Six A.M. was far too early to be awake in the bat-pack’s opinion, particularly considering they didn’t get home until around four-thirty that morning. But Bruce had felt some sadistic need to blast a wake up alarm through the entire manor’s intercom system, effectively propelling all of the young superheroes from their beds, halfway through suiting up when it was announced that they were needed down in the cave for an impromptu training session.
Jason had punched a hole in the drywall by his door, while Damian promptly went back to sleep in retaliation, forcing Dick to piggyback him down the stairs, grumbling the entire way. Tim, of course, said nothing, leading the clutch, though the slightly heavier treading of his feet made it clear he was as unhappy about this turn of events as the rest of the group.
When they’d all descended the steps, Bruce motioned them towards the gym. Jason was the first to speak up, snarling, “What the fuck, Bruce? What the hell do you have against sleeping?”
“For once, I’m inclined to agree with Jason on this.” Tim shifted, preventing Jason from trying to throttle their father figure. “We had a hard night, Bruce. Why would you want us to train when our bodies should be resting?” Tim and Jason both turned, fully expecting reinforcement from Dick, but the man had his entire upper body draped over the back of a chair snoring, Damian sprawled across his back and drooling on his shoulder. Jason snorted in amusement and Tim smiled. “Case in point.”
Bruce watched the unconscious pair blankly before wandering over to them and mercilessly knocking the chair out from under Dick, twin yelps of shock echoing through the cave as the partners fell to the ground in an undignified crumple. Damian scowled darkly at the floor as he sat up while Dick cringed at the reprimanding glare he received from Batman.
Bruce let his eldest squirm under his gaze just a bit longer before turning back to the other pair, not missing Dick’s immediate slump of relief. “You are all excellent with weapons but you could use some refinement in hand-to-hand combat.” Four protests burst out simultaneously and Bruce lifted a hand to silence them. “I’m not talking martial arts. I’m referring to grappling, when an enemy has you trapped in his grasp and you have to resort to base fighting instincts.”
Jason groaned and Bruce shot the rebel a reproving look. “You in particular, Jason. Out of all of us, you rely the most on weapons.” The disapproval in the statement was audible without ever actually being stated and it made all of them frown. Bruce hadn’t quite gotten used to Jason being around again, but he generally tried to keep their conversations neutral. That was an outright punch below the belt.
Growling, Jason stepped forward. “Hey, if you’ve got something to say, Boss-man, then just say it. Let’s not beat around the fucking bush.” He jerked his arm away when Tim grabbed his elbow and said his name in a warning tone. “No! Fuck off, Pretender! He’s had a problem with me ever since I got back and I’m sick of being the man out.”
Bruce shook his head. “I’m not trying to pick on you, Jason. I just think it would do you good, all of you, if you learned how to work around potential disadvantages.”
Damian interrupted before any more could be said and the situation dissolved into a more serious family confrontation. “Father, you make it sound like we are all incapable of defending ourselves without a weapon.” He jerked his head towards his brothers and continued, “I cannot speak for these three, but I, for one, am insulted.”
Bruce’s lips quirked in an amused movement, making Damian bristle a bit and cross his arms over his chest. “It is training to think on your feet, possibly when you must fight in civilian clothes, in a way that won’t give away your more in depth training.”
“Street fighting.” Jason arched an eyebrow at the strange instruction, former irritation leaving in his curiosity. “You want us to street fight? Well, that’s just nostalgic.” He was grinning now, and Dick and Tim both shared a look, well aware of Jason’s history on the streets. If it weren’t for the fact that he’d been Batman-trained and pretty much given up that style of fighting, the redhead probably would have had a ridiculous advantage over all of them. As it stood now, Dick probably was the best off, closely followed by Tim.
Damian was less than thrilled. “You want us to learn the art of the common brawl? That is terribly undignified.”
“Grappling, not brawling,” Bruce corrected, sighing at his son’s stubbornness. He glanced over at Dick, who blinked at him before grinning wickedly.
In the next second, Damian was strong-armed around the neck, and tossed on his back to the mats, staring up in surprise at his former mentor who was now sitting comfortably on his stomach. “Grayson! What the hell!?” Jason was in hysterics and Tim nearly gave in to the same desire to laugh as Damian struggled and quickly found his arms pinned to the ground.
Dick snickered at him, before standing and dusting off a shoulder. “Your guard was down. Now brawl with me.” Damian needed no further encouragement, launching through the air at the man with an enraged shout.
Satisfied that they would be well occupied with each other, Bruce looked to Tim and Jason. “Hand-to-hand, no weapons.” He didn’t bother to wait for a response before turning away to leave. “I’m going to sleep. Try not to hurt each other too badly.”
Jason sputtered as Bruce disappeared up the stairs. “How is that fucking fair!? So typical, order us to do shit, and then just leave.” Jason glared death as the door shut. “I am not doing this. He’s got another thing coming if he thinks he can just rattle off commands and expect us to listen.”
Tim’s lips twitched, suppressing his smile, and he dropped down into a crouch on the mats, rocking back and forth to stretch his calf muscles. With a quick spin, he sent his leg swinging outward, knocking Jason’s feet out from under him. The redhead twisted, muscle memory bringing him up into a momentary, but graceful handstand to catch himself from falling, and he scowled at the smug grin on the other boy’s face.
“The fuck is your deal, Replacement?” Jason immediately leapt for the younger man. Tim took his weight easily, rolling backwards with the motion as his legs immediately grappled for a hold on the rebel’s waist, and pinned Jason beneath him, smirk never slipping from his lips.
“You’re out of practice, Jay.” Jason scoffed and his hand shot out to grab the back of Tim’s neck, yanking and slamming the slighter man to the ground beside him, following through with his leg, but he was blocked by a strong forearm hooking under his knee. He was rolled right back underneath Tim, this time with his quad pressed against his chest by Tim’s body weight. Tim grinned at his irritated growl. “Must be all that reliance on guns. No skill with your bare hands anymore.”
Jason gritted his teeth and slammed both hands to the floor mats at his sides for leverage and bucked his lower body forcefully, throwing Tim completely over his head. Before the surprised man could regain his bearings, Jason had his arms twisted behind his back, fully sprawled over Tim and trapping him with his body. Grinning, Jason yanked a bit on the prone man’s arms, delighting in the small grunt he got in response. “You were saying, Babybird?”
Tim’s eyes narrowed at the comment, and with a surge of strength, he managed to bring himself up to his knees, though with Jason’s chest keeping his arms against his back, his shoulders and cheek still pressed against the mat. “You haven’t won yet, Jason.” He jerked back with his hips, and Jason cursed for a moment, trying to stabilize himself by spreading his legs wider around Tim’s thighs. Tim smirked and grabbed the front of the redhead’s shirt, jerking again and knocking them both on their sides.
The motion forced Jason to release one of his hands to catch himself and Tim seized that moment to wrap his arm around the back of Jason’s head and pull it over his shoulder, pressing hard into the man’s throat. Jason snarled, tried to grab the offending arm and pull it away so he could breathe better, but Tim was persistent and wouldn’t let go. The rebel opted instead to wind a leg around Tim’s waist, but the younger was more flexible than him and intercepted the attempt, Tim bringing his own leg up and back to cover and pin Jason’s down.
Realizing his legs would be useless now, Jason let go of Tim’s other arm, leaning his weight over to keep it in a position that Tim still wouldn’t be able to move it in. Shoving his right arm between Tim’s waist and the floor, he pulled the man in closer, grabbing his shirt and trying to turn him to his stomach, pushing insistently with his lower body to help the endeavor.
Tim wouldn’t relent though, and when Jason tried to move his leg again, Tim pressed back harder to keep Jason pinned, Jason’s leg slipping between his from the pressure he exerted. The genius pulled harder on Jason’s head, determined to use Jason’s lack of air to force the older man to surrender, but Jason wouldn’t give up so easily.
Hand sliding down, Jason gripped the younger man’s thigh, trying to drag Tim backwards now and loosen the vice grip around his neck. Tim did his best to hang on when Jason’s hips snapped against his jerkily, but it was futile. With a straining grunt, Jason had Tim on his back on top of him, legs coming up and hooking to keep Tim’s spread and immobile. Bringing his arms up, Jason got Tim under the armpits and finally broke out of the hold, only to growl darkly in his ear when fingers snagged sharply on his hair, the younger man obviously unwilling to give in.
At a certain point, Dick and Damian had stopped and stood at a distance, watching the scene. Damian’s face was an explosion of crimson while Dick looked as though he were valiantly attempting not to burst out laughing. “They…that looks…” Damian’s entire body shuddered, unwilling to finish the thought. Dick had no qualms with it, though.
“It looks like they’re having sex. But with clothes.”
“Grayson! Why would you say it out loud!?”
“Go, Tim! Make him work for it!” Dick choked on his whooping laughter when Damian nailed him in the solar plexus, stumbling back a couple steps.
“Shut! Up!” Damian flung himself at Dick, who was still cackling through the nearly complete absence of oxygen in his lungs. The man merely sidestepped the strangulation attempt, and Damian would have been more than tenacious about persisting, but a low moan caught him by surprise and his eyes snapped over to the other pair.
“Shit, Jason!” Tim groaned again when Jason’s teeth bit harder into the back of his neck, a low rumble of dark satisfaction spreading out over the sweat-damp skin. “Biting isn’t f-fair!”
“This is street fighting, Timmy. Anything’s fair game.” And he bit down again.
Damian’s jaw dropped, and much to his horror, Tim actually arched back into the older man with a disturbingly needy gasp. Even Dick had the decency to look embarrassed by the sudden change of atmosphere, and a forbidden thrill raced through him when Jason’s eyes lifted to hold his gaze, full of heat and heady intentions. The command in them was implicit and unmistakable.
Damian was in so much shock over Jason and Tim actually doing such a thing with him and Dick in the room that he couldn’t even bring himself to protest when Dick grabbed the younger boy’s head, covering his eyes, and proceeded to drag him from the gym. Dick shivered again when he heard Jason groan deeply, and Tim’s hiccupping gasp echoed indecently throughout the cavern.
Dick slammed the door behind them and immediately sank to the floor, Damian partially slouched over his leg. They both stared at the wall ahead of them, trying to wrap their heads around the sudden realization that Jason and Tim were apparently more involved than anyone had thought. It had been amusing until it actually started getting heated, and then Dick had been completely thrown for a loop. Both of them stiffened when there was a distinct ripping sound, silence, and then Tim’s voice cried out Jason’s name in a throaty moan.
“I am never going in there again.”