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Different seasons

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It’s winter, Damian’s fourteen and he’s aching for a fight.

Jon can see it in his stance, in the little creases around his mouth, in another dozen small little cues that he’s learned in time, by fighting with and alongside him.

“You want to come to my home?”, he asks then, because he knows why Damian’s angry, and with who. Gotham’s closer than Hamilton County, and Damian’s not been home in months, torn between the Titans and their little side projects, but by now Jon’s learned that Damian’s family works in a different way and that there’s nothing he can do about it.

“Mom’s making apple pie”, he offers as an incentive. There’s a little ongoing competition between hers and Alfred’s pies, but the bottom line is that they’re very good, and they both have a sweet tooth.

Damian looks at him, still angry and tense, still fully aware of the lectures and the angry silences that are waiting for him at his home instead of smiling mothers and apple pies, but he doesn’t lash out at him for it.

He only nods.

They eat the pie in Jon’s bed, hot tea in their hands and a comforter wrapped around them. Meanwhile the snow piles up outside his bedroom’s window, and by nightfall everything’s white and silent, and Damian’s sleeping next to him.

That’s when Jon realizes it’s been a year since Damian bursted into this very room, asking Jon to join him in a ridiculously dangerous mission that ended - quite predictably - with both of them grounded for a very long time. A year since they became friends, even though they’d sworn long before that day that it would never happen.

Jon yawns and curls into Damian’s side with a smile. Deep down he knows Damian’s happy to have been wrong too.

*

It’s spring, Jon’s twelve and he learns how to fly.

It happens by accident. A lucky accident, since they’re falling off a building, and even if they would’ve survived anyway, as Damian will claim later, Jon’s pretty content with not having to test their probabilities against the concrete.

Also, he can fly.

He. Can. Fly.

He grabs Damian’s hand in mid-fall and sprints towards the sky on sheer instinct, but then he realizes what he’s doing and starts laughing loud and hard until he’s breathless and Damian’s yelling something about pressure and sound barriers, but Jon simply can’t stop.

They end up falling again, and this time Damian has the chance to prove his own reflexes and grappling hooks with a semi-unconscious Jon in his arms.

“What the fuck, Kent!”, he shouts at him as soon as they touch the ground. He spent the last week with Jason, and the effects of their time together still linger. “What the almighty fuck!”

And Jon laughs again because Damian swearing is always fun. He’s still light-headed from both the lack of oxygen and the rush of adrenaline, so he accepts Damian’s help to get back on his feet. Then, taking advantage of his best friend’s closeness, he wraps his arms around Damian’s shoulders and buries his head into his neck.

“Jon? Jon, are you okay?”, Damian asks, and he’s using his name and Jon tries to hold back his laughter but again, he simply can’t.

“I can fly, Damian! I can fly!”, he bursts out, raising his head to look at him, and Damian looks like he doesn’t know if he wants to punch him or hug him back, and Jon laughs at that too, because this is the best day of his life.

“Yes, you can fly, alien boy. Which is great, because there’s still the matter of my Grandfather’s ninja trying to kill us that we have to address. Like, right now.”

And there’s not even the hint of a smile on Damian’s face but it’s been two years now, and Jon knows that he’s laughing too.

*

It’s summer, Damian’s sixteen and he’s way taller than Jon now.

Jon doesn’t mind. Tim does. Jason pretends not to, but it’s pretty clear that Damian’s going to give him a run for his money as the tallest kid of the family. Dick says he’s only happy to see both of them growing up.

They’re camping, which is something they always said they wanted to do and never actually had the chance to until now. It’s only for a week, and only if no crazy-head decides to try and conquer the world in the meanwhile. Damian’s not so optimistic about it.

It doesn’t really matter though, because he’s leaving. No one has said it out loud, but Jon knows it. Damian’s been talking about it for months now, about how he wants to travel and train and improve his abilities and learn things his father and brothers can’t teach him anymore. That’s why they’re here: this is a goodbye.

Damian only addresses the issue the last night, while they’re sitting in front of the bonfire, toasting marshmallows and trying to tone out Dick’s off-key singing.

“It’s okay”, Jon says, poking the logs with his stick. “I understand.”

And he truly does. He’s now the same age Damian was when they founded their little dynamic duo, but Damian’s almost an adult now, and he’s moving on.

“We had a good run, though”, Damian adds, smiling a real smile for once. “And you’ll join the Titans this year. We’re both going to become stronger and better and…”

“Super?”, Jon asks bitterly. “We already were.”

In the end Jon doesn’t cry and he doesn’t say goodbye, and Damian doesn’t either.

*

It’s fall, Jon’s fourteen and Damian’s not that much taller than him anymore.

The proof is that when Damian moves to hug him, Jon just has to tilt his head to the side to kiss him. It’s quick and soft, and it doesn’t last more than a moment. A moment that took four years of waiting, but still.

“I missed you.”

Damian blushes and doesn’t answer. But he does kiss him back.