Damian Wayne couldn’t see what the big deal was about the Jason kid.
Even at just five years old, Damian knew a lot of things that other kids his age didn’t. He knew a lot of things that even adults didn’t know. What he didn’t know was what the big deal was with Jason being home.
As far as Damian could tell, the only difference between now and all the other times that Damian had seen his second brother was that he no longer had a huge tube down his throat breathing for him.
Shrugging, Damian jumped off of the bed and dashed for the door leading to the hallway. He had nothing else to see there.
Georgia was deeply impressed with her young charge’s home. She had long heard about the Wayne Manor; who in Gotham hadn’t? Her grandmother had worked with Patrick Wayne, Bruce’s grandfather, as a gardener. She had heard the tales of the place, had seen pictures like everyone else had.
It didn’t do the place any justice.
She was in the South Wing, the old Servant’s wing, in her own bedroom right beside the one that Mr. Pennyworth had set up for Jason. The room was larger than her first apartment had been. It was almost as big as the whole downstairs of her current house. It used to have three or four people assigned per room, but it looked like they weren’t crammed in there.
And the best part was, her son, Chance, was allowed to come visit her and to call her at any time. Georgia had only spent one full day and two nights there, but already she could tell why everyone who had ever worked there spoke so well about the masters of the house.
Georgia had to smile at that a little, even as she looked down at the still form of the teenager in her care. The whole of the house followed Mr. Pennyworth’s example of addressing the family as Masters. It was extremely old fashioned, Georgia thought, she was a nurse not a nineteenth century servant, but with the splendor of the place, it wasn’t hard to look at the little boys, in their tailored jeans and two-hundred dollar sneakers, and think of them as Masters. She could pay half of her mortgage for just what one of those boys wore.
Master Jason’s breathing was steady, low for a sixteen year old, but the kid had no activity and he had been sleeping for mostly eighteen months.
Georgia sighed. She walked over to the large window, overlooking the rose garden to the side of the estate. It was a beautiful day outside. It was the kind of day that her mother would smile at, start talking about all her favorite flowers and color combinations. Georgia wondered if her grandmother had laid the basis for those roses.
When Timothy Jackson Drake Wayne visited his second-oldest brother’s current room, he couldn’t bare but spend just a few minutes there.
Tim had met Jason before before, and while they hadn’t communicated for long, it was enough to note that the stillness and quiet and inactive boy was not the natural form. He could remember Jason being loud, and quite the center of attention in any room he entered. Tim had been younger then, much younger it often felt like more than a decade, even though he was only just that old himself.
When Jack Drake had been alive, Tim had gone to a handful of Bruce Wayne’s house parties. The house parties were more open to children once Bruce had a few of his own running around the grounds, and Tim had always remembered Dick Grayson and the circus as one of the last things he was able to do with both of his parents. No one really knew where Bruce Wayne had found Jason P Todd, but he was quite the addition to the family.
As Dick told it, it was as if Jason had always been there. Adapting to his surroundings was natural for Jays, he was a walking talking show, a little conman.
But now, he lay still in his bed, a shadow of the boy that once was.
Timmy sighed. He stepped away from the bed and headed for the door. Standing around wasn’t helping anyone any. And he should really be in bed. Batman’s night was soon to be over, and Bruce Wayne’s first stop was always to look in on Jays. Tim didn’t want to get caught out of bed.
Bruce walked quietly out of the study. He had kept his patrol relatively short tonight, as he had for the past two nights that Jason had been home. Tonight, however, Batman had flown alone.
It wasn’t every night that Batman flew alone. Most nights, he had Robin right beside him. Some nights, Nightwing was even able to join them, when he could get himself away from his studies. But, with finals coming, Bruce had insisted that both of his sons stay home and study. Dick had his apartment, of course, but Bruce still insisted that the nineteen year old rest the night and get himself ready. Morning would come, and bring with it a Monday that would start out the end of term.
The loneliness gave Bruce a lot of time to think.
Normally, Bruce tried to keep personal things out of his mind when he was Batman. It wasn’t always possible. Likewise, he couldn’t keep all thoughts of Batman out of his Bruce Wayne persona. Tonight, like most nights that week, his mind turned to Jason.
Returning home, Bruce walked carefully past Georgia’s room, where the woman would most likely be sleeping. It was well into the earliest hours of Monday. The thought of bringing an outsider into the manor always brought doubts to Bruce’s mind. Alfred had cautioned him against bringing Dick home, fearing that he child would find out the truth at Wayne Manor. Bruce had been so sure of himself back then, believing he could keep the kid safe, healthy, entertained, and oblivious.
He had been very wrong. It had taken a few weeks, weeks after even Dick’s attempted escape, but the kid had pieced things together. And Bruce had also been cornered into telling him.
Now, however, he was much more careful. He had been able to rebuild the manor, and with that he added security measures, both for the house, and for the lower basement that required also better access points to it.
At the first sign of someone unauthorized nearing an entrance, a silent alarm would go off, notifying the cave, Batman, the Batmobile, and Alfred on his handheld that he always carried with him.
Jason was still. It was mostly sleeping, Bruce realized as he entered the room. Jason tilted his head some, mumbled, and breathed on his own. His hands sometimes twitched and his toes sometimes curled.
The only thing that was missing was the ability to wake the teen up.
Bruce sat down at the bedside chair. He turned on the side table lamp, pulled out a book he had left the first night in the nightstand drawer.
Glancing at Jason for a few moments, Bruce blinked a few times, maybe keeping a few tears at bay, and looked down to read.