“What do you mean you’re afraid he’d say no?” Kory nearly roared into his earpiece. Kory had come into town to help Jason and Artemis with some clean-up from their last op.
“I mean, I don’t know, I didn’t know how he would even feel about marriage,” Jason shook his head and took the shot he was waiting for at the tires of the thief’s motorcycle. Kory swooped down to grab the thief before he tumbled too far on the bike.
“You’re basically already married,” Artemis chimed in, walking up to where Kory and Jason now stood, two other robbers held up in her free hand. “I think I’ve even heard Lian call you ‘papa’ once or twice.” She threw them down onto the ground as Jason worked on tying them together.
“Yeah, except we barely see each other,” Jason grunted. He secured the knot and stepped back from the criminals. “I mean, I know it’s tough for Roy, raising Lian, being a Titan, and having to go help in Star. I mean usually I’m the logical one, I shouldn’t have even brought it up to him.” Artemis and Kory looked at each other.
“I suppose out of the two of you, I’ll give you that one,” Artemis said. Jason hoped his body language was enough to convey to glare he was shooting Artemis through the hood. If Artemis noticed, she didn’t care. “What did you even say, anyway?”
Jason sighed, “I just said that it would be nice to get married one day.” Artemis just stared at him. “He didn’t even say anything in response, just hummed and changed the subject.”
“I’m sure you could work something out, you do now,” Kory offered, “I mean, it’s not like you never see each other.” Artemis nodded in her agreement. Jason was starting to slightly regret, not for the first time, introducing the two women.
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Jason mumbled. Artemis raised an eyebrow.
“To us, or to him?” She asked. Jason groaned again and got back onto his bike. He revved the engine and steered down the street. “He’s so dramatic sometimes.”
“Sometimes?” Kory laughed.
“I can still hear you guys,” Jason’s voice crackled over the comm.
“I know,” They said in unison.
Jason drove the bike back to his hideout, Artemis and Kory trailing behind.
“Reds back!” Bizarro cried out, a huge smile on his face.
“That’s right buddy,” Jason said. Jason walked over to the clone and did a quick check of his vitals.
“Bizarro am fine,” He said as indignantly as he could muster. Jason lifted both hands in surrender and sat down on the couch.
“You know you’re not getting out of talking about this with us,” Kory said, settling on the couch next to Jason. “Is it really the time apart you worry about?”
Jason ran a hand through his hair. “Yes? No? Maybe…I…I don’t know Kor, maybe I’m just afraid that he’ll decide it’s not worth it, or worse, decide to quit the Titans or something.”
“He would never decide you’re not worth it,” Kory reassured him. Jason tried to feel reassured. “I mean, I find time to come see Artemis, even with leading the Teen Titans.”
“Other Red Him nice,” Bizarro added. Artemis smiled.
“Well, maybe you should do more than bring it up and then brush it off. I am assuming you didn’t say any of this to him?” Artemis raised an eyebrow at him. Jason put his hands over his face and mumbled something into them. “What was that?”
“No, I got distracted,” Jason said, only moving his hands enough to uncover his mouth, but to hide the blush on his face, “And then the Titans called anyway, we haven’t really talked about it since.”
“You know it’s cute that you still blush when you speak about your sex life in front of me,” Kory laughed. Jason wanted to melt into the cushions.
“Just talk to him,” Artemis said, “Jason you aren’t one to get scared so easily. Go to him and speak with him. It doesn’t have to be about marriage, only the future. Make a plan for once in your life.”
“Hey, I make plenty of plans!”
Artemis just laughed in response. Jason understood her point, though. Maybe he should stop being afraid of the future. He quickly got up and grabbed a couple things before saying goodbye to Bizarro and heading out the door. Kory and Artemis shared a look before Artemis shook her head and began to remove her armor.
“Those boys are ridiculous, maybe one day they’ll learn to communicate like adults.”
“Jason brought up getting married,” Roy said, leaning on one of the consoles in the Titans control room. The team had come back from their mission a few hours ago, and Roy had found their leader finishing up some loose ends. Dick didn’t look up from his work. Roy frowned and walked behind the chair Dick was sitting in. “Did you hear me? I said your brother practically proposed to me.”
“Uh huh, I heard,” Dick said, typing away. Roy frowned. He knew that Dick wasn’t so keen on his and Jason’s relationship, but he could never figure out why.
“I mean, he didn’t really propose,” Roy went on, happy enough that he was acknowledged, “He just sort of brought up the idea. I think I was kind of an ass about it, though.”
“When aren’t you an ass about something?” Garth joked, walking into the dimly lit room as well. Roy rolled his eyes.
“Can’t a man have a conversation with his best friend without getting interrupted?”
“Of course, he can, I just don’t understand why Dick’s here,” Garth laughed. Dick grunted his annoyance. “How many hours of sleep is he on?”
“I think one and half at the moment,” Roy replied, waving a hand in front of their leader’s face. Dick smacked it away. Roy stuck his tongue out at the man and Dick rolled his eyes, pushing away from the computer.
“Okay, I get it, you have my full attention now,” Dick said, his face reading apology, but his body language reading annoyed. Roy would take it. Garth leaned on the table in the room, clearly ready to converse as well.
“I just, I think Jason seriously wants to get married,” Roy said, a part of him panicking, “And I just panicked and changed the subject.”
“Did he propose? Dammit, I owe Donna ten bucks,” Garth cursed.
“What you guys…have a betting pool for that?” Roy asked, “Wait, I’m not shocked actually. But keep your money, he only brought up the idea.” Dick looked like he was in deep thought, or possibly sleeping with his eyes open.
“So what’s the issue? Don’t you want to get married?” Wally asked through a mouth full of potato chips.
“You guys just want to invite everyone in now?” Roy asked. Wally waved a potato chip at him.
“Nah, Karen’s taken over childcare duty already, and Donna and Lilith went out,” Wally answered, “Besides, Donna would be too excited to start planning your wedding to give you any real advice.” Roy groaned and flipped his hat the right way around to hide his face.
“It’s not that I don’t not want to get married I just…” Roy floundered for the right words for a moment. Maybe Lilith should have been here, she always just pulls the words for him. “I don’t know, I never figured it was really an option. I mean, we’re on different teams, we have different responsibilities. I don’t have time between Titans business, Star City business, and Lian to see him as it is,” Roy rambled.
“You want to leave the team,” Dick said suddenly, cutting off Roy’s ranting. Wally chocked on his potato chips and whipped his head between Roy and Dick.
“You do?” Garth asked. Roy looked down.
“I don’t want to, but what other option would I have?” Roy sighed. He couldn’t leave Dinah and Emi to clean up Oliver’s messes alone, but the Titans? They barely needed him as it was.
“Roy, you can’t be serious!” Wally exclaimed, “We need you man!”
“Of course we do,” Garth said, his usual manor traded for a serious tone, “Have you been thinking about this?”
“Of course I have! I’m just trying to get ahead of it this time,” Roy said, surprised at his sudden outburst of honesty. The three other men were silent. “Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. No one ever wants me in their lives for long, maybe that’s why I’m afraid to speak seriously about marriage with him. He already walked out on me once; realized like everyone else in my life I wasn’t worth it, so it’s only a matter of time before you guys feel that way too.”
“Yeah, but Jason came back,” Dick said quietly, “Jason realized he made a mistake and told you as much.” Everyone looked at their leader. “Listen, I don’t want you to leave the team, but I also don’t want you thinking you have to choose between Jason and the Titans.”
“That’s the last thing I want, too,” Jason said, startling Garth and Wally.
“Jesus, does Batman teach a master class on that?” Wally asked, clutching his chest.
Roy looked over at Jason. He was a mess, probably rode his bike all the way here if the wrinkles in his jacket were anything to go by. Roy stood there, feeling dumb, off guard, and somehow naked.
“We’ll leave you guys to it,” Garth said, rolling Dick’s chair out of the room with only slight protest. Wally stood there for a moment, before Garth came back and grabbed him by the arm. Jason waited a few more seconds for the sounds of the Titans’ footsteps to trail off.
“I’m sorry for bringing all this up,” Jason said, a hand on the back of his neck, “I should have...explained myself more. Told you what I really want.” Roy stayed silent, his eyes on the floor. Jason sighed, “I really, really want to have you in my life forever, Lian too.”
“How would it work though, Jay?” Roy asked, “How is this even working now?”
Jason grabbed Roy’s hands, “Stop questioning this, please,” Jason rubbed his thumbs into Roy’s hand, “I know I fucked up before, but I’m here, for real. I’m not going to decide you aren’t good enough or whatever other thoughts run through your head.” Roy stayed silent.
“Jaybird!” Both of their heads turned quickly to the small girl standing in the doorway. She ran up to Jason, putting her small arms around his legs. Jason smiled and lifted her up, giving the six-year-old a proper hug.
“I swear she has ‘Jason sense’,” Karen mumbled from the doorway, dressed in her pajamas and rubbing her eyes. “I had just gotten her in bed too.” Lian snuggled closer to Jason.
“Li, you have to go to bed, go with Aunt Karen back up to your room, okay?” Roy pleaded with his daughter.
“I want Jay to make breakfast,” Lian negotiated. Jason tried to suppress a chuckle.
“I’m sure he would be fine with that,” Roy said, looking at Jason.
Jason nodded, “Of course. Quieres panqueques o waffles?”
“Panqueques!” Lian giggled. Jason smiled and placed her on the ground. Roy leaned down to get a kiss on the cheek before Lian ran from the room. Karen tiredly waved a goodbye to the two men and followed the rambunctious child back to her room.
“Come on, let’s go sit down,” Roy said, leading the other man into a living area. He flopped onto the couch. Jason sat down next to him. Jason liked the way his body instinctually moved closer to Roy, their sides lining up perfectly. He put a hand on Roy’s thigh. Roy looked down at the hand and carefully threaded his own fingers through Jason’s. “It’s not that I don’t want to get married,” Roy started, his eyes still locked on their intertwined hands, “I don’t really even want to quit the Titans.”
“Then talk to me,” Jason begged. Roy sighed and moved his eyes to meet Jason’s.
“Lian’s going to start school in September, she can’t keep jumping from city to city with me.” Roy ran a hand through his hair. Jason liked that Roy seemed to be growing it out again. “I guess, I don’t know, I’m just trying to get ahead of whatever terrible thing life is gonna throw at me next.”
“What does that mean?”
“Oh, the Titans don’t need me, they never have,” Roy explained, “So they’ll figure that out eventually and kick me to the curb, better to do it myself first. And you…” Roy trailed off.
“These sound like a lot of excuses,” Jason said. Roy looked away from Jason, towards the large window overlooking the city. “The Titans aren’t just your team, they’re your family. You all need each other.” Roy hummed. It was hard for him to think that anyone needed him.
“Lian is important to you, and I understand that Roy, she’s important to me too. Let me help you, let me raise her with you, let me make mistakes like swear in front of her with you.”
Roy chuckled and put a hand on Jason’s chin, “I’m just afraid, Jay, what about when it gets to be too much? When we’re both jetting between Gotham and Star and Manhattan and you get tired of it all.”
“Impossible,” Jason said, serious now, “I don’t know how else to explain this to you, but leaving you was the second worst mistake I ever made. I never want you to go through that again. I don’t want either of us to feel alone, or abandoned. I want to sleep in a bed with you every night, and tell Lian a bedtime story every night before she goes to sleep.” Jason could feel himself tearing up, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. “I want to watch her grow up, next to you. It probably won’t be easy, hell I know it won’t be easy. But I want to do it with you. I don’t care if we’re on other sides of the world fighting two different evils, I want to do it knowing that I get to come home to you. I need you, Roy. I love you.”
Roy was staring at Jason now, tears in his own eyes. He was speechless. Roy had never heard Jason talk about the future like this, like it was definitive. Jason slid off the couch, Roy’s hands still clasped in his, and kneeled on the floor. Roy sucked in a sharp breath, but Jason spoke first.
“I’m not asking you to marry me tomorrow, but I am asking you to keep letting me love you.”
Roy’s thoughts had seemed to stop, and he rubbed Jason’s hand with his thumb, “I can say yes to that.” Jason smiled and pushed himself up to the couch to catch Roy’s lips in a kiss. Roy smiled into the kiss as Jason swung his knees around Roy’s hips. As they sat there, lazily kissing each other on the couch, Roy thought that maybe, just maybe, he really would get everything he wanted for once. Maybe he could love this man enough to stop hating himself, even just for now. They stayed like this a few more minutes, making out as their tears dried away.
Suddenly Roy broke the kiss off with a chuckle. Jason looked at Roy with his eyebrow raised.
“Who would even marry us, Jaybird?” Roy smiled, “I mean could you imagine Bruce or Ollie?”
Jason laughed as he tried to picture it in his head and failed. “Oh yes, Ollie will walk you down the aisle and Bruce will perform the whole in full costume, voice included.”
Roy laughed, “You’ll wear the old hood and I’ll wear my finest baseball cap and after the capes are exchanged we jump off the roof into a pit of flowers.” Jason was laughing on top of him, his smile lighting up Roy’s vision. “I love you,” Roy said, his smile still plastered on his lips.
“Well that’s good, because I love you too,” Jason said.
Roy grabbed Jason’s hips, slipping his thumbs under Jason’s shirt. “I would say yes, for the record, if you asked me to marry you.” Roy rubbed circles into Jason’s hip bones. Jason opened his mouth to say something, but Roy flipped their positions, Jason forgetting for a moment how strong Roy was. “Don’t say anything else, let’s just enjoy this right now.” Jason had no qualms as Roy started kissing him again.