gotham Mercy General Hospital and the room where Jason had spent way too many a months living.
Tom kept glancing back through the rearview mirror, checking on the still form of the young Master Jason Wayne. It had been ages since he had last seen the kid. Only the family went up to see Jason, and Bruce Wayne’s most trusted and loyal staff member, Alfred Pennyworth. In reality, even if he had been allowed, Tom wouldn’t have gone to see Jason at the hospital. His mother would berate him, tell him that it was his Christian duty to see to the ill, but he just couldn’t bear to see the boy – a boy who had been so full of energy and mischief and slick side-glances – lying so quiet and still.
It was unnatural.
But in the back of the SUV, Tom could almost pretend the young socialite was sleeping. Merely asleep after a long day’s task, wrapped securely in his father’s embrace. Jason certainly was thinner, and he seemed quite pale, even in the faint moments of light that entered through the windows.
As long as Tom kept his gaze from Dick, and the IV bag that he still cradled carefully in his hands, he could pretend.
Alfred spent all day cleaning Jason’s old room. Not that Jason was going to be there. Jason was going to be in one of the downstairs rooms, where the servants used to stay, so that it would be easier for his nurses to come and care for him.
But there was something about Jason being home that screamed for his room to get an airing out.
Everything had stayed in its place, over the last eighteen months. Sometimes, Bruce or even Dick, would stop by the room. They would look over the photos on the desk, the bookcases, and the fireplace mantel. The life that Jason had built with them displayed in beautiful picture frames that Alfred had bought. His room was mostly the same. His clothes and shoes were still tossed about, the only difference was that his bed had been made.
If anything, it was the only place that hadn’t changed in all of that time.
The room besides Jason’s was now occupied by Timmy, and across the hall was still Dick’s room, but with the eldest Wayne boy in a dorm – it was mostly empty. Beside Dick’s room was Damian’s room, the latest addition to their brood.
The rooms were larger than some people’s houses, so they weren’t crammed onto each other, but they were still changes that Jason was still unaware of.
Downstairs, in what they sometimes called the South Wing, was still the Servants Wing. Even after the whole mansion had been burned to smithereens, Bruce had insisted on the house being rebuilt exactly (with a few moderations, of course). It had been five years since then, but they still called the wing the Servants’ Wing because it’s main use were still the Day Servants that worked in Wayne Manor.
The only real difference was that now, other than Alfred, none of the service staff stayed overnight. In fact, it was rare for anyone to be at the house beyond six pm most nights, seven on weekends. The exception of course, was the famous Wayne Manor parties. Those could have staff on the grounds until one or two o’clock in the morning. And sometimes, a morning staff that started at five am.
That is, when Wayne Manor threw parties. Those were in the past mostly now.
This night, however, as Tom drove the SUV into the underground garage, there was one staff member still on call. Jason’s nurse, Georgia, was waiting for them. Beside her, Alfred and Austin Kreeman, one of the night security guards, were waiting to help get them settled in.
Dick was the first to step out of the back. He had Jason’s IV still in hand, and Georgia moved quickly to take it from him.
Bruce edged out of the car, Jason firmly in his arms. The teen’s consistent breathing had been a soundtrack to them through the car ride home. It was a much sweeter sound then the mechanic beeps and pumps of the ventilator that had been breathing for him for so long.
He really was coming back to them.
Bruce softly lowered Jason onto the bed that Alfred and Kreeman moved forward, Georgia quick to set up the IV drip on the rod provided for it.
Alfred’s eyes grew misty, but he wasn’t about to weep. He was true to his English rigid, and calmly draped the old cashmere blanket that had always been at the foot of Jason’s bed. Dark blue on the one side, diamond and striped patterned lighter blue on the other. It was almost like a baby’s favorite blanket, whenever Jay was sick, it was never far away.
“Welcome home, child,” Alfred said softly, Bruce doubted anyone else heard the man.
And then Georgia and Kreeman were moving the bed to the elevator, up to the ground floor and to Jason’s current room. Dick followed after them.
“I didn’t want to say it, Alfred,” Bruce confessed, once the elevator doors closed.
“None of us did, sir,” Alfred said, patting Bruce on the shoulder.
“I know he’s not awake yet, I know it’s going to be hard on all of us, but-
“I’m glad he’s home too, sir. It’s been far too long coming.”
Bruce nodded. There had been many nights that he had doubted this day would ever come. Many nights spent in the shadows of Gotham, reminiscing and hopeful. Many more nights staring out of his bedroom windows are the sun crept up over the horizon.
Jason was finally home.