prodigaljaybird: (PB - Surly teen.)
[personal profile] prodigaljaybird
He thinks it might be the only non-woolen blanket in all of London, and Jason is in love with it.

He's in love with the wide couch he's found in the basement of the Compound building, too. It's not much softer than his bed at home, but it's new, showing him a view beyond the bedroom he's been cooped up in, and that makes all the difference. It's only been a few days, and yet Jason feels like he's been sick for weeks, his supposedly mild flu an exercise in seeing what can hurt the most: his throat, his head, or his entire aching body. It's misery, all the moreso when all his light cotton blankets at home have transformed into wool. Their itchy fibers are a torment to his overheated skin, but this...

Jason groans aloud, wrapping the soft blanket more firmly around himself. It's cashmere, he thinks, expensive and fine and calling his fevered thoughts immediately to Talia. He's glad she can't see him in it now, his breath too warm and humid against the silken threads, cheeks an ugly red where they protrude above the folds. He'd been watching something, a movie made of tiny negatives moved across candlelight by clockwork, but they must have run out, because the wall they'd been projected on is empty now.

Jason sighs and lays his head against the armrest of the couch. He'll muster the will to get up and start the film over in a moment. Just one moment more.

Date: 2011-12-15 01:05 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Knight in Sour Armor)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
Some people experience an impulse to look into windows as they pass by. It's not something that I've personally made a habit of, usually being more preoccupied with getting to my target and end goal, but when I can afford the time and the attention, I try to spare a glance. When I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach, that inexplicable surety that some detail has been set ajar, that the world is not exactly as it should be, I slow down. I watch carefully. I wait for the nail that sticks out from the rest. And today, as I step to the basement of the transformed Compound, hoping to find more serviceable gloves to wear outdoors, it's not quite chance that has me peering into one of the rooms as I pass by and finding a familiar silhouette.

And I remember certain words spoken to me, about effort, about how the obligation to reach out lies in my hands, and not the hands of a child. They push me inside. The door creaks, and in those couple of silent seconds after that alone, I know that something isn't right. He would have responded with a look, at the very least. Or to my steps, as I cross the room. I come to a stop behind the couch and reach a cool palm out to press against his temple.

He's running a fever.

Date: 2011-12-15 03:01 am (UTC)
crusaded: (I Work Alone)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
His voice has grown lower, the shadows under his eyes deeper somehow. My fingers trace up to his hairline, where white already peeks through. But there's no mistaking that it's Jason seated in front of me, complexion too pale for my liking. In all likelihood, this is nothing more than a cold. Perhaps the flu. With people being brought from various times and places to a single nexus, disease should have wiped us all out by now. That it hasn't attests to some power— overaching, if not necessarily greater— meddling with all of our lives and tugging them around at will. I probably don't have to worry. Sleep, water, some warm soup. It's probably there is to be done.

"No. You need to rest," I say, even though it isn't my place to, nor have we run patrols together in years. Rounding the couch to sit at his side, I pull out the canteen I've kept on my person since the change— I don't trust the cleanliness of the local water. I reach for his hand, wrapping it around the canteen. "I brought water."

Date: 2011-12-15 04:13 am (UTC)
crusaded: (The Strategist)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
I don't know how much he'll remember once he recovers. I don't know how much of a betrayal it'll seem for me to have broken the distance between us and spent any amount of time seated right next to him. But however dazed, the smile that I see is enough that I feel stunned. I don't know what had to have been removed to make this okay. Are the memories gone? Is it fear that's been stamped down now? Does he remember what it was like to speak my name and to hold a gun to the temple of the man that killed him? There is a childlike innocence in this moment, and all I can thnk is of how much he's grown. How it's been far too quick and halting.

"I think I can handle that," I reply, quiet, glancing over briefly at him, before back at the projection on the wall, some type of silent film that I can't quite seem to follow with my attention thus divided. This is familiar. We've been here before.

"Have you eaten today?"

Date: 2011-12-15 07:01 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Load-Bearing Hero)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
"Perhaps both of us sound like Alfred," I point out. And I fall silent. Try as I might, I can't stop feeling somewhat empty for his absence. Thomas and Martha Wayne are those credited with building the empire, but what a fair portion of the world doesn't know is the fact that Alfred Pennyworth is singularly responsible for maintaining it. Without his lead and his support, without having him to return to at the end of each day, I would have grown too weary years ago. I might have bled out, years ago. But beyond saving my life, what I'm not sure many people realize is the fact that Alfred has been a father to me.

If only we could learn such skills easily from one another.

I stare forward at the sequence of moving images, flickering across the wall. "I didn't realize Lux's father left," I admit. I haven't kept an eye on anyone other than my own in some time, beyond patrols. And keeping someone safe on the streets is an entirely different matter than keeping them stable in their personal lives. "That's unfortunate."

Seeing Jason shift, I reach a hand out to grip his shoulder, trying to help him up as well as I can. Tugging at the blanket to make sure he stays adequately covered.

Date: 2011-12-17 11:43 am (UTC)
crusaded: (Darker and Edgier)
From: [personal profile] crusaded

Without exception, it is always easiest to remember what we're missing in our lives. It's easier to remember what has been taken from us, what we've been robbed of, than it is to count our blessings and note, every time, which ones in our possession are available to so few others in the world. At least— this is what I've always found to be the case. An outsider would look at me, or any member of my family, and see the funds and legacy that keep us all afloat as one, never needing to struggle or want for anything at all. A sturdy roof over our heads, enough stocks to last us several lifetimes, but to me, to any of the children, it's a blessing more often taken from granted than otherwise.

It is not enough for Jason to remember that he's alive, or that his enemies are far, or that he has friends enough to keep him buoyed, should the status quo remain in the same perilous position as it has since my arrival. Because more than any of this is the feeling of desertion.

Of being an orphan.

"She's not like either of us," I counter. Lux is a civilian. I wonder if Jason realizes this with as much frequency as he should.

I wonder if he would bother to change his behavior at all for it.

Date: 2011-12-20 08:39 pm (UTC)
crusaded: (Jack of All Trades)
From: [personal profile] crusaded
I see the smile, and it reminds me of the first time I brought him to the batcave. The wonder that had been so clear in his eyes as he looked around, the awe with which he viewed everything, as though he felt himself fortunate for being brought into the fold. I remember how proud I'd been then too, how hopeful, perhaps even more so than when Dick agreed to the job. After all, Dick was a grown boy when I'd brought him in. His ideas were set, his ideals not breaking in the slightest even after years by my side. Jason, on the other hand, was perhaps more my son than any of the others had been. Easily influenced. So eager to make me proud.

For things like this, it isn't fair to assume the wrong on the part of the child. It's the parent. I didn't realize that he wasn't ready, or wouldn't let myself believe that to be the case.

"And then I showed," I add with a slight smile, strained as it is.

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Jason Todd

September 2014

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