Jason tunes out Tim’s ranting after ten minutes. He knows Tim’s just blowing off steam after a long day mediating the trade negotiations between the Planet of Pfarlia and the Twin Moons of Sweaksacora. He looks around the large sparsely decorated bar, situated deep in the belly of the Star Ship Gotham. There’s the usual wall of bottles right behind a long high bar, and the rest of the room is packed with tables for customers. Since the Star Ship Gotham’s mission is exploration and scientific research, a cargo hold that was deemed unnecessary was turned into a bar for the crew to relax in when they’re off shift. As such, it’s always busy, packed with crew, their family and the occasional diplomatic visitor. Turning the cargo hold into a bar was one of Commodore Wayne’s more popular moves.
His eyes land on the alien sitting to his right, head tilted in a birdlike fashion as he tries to follow Tim’s words. In his frustration, Tim’s speaking faster than the translator can keep up with, even though Dick’s fluent in English. Jason’s sure Dick’s missing several important words from the diatribe. Dick’s an Avian, and his natural language sounds more like the birdsong of Earth than any other Human language. Humans have managed to copy the sounds needed to communicate with them, but holding an actual conversation is beyond pretty much everyone that Jason’s met. Luckily, the Avians have no such problem with English, but still, the interstellar translators are used as a matter of course.
Jason studies Dick, not for the first time. Apparently in Avian, his name bears close resemblance to slang for genitals, and Dick decided to keep to the theme when he picked something more friendly to human throats. Dick’s large midnight blue wings are tucked down flat against his back, and the blue of his security uniform is reflected in their dark gleam. Dick’s skin is a pale tan colour, making him look more human than other Avians Jason’s seen, who quite often have skin in all shades of the rainbow, bright greens and yellows seeming the most common. Dick’s silky black ‘hair’ is actually thin, fine feathers rather than strands, and they sway in the gentle hum of the air conditioning.
Apart from the wings and the talons on his fingers instead of nails, Dick looks human. The only other visible sign that he’s not is his teeth. Unlike the individual blunt teeth of humans, Avians have one single serrated tooth running the entire width of their jaw, a vestigial remnant from when they had beaks. His full soft lips are turned up into a smile as he watches Tim rant on, his bright blue eyes tracking the movements of Tim’s hands as he gesticulates. Dick’s skinnier than Jason usually likes in his men, but compared to other Avians, who usually look like they’ll snap in a stiff breeze, Dick looks reassuringly strong. Dick’s pretty in a way that’s mostly human and yet has the edge of something else that Jason can’t name. The word ‘angel’ gets thrown about a lot when talking about Avians, but Jason thinks they look more like the Harpies of old Greek mythology than any other divine being.
“So in conclusion, fuck the Parlian delegates from the trade negotiations! I hate them.” Tim snarls, thumping his glass back onto the table, and dragging Jason’s attention back from ogling his shipmate.
“Don’t fuck the aliens, Tim. We haven’t even done the basic bioscans for compatibility! They could be toxic to humans or vice versa for all we know.” Kon says with an amused smile. He’s obviously heard this rant more than once today during his shift at the communications desk.
“Also, it’s unprofessional.” Jason adds with a smirk, while Kon nods and Dick sits there wearing the polite smile of someone who has no idea what’s going on, and can’t find the right moment to ask. “Besides, I’m going to be the first one on this ship to fuck an alien. You’re not taking that away from me, Mr Diplomat.”
“I’m an alien.” Dick pipes up, smile less confused now, but not by much.
“Yes, yes, you are, Dickie. Are you up for that?” Jason leers at Dick, leaning forward to rest his chin on his hand and into Dick’s personal space. Dick’s wing feathers quiver with the displaced air.
“Yes!” Dick grins back brightly, the iridescent edges of his forehead feathers catching the low light of the bar and shining blue.
“Dick? Do you know what Jason means by fuck in this context?” Tim says, looking between Dick and Jason with badly veiled concern.
“No?” Dick looks vaguely embarrassed. “I’m not sure.”
“It means...” Kon coughs, clearing his throat. “Sexual intercourse. Mating. The act of procreation.”
“Oh. Ohhh.” Dick flushes a faint pink colour. “In that case, yes, I’m still up for it.”
“Wait, really?” Jason says, whipping his head round from glaring at Tim to stare at Dick in surprise.
“Yes.” Dick says with a firm nod. His hair feathers slip forward over his forehead with the motion.
“Why the fuck are we still sitting here then?” Jason stands up and scoops Dick up into his arms in a princess carry with ease. Dick giggles as Jason starts marching towards the door.
“Jason, wait, we haven’t done the full bioscans with Avians either!” Kon calls out after them.
“Have you seen him?” Jason twists on his heel to face Kon, and gesture with a hand at Dick. “Risking death or a stay in the medbay will be totally worth it.”
“You’d risk that for me?” Dick blinks up at Jason, looping his arms around Jason’s neck more securely.
“Hell yes, Pretty Bird.” Jason grins down at Dick, fighting down the urge to bounce him in his arms. Dick weighs even less that Jason thought he would. He’s seen Dick take down security threats with ease, but in Jason’s arms he feels almost fragile.
“Oh.” Dick says breathily, eyes widening. “I want to be gravid with your eggs.”
It takes Jason a few seconds longer than it should to remember what that means, and the vivid image of Dick sitting in Jason’s bed, belly swollen with eggs, almost makes Jason stumble on his way out of the bar. “Is that even possible?”
“Take me to my room and find out, Lieutenant Todd.” Dick trills happily, his avian vocal chords making his words sing.
“Sir, yes sir.” Jason grins, picking up his pace.
Dick’s quarters have an extra large bed to accommodate his wings, which is convenient right now as Jason has Dick spread out flat on his back. His hands are pinning Dick’s hips down to the bed, and Jason tightens his grip the faster he thrusts. Dick’s talons are digging in to the pillow puncturing the outer layer as he clenches his hands in time with Jason’s pounding. Being inside Dick isn’t like any sensation he’s ever felt before. It’s not just that Dick’s hole is tight and clutching at him as if it’s an entirely new sensation to him to be penetrated, but there’s a corkscrewing squeezing motion all the way in, almost like a coil around Jason’s cock. It’s driving Jason crazy in the best way, and Dick’s certainly enjoying himself too if the high pitched chirps and trills and the occasional more human sounding moan that slips out are anything to go by.
Jason’s grip tightens on Dick’s hips the closer he gets to coming, and the flash of worry that goes through him at the possibility he could break Dick’s pelvis by squeezing too hard sends an unpleasant thrill down his spine. But Dick chooses that moment to kiss him hard, wings extending out with a snap, and moaning breathlessly into Jason’s mouth as he clenches down on Jason’s cock, and that’s more than enough for Jason to lose control and slam in hard, filling Dick up with his come.
Jason slips out after a few long moments of resting in Dick’s chest, still breathing hard and he hears Dick giggle.
“Oh that’s an odd sensation...” Dick laughs, spreading his legs to look down between them where Jason’s come is leaking out onto the bed. “It’s all liquid! Is that standard?”
“Is that... Yes, it’s standard.” Jason snorts, leaning over to grab a wipe and clean Dick up. “Talking of standard. Um, there was a gripping... feeling? Which was amazing.”
“Oh, I thought you liked that.” Dick grins smugly. “That was my ovipositor.”
“Your what?” Jason pauses in his wiping up between Dick’s legs to look at Dick in confusion.
“My ovipositor. Wait, let me show you.” Dick takes a breath in and then seems to push, and something from his hole slips out. At first glance it looks like a slightly pointy cock, streaked with the remnants of Jason’s come.
“Uh...” Jason says, staring at the incredibly flexible looking body part. That was just wrapped around his cock.
“It’s for laying eggs in a receptive partner.” Dick says, mistaking Jason’s lustful interest for scientific curiousity.
“Uh...” Jason shakes himself out of his stupor. “I... How does that work?”
“Well, you push it inside, and then the squeezing motion of your partner’s body encourages the egg to work its way along the channel into your partner.” Dick says, wiggling back on the bed slightly. “Or to squeeze your partner’s. Like we just did.”
“So it's sensitive?” Jason asks, watching as Dick’s ovipositor firms up when Jason runs his finger gently around the hole in the top.
“The outside isn’t as sensitive. It’s like the skin on your arm, it can feel nice, but the sexual enjoyment’s from the inside, when the walls rub against each other, or when the egg is forced along it.” Dick says, shivering when Jason presses his fingertip into the channel.
“Wait, so you didn’t come when I was fucking you?” Jason says, suddenly worried. He’s thought Dick had come before him. It’s a little mortifying to think he didn’t manage to please him.
“I did.” Dick grins. “The inside of the ovipositor gets stimulated when you squeeze down on something, so trust me, I enjoyed myself.”
“Oh. Good.” Jason nods, staring into Dick’s bright blue eyes and relaxed smiling face. “I’m gonna make you come again though. Just to make sure.”
“Jason, you don’t have to, I said I enjoyed myseeeee...” Dick trails off, trilling under his breath as Jason runs his tongue over the tip. “Oh, oh, what are you doing?”
“Using my mouth.” Jason says amused.
“But that’s... It’s... Oh, sooo good.” Dick says, nearly sobbing.
“Humans like using their mouths, Dickie. Don’t Avians?” Jason says, in between dipping his tongue in and licking around the tip.
“Noooo!” Dick’s hands fly away from the pillow and clutch at Jason’s head. His talons barely brush the skin of his scalp, and feel pretty nice, actually. “But I think I might start a campaign to make them try it!”
Jason doesn’t answer that beyond an amused huff, too busy trying to fit the length of his tongue down Dick’s ovipositor. Dick howls, and convulses underneath him. Jason uses both of his hands to squeeze from the base of the ovipositor to the tip, over and over until Dick’s crying out for mercy. It takes a few seconds for Dick to jack knife up, wings extending out with another snap and trilling loudly before collapsing back to the bed.
“Oh. Oh, Jason.” Dick sobs out, clearly overwhelmed and looking wrecked in the best way possible.
“Feeling good there, Pretty Bird?” Jason asks, basking in the knowledge that he’d just given Dick a completely new experience and loved it.
“I think I want to keep you.” Dick gasps out, pulling Jason up to kiss him on the mouth before dropping little kisses all over his face.
“I think that can be arranged.” Jason grins, wrapping his arms carefully around Dick’s back and pressing a kiss to his forehead.
The door to Dick’s quarters is wide open, and Jason’s meant to be there, so he feels no qualms at walking through the open door and looking around. Dick doesn’t have many belongings, a wardrobe full of Avian clothes and some shiny rocks dotted around on a few shelves, notwithstanding. The room is stark in its emptiness, despite Dick’s bed being an unmade mess. When Jason ducks his head into the bathroom when Dick’s not in his bedroom, he’s not expecting to see Dick standing in front of a mirror, worriedly preening at his feathers and contorting himself in various different attempts to look smaller and thinner.
“Dick?” Jason says and definitely doesn’t smile at Dick’s startled squawk and the fact he actually leaves the ground a few inches.
“Jason!” Dick smoothes down his hair feathers and pulls on a smile that is just a shade under convincing. “You’re early.”
“I think you’re running late, actually.” Jason grins, letting his gaze run up and down Dick’s body. “Making yourself pretty for me, I see.”
“I... I’m not ready yet.” Dick says nervously and Jason can’t help but quirk an eyebrow at that. Dick looks gorgeous, his feathers are shiny and soft, he’s wearing a tunic that hits mid thigh in a blue that matches the colour of his feathers when they catch the light, and his skin is almost glowing from what Jason assumes was probably a hot shower.
“You look great.” Jason steps forward and Dick’s eyes dart around the bathroom, almost like he’s looking for an escape route. “I was joking before; you don’t need to primp for me.”
“No, I. I’m.” Dick trills quietly in his throat. “I’m too puffed up. Can we wait a few minutes before going?”
“Puffed up?” Jason shakes his head, not understanding. “We’re not in a rush, so sure, but I don’t know what you’re worried about. You look amazing.”
“Puffed up. Too big? I should be smaller.” Dick says sadly, staring at the floor.
“I think this must be a culture clash thing. Why would you want to be smaller?” Jason leans against the door jamb to the bathroom.
“Because I’m too big! And I’m not pretty enough! All my feathers are dull and dark and I’m fat.” Dick trills out mournfully, hugging himself.
“Dick, you’re not fat. And your feathers are definitely not dull.” Jason says, insulted on Dick’s behalf that anyone would ever say that to him.
“Everyone back home says I am.” Dick says with an edge to his voice. “I’ve got too much muscle, and my colouring is plain compared to everyone else. I’m not good enough for you. You should have a Kuukurii, not boring, big me.”
“Uh.” Jason says, trying not to panic. “I don’t know what Kuukurii means, and yeah, I don’t know what it’s like for you back home, but I think you’re perfect. Honestly, if you were any thinner or smaller I’d probably never touch you, because I’d be freaking out about hurting you and your hollow bones. I mean, I worry about it now, but I know you can take it. Me.”
“Kuukurii means exceptionally colourful and pretty. You really think I’m perfect?” Dick stares up at Jason, surprise written all over his face.
“Really.” Jason nods. “As for your colouring, I really like the blue-black. It’s classy and stylish.”
“Classy and stylish.” Dick repeats, blinking fast, voice almost a whisper.
“Yeah! I mean I would never say it to her face, but the Avian down in Engineering? Her colours make my eyes water, and not in a good way.” Jason runs a hand through his hair, remember the riot of neon pink, yellow and green that cover the engineer in patches with no rhyme or reason and that clash in the worst kind of way.
“Rarah is considered a great beauty back home!” Dick gasps. “She’s so colourful.”
“Well, it’s too much all the time for my human eyes.” Jason leans in and lets his voice drop like he’s confiding a great secret. “I prefer you.”
“You really mean that, don’t you?” Dick says, searching Jason’s face for sincerity and finding it easily, because Jason means every word.
“Fuck yes I do, Pretty Bird.” Jason pulls Dick into his arms, grinning when Dick’s wings flex open to surround the both of them.
“Jason Todd, I think I’m definitely going to keep you.” Dick says with a sort of wonder.
“According to the research we’ve been given, the Formavice artefact should be within 600 metres of your position, Lieutenant Todd.” Kon says over the comm. line as Jason ducks under a tree to shelter from the rain. It doesn’t really help, but the attempt makes Jason feel better. Pomfere is the wettest, most miserable planet that Jason’s had the misfortune to come to so far.
“And we still don’t know what this Formavice thing actually is? Other than a potential power source.” Jason wipes his face with his arm, not that it does any good, his clothes are as soaked as his hair. The rest of the Explorations Away team had sensibly headed towards the ruins of the citadel, while Jason had volunteered to go through the plains to find some ancient relic that the historians were interested in.
“No. The previously recorded descriptions from the people of Pomfere that the linguists are translating from are frustratingly vague.” Kon replies, tone apologetic.
“But it’s big, blocky and has a huge green circular pictogram on it?” Jason says, staring out from under the branch. There’s a big, blocky thing with a green pictogram on it not too far ahead of him.
“Yes.” Conner says with an amused sigh. He’s got used to Jason’s chatter over the comm. line in the year they’ve worked together. Unlike most of the other Communications officers, Kon doesn’t mind letting Jason chatter while he’s exploring.
“OK. Good news is that I’ve found it.” Jason says, resigning himself to having to go back out into the downpour. “The bad news is that it’s the other side of a pretty big river and the rain’s coming down harder than ever.”
“Can you ford it?” Kon sounds distanced from the mouthpiece and slightly distracted, and there’s the faintest thudding sound over the comm. line. But as Kon sounds distracted not panicked, Jason ignores the thud. It’s probably just Phillips trying to send another shipwide announcement of doom and gloom, like he does every Tuesday.
“How big do you think pretty big is, Kent?” Jason huffs, walking to the river bank. “The river’s at least 200 metres across and then the McGuffin is up a twenty metre cliff.”
“So you can’t get across?” Kon says, voice coming clearer over the line. “And please don’t call the ancient alien artefact a ‘McGuffin’.”
“Pffft. Of course I can. Might take me a while to swim it, and I’ll go quiet on the comms.” Jason says a little insulted. He switches to the broader channel to speak to the captain. “Permission to go ahead, Ma’am?”
“Granted. Don’t drown, Todd.” Captain Gordon says, almost perfunctorily. Jason’s never drowned once so far. Nearly falling into Lava that once doesn’t count at all, and besides he’s been pushed by a Clovakian! Being nearly murdered by the Alliance’s biggest enemy really doesn’t count. Jason hadn’t even been provoking the Clovakian. For once.
“Wait, what? He can’t do that!” Dick interrupts over the comm. line and Jason looks up to the little drone that’s whirred up to his head. He smiles at the camera beaming the visuals back to the Gotham.
“It’ll be fine, Dick.” Tim chimes in and Jason sighs. Is everyone in the bridge watching him again? He gets told he’s crazy when he says he thinks Tim’s selling tickets to watch his misadventures, but really, what else is he supposed to think when the Heads of Security and Diplomacy are there? He knows some video footage of his ‘greatest adventures’ is doing the rounds. Apparently Dick hasn’t seen it, if he’s worried for him right now.
“No!” Dick sounds genuinely worried for Jason. “It’s storming out there, and you can’t get across a river like that without flying! Jason can’t fly!”
“Jason’s a great swimmer, Dick. He’ll be fine.” Captain Gordon says. “Go ahead, Todd.”
“But...” Dick protests, and Jason shrugs, checking the zip on his jacket and the closures on his holsters and sample bag, and dives into the water as he’s been ordered. The heavy rain is making visibility poorer, but the current is fairly gentle and Jason finds it’s an easy swim. “How is he doing that?”
“What, swimming?” Tim says, slightly amused at Dick’s shock.
“Are humans actually part fish to move like that?” Dick says, sounding awed. If Jason wasn’t busy keeping the river water out of his mouth, he’d tell Dick he’d been on the swim team in high school, but as he is, he can’t. Captain Gordon did order him not to drown after all.
“What? No.” Tim replies, and Jason stops listening and focuses on swimming to the other side of the river.
“See, he’s fine.” Kon says with a soothing tone as Jason drags himself up the river bank and pushes his wet hair away from his face.
“Humans are Whoooshiiiririri.” Dick says, so quietly that Jason almost misses it.
“Kent, have you got my coordinates? I’ve completely lost my bearings.” Jason sighs, wiping at his sweat soaked forehead with his rapidly drying jacket sleeve.
“We’ve just locked on to you. And you’re in the middle of the desert.” Kon whistles lowly. “The Pataxonians really took a disliking to you, huh? They usually only abandon murderers there.”
“Thanks, Kent. That makes me feel so much better.” Jason says as dry as the desert he’s been marooned in. “How was I supposed to know it was an antique wall hanging and not a hand towel? It was hanging from a waist height bar in a bathroom! Who even puts valuables in a bathroom?”
“Yes, well. Atmospheric interference means we can’t send a transport down to your exact position. There’s a break in the interference about five klicks north, by an oasis. If you can get yourself there we’ll get you off planetside and back to the ship.” Kon says, not sounding the least bit worried. Which is fine by Jason. He got top marks in survival training back on Earth, and that included a three day stint in the Sahara.
“And north is which way?” Jason says, rolling his eyes. He attaches the water bag the Pataxonians left him with to his belt. “I suppose I should be glad they left me a big ration of water.”
“Can you see a mountain in the distance?” Kon says, and there’s faint tapping over the line. He’s obviously bringing up a map of Jason’s location.
“Yeah, just about.” Jason says, squinting into the distance. There’s a pale grey bump in the distance that could be called a mountain if you’ve never seen one before.
“Face the centre of the mountain and walk that direction.” Kon says.
“Got it. See you soon.” Jason pulls the standard cap of the Alliance uniform out of his jacket pocket and shoves it on his head. He hates wearing the damn thing, but the one good thing about being stranded in the desert alone is that no one can see him wearing it.
There’s a scuffling sound over the comm. line and Jason wonders if it’s Phillips again, (why do they keep letting him out of the Brig? Does he have an admiral in the family or something?) and then Jason hears Dick’s voice crackle over the line.
“You’re not just leaving him down there are you?” Dick’s voice isn’t loud over the comm. line, but it has that quality that means he’s probably being quite loud in person.
“Dick, Jason’s fine. We’ll pick him up in no time.” Kon says calmly.
“But the heat! He’ll be cooked!” Dick sounds worried again. Jason thought after last time that he’d freaked out and they’d had a long conversation about what Humans were capable of that he wouldn’t be worried like this again.
“Dick, he’s fine. Humans can survive in temperatures between minus twenty and plus seventy degrees Celsius. The desert on Pataxon only reaches temperatures of forty degrees. And he has plenty of water.” Kon says, and from the low volume it sounds like Kon’s got up from his station to reassure Dick.
“But...” Dick still sounds worried. Jason closes his eyes for a few seconds, wishing he could pull Dick into a hug and soothe him in person. But words will have to do right now.
“It won’t even take me more than two hours to get to the pick-up point, Dick.” Jason says, and then he takes a swig of the warm water the Pataxonians left him with. Ugh, that tastes awful. “I’ll be fine. I have water and a hat to shade my face with.”
“Humans are Whoooshiiiririri.” Dick says, and through the comm. line the emphasis on the word makes it sound heavy and sinister.
Jason’s trying his best to focus, but the pain is pretty bad. The stretcher he’s strapped to gets bumped as they offload him from the transport ship to the corridor that the medbay is on, and Jason feels his stomach lurch unpleasantly. He’s not hurt that badly, a broken arm and what is probably a mild concussion, but the chaos of the influx of wounded from the landslide on the planet they were visiting and their worried friends and family is making his head pound even more than if he’d been simply been hit in the head.
“Jason!” Dick yells, voice going high pitched in fear and Jason can’t help the wince at the trilling tone. “Oh no, no. You’re going to be alright. I promise!”
“I know, Dickie.” Jason slurs out, gripping back when Dick takes his hand in his. Luckily for Jason, Dick’s grabbing at his uninjured arm. “S’just a broken arm. ‘N’ I bumped m’ head. I’ll be fine.”
“Doctor! Doctor! Please!” Dick trills out, and a junior doctor rushes over, passing over Jason’s body with his medical scanner.
“Broken right Radius and Ulna, and a mild concussion. We’ll get you something for the pain, and if you can hold on for a short while we’ll get that arm set and healed by tonight. You’ll get tomorrow off shift for the concussion, but you’ll be back on your feet the day after.” Dr Thomas tells Jason with a calm smile. He picks up a different instrument and fiddles with it for a moment before pressing it against the bare skin of Jason’s arm. “That should help with the pain, but you may get sleepy.”
“Sure, Doc. I can wait; I know there’re worse cases coming in. Don’t worry ‘bout me.” Jason nods. Dick grips his hand tighter and Jason looks over to him.
“Jason...” Dick starts, looking a little panicked and Jason immediately tries to reassure him.
“It’s OK, Dickie. I’m really fine.” Jason pulls him in close for a hug and Dick takes it as invitation to clamber onto the stretcher with Jason, his wings pulled in close and dropped down low out of the way. It’s still awkward until Dick shifts onto his side under Jason’s good arm.
“But... you aren’t going to lose your arm?” Dick says looking up at him, and Jason blinks in confusion. He’s pretty sure it’s not the concussion that’s making everything confusing.
“What? For a broken arm?” Jason squints at Dick’s worried face. “No. We don’t amputate unless it’s life threatening. S’just a fracture from impact. I’ve hurt myself worse jumping off the bed.”
“You can heal from this?” Dick stares up at him incredulously, wings flexing out before Dick remembers himself and pulls them back in before they can really unfold.
“Yeah. I mean with the miracle of modern medicine, we can heal broken bones overnight.” Jason grins a little dopily. The painkillers are kicking in, finally. “We used to have to wait six weeks! Can you imagine that? Waiting that long?”
“I...” A dark look flits over Dick’s face. “Avians can’t heal broken bones. Not naturally. After we met the Chittauks and they gave us the technology we could save the limbs, but there was always a loss of function.”
“Seriously?” Jason says, and Dick nods sadly. There’s a story there, but Jason’s not sure a crowded medbay is the place to ask about it. “Wait, do the medical staff here know that?”
“I don’t know.” Dick says, avoiding Jason’s gaze. The sad look in his eyes and the downturned corners of his mouth make Jason wonder if Dick lost someone he cared about to a broken bone.
“We should ask.” Jason lets his head thump back against the pillow. “I know back on Earth we can fix birds broken bones and they can fly again. We can probably help with Avians too.”
“I... I’ll ask later.” Dick says, entirely unconvincingly. Jason makes a mental note to ask tomorrow at his check up appointment.
“Good.” Jason lets it go for now. Pushing Dick to ask after a scare like this would be cruel, and the last thing Jason wants to ever be to Dick is cruel. “Are you gonna stop getting your feathers in a ruffle now?”
“My feathers aren’t in a ruffle!” Dick trills, affronted, before huffing. “Oh wait; it’s that Human figure of speech.”
“Yup, it sure is.” Jason grins. “So, you want me to groom you, Pretty Bird?”
“Yes. Always.” Dick says, tucking his head under Jason’s chin to give better access to his wings. Jason obliges by running his fingers gently along Dick’s pin feathers and feeling his relax on his chest as he does. “Healing themselves in weeks... Humans really are Whoooshiiiririri!”
Jason’s on yet another planet this week, this time it’s a world colonised by the Avians, so Dick volunteered to come with him as a guide. Although Jason’s pretty sure it’s more about staying close to Jason and making sure he doesn’t get hurt than Jason actually needing a guide. Or at least he was until he sees the geography of the Avian’s colony.
It’s in the near sheer cliffs of a mountain range, seemingly bridging some of the peaks with the thinnest bridges that Jason’s ever seen. He’s pretty sure that at least half of the pathways leading up and something like two thirds of the bridges definitely won’t hold his weight. Dick’s having no trouble with any of it, naturally. He’s hovering in the air next to him while Jason treads up the only path that looks like it can take more than one person at once.
“Fuck, this place looks like something the Lord of the Rings Elves would build...” Jason says when they pause at a turn about a third of the way up.
“Lord of the?” Dick hovers down lower to the pathway and tilts his head at Jason, clearly not recognising the reference.
“Oh, it’s this old book series. They made some movies of it.” Jason says, forcing himself to slow his breathing down as the air gets thinner the higher they go.
“Basically, there was an epic war between several races, Humans, Elves and Dwarfs on one side, and the Orcs on the other. Which is a terrible explanation and I’m going to show you the movies when we get back to the Gotham.”
“I see. Avian buildings look like the Elves’?” Dick flutters his wings as he looks up to the high spires of the Avian Colony.
“Kind of. They’ve got that delicate, weightless ‘how the fuck did they build that so tall and thin’ thing going on.” Jason says, following the direction of Dick’s gaze.
“I see. So if Avians are Elves, are Humans... well no, I suppose you’d be Humans still wouldn’t you?” Dick smiles, shaking his head in wry amusement.
“Ha. You’d think.” Jason snorts, and stops to take a deep breath. “Although honestly, if Avians are space Elves, then I think you guys would think Humans were space Orcs.”
“We would? Why?” Dick says, tilting his head in the most birdlike fashion.
“Well, you freak out over how adaptable we are for one; the whole persistence hunting thing is another.” Jason huffs, ready to mouth along to Dick’s next statement as he’s heard it several times whenever Jason mentions either of those things.
“It’s unnatural that you can walk for days and catch up to fast running animals by just not stopping! And everything I’ve read about Earth makes it sound like a Death Planet!” Dick says with more exasperation that Jason thinks the statement really warrants, even as he mouths along.
“See!” Jason laughs, staring out over the walkway to the clouds now surrounding them and obscuring the view to the ground. It’s a little dizzying how far up they are now.
“Humans really are Whoooshiiiririri.” Dick says with quite a lot of feeling, flapping his wings gently in Jason’s direction.
“What does that mean? You’re always saying it.” Jason says once the gust of wind goes past him.
“Uh. It’s... Extreme Danger/Predator/Terror?” Dick says, thinking about it. “I think the closest thing you have to it is... Monsters?”
“Oh. Wow. Monsters, huh? Guess we really space Orcs to you.” Jason snorts, not sure how to feel about this information.
“Well... only in what you’re capable of.” Dick says, turning to look at Jason, eyes overflowing with emotion. “I think you’re amazing, Jason.”
“Yeah, yeah, I love you too, Pretty Bird.” Jason grins, reaching out to take Dick’s hand.
“Memaaavuuutut.” Dick blurts out, taking Jason’s hand and gripping on tightly. “In Avian, that means ‘I love you too.’”
One Year Later:
Jason sees Dick dart over to answer the door to their quarters when it chimes while Jason’s struggling to get little Freddie into his specially made onesie with slits for the boy’s wings.
“Oh! Admiral Pennyworth, it’s good to see you.” Dick says with a bright smile on his face.
“Lieutentant Grayson, no need to stand on ceremony. I wanted to see my great-grandchild.” Admiral Pennyworth says with a gentle smile. “Jason. It’s good to see you, my boy.”
“Hey, Grandpa... I forgot you were in this galaxy! Uh. Thanks for the uh... credits for supplies.” Jason says, feeling flustered. Their quarters are a mess of baby toys, clothes and other assorted items that should have been put away, but hadn’t.
“You’re welcome.” Alfred says with a twinkle in his eye, as he clears off a pile of linens from a chair so he can sit down. “How could I not send something to celebrate? One would think you almost forgot to tell me you were having a child.”
“Um. Yeah... Sorry, it happened really quickly once things started.” Jason says sheepishly. It had taken about a week from Dick telling Jason that he was successfully gravid to Dick spending several hours laying the egg and another week from that until it hatched. Jason still not sure exactly how the eggs were fertilised and he’s pretty sure he doesn’t actually want to know the answer.
“Is that him?” Alfred tilts his head to look past Jason to the changing table that Freddie’s peacefully staying on. With wings and talons like Dick’s, Freddie’s outwardly one hundred per cent Avian, but medical scans have told them that while he’s got an Avian’s hollow bones, he is, for the most part, more human internally.
“Yeah.” Jason grins. “Freddie’s a placid boy so far, happy enough to stay where he’s been put, even though he’s fully capable of toddling off to anywhere he wants.”
“He looks positively cherubic.” Alfred says, and it’s clear that he expects to be holding Freddie within minutes.
“Wait till you see him fly.” Dick says, dropping a kiss on Jason’s cheek in passing as he goes to open the door to the nursery.
“He can fly already?” Alfred says, eyebrows raising in surprise.
“Oh yes! I’ve taught them both how to fly to their father.” Dick says proudly. Dick finds it hilarious to set Freddie off flying, teaching him to hover around Jason’s head. Jason finds it less hilarious, but when Dick did it to Tim, he may have cackled quietly to himself. If the look on Tim’s face is anything like the look on Jason’s he sees why Dick does it.
“Them both?” Alfred says, looking over to Jason to confirm he heard right.
“Maaariii!” Dick trills loudly the sound echoing in their rooms and the quiet fast fluttering of wings comes as an answer. “She’s a strong one.” She bobs in the air a little unsteadily until she reaches Dick’s outstretched arms, and he pulls her in for a face nuzzle and a cuddle.
Jason lifts Freddie up from his position blowing bubbles on his back to walk over and deposit him in Alfred’s arms. Freddie blinks up at his Great Grandfather and smiles happily, wiggling in his arms and flapping his wings.
“Oh my.” Alfred says, switching his gaze between the two winged babies. “You have both been busy, haven’t you?”
“It’s all Dick’s fault. Totally.” Jason says with a grin, sneaking a camera out to take a quick picture when Dick walks over to show Maarii to Alfred.
“I’m fairly sure it’s yours, Jason. After all, it’s Humans who are Whoooshiiiririri.”
“Rarrr!” Jason says leaning in making claws with his fingers and watching as his family giggles with joy.