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When It Comes to Us (It Always Leads to One Thing)

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Dick shouldn’t be doing this. At best, it was silly. At worst it was… kind of creepy, actually. But still, he tugged on his bright green gloves and tugged down on the hem of his textured briefs of the same color in front of the wall to wall mirror in his private gym. Despite the familiar cape and domino, his reflection was foreign to him. He did not fit his former mantle the same as he did even when he was eighteen. He had… filled out, and the fabric strained across the breadth of his chest and rode up his too-thick thighs.

“I’ve gained weight,” he murmured out loud to himself.

“It’s muscle, Dick. Your weight shifted, and you gained muscle.”

Dick jumped at the timbre of Slade’s voice, even as Slade appeared in the mirror’s reflection. He’d just walked in the front door. The building was disguised as a long-shuttered smoothie shop, there wasn’t much security beyond that, but nevertheless, Dick was just a touch irritated at Slade’s gall.

“This establishment’s private,” Dick murmured, swiveling on his heels to face Slade. “I’d suggest the Planet Fitness down the street.”

Slade smirked, looking almost nondescript in his black sweats and white muscle shirt. But even dressed down, Slade had a predatory aura encoded into his smirk, his gait, his quirked eyebrows.

“Other gyms don’t have the kind of exercise I’m craving,” Slade murmured, looking Dick up and down. Dick suddenly felt self-conscious about his bunched-up shorts and too-tight vest. “Hard to find a good sparring partner among the suburban civilians that crowd public gyms.”

And then Slade was lashing out with one of the bamboo staffs that lined the wall, and Dick barely managed to evade it. Fabric pinched his skin as Dick ducked, rolled, and leaped to his feet.

“Slade, I can’t spar in this,” he warned, stumbling back as Slade circled closer. Slade swiped with the staff again and Dick jumped over it, wincing as thread audibly popped.

“Strolling down memory lane?” Slade asked, casually. “I preferred your blue and gold getup. Very retro.” That staff came down again, and Dick caught it with his shoulder to avoid stretching his outfit any further. Slade sucked his teeth in exaggerated, faux concern. “That’s gonna bruise, pretty bird. You’ll have to be faster.”

“Slade,” Dick warned, voice low. He tugged off his gloves and managed to remove one pixie boot before the staff struck out. He backflipped out of its range, kicking off his other boot in the process, at the expense of his tunic which tore where it laced up the front. “I can’t play whatever game you’re going for like this. Let me change, and we can spar as much as you want.”

Slade smirked, and Dick felt his stomach drop.

“Oh no, little bird. I like this game just fine. I thought your old man hung up all your uniforms when you grew out of them. That or… well. When you no longer needed them.”

Dick was glad Jason wasn’t here now. Either to hear that snide remark or to see Dick, foolishly wearing the tattered rags of their youth. Dick wasn’t sure what possessed him to try on the uniform. So much had changed, he was just curious how much he had changed too. It was like flipping through a high school yearbook or digging around the box of his things at the Manor.

“We have more than one,” Dick murmured. He kicked the staff away, but nearly cried out as his shorts rode up impossibly higher, squishing the bits of himself he’d very much like not to be squished. Instead he did a front tuck and tackled Slade, who crashed on the gym’s mat without much resistance. Dick idly wandered why, but then he registered that he was straddling Slade’s prone body, the shorts so tight they might as well have been women’s briefs.

“Oh good,” Slade murmured, reaching up and tearing the vest away from Dick’s torso, as easily as if it were paper, leaving Dick in his t-shirt, his shorts, and his mask. Slade tossed the shredded tunic off to the side.  “I would hate to ruin good memorabilia. It’s important to have respect for antiques, kid.”

“Speaking about yourself, old man?” Dick sneered, unable to help himself. Slade gently traced Dick’s cheekbone with his knuckle. Then, in one fluid movement, he plucked Dick’s mask away and tossed it.

“Tread lightly, little one,” Slade murmured. “This antique is still a predator who could swallow you whole.”

Dick shuddered. “God, you’re creepy,” he muttered. “I put leering old men like you away, you know.”

Slade rolled his eye and swatted Dick’s ass, causing Dick to jolt to his knees. Slade laughed as Dick flushed red.

“You’re actually the fucking worst, you know that, right?” Dick snapped, swinging his leg over Slade so that he could scoot away. “I’m changing, try not to be an asshole for thirty seconds.”

Slade hummed as Dick scampered to his feet. Dick could feel Slade’s eyes on him as he bent and opened his gym bag. Dick pulled out proper gym shorts and, despite his audience, wriggled out of the Robin panties. That left him only in his jock, but it wasn’t any less than what Slade had seen him in before, and Dick didn’t mind a little audience every now and then (on his terms, of course.) And so, Dick took his time stepping into his shorts, bending over at the waist and then slowly pulling them up. He shucked the t-shirt too, even though it almost fit, and pulled on a tank. Before he could turn around and face Slade again, he felt a rod slam into his back, pushing him forward a couple of steps.

“Slade!” Dick shouted, grabbing the bamboo staff from where it landed on the ground. “What’d I say?”

Slade was standing across the gym, circling again, twirling his own bamboo staff. “You said thirty seconds,” Slade offered. “I waited more than thirty seconds. C’mon, kid. Put some of that pent-up rage to good use, I want to sweat.”

There was a compliment buried there somewhere, but Dick couldn’t see it past the challenge. He dove at Slade without needing any further convincing.

When they finished, Dick was sprawled on the gym mat, panting with sweat rivulets stinging his eyes and trailing down his neck. “Fuck,” Dick breathed, with a punctuating giggle. “Fuck, I needed that.”

Slade grinned toothily from where he stood above him. “That wasn’t half bad, pretty bird. It was almost a warmup.”

“Oh, shut up,” Dick rolled his eyes and swatted weakly at Slade’s calves. “I saw a bead of sweat. Right at your hairline. Can’t get anything past me.” Dick reached to tap his head for emphasis but gave up halfway there and just dropped his arm on the mat. “I think I need to be carried home,” he whined. “And I’ll need a new gym, now that you know about this one.”

Slade crouched down neck to Dick, and Dick wrapped a hand around Slade’s ankle as if that would soothe the ache in his limbs. It didn’t, but it felt grounding, so Dick didn’t let go.

“It’s not hard to track down a Bat,” Slade offered. “You can keep this gym. Just up your security unless a hungry drifter wanders in.”

“Why are you even here, Slade?” Dick murmured, looking up at him. Dick still clung to Slade’s ankle like an anchor.

“I told you, kid. Needed to break a sweat.”

Dick rolled his eyes and sat up. He wrapped his arm around Slade’s calf in exchange for releasing his ankle. “No, seriously. What are you doing in town?” Dick rested his sweaty head on Slade's thigh. Slade seemed unperturbed and held his crouch as if he didn't have 175 pounds of Dick leaning on him. 

“Oh! That.” Slade had the audacity to look coy. “You should’ve said that’s what you were asking after.”

“Sla-ade,” Dick whined, terse and slow.

“Well, I swung by to see a pretty bird that’s known to hang around here,” Slade murmured sweetly. Dick almost smiled, but then Slade added, “and also to kill a banker and three of his business partners.”




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