Wayne Manor had a lot to recommend it, but one of its greatest failings was that there was only one genuinely comfortable couch in the massive, furniture-filled living room. Tim was sprawled across it, his laptop on his stomach and his neck craned at an ergonomically disastrous angle to look at the screen, when he heard a familiar imperious voice say, “Move your filthy feet, Titus.”
Tim didn’t bother to look up. Damian didn’t usually insult his pets like that, but as long as the gremlin wasn’t making it his problem, Tim was just as happy not to be involved.
He felt a socked foot kicking at his ankles - not hard enough to really hurt, but definitely hard enough to be annoying. “I’m talking to you. Move over.”
Tim raised his eyebrows and looked at Damian, who was holding his sketchpad and scowling at him. “Did you seriously just call me Titus?”
“Yes,” Cass said from her position stretching on the floor.
“One hundred percent,” Duke agreed from the most comfortable armchair.
Damian rolled his eyes. “Fine. Does it matter? I told you to move.”
“You called me by the dog’s name!” Tim said indignantly.
“Yes, and I’ll apologize to him later,” Damian said, and kicked Tim’s ankle again, slightly harder this time. “Move.”
“Ugh.” Tim drew his feet up so that Damian could sit. “Don’t you ever get tired of being unbearable?”
“Don’t you ever get tired of being fundamentally pointless?” Damian asked, curling up against the arm of the couch and opening his sketchbook.
“Who are you calling pointless, you stabby little nightmare?”
“If you want to see just how stabby I can be, Drake, keep speaking to me in that tone.”
Cass and Duke met each other’s eyes briefly, then went back to their stretching and Instagram scrolling respectively. Just another day in Wayne Manor.
Damian bent over the microscope in the Batcave, peering at a blood sample through it. “Interesting,” he murmured. “Ace, do you have a blood sample from the member of the gang that held up Gotham National Bank last week, the one who got away from us?”
Silence greeted him. He looked up to see Dick, Tim, and Bruce giving him blank looks. “What?”
“Were you talking to me?” Dick asked.
“Yes, obviously,” he said. “Who else was at the bank with me?”
“You called me Ace,” Dick said, clearly fighting a smile.
“Well, at least it’s not just me,” Tim said, then added, “He called me Titus the other day” by way of explanation.
“Is that better or worse than Ace?” Dick wondered aloud.
“I don’t know. Which of our dogs is better?”
“The more important question is, which of our dogs is worse?”
“They’re both better than the two of you put together,” Damian gritted out. “Do you have the sample, Richard?”
“Aw, but you say ‘Ace’ with so much more fondness,” Dick said, but he went into their sample files and emerged with the correct one, handing it to Damian with one hand and ruffling his hair with the other.
“Yes, well, Ace stops barking when I tell him to, so he’s earned it.”
“Father, make him leave me alone.”
Bruce was significantly better at hiding a smile than Dick, but not perfect. “I’m staying out of this.”
The assembled members of the Batfamily crouched on a roof as Bruce laid out their strategy.
“Red Hood, Robin, and Signal, you’re our distraction,” he said. “Come in through the skylight with plenty of noise and the full light show. No killing,” he added in Jason’s direction, and Jason tilted his head far enough that they knew he was rolling his eyes behind his helmet. “Red Robin and I will block the front entrance. Nightwing and Orphan, you’re going in quietly through the back. Understood?”
Everyone except Damian nodded. “I should go in with Orphan,” he protested. “I’m quieter than Nightwing. Bat-Cow makes enough noise on his own, anyway, even without the guns.”
There was a long pause. Then Tim let out a helpless little shriek of laughter and doubled over like he’d been struck with sudden appendicitis.
“What?” Damian snapped.
“Bat-Cow?” Jason demanded.
“Oh, that’s so much worse than the dogs,” Duke said, snickering. “I’m assuming you meant Hood and not me?”
“Maybe a compliment?” Cass suggested, grinning. “Like a bull? A bull with guns?” Dick’s wobbly straight face dissolved completely, and Bruce managed to move further into the inscrutable shadows so that no one could see his mouth twitching. Tim hiccuped and fell over.
“Bat-Cow?” Jason repeated again. “I’m freaking Bat-Cow?”
“You are all overreacting,” Damian said, glaring. “Father calls us by the wrong names all the time.”
“That’s completely untrue, Nightwing,” Bruce said from the shadows. Dick openly guffawed, and Tim gave a desperate little wheeze from the fetal position.
“Ugh. You are all children,” Damian snapped, glaring up at his family.
“Not Jason, he’s a calf,” Dick said, and Jason let out a wordless noise of outrage. “Hey, at least he didn’t call you Jerry.”
“Jerry? Who or what is Jerry?”
“Jerry’s the turkey.”
“We have a turkey?”
Duke pointed to the still-wheezing figure at their feet. “Guys, I think Tim might be broken.”
“I’m going back to Mother,” Damian grumbled, folding his arms.
Everyone jumped at the sound of the back door slamming open, tensing into defensive positions. “What the hell?” Duke asked.
A minute later, Jason appeared at the entrance to the breakfast nook, clearly the cause of the noise, and everyone relaxed. Tim put down the chair he’d picked up, and Cass reversed the butter knife in her hand and went back to buttering her pancakes.
“HA!” Jason barked, pointing a triumphant finger at Damian, who didn’t know why he was being pointed at but glowered back at him on principle.
Bruce’s brow furrowed. “Jason, what on earth…?”
“Damian loves us!” Jason crowed. He had leaves stuck in his hair and looked a little wild. “Even me and Replacement!”
“You take that back!” Damian snapped.
“Can’t get out of it that easy, gremlin,” Jason said, grinning. “A real live psychologist said so, so it’s true.”
Dick raised an eyebrow. “Was it Harley?”
“Yes, but she got that degree fair and square! ...Ish,” Jason said. He grabbed an empty chair, spun it backwards, and straddled it, arms folded across the back. “So I was down by STAR Labs at like 3 am because some idiots from Crime Alley thought it would be a good idea to break in and steal anything they could put up their noses. Well, turns out someone at STAR stole some top secret super-dangerous plant from Ivy, so she and Harley showed up to get it back, and we had ourselves a little semi-reformed supervillain team-up. And no, Bruce, we didn’t kill anyone,” he added, rolling his eyes.
“I didn’t ask,” said Bruce in a tone that made it clear he’d wanted to.
“Right,” Jason drawled. “Anyway, one of the Crime Alley dopes gets the drop on Ivy and Harley goes ‘Bud! I mean, Lou! I mean, Pammy! Look out!’”
“Please don’t ever do Harley’s voice again,” Duke said, wincing.
“Those are...hyenas?” Cass asked.
“Bingo,” Jason said, cocking his finger at her like a gun. “So of course Ivy gets all offended and they’re arguing while she’s choking the guy out with a vine, and Harley’s like ‘Poopsie! I told you! I’m just grabbing the names of loved ones out of the ‘family’ box in my head when I call you by the babies’ names! They’ve done studies!’” He grinned at Damian. “They’ve done studies.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Damian said, sinking lower in his chair.
“Wait,” Tim said. “Damian calls us by the animals’ names because he loves us as much as the animals?”
“That’s a lot of love,” Duke said.
“Aw, Dami! We love you too!” Dick cooed.
“Speak for yourself, Goldie,” Jason said as Tim made a gagging noise.
“Don’t worry, Damian,” Dick said. “I’m sure Jason will accidentally call you ‘Glock’ any day now.”
“This conversation is imbecilic,” Damian snapped, shoving a resentful bite of pancake in his mouth.
“Agreed,” Bruce said from behind his newspaper. “Jason carries Colts. Dick, I’m surprised at you.”
Tim shook his head. “So disappointing.”
“There goes the golden boy reputation,” Jason agreed.
“Tt,” Damian said.
Dick blinked. “Wait, I thought we were all making fun of Damian, not me!”
“That was a whole minute ago, Dick, keep up,” Jason said.
“Don’t worry, the gremlin’s doing it with love,” Tim assured him.
Damian stood up, fork gripped in his hand like a switchblade. “All right, that is enough!”
“Back off, Alfred the cat!”
Cass and Duke calmly moved their plates to the side as Damian lunged for Tim, and Bruce stayed safely behind his newspaper. Jason tugged Tim’s plate closer while he was distracted by fending Damian off and stole a piece of bacon off of it.
“Oh, it’s turkey bacon,” he said, chewing disappointedly, then froze. “Hang on, this isn’t Jerry, is it?”
(It took Bruce seven tries to correctly name the sons fighting under the table in an attempt to break it up, and everyone switched to making fun of him instead. No one ended up maimed or bleeding, though, making it one of the most successful breakfasts at Wayne Manor in years. Alfred was very proud.)