“Damian, what are you doing?” Bruce asked, raising an eyebrow at his son, who had his ear pressed up against the door to the library.
It was actually rather amusing. Something he would have never expected to see Damian do. Dick or Jason when they were children, for sure. Tim, possibly. Not Damian.
He never did childlike things like this.
“Shhh,” Damian hissed, “They’ll hear us.”
Bruce’s lip quirked as he whispered, “Who are they and why are we spying on them?”
“Tim and Jason,” Damian reported, as if this were a mission. The scowl on his face told Bruce he was highly annoyed by his brothers’ existing together in a room.
He had to admit, he was more than a little surprised his two middle sons were together, too. “Jason’s here?”
“Yes, and he’s with Tim and I want to know what they’re doing.”
There was that name again. Those names. Bruce idly wondered if Damian even realized he had been using first names more often, recently. “Why?” he asked, leaning against the wall next to the door, resisting the urge to smile fondly at his 11-year-old.
Damian jutted out his bottom lip and said, “Because they said I couldn’t join them.”
“Did they say what they were doing?”
Now Damian’s scowl deepened, as if he were truly offended and reported, “’Top secret brother things.’”
That… was enough to make Bruce snort. Very briefly. He coughed, to try to cover it up. Because damn, Damian was precious. Absolutely adorable.
It was so good to see this side of him.
He was about to tell Damian to leave them alone, and say maybe he could play with Bruce, instead, when the door to the library swung open to reveal the imposing figure of Jason, towering over Damian. “Brat, I swear to God- Oh, hey Bruce.”
“Jason,” he said, trying to keep a straight face. Jason’s faux threatening demeanor only added to the hilarity that was this entire situation.
“We were just playing with the demonbrat,” Jason said, offering a faint smile as he put a hand on Damian’s forehead, preventing him from getting into the room.
“You were not!” Damian screeched, batting away Jason’s hand, “You kicked me out of the library! Besides, I would not play with the likes of you. Street trash like you is not worth my time.”
“Uh huh,” Jason said, grinning fully at Bruce now, “That’s why you’re spying on us.”
“I was not.”
“Damian,” Tim shouted from further inside the room, “Go away. Go bother someone else.”
Jason flicked Damian on the ear, then said, “Bruce is here, Timbers.”
Over Damian’s growl, Tim shouted, “Oh. Hey Bruce. Tell Damian to leave us alone.”
“Why are you two giving your little brother a hard time?”
Tim grinned at Bruce when he stuck his head in, then laughed at how Damian was trying to get at Jason, who was holding him off without much effort. Damian was, clearly, not actually trying to fight. If he had been, it would have been a completely different scene.
“It’s fun,” Tim said.
Damian dropped his hands and turned his scowl onto Bruce, as he shouted, “We are not brothers!”
“He’s really easy to trigger,” Jason offered, flicking Damian’s ear agin.
And the way Damian absolutely screamed, “I am not!” made Bruce bite his lip. Just to keep from laughing.
It was great, seeing them act like actual brothers.
“Don’t press too many buttons,” Bruce said, as he ruffled Damian’s hair, “Alfred is tired of patching knife holes in the walls.”
Jason walked back into the room, leaving the two of them in the hall again, and Bruce was pretty sure he said, “We got Dad’s blessing, Tim.” But he wasn’t going to push it and ask.
Instead, he just smiled fondly and started to make his way down the hall, content to let the boys work it out.
When Damian growled, he heard Jason shout, “Fine. If you really want to play Mario Kart that bad, get in here.”