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This Wasn't How We Were Going to Tell You Originally...

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When Dick first saw his younger brother go down, his breath hitched in his throat. He, Jason, and Roy had teamed up to take down a new gang that had decided to place their base of operations in Crime Alley (a mistake if Jason's face was anything to go off of). They weren't very original, more like a bunch of Joker copycats who met online or something. That little detail hadn't made his brother very happy either, and it was enough that his fighting grew erratic and angry. Jason started to take more risky shots and hazardous positions when he got overly emotional. Dick would have to talk to him about that.

Not now though. Now, he was focused on quickly subduing the criminals and getting over to Jason fast. There had been more people in the gang than they had originally thought. Roy too had heard the shot and saw the taller man fall, and he had turned practically feral, frothing at the bit and everything in his rage. The archer became immediately more violent, and Dick winced. He knew that the two of them were close, but Roy wasn't typically so aggressive. 

"Assistance," Dick spoke nervously into his comms as he kicked one of the men's legs out from under him. "Hood's down."

He heard a few replies, all of them saying that they'd be over, and he trusted Barbara to give them accurate coordinates. She always did. Dick focused his full attention on the brawl before him. From what he could tell, they weren't hurting as many civilians (or perhaps the others already put a stop to that), but they were damaging quite a lot of property and looting stores. He grimaced. The people who lived and worked here did not have the money to replace this sort of shit, and as usual, the culprits didn't seem to care. They were laughing, but he couldn't tell if that laughter was from enjoyment or if they were pretending to be as crazed as the real Joker was. 

A large portion of the gang had already been taken out; however, they seemed to spawn out of nowhere. Injured men and women would drag themselves out of the fight (and into the hands of the other bats waiting to arrest them), but it seemed as though the crowd was endless. Dick couldn't stop thinking about his brother either. Why had he fallen? Had he been shot? Was he even okay at the moment? Seeing as Roy hadn't gone even more ballistic, it wasn't as bad as some of their past experiences, but he was hesitant to say that he was safe. 

Dick couldn't tell if it was blood or sweat that was burning his eyes and blurring his vision. He heard an increase in the shouts of the criminals. His backup had undoubtedly arrived to save the day (night?), but he couldn't relax yet. Shoving one of the men off of him, he darted towards where he had seen his brother fall, and Roy was already there. The archer was kneeling over his partner and ignoring the chaos around them. Surprisingly enough, the gang seemed to be a-okay with ignoring them as well, but he wasn't complaining.

He could hear the sucking and hissing sounds of Jason's lungs from a few feet away. That couldn't mean anything good, so he quickly fell into place next to Roy. His brother had been stripped of his upper armor out of necessity. There would be no point in it if he died from whatever injury he had anyway. His brother's chest was exposed, but Dick could barely see his skin through the blood that poured from the wound. The archer had gotten a Ziploc bag, one that was clean enough, Dick supposed, and it was compressed over the coin-sized hole he could see in Jason's chest. Underneath the plastic, pink foam bubbled from the wound, and blood trickled from his brother's lips, which were now exposed as the archer had ripped his helmet off frantically.

"It's a chest sucking wound." Roy's eyes darted erratically around him. "He got shot."

"We need to get him out of here." Dick murmured lowly. "You think you can hold him steady?"

In an instant, the archer swept Jason up into his arms and stood, his muscles, strong from years of near constant archery, flexing as he did so. A few of the criminals looked to them once they sensed their movement, but they were immediately sent careening off to the side once they got a face full of angry Robin. Dick could tell that Roy was being super careful as to not exacerbate any of Jason's injuries. He hadn't seen the archer tend to any exit wound, so that meant that the bullet was most likely still inside his baby brother. 

He saw some of the other bats, Steph, Cass, Duke, and Kate, join the battle as he and Roy escaped towards the Batmobile that he had left a few blocks away. He didn't feel guilty for leaving; the remaining vigilantes were plenty capable of taking down the rest of the gang. Besides, he wasn't sure if the archer would be able to get his brother back to the Batcave by himself safely. 

Dick couldn't help but stare at his brother, wincing as he saw bubbles rise from the hole in Jason's lungs once more with each breath. His little brother had lost a lot of blood, and all he could do was hope that it hadn't been too much. He could tell that the same thought was racing across Roy's mind as well. The drive back to the Batcave was tense, neither of them taking their eyes off of Jason, but luckily, Alfred had the Batmobile on autopilot. The areas of the skin that he could see, those not glistening with blood, were pale like alabaster. It was unsettling, and Dick knew that the image wouldn't leave him for a long time. It'd haunt his dreams.

Bruce had been sitting in front of the Batcomputer when Dick spoke over the comms. He had always hated sending his children out on missions alone, but Alfred had made him swear off going on patrol until he had Dr. Leslie Thompkins's approval to do so. The older gentleman had barely allowed him down into the Batcave itself. In all honesty, he didn't understand why Alfred hadn't let him go; his injury didn't even hurt anymore. It had just been a slash across his shoulder and chest that he had gotten in a minor knife fight. That wasn't important now though. His son was hurt, and he hadn't been there to save him. Again.

He had immediately jumped up to help Alfred set up the medbay while they waited for the Batmobile to arrive, and this time, the other man didn't comment on his activity. Dick hadn't been very detailed with his statement, just saying that his second son was 'down.' That could mean anything, and questions flew through his head at a million miles an hour. Unfortunately, Dr. Thompkins was not in the area, having been forced to attend a conference in Star City. They'd have to manage by themselves and hope that they wouldn't fuck anything up. 

The worst that could have happened was that Jason was unconscious, right? Dick would have said something if he had, well, died. Bruce frowned as he looked over all of the medical equipment they had stored. He didn't know what they would need, and that disturbed him. Why couldn't his first son have been more descriptive? Had Jason been shot? Stabbed? Beaten? Where even were his injuries located? The situation must have been chaotic, for Dick normally included these important details. 

Bruce hadn't realized that he had been holding his breath until he exhaled in relief at the sight of the Batmobile. The two elder vigilantes, Dick and Roy, burst forth from the side doors instantly, and they turned on their heels to gently guide Jason's unconscious body out of the car. He rushed forward to help them, but the sight made him freeze.

His baby was pale as all hell, and Jason's wet, weak wheezing could be heard from across the Batcave. And there was just so much blood. His second son was absolutely drenched in it. It foamed from his chest wound, spilled over his lips, and coated his entire body. He couldn't help but be reminded of a different time he had seen Jason in a similar state back in Ethiopia. He hadn't been able to save him, just like he hadn't been able to save him from his newest injury. Again.

"Master Bruce!" Alfred's urgent voice snapped him back into attention.

Jason had been moved to a bed in medbay, and Bruce had been left staring at nothing where he used to be. Bruce shook his head to clear his thoughts. He couldn't afford to be distracted, not now, not while his son's life was in jeopardy. He whipped around and practically materialized by Jason's side, a sterile antiseptic cloth in hand to try to clear some of the blood away from the wound.

"Bullet's still in there." Roy muttered under his breath as he took scissors to Jason's pants to clear them away.

Alfred pushed Bruce's hands a way momentarily, so he could properly hook Jason up to a facemask, which would deliver oxygen to the boy (his baby) who was struggling to breathe. Now, Bruce was relatively familiar with chest sucking wounds and had had a few himself over the years, but the fact that this was Jason made all the difference. He schooled his expression until it was blank. He couldn't afford to be emotional at the moment. Emotions made him make mistakes.

"What's this?" He asked as he wiped the blood away from the left side of Jason's chest, right over his heart.

There was a tattoo there, one that Bruce hadn't realized that Jason had gotten. He hadn't realized that Jason had had any tattoo whatsoever. It was relatively large, covering the majority of that side of his chest. Three feathers were laid around an arrow, and one of them wrapped around its length. 


He shot Roy a suspicious look.

"What it is is something that doesn't matter at the moment." Roy growled at him. "Save your lectures for when Jaybird isn't fucking dying, thank you very much."

Alfred bat his hands away from Jason then, clearly sensing that he was only getting more and more distracted. Dick grabbed hold of him and yanked him down to sit next to his first son. Dick's face was stained with many tear tracks, and the wetness in his eyes didn't seem to be going away anytime soon. Both men visibly winced when Alfred quickly covered Jason's chest in iodopovidone and made an incision in Jason's chest and stuck a catheter in the hole it created. This was, of course, to drain the pleural cavity of excess fluid that had bled into the area around his lungs. The bullet was an easy find too after an x ray was hooked up to visualize the area, and thankfully, it seemed to be just as simple to remove. 

Then, they waited. There wasn't much else they could do until all of the fluid had been properly drained, so Bruce found himself twiddling his thumbs quickly. His son had yet to regain the much needed color to his skin. He heard Roy turn the heater on high, and even though he was already warm, he was grateful. It wouldn't be good if his Jay got cold, for it would only exacerbate his injuries.

Dick wiped at his eyes furiously. "So," he turned to the archer. "Tattoo?"

"He has two of them actually." Roy shrugged. "One is right above his ass."

"The arrow?"

"That part's for me, yeah; feather's for Jay. I have it too." He bit his lip. "It wouldn't get lost like other wedding bands would."

Time froze for Bruce. He felt his mouth open, but no sound came out. Wedding bands? Was his son married? To the Harper boy? He hadn't even known; why didn't they tell him? When did it even happen?

"You're married?!" Dick voiced what Bruce wanted to. "Why didn't you tell us!?"

"Who's married?" Tim spoke up as he, Damian, Steph, and Cass walked into the medbay, presumably to check on Jason.

All four of them had been covered in blood before they hit the showers, but it hadn't been their own. Upon Red Hood's extraction from the scene, the gang had started fighting with a renewed sense of vigor, clearly only encouraged by their success. However, the bats had some fresh fighters, those who hadn't already been exhausted from fighting, so the situation had been handled quickly. If they had been more aggressive with the criminals, Commissioner Gordon, who by then had joined them, hadn't said anything as he and his men handcuffed the gang to be taken into custody.

"Jason and Roy," the eldest Wayne son pointed at the archer accusingly.

"Oh, okay," Tim wasn't all too bothered by this; he had had his suspicions for a while. "How's Jason?"

It wasn't that he wasn't shocked by the new information, but there were more important things on his mind. There was no doubt that Jason would be barraged with questions and disappointed looks once he woke up anyway. Should he have told them that he was fucking married? Yes, but they couldn't change that now. Naturally, Tim was curious to know more. It would have to wait.

"Healing, Master Timothy." Alfred said as he finally removed the catheter and started stitching the wound closed.

Damian on the other hand was not so disinterested. "Did you know of this?" He looked towards their father.

Bruce shook his head, but he didn't speak. While his gaze remained mostly transfixed on the tattoo that he hadn't known was there, every now and then he would look to other areas of his son's exposed chest, the areas covered in scars, and wince. All of them had collected dozens of scars over the years, yet Jason always had much more. The most noticeable one was the y-cut that ran down his chest, a relic of the autopsy he had had while dead. He had a feeling that his most recent gunshot wound would leave just as visible a scar as his other injuries had.

"And did you ask Mother?" The youngest Wayne son narrowed his eyes at the archer.

"No," Roy didn't bother looking up at the boy, too busy tracing circles with his thumb in the palm of his partner's hand.

"You didn't ask permission first." It wasn't a question.

"No," he repeated.

Tim could see Damian's face turn red, and he was surprised that his head didn't explode from the intensity of the glare he was shooting at Roy. It was clear that the whole 'asking permission' thing was important to him. He wasn't envious of the archer at all, but he was glad that the demon was directing his anger at someone other than him for once. Maybe he could get a commemorative pin or t shirt to remember the day by. However, Tim supposed that Roy's headstone might be enough once Damian was through with him.

The archer shrugged. "We already had a bank account together. We spent basically all our time together, and Lian already considered Jason her second dad. Getting married was the next logical step, so we went to the courthouse, then the tattoo parlor."

"You didn't have a ceremony?" Stephanie furrowed her brow. "That's the fun part!"

"Never had the time," he squeezed his partner's hand. 

"Ceremony," Cass nodded her head solemnly.

Steph straightened her back. "She's right! You guys need to have a ceremony. Bruce can pay for it." 

Dick nodded his head up and down, his eyes finally tearing away from the wound on Jason's chest. "Damian can be the flower girl, right?"

"What?" Damian whipped his head around. "I am not a girl-"

"Come on, Dami. It's 2021! What is a flower girl anyway?"

He shook his head. "Let Harper's spawn be flower girl, Grayson. I don't want it." He sniffed.

Roy ignored them for now as they devolved into excited chatter. He supposed they could have a ceremony; they had been meaning to find time to do it anyway. Lian could be flower girl. The archer already knew that Jason would want Talia in attendance, but there were many things that they'd have to sort out. While they wanted a ceremony, they never actually bothered to plan it out due to their lack of free time. He wondered what details Jason would like, but it would definitely have a lot of red in it. Roy wasn't going to budge on that point. Red was a baller color.

He stared at his partner and waited for him to wake up.