I just thought about what if Jason accidentally fakes his death? Like the batfam thought his still in a warehouse or something when it blew, and his comms destroyed so they can't call him, and he just went to a safe house after to sleep and like he doesn't know until a few weeks later when he shows up at the manor to meet up with Alfred for tea.
would it be better or worse if he wasn’t even really getting along with the rest of the family at that point? either way you play it, jason has a bunch of redundancies for his safe houses, and he was trained just as well as any of them. there has to be at least one or two he’s managed to keep secret from the rest of the bats.
jay doesn’t really make a habit of carrying explosives in his helmet anymore; that was really more of a one-off when he first came back to gotham. since then, he generally just carries more explosives with him to make up for it. because of that, and because he’s usually fighting standard-grade humans, it’s not all that likely that he tosses his helmet aside in the middle of a fight.
a warehouse blows. red hood was in it, they know that (it all but had “This Is A Trap For Red Hood” written all over it), and when searching it, the bats find the badly burnt remnants of hood’s shattered helmet. no body, but –
it’s easy to assume the worst. it’s already happened once, after all. they hold on to hope for a week, but they haven’t been able to find any sign of jason. he can’t be raised on his comms, he hasn’t been in any of the safe houses that they know of, oracle couldn’t find any sign of him on cameras.
no sign of him in a hospital or even leslie’s clinic, no body matching his description in the morgue. (that last doesn’t mean anything. no body at the warehouse, but someone had set the trap – they could have easily dumped it somewhere else.)
there’s no sign of him, living or dead, anywhere in the city so far as they can tell.
red hood’s been throwing himself into ever-escalating fights since he came back to gotham, and finally they have to assume that this time, his luck didn’t hold long enough for him to get out.
the family sinks into some kind of shock. it’s impossible to believe that they lost him again.
it’s not something that can even be explained to the public. how do you explain that you’re in fresh mourning for a son and brother that was declared dead over half a decade ago?
then again, all the bats are good at hiding how they feel.
they mourn quietly, but they mourn.