The First Joke
Jason returns to the light, and THIS is the first joke he hears?
Jason still wasn’t really at-ease with the bats. Quite frankly, he didn’t really like any of them these days. He recognized that it probably wasn’t all their fault, and some of it was just feelings he needed to push away for himself, buuut… He didn’t care quite that much. He had a cold, aloof exterior to put on.
He lounged on a rooftop that happened to coincide with one of the family routes. It was either Robin or Red Robin or something dumb like that, they were getting hard to keep track of. Next thing there’d be a ‘Scarlet Robyn’ or something equally dumb just to make things even more confusing. He was glad he just went for ‘Red Hood’. …Man there really were no other colors, were there?
He lit up his cigarette and waited for the telltale flap of a cape. It came before he was even finished with his cigarette.
“Hey, Duckface.” He greeted blandly.
“Hey foxtail. see how dumb that line was?” Drake rolled his eyes.
“I dunno, I think I’ve had a girlfriend who called me that…” Jason suggested idly. “Or maybe I called her that. Either way it’s kinda cute.” He shrugged. Foxes and Drakes.
“Don’t foxes usually hunt ducks?”
“Don’t make it weird, Hood. It’s bad enough that you’re stalking my route.”
“Me? Stalking? Nah I was just making friends with the gargoyles. For all I know, you’re the one stalking me. Making sure I don’t go rogue again?” Hood played it off like it was totally normal to be smoking on the rooftop of another of Gotham’s seedy bars.
“Yeah, sure. It has nothing to do with the phenomenal crime rate of the area. Which I hear is dropping suspiciously quickly.”
“You’re welcome, by the way.”
The silence stretched on for far too long. Jason pretended to keep smoking just so he wouldn’t have to acknowledge the quiet, nevermind that he’d long run out of his cigarette and was feeling kind of silly. Tim either didn’t notice, or wasn’t willing to break the illusion.
“Hey Jay.” Tim muttered, so suddenly close to Jason that he had to stop himself from jumping about a foot in the air. It was always unpleasant remembering just how aggravating that ‘silent movement’ thing was to other people.
“WHAT.” Jason growled, now thoroughly embarrassed for having been outdone at what used to be one of his tricks.
“I have something to tell you, it’s really starting to freak me out.” Tim muttered, looking away like he was startled.
“What now?” Jason was now curious, because it took a lot to freak Tim out.
“Jason… I don’t know how to tell you this but… I see dead people.”
Jason dropped his cold cigarette and just stared at Tim for a long moment, wondering if he had really just heard that stupid a comment from that smart a Robin.
Tim kept the look of fear for a moment before it started dissolving and he had to work really hard to stifle snickering.
Then Jason started doing it too.
It was the first laugh Jason had shared with anyone in the Bat-family since it was him wearing the costume, and the first genuine, innocent laugh since then, too. A laugh where no-one was suffering or belittled. Just a good joke between friends.
Jason hugged his adopted little brother around the neck and ruffled his hair as punishment for such a dumb joke. It was his new favorite.