"Shit! Shit shit shit," it had become his mantra while digging through his one dufflebag. He was crouched in the middle of a hardly furnished apartment - his latest one, having ditched the last one out of paranoia that someone knew where he was bunking down. But now-
"Fuck! It's not here," he finally decided, and went from crouching to full on sitting, kicking the dufflebag away with one heavy combat boot. It slid with little resistance into the kitchen where it laid motionless, looking a touch abandoned with its contents strewn across the room.
Out of all the things to forget to pack… Jason Todd didn't allow himself many comforts. Hell, he didn't allow himself hardly any. Sure, sometimes he went and grabbed a chili dog at that place with the ridiculously long line. That was totally worth it, because that was the best chili dog on the planet. And okay, yeah, smoking was definitely a comfort.
So was beer.
But those were manly needs. Or something. This, though. This was a Jason Todd need, and he'd forgotten it. He could never replace it, either. It just wouldn't be the same.
He began weighing the option of going back just to retrieve it. It was a little risky, granted - he'd be returning to a place that he was certain was compromised by now. He'd be risking getting caught-
And now his cell was ringing. Fucking wonderful. With a glance at the cell phone, he groaned and jammed a hand into his hair, running it through and pushing this bangs out of his face. "What do you want?"
"Sound a little angry there, Jaybird." Dick's voice was cheerful, if a little distant with the static washing over his voice.
"Can it, circus freak."
"You know, moving can be stressful. You could've just asked me to help you out, take some stress off your shoulders." Dick's voice was too innocent, and if he knew that he'd moved, then that meant Dick was standing in his old place.
Son of a-
"Oh! By the way, I think I found something of yours?" Jason froze.
Shit. No no no. This isn't happening. Fuck. "No you didn't. I grabbed everything I wanted out of that hell hole." He said in return, frowning a little heavier than he should. It'd be so clear that he was lying if Dick was in front of him, and he started to pull the phone away to end the call before Dick could pull some freaky shit and call him out on it without having to see his face.
"I dunno, it looks pretty well cared for for something you didn't want." Dick's voice was practically a sing-song through the speaker. "Velveteen rabbit type shit."
Jason growled deep in his throat and returned the phone to his ear. "What do you want, Dick?" The stress on his name wasn't lost on either of them - shame the older man was way too used to the comments to react.
"Easy, easy, Jay. I just wanna return it to you. Is that so bad of me?"
"Well, I mean, I'd keep it, but Damian would give me an endless pile of shit if he happened to see it in my room."
Jason rubbed his forehead. There was a threat hidden in there. He knew it. Dick would tell Damian that it was his, and god help him, he didn't hurt little kids but he'd punt the little bastard to Metropolis if he knew about it. Because he would never hear the end of it, and the newest Robin was a pain in his ass already.
"Where do you wanna meet?"
"Oh, you mean I'm not invited over to your new place?"
"Dick…" It was amazing. He was a saint with the amount of patience he was exerting over this one phone call. An absolute saint who wanted nothing better to do that slug the resident pretty boy in the mouth to call it even.
Maybe he'd switch the bastard's shampoo with some Nair. Or some equally evil, juvenile prank. It just didn't feel right to take this particular offense to their other selves. That was just low.
"What, I'm not allowed over to drink beer and watch the game?"
"Like hell you are." Jason scowled. Make that god-like. Not even saints had this level of patience.
And then there was knocking at the door, and Jason froze. What, a neighbor in this part of town welcoming him to the place? What the fuck?
"I gotta go." He said simply, clicking the phone closed and getting up off the ground. He grabbed his handgun off the coffee table, slipping it into the waistband of his pants and walking over to the door. He fixed his shirt, covering the butt of the gun and peered through the peephole.
"Jesus fucking-" He swung the door open. "Seriously?"
"You weren't careful." Dick greeted him with a grin. "You know, you pretty much hung up on me." He pouted and elbowed his way into the apartment. A quick search with his eyes revealed that, sure enough, Dick was holding onto it loosely with one hand.
It was an odd picture, if Jason had to distance himself for a second. Dick in casual clothes - badly dressed as ever, a red sweater over a black tee-shirt that was probably way too tight to be healthy, and jeans. In his apartment. And holding a worn-looking Nightwing plushie, softened up in a clear need of new stuffing, and the colours all a little dimmer than the ones that were available at most stores that sold hero paraphernalia.
And Jason was realizing just how fucked he was. "I was using it for target practice." He closed the door behind him. "And I was plenty careful moving in here, you shithead." He scowled.
"Not careful enough." Dick smiled at him before lifting the plushie up to eye level, looking over it critically. "Wow, I didn't realize you had that poor of a shot." He said flatly.
Okay, so maybe Jason walked right into that one. "I decided I couldn't take out all of my aggressions about you on some poor defenseless doll."
"So you hugged it to death, instead. Can I get that treatment?" Dick grinned.
"Just give it back." He lunged forward, reaching for it. Dick practically danced away, holding it securely in his arms.
"Nope. This is way too valuable to give up without some sort of ransom price."
"You're holding a plushie of yourself for ransom."
"You own a plushie of me."
"Shut up and hand it over."
Jason froze, and dammit if he didn't seem able to mask his his face in time. He was an open book for an instant, before he was able to get a grip on himself and train his face calm. Dick seemed satisfied by this.
"Give me a kiss, and I'll give it back to you."
"And I suppose you won't be leaving until I fulfill this… requirement."
Jason did the only thing logical at the moment, and turned around. Grabbed a pack of cigarettes and his lighter off the counter, and slammed the door pointedly behind him.
He could only breath once he was outside, the fag lit and in his mouth, lifting a lazy trail of smoke into the air. He paced the alley behind the apartment building a few times before kicking over one of the metal trash cans. Someone's yappy dog started barking out a window at the sudden noise.
It wasn't that he didn't want to. For fuck's sakes, he had a little stuffed toy of him. That he slept with a little more often than he'd ever admit to. In court. Which would be never. So maybe that was a little more than a little. All things considered.
In fact, he wanted a lot more than just a kiss and he was pretty sure so did Dick. If, you know, the pink elephant dancing the rumba with a bowtie and tophat in the room whenever they were together was any indicator. Which of course, wasn't fair because Dick would probably have some moral obligations.
He probably had a chastity belt filled with pepper spray, on top of it.
And some speech about how it was wrong because they were on opposite sides of the war and brothers.
Which, after all, was fucked anyway because what the hell did two pieces of paper have to do with being related or not?
And on the flipside - Dick had asked for a kiss. Even better - he had demanded it, in that passive-aggressive way that he did a lot of things. He had said that he wasn't leaving until he got it.
Well. That is if he hadn't left after Jason had. That still remained to be seen. With a tired sigh, Jason dropped the cigarette and snubbed it with the toe of his boot before heading back inside. Making sure to take his time - if Dick really meant it, well, the ass was going to suffer for making him wait this long.
Not that he was ever going to share just how long he'd wanted an opportunity like this.
Not that it counted, since five or six of those years, he wasn't exactly conscious. So maybe it wasn't as long as it seemed.
Still, his stomach dropped nervously when he opened the door and Dick was just lounging on the couch, plushie held loosely in his arms, eyes closed.
"Was starting to wonder if you were coming back." It was a simple statement, and a little more serious than Dick had been earlier. Looked like Jason wasn't the only one thinking about this a little bit more than they really needed to.
"Well, I don't really feel like moving again this week." Jason frowned, swallowing around a lump in his throat that felt vaguely like the ones that he got when he was younger and needed to talk to Dick. He ducked his head, counted to ten silently before walking over.
His stomach flipped, but as natural as walking or breathing, he leaned down, steadying himself with a knee between Dick's legs on the couch. His hands framed Dick's head, bracing him further - because seriously, how embarrassing would it be to lose his balance and fall on Dick when he was finally doing this?
Dick was staring up at him impassively, face as guarded as he was sure his own was, and Jason had to wonder if maybe Dick was regretting his decision to stick around. That maybe they had both misunderstood and dammit, he shouldn't be thinking like this when it was within reach.
He decided that he needed to stop overthinking, but it took a whole other moment to quit just staring down at him, and to actually move.
That moment was completely worth it when their lips met though. Really, Jason probably would've agreed that every single moment between them for the last however was worth it but that didn't matter at the moment because his lips were on Dick's and oh god Dick's had just parted under them.
He sighed and pressed closer, before something was pressed into his chest and he pulled away, frowning. The plushie was held to his chest by Dick, who's eyes were suddenly dancing with mirth.
"Now, that wasn't so hard. Was it?" He grinned. "There's your plushie."
"…Thanks." Jason frowned slightly and drew away to toss it into his bedroom. He turned his back reluctantly, walking away.
"You know." He stopped at Dick's voice, which was full of mischief. The couch rustled. "I bet sleeping next to the real thing is a lot better."
His breath caught in his throat and he was probably squeezing the stupid stuffed animal to death but dammit how did Dick do that? The air was suddenly thick and he ducked his head slightly. Fuck it, he decided and set the plushie down on the counter.
Dick was grinning at him from the couch when he turned around, splayed out rather suggestively. And well, while Jason had the patience of a saint, he wasn't about to pass up on that.
"Oh really? I'll have to find that out for myself."