“I cannot believe,” Roy says, as they walk through the double doors, “That we are doing recon. In an Olive Garden.” Jason shoots him a glare as Kori greets the waitress, asking for a table for three, please. “What kind of criminals do business in an Olive Garden?”
“The kind that are going to overhear you if you keep yelling about it,” Jason says. “Be quiet.”
The waitress tells them to wait here just a moment while she clears them a table, and Kori turns to face them again.
“Jason is right, Roy, even if the criminals overhear us, there are members of the public here who would be quite alarmed to learn they are dining with criminals.”
Jason snorted. “They’re clearly not from Gotham, then,” he comments, his eyes catching on the jars of dried pasta decorating the foyer. Casually, he reaches out and grabs a roll of fettuccine, popping it in his mouth.
Kori goes still. Roy’s mouth drops open, his face twisting up in horror. Jason rolls his eyes.
“What?” he asks, around a mouthful of cronch.
“Jason. Jaybird. Buddy. Light of my life. What are you doing?” Roy’s voice may be even more horrified than his face, if that’s even possible.
“I’m eating the fettuccine, Roy,” Jason says, because what does it look like he’s doing?
Roy makes a strangled noise. Kori’s mouth is twitching like she wants to smile.
“I don’t believe I am familiar with this custom,” she says.
“That’s because it isn’t one!” Roy cries, agitated.
“Yes, it is,” Jason replies, swallowing the raw, dry fettuccine with a wince. It’s not a pleasant taste, or even texture, but the tedious chewing is a good way to pass the time– he figures that’s why people do this, anyway. “That’s the whole reason they have the jars, Roy, it’s not just for decoration.”
The waitress returns and leads them to a table, pausing their conversation as she hands out menus and takes their drink orders. Roy still looks shaken, which, “Really, Harper? It’s just fettuccine.”
“Raw fettuccine! Out of the decorative jars! At Olive Garden!”
“Perhaps it is a regional custom?” Kori suggests. “Perhaps it’s something people in Gotham do.”
Roy shakes his head. “Dick never did that when we went to OG with the Titans,” he points out. Which– what?
“Yes he does,” Jason said, slow and confused. “He’s the one who told me that it was a thing in the first place. It was when he went through that phase of trying to be a decent brother after ignoring me, so he and Babs took me to Olive Garden, and–” He cuts himself off, seeing that Roy’s horror has morphed into pure, unadulterated glee, and Kori’s twitching mouth has been hidden behind a hand as she stifles laughter. Realisation dawns on him, and he feels the rage, embarrassment, and betrayal that can only come from knowing that you’ve been pranked by a sibling.
“That bastard!” he snarls, and his two teammates lose it.
“Oh my god,” Roy wheezes. “Holy shit, Jaybird, that’s amazing.”
“I am quite surprised you believed him,” Kori adds, voice shaking with mirth.
“I didn’t, at first!” Jason cries, frustrated. “I told him he was full of shit, but Babs backed him up, and what the fuck, I trusted her–”
As his two teammates lose it at his expense, he pulls his phone out of his pocket, and angrily types in the number, putting it on speakerphone. Roy’s eyes light up, and he quiets as it rings. Kori spots someone– presumably the waitress– over Jason’s shoulder and shakes her head, holding up her hand in a gesture asking for a minute.
Dick picks up the phone.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“Dick,” Jason grinds out.
“Jason?” Dick sounds confused. “Why are you calling me? How’d you even get this number?” His voice takes on an alarmed tone. “Are you in trouble? Do you need help?”
“Raw. Fettuccine.” Jason’s voice is low and dangerous, and honestly not too far off from what would be an impressive Batman growl.
“You told me that people ate the raw fettuccine in the jars at Olive Garden.”
The silence coming from Dick’s end is incredibly confused. “I– Wait, are you talking about that time Babs and I took you there for dinner?”
“You told me that people ate the dried pasta, Dick .”
“Oh, yeah,” Dick sounds amused. “We did do that, didn’t we?” He lets out what sounds like an amused sigh. “So, did you really just call to reminisce about awkward hangouts? Not that I mind, but it’s not really our style, you know.”
“That was not the only time I went to Olive Garden, Dick.”
And that’s when Dick gets it, and bursts into laughter. “Oh my god–” he wheezes. “Jason. Jason. Tell me you haven’t been doing that all this time. Holy shit.”
Roy is laughing again, and Kori has that smirk on her face.
“I didn’t know! I didn’t know any better! I was just a street kid, and then you, my big brother who grew up in a mansion, tells me, ‘this is what people do’, and I, wanting to seem like an authentic metropolitan diner, would always grab the fettuccine. Like, mm, yeah, a little peckish, let me just get myself a snack!”
“Oh my god ,” Roy whispers, and Jason can see stars in his eyes. He feels so angry.
“I can’t fucking believe it, I can’t fucking believe you did that,” he snarls. “And I can’t believe, literally, I’m finding this out in front of Roy fucking Harper.”
Dick loses it. Jason has half a mind to hang up on him. “Oh my god, Jay, I’m so fucking sorry, I had no idea you still even remembered that. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Yeah, Jason’s done with this conversation. “I fucking hate you,” he snarls. “And Babs. I trusted her. She betrayed me.”
“I’ll–” Dick wheezes– “I’ll let her know. Bye, Jason.”
“Fuck off,” Jason snarls, and hangs up.
“This is the best day of my life,” Roy says, wiping tears from my eyes. “Holy shit. I need to, like, send Dick a fruit basket or some shit, thank him for this gift.”
Jason glares at him. “Oh, fuck off , Harper.”
“Boys,” Kori says, catching their attention. “Our mark is here.”
Right. They’re here on a job. Though Jason has no idea how he’s going to get through this night, with the taste of raw fucking fettuccine and betrayal on his tongue.