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Dust and Darkness

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“Dude, are you okay? You’ve been extremely… I don’t know, listless, lately,” Roy said, sitting in Dick’s office chair and throwing a wad of paper up into the air.

“I’m fine,” Dick sighed. He took a slow sip of his flat and watery soda that was left over from lunch. “Just tired I guess.”

“You sure?” Roy asked, raising an eyebrow. “You didn’t have any major cases this week,” he pointed out.

Dick just shrugged.

“Look,” Roy said. He stopped spinning and tossed the wad of paper away. “Why don’t we go out tonight, hm? A club somewhere fancy. Drinks on me. And maybe you’ll meet some hot chick, and… relax a bit.”

Dick gave Roy a tired smile. “Thanks for the offer, but I’m not really feeling it.”

“Seriously?” Roy asked, a bit dumbfounded. “Dude, what happened to you? You used to jump at the opportunity to get out and meet other people, especially if it came with drinks and the promise of some good sex. And now you’re not feeling it? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Roy, please, I just don’t want to go.”

Roy rolled his eyes. “Please don’t tell me a man in his sexual prime who used to have girls on both of his arms every weekend suddenly lost interest in sex? You lived for sex, Dick!”

Dick frowned. “You make me sound like a slut.”

“You kind of were.”

Dick just sighed. “I just am not...” he gestured helplessly. “I don’t know!” he huffed. “I do like sex, but it’s just… doesn’t have the same appeal as it did before.”

“So find something more exciting.”

“Like what?” Dick asked, rolling his eyes. “Public sex?”

Roy scoffed. “No, watch some porn, dude. There’s tons of kinky stuff out there, and there’s bound to be one for you, if not more.”

“I don’t have the time to watch porn, Roy. In case you’ve forgotten, most of my free time is spent sleeping. Or hanging out with you because you’re a clingy and needy friend.”

Roy grinned, eating  a soggy fry, also left over from Dick’s lunch. “I find no shame in that,” he said. He suddenly gasped. “I have an idea! Look, I have this- this friend. He’s… got particular tastes. I could ask him to show you the ropes, you know? Find out what you like.”

“Roy, really-”

“Just meet him,” Roy said. “I’ll shoot him a text, but he’s really cool about this stuff, so tonight should be totally fine for him. Be ready by eight tonight, ‘kay? I’ll pick you up.”

“Roy-”

Roy stood up abruptly and spun on his heels. “Bye, Dickie!” He walked out of Dick’s office with a casual wave of his hand. Dick sighed as he left.

It was useless arguing with Roy.

~

Dick tugged uncomfortably at his shirt. He had no idea what to wear, so he just went with his usual club-going outfit: a white t-shirt a few sizes too small, a pair of dark blue skinny jeans that hugged his legs, and a black leather jacket. Usually, Dick felt pretty good dressed like that, leaving little to the imagination, but of recently, he just felt… exposed.

Dick felt like all eyes were suddenly on him, and he felt self-conscious. Dick had been raised a performer. He had never felt self-conscious before, not even when he was a pimply, gangly teenager with raging hormones.

Dick was not very sure when it happened, but sometime in the past year he started shied away from the spotlight more and more.

“Is what you’re planning illegal?” Dick whispered as Roy led them into a shady alleyway. “In case you forgot, I work for the GCPD?”

“I haven’t forgotten,” Roy said. “In case you’ve forgotten, your job is the reason we’re here.”

Dick frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Roy did not answer as they came up to a closed door with a metal screen in front of it. A dim lamp shone outside of the door. Roy knocked three times. A few seconds later, the door opened.

A tall, buff man stood on the other side. He looked at Roy, glanced at Dick, then back to Roy. He grunted once and opened the door a bit wider. Roy smiled and pulled the metal screen door open as well.

He stepped inside, and Dick followed. Roy led him confidentially down a long hallway lit with dim lights of varying shades of red, orange, and yellow.

They came to another door. By the door was a ticket booth. A bored lady sat on the other side. She looked at Roy.

“Name?” she drawled out.

“Oh, you know me, sweetie,” Roy said. “No need to play coy.”

“Name?”

Roy sighed. “Roy Harper,” he said. He jerked a thumb at Dick. “He’s a guest, with me. Don’t worry, I already confirmed with Jay this time, so he should be on the list too. Dick Grayson.”

She looked through the papers on a clipboard. Then she nodded and pushed a button. A little light above the door turned green.

Roy grinned. “I don’t know why you insist on doing this every time, Stella.”

The lady, Stella, smirked. “Just protocol, Mr. Harper. I’m just doing my job.”

“Diligent as always. I’ll put in a good word for you with Jay,” Roy called as he slipped through the door. Dick gave Stella one more glance before slipping into the door as well.

They went down another short hall then down a flight of stairs.

Finally, they come to a heavy metal door. Roy grinned at Dick. “Ready?” he asked.

Dick shrugged. “I literally still don’t know where we are. You could’ve brought me to a cult meeting for all I know. But I guess, yeah.”

Roy laughed loudly. “It’s much better than a cult meeting, I promise,” he said. He pulled the door open.

Dick’s eyes bugged out when he saw what was inside. It was a BDSM dungeon; there was no doubt about it.

Dick nearly took a step backwards, but Roy was behind him. Roy pushed him forward into the expansive room. The door shut silently behind them, and Dick’s eyes jumped around the room absorbing everything.

A woman dressed in black latex and four inch stilettos walked past with a man on a leash, crawling on his hands and knees, naked save for a thick, studded collar around his neck. She gave Dick a wink as she passed.

On the opposite wall, there were two women strapped to a wall, one facing forward, the other facing the back. Both were naked. The first woman had clamps on her nipples and weights hanging down on them. Dick winced just looking. The other had red welts all down her back, on her ass, and the top of her thighs. A shirtless man stood by her, running a whip over her bruised flesh.

And in yet another corner, there were tables. Two women sat talking and drinking. One woman had a man on his knees, sucking on her fingers. The other woman had a smaller girl sitting on her lap, and she was playing with her hair while she talked.

All around the room, there were several things going on at once, and it was completely overwhelming.

“Where the hell did you bring me, Roy?” Dick asked under his breath, unable to tear his eyes away from the scene.

Roy laughed. “Don’t look so scandalized. You’ll end up offending someone. Just act natural. Besides, it’s okay to watch. Some people like being watched, but we have other business to attend to.” Roy grabbed Dick’s wrist and started pulling him into the room.

Dick stumbled across the room, trying his best to keep up with Roy’s long strides. He felt like everyone in the room was watching him, noticing how he stood out in the crowd. They ended up in front of the bar, where a pretty blonde lady stood.

“ST!” Roy said, sliding into one of the stools. “Care to mix me a drink?”

The girl snorted. “Apple juice or a cherry Coke?”

“Whiskey dry, pretty please.”

“You’ll have to go to Jay for that,” the girl said. “I only serve the non-alcoholic drinks out here.”

“You can’t… I don’t know, sneak some for me?” Roy asked.

“Rules are rules, mate. You step in here, you follow them.” Her eyes landed on Dick. “Oh, hey. New?”

Dick should have smiled, but he winced. He sat down hesitantly. “That obvious?” he asked.

The girl laughed, her voice loud. Dick shrank a little lower, afraid of the attention she would attract. But no one looked over.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Er, Dick,” he said.

“Dick, huh? Strong name,” she noted. “Want something to drink to calm the nerves? Can’t give you alcohol, since those are the rules, but I can grab you some ginger ale?”

Dick swallowed and nodded. “Yes, please.”

The girl nodded and turned around for a few seconds to get Dick’s drink. She slid the glass across the bar and winked at Dick. “On the house,” she said. “For newbies, the first drink is always free.”

She turned back to Roy. “So, what’s your business here tonight?” she asked.

“Just showing Dickie around,” Roy said, clapping Dick on the back, nearly spilling his drink. “He’s been having some… issues in the bed department, so I thought maybe it was time for a little change.”

“And you didn’t tell him you’d be bringing him here?” the girl asked.

“He’d never of said yes!”

“No wonder he looked traumatized!” she chided.  “Look, it’s totally fine if this isn’t your kind of thing, okay? Roy’s a bit… impulsive sometimes. If you’re his friend, you know that.”

Dick smiled. “Yeah, I do,” he said.

The girl smiled and patted his arm. Then she scoffed. “Oh, how rude of me! My name’s Stephanie, by the way. But everyone around here just calls me ST because apparently Stephanie is too long to say, Steph is too long to say, and ST is just right.” She rolled her eyes. “But call me whatever makes you comfortable.”

Dick nodded. “Thanks,” he said.

Stephanie nodded. She jerked her head towards the back. “Jason’s in the back. I think he’s doing a demonstration right now, if you want to take Dick to go watch. If he wants to, that is.”

Roy rolled his eyes. “C’mon, Dick. Let’s go. She’s just trying to ruin our fun. But we’re not going to let her!”

He grabbed Dick’s arm and started pulling him away again. Dick gave Stephanie a small wave as he was pull through yet another door.

He stepped into a room with a long bench. There were several people sitting on the benches, some alone, others with a companion of some sort. In front of the bench was a large glass wall, and on the other side, a brightly lit room filled with racks of what looked somewhat like torture weapons: whips, paddles, canes, handcuffs, and other things.

“Sit,” Roy whispered.

On the other side of the glass, there was a man, shirtless and wearing only black, leather pants. His skin glistened with a thin sheen of sweat, and he absently ran a hand through his hair.

And kneeling before him, naked and completely tied up in ropes with intricate knots was a young man. He was blindfolded, thin strands of blond hair falling in front of the blindfold. There was a ball gag in his mouth, slick with spit.

Dick realized that the glass was a one-way mirror, having witnessed and done enough questioning to recognize it. The shirtless dom and the younger sub could not see their spectators. Dick’s throat went dry.

The dom finished knotting up the last ropes. Then, he ran a red cord through the knotted ropes and a second later, the sub was suspended in the air, helpless and on display for everyone to see.

His legs were tied so they were spread apart, and gave him no room to close then. The dom checked his suspensions before giving the blond sub a light push, sending him spinning in a slow circle. Dick could see the sub’s hard cock, and he saw a glint of metal around its base too.

He swallowed hard, unable to tear his eyes away. Dick watched with undivided attention as the dark haired dominant, his muscular arms, and tanned chest shining with sweat, teased the blond with vibrators, rough strokes on his leaking cock, occasional slaps on his pale ass, leaving a bright red handprint until the submissive was crying under the blindfold.

Finally, the dom took off the cock ring and pressed a vibrator to the spot between the sub’s balls until the young man came with a choked cry.

Once the sub calmed down enough, the dominant gently lowered him and undid the ropes. He took off the blindfold with care as well as the gag. Dick watched in amazed wonder as the previously cruel man wiped away the sub’s tears with the pad of his thumb, ran his hand through the messy blond hair and smiled softly. He helped the submissive to his feet and helped him into an adjoining room. Dick got a quick glimpse into it and saw that it was a bathroom. The two disappeared inside.

Someone else came in and started putting away the ropes and the toys used during the scene. The other spectators stood to leave. There were two pairs of male doms with male subs, a lone female, two other males the walked out hand in hand, but there was no obvious roles of power between them, and an older man with an older woman, which surprised Dick a little bit, but he had seen enough in his life that the idea of the elder generation being into the rough BDSM life was not that high up there, though he was considerably new to the whole BDSM thing.

“So what’d you think?” Roy asked, his voice snapping Dick out of his stupor.

“Of what?” Dick asked dumbly.

Roy rolled his eyes. He gestured to the room through the glass wall. “That.”

“It was… something interesting.”

“Seriously?” Roy asked. “Geez, Dickie, maybe you are incurable.” He stood. “C’mon, I’ll go introduce you to Jay.”

Dick followed Roy from the viewing room through a discreet door painted to match the walls. They made their way down a narrow hall, and into yet another room. Dick was starting to wonder the extents of the place. It looked like a back room of sorts.

The young blond that had been tied up earlier was lounging on a couch, legs kicked up over the armrests, texting on his phone and his teeth clamped around the opening of a plastic water bottle. He glanced up when Roy and Dick walked in.

“Oh, hey, Roy,” the boy said, his voice distorted by the bottle. “Here to see Jay again?”

“When am I not?” Roy snorted. “He in his office?”

The boy nodded, going back to his texting. Roy passed him, grabbing a donut from a box on a table with other refreshments. He pushed the box towards Dick, but Dick shook his head. Roy shrugged and bit into his donut.  Roy walked to yet another door, slightly ajar. He knocked.

“Jay!” Roy shouted loudly around a mouthful of donut and sprinkles.

“Harper, I swear to god, if you took the food that is meant for refreshments for my doms and subs, I will knock you into next week.”

Roy pushed the door open wider and stepped inside. He grinned. “You wouldn’t,” he boasted. “You love me too much.” He swallowed. “How’s your wrist, by the way? You looked kind of strained back there.”

“It’s getting better. Still a bit sore, though.”

“Your fault for putting off all those papers.”

“I didn’t want to sign a paper every few minutes, so I just let them pile up, so I could sign and approve them all at once. It’s called working effectively.”

“It’s called not thinking about how signing three hundred papers could hurt your wrist because you’re not an author or a famous singer who is used to autographing hundreds of things at a time,” Roy countered. “Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to someone.” Roy poked his head out of the room and waved to Dick.

Dick followed him inside hesitantly.

“This is Dick,” Roy said. “Dick, this is my other best friend, Jason.”

Dick smiled a little and reached out a hand for Jason to shake. Jason, the dark-haired dominant who had been working with the blond sub, just raised an eyebrow. He had been toying with a cheap ballpoint pen, biting on the back of it with his perfect teeth. He let the pen hang there as he stared at Dick.

Dick eventually let his hands drop.

“Jason’s allergic to meeting new people,” Roy explained, patting Dick’s back. “Don’t be discouraged.” He sent an obvious glare to Jason. “Even though I did ask him to tell you a bit about the stuff he’s into.”

Jason snorted. “That’s very unspecific, Roy,” Jason said. “That could range from telling your friend here about how I prefer tea to coffee, or that I write my name with my right hand but sign it with my left.”

“Huh, I always did think it was odd that your signatures were smeared,” Roy said thoughtfully. “Anyway, sit, Dickie!” He forcefully pushed Dick down into the small stool by Jason’s desk. “Now that you’ve gotten to know each other, you,” he pointed at Jason, “play Dr. Jason, professional sex therapist or something, and you,” he shoved a finger in Dick’s face, “uh, you can be… sexy client or something.” He smiled proudly. “And I’m going to raid your alcohol stash, Jay. I’ll be back once I’ve gotten a significant amount into my body.”

He left the room then.

They sat there in awkward silence for a minute. Dick kept his eyes trained on the painting of a large vase of flowers opposite him. He could feel Jason’s eyes burning holes into him.

“So,” Jason said. “Dick, right?”

Dick blinked at Jason. “Uh, yeah.” He met Jason’s intense gaze for a split second before he had to look away. Dick felt his face growing hot. Maybe it was because he just watched Jason sexually tease a boy who looked no older than twenty to tears, but he could not look him in the eye. Inspector Dick Grayson of the GCPD had suddenly disappeared, holing away to some dark recess of Dick's mind.

“Roy mentioned you had problems getting it up with vanilla sex?”

Dick’s flared redder. “I do not,” he said indignantly. “Sex just isn't a priority in my life anymore, nor do I have the time to indulge.”

Jason let out a dry chuckle. “Stand up,” he said suddenly.

“Sorry?” Dick asked, eyebrows raising.

“I said, stand,” Jason repeated.

Slowly, Dick stood up. Jason’s eyes looked him up and down, and Dick could just feel him criticizing him in every way. Jason turned slowly in his chair, spinning it around to face Dick fully. Jason flicked his pen onto his desk.

“Spin,” he commanded, twirling his finger in a small circle.

Dick opened his mouth to ask why, then decided against it. He did a slow circle, still self-conscious about the fact that Jason was just watching him, and Dick had no idea what he was looking for.

“Hm,” Jason said, making a small noise in his throat. “Kneel.”

Dick choked aloud. “I’m sorry?” he asked.

“I don’t like repeating myself,” Jason said. “Kneel.” He tapped the ground in front of him with his shoe. “Right here.”

Dick let out an outraged laugh. “Excuse me? Look, I don’t know who you think you are, but you’re crazy if you think I’m just going to let you push me around like you did with that boy out there. Whatever you’re thinking, that’s not me. I’m sorry Roy brought me here because it was obviously a huge mistake.” He turned to go.

“Stay,” Jason said from behind him. His voice was much softer this time. Dick had his back to him, but he did not make any move to go to the door. “C’mere, Dick.”

Dick turned around at an agonizingly slow speed, but he did not step any closer to Jason either.

Jason just laughed softly. “Come here.”

Dick walked forward a few steps, arms crossed, a scowl on his face.

“On your knees now,” Jason prompted.

Dick opened his mouth once more to argue.

On your knees,” Jason said before Dick could argue back. He raised his eyebrows pointedly. Dick’s mouth snapped shut, and he did not move for a second, just glaring back at Jason defiantly. But Jason’s gaze was stronger, more practiced. Dick quickly looked away. His shoulders slumped, and a second later, Dick found himself on his knees in front of Jason. “Good,” Jason said. He did not sound smug, but more… approving. Dick felt a rush of happiness surge through him.

Jason’s hand came up and rested on Dick’s head. Dick flinched slightly at the touch, but as Jason ran his fingers through Dick’s hair, he found it almost relaxing.

“Good,” Jason said again. “Turn your head up a bit, Dick,” he said, continuing in the prompting, soft voice. A light tug with the hair on the back of his head and Dick’s head tilting up towards Jason. “That’s it,” Jason praised. “Perfect. Absolutely perfect,” he whispered.

Dick let his eyes squeeze shut hard, Jason’s words rubbing him in the wrong way. He did not like it.

“Shh…” Jason said soothingly, almost as if he sensed Dick’s distress. “Don’t think, Dickie. Just breathe… and focus on my touch. That’s it, just like that. Feels good?” he asked.

Dick let out a soft puff of breath from his mouth. He nodded shakily.

Jason let his hand trail down the side of Dick’s face before dropping away completely. “You can get up,” he said, still keeping the same soft voice.

Dick opened his eyes but found Jason no longer staring at him. Dick stood, his legs feeling a bit weak. Jason slid a small card across the desk to him.

“I’m just going to come out and say it,” Jason said. “You’re perfect sub material, Dick. If you want to consider it, give me a call. I’ve always got a place for subs-in-training or those who want to work here permanently, like Michael, outside.”

Dick took the card, but he said nothing.

“It most likely will go to voicemail, but I’ll get back to you within a week,” Jason promised. He smiled at Dick again, not unkindly. “Seriously, think about it.”

Chapter Text

“Dude, what is wrong with you?” Roy asked. He slapped Dick upside the head.

Dick groaned and rubbed the back of his head. “What the hell, Harper?”

“What the hell is with you?” Roy asked. “Have you seriously lost all desire for sex? You had no reaction whatsoever to the BDSM club, you don’t watch porn, you don’t hang out with women anymore, you’re just- you’re like an old man, Dick!”

Dick frowned. “Old men can have sex,” he said defensively.

Roy rolled his eyes. “You either just admitted you are an old man and you do have interest in sex, or you defended the elderly but did not answer my other questions.”

“Roy, I just don’t want to talk about it.”

“That’s the problem, Dickie! There’s nothing to talk about!” Roy said, exasperated.

Dick gave Roy an lazy glare. “You’re bothering me now. My lunch break is over. I know you don’t work during the day, but I do. Go hang out with your other best friend or something.”

Roy rolled his eyes. “Are you mad I have another best friend? I’ve known Jason forever now, nearly ten years.”

“And I’ve known you fifteen, Roy, what’s your point?” Dick snapped. After a moment’s consideration, Dick sighed heavily. He lowered his voice. “Look, I love you, but you are starting to make me angry, Roy. Just go find someone else to annoy please?”

Roy pursed his lips. “This isn’t over,” Roy said as he pushed off of Dick’s desk. He head towards the door, walking backwards. He pointed at Dick. “Come over tonight. Drinks and dinner on me.”

“Roy, it’s a weeknight.”

“Just food then.”

Dick groaned loudly, glaring at him.

Roy smiled and winked. “See ya, Dickie!”

Dick glared at the closed door for a moment before going back to his desk, straightening a few papers Roy had knocked out of place. Dick moved away a file, and his eyes landed on a business card underneath it. Dick’s heart leapt up into his throat when he saw it. It was Jason’s card.

Dick closed his eyes and sat down slowly in his chair. That night was a huge mistake. Dick should have never gone, never talked to Jason, never let Roy leave him alone in the room with that man. Fuck, Dick had no idea why he knelt. His knees just went weak at the sound of Jason’s voice, the steely, but soft prompting that was meant to be a command. Dick’s heart beat a little faster.

Dick could still feel the hard, rough carpet underneath his knees. With his eyes closed, Dick could almost feel Jason’s large hand caressing his hair, gently pulling his head back and up. Dick unconsciously arched up a bit in his seat, a small sigh escaping.

A loud knock at his door made him jump.

Barbara Gordon leaned against the doorway, smirking. “Having a wet daydream, Inspector?”

Dick jerked in his seat, scrambling up, heat rising to his face like a drowning man struggling to the surface of a lake. “B-Barbara!”

“Dick,” Barbara said with a nod and a smirk. “You had a good lunch break, I’d imagine?”

“I was just thinking,” Dick bit out defensively.

“About who? Your most recent date?” she snorted.

Dick rolled his eyes. He and Barbara used to date, on and off for about a year and a half, but then they decided they were better as friends. And it has been great since.

No,” Dick said defensively.

“Uh-huh,” Barbara said. She brushed a lock of red hair behind her ear. “Anyway, my dad wanted to know if you’re free for dinner this Saturday.”

“This Saturday?” Dick asked, eyebrows rising. “Why?”

“It’s a charity dinner your adoptive father is hosting, one of those stuffy things, and there will be a lot of other businessmen there, you know the whole boring spiel. He was invited, and he wants me to go with him, but I don’t want to be the only person there under the age of thirty-five, and there will surely be old men there who do nothing but leer. So, wanna come?”

Dick snorted. “So are you asking me, or is your father asking me?”

I’m asking you under the pretense of him asking you,” she said with a sly smile. “Well?”

Dick sighed with faux exasperation. “I guess. I suppose you would want me to play your boyfriend again?”

She grinned brightly. “What a thoughtful suggestion, Dickie!”

Dick laughed and shook his head. “Whatever, Babs. I guess I’ll be there then.”

“Perfect,” Barbara said. She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek before slapping a manila folder to his chest. “Now get back to work, Inspector, and stop thinking dirty thoughts at work where anyone can walk in on you!”

~

Saturday came along, and Dick found himself dressed to the nines, sitting in the back of his boss’ car. Barbara sat next to him, her hand on his leg. Dick tapped his foot anxiously. He had not seen Bruce in a while, not since their last argument over something stupid.

Dick did not tell him he would be attending, but he was sure Bruce would be so caught up socializing he would not care.

They stepped out of the sleek car and walked up the red carpet that had paps on all sides of it, snapping photos. Dick held out his arm for Barbara as they entered the hotel, making their way to the fancy room where the charity dinner was being held.

“It’ll be fine,” Barbara whispered in his ear. “Just stay by my side, and we’ll stick by my father all night long and it will be perfectly fine, okay? You don’t even have to talk to Bruce or sit at the same table as him.”

“You’re right, you’re right,” Dick sighed. He gave Barbara a soft smile. “Thanks, Babs.”

She snorted. “Don’t thank me. I’m the one who dragged you here.”

They entered the room and was met by light chatter. It was like any other typical charity dinner. They weaved their way through the tables, towards the back of the room.

Barbara gasped lightly and pointed to the farthest one that only had one person sitting by it.

“Look, another younger person!” she said. “Let’s go say hi so we’re not completely alone tonight.” She started dragging them over.

“But the Commish-”

“Dad’s fine,” Barbara said. “Look! He’s found a group of people he can tolerate, so let’s go socialize a bit!” She pulled Dick through the groups of people, making a beeline for the man and his table.

Barbara pushed Dick down into the seat next to the young man, who was scrolling through his phone.

“Hello, mind if we sit here?” she asked.

“Go ahead-” the man started to say. His eyes locked with Dick’s, and the last syllable faded in his mouth. Then, his lips curled into a smile. “Make yourselves at home,” he said.

Barbara sat down on the other side of Dick and smiled. “Thank you,” she said. She reached over Dick to shake the man’s hand. “My name is Barbara Gordon, and this is my friend, Dick Grayson.”

“Gordon, the Commissioner’s daughter?” the man asked, the smirk still on his face as his eyes slid from Dick to Barbara. “Pleasure is all mine. I’m Jason. Jason Todd.” Jason’s eyes slid back to Dick. “And, Mr. Grayson.” He gave Dick a nod.

Dick swallowed hard and tilted his head up a bit, with a hint of defiance. He turned towards Barbara. “Sweetie,” he said in a nearly sickly sweet tone. “Why don’t I get us some drinks?”

“Oh!” Barbara’s eyebrows shot up. “Already? Dinner hasn’t even started yet!”

“Well,” Dick said, standing up. “I’m feeling a bit parched.” He gave Jason a tight nod. “Excuse me.”

Dick walked away briskly, making his way to the bar. His palms were clammy, and suddenly, Dick’s tie was feeling too tight, and his suit was way too hot. Dick really needed something to calm his nerves, and a bit of alcohol sounded great.

But as Dick pushed through the last group of people, he froze and ducked behind a passing couple of ladies in sparkly dresses.

Dick peeked over their shoulders towards the bar, still following behind them, hoping to blend in. Bruce Wayne was leaning against the bar, a flute of champagne in his hand. The pretty actress of the week hung onto his right arm, and he was chatting up a couple more.

Dick quickly circled around again, grabbing some champagne off of a passing waiter’s tray and downed it all in one gulp.

“You know, Miss Barbara’s right. Dinner hasn’t even started and you’re drinking champagne like it’s water.”

Dick whirled around, a shiver running down his spine. Jason leaned against the wall, smirking at Dick.

“What do you want with me?” Dick asked hoarsely.

Jason laughed. “It’s not what I want with you,” Jason said, chuckling. “It’s what you want with me.”

“I don’t want anything with you,” Dick said. He tried to brush past Jason, but the man caught his wrist.

Jason pulled Dick in and whispered in his ear, “I think you’re lying to yourself, Dickie. I can see it in your face. The flush in your cheeks, the blown pupils, the spit… slick… lips,” Jason whispered, the last three words spoken with a slight rasp to his voice.

“I… I…” Dick found himself at a loss for words. His brain completely short-wired. He had no idea what to say. All he could process was Jason’s close proximity.

Jason plucked the empty champagne glass from Dick’s slack hand. When he got rid of it, Dick did not know. “I see you weren’t quite convinced after our first encounter. Now, usually I’d charge you for a trial round, but since you’re a good friend of Roy’s, I suppose I could give you another freebie.”

Jason’s fingers pressed into Dick’s wrist a little harder. “I have a room at the hotel tonight,” he said. “Why don’t we run away for a bit and have some fun before dinner starts?”

Dick’s eyes flitted towards their table. He caught sight of Barbara’s fiery red hair. She was chatting excitedly with another girl.

“Don’t worry about her,” Jason purred. “I have my sister keeping her occupied.”

“But-” Dick started to protest.

“Cass is good with keeping conversations with people about anything and everything,” Jason said. “So, why don’t you join me upstairs for a bit?”

Dick was still a bit hesitant.

“I have a bar in my room,” Jason said. “And there is certainly no Bruce Wayne hanging around there.”

~

When the door of Jason’s hotel room shut with a firm click, Dick expected the dominant to immediately tell him to do something humiliating.

Instead, Jason headed for the bar and poured two glasses of scotch. He pushed one across the bar, though Dick was still standing rooted by the door.

“Are you planning on standing there all night?” Jason asked, amused.

Dick did not answer.

Jason laughed. “Come here.”

Dick went red with how quickly he obeyed. He did not meet Jason’s eyes, instead standing in front of the bar, staring down at the glass of scotch.

Dick heard Jason take a long sip, and then gently set his glass down.

“Look at me, Dick,” Jason said, his voice a bit firmer now.

Dick slowly looked up. Jason stared at him intently, his mouth pressed into a thin line. Dick wanted to look away, to avoid the intenseness of Jason’s gaze. But he could not. His mind was telling him to look away because his eyes could give away his every thought, but his body fought him – Jason had not given permission.

Jason suddenly smiled. “Relax,” he said. “I can feel the waves of nervousness rolling off of you. There’s nothing to be afraid of, you know. I might’ve been a bit forward during out first meeting, but again, I stand by what I said: you are great sub material.”

Dick let out a muffled whimper.

“You can talk,” Jason said. He leaned forward on the bar, resting on his elbows, smiling up at Dick. “Sit,” he said.

Dick sat down hard on one of the bar stools.

“So, tell me about your issue. Roy told me a bit, but I always want to hear my client’s side of the story.”

“Client?” Dick asked weakly. “I’m not-”

“I just use the word generally,” Jason said. He tilted his head to the side. “Want to ask why I’m here at the charity dinner tonight?”

Dick gulped. It was like Jason could read his mind. “Why are you here tonight?” Dick asked.

“Because, Dickie, I’m the CEO of Cain Publishing. I'm a businessman, Dick, so I have clients.”

“C-Cain Publishing?” Dick asked. “But I thought David Cain was-”

Jason snorted. “Him? Nah. He hasn’t done anything for his company for the past five years,” he said. “David Cain is living in the Appalachian Mountains like a hermit right now.”

“Wh-What? But I heard he was traveling around the world!”

Jason poured himself another glass of scotch. “That’s what the tabloids say.”

Dick reached out and wrapped his hands around his glass, but he did not drink it. “Doesn’t he have a daughter? Why didn’t he just pass it on to her?”

“Oh, yeah, that’s Cass, my sister. She’s distracting your friend downstairs. And I'm the elder one, so I got the inheritance."

“But you said your name was Todd!”

Jason rolled his eyes. “Your dad’s a Wayne, isn’t he? If I’m not wrong, Barbara said your name was Grayson.”

“Oh,” Dick said, slightly embarrassed. “You were adopted too?”

“It’s more common than you think,” Jason laughed. He sipped his drink again, never looking away from Dick. “So, Dickie, now that we’ve been properly introduced, I’d like to introduce you to BDSM again, okay?” He gave Dick a kind smile. He held a hand out to Dick.

Dick stared at it for a long time. He turned the glass in his hands twice. Then, he lifted the glass and drank the scotch, wincing silently as the alcohol burned down his throat. He slammed the glass down and gripped Jason’s hand with a firm shake.

Jason smiled wider. “Okay,” he said. “First of all, we have to pick a safeword. If I ever do something you’re not comfortable with, just say the word, and I will stop immediately, okay?”

Dick nodded. “Any word?”

“Anything works. But the more unusual, the better,” Jason said.

Dick thought about it for a second. “Robin,” he said softly. “That’s what my mother called me when I was a kid.”

Jason nodded. “Okay.” He pushed himself up and made his way around the bar. “Come on, this way.”

Dick scooted off of the stool and followed Jason to the living room. Jason kept the lights off and he sat down in the middle of the couch. He spread his legs. “Kneel here,” he said softly.

Dick took a deep breath before walking over. He stumbled, suddenly tripping over his feet. He landed on his knees in front of Jason, steadying himself by gripping Jason’s thighs to avoid face planting into Jason’s crotch.

Jason’s hand found its way into Dick’s hair. “You okay?”

Dick swallowed and nodded. “Yeah, yeah, sorry.”

“Sir,” Jason said. “You can call me sir.”

“Yes, sir,” Dick immediately babbled. His face heated up with embarrassment.

“Good boy,” Jason praised.

Dick closed his eyes, fighting down the sigh of pleasure at the praise.

“That’s it,” Jason continued, stroking Dick’s head. His other hand came up and cupped his chin. “Just relax. Let me take care of you.”

Dick felt the tension slowly drain out of him. With his eyes still closed, he pressed his face into Jason’s hands. His mouth dropped open unbeknownst to him, until Jason pressed a thumb against his lip, dragging it downwards.

Dick felt the rough pad of Jason’s thumb scraping over his teeth. He obediently let his mouth fall slack even more. He gasped softly. Jason’s thumb pressed against Dick’s tongue.

“Suck, Dickie,” Jason said.

Dick’s mouth closed around Jason’s thumb. He moaned softly, and moved his tongue around Jason’s thumb. He got no response from Jason, so he sucked a bit harder. He was filled with the inexplicable urge to please Jason.

Dick moaned a little louder, more wantonly. He sucked more eagerly on Jason’s thumb. He could feel saliva leaking out of the corner of his mouth.

“That’s it, Dickie,” Jason said. “Oh, yes. That mouth of yours is no novice, is it? Tell me, Dickie, have you done this before?”

Dick moaned weakly in response.

“Oh, yes, you should just look at yourself, Dick,” Jason murmured. “So pretty, so obedient, aren’t you? Didn’t I tell you? You’re the perfect submissive, Dickie.”

Jason removed his thumb and smeared the spit across Dick’s cheek. “Stand up for me, Dick.”

Dick scrambled to get to his feet, without a second thought. He just wanted to please Jason.

“Now bend over my lap,” Jason commanded.

Dick hesitated half a second. Then, he folded himself over Jason’s knee, his ass now high in the air.

Jason put a hand on the swell of his ass, massaging the flesh through Dick’s dress pants.

“You’ve got quite the perfect ass, Dick,” Jason said. “Perfect for looking at, and I’m sure it’s perfect for other things too. Tell me, Dickie, ever been with a man?”

Dick was too out of it to answer beyond a soft moan. He barely even processed Jason's question. 

Suddenly, there was a sharp slap on his ass. Dick cried out in surprise.

“I don’t like repeating myself, Dickie,” Jason warned.

“Yes! Yes, sir!” Dick gasped out. His ass was tingling slightly. It had only hurt when Jason first slapped him. Now, it was really just the shock.

“Hm, I know this is your first time, but you should learn the rules, Dickie,” Jason reprimanded. “Do you think I should punish you for your first offense?”

“P-Punish?” Dick gasped out. “H-How, sir?”

“Hm, I think you have some idea,” Jason said, still rubbing Dick’s ass. “I would usually do it bare, but people might get the wrong idea if you showed up with wrinkled pants. Well, Dickie? You think you deserve the punishment? You were a bad boy, after all…” Jason trailed off.

Suddenly, Jason’s words pierced through Dick’s mind like shafts of ice, freezing out everything and leaving only ringing silence. He went stiff. He started breathing hard. Somewhere in the back of his head, Dick vaguely heard someone calling his name. Dick felt a pressure on his shoulders, and he seemed to be moving back and forth jerkily.

But Dick was too lost in his thoughts.

“You’ve been a bad boy, Richard. What did Mrs. Marla tell you about playing with the sheets on the clothesline?”

“But I wasn’t playing! The wind blew the sheets off the line and I went to go pick them up!”

“Liar, liar, Richard. You know what happens to little boys who lie? They have to sit in the Room all… night… long!”

“Dick!”

Dick jolted with a sharp gasp. He was heaving, and his hands were shaking.

“Hey, hey, calm down. Dick, look at me, c’mon.”

Dick’s eyes locked on Jason’s, which were filled with confusion and worry.

“Are you okay?” Jason asked. “What happened? Dick? Fuck, hey.” He moved his hands from gripping Dick’s shoulders to cupping his face, hoping to keep Dick’s panicked eyes on him.

But Dick freaked out. He pushed Jason’s hands away and stumbled to his feet. He bolted into the next room and shut the door. Dick pressed his back against the door and slid down to the floor. He closed his eyes and tried to steadying his breathing.

He had not lost it like that in a while now. He thought he had gotten better at controlling those episodes.

There was a soft knock on the door, and Dick jumped slightly.

“Dick, can you let me in?” Jason asked softly. “I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine,” Dick croaked out. “Please, just leave me alone.”

“Not like this, I’m not,” Jason said. “You freaked out in the middle of a scene. I feel responsible, so just talk to me.”

“There’s nothing to talk about!” Dick snapped. “I’m fine, okay? I just need to- to gather myself.”

Jason sighed. There was a soft thump against the door, right behind Dick’s head. Dick realized that Jason had crouched down and was leaning his forehead against the door.

“Dick, if it was something I said or did, you need to tell me,” Jason said seriously. “Even if we never see each other again after this, please tell me. I swear I won’t tell anyone else. It’s just between us, yeah? Just you and me. We can do this through the door, if you want.”

There was a long, strained silence that followed.

“You just... said something that triggered some bad memories, is all,” Dick grumbled. He drew his knees up to his chest, his face burning red with embarrassment.

“And does this happen a lot?”

Dick sighed. “No. It- It hasn’t happened in a long time. I can usually control it, but... it caught me by surprise.”

There was a short pause from Jason. “I’m sorry, Dick,” Jason murmured.

“It’s fine,” Dick said. “You didn’t know.”

“Hm,” Jason hummed. Then, his tone changed. “Hey, can you open the door now?”

Dick hesitated a moment, but he was not feeling too panicked anymore, so he stood up and cracked the door open. As he predicted, Jason was crouching on the other side. He stood up and gave Dick a smile.

He pressed a glass of water into Dick’s hand and motioned for him to drink it. Dick drank greedily, the cool liquid soothing his parched throat.

“Look,” Jason said. “So our last two encounters haven’t been the best, I admit,” Jason said with an apologetic wince. “Definitely rather unprofessional of me, for sure. But I usually do this with a lot more discussion beforehand, to avoid situations like yours, especially during a first scene.” He sighed. “I’m really sorry about what happened, and it’s entirely my fault for not discussing things thoroughly. However, I won’t go back on what I said, about you being a good sub, Dick.

So, I’m offering you something to make up for my mistakes. I run a BDSM agency where I pair up potential doms with potential subs, kind of like a dating site. From what I’ve learned with you, I’ve got some people in mind that you might have good chemistry with. If I haven’t completely ruined your BDSM experience, give me a call, and I will help you contact some of them, okay?”

Jason handed Dick a business card. It had a different number than the one Jason handed Dick the first time they met.

“That’s the company card,” Jason explained, seeing Dick’s confusion. “I run the agency with a few friends of mine, since running a company full-time and owning a BDSM club as a hobby takes up pretty much all of your free time.” He chuckled softly. “Think about it, okay? I think it could do you some good.”

Dick reluctantly tucked the card into his pocket. “So you don’t personally take subs?”

Jason smiled. “Aw, taken a liking to me? No, I don’t,” Jason said. “I don’t have the time to cater to all the needs of a sub right now. So I just do demonstrations at the club a few times a week, and that’s how I release energy and relax.”

Dick frowned. “I don’t really have that much time on my hands either,” he said.

“Really? Roy told me all you do is mope around all day.”

Irritation flashed over Dick’s face. “I thought you preferred to hear things from the source.”

“I do, I do,” Jason said. He laughed. “I should know not to trust everything Roy says. He tends to exaggerate.”

“Over-exaggerate,” Dick huffed. “I do not mope around all day.”

“Then what do you do all day?” Jason asked. He sat on one end of the couch, crossing his legs and leaning against the arm rest. “You can sit down.” He nodded at the couch across from him. “We’ve still got half an hour before dinner actually starts.”

Dick hesitated. He was not sure if he was ready to be in Jason’s company again, but they were just talking, so it should be fine, right? Just conversation. He sat.

“I work at the police department,” Dick said simply.

“Well, yeah, I know that,” Jason said. “Who doesn’t? Bruce Wayne’s prodigal son, running off to carve his own path in society by joining the police force and working his way up to Gordon’s right hand man through hard work and charm.”

“I didn’t charm anyone to like me!”

“You do it unknowingly, maybe,” Jason said. “In case you haven’t noticed, you naturally draw people towards you. That’s just the kind of person you are.” He cocked his head to the side. “I just found it odd that I saw you hanging onto Miss Barbara like that tonight. You’re usually quite the social butterfly, aren’t you?”

“How would you know?” Dick asked.

“I’ve seen you at these events. At first, I thought you were following in your father’s shoes-”

“Adoptive father.”

“-but it turns out that’s just you. And then… one day you stop showing up to events, from what I hear from Roy, you stopped hanging out with him as much, and a week ago, I heard you gave up on sex altogether, so I certainly found you quite intriguing,” Jason said.

“Wait, you knew I was Roy’s friend?”

“Roy makes it my business to know, so yes, I knew.”

Dick gasped. “I didn’t even hear about you until a week ago!”

Jason snorted. “Typical Roy,” he said. “He’s just weird like that, don’t let it get to you.”

“I know he’s weird like that,” Dick said defensively. “I’ve known him fifteen years.”

Jason continued smiling. “I’m not competing with you, Dick. I’m just trying to keep conversation. Maybe I should take back what I said before. You don’t like me very much.”

Dick glared at the coffee table between them. Then, he sighed and deflated. “No, I’m sorry. I’ve just been… really stressed lately.”

Jason just smiled wider. “Then all the more reason you should take up my offer.”

“I don’t have the time, s-” Dick clamped his mouth shut. “I don’t have the time,” he repeated.

“Then why don’t you come over and help with demonstrations at my club?” Jason asked. “Just a couple hours a week. The hours are really flexible, and we’re always looking for pretty subs to show off. You do have to go through a training though.”

“And… will people be watching these demonstrations?” Dick asked slowly, thinking about the blonde sub he first saw with Jason.

“Yes, usually,” Jason said. “But we can work our way up to that. That’s an easy hurdle to cross.”

Dick bit his lower lip, worrying it with his teeth and tongue. After a moment, he let it pop out of his mouth, and he gave it one last lick. “And are you doing the demonstrations?”

“I only do demos on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights,” Jason said. “I have two other very capable doms who do the other nights. They’re both amazing at what they do, and spectacular people. You should come meet them when you have the time.”

Dick licked his lips again. “I’ll think about it,” he said.

Jason smiled. “Good.” He glanced at his watch. “Oh, would you look at the time. We should get down to dinner. Cass is good at distracting people, but I have a feeling she’ll yell at me for being gone so long.” He stood, and Dick followed.

Jason held out his arm. “Allow me to accompany you back?” The flash of perfect teeth and glittering dark blue eye was enough to make Dick’s knees weak again. He opened and closed his mouth a couple times before Jason laughed. “Just take my arm, Dickie.”

So Dick looped his arm through Jason’s proffered one, and tried his best to force down the blush that rose in his face.

Chapter Text

Dick backed out of calling Jason five times that day. After a lot of internal debate, the weighing of the pros and the cons, Dick finally called Jason’s number, the first one Jason gave him.

Dick made sure his office door was locked and no one would bother him. He twirled nervously in his chair as the phone rang. But no one picked up. The call went to voicemail.

“Hey, this is Jason. I’m probably busy right now, or maybe I’m ignoring you. If you know I’m ignoring you, please fuck off right now. If you don’t think I’m ignoring you, feel free to leave a message. I will get back to you as soon as possible!”

Dick cleared his throat and started talking. “Um, hey… this is- this is Dick… Grayson. Um, we met through Roy? And- And the charity dinner a week ago. You, uh, you said I should call you if I was still interested in… you know, the BDSM stuff.” Dick let out a shaky laugh. “So, um, yeah. I’m- I’m interested, I guess. I- sorry for freaking out on you last week. That doesn’t- That doesn’t usually happen, and uh… yeah. Bye.”

Dick groaned after pressing the end call button. He mashed the heels of his hands into his eyes. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” he hissed.

He tossed his phone onto his desk and sighed. He cannot take it back now.

~

Dick swallowed hard, staring at the only message Jason sent him in response to his voicemail.

An address and a door number. Nothing else. No name, no explanation, nothing.

Dick thought about just ignoring the text and not going to the location just to spite the other man.

But a week later, his curiosity got the better of him, and Dick found himself standing in front of what looked more like a dance studio than anything.

H & M was all the front said in pretty red calligraphy. Dick grimaced and pulled the door open. It jingled cheerfully. Inside, there was a small front desk, a few chairs void of people, and a couple magazines tossed onto a table. It looked very much like the waiting room for a clinic or something. The walls were painted a sky blue color, and Dick wondered if he got the place wrong.

Just then, the door in opened and a lady walked through. She had dark curly hair, all tied back in a thick ponytail.

She smiled at Dick. “Hey,” she said, wiping at her forehead. “Do you have an appointment or a class?”

Dick’s eyebrows furrowed. “Err… I don’t… think so? Um, a- a friend of mine just told me to come here, and I don’t really know…” Dick trailed off.

The woman stared at him, her smile a tad confused. Then, it looked like something clicked in her head. “Oh! You’re Jason’s friend?”

“Uh, yeah,” Dick said nervously. He noted that the woman was wearing workout clothes, and she had sweat beading up around her forehead. He really hoped that this was not some gym and he was trying to tell Dick that he needed to work out more.

Dick shrank internally at that thought.

“You’re in the right place,” she assured. She held out a hand. “Helena.”

Dick shook her hand. “Uh, Dick Grayson. Nice to meet you.”

She laughed. “I’m assuming Jason explained absolutely nothing? Yeah, he tends to do that,” she said. “Come through! We’re having a class right now, but they won’t bother us.”

Helena held the door open for Dick to walk through. Dick passed a room that looked like a workout room, a large mirror made up one wall, and there was a small group of people inside. They all held whips in their hand, attempting to whip it correctly.

Dick paused a second, staring.

“Oh, we run BDSM training classes. Teach people how to properly handle the equipment and all,” she said. “We’ll just go this way.”

She led Dick down the hall, past a couple other similar rooms and into a back office.

“Sit,” she said. “Coffee?”

“Sure,” Dick said. “Two sugars, no cream.”

“Smart,” Helena commented.

“How so?” Dick asked.

“Looks like black coffee, certainly doesn’t taste like it,” she said.

“Oh, no, I-”

“I’m joking,” she said.

She turned back around and handed Dick a paper cup of coffee. He quickly took a sip of the scalding liquid to remind himself not to take everything so literally next time.

Helena’s eyebrows rose slowly. She said nothing however, taking a seat across from Dick. “So,” she said. “How are you today, Dick?”

He shrugged. He still had no idea why he was at this place, and he still did not know who Helena is. “Fine,” he said.

“Just fine?” Helena asked.

“Y…es?”

Helena blinked at him for a few seconds. “Okay, let’s try something else,” she said. “My name’s Helena, I’m an old friend of Jason’s. We met a few years ago, and I showed Jason the ropes to the whole BDSM scene. Now we’re kinda working together in this whole thing. We have another partner – M, you’ll meet him later – but Jason hosts the club, and M and I run the training center. However, the training center isn’t just for BDSM training. We also match up doms with potential subs, see how things go.”

Dick nodded slowly.

“And Jason told me he thinks you have a lot of potential,” Helena said. “But Jason’s… he’s an acquired taste, I suppose,” she said with a wry grin. “Which is why he mainly sticks with demonstrations as compared to training doms or subs. But if Jason sees potential in you, I don’t doubt him, so I do want to help you, Dick. You just gotta… relax,” she said with a comforting smile. “Nothing you say will leave this room. I won’t tell Jason either, I promise.”

“Okay,” Dick said, shifting in his seat and turning his cup in his hands.

“Good,” Helena said. “So, let me ask you, how’d you get interested into this whole thing? Jay just mentioned that it was your first time with things and all.”

“I…” Dick cleared his throat. “My friend introduced me to it. He thought… I could benefit from it, I guess.”

“And do you think you can benefit from it?” Helena asked.

Dick shrugged, a bit listlessly.

“Dick, I hope you know there is no one forcing you into trying this. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. You don’t have to try this if it scares you in any way,” she said softly.

“Oh, no, no!” Dick said quickly, eyes widening. “It- It does interest me, I just… I didn’t know there was anything I could gain from it. Besides- Besides-”

“Sex?”

Dick blushed.

Helena smiled. “It’s okay,” she said. “Lots of people thing BDSM is just another, more extreme level of sex. And it kind of is. But BDSM isn’t just sex. It’s an exchange of power, and it’s often built on a lot of trust between the dominant person and the submissive,” she explained. “It really isn’t something you can just jump into like a new sex position.” She quirked an amused smile. “You know that thing teenagers say? ‘It’s not a phase, it’s a lifestyle’?”

Dick nodded.

“Think of it more like that,” Helena said. “Obviously, you don’t have to treat it like a lifestyle, but for a some people in the BDSM scene, it is not just confined to the bedroom. It could very well bleed into their daily lives.”

Dick frowned slightly. “So a submissive is always submissive?” he asked. “That doesn’t seem very… fair.”

“Of course not,” Helena said. “Some subs just need that power exchange outside of their sex lives. But you can have a completely normal romantic relationship as equals too,” Helena said. She paused a second. “Or not at all. Many dominants and their submissives are not in any kind of relationship aside from just that.”

“Oh,” Dick said slowly. “Okay.”

He obviously did not sound convinced. “Dick, you understand that doms and subs all sign contracts that strictly state what can and cannot be done before anything happens, right?”

Dick’s eyebrows shot up. “Contract?”

Helena pressed her lips together in dissatisfaction. “He didn’t even mention the contracts?” She huffed in annoyance. “Sorry,” she said after a second. “Not mad at you. Just… disappointed in Jason. Damn. Okay, well, yes, there are supposed to be contracts signed between both parties. It must be read very thoroughly and you must understand everything the contract is stating. It prevents misunderstandings and both physical and emotional harm done to either party.”

She reaches behind her and pulled out a folder, hanging it over to Dick. “Take that home, look that over. It’s what BDSM contracts look like in general. There’s also a section that asks you to state your limits. It’s a very important section, so read that part over very carefully, okay?”

Dick nodded mutely, opening the folder to the first page. God, it was all in tiny print, and there were about ten or so of those pages.

“I know it looks like a pain to read,” Helena said. “But it’s very important that you read all of it before decide this is really what you want to get into. Once you’ve read through it and you’re still willing to give this a try, we’ll go through the contract more thoroughly together, okay?”

Dick nodded again. Helena stood up.

“Alright, stick tight for a second. I’m going to go find M, so you can meet him,” she said. “Jason wanted you to meet us first, see if you’re more comfortable with either of us,” she explained. She paused at door. “Dick, by any chance, are you gay?”

Dick blinked at her. “I…” he said. He thought about the last relationship he had. It had not ended well. Dick had had no interest in men since then. Until Jason at least.

Helena chuckled softly. “It’s okay,” she said. “The more time you spend with Jason, the more confusing it gets,” she said. “I’ve lost many good subs to him,” she sighed fondly, not at all sounding upset about it. “Anyway, give that a read, and I’ll go find M.”

~

When Dick left half an hour later, he sat in his car for an entire five minutes, just leaning his forehead on the steering wheel, taking deep breaths.

His phone rang, and Dick flinched. He picked it up and answered without looking.

“Hello?” he asked tiredly.

There was silence for a few seconds. “Dick, it’s Jason,” came Jason’s uncertain voice. “You… You okay? You’re sounding kinda sick.”

“Just tired,” Dick groaned, rubbing his eyes. Then, it hit him that Jason was calling him. “Oh, um, can I help you with anything?”

“Well, Helena texted me a while back saying you dropped by, and she explained everything to you.”  He chuckled. “She also chewed me out a bit, but whatever. What’d you think of her?”

“She’s… nice,” Dick winced.

“And M?”

“He’s… nice.”

Jason gave an exasperated sigh. “Dick.”

“They are nice!” Dick said quickly. “I just… they’re nice.”

“What, don’t like nice people?” Jason snorted.

“No, I just- I just wasn’t too… comfortable around them,” Dick admitted.

Jason sucked in a slow breath and let it out. “Damn, that’s kinda a problem,” he said. “Maybe you just need to get to know them more?”

“Thanks, Jason, but-”

“But you don’t think it’s for you? It’s fine. I was kind of looking forward to seeing you as a demonstrator at the club,” Jason said.

“N-No,” Dick said, sitting up straight now. “I just thought… Can’t I do demonstrations with you?”

Jason was silent for a second. “You want to demonstrations with me? Even after… all the mistakes I made?”

Dick sucked his lower lip into his mouth for a second. “Yes,” he said in an almost hushed voice.

“I- I suppose so, I guess,” Jason said, sounding a bit baffled. “Are you sure though? Helena and M really might be a better fit for you.”

“No, I want- I’m more comfortable with you,” Dick said. “If that’s alright.”

“Yeah,” Jason said. “That’s perfectly fine. But first, I would have to train you properly to be a demonstrator. And since we’re both so busy all the time, we’ll have to work out a time. Until then, read over that contract Helena gave you. We’ll start with that as our premise and build on it after a little trial run,” Jason said.

Dick bit back a smile, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel now. “Yeah,” he said. “Okay.”

~

They set the first training date for the Saturday two weeks from then. Jason had a few hours after meetings on that day, and Dick had the day off.

When Jason opened the door of his penthouse – his goddamn penthouse – to Dick, he only wore sweatpants, and Dick’s throat became dry at the sight of the toned skin and the two columns of abs.

“Come in,” Jason said. Dick stepped inside in a daze. “You read over the contract, right?”

Dick nodded, handing over the well-thumbed folder. He had gone through it several times, afraid that he would miss something.

Jason flipped through it quickly, looking for any markings.

“You didn’t mark it up?” Jason asked.

“I didn’t know… I was supposed to,” Dick said hesitantly. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Jason sighed. “But you did read through it, right?”

Dick nodded quickly. “Yes.”

“Alright,” Jason said. “Since this is just the official trial run, we’ll… we’ll overlook the contract first.” He winced silently at his own words. “Any hard limits I should know about?”

Dick just blinked at him. “I didn’t… think about that. No?”

“Damn it, Dickie,” Jason said. He frowned.

“Sorry,” Dick said softly again. “Should I… come back another time?”

Jason gave him a strange look. “What? No, no. Are you uncomfortable with being tied up in any way?”

Dick shook his head.

“Okay, how about a bit of pain? I won’t hit you or anything, not this time, but like, pinching.”

“That’s fine,” Dick said.

“Anywhere you don’t want me to touch?”

Dick blushed. “N-No.”

“Okay,” Jason said. He nodded before looking Dick up and down. “Strip, but not completely. Just to your underwear.”

Slowly and painfully aware that Jason’s eyes are on him, Dick took off his clothes. He hesitated a second before taking his shirt off and fumbled with his belt for even longer before getting it undone and pushing his jeans down.

He felt like he was being judged and scrutinized as Jason circled him for a second. Dick squeezed his eyes shut and did not want to see Jason’s reaction to seeing his body. Dick knew his body was not as good-looking or nice as Jason’s. It had a couple ugly scars here and there and he had a slimmer figure than the stereotypical Dorito shaped body.

“I’m going to give you a test of endurance,” Jason said slowly. “I’ll be tying up your arms behind your back, and I’ll put a blindfold over your eyes. I will also be adding nipple clamps. Is there anything you’re against there?”

Dick shook his head.

“Good,” Jason said. “Follow me.” His brisk footsteps started going away from Dick. Dick quickly opened his eyes, not waiting for the black and white spots to fade before hurrying after Jason.

Jason pushed open a door to a room, well-lit by a large glass window overlooking the city.

“Turn around,” Jason said. Dick quickly turned so that he was facing the window, away from Jason. A couple seconds later, Dick felt rope being laced around his arms. He let Jason mold and meld him into any position he wanted. Dick ended up grabbing his own elbows behind his back and having them tied together.

It was not uncomfortable, but it was weird. Suddenly, Jason dangled a red length of silk in front of his face.

“I’m going to tie this around your eyes, okay?”

Dick nodded.

“Use your words, Dickie. You can’t keep nodding forever.”

“Yeah, okay,” Dick said.

Jason ties the blindfold over Dick’s eyes, testing it to make sure it would not slip. “Not too tight?”

Dick shook his head.

“Words,” Jason said sternly.

Dick swallowed. “Yeah, it’s- it’s good.”

“Okay,” Jason said. Dick could hear his footsteps moving, but Dick no longer had any idea where Jason was in the room. “Dickie, do you know the stoplight coloring system?”

“No?”

“It’s quite simple,” Jason said, still walking around, pausing occasionally. Dick heard the sound of his bare feet padding around. “Green means you’re okay to keep going, yellow means to either take a break, check in, or slow down. You use yellow when you’re not entirely sure of whether or not you’re comfortable with what’s happening. And red means stop. No questions, no consequences. Got it?”

Dick started to nod. Then, he said, “I got it.”

“So when if I ask for your color right now?”

“G-Green?”

“Don’t ask me,” Jason said softly. “Tell me.”

“Green,” Dick confirmed.

“Okay.” Suddenly, Jason’s hand was in his hair. Dick almost jumped because he had not heard Jason come any closer to him. “Know that I won’t be mad if you say yellow or red, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” Jason said. His hand dropped lower, grazing over Dick’s chest. His finger teased Dick’s right nipple, rolling it around between a thumb and forefinger. Dick jerked slightly at the sudden touch. “Shh…” Jason said, his other hand gently rubbing over Dick’s tense shoulder. “Relax, Dick.”

Slowly, Dick’s muscles relaxed. Jason went and started teasing his other nipple, working it to a hard nub to match the first. Then, Jason took his hands away.

“I’m going to put the clamps on now,” Jason said. Dick felt cold metal touch his nipples, and after a second, sets of what felt like tiny needled points bit into his nipple, causing him to gasp out. A second set of small teeth bit into his other nipple. They hurt, but at the same time, it kind of excited Dick. “Color?”

“Green,” Dick breathed out shakily. “Green.”

He could not see Jason stand and leave, but he heard him go. There was suddenly silence, and Dick was left with a sense of confusion. He thought about calling out for Jason, but he did not know if Jason was in the room or not. So he just knelt there, silently, trying not to concentrate on his throbbing nipples.

A second later, Jason’s footsteps started up again. “Open your mouth,” Jason said. Dick obeyed, and Jason put something flat and round into Dick’s mouth. “Don’t bite,” Jason warned. “But hold it.”

Dick pressed his lips over it. He could taste the object on his tongue, and it was soft and sweet. He faintly tasted chocolate.

“It’s just a cookie,” Jason reassured. “But you’re going to hold that in your mouth, and you’re not to bite into it and let it drop, okay?”

Dick nodded the slightest bit.

“Good,” Jason said. Then, he went silent.

Dick thought Jason would come back again in a few minutes, but those minutes passed. Then half an hour. An hour. Dick was just left alone with terrifying silence. His breathing started increasing as he strained for any sign that Jason was there.

Almost immediately, there was movement in the room.

“Hey, hey, Dickie, woah,” Jason’s voice said.

Dick breathed in deeply, and he calmed down. Jason was still here.

“You okay?” Jason asked. “Shake your head if you want to stop.”

Dick did not shake his head.

“It’s okay,” Jason said. “I’m here. I’m not leaving you here. You sure you don’t wanna stop?”

Dick still did not shake his head. He wanted to please Jason. Sure, it made him a little nervous to have his arms tied back, practically defenseless, naked, and unable to see anything, but he wanted to show Jason that he was capable of such a simple task as kneeling.

Jason brushed a hand over his head again before started walking away. Yet, he made no noise. Dick noticed that Jason’s footfalls were completely silent. Sometimes, Dick could hear them, sometimes he could not.

Dick realized that Jason purposely let him hear his footsteps sometimes. But now, with Dick grounded again, he could feel the slight vibrations of Jason walking through his complaining knees.

Dick could tell the general direction of where Jason was, and it made him feel a bit accomplished. He almost smiled, but the practically soggy cookie in his mouth did not allow him to.

Dick did not know how much longer he had knelt there, unmoving. His knees hurt badly now, and his shoulders were starting to feel a bit sore. Dick had pretty much gotten used to the clamps on his nipples and he had tilted his head back in a futile attempt to keep the cookie in his mouth.

Finally, Jason let Dick hear his footsteps again, and he walked over. Jason put a hand on Dick’s shoulder so there was no surprises.

First, he took the blindfold off of Dick, and he held a trash can out to Dick for him to spit the soggy cookie out.

“You did so well, Dickie,” Jason said with a smile. “So, so well.”

“I did?” Dick asked.

Jason nodded. “Perfect,” he assured. He took the clamps off of Dick’s sore nipples before working to untie Dick’s arms. The rope had left marks all over Dick’s arms, but Dick kind of liked seeing the marks they left. “You can stand,” Jason said. “I’ll go grab your clothes.”

Dick stood up, his knees complaining with the movement. Jason returned with his clothes. Dick looked outside and noticed that the sun had mostly set. Darkness had set over the city now.

Jason smiled as he gave Dick his stuff. “I ordered us take-out,” he said.

“I- You don’t want me to go?” Dick asked with a small frown. “I thought this was just training.”

“Yes, but aftercare is also a really important aspect of a scene.”

“But we didn’t do anything.”

“But we did,” Jason said. “And it’s my job to make sure you’re okay afterwards. So I ordered us Chinese, I have Netflix, and your choice of blankets.”

“You really don’t have to, Jason,” Dick said nervously. He fiddled with the hem of his shirt.

“This isn’t me being nice, Dickie,” Jason said. “This is me being responsible. Helena already yelled at me for being unprofessional and breaking all those rules with you before. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right, okay?”

Dick bit his lip. Then, he nodded. “Okay.”

Jason smiled at him. “Great.” He started out of the room and Dick followed. “I didn’t know what you liked so I just got some of everything,” he explained. They got to the kitchen and all along the counter, there were take-out boxes.

Dick’s eyes practically bugged out. “Is this just for us?” he asked.

“You can’t possibly convince me that you’ll eat more than this,” Jason teased. “C’mon, there’s spicy, mild, not spicy, beef, fish, just plain veggies, noodles and rice. Take your pick.” He handed Dick a heavy china plate and a pair of wooden chopsticks.

Dick could not help but raise his eyebrows at the strange combination.

“You can’t eat Chinese take-out without chopsticks,” Jason said, starting to fill his own plate. “But if you can’t use chopsticks, I have plastic forks too.”

“I can use chopsticks,” Dick said, following Jason’s lead and filling his plate. He had to admit, it did smell pretty good, even though he knew it would not do wonders on his body. He got mostly vegetables and some noodles.

Jason frowned at his plate. “One would think you’re either a young lady on a diet or a six-year-old being forced to eat his vegetables.” He took Dick’s plate and before Dick could protest, started adding more things. “You picked the broccoli out of the broccoli beef, Dick,” he said. “That’s not okay. C’mon, this way.”

Jason led Dick to the living room and settled onto the couch. He pulled his legs up and crossed them. He then grabbed a throw and laid it over himself. Then, he patted the spot next to him. Dick walked over and sat down, keeping a distance between him and Jason, almost wide enough to be considered awkward.

“You’re not against horror movies, right?” Jason asked.

“Horror’s fine,” Dick said.

“You can sit closer,” Jason said with a laugh, loading the first movie in. “I’m not going to bite. Besides, it’s hard to cuddle when you’re farther than arm’s reach away.”

Dick stiffened slightly, and it did not slip Jason’s notice.

“Dick?”

“I don’t- I don’t like cuddling,” Dick mumbled. “Or… bodily contact in general.”

“Why not?” Jason asked softly. “If you don’t mind me asking.”

Dick winced silently. “I’d rather not say.”

“Fair enough,” Jason said. “No cuddling. But other than that, this is okay?”

Dick nodded. “Yeah. This is okay.” He gave Jason a small, side smile.

Jason grinned back.

~

They binged movies long after they finished dinner. Alternating between horror and chick flicks, they must have gone through a total of four or five movies. Somewhere during the last horror movie, Dick fell asleep. He fell over onto Jason’s shoulder, his hair falling in front of his face.

Jason smiled softly to see Dick sleeping so soundly. He turned the sound down on the movie and moved the blankets up over Dick. After a second’s consideration, Jason pressed his lips to Dick’s forehead.

“You did so well today, Dickie,” he whispered. “I’m so proud of you.”

Chapter Text

So,” Roy said, grinning widely as he stared at Dick. “How have you been? It’s been a while since we’ve talked.”

Dick rolled his eyes at him. He drowned his fries in his milkshake before stuffing them into his mouth. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh, c’mon, Dick! I’m your best friend! You can tell me stuff!” Roy said, leaning forward and pushing his own burger away so he could get in close. “Jason told me you’ve… expressed interest in what he does. Well?”

Dick chewed slowly and swallowed. “So nothing,” he chose to say.

“I’m not going to judge you, Dickie,” Roy said. “I mean, Jason does it after all. So what if you get off to tying people up and teasing them to tears.”

Dick’s eyes narrowed. “I… don’t,” he said.

“You don’t have to deny it,” Roy laughed. “It’s cool,” he said. “As long as you and Jason don’t leave me out now that you’ve got something in common. I’m not well schooled in the whole dom thing.”

“Dom thing…” Dick repeated slowly.

“Yeah. Dom is short for you dominants, right? Or did I get that wrong too?” Roy asked worriedly.

“Dominants,” Dick said faintly. “Right.”

“Well, have you met any cute subs you wanna claim as your own yet?”

“Um-”

“You can’t still be pining over him, are you?” Roy cut in immediately, his voice flat and emotionless. His green eyes darkened and flashed with anger. Dick’s silence make him snap. “My god, Dickie! It’s been six months! You should be fucking ecstatic that asshole left!”

“I am,” Dick sighed. “I’m… glad he’s gone.”

“But he’s not completely gone, is he?” Roy asked. “I want to hunt that fucking idiot down and just smash his face in.”

“There’s no need to physically hurt people,” Dick said with a weak smile. “But thanks for the sentiment.”

“Look what he fucking did to your self-esteem! Well, actually, it’s hard to look because it’s practically non-existent. Seriously, Dick. You really need to get it through your head that everything that jerk ever said to you was not true.”

Dick started ripping up his napkin.

“Dick…”

He ripped it up faster. “Roy, it’s- it’s over, okay. Everything that happened… it’s in the past now, and I can’t change it. I’m… getting there. Please don’t try to rush me.”

Roy sighed. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “I just don’t like seeing you so… sad.”

“I’m not sad,” Dick assured. “I’m just making slow progress. Baby steps, you know?”

Roy stared at him for a long time. “Yeah, okay. I can work with baby steps.” He cleared his throat. “Anyway, I heard Gordon fired another three cops last week? Must be rough right about now.” Roy picked up his burger and took a large bite.

Dick swirled a couple more fries in his milkshake. “Yeah, it’s been a long week. I’m looking forward for a break this weekend…”

~

That Saturday, Dick found himself standing in front of Jason’s door again.

He nervously ran his hand through his hair for the umpteenth time, knowing it was not going to fall down the way he wanted it to.

He had woken up that morning feeling like crap. More specifically, feeling like crap about himself. He took one look in the mirror and knew it was not going to be a good day. Due to the stress of having to work harder that week, he had broken out a little bit. There were a few tiny little red dots around his forehead by his hairline. And his hair itself was a mess. One side was extremely flat and the other side would not stay down, no matter how much water Dick used to smooth it down.

Dick had planned on spending the day curled up in bed, watching Netflix, ignoring the world, and just feeling miserable about himself.

Until the text from Jason came, asking if Dick could come over today for another training session.

Dick, already bundled up in his blanket like a burrito, his Caesar salad sitting just within his reach, sighed. He really wanted to turn Jason down. He just was not feeling like seeing anyone today. But if he turned Jason down, he did not know when will be the next time they can meet up. Slowly, Dick took a bite of his salad and agreed to meet Jason in a couple hours.

Dick raised his hand to knock on the door when it was pulled open.

“You can just come in next time,” Jason said, pulling a t-shirt over his head. He was sweating a bit. “I was working out, sorry, but I could see you standing in front of my door from my security feed. Don’t look so nervous.”

“Sorry,” Dick muttered, tugging on his shirt.

“It’s fine,” Jason said. He turned and started towards the kitchen, and Dick followed. “Want anything to drink? I don’t know if I should be offering alcohol to you in the middle of the day, but you’re looking rather peaky. Need something to calm the nerves?”

“Just water is fine,” Dick said, thinking about the pimples covered by his unruly hair.

“Boring,” Jason laughed, reaching into his fridge and pulled out a bottle of water, tossing it to Dick. Dick practically chugged the entire thing before screwing the cap back onto the empty bottle and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

Jason watched, amused. “But that's hot," he commented, pulling out a Coke and opening it with a satisfying crack. “So today, we’re going over the contract in detail,” Jason said. “I compiled a list of common and some uncommon kinks and BDSM activities. You’re going to do some coloring.”

Jason beckoned Dick over to the counter. Dick sat down at one of the stools, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion. Jason pressed three colored pencils into his hand. “Remember the colors?”

“Yeah,” Dick said slowly, still not quite understanding it. He looked up at Jason for an explanation.

Jason raised his eyebrows, obviously expecting Dick to elaborate.

“Green is okay, yellow is slow down, red is stop.”

“Right. Well, the same concept applies here. Green is ‘I’m comfortable with this’ or ‘I’m okay with this being done to me’. Yellow are your soft limits. The ‘I’m not too sure, but I might be willing to give it a try someday’ things. Red are your hard limits. They are non-negotiable, absolutely not’s. I won’t ask why, and I won’t ask you to change your mind. I have my hard limits and my soft limits, and I know them well, so I need to know yours too, okay?”

Dick nodded slowly, setting the pencils and down and picking up the green one.

“Words. I need to hear you say things, Dick.”

“Yeah, I- I understand.”

“Good,” Jason said. “I’m just going to get my laptop and work on some things. Feel free to ask if you don’t know what something is.”

He left. Dick fingered the stack of papers before opening it to the first page. He took a deep breath and eyed the first thing on the list.

Abrasions

Abrasions. Like scrapes or rope burn? Dick’s eyebrows furrowed. That did not sound all that bad. He put a green check next to it.

Age Play

What did that even mean? How does one play with age? Was it a metaphor for something? Dick frowned a bit and stared at his papers. Jason was sitting at the other end of the counter, focusing hard on his laptop screen. Either way, it did not sound entirely off-putting. He marked it green.

Anal Sex

Dick did not know if that was a joke or not. He glanced up at Jason. Jason did not look at him, so Dick marked it as green as well.

Anal Plugs

If he was okay with anal sex, why would plugs be any different? He put a green check next to that one as well.

Animal Roles

That made even less sense to Dick. What were animal roles? He hoped that did not mean he had to pretend to be a goldfish and swim in circles in a large glass pool or something while Jason watched him and fed him pellets of food. He hesitated a second before picking up the yellow pencil. Then, he glanced up at Jason. The man was not even glancing in his direction. He wondered if he should put a green or a yellow check.

He doubted Jason would make him swim around in circles all day or maybe hunt his own food and eat it raw or something, so it could not be that bad, right? He put a green check next to it.

Asphyxiation

Dick tapped the green pencil against his chin thoughtfully. He had heard that some people liked being choked while having sex. He had never tried it before, but it did not necessarily scare him imagining it. He put a green check next to that as well.

Ball Stretching

His first thought was yoga. Maybe Jason would made him do stretches on a yoga ball. He could do that no problem. But he had a feeling it was a different kind of ball and a different kind of stretching. Dick winced a little at that thought. He had been kicked in the balls plenty of times in his line of work, and it was never pleasant. He twirled the yellow pencil a couple times before putting a yellow check next to that option.

The list went on and on and on.

For the majority of them, Dick put a green checkmark. There were a few yellows scattered in there. Never once did he touch the red pencil. An hour and a half had passed before Dick finished.

He glanced nervously up at Jason, worrying the edge of the paper so much that it softened and tore off.

Dick rolled it into a tiny ball between his thumb and forefinger before flicking it onto the table.

“Um, I’m finished,” Dick said.

Jason looked up. “Really?” he asked. He then frowned. “You never once asked me anything.”

“Well, you were working, and I didn’t want to-” Dick started.

Jason raised his eyebrows at him. “Let me see your list.”

Dick slowly pushed the packet of papers over to him.

Jason frowned as he scanned down the first page. As he went through the papers, his frown only grew. He only went through half of the whole pack, about five pages before h stopped.

“Dick,” he said, his tone that was dangerously on the edge of angry. “Did you even look through the list?”

“Y-Yes!” Dick sputtered. “What else could I have been doing?”

“Then why is it all green? Hm? Are you expecting me to believe you have no hard limits?”

“I don’t- I’ve never even done of this stuff,” Dick said quickly. “I don’t know what I like and what I don’t like.”

“It’s not about what you like or dislike right now,” Jason said with a frustrated sigh. “It’s about what makes you comfortable. Because from this list, you’re telling me you’re comfortable with… wearing diapers, electrostimulation, having me dictate what you eat and wear, and scarification? Dick, do you even understand half of this?”

Dick shifted uncomfortably.

Jason sighed. He tossed the pad of papers down and covered his face with his hands. Very slowly, he dragged his hands down his face. “Dick…” he groaned. “You’re killing me.”

“Sorry,” Dick whispered. “I should have asked. I didn’t want to bother you.”

“You’re not bothering me,” Jason said, taking his hands away from his face. “Dick, I’m not going to be mad if you don’t know what something is or entails. I’m not going to be mad if you mark something as red either, okay?”

Dick nodded slowly. Jason continued to stare at him. “Yeah, okay,” Dick finally answered.

“Good,” Jason said. He grabbed the papers again and shifted over two stools so that he was sitting next to Dick. He picked up the red pencil and pressed it into Dick’s hand. Then, he took the green and yellow ones out of Dick’s hand. “We’re going to start over. And we’ll especially look over the yellow ones because I’m assuming they probably should be red.” He sounded only slightly annoyed now. He gave Dick a small smile though. “Okay?”

Dick swallowed hard. Jason was being so kind to him, and he had no idea why. He had fucked up, and Jason had no reason to give him another chance at this. After all, if Dick could not do something as simple as define his limits, what could he be good for?

“Dick?” Jason repeated.

He nodded rapidly. “Yeah. Okay. Um, thanks. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you the first time.”

Jason sighed again. “It’s alright,” he said. “Just… listen next time. Please.” He flipped back to the first page. “Abrasions. It’s basically a way to get the skin very sensitive by roughing it up. That might include spanking until the skin is hot and sensitive, and then running a bristled brush over the skin or something as simple as a fingernail or a pinch. How does that sound?”

Dick blushed. He mumbled something.

“Speak up, Dickie,” Jason said. “You’re going to speak to me clearly. I don’t like repeating myself over and over again.”

“Sorry. I, um, I said, that sounds hot.” His face flared red.

“Great, then we’ll leave it green.” Jason did not elaborate any further on the topic. “Age play. It’s a form of roleplay where one partner pretends to be another age, usually one that is younger than they are themselves. It can range from infants to toddlers to teenagers.  Age play includes a lot of things. Usually, it does not involve any actual sex, but it can involve things such as sucking on a pacifier, coloring with crayons in a coloring book, having apples with peanut butter for a midday snack, or being spanked as punishment. Basically, being treated as a child.”

“Um, isn’t that… pedophilia?”

“Again, it isn’t sexual,” Jason said, not at all fazed by Dick’s question. “It’s a mindset. Usually, littles usually mentally regress into this - almost like another personality, if you want to think about it that way. In that mindset, they are content with playing with toys, watching cartoons, and just generally being a kid. It also includes being taken care of by a ‘parent’ figure.”

Dick bit his lip. “I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I don’t like being treated like a- a child.” His throat tightened.

You’ve been a bad boy, Richard…

“Okay, that’s fine,” Jason said almost cheerfully, jerking Dick out of his thoughts. “Mark it red.”

“Red?” Dick asked. “Why not yellow?” He was a little surprised about going from green to red.

“Because yellow means you’re willing to give it a try. You said you don’t like being treated like a kid, so there’s really no point in trying it, is there?”

“Oh,” Dick said dubiously. He pressed his red pencil onto the paper and slowly drew a check mark. The bright red glared up at him from the paper, contrasting against the soft greens and yellows.

Jason moved on, not giving Dick a chance to dwell on it, which he was kind of grateful for. “Alright, anal sex,” Jason said. “I don’t think that needs much elaboration?”

“I’m okay with that,” Dick said.

“Anal plugs?”

“That can stay green,” Dick said.

“Okay, animal roles.” A quick glance at Dick’s confused face made Jason smile a little. “Like age play, it’s a form of roleplay. But it’s one where you would take the role of an animal, like a pet. In general, it involves crawling around, speaking in animal noises, wearing a collar, being fed by hand and well, acting like a pet would. Most common are puppies and kittens, so pet play makes up the majority of animal roleplay.”

“And that’s not…”

“No, that isn’t considered bestiality,” Jason laughed. “However, pet play in general is kind of heavy on humiliation.”

Dick bit his lip. “I guess… I’m not entirely against it,” Dick said. “I’m willing to try.”

“Okay, then we’ll change this to yellow,” Jason said, handing the yellow pencil back. Dick put a yellow check mark next to the previous green one.

They went on like that. It took twice as long as it took Dick by himself to get through the list. It was past dinnertime when they finished.

The list was much more colorful now. There were a couple handfuls of red, some yellow sprinkled in there, and the bare majority was still green.

Jason smiled at Dick as he flipped the page back over. “That wasn’t easy, I get it,” he said. “But you go through it, right? Now, I’ll order in some pizza, and we’ll call it a day?”

“Oh, you don’t have to,” Dick said, sitting up. “I should head back now. I don’t want to take up more of your time."

“Why don’t you just stay the night?” Jason asked. “I’ll make breakfast tomorrow morning.”

“You really don’t have to-”

“Stop trying to be polite, Dick, and just accept my offer,” Jason said.

“Sorry, I just-”

“Dick…”

Dick clamped his mouth shut, feeling the self-hatred bubbling up in him. Why could he not do anything right? “Sorry,” he whispered again.

Jason looked at him with a blank expression, his lips pressed into a tight line. Finally, Jason spoke. “Go into the play room,” he said slowly, his voice low. “And take off your shirt. I want you kneeling and facing the window.”

Dick opened his mouth again to say something.

“I don’t like repeating myself,” Jason said before Dick could get a single word out.

Dick slid off the stool and practically bolted to the room, partially because he did not want to make Jason mad again, and partially because he did not want Jason to see the tears of self-deprecation well up in his eyes. He shucked off his shirt at the doorway, tossing it into a corner. Dick knelt in the same spot he knelt the last time he was in the play room.

He kept his hands behind his back and his head bent down. Dick squeezed his eyes shut and he heard Jason’s footsteps approaching.

“I didn’t want to punish you tonight,” Jason said, walking around the room. Dick heard him going through some things. “But I think you need to be taught a small lesson. Consider this an official introduction to your training,” Jason said. “Do you know why you’re being punished?”

“I kept making you repeat yourself,” Dick said immediately. “I made you mad. I’m sorry.”

“That, and the excessive apologies. You don’t have to say sorry for everything, Dick, especially when you didn’t do anything wrong.” Jason was right by his shoulder now. “Alright, come over here, and keep that in mind while you take your punishment, which will be 15 hits from a leather flogger.” Jason showed Dick the flogger, which had strips of red and black leather coming from the black leather handle. “I won’t hit too hard since it’s your first time, just so you can test this out. But I do want you to count each strike and thank me for it, okay?”

“Yes, okay.”

“Yes, okay, what?”

“Yes, okay, sir!” Dick said, flushing slightly.

“Good, now, over the edge of the bed, Dickie,” Jason said. “I want your hands held behind your head.”

Dick got into position, kneeling on the ground and folding himself over the edge of the bed. Jason stood behind him, gently tracing the length of his spine with the soft leather.

“You know your colors?” Jason asked.

“Green, yellow, red, sir,” Dick answered.

“And safeword?”

Dick paused just a second. “Robin, sir.”

“Good,” Jason said softly. “Now, don’t forget to count.”

The first strike hit his lower back. It was a combination of a dull, throbbing pain and a sharp stinging pain. Dick gasped in surprise as lingering tingles ran up his spine.

“Count, Dickie, or I’ll up your number of strikes,” Jason said sternly.

“One!” Dick said. “Thank you, sir!”

A second strike landed in the same spot, a little harder than before. The pain lingered a bit longer this time.

“Two, thank you, sir!”

The third and fourth strikes landed in quick succession of each other, one between his shoulder blades, one right below that.

“Three, four, ngh, thank you, sir,” Dick panted out. His entire back of tingling pleasantly now with both pain and funnily enough, pleasure. He knew very well that it was supposed to be a punishment, but it was really hard to keep that in mind. His pants started to tighten.

A fifth strike landed between his shoulder blades, quickly followed by three more.

“Five, six, seven, e-eight!” Dick gasped out quickly, his hips almost rutting forward against the bed. He was hard now, just from being hit across his back. But Dick wanted more. He wanted Jason to hit him harder. But he was afraid to ask.

Jason’s hand ran down Dick’s spine. “Color?” he asked softly.

“Green, green,” Dick babbled. “Sir, thank you!”

“You’re more than halfway there,” Jason murmured. “I’m going to hit a bit harder now. Is that okay?”

“Yes, yes,” Dick said.

Jason’s ninth, tenth, and eleventh strikes were noticeably harder than the previous ones, causing Dick to cry out with each one. Jason did not let Dick rest between each strike, adding strike on top of strike. Dick felt like his back was on fire. A pleasant, burning flame that lit the arousal between his legs.

Still, Dick wanted it harder.

Jason delivered the last strikes with the same precise amount of strength. It was not enough for Dick, making him whine out softly when the fifteen strikes were done.

“F-Fifteen, thank you, sir,” he rasped out.

“You’re very welcome, Dickie,” Jason finally murmured. “You learned your lesson?”

Dick nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Good. Come here,” Jason said, sitting down on the bed. Dick pulled himself onto the bed, and Jason gently wiped away the tear tracks on Dick’s face, tears that Dick had not even realized that left his eyes. “Don’t cry.”

“I- sorry, I didn’t even realize I was c-crying,” Dick stammered, suddenly snapping out of his previously hazy space. He scrubbed at his eyes, pushing Jason’s hand away as he did so. If he was crying, that meant that his eyes were probably red rimmed and puffy. Dick’s day could not be getting any worse.

“Hey, hey!” Jason said quickly, snapping his fingers. He grabbed Dick’s wrist and pulled his hand away. “What did I just say about apologizing excessively, huh?”

Another apology bubbled up Dick’s throat, but he swallowed it back painfully. Only a soft whimper came up as he faced Jason, new tears welling up in his eyes.

Jason immediately recognized that those tears were different from the ones that fell down his face earlier. His tone softened. “Hey, Dick,” he said, wiping those tears away as well with the pad of his thumb. “I’m not mad, I swear. You say sorry a lot without thinking, and it’s going to be hard habit to break, but I want you to try, okay? I’m not mad at you, Dick. You didn’t do anything wrong. On the contrary, you did amazing,” he whispered, kissing the top of Dick’s forehead, right below where Dick’s new pimples were. “In all my years, I’ve never had a sub drop on me, and I’m not about to have you be my first,” Jason said with a small smile. “You took your punishment brilliantly, so don’t beat yourself up about it.”

Jason’s encouraging words made Dick’s heart swell with joy a bit. He sniffled quietly. “Oh,” he said quietly.

“All you have to do is listen, okay? Listen to me, and trust me, and you won’t risk dropping after every scene. So when I say you did beautifully, how did you do?”

“Good?” Dick asked uncertainly.

“No,” Jason said. “You did beautifully, Dick. How do you think you did?”

“Beautifully.”

“Again?”

“Beautifully.”

“Repeat all of it,” Jason commanded.

“I- I did beautifully.”

“I don’t believe you, Dickie,” Jason said.

“I did beautifully,” Dick said. Jason smiled at him.

“You enjoyed it quite a bit, I noticed,” Jason noted, nodding at Dick’s crotch, which had only gone soft a little bit, despite how close he came to dropping and crashing. Jason smoothed back Dick’s hair, and for a second, his pimples were on display, but Jason did not even look away from Dick’s eyes. “How about a bubble bath?” he asked.

Dick blinked at Jason. “A bubble bath? For- For me?”

Jason smiled. “Yeah, of course.”

“I- thank you, sir.”

“Just Jason,” Jason whispered. “Outside of the scene, just Jason is fine.” He stood up. “I’ll go draw you that bath now.”

~

Ten minutes later, Dick found himself in a sweet smelling Jacuzzi sized bathtub, filled with bubbles. Jason made him promise to relax and let go of all his worries while he soaked for a while. Just as the water turned from hot to warm, Jason came back, telling Dick to come to his bedroom after his bath so they could have dinner in his bed.

Dinner turned out to be a full English breakfast. How Jason whipped that all together in the twenty minutes Dick was in the bath completely baffled Dick, but he appreciated it immensely as he took his first bite.

“It’s delicious, Jay,” Dick said. “I- I love it,” he said.

“I hope you do,” Jason said, watching as Dick took a large bite of his toast with beans spread over it. He put an arm around Dick’s shoulders and pulled him closer to Jason’s chest.

Dick stiffened. It did not go unnoticed by Jason.

“What’s wrong?” Jason asked. “Is this not okay either?”

Dick started mashing his beans with his fork. “N-No, I just don’t like physical contact. Not used to it.”

“Do you mind if I ask why?” Jason asked.

Dick bit his lower lip. “It’s- It’s nothing bad,” he said. He went silent and waited for a few more seconds, picking his words carefully. “Just… my ex-boyfriend didn’t like cuddling or anything that has to do with getting really close to each other. Aside from sex that is.”

“What a jerk,” Jason muttered. “You’re not with him anymore, right?”

“No,” Dick said. “I- I haven’t seen him for over six months. He just said I- I wasn’t good at cuddling. And… he didn’t like touching me. Said I was… gross," Dick finished with a low, sad mumble.

Immediately, Jason pulled Dick closer, putting both arms around Dick. “He’s a fucking bastard,” he said. “You’re not at all gross, Dickie,” Jason promised. “God, your ex is a fucking asshole. And he’s so, so wrong about you, you know that?”

Dick nodded, very slowly. Then, he started to feel the tears threaten him again. He blinked rapidly, trying to avert his eyes. “He said I made people uncomfortable because I was too happy and too… quick to touch people I barely knew.”

“You… don’t touch people though,” Jason said.

“I used to,” Dick whispered. “But I realized that it does cause some people to feel more uncomfortable around me.”

"That's just introversion and extroversion, though," Jason said. "Personally, I'm introverted, so I don't go out and hug strangers. But you're extroverted... or, was," Jason trailed off softly. Then, Jason was squeezing Dick hard enough to bruise. “I want to smack your ex,” he growled in a dangerously low voice. There was a tense pause. Then Jason said, “Dick,” in a soft, breathy voice. 

“Yeah?” Dick replied, his voice cracking a bit. He felt like he should push Jason away, explain how he does not deserve Jason's kindness.

“I won’t ever do that to you, okay?”

Dick nodded, his face pressed against Jason’s chest.

“If anything, what you told me just makes me want to hold you even tighter,” Jason finished.

And he did just that.

Chapter Text

Jason’s club was lit with lights of varying shades of red that night. There were fewer people than the first time Dick had gone there with Roy, and he felt a bit less awkward.

He gave Stephanie a weak wave as he passed the bar, following Roy into the back, where the demonstrations take place. They slipped into the room again, like before. The darker room with the two-way mirror gave a clear view of the demo currently going on.

It was Jason again.

He wore a white button up with the sleeves rolled up expertly. His slacks were pressed and expensive. It was clear that he probably just got off work at his company, just like Dick had before Roy dragged him off to “visit Jason”.

The sub was a different one this time. It was a short, but heavily built man with an entire sleeve of tattoos on his right arm. He was tied up on a St. Andrew’s cross with his back facing the audience. Jason held a thick paddle in his hand and was currently narrating how to properly use it.

“…the typical leather paddle. It’s actually wood wrapped in leather, giving it a nice, rigid structure that delivers both a sting and a thudding sensation. There are thousands of different kinds of paddles out there, and the sensations will vary depending on size, material, and weight generally. Some materials like steel, glass, and acrylic are recommended for the more experienced because they require some finesse. Now,” Jason said, moving towards the sub. “Paddling can be done in a variety of positions depending on preferences, but for the sake of the demonstration, I will have my sub against the cross.” Jason continued to explain some basic techniques used with paddling, but Dick did not hear any of it.

He bit the inside of his lip, replaying the way Jason had called the nameless, faceless tattooed man ‘my sub’. His eyes flickered to Jason’s face, knowing fully well that Jason probably did not even know he was watching.

His leg started shaking, and Roy gave him a questioning look. Dick just shook his head, continuing to shake his leg.

Dick did not know why he was so bothered by that fact. Jason had clearly stated that he did not have time to have a sub, so clearly Dick was not his sub. Additionally, since Dick was still training, Jason worked with a range of different subs. And even after Dick was fully trained, Jason would still probably work with more than just him.

He fought back the tendril of jealousy. He had no right.

“Dude, you okay?” Roy whispered. “Not into hitting people?”

Dick just sighed softly and shook his head. “Nah, not really,” he said.

“That’s cool,” Roy said. “We can wait for Jay in his office.” Roy grabbed his arm and led him out of the demonstration viewing room. They made their way through the hidden door again and into the back room. Roy grabbed a bottle of water and a cookie.

“Are you… into the whole BDSM thing?” Dick asked, leaning against the arm of the couch. He crossed his ankles to stop himself from tapping his foot.

“Mm- I think- the kinks are- interesting- but it’s not- really what I’m into,” Roy said, swallowing half his cookie before draining the water bottle. “You? Has Jason showed you all the ropes yet?”

“Y-Yeah,” Dick said, wincing internally. “Sure.”

Roy grinned. “See? Jason’s a good guy! You guys are getting along famously, I’m sure.” He knocked Dick on the shoulder before going for another cookie.

Dick had been extremely nervous to see Jason again after the last time they had met up, and Dick had basically spilled all his insecurities to Jason, who really should not mean anything to him. Because after all, Dick meant nothing to Jason. There was supposed to be no strings attached, but of course, the second someone shows Dick any hint of kindness, he tripped head over heels in some sort of pathetic need to leech onto them.

But Jason was not his. He was not Jason’s. Dick needed to stop thinking that they had anything special because the only one who would end up fucked over again was himself.

“I fucking swear, Roy, if you keep taking the fucking refreshments, I will ban you from entering the club,” Jason’s voice complained loudly, cutting through Dick’s thoughts.

He came in from another door, drying his hands on a towel and then moving to brush his hand through his hair.

“Jaybird!” Roy said cheerfully, not at all put off by Jason’s threat. He stuffed the cookie into his mouth, dusted his hands on his pants before going to hug Jason.

Jason huffed in annoyance but let Roy hug him. He looked at Dick from over Roy’s shoulder, and his irritated scowl softened to a smile.

Dick gave him a nervous smile back and lifted his hands in a small wave.

Roy pulled back and squinted at Jason. “Dude, you smell good. Why do you smell good? Did you get a new cologne? Did you finally start taking showers? Get a girlfriend?”

“Oh, shove it, Harper,” Jason growled, rolling his eyes and shoving Roy back. He ducked into his office and came back with a bar of expensive dark chocolate.

“Ooh, chocolate!” Roy said, making grabby hands at the candy. Jason held it out of his reach.

“It’s for Francis,” Jason said, batting at Roy’s hands. “You really need to stop coming here and crowding up the small space here.” He ducked back into the bathroom space he used for aftercare.

Not three minutes later, Jason came back out, followed by the buff sub demonstrator, who was munching on the bar of chocolate.

“So, are you done for the night, Jay?” Roy asked, reaching for his third cookie. Jason grabbed his wrist, and Roy retracted his hand. “I was thinking we go out for drinks.”

“I don’t have any more demos, if that’s what you’re asking,” Jason said.

“Great! Let’s go,” Roy said, starting towards the door. “C’mon, Dick.”

Dick looked up in confusion. “Am I coming?”

“Duh,” Roy said. “I’m craving a margarita of all things.”

Dick’s eyes flickered over to where Jason was in his office, grabbing his stuff. “But I don’t want to intrude or-”

Roy gave him a sharp glare. “Dick,” he said in a warning voice, low and threatening. “Stop it.”

“Sorry,” Dick muttered. “I just-” He stopped when Roy’s green eyes grew darker. He shook his head again. “Never mind. I’ll come.”

“Good,” Roy said stiffly. Then, he smiled again. “Hurry the fuck up, Jay! We’ll leave without you!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Jason growled, shutting his office door, his jacket in the crook of his arm.

Roy laughed and winked. “Didn’t know you were that quick.”

“You-” Jason glared at him. “I hate you, Harper.”

“Nah,” Roy said, throwing an arm around Jason’s shoulders. “You love me. Don’t try to deny it.”

~

Over the course of the next month, Dick declined Jason’s offer to meet for another session twice. Both times, he had been free, but he made up some excuse to avoid Jason.

He knew it was a jerk move, but Dick did not know if he could face Jason after the last session they had. They had only had two sessions, barely knew each other, and Dick barfed up his entire life story. Why Dick had decided that was a good idea, he had no clue.

But hopefully, Jason would forget that, or at least never bring it up again. It was bad enough that Roy knew about it. And that already was one person too much.

Drowning in self-pity, Dick threw himself into work, spending many late nights at the office, trying his best to crack as many cases as humanly possible.

He had seen the amount of worried glances Barbara had been throwing him in the past week, but Dick just started hiding his face behind a sip of coffee when she walked by.

But coffee only got him so far.

It was only 10 AM, and Dick was already on his third cup. The case was another supposed dead end, but Dick knew that something was no adding up, but he did not know what.

He reached for his mug only to find a few drops of cold coffee at the bottom. Cursing, Dick stood up to head to the break room for another cup.

As he headed down the hall, he saw Barbara turn the corner with someone else. More specifically, Jason.

Dick almost froze in his tracks. He had no idea what Jason was doing here. Maybe Jason came here to talk to Barbara for some reason? They had gotten along quite well at the charity dinner. Maybe they were friends now.

Dick swallowed hard and debated whether or not he should go back to his office and hide until the coast was clear again. But if they had not noticed him yet, turning around and bolting back to his office would surely make them notice.

So Dick just ducked his head, pulled his jacket a little tighter around him and started to walk towards the break room again, as calmly and normally as possible.

Just as he thought he would actually get away with sneaking past him, Barbara called out his name.

“Dick!” she said.

Dick stopped and turned around, pasting a tired smile on his face. He feigned surprise. “Oh, hey,” he said.

“I thought you weren’t coming in until noon today,” Barbara said. “It’s only ten.”

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t sleep,” Dick said with a shrug. “Might as well get some more work done. That little girl isn’t going to find herself after all.”

“Oh,” Barbara said. “Anyway, Jason and I were just saying-”

“I’m really sorry, but I really should get back to work,” Dick said with an apologetic smile at Barbara and in Jason’s general direction.

“Di-”

Dick quickly spun around and hurried into the break room. Neither of them chased after him, thankfully.

So he got his coffee and went back to his office. However, ten minutes later, there were three sharp raps on his door before it was pushed open by a stern looking Barbara Gordon.

“Hey, Dick,” she said, leaning coolly against the door. “How have you been?”

“Fine,” Dick said, not looking up from his case.

“Mhm, working hard, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you going to the awards event?”

“Isn’t it mandatory?” Dick asked, looking up.

“Not really,” Barbara said with a shrug. “But it is for you because I’m organizing it this year, so you’d better show.”

Dick cracked a smile. “Yeah, I’ll be there.” He turned back to his case.

“You should go home,” she said. “You look terrible.”

“I’m fine,” Dick sighed and leaned back in his seat, turning his gaze back up to Barbara and scrubbing at his oily hair. “Almost got this case done.”

“No, you’re not fine,” Barbara said. “You look like shit, and you’re overworking yourself again. That means something’s eating at you, and you’re running away from it. So don’t you dare make me tell my dad. He’ll chase you out of the office and destroy your key if he needs to.”

Dick huffed, not at all doubting Barbara. “You’re not allowed to abuse your powers as the Commissioner’s daughter like that,” he pointed out. “I’ll finish this up, and I’ll actually come in at noon tomorrow, okay?”

Barbara pursed her lips, obviously not satisfied. “No, Dick. You’re not coming in tomorrow, and you’re going home now. I’ll call Roy if I have to. Seriously, Dick. Jason and I both noticed how tired you look. You’re literally teetering on your feet.”

“I’m not,” Dick countered.

Barbara glared at him, reminding Dick of a disappointed Alfred. He crumpled and gave in.

“Fine,” he said. He glanced at his unsolved case. “Can I take this home?”

“No,” Barbara said. “Dee will take it. Now go home, and text Jason to tell him you’re fine!”

~

Dick was not the one to text Jason.

Jason texted him.

Come over tonight. No excuses.

Dick chewed on his bottom lip all afternoon, wondering if there was any way he could get out of it, but he knew that he could only avoid Jason for so long. So later that night, he showered for the first time in three days, got dressed, and drove over to Jason’s penthouse.

Jason greeted him at the door with a soft, “Hey.”

“Hi,” Dick said, not meeting Jason’s eyes.

“Did you eat yet?”

“Uh, a bit.”

“Well,” Jason said with a soft smile. “I cooked, so you should eat some more.” He crooked his head and gestured Dick inside.

Dick stepped into the now, almost familiar penthouse, immediately greeted by the smell of delicious food. Dick sat down at the table while Jason finished plating the meal with the finesse of a professional chef.

Jason set the plate of pasta down in front of Dick and handed him a fork. “Nothing too fancy,” he said. “But it’s fresh food.”

Dick took a tentative bite of the cheesy pasta, surprised to find that it was a lot lighter than it looked. “It’s delicious,” he said. “You’re really good.”

Jason laughed, running a hand through his hair. “Yeah, well, it’s a hobby and a talent I’m rather proud of,” he said.

They ate in silence for a while, the only sound in the penthouse was the quiet whirring of the air conditioner and the clinking of silverware against the plates.

After a while, Jason wiped the corners of his mouth and set his fork down.

“Dick,” he said quietly. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this past month,” he said. “About you. About us.”

Dick froze up, staring hard at his food that had suddenly turned to stones in his stomach.

“And I think… you need someone you can trust completely,” Jason continued slowly. “And I know you trust Roy, but… he can’t give you what you need.”

Dick stayed silent, gripping his fork tightly. He wanted to disappear.

“And I know I said I don’t take subs, but… I want you to be my sub, Dick.”

Dick’s head snapped up. “Huh?”

Jason nodded at him seriously. “We’ll just make some adjustments to the contract we have now, make it more permanent, more long-term.”

“But I thought you didn’t have the time for a sub,” Dick said.

Jason nodded. “I really don’t,” he said. “And I cannot promise to invest as much time into that new relationship as much as other dominants do. It probably will not be much different than what we have now, but… instead of just training you for demonstrations, I’ll be training you to be my sub specifically.”

Dick’s heart skipped a beat. Jason had called him “my sub”. Dick’s palms became sweaty, and he swallowed hard. He wanted to be Jason’s sub. He really, really wanted it. It kind of scared him how much he wanted it.

“You don’t have to decide now. Good things are hard to come by, and I really do see potential in you. And what can I say? I’m kind of a selfish man. I want everything good for myself, and you are definitely something good, Dick,” Jason said with a small smile. “But it’s not just going to be about me, I promise. I will do my best to give you what you need, both physically and emotionally. Think of it as a… mutually beneficial business relationship. I want you to trust me. I want you to know that I care about you. I know you don’t have the best experience with relationship and everything, but I want to be the one to show you that there are so many good things, and-”

“Okay,” Dick said. “I- I want to be your- your sub.”

“You don’t- You don’t want to think about it?” Jason asked, dumbfounded. He blinked at Dick, who stared back unblinkingly. “Seriously?”

Dick nodded. He understood it perfectly; it really was not that hard. After all, it was better than anything Dick had hoped for. Jason would be his Dominant, and Dick would be Jason’s (only) submissive. He would not be Jason’s first priority, but that was okay. Jason would still give him the time and the attention that Dick so desperately craved, yet was terrified to ask for.

Jason stared at him for a moment longer before breaking into a grin. “Good,” he said, breathing out. “I was hoping you’d agree.” He nodded at Dick’s plate. “You done?”

Dick nodded. Jason started to stand to take Dick’s plate, but Dick shook his head. “I’ll get it,” he said quickly. He stood and grabbed Jason’s plate as well, ducking into the kitchen. He cleaned the plates off and placed them into the sink.

There, Dick took a second to breathe. He could not keep the smile off his face. He was scared of how excited he was. Maybe he was hoping for too much, but he was finally given the chance to move on from his ex. Dick would be crazy not to take that chance.

He returned to the dining room, where Jason was standing there, waiting for him. Jason grabbed Dick’s wrist, gently at first. When Dick did not pull away, Jason tightened his hand a little.

“Follow me,” Jason said softly with a sly smile.

He led Dick towards the playroom, but instead of heading through the door, he took a right and headed down the hall. He led them through another door, into a different room.

Dick’s eyebrows furrowed, and then they shot up when he realized where they were. It was Jason’s bedroom.

Jason spun around, pulling Dick flush to his chest. His breath was hot in Dick’s ear. “I’m going to teach you how to relax today,” he whispered. “Show you how good some things can feel.” He gently bit Dick’s earlobe, causing Dick to shiver. “I’m going to introduce you to sensation play, okay?”

Dick nodded, swallowing hard. “Y-Yes, sir,” he whispered.

“Good,” Jason purred. “I want you to get undressed. Completely,” he added. Then, he pulled back. “Then, so lie down on the bed.”

Jason then went and dimmed the lights in his room. He pulled a lighter out of a drawer and started lighting candles that were placed around the room.

Dick grabbed the hem of his shirt, hesitating a second before pulling it over his head. He undid his belt and shoved his jeans to the floor, toeing off his socks as well. Dick hooked his fingers in the waistband of his boxers, glancing up at Jason’s back before slowly sliding them off. Then, he went and slowly laid down on Jason’s bed, facing the ceiling.

After a second, Jason came back, gently sitting down next to Dick. He smiled and showed Dick several red silk scarves in his hand.

“I’m going to tie you up, okay?” Jason said. “You know your colors and your safe word?”

“Yes, sir,” Dick said. He shifted on the bed, trying to look at where Jason was trailing a silk scarf down his left thigh, calf, and towards his ankle.

“Stay still,” Jason said gently, wrapping the scarf around Dick’s ankle before tying it to the left bedpost. He tugged on the scarf, making sure it was not too tight.

He then made his way to the other side and started to do the same on Dick’s right ankle. Then, he tied up Dick’s hands as well.

Dick swallowed hard, feeling nervous to being restrained. His eyes scanned the room and his restraints, hoping to find a way an escape route.

“Hey, hey,” Jason said, noticing that Dick was starting to panic a little. “Breathe. Color, Dick. Give me your color.”

Dick took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He sagged back into the bed and unclenched his fists. He stopped tugging on his ties. “Green,” he said. “Yeah, green.”

Jason hummed quietly and nodded. “Good.” Then, he started to trail the last silk tie up Dick’s chest, his neck, and his jaw. “I’m going to blindfold you now,” he said.

Dick nodded and lifted his head a bit off of the pillow to let Jason tie the last silk around his eyes. He blinked under the blindfold and found nothing but darkness. Dick felt his anxiety spike for a second again because he lost his sight and could not get out of his bonds. But he trusted Jason. Jason would not hurt him. He had to trust Jason.

“Today,” Jason said in a soft voice. “I’m going to introduce you to sensation play. In BDSM, or even sex in general, sensations are a very important part of the entire experience. Some sensations are instantly gratifying,” Jason said. Suddenly, there was a feather-light touch on Dick’s right nipple.

Dick gasped in surprise, jerking slightly. Jason continued using the tip of the object to graze over Dick’s nipple, which was starting to pebble up at the sensation. He quickly realized that it was a feather.

The feather trailed over to Dick’s left nipple, circling around it a couple of times before taking the feather away. Dick’s nipples felt a little bit itchy and tingly.

“And some sensations, not so much,” Jason continued.

The feather returned, but this time, against the bottom of Dick’s foot. Dick let out a surprised squeak, instinctively moving to get away from the uncomfortable feeling. But he was tied to the bed and could not move.

Jason was relentless, continuing to trace the feather up and down Dick’s bare foot. Dick cried out, arching off of the bed to get away again. He gritted his teeth and strained against his restraints. He hated to be tickled because he was so damn ticklish.

Thankfully, Jason did not torture him long. He took the feather away.

“But see, sensation play deals with the alternating between these two kinds of feelings,” Jason said quietly, his voice soothing and calm, making Dick sink back into the bed, panting. He curled his toes to try to get rid of the phantom feeling of the feather. Once more, the feather was back on his body, trailing around his belly button, down his stomach, and brushing against the head of Dick’s half-hard cock.

The feeling was extremely strange. Dick did not know if the sensation on his cock was good or bad. His body decided for him as his cock started to swell more.

Jason trailed the feather down the length of Dick’s cock, making it twitch, and between his balls. Then, he took it away once more.

“Not all sensation play is soft and light,” Jason said, his voice growing further away for a second. Dick heard the sound of a fridge opening and closing. He frowned slightly, not remembering seeing a fridge in Jason’s bedroom. “But the other sensations can be just as good.”

Dick found that he was hyperaware of his surroundings now. Jason was still moving around the room, and he was no longer speaking, so he gave away no indication of what he was about to do. Dick held his breath waiting. If that really had been a fridge door opening, Dick was expecting something cold next.

He did not consider how cold it would be.

When the ice cube touched his still tingling nipples, Dick jerked at the sudden change in temperature. The room had been rather warm, and the sudden freezing, numbing cold was a very drastic jump. Jason held the ice firmly to Dick’s chest.

“Ah! Sir, that’s-” Dick cut himself off with a low groan. Despite the throbbing coldness on his chest, Dick’s cock was hard and weeping against his stomach.

“Cold?” Jason murmured. He traced the ice over to Dick’s other nipple, alternating between the two until the ice had melted away. “Open up, Dick,” Jason said next. Dick let out a shiver and let his jaw unhinge. A large piece of ice was placed on his tongue. Jason pushed it up against Dick’s tongue before taking his fingers out of Dick’s mouth, and gently nudging his mouth closed. “Suck on that.”

Dick heard Jason reach for another ice cube. This one touched his perineum briefly – enough to surprise him, but not enough to freeze his growing arousal. The ice went lower, resting against the rim of his hole.

Dick let out a weak moan around the ice in his mouth as he realized what Jason was about to do.

“Color?” Jason asked, pausing.

“Sir, please-”

“Color, Dick,” Jason said, a tinge of impatience in his voice.

“Green,” Dick answered quickly, his words garbled as his mouth is filled with cold water and half melted ice. “Green, green, green, please, sir, put it in me!”

“Don’t start making demands of me now,” Jason said warningly, pushing on the ice cube for a second before releasing the pressure. Dick practically sobbed. His body had decided that the conflicting sensations were very arousing, and now Dick needed something in him, even if it was just an ice cube.

“Sorry, sir,” Dick gasped out. “Please.”

“So needy already,” Jason said, slowly pushing the ice cube past Dick’s numb rim, watching as his hole stretched around the irregular shape of the ice. Soon, his thumb was pressed against Dick’s hole as it sucked the cube inside of his hot body and slowly closed around it. “And we’re just getting started,” he said. “You should see yourself. Just the way your hole sucked that ice cube in. Can you feel it, Dickie? Melting inside you? Against your hot flesh? Tell me how you feel.”

Dick’s face burned red. He swallowed the last of the ice water and licked his frozen lips. “It- It’s so much, sir. Everything’s just hot and cold, and it feels good.

“Mm, I want you to be more specific than that,” Jason said. “Tell me exactly where you feel good.” He reached out and grabbed Dick’s cock, giving it a squeeze. “Here?” With his other hand, he flicked one of Dick’s nipples. “Or here?”

Dick arched up into his touch, desperate for more. “Ah, both, sir! My- My nipples are so cold and sensitive and- and-” Dick swallowed, squirming and trying to force his words out despite his growing embarrassment. Strangely, it only enhanced his arousal. His cock twitched (the best it could) in Jason’s hand. “And when you- when you flicked it, it hurt, but it was… it hurt in a good way.”

Jason smiled, letting go of Dick’s cock, making the man whine softly. “Good boy,” he said. Jason reminded himself to reassure Dick more, hoping that it would keep him from dropping later on. Positive reinforcement could do Dick’s tattered self-esteem some good. “So fucking perfect. Ready for your reward?”

Dick panted, his mind hazy as it tried to comprehend and make sense of everything. All the different soft and rough feelings, the hot and cold, his heightened senses but lack of sight, the things Jason was making him do that was humiliating but so, so hot, and all of Jason’s praising words.

He did not know if he could take more. He was so painfully hard despite the utter lack of friction so far. Such arousal confused him, but he did not bother thinking about it too much. However, if Jason was going to give him more, he trusted Jason; he could take more.

“Yes- Yes, sir,” Dick answered with a moan.

Jason’s weight disappeared from the bed. A second later, he returned, sitting down by Dick’s chest instead. There was only a second of suspense before something dripped down and landed right above Dick’s right nipple.

It was hot, and it burned his cold skin, and Dick’s hazy mind made the connection that it was hot wax being poured on his chest. A couple more drops landed nearby, making Dick arch up towards that sensation again.

“Ah, sir! Please, more,” Dick moaned. “It- It feels-” He struggled to find the word.

“Confusing?” Jason offered.

“Yes, and-”

“Good?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” Dick groaned out.

Jason put an ice cube on Dick’s nipples again. “How about now?”

The hot and the cold, warring against each other against Dick’s sensitized skin was so bizarre, but at the same time, so welcome. Dick was starting to have a hard time distinguishing between hot and cold. It all felt burning against his skin. It was wonderful, and Dick was getting really desperate for some friction to add to it.

Thankfully, Jason seemed to sense that too. He set the candle down after one more drop of hot wax. He wrapped his hand around Dick’s leaking cock and pumped it loosely a couple of times.

“Look at you,” he whispered. “You look so good, baby. Want me to take care of you?”

Dick took in a shuddering breath. “Please, sir, yes!”

“Okay, I’m going to take off your blindfold, okay?” Jason said, his hand leaving Dick’s cock. He gently pulled the silk off Dick’s eyes. Dick blinked his eyes open, surprised to find that they were a bit moist.

“Wh-Why-”

“Shh,” Jason assured him, gently rubbing a thumb over Dick’s cheek. “No, we’re not done yet,” he promised with a soft smile. “I just want you to be able to see me.”

“Sir?”

From a drawer nearby, Jason pulled put a bottle of lube. He poured some onto his fingers, rubbing them around to get them well coated. Then, his pointer finger circled the still cold rim of Dick’s hole.

“Color, Dick?” Jason asked.

“Green,” Dick said, still a bit confused.

“We’re going to celebrate the fact that you’re going to be my first sub in over three years, okay?” Jason said, climbing forward and up onto the bed. He pressed a finger into Dick, and Dick immediately clenched around him, gasping softly. Very slowly and very gently, Jason started to slick Dick up. He continued to whisper sweet words of encouragement as he added another finger. “So, so good, Dickie. Gorgeous.”

Dick squeezed his eyes shut, clenching his teeth together as Jason continued to prep him. He wanted to believe Jason’s words, but he could not. So Dick just blocked them out and tried to focus on Jason’s fingers moving inside of him instead.

The coldness had been replaced by a growing heat, and when Jason got up to three fingers, Dick was starting to let soft whimpers and moans slip through his clenched jaw.

Finally, Jason took his fingers out of Dick before wiping them on the red silk. Then, he started easing his pants down his hips. He crawled forward on his hands, hovering over Dick, whose eyes were still closed.

“Hey, hey,” Jason said. “Open your eyes,” he said gently.

Dick hesitated a second before let his eyelids slowly lift. Jason smiled kindly down at him. A hand brushed through his hair gently. It was almost tender. Almost loving, and Dick had to remind himself that it was not like that.

His eyes flickered down to look at Jason’s chin instead. He had a very nice chin. And his chin certainly did not reflect emotions.

“No, Dick, I want you to look at me,” Jason said, nudging Dick’s chin up with his hand. His other hand was busy rolling on a condom as well as slicking himself up.

Finally, Dick lifted his eyes to meet Jason’s.

“Sir-” Dick choked out. “Please- I want you- I want you inside me.”

“Of course,” Jason promised. Then, he leaned down, and suddenly, his lips are barely a millimeter from Dick’s lips. He kissed Dick very gently, just a soft press of lips on lips. He took it no further than that.

On one hand, Dick was grateful. The last man Dick had kissed was his ex-boyfriend. Dick cannot honestly say he had had many good kisses. On the other hand, did Jason not see him good enough to be kissed more deeply?

When Jason pulled back, he leaned forward a bit, touching the head of his slicked up cock to Dick’s hole. Dick gasped softly, wanting to grab Jason, but his arms were tied up and useless.

“Please, sir,” he whispered instead.

Jason looked him straight in the eyes, holding his gaze, and started pushing up into Dick. It burned just a little bit, but Dick was briefly reminded of one thing he liked about being fucked. He started to close his eyes again, but Jason clicked his tongue, and Dick’s eyes snapped open again.

“Don’t close your eyes on me,” Jason said. “I want you to see me, and I want to see you. See those beautiful eyes.” He bottomed out inside of Dick. He gave Dick a few moments to adjust before he slowly started moving his hips.

Dick could not keep the moan from escaping his lips. It was electrifying and so, so good. The drag of Jason’s cock inside of him was wondrous, and it was so utterly satisfying. It was just what he needed. He sagged into the covers, finally giving up control altogether.

Jason hummed softly above him. Then, he got up, hoisting Dick’s hips up as much as his restrains would allow. Jason grabbed Dick’s hips, gently rubbing circles on his hipbones as he started to pick up speed.

“God, you’re so tight around me,” Jason groaned. “So fucking tight, and so fucking hot. You’re perfect, Dickie, aren’t you?”

Dick only moaned in response. Suddenly, a sharp slap against his ass. He let out a soft cry, squeezing hard around Jason’s cock. He came dangerously close to coming.

“I asked you a question, Dickie,” Jason panted. “You’re perfect, aren’t you?”

Dick let out a soft sob. “I- I- sir, I don’t know?”

“The answer is yes, Dickie,” Jason grunted as he thrust his cock back into Dick. He was getting close as well. “Aren’t you perfect?”

“Y- Y- Yes, sir,” Dick forced out with some difficulty. “Ah! Sir, I’m- I’m gonna- mmm!

“Gonna come for me?” Jason asked in a harsh whisper. “Look me in the eyes when you come, Dickie,” he said.

Dick let out a small squeak, his eyes going a little wider at that command.

“That’s right, Dickie,” Jason said, groaning as he held back his quickly approaching climax. “Look at me.”

Their eyes locked, and with one rough thrust, Dick cried out and spilled all over himself, his come shooting onto his chest, on top of layers of dried wax. Upon seeing that, Jason came as well, practically crushing Dick’s hips against his.

As he came down from his climax, Jason folded over and pressed another kiss to Dick’s lips, a bit harder than the one before, but still no more than lips on lips. He wanted to take things slowly with Dick. They had gotten off to a bad start, and Jason wanted to show Dick that he did have self-restraint.

He wanted to show Dick just how capable he really was.

After a couple minutes of catching their breaths, Jason pulled out of Dick. “I’m going to get us cleaned up, okay?”

Dick nodded tiredly, feeling like he had been zapped to jelly and no longer had bones in his body. After that exhausting build-up to such a strong climax, Dick was drained. He just wanted to lay there and sleep. He hoped that Jason would not make him go take a bath.

His eyes went from half-lidded to closed, and he was only vaguely aware of Jason untying his wrists and ankles, wiping down his face, chest, cock, and hole with a warm towel. Jason then went and blew out all the candles, but kept the dim lights on. He turned the TV on, with some random movie playing at a low volume for background noise.

“Hey, Dickie,” Jason whispered softly in his ear. “Want some water?”

Dick made a weak sound of protest. He really did not want to get up and drink water.

“C’mon, baby,” Jason whispered, smoothing back Dick’s hair. “You need some water.” He slowly eased Dick up, pressing a glass to Dick’s lips. After a few small sips and many words of encouragement, Jason set the glass aside and climbed into bed next to Dick.

He pulled the covers up around them and pulled Dick to him. Dick was lax and unmoving, just breathing steadily, despite the fact that he was still awake. He did not flinch away when Jason touched him, just holding him close.

Jason smiled, watching his sub, and gently kissed Dick’s forehead.

“You did so, so wonderfully today, Dick,” he said. “You were perfect.”

Chapter Text

“Ahh! The awards’ night in next week! Can you believe it, Dick? I’m going to buy my dress later today. You want to come?” Barbara asked, sipping her soda and grinning widely.

“I can’t, sorry,” Dick said with a wince. He took a bite of his salad. “I’m meeting up with a friend later. But send me pictures!”

“I will, I will,” Barbara said. She squealed, a sound that was rarely made by Miss Barbara Gordon. “I’m so excited!”

“Why?” Dick asked in amusement. “It’s awards’ night. Just like last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. You’ve been going to these things since you were a teenager, Babs.”

“Yes, but I planned this one!” Barbara said. “It’s perfect.”

“You sound like you planned your own wedding,” Dick said with a small laugh. “But I’m sure it will be spectacular.”

“You’re coming, right?” Barbara said suspiciously, narrowing her eyes at him. “You promised. Next Saturday…”

“I know,” Dick said, laughing. “I’ve been promising you for weeks now. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t live up to my promises.”

“A horrid one,” Barbara agreed, her eyes twinkling.

“What?” Dick asked.

“What?” Barbara answered.

“You’re looking at me,” Dick said. “You’re hiding something.”

“Well, you are sitting across from me, and I am talking to you,” Barbara laughed. “Would be weird if I wasn’t look at you.”

“But you know something.”

“I know many things, Grayson.”

“You know something I don’t.”

“I know many things you don’t, too.”

“You’re being difficult,” Dick said with a pointed glance.

“I am not,” Barbara said haughtily. She smiled at him. “It’s a secret.”

“Uh-huh,” Dick said disbelievingly. But he pressed no further. Instead, he changed the subject. “So, uh, when did you and Jason become such good friends?”

Barbara scoffed. “What, jealous, Goldie?” She grabbed the spare fork and stabbed it into Dick’s salad without asking. “I was talking to his sister when you and him disappeared to god knows where that night, and we really hit it off. We went out for coffee a couple of times, and Jason was there the second time. And he really isn’t all that much of the asshole he appears to be. Though he can be an asshole sometimes,” she laughed to herself.

“Oh,” Dick said, blinking at her. “I didn’t know you guys hung out so much.”

Barbara gave him an amused look. “That jealousy is really shining through there, Dickie.”

“I’m not jealous,” Dick immediately rebutted.

“Uh-huh. I’ll ask you tag along next time, if you really want to come.”

Dick glared at his salad. “I don’t care, really! I was just asking, is all.”

Barbara kicked him from under the table. “What’s with you?” she asked. “I was just teasing. Dick, are you okay? You’ve honestly been kind of off these past couple of weeks, but sometimes you seem pretty happy and okay too, and I’m a little worried…”

Dick sighed and smiled at her. “I didn’t mean to snap or to sound so defensive. It’s just been a stressful… a little bit confusing couple of weeks. ”

“Do you need a few days off of work?” Barbara asked dubiously. “I’m sure Dad wouldn’t mind-”

“No, Babs, I’m fine,” Dick assured. “I’m okay. I promise.”

Dick thought back to the past weekend. Things really had been looking up. Since Jason had officially become Dick’s Dominant, and Dick became Jason’s submissive, Jason had been texting Dick periodically throughout the day to check in on him.

Sometimes it was to ask if Dick ate breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sometimes it was to tell Dick to do things – small things served to remind Dick who he belonged to now.

If Dick was at work, Jason might tell him to slip off to the bathrooms, take off his shirt, and tease his nipples until they were hard before returning to work. If Dick was out with friends, Jason might tell him to stimulate himself by rubbing his thighs together under the table, but not to come. Or, if Dick was alone, Jason would tell him to work himself open and massage his prostate until he came and spilled all over himself before taking a picture to send to Jason.

While it was exhilarating and humiliating and exciting, at the same time, it was strangely grounding. Due to their busy schedules, there was no way Dick would be able to see Jason every day, and sometimes not even every week. It was a comforting thought that Dick was not pushed to the back of Jason’s mind when they were not in each other’s company.

But Jason did not text Dick about only sexual things. A couple of times, Jason told Dick to treat himself to ice cream, or donuts, or a sweet latte instead of the usual black coffee. Sometimes, Jason would tell Dick to wear jeans to work, despite the fact that it was technically against the dress code, and for him to graciously accept any compliments that came his way. And every single morning, Jason would tell Dick to look at himself in the mirror, take a mirror selfie for Jason, and in return, Jason would praise him about something, no matter how exhausted or unhappy Dick looked in the picture.

And Dick started feeling good about himself occasionally. He smiled more in the pictures he sent to Jason, not worrying for ten minutes over whether or not he actually looked good in the picture. Dick allowed himself to feel giddy at a few compliments, send a few winks, blow a few kisses. Of course, later, Dick would shrink back into his shell, but… he had to admit, it was improvement.

Dick had not felt this alive in so long. It scared him a little bit, wondering if it would last. He wondered how long Jason would be able to keep this up. He wondered how long Jason would remember him.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Dick was always just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

~

Jason had asked to meet up the next night, on Thursday, but Dick had promised Roy they would hang out. Dick knew that Roy would not mind if he cancelled, seeing that it was rare that Jason had a moment of free time, but Dick kind of felt bad that Jason was giving Dick ever spare moment he could scrounge up.

So Dick declined, feigning working late.

When Jason asked Dick to meet up that Saturday, Dick really had no other excuse. He headed over to Jason’s penthouse, and when Dick rang the doorbell, it took a minute for Jason to open the door.

“You know, you can just let yourself in next time,” Jason said, drying his hair with a towel.

“Oh, sorry, did I come at a bad time?” Dick asked, wincing a little.

He took note of how there was a jacket and a laptop bag hastily tossed onto the couch and how Jason’s work shoes were carelessly kicked off at the door.

“No, no,” Jason said. “Feel free to get yourself something to eat or drink while I go make myself presentable.”

Instinctively, Dick had almost said, “don’t bother on my account” with a flirty wink and smile, which honestly horrified him.

Dick was getting a little too confident. He needed to get himself in check, readjust his attitude towards Jason. Jason was his Dom, not some nameless stranger in a dimly lit bar.

Instead, he stiffly spun on his heels and went into Jason’s kitchen instead. Feeling a bit queasy to the stomach, Dick did not grab anything to eat, just grabbing a bottle of water instead. He chugged the entire bottle, feeling a little better.

Jason came back, hair sticking up in all directions from his hasty drying, a white t-shirt and sweatpants on.

“So, I was thinking we could discuss some details of what being my sub would entail.” Jason dragged a chair over to the table, turning it around, before straddling it and resting his arms on top of the back of the chair.

Dick hurried to take a seat. “Okay,” he said, fiddling with the empty water bottle.

Jason smiled at him. “So, start off by telling me how you’ve been doing this week? I know you were probably unsure about the things I was telling you to do at first, but I hope you’re more comfortable now?”

Dick nodded. “Um, yeah. I was a little… apprehensive at first, but I didn’t want to make you mad, especially just after you took me as your sub, but I, um, I kinda like it…?”

“Yeah? That’s good!” Jason said, sounding honestly relieved. “Well, seeing that I’m unable to see you on a regular basis, it’s really the best we can do. However, I don’t want to seem like I’m dictating your life or your choices. You’re aware that you can still have a say in things, right?”

Dick nodded slowly.

“Dick, you must understand that you don’t need my permission for everything, okay? Some doms like to have a say in what their subs eat or wear or do on a daily basis, but I don’t want you to feel suffocated, and I want you to tell me if anything ever makes you uncomfortable, okay?”

“Yes, sir,” Dick said.

“Alright. There are some things I do want to have a say in. I want you to check in with me at least once every other day by text. I want you to eat at least twice a day, something akin to a meal. You should be taking care of yourself anyway, so that should not be too hard of a requirement to meet. No more pulling several all-nighters in a row. Both Barbara and Roy have told me that you have a tendency to do that.” Jason gave him a sharp glance.

“Sorry,” Dick said, shrinking in on himself a little.

“I’m not accusing you or trying to make you feel guilty, Dick,” Jason said softly. “You just need to take more initiative in taking care of yourself because I can’t be there for you all the time.”

“I know, sir,” Dick said with a firm nod. “I will try.”

“Good,” Jason said, leaning back in the chair and standing. “Would you like to stay for dinner then? I’m making a surf ‘n turf.”

Dick shook his head. “Thank you, but not tonight. You, uh, you look busy anyway.”

Jason let out a breathless laugh. “Yeah,” he said, stretching. “I still have a lot of work to do before I can go to bed tonight. You sure you don’t want to stay? I don’t mind cooking for one more.”

Jason was busy. Dick could not possibly stay. He smiled apologetically once more and shook his head. “No, but thank you.”

~

Wednesday night, Dick goes to Jason’s BDSM club alone. He wanted to stay and watch an entire demonstration from beginning to end.

Dick was the first person in the viewing room. He sat down at the very end of the bench, clasping his hands in his lap.

A man and a woman came in a minute later, chatting quietly. They took seats near the middle of the bench.

Jason came into the demo room after that, followed by the blond sub, who Dick had learned was named Michael. Jason made quick work of tying a blindfold around Michael’s eyes, talking to him quietly, too quietly for any of the viewers to really hear.

Michael laughed at one point, making a jealousy spark in Dick for a second. Then, Dick quickly reminded himself that yes, he was Jason’s sub and Michael was not, but Jason did this as his job, so Dick could not be unreasonable and act jealous.

A few more people streamed into the viewing room before Jason started.

“Today, I’m going to be talking about different positions a more advanced submissive can take,” Jason said.

His voice was powerful and clear, even though the one way mirror. Dick relaxed a bit. He let himself be drawn into the demonstration as Jason explained a series of positions, using Michael to show them off.

He showed what each position could be good for, and Dick watched carefully, trying to memorize it all. At one point, Jason had Michael kneeling on the hard floor for nearly ten minutes straight while he talked and explained. Dick’s knees throbbed just watching it. But Michael did not even twitch.

Dick wanted that. He wanted to be able to be that good for Jason. He wanted to do the demonstrations with Jason. To show the world how good he could be for his Dom. He was not useless. He was not good-for-nothing. He could follow whatever simple directions Jason commanded him to do. But Dick was not sure he would look as good as Michael always did, whether that was tied up, kneeling, spanked red and raw, or sobbing behind a thick blindfold.

“Is this the first time you’re watching his demos?” Someone sat down next to Dick, and Dick nearly jerked in surprise, having been lost in thought.

“Oh, uh, M, right?” Dick asked, vaguely recognizing the man’s face in the darkened room.

M chuckled. “Yeah,” he said. He nodded at where Jason was moving Michael to the next position. “Heard he’s been shifting his schedule around for you quite a bit recently.”

“He- He has?” Dick asked.

M nodded. “He’s flaked a couple times now on Helena and me. We used to meet for dinner and drinks on Saturday nights.”

“O-Oh,” Dick stammered. “Sorry, I didn’t know that.”

M waved his hand. “No, no, it’s a good thing,” he said. “I haven’t seen Jay this relaxed in a long time. Your company does wonders apparently.”

Dick blushed, quickly turning his head away from M. “Um, thanks,” he muttered.

“Though I must say,” M sighed. “It is a shame you picked Jay to train you. I still think you and I could have been a good match.”

Dick did not know what to say to that. He opened and closed his mouth a few times.

M laughed. “Time spent with Jason has not made you any less shy I see,” M said. He stood and patted Dick’s shoulder. “Well, it has been a riveting conversation, but I have business to attend to. It was nice seeing you again, Dick. If you ever do get bored of Jason though, here’s my card.”

Dick hesitantly took the card from M’s fingers. He watched as M walked out, hands shoved in pockets, and a slightly exaggerated confidence in his step.

When Dick turned back to the demo, Jason was finished. He removed Michael’s blindfold, bade his invisible audience good night, and led Michael out into the adjoining room.

Then, Dick filtered out with the rest of the viewers. The few times he had been with Roy, they had gone into the back to meet up with Jason.

But this time, Dick was hesitant to go by himself. He still felt a little unwelcome back there, seeing that he was not Jason’s best friend, nor did he work as a dom or a sub in the club. So instead, Dick went out into the club instead.

“Need a drink for the nerves?”

Dick turned to see Stephanie smiling at him. He approached the bar, biting his lip. “Perhaps,” he admitted. “Coffee?”

“Black?” Stephanie asked, turning to pour coffee into a paper cup.

“Just a splash of cream and some sugar,” Dick said.

Stephanie pushed the coffee across the bar to him after a minute. “So, what’s gotten you looking so lost?” she asked. “And where’s Mr. Redhead?”

Dick smiled tentatively, taking a cautious sip of his hot coffee. “He’s busy tonight,” Dick said. “His father had some errands for him.”

Stephanie gasped. “Roy Harper doing work?”

“I know,” Dick laughed. “Outrageous to think.”

“Tsk, tsk,” Stephanie said with a grin. “But hey, look at you. Here, even though you had to come alone. Looking to talk to someone to manhandle you into the sheets, pretty boy?”

Dick snorted and shook his head.

“Then why come every Wednesday?” she asked. “I always see you come in, but I’ve never actually seen you leave. Except for the first time.”

“Oh, Roy and I usually go through the back,” Dick said, sipping his coffee again, glad to warm himself up on the inside with the scalding liquid. “Roy comes here to annoy Jason mostly.”

“Then why do you come?”

Dick tapped his fingers against the cup. “We go out for drinks together. Jason’s… a friend.”

“Hm,” Stephanie hummed. “But you’re not here with Roy, nor did you go out the back today,” Stephanie noted. “Did you go watch the demo?”

Dick shrugged.

“And what did you think?”

Dick did not answer. He thought about the way Jason and Michael worked so well together. How Michael almost seemed to know what Jason wanted him to do with the subtlest of touches or the barest of verbal hints. Dick might be Jason’s sub, but Michael definitely knew how to read Jason better as a dom.

“It was… interesting,” Dick settled with.

“Oh?” Stephanie asked. “Personal interest perhaps?”

Dick raised an eyebrow at her. “If you’re asking if I’m interested in giving the whole BDSM thing a try, I’ve already given it a try.”

Stephanie laughed. “Well, why didn’t you just say so. You looked so uncomfortable and lost when you came out of that door that I felt bad for you! That coffee was going to be on the house, but I’m going to have to ask you for five dollars now.”

Dick pulled out his wallet with a roll of his eyes.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” Stephanie said. “It’s Jason’s money anyway,” she winked.

And Dick returned her smile a little. He liked Stephanie. She reminded him of himself… back when Dick was not afraid to be himself.

It was almost nostalgic.

~

Dick met with Jason the next night.

He was extremely nervous because he wanted to talk to Jason about a change he wanted to make in their “relationship”.

Almost as soon as Dick stepped over the threshold and the door closed behind him, Jason had him pushed against the wall.

For a second, they were chest to chest, faces an inch apart. Dick’s eyes were wide as he met Jason’s.

Then, very gently, and very softly, Jason kissed Dick, urging Dick to part his lips with the sweet movements of his lips and tongue. Dick let him in with a small moan, turning to putty between Jason and the wall.

Jason’s hands came to a rest on either side of Dick’s arm, keeping him there.

Jason pulled away just a bit. “Bedroom, Dickie,” he said in a hushed voice. He took Dick by the wrist and led him towards Jason’s bedroom.

Jason introduced Dick to another, more specific type of sensation play. Figging, accompanied by fifteen smacks with a paddle.

The experience was almost surreal. Dick was on Jason’s bed, his face hidden in his arms, his ass up in the air, and a thick finger of fresh ginger burning his clenching rim. It was hot, and it was numb, and it drove Dick crazy.

He was hard and leaking before Jason even inserted the ginger root, mewling pathetically into his arms.

As the root was slowly eased into him, Dick did not think it was that bad at first. There was a slight tingling, sure, but he was not sure he agreed with the “intense burning sensation” he was supposed to feel.

But then it hit him like a brick wall.

Instinctively, Dick clenched around the butt plug shaped root, which only sparked more of the burning, the feeling shooting up his spine and making him tremble. Even with his face buried in the bed, Dick could smell the ginger, and god, it was really turning him on.

“Please, please, please, please,” he sobbed. “Sir, I need- please.”

“Shh…” Jason said softly, petting Dick’s back soothingly. “The more you clench, the more it’s going to burn.”

Dick did not mind the burning part so much. He was just so overwhelmed by the pain, pleasure, heat, and the instinct to clench down that his mind had short-wired to just begging for something, anything.

“I ordered you a present,” Jason said, sounding a little amused. “A little something for my pretty sub. Would you like to see, Dickie?”

“Please, please-”

Jason reached into a drawer and pulled out a paddle. He ran it down Dick’s bare back, and Dick could feel raised leather bumps stitched into it.

“Wanna know that it says?” Jason teased.

Dick turned his head to the side, wiping away tears as he did. He sniffled and nodded. Jason laughed softly.

Jason turned the paddle towards Dick, and through blurry tears, Dick could make out six letters in dark red leather. JASON’S.

“Sir-” Dick choked out, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion instead. “I-”

“You like it?” Jason murmured.

Dick nodded. His throat felt tight, and his eyes were being threatened with a new wave of tears. “Yes, sir. Th-Thank you.”

“Want to try it out? I think fifteen will leave a nice mark for a quite a while…” Jason mused.

Dick nodded vigorously. He wanted Jason to mark him. He wanted to be given a reminder of who he belonged to. He wanted to be reassured that someone wanted him, even if it was just for a couple hours a week. Dick needed to feel wanted.

The first smack came down on his left butt cheek, making Dick jerk forward in surprise. He clenched down around the ginger root that he had nearly forgotten about, sending a new wave of spicy pleasure up his spine.

It was quickly followed by a smack on his right cheek, a bit harder. After a couple more smacks, Dick understood why Jason brought out the paddle now. Every single smack made Dick clench instinctively on the ginger root, keeping him wildly aroused.

At the end of fifteen smacks, Dick’s ass was bright red with overlapping marks that all spelled out Jason’s name. By then, Dick was gone. He had drifted off into this soft, hazy world, and it was really nice there. He did not want to leave anytime soon.

Jason leaned over and gently pressed his lips to the reddest parts of Dick’s cheeks. “Beautiful,” he whispered. “So, so, beautiful, Dickie. So good, my beautiful Dickie, my sub.”

Gently, Jason eased the ginger root out of Dick, and Dick would have been almost sad about the empty feeling, and how the almost familiar burn that followed each clench was gone, but he was still floating around in subspace.

Jason returned with a warm washcloth, wiping down Dick’s face, his stomach, his cock, and his ass. Jason helped Dick into a warm bath while he stripped the bed.

He then made tea for both of them before going to get Dick out of the bathtub, continuing the aftercare from there.

Jason murmured sweet words into Dick’s ear while drying him down with a fluffy towel and giving him one of Jason’s large t-shirts to wear. Dick was unresponsive the entire time aside from a few murmurs and some nuzzling.

Jason pulled Dick into bed again, pulling his blissed out sub against him and pressing a mug of tea into Dick’s hands.

It took about ten more minutes for Dick to drift out of subspace and start responding to Jason.

“You okay?” Jason asked, rubbing circles into Dick’s shoulder with his thumb. “You were more out of it than I thought you would be.”

“Yeah,” Dick croaked. He seemed to just notice the tea in his hands, and he took a sip.

Jason smiled and pulled him a little closer. He pressed a kiss to the top of Dick’s head, and it was a comforting feeling, but it did little to soothe the growing anxiety in Dick.

He sat there for a long time, his hands wrapped around the mug of tea. He tapped his fingernails against the cup. He bit his lower lip as he thought about whether or not he should bring up the demonstration thing to Jason now.

He was very much aware of Jason’s heartbeat against his back and his fingers, which played with Dick’s hair absently. He had his face buried in Dick’s neck, his legs still tangled with Dick’s under the blanket.

“Um, Jay?” Dick asked. He cleared his throat quickly. “Jay?”

“Hm?” Jason asked, exhaling on Dick’s neck, making Dick shiver a bit. “Yeah, baby?” Jason asked softly, lifting his head in a long nuzzle up the side of Dick’s neck.

“I was wondering if… if I could help out with demonstrations at- at your club? Soon, maybe?” Dick asked tentatively.

“What’s the hurry?” Jason asked with a soft chuckle. “Do you have a thing for being watched?”

Dick shifted uncomfortably. “N-No,” he said. “I just… I think it’s a good way to expose me to more of the whole BDSM world is all,” he said slowly. He was not entirely lying. “Besides, it’s a double sided mirror, right? It would be like it’s just us.”

Jason sighed, finally lifting his head off of Dick’s shoulder. “Well, if you really think you’re ready. I must say, however, demos tend to be more taxing on subs unless they’re more used to it all. So be prepared to need much more time afterwards.”

“Okay,” Dick said with a short nod. He took a sip of his tea to help his dry throat, even though the tea really only made it drier. “Yeah.”

Jason smiled. “Are you free this Saturday, then?”

Dick smiled. “Yeah. Saturday’s good,” he said. “When do you want me to come to your club?”

“Well, my demo is usually at 7PM, so about half an hour before then is usually good,” Jason said. Then, he pulled Dick back to his chest so he could get a better view of Dick’s face. He looked at Dick for a long time, his smile never faltering. “I’m really glad you’re willing to do this,” he said softly.

Dick could not help the fluttering in his stomach when Jason smiled at him like that. “Jason…” he whispered.

Jason kissed him softly. “Stay the night, Dick?” Their lips were a hairsbreadth apart, and the words were barely uttered.

Dick swallowed hard. He wanted to. “I can’t,” he whispered back. “Work.”

Jason pulled back and gave Dick another small smile. “That’s okay,” he said, even though he sounded a little disappointed. He pulled Dick back against him. “Just stay a little longer then.”

“Okay,” Dick agreed. “I can do that.”

~

Friday night, Dick was just finishing up and getting ready to leave his office. As he packed his laptop into its bag, there was a knock on his door.

“Hey, there, pretty boy,” Barbara said.

Dick turned around and rolled his eyes. “Ha ha, very funny,” he said. “Because that line never gets old.”

“Aw,” Barbara said, stepping inside. She sat down on his desk, right on top of all his case files. “You need to cheer up! C’mon, Dick! Tomorrow’s the awards’ night! It’s going to be so awesome!”

“I know, I know,” Dick groaned. “It’s not like you’ve been talking about it for the past month.” He gave Barbara a smile. “I am happy, you know,” he said.

“I know,” Barbara smiled. “You’ve been a lot happier ever since you met Jason.” She kept staring at him intently. Then she said, “Do I need to ask about everything?”

Dick gave her a confused look, zipping up his bag. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, are you and Jason dating yet?” she asked with a faux annoyed, bratty voice. “Well?”

Dick nearly choked on his own spit. “Wh-What?!” he asked, giving a nervous laugh. “What makes you think that?”

Barbara rolled her eyes. “Uh, he’s my friend too. He tells me things. And he’s always worried about you. Not even Roy worries about you as much as Jason does.”

“We’re not- We’re not dating,” Dick said quickly. “We’re friends. Good friends.”

“Uh-huh,” Barbara said with a sly smile. She slid off his desk, making one of the case files fall. “Keep telling yourself that, wonder boy.” She picked up the file and slapped it down on his desk. “See you at the ceremony tomorrow, Dick! I got you VIP seats.” She gave him one last wink over her shoulder before walking out of his office.

Dick sighed, watching her go. He shook his head in amusement and picked up his bag. “Right, tomorrow.” Then, he froze, staring at the empty hallway. His eyes went wide. “Shit, tomorrow night.”

He had promised to attend the awards’ night with Barbara.

He had also promised to do a demonstration with Jason.

Chapter Text

The call took three tries to get through.

The entire time, Dick paced the length of his living room, chewing his lip and listening to the call tones.

Finally, the phone was picked up.

My god, Roy, you left five minutes ago! What could you have possibly forgotten this time?!”

Dick inhaled sharply. “Um, it’s- it’s actually Dick…?”

“Oh!” Jason’s initial snarl became different, lighter. “Dickie, what is it? Is everything okay?”

Dick swallowed hard, his throat already tightening. Jason was going to be so disappointed in him. His heart was beating crazily in his chest, and not in a good way.

“I actually wanted to- to talk about Saturday?” Dick said slowly, his voice rising to a higher pitch.

“What about Saturday?” Jason asked. Dick could hear the soft clinking of glasses in the background and water being turned on. “Not having second thoughts, are you?” he joked.

Dick’s heart dropped from his throat to his feet, and he felt weak. Dick stumbled to the couch and sat down. “I- I can’t make it on Saturday.”

Jason was silent for a few seconds. “Why not?” he asked.

“I- I forgot I had prior engagements with- with, uh-” Dick licked his lips and racked his mind. He could not possibly say he was going to ditch Jason for some work party with Barbara. “With Bruce,” he winced.

“Wayne? I thought you weren’t on good terms with him,” Jason said. Dick could almost hear his frown.

“I’m not… but I promised,” Dick squeaked.

Jason huffed. “And you can’t reschedule with him or something? I did make sure to clear up Saturday night for you, and I don’t really know if I can do it again since I’m technically depriving my subs of their jobs.

Dick wanted to throw up. “I’m so sorry. I- I know I promised to help you out with- with a demo, but I- I really can’t,” he said, his voice cracking in the middle. Tears welled up in his eyes. Jason was annoyed with him. He had gone out of his way to fulfill Dick’s request in the first place, and now Dick was the one backing out because he could not even remember that he was busy on that night.

Jason shut off the water before sighing again. “Whatever,” he said gruffly. “It’s fine. I’ll just call Margot or Stephen or something and see if they’re still available.”

Dick let out a soft sob that he did not mean to let escape. Tears spilled out of his eyes. “I’m- I’m sorry,” he said again.

“Dick-”

Dick ended the call before Jason could say anything else. Dick dropped his phone onto the couch and stumbled to the bathroom, where he collapsed in front of the toilet and cried tears of self-hatred until there were no tears left.

Dick’s incompetence had only created problems for Jason. Dick wanted to be good for Jason. He wanted to help the man out, but instead, he just made things worse.

What had Jason ever seen in Dick? He could not do anything right.

Jason had done so much for Dick. He took time out of his own personal life to train Dick. He was kind and patient with Dick, baby stepping him through all the different steps of a BDSM lifestyle. He was encouraging and supportive, trying to find a way to fix Dick and make him happy. Jason had tried so hard, and Dick could not reciprocate.

Dick curled up tightly in a ball, wondering how he would ever be able to face Jason again. He felt that from then on, every time he looked at Jason, he would only see disappointment and annoyance.

Dick was just useless. He should just disappear into thin air.

Jason deserved a better sub. He should take Michael, or maybe Stephen, or even Margot, instead of Dick.

Dick fell asleep crying, curled up in the corner against the bathtub.

~

Dick woke up next morning because he was cold and his neck hurt.

He dragged himself onto his feet, rubbing his neck. He glanced in the mirror and winced silently. His eyes were still puffy, and they hurt from crying. He had defined dark circles under his eyes, probably due to both stress and the lack of sleep.

Dick dragged himself into his bed and fell onto it, curling up as tightly as possible, and falling back into an uneasy sleep.

Dick woke up in the afternoon, and he did not want to get back out of bed. He did not want to face what was left of the day. He did not want to go to the damned awards’ ceremony, regardless of whether his best friend planned it or not.

He lay in bed for a long time, staring at the ceiling.

Jason was still on his mind. Jason was always on his mind. Sometimes, Dick thought about how handsome Jason was, how physically attractive his exterior appearance was. Dick occasionally had urges to lick Jason’s jawline or just slip his hands under Jason’s shirt and touch his stomach and chest. Dick never let those thoughts stray into fantasies because he knew that would never happen. He would never be allowed to touch Jason like that. Jason would not want to be touched by him. But Dick wished he could.

Dick also thought about why he could not please Jason. He meditated on the possible reasons of why he could not make Jason happy. The only reason Dick came up with was that he was not a real sub. Dick had done his own research, read a lot of blogs written by other submissives. They all talked about how cooked, and cleaned, and watched the kids, and lived with their dominants, meeting them at the door when they return home.

Dick could not cook. He was not good at cleaning. He did not have the time to keep the home or take care of kids. Dick did not have the confidence to act sexy or coy, and he could not fathom trying to seduce Jason. He had been called “slut” several times too many by his ex.

And ever since Dick stormed out of the Manor at nineteen, swearing up and down that he would never depend on Bruce again, Dick had been making ends meet on a policeman’s salary. While it was enough to keep himself and his little apartment comfortable with a little to spare, it was certainly nothing compared to the lavishness Jason lived in. Dick could not buy Jason any kind of present that Jason could not buy himself.

The more Dick thought about it, the more he became convinced that all he did was take from Jason, and all Jason did was give. Dick had nothing he could offer Jason in return. While Jason had called their situation a “mutually beneficial business relationship”. Well, Jason had been wrong. It was not mutually beneficial.

Dick was just greedy, and Jason just selflessly gave.

Screwing his eyes shut, Dick wondered if he should be the one to break off the said “relationship”.

After Dick could no longer keep procrastinating in bed, he dragged himself out of his bed, his neck still in pain. He applied layer after layer of concealer under his eyes, ran wet hands through his hair a few times, grimacing as he did so. It was oily and gross, but he had no time to shower now.

Dick pulled out the suit he had stashed in the back of his closet for the awards’ night. He pulled it on, and gave himself one last half-hearted look in the mirror.

He did not have a good feeling about that night.

~

“Tonight, I’d like to personally thank the hard work of a good friend of mine as well as the department’s. He is dependable, loyal, hard-working, and always, always willing to lend a hand, an ear, a shoulder to cry on, no matter how tired or stressed he is at the moment. Ladies and gentlemen, Inspector Dick Grayson.”

Barbara glanced over at him from where she stood on the stage. Dick stood up hesitantly as everyone clapped. He nodded politely and started to sit down again.

“Come up here, Dick!” Barbara called into the mic.

Dick glanced up, pleading with his eyes not to make him go up there. Up there, everyone would stare at him. Everyone would see the way his hands were clammy and sweating. Everyone would see the dark circles under his eyes despite all the concealer he applied earlier. But Barbara continued to wave at him, so Dick made his way through the tables and up the stairs onto the stage.

The applause grew, and it sounded magnified in Dick’s ears. There were cheers and whistles, and Dick stumbled on the last step onto the stage. The crowd laughed, and Dick gave an embarrassed smile and laughed as well, but inside, he wanted to crawl into a hole and just hide there for the rest of eternity.

“Dick is my best friend, and personally, he’s very important to me. And I’m sure some of you out there can say the same,” Barbara said as Dick made his way over. “But he’s also an asset to the police department. He works several hours more than he has to, hours he is not paid to work. Sometimes I come in earlier in the mornings to find him asleep at his desk, two mugs stained with coffee on his desk, files open all over. When I wake him up, he just goes right back to work, apologizing for falling asleep.” She snorted. “You can’t get him to go home unless you threaten to fire him for overworking.”

A few more chuckles from the audience. Barbara smiled at Dick before handing him a plaque. “So I am honored to be the one presenting him with this award, the department’s MVP of this year, for everything he has done for the police department and for Gotham City.”

Dick gripped the thick, glass plaque in his hands hard, afraid he would drop it and it would break on stage because of how sweaty his hands were. He looked past the bright lights into the audience.

Then, in the very back of the room, leaning against the wall, Dick saw a familiar figure. His heart beat a little faster when he saw Jason watching. Dick wanted to leap off the stage and run over. He wanted to drop to his knees right there and apologize over and over again to Jason for not telling him about the awards night and making Jason cancel their plans. He also wanted to fade out of existence where he stood.

Jason had sounded upset over the phone, so he must not be here to watch Dick.

Barbara continued talking, telling about Dick, some personal stories of the two of them, some quirks Dick had, and she drew laughter from the crowd like a snake charmer. Dick saw Jason smiling throughout the whole thing, laughing along.

His eyes fell to the large bouquet in Jason’s hands. His throat tightened, as did his hands around the plaque. Of course, Jason was here for Barbara.

They were friends after all, and Jason had been showing more and more interest in her recently anyway. Dick pushed away the jealousy that tried to take over. He had no right to be jealous. Jason was not his. They did not have a relationship of any kind. As Jason put it, it was like a business partnership.

When Barbara finally finished her speech, what felt like years later, Dick walked off the stage and back to his own table. Roy slapped him on the back hard, laughing and congratulating him. The rest of the ceremony dragged by. Dick smiled and laughed with everyone else, clapping when they did. But none of Barbara’s words processed in his mind.

Dick glanced back one time, and he saw Jason looking up at the stage where Barbara was imitating a chicken that got loose at the station once. He laughed, throwing his head back.

Dick never made him laugh like that. But of course, Dick could never compare up to Barbara. She was beautiful, strong, smart, and funny. It was all the reasons they dated in the first place. And it was also the reason they broke up. They were just too different.

When the awards ceremony finally drew to a close, Dick made hasty excuses about a migraine and escaped through a back exit of the hotel, preparing to sneak around to his car. He walked into the nearly empty parking lot, breathing in the night air to calm himself. When the cold started seeping into the layer of his suit, Dick dug into his pockets for his car keys. He was so glad he drove here himself.

“Leaving already?”

Dick froze, keys halfway out of his pocket. He did not turn around, but he dropped his head and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, pasted on a fake smile and turned. “Just tired,” he said. “Had a long day.”

“Doing what?” Jason asked, stepping forward towards Dick. “A prior engagement with Wayne here at the police department?” His voice was slightly accusing.

Dick swallowed hard, lowering his head in shame.

“Why didn’t you just tell me, Dick?” Jason asked in exasperation. “Babs had been telling me about how you were getting a special award during the police department’s awards’ ceremony, and I didn’t know it was tonight, but you could have just told me, and everything would have been okay!”

“Sorry,” Dick stammered.

“I really don’t appreciate, or understand, you lying to me,” Jason said irritably.

“I’m sorry,” Dick practically whispered.

Jason huffed and said nothing more.

Dick did not meet Jason’s gaze, but he could feel the man watching him. His hands tightened around his keys, the jagged edges cutting into his palm. “So you watched…?” he asked tentatively.

“Yeah, I did,” Jason said. He continued stepping forward slowly.

“Babs was great, wasn’t she?” Dick said, his voice a little stronger. He dared to glance up. “She spent hours picking out a dress, hours preparing her speech, and the event went smoothly, so it really paid off, didn’t it? And the way she charmed the audience…” Dick trailed off, self-deprecation seeping into his voice.

“Yeah… she was great,” Jason said, still frowning slightly. He sighed. “Here.”

Dick blinked at the bouquet of flowers that were shoved into his area of vision. Jason was standing right in front of him now.

Dick eyed the bouquet. “You… want me to hold it?” he asked. Then he wanted slap himself. Jason hated being questioned. “I mean- sorry, sorry.” He quickly grabbed the bouquet with both hands, letting go of the glass plaque. It dropped to the ground and shattered upon impact.

Dick barely flinched.

“Dick!” Jason exclaimed loudly. Dick did flinch this time. “Oh, fuck, why’d you do that?!”

Dick shrank into himself, still not raising his head. “Sorry,” he whispered.

Jason sighed loudly, and Dick held the bouquet tighter, staring down at the mini sunflowers.

“Dick,” Jason said, his voice quiet but also flat. That meant he was upset, angry with Dick. Jason’s voice never went flat. “What’s wrong?”

Dick said nothing.

“Answer me,” Jason commanded. “What is wrong?”

“Nothing,” Dick said. Because really, nothing was wrong. It was just Dick unable to get his feelings under control. “Nothing, sorry, sir.”

“Dick-” Jason started before cutting himself off with another sigh. “Then why did you drop your award? You just got that!”

“I forgot I had it,” Dick mumbled. He really did forget in his haste to please Jason. But all he did was make things worse.

“Forgot? How the hell do you forget- never mind. Did you drive here?”

Dick nodded.

“Alright. I want you to go to my house, and use my key to get in, and wait for me there,” Jason said, his voice low.

Dick nodded again. “Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” He quickly moved past Jason, running back into the hotel. As he tore through the hallway, he nearly ran into Barbara and her father.

“Dick!” Barbara said, throwing her arms around his neck. “Where are you off to in such a hurry? And ooh, who gave you a bouquet?”

Dick blinked down at the flowers, trying to think of a good excuse. “I was looking for you,” he blurted out.

“Oh?”

He shoved the flowers forward. “They’re for you.”

“Me?” Barbara asked, surprised. “For what? I didn’t get an award, unlike you, Mr. MVP,” she grinned, nudging him.

Dick gave her a weak smile. “Really, they’re for you.”

“Dick, you didn’t have to buy me flowers,” she said. “And with how expensive these must have been?”

“I didn’t buy them. Jason did. They’re for you.”

“Jason’s here?” Barbara asked. “And he got me flowers?”

Dick nodded, keeping his eyes cast down. Barbara took the flowers, a little confused.

“I’ve got to go,” Dick said, making his way past her. “Good night, Babs.”

“…Night, Dickie,” she called after him uncertainly. She frowned, wondering where his plaque went. It was a bit big to tuck into a Dick’s jacket or slacks pockets.

~

The drive to Jason’s penthouse was tense. Dick even kept his movements to a minimum. Even though Jason was not physically in the car with him, Dick felt that Jason was watching and just waiting for something that Dick would do wrong. The second he stepped foot into the apartment, Dick ran to the play room. He grabbed the scariest-looking whip off the wall and brought it to where he knelt by the bed.

A few minutes later, Dick heard Jason enter. “Dick-” He saw Dick’s rigid position, shirt and jacket off, thrown to the side, the whip lying in his hands. “What are you doing?”

Jason frowned. “Are you- Are you asking for a punishment?” he asked, truly curious.

“No,” Dick said simply. “I deserve a punishment.”

“Doing what?” Jason asked.

“Angering you, sir.”

“When?!” Jason sputtered.

Dick bit his lower lip. “Last night. Earlier.”

“I’m not- I’m not mad,” Jason said, sounding peeved nonetheless.

“Then, for lying to you, sir.”

Jason was silent for a long time. Dick did not move from his position, still offering the whip up to Jason.

“Hands on the wall, back to me,” Jason finally spoke. His voice was soft, and his touch gentle as he took the whip from Dick.

Dick scrambled to obey, fear coursing through him in thick waves. He was terrified of what the whip could possibly do. But he had to take it. It was a punishment for all the troubles he had caused Jason.

“I will give you… eight strokes,” Jason said.

Dick was bewildered. “Wh- Why not ten, sir? I- I can take ten!”

“Dick,” Jason said, his voice low and breathy and dangerous. “It is not your position to boss me around. You are my sub. If I say you get fifteen strikes, you get fifteen. If I say you get eight, you get eight strikes.”

“I- I’m sorry, sir!” Dick whispered, squeezing his eyes together to prevent the tears from spilling over. “I didn’t mean to- to-”

The whip sliced through the air like a whistle before it hit Dick’s back with a sharp sting. Dick almost cried out, but he bit his lip and just gave a muffled grunt.

“Th- Thank you, sir,” Dick breathed out.

Instead of answering, Jason delivered another strike, crisscrossing the previous one. Dick was incredibly tense and just braced for the pain that felt like fire across his back.

The whip came down a third time, and Dick tasted blood. He let go of his lip and took a deep, gasping breath. Then, he sobbed quietly and said, “P-Please, sir,” he whimpered. “H-Hit me harder.”

What?” Jason asked, sounding almost breathless.

“H-Harder. Please, sir,” Dick said, a little louder. He did not want it harder. He did not want the pain. It did not feel good at all. It hurt a lot, but Dick deserved it. Jason needed a way to take out his anger and frustrations.

“If I hit you any harder, it’s going to break skin,” Jason said.

“P-Please,” Dick sobbed. “Sir, h-hit me hard- harder.”

“Color?” Jason asked.

“Green,” Dick said without hesitation.

Still, Jason did not hit him again. Instead, he grabbed Dick’s bare shoulder and turned him around forcefully. Dick met Jason’s dark eyes, and immediately, he saw that they were alight with fury.

Jason’s lips curled in sneer before he shouted, “FUCK!”  He threw the whip to the ground, the whip cracking loudly.

Dick flinched violently and sobbed at the sound, collapsing against the wall. He did not know why Jason was so angry. Why he was more angry that before.

Jason stormed across the room, his hands going to his head and pulling on his hair. He sent one last glare at Dick before he whirled out of the play room, slamming the door behind him.

Dick slid to the ground, the sensitive welts on his back rubbing painfully against the wall.

Then, Dick curled up in a ball, and he cried softly.

He could not even take eight, stupid strokes properly.

Chapter Text

Jason was back in less than a minute.

He knelt down in front of where Dick was curled up, putting a hand on Dick’s arm. Dick jerked up, nearly spilling the glass of water in Jason’s hand.

“I- I’m so- sorry!” Dick started sobbing out, but Jason shook his head and pressed the glass to Dick’s lips.

“Drink the water, Dick,” Jason said, his voice impossibly soft. His eyes were almost sad now. He gently stroked Dick’s hair as Dick sniffled and drank the glass of water.

Jason set the empty glass aside and remained kneeling next to Dick. Dick, on the other hand, went right back to crying and apologizing. “Sir, I- I’m sorry for- for m-messing up! Pl-Please forg- give me, s-sir,” Dick choked out, pleading the best he could.

He continued crying and sobbing until he had worn himself out and was reduced to nothing but occasional sniffles and the sticky almost-dried tear tracks on his cheeks. During the entire time, Jason did not say a single word. He just knelt there, staring at Dick and gently rubbing circles into his lower jaw.

When Dick finally went quiet, Jason spoke. “Dick,” he said. “First, I’m sorry I left like that, and I’m sorry if I scared you. I was upset. You cannot try to manipulate me like that, Dick,” he said. “You were not okay, at all, and you lied and said you were okay to continue. I trusted you. If I had not trusted my instincts more, you could have been seriously hurt.”

Dick opened his mouth to say something, but Jason gave him a firm shake of his head.

“Don’t apologize,” he said. “I know you’re not sorry. You would do that again. I know it. Dick, you’re hurting yourself. And you’re manipulating me into hurting you. Right now, I only want two things. One, I want you to explain yourself. No apologies, no lies. Two, I want to terminate our contract completely.”

Dick took a shaky breath. “S-Sir, please, d-don’t terminate the- the contract. I’ll- I’ll be good! I won’t- I won’t lie anymore, I promise! P-Please, sir-”

Jason shook his head again. “Stop, Dick. I’ve made my choice. This can’t go on like this. It’s bordering on abuse, if it has not already crossed that line! I can’t- I can’t continue this knowing the state you are and what danger you can be to yourself. But, it does not have to be forever. If you really do want this, you will work for it.”

“H-How?” Dick asked.

“First, I want you to go to therapy twice a week. I have a friend who is a brilliant therapist and she has an office in Downtown Gotham. I want you to go see her. She’s aware of my BDSM lifestyle, and she’s helped me through some difficult times,” Jason said.

“Th-Therapy?” Dick asked, his mouth forming the words and the sound barely coming out.

Jason nodded. “It’s going to help you,” he promised. “You’ll be surprised how cathartic a session can be. If you go to therapy, and you show improvement, I will consider taking you as my sub again. Someday.”

Dick sniffled, rubbing his eyes. Jason gently took his hand away, kissing the knuckles of Dick’s hand.

“Well?” Jason asked.

Dick nodded. “O-Okay,” he said.

Jason smiled. “Good,” he said. “The other thing… you should think about before giving me an answer,” Jason said. “I want to stop the BDSM aspect of our relationship, but I don’t want to cut us off completely.” Jason took a deep breath. He stared at the wall for a while, mulling over his next words. “I’ve been meaning to ask for a while actually… Dick, I want to take you out on a date.”

Dick’s eyes went wide.

“You don’t need to answer me now, and please don’t be pressured to say yes. But if you would like, I want to start this differently. The first three times didn’t work. But I’m not going to give up on you. I like you, Dick, I really do. But I need you to trust me. And I need to be able to trust you. Please.”

Jason gave Dick a sweet smile, and his eyes twinkled in the dark room, lit only by a tiny sliver of moonlight. Dick looked baffled, and Jason did not blame him entirely.

“C’mon, you’ll catch a cold like this,” he said. He stood, gently tugging at Dick’s wrist. Dick stood up with him.

Still holding onto Dick’s wrist loosely, Jason pulled Dick out of the play room and down the hall to Jason’s bedroom instead. Jason flicked the lights on, drew the curtains, and turned the TV on.

“Do you want to take a bath first?” he asked. “I bought vanilla scented bubble bath because I noticed that you must like vanilla a lot to wash your hair with it.” He pulled a face, but did not seem honestly disgusted. It was more… good-natured teasing. “Let’s draw you a bath,” he said.

Jason led them into the bathroom and got the water running. He held up the large bottle of body wash.

“See?” he said. “Got it with you in mind. I used to think it was a kind of girly scent, but… I don’t mind it so much anymore because it reminds me of you.” Then, Jason laughed to himself. “You know, the more I talk, the more ridiculous I sound.”

Dick still said nothing, just staring at Jason in some sort of disbelief. He did not know if he had ever heard Jason talk so much to him. And certainly not with a gushy, teasing tone.

Jason dumped a lot of the bubble bath into the huge bathtub. As the bubbles rose and steam filled the bathroom, Jason turned around to let Dick get undressed. He turned the water off and made sure to keep his eyes averted as he headed for the door.

“Call if you need anything,” Jason said. “I’ll be right outside.”

“Jay-”

“Hm?”

Dick was silent for a beat. His throat hurt and his voice was scratchy and unsteady. “Will you… stay? Please?”

Jason turned slightly, glancing at Dick over his shoulder. “Are you sure? You can get some time to take a breather…? I don't want to overwhelm you.” He winced silently. "I've already given you a lot to process in the last ten minutes alone."

Dick shook his head. “I feel better when you’re around,” he whispered. 

For a second, Jason looked like he was not going to believe Dick.

But then, he smiled. He honestly seemed relieved as well. “Okay,” he said. He turned around and sat down on the ground by the bathtub as Dick stepped into the sweet, vanilla scented water. “Water temperature is okay? Want me to wash your hair? Or would it be a better idea not to touch you? Because I completely understand that you're probably not comfortable with me right now...?”

Dick shut his eyes. After a few seconds, he spoke again. “Can-” He stopped himself almost immediately, visibly biting his figure. 

“Yeah?” Jason prompted softly.

Dick took a deep breath. He opened his eyes and worried his lower lip with his teeth. “You don’t have to just sit there and watch me, you know,” he said, his voice shaky. He took a deep breath, biting deeper into his lip for a second. Then, he stopped torturing his lip, and the smallest hint of a smile appeared on his lips. “Bathtub’s big enough for two.”

Jason was at a loss of words for a second as Dick stared at him nervously.  “Dickie… are you sure? I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything. Just because I want to date you does not mean I expect any kind of favors in any form. In fact, I would actually prefer if we steered clear of sexual things for a while-”

Dick let out a soft sigh. “I’m sure. Nothing-” He let his eyes fall shut again. “Nothing sexual, I promise. I just... need you.”

While Jason was hesitant about Dick's request, he personally hoped deep down that Dick wanted him to stay, so he stripped out of his clothes and stepped into the heavenly vanilla. He stayed on the opposite end of the bath for a couple of minutes before slowly moving right next to Dick.

Dick, with his eyes still closed, leaned his head against Jason’s shoulder. The bubbles almost touched his chin.

“Thank you,” Dick whispered. “For everything. I… I’m happy you’re still giving me this chance. I am sorry for lying to you. I shouldn’t have. I was- I was scared you’d be disappointed in me. I… you’re honestly still better off with someone more capable than I am- was. You should find yourself a better sub.” Jason went to interject, but Dick took a shaky breath and continued. “But, I would- I would really like if we… if we dated. I know I'm not really worth all the trouble, but if you want me...”

Jason let out a tiny huff of laughter. “God, Dickie, are you kidding? I’d be crazy not to give you another chance. I was terrified that you would be too scared of me after tonight that you would never want to see me again. I was so scared that I fucked up and crossed the line. I- I don’t think you realize it, but I’m just like any other guy, Dick. I don’t know everything, and I make mistakes like any other human on this planet.

“And, and-” Jason let out an almost hysterical giggle. “I know you really have not seen me me – not Dom Jason, or businessman Jason, or pissed-off-by-Roy-Harper Jason – but I want to show him to you. In fact, that Jason’s heart is pounding like crazy right now because he has a gorgeous man leaning against him in his bathtub right now smelling like vanilla, and he isn’t sure if it’s quite real yet.”

Dick started smiling, just a little. It was a little self-deprecating, but it was still motivating.

With a burst of reckless confidence, Jason continued. “And that Jason is just winging everything, including the rambling words coming out of his mouth right now because he’s not cool and calm. He’s not a veteran in courting people way out of his league. He does not want to lose this beautiful man, but also he does not have the brain capacity to plan far enough ahead to ensure he does not make a fool of himself and mess up. That Jason has a hormonal-teenager-worthy crush on a sweet, smart, handsome, strong police officer who looks really good in his uniform and kind of makes that Jason weak at the knees.” Jason laughed aloud. He breathed in again, the smell of vanilla, the smell of Dick, and he felt a little delirious with all the things he was spouting out embarrassingly without really processing any of it. He just wanted to make Dick smile more.

And Dick did smile more. He let out a soft laugh, pressing his cheek more firmly against Jason’s neck now.

Jason found Dick’s hand under the soapy water and interlaced their fingers. He smiled and closed his own eyes. Then, very softly, he said, “That Jason may have had ulterior motives when buying vanilla bubble bath. Some part, it was to make his crush- boyfriend, oh my god, are we boyfriends now? – It was to- to make his boyfriend feel more comfortable and happy. Some part, it was to ensure that after his crush takes a bath and snuggles into that Jason’s bed, it would leave the scent of vanilla floating around long after his crush is gone, which makes that Jason feel stupidly comfortable and happy.”

Dick was smiling hard now, and he was trying valiantly not to. Still, his lips parted, and his teeth peeked through his smile. “You’re kind of a sap,” he whispered.

“It’s a well-kept secret,” Jason said, feeling a little breathless after his speech. “An embarrassing one at that.”

“Poetic too.”

“Well, I did major in literature,” Jason pointed out.

“You’re sweet,” Dick murmured. “Kind. Much more than what I deserve.”

Jason inhaled sharply. “Dick… you know what you deserve? Someone who is sweet, and kind, and smart, and witty, and friendly, and sympathetic, and dependable, just like you. But most of all, someone who makes you happy. I don’t know if that’s me, but… I want it to be me.”

“You- You don't not fit the description,” Dick said eloquently “I… I think I’d like that.”

Jason smiled. “Good,” he said. “Because I was a little too vulnerable back there, and I’m supposed to be tough and rugged. I’ll need to start doing pushups in front of you to get my dignity back.”

“I don’t mind either.”

“Dick,” Jason said with certainty. “Sometimes, I feel like you have a hidden talent in flirting. You say things, and- and-”

“It was a former… hobby,” Dick admitted.

Jason laughed. “Well, a little bit of practice, and you can charm your way into anyone’s heart.”

“But can I?” Dick asked, a touch of sadness in his voice.

“Yes,” Jason said. “You can.”

He pressed his lips to the top of Dick’s head and gave their hands a squeeze.

Dick let out a soft breath. “Can you-” He cut himself off and pressed his lips together firmly.

“You can ask for things, Dick,” Jason whispered. “And I’ll do my best to deliver.”

“Can you… hold me?” Dick asked shyly.

Jason was more than happy to oblige. He wrapped his arms around Dick, pulling them even closer and he pressed his face into Dick’s neck.

Dick’s hair was a little damp, it smelled like vanilla, and it made Jason smile. It felt good to finally be able to spill his feelings.

~

On Monday morning, when Dick walked into his office, he found his entire desk taken over by a monstrous vase of flowers.

It was a gigantic arrangement of yellow and white flowers. His entire office smelled like sweet blooms. Blinking and looking behind him, Dick saw several interns and female co-workers smiling and winking at him. A few of the male co-workers threw him thumbs-ups.

Dick blushed slightly. He walked forward tentatively, and saw a card inserted in a green clip in the middle of the arrangement. It was Jason’s business card.

Dick flipped it over, and on the back it read, Heard you gave Babs my expensive bouquet that was meant for YOU. Here’s a replacement. Don’t think you can get rid of me so easily, Dickie. With utmost sincerity, your boyfriend.

Also clipped with the card was a real vanilla bean. Dick picked it up and lifted it to his nose. The smell of vanilla was still strong, even from the unbroken bean.

Dick could not help but let a huge smile cross his face.

He had spent the weekend with Jason, all up until Sunday afternoon. They had done a lot of talking. During that time, Dick learned that Jason did not need Dick to do him all kinds of favors for him to be happy or pleased. If Dick so much as smiled at Jason, Jason would flush with a matching smile, and that knowledge made Dick’s heart flutter pleasantly.

He had been wrong about Jason. He had been wrong about a lot of things. Jason had called his friend Leslie and set up Dick’s first therapy session with her. Jason had warned Dick that the road to recovery was not an easy one, and there would be setbacks. But Dick was willing to try because…

Jason made him happy.

And happiness felt… good.

~

“Hey…” Barbara stood at the door, her stance tentative. “Are you okay?”

Dick spun around in his chair, smiling before he even turned all the way around. “Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked.

“Well, you were kinda acting strange on Saturday, and Roy said you were feeling sick and left early…” Barbara said. “And I asked Jason about the flowers, and he was equally baffled as to why you gave them to me…”

Dick smiled sheepishly. “I plead not guilty. I was… not feeling well.”

“Hm,” Barbara said, crossing her arms. She then nodded at the bouquet. “Who gave you that?”

Dick glanced at the flowers, and his heart skipped a beat. He was still having a hard time wrapping his head around it. “Jason,” he sighed dreamily. Dick was so swept up in the excitement of being Jason’s boyfriend, that the doubt had yet to set in. But Dick knew it would not be long.

“Jason gave you more flowers? Dick, this- this thing could have been nearly three hundred dollars! Holy shit, please tell me you guys went home together on Saturday because then Roy owes me twenty dollars and a frozen yogurt all week,” Barbara said excitedly.

“I… I went to his penthouse…?”

And…?”

“And…” Dick swallowed hard, not wanting to recall what had exactly happened that night. “We talked… and he… asked me out.”

Barbara gasped and rushed into the room, kicking the door closed behind her. “Did you say yes? You said yes, didn’t you? Dick, that’s- that’s great! That means you’re finally moving on from your asshole of an ex.” Then, she sighed and looked at the clock. “Shit, I’m late,” she grumbled wryly. She tossed a thick file down onto his table. “Here’s your next case before I go running off to the meeting. Don’t spend too much time on it.” Then, she turned to go. She paused at the door and looked back, giving Dick a soft smile. “I’m happy for you, Dickie,” she said. “Proud too, really proud. I think Jason’ll be good for you.”

Dick returned her smile weakly. The door shut and he bit his lower lip. “God, I hope so,” he whispered.

Because Dick did not know if he could go through another breakup like his previous one.

Pushing his negative thoughts out of his head, Dick grabbed the new case. He flipped open the manila folder and started reading.

Apparently, the editor-in-chief of Cain Publishing, a Robert Cooper, was found dead in his apartment building last night.

Dick frowned slightly. Jason ran Cain Publishing, right? A slight chill ran down his spine.

The editor-in-chief was suspected to have been dead for a few days already, and someone had called him into work sick, so no one had questioned it. The main suspect was actually Halcyon Books, Cain Publishing’s biggest rival publishing house.

Dick frowned at the file for a few more seconds, just staring at it with his eyebrows furrowed. Did Jason know about this? He probably did, by now. Still, Dick knew he would have to go in and interview everyone at some point.

But first, he started with tracing the call that called the editor-in-chief in sick a few days ago…

~

Dick had gotten a look at all the evidence found at the scene of the crime, and was just coming out of forensics with his notes when he ran into Barbara.

She grinned at him. “Hey, Inspector,” she said in a teasing voice.

“What?” Dick asked, blinking at her with a slightly confused smile.

She plucked his notepad from his hands and tucked his pencil behind her ear. “You’re getting off work early.”

“Why?” Dick asked as Barbara turned to leave.

She turned over her shoulder and gave him a wink. “Someone’s waiting for you, up front. If you don’t hurry, the flirty receptionists are going to snatch him up.”

Dick stood there for another second, staring after Barbara. Then, he did not waste another second grabbing his things and heading to the front as calmly as possible.

Sure enough, Jason was up at the front, leaning against the receptionists’ desk, laughing and talking with them. He had a motorcycle helmet tucked under his arm. He looked up when Dick approached, and he smiled wider.

“Hey, d’you get my flowers?” he asked.

“Um, yeah, they’re- they’re really beautiful,” Dick said shyly, glancing at the receptionists who were doing a very bad job of pretending that they were not listening.

“I know it’s not quite apology enough, but I hope it’s a start,” Jason said. Then, he handed the bike helmet over. “C’mon, let’s go.”

“I, uh, where- where are we going?” Dick asked, hesitantly accepting the helmet.

“On a date, duh,” Jason said with a smile. He gently took Dick’s other hand. “C’mon.”

Dick’s face was bright red as whoops and hollers of encouragement from his coworkers, and more specifically Barbara Gordon, followed them out of the police department.

Jason’s motorcycle was propped up outside of the building, against the part of the curb that was painted red.

Dick let out a surprised but amused noise. “Seriously? In front of the police department?” he could not help but say with an accusing tone.

“I was gone for less than five minutes,” Jason said with a grin. He fixed his own helmet over his head and swung his leg over the bike. “Besides, my boyfriend works here. He wouldn’t give me a ticket, right, Inspector?”

“That’s… That’s…” he trailed off, his smile slowly sliding away as well. “Um…”

“Hey,” Jason said. “I’m kidding, Dickie.”

“I- I know,” Dick said quickly. He gripped his helmet harder. “I just… habits.”

Jason was silent for a beat. “Your first appointment with Leslie is tomorrow, right?”

Dick nodded.

Jason beckoned Dick over, and Dick slowly shuffled his way in front of Jason. He was not expecting the hug Jason swept him up into.

“I can’t give you the help you need,” Jason whispered. “But I will support you entirely, Dick. I’m not going to give up on you. I know everything about us is kind of a mess, and we can’t just forget all of that so easily, but I would like you to trust me the way you trust Roy or Babs. As a friend.” Jason pulled away and held Dick at arms’ length. “Okay?”

“As a friend…” Dick repeated slowly.

“Oh my god, Dick, I meant, I just want you to trust me. I want to be your friend as well as your boyfriend… if you want, that is?”

Dick’s heart fluttered at Jason’s vulnerable look. “Y-Yeah, I’d like that.” He glanced over to shoulder, only to see half of the department waving at him. “Um, can we- can we go yet?”

Jason let out a relieved laugh. He waved back to his new receptionist friends. “Yeah,” he said. “Helmet on, Dickie. And hang onto to me.”

~

They sped through the city at what Dick deemed to be an exhilarating, illegal, and unsafe speed. When he told Jason that twenty minutes later, Jason just laughed and called him cute.

“So, where are we?” Dick asked, looking at the deserted road.

“You’ve never been here before?” Jason asked with a surprised tone. He pushed his bike behind some thick bushes. “Dickie, this place is like in Wayne’s backyard. Actually, I’m kind of glad you’ve never been here,” Jason said after a moment's consideration. “It’ll be a surprise.”

He took Dick’s hand and looked up at Dick, silently asking for permission.

Dick gave Jason’s hand a light squeeze. Jason smiled when permission was granted. He started tugging Dick deeper into the brush. They trudged uphill for a full five minutes, avoiding low branches, perilous roots and camouflaged rocks.

“Are- Are you sure this- this isn’t some- some ploy to- to get me away from- from society and- and murder me in the woods?” Dick huffed as Jason continued to pull him up the hill that seemed a lot steeper now that he was walking up it.

“Well, I did pick you up from- from work early in front of- of all your coworkers to- to assure them I’m not going to- to take their golden boy from them,” Jason said, a little less out of breath. “We’re- We’re almost there.”

After another minute, the slope became almost flat, and they stopped for a second to breathe. Then, with their hands still clasped together, Jason led Dick around a few more trees before they came to a clearing.

At the top, there was a large, flat rock that overlooked Gotham and it had a clear view of the sky. On the rock was a checkered blanket as well as a picnic basket. Around the blanket were several unlit candles.

“Surprise,” Jason murmured in Dick’s ear. “I thought we could eat while watching the sunset and then stargaze a bit.”

“And walk back in the dark?” Dick could not help but snark. He quickly bit his lip after the slip and tried to let go of Jason’s hand.

But Jason laughed and held Dick’s hand tighter. “Oh, you’ve got quite the mouth on you, huh? Don’t worry, I like a little fire,” Jason said, pressing his lips to Dick’s jaw. Then, he led Dick to the blanket and sat down. “I want to show you what I made.”

As Jason unpacked the food, Dick’s eyes grew wide. “You made all this?” he asked, looking at the fancy crostini bites, a mini cheese platter, fiber sandwiches, fruits, and a portable heater upon which Jason placed a bowl of melted chocolate. “Wow…”

“Of course,” Jason said with a teasing roll of his eyes. “I’m obligated to spoil you.”

Dick winced. “No, you really don’t-”

“I want to spoil you, Dick,” Jason amended. He popped open the Tupperware holding the crostini. He picked the prettiest one and held it up for Dick. “Seeing you happy makes me happy. So… just be happy.”

Dick had a hard time looking away from Jason’s blue, blue eyes, so full of sincerity. “I’ll try,” he whispered.

“I know you will,” Jason said. “Now taste it. I spent all day arguing with Roy on the phone because he insisted you like goat cheese, so if you don’t actually like goat cheese, I will not be talking to him for the next month.” Jason laughed, sounding almost nervous.

Dick tentatively took a bite, resolving to tell Jason that he loved it whether or not he actually did. Thankfully, he did not have to lie to avoid hurting Jason’s feelings. He almost made an embarrassing noise. But instead, he managed to hold it in, chew, and swallow. “It’s so good,” he said, smiling. “You should’ve started your own restaurant, you know.”

Jason flushed slightly. “It’s- It’s a hobby,” he said. “David Cain did not think cooking was very… manly, per se.”

“But if you did have the choice, would you have pursued it?” Dick asked.

“Maybe,” Jason said thoughtfully. He picked up another crostino and took a bite himself. “I’ve always entertained the idea of opening my own restaurant someday. But at the same time, I’ve also entertained the idea of going back to school, getting my teaching credentials, and becoming an English professor at Harvard.”

“At Harvard, huh?” Dick asked. “And an English teacher? Can’t say I pinned you for a book nerd.”

“I could have been Shakespeare in another life, you know.”

“Shakespeare? I think you’re more Machiavelli.”

“Nah, I’m not into the whole politics thing. I’m a romantic at heart.” Jason reached for another crostino and held it up for Dick to bite again. He gave Dick a smile and a shrug that said, See what I mean?

It was all very cliché, and Dick wish he could say he was not charmed by it all. But he was. He was so very entertained by Jason. They continued chatting mindlessly about anything as the sun slowly sank below the horizon.

“I… got a new case at work today,” Dick said, watching as Jason swirled the strawberry through the chocolate. “About the death of the editor-in-chief of- of Cain Publishing?”

Jason hummed quietly and held the berry to Dick’s lips, the warm chocolate sweet and thick. Dick took a bite without thinking. Jason had been feeding him the entire night that now he barely even blinked. They were leaning up against each other now, Dick’s head resting on Jason’s shoulder. Dick was unsure when they had gotten so close.

“When did you find out?” Dick asked.

“This morning,” Jason said. “Cassie called me.”

“Do you think it’s someone from Halcyon then?” Dick asked in a low whisper.

Jason sighed softly. “I… do. Robert wasn’t a bad man. He was hard-working and diligent, but… he was a rather proud man. He never really knew when to shut his mouth.”

“You think someone got tired of his bragging and murdered him for it?”

“I don’t know,” Jason said.

They drifted into silence as the last of the sun’s rays disappeared. Jason got up to light the candles while Dick packed away the leftover food. From another basket, half hidden in the bushes, Jason pulled out pillows and blankets. Dick lay down, turning his eyes up towards the dark blue sky, trying to pinpoint when the stars appeared.

Jason sat next to him for a few moments, just staring down at Dick, smiling.

“What?” Dick asked when he finally noticed.

“Nothing,” Jason murmured. “Just thinking about how beautiful you are.”

Dick flushed and looked away. “Jason…” He wanted to say that he really was not. He wanted to tell Jason that he was wrong and did not know Dick well enough. But after another second, he concluded that Jason had seen the ugliest parts of Dick already, so if he still thought Dick was beautiful, maybe… in Jason’s eyes at least, he really was. He swallowed hard. “Thanks. You’re, um, really- really b-beautiful too.”

“No need to sound so enthusiastic, Dickie,” Jason joked, lying down as well. He turned to face Dick so it was almost like they were back in Jason’s penthouse, in Jason’s bed.

“I’m- I’m serious,” Dick said. “You’re gorgeous. You’re crazy to be- to be dating someone like me.”

“You’re right, it is crazy,” Jason agreed. “It’s an absolute miracle that I met you, and that you’re here right now. God, Dickie, I know you don’t understand why I look at you and just automatically smile, and I don’t think I can explain it, but you’re just so- so amazing.”

“I…”

“I want to kiss you so badly.”

Dick held his breath for an entire ten seconds before exhaling softly. “You can.”

“Are you giving me permission, or are you telling me you want it as well, because there’s a difference-”

“I want you to kiss me.”

Jason reached up and cupped Dick’s jaw, gently running his thumb over Dick’s cheek. “Wow…” he breathed almost imperceptibly. Then, he leaned in and kissed Dick, softly working their mouths together.

Dick grabbed Jason’s shirt, scrunching it up in his hands, wanting to pull Jason closer. Jason rolled over, pulling Dick on top of him. His arms went around Dick’s hips, and stayed firmly on Dick’s hips. Their lips and tongues danced together languidly. It was slow, but hot.

Dick tasted like wine – sweet, sweet wine. He smelled like vanilla.

“You’re Polaris,” Jason whispered breathlessly when they broke for air.

“What?” Dick asked.

“Polaris,” Jason repeated. “The North Star. I’m like the lost sailor, looking to you to guide me back home, to guide my heart back to you. You’re my Polaris.”

Dick was speechless for a second. Then, he let out a small embarrassed laugh when all his fluttery feelings burst out of him. “I can see why you fancy yourself as a romantic,” he said. “That- I don’t know, Jay, that sounded like a declaration,” Dick said, half-jokingly.

“Maybe it was.”

Dick went silent.

“Maybe I am declaring something, Dickie. How would you feel if I was?” Jason asked, his expression solemn and serious.

Dick swallowed hard. “I don’t- I don’t know? I don’t think I’m- I don’t think I’m ready for that yet,” Dick admitted.

“It’s okay,” Jason whispered. “I understand. I’ll follow my star every night until I can wrap myself in your burning embrace and call it mine.”

Dick had never been on the receiving end of stupidly romantic comments. He had heard ever pick-up line in the world, but no one had ever compared Dick to a star. No one had ever promised to wait for Dick. No one had ever talked about Dick in such an adoring tone before. Jason was acting like Dick hung the sun and moon. It was very confusing, but Dick did not mind it all that much.

When Jason and Dick first met, and they were on strictly “professional” terms, Dick had thought Jason to be every bit the controlling, dominating, no-nonsense character. It turned out, Jason put on that front for work and in the BDSM scene, but in reality? Jason was softer than a bunny cuddling with a kitten.

Dick would later ask Jason if he had ever considered an acting career (“You could be a Shakespeare actor that owns his own restaurant and has a teaching degree and occasionally works at Harvard”).

“Tell me about yourself,” Jason said.

“Huh?”

“It’s our first date. So, tell me about yourself. Anything you want.”

Dick paused for a second, his fingers playing with a loose threat on the blanket. What did Jason want to know?

“Um… well, I… like cereal? A lot? Uh, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but I can’t cook, so I just eat cereal, which doesn’t bother me because I love cereal,” Dick said. He blushed and glanced at Jason to see if that was what Jason was asking about.

Jason was smiling fondly at him. “Then I suppose I’ll have to make you breakfast more. Breakfast foods are my favorite things to make. I can make a mean English breakfast. What else?”

“I… grew up in the circus, and my best friend was an elephant.”

“Holy shit, what?”

“Haly’s. You know, the one that comes around Gotham every couple of years? My family was all acrobats,” Dick said with a bittersweet tone.

“I- I used to go to Haly’s every time they came around!” Jason said, pushing himself up a bit. His eyes were wide with wonder. “Oh my god, were you- were you part of The Flying Graysons?”

“That’s me,” Dick laughed.

“Oh my god, Dick!” Jason laughed. “I had a fucking poster of you up in my room when I was like, seven! I, uh, I lost it in a fire, but…” Then, Jason’s eyes dimmed. “Oh. I’m- I’m so sorry about your parents, Dickie.”

Dick sighed, staring up at the sky and trying his best to keep his eyes dry. “It’s… in the past now,” he said, his voice cracking the slightest.

Jason eased himself back down next to Dick and took his hand under the blankets. Their fingers intertwined, and their shoulders touched. For a while, neither of them said anything.

Finally, Dick took a deep breath.

“After- After my parents died and before- before Bruce adopted me, I spent six months in the foster system,” Dick said, his voice barely above a whisper. “I- I hated it.”

“I know how you felt,” Jason said with bitterness tinging his tone. “You don’t have to tell me.”

“N-No,” Dick said. “I was passed between several families, and I never spoke, so they all thought I went mute or something and sent me back. The- The last foster home I went to consisted of an older couple, maybe in their mid-fifties.

“I was ten at the time, almost eleven. They were also fostering two other kids at the same time, both younger than I was. On the outside, they- they seemed to be very kind and caring. But-” Dick squeezed his eyes shut and took a shaky breath. “If any of us stepped out of line, even if it was to tell them about physical injuries or not feeling well, they would- god, they would lock us in the attic for a whole 24-hours. They threatened us like that. Sometimes is was that we would not get food, sometimes it was with the attic, and sometimes it was to send us back into the foster system and ensure that we got fostered by an even meaner family. They would make us do all the chores – chores that were rather difficult for young children to do – claiming that it ‘built character’.”

“That’s- that’s fucked up, Dickie, did you ever say anything?!”

Dick pressed his lips together tightly. “I did… but not as soon as I should have. It was an entire three months after being adopted by Bruce. I- I told Alfred, and he told B, who told the foster system and took care of the couple. They- They had four kids then. All of them were between the ages of five and nine.”

“Dickie…”

Dick took a deep breath. “I’m okay,” he said. “Things are good now, right?”

“They will be,” Jason promised. Then, he bit his lip, unsure for a second. “I was in the foster system for a total of three months. My father… he was an alcoholic and was abusive. Got angry and burned down the house one night. My mother died in the fire, but he didn’t,” Jason said slowly, trying to keep his voice even. “Anyway, I absolutely despised the system, so I ran away.”

“Where’d you go?” Dick asked softly.

“Nowhere,” Jason said. “Lived on the streets. Learned to fend for myself. It was actually quite nice,” he said thoughtfully. “Dangerous and uncomfortable sometimes, sure, but I had freedom. I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. But then David Cain’s late wife found me stealing her groceries from the back of her car one day. She took pity on me and took me home.

“Spent a few days convincing David to let me stay, and officially adopted me. I was raised alongside their daughter Cassandra, and Cass and I were best friends. She wasn’t jealous of me when her mom gave me more attention. She wasn’t jealous when her father told me he was proud of me when I brought home straight A’s from school, but just gave her a nod. She wasn’t jealous when her father passed on the company to me and not her. I… I honestly owe her so much.”

“She sounds awesome,” Dick said. “I wish I had someone like that to grow up with. Well, there was Roy, but…”

Jason laughed. “Speaking of, I meant to ask for the longest time, when did you meet Roy?”

“At my first gala I attended with Bruce. So… like thirteen years ago,” Dick said. “We ditched the gala and raided the kitchens of the desserts. Best friends ever since. You?”

“Did Roy ever tell you how he got adopted by Queen?” Jason asked.

“Vaguely.”

“Well, we actually were in the same foster home for a few weeks. I told him about my plan to run away, and he had laughed at me. Fast forward a month, I run into him on the streets. He’d taken my words to heart and ran away as well. But, he got snatched back up into the foster system after a few weeks and got adopted by Queen. It was a pure coincidence that I was caught by Mrs. Cain literally three days later.”

“Wow,” Dick said with a laugh. “Small world, huh?”

“Definitely,” Jason said. “It’s a wonder I never met you earlier.”

Dick quirked a wry smile. “Things may have turned out differently if you had.”

“Could be for the better,” Jason said.

“Or for the worse.”

“For the better,” Jason insisted. “And even now, we can do better.”

“You think?” Dick whispered.

“I do,” Jason whispered back. “I really, really do.”

They lay in silence for a while again. It was getting a bit colder now, but Dick just curled up a little tighter against Jason. Jason turned on his side, facing Dick, and put an arm around him.

“I’ve been thinking,” Jason said softly. “I would like to properly date you first. I want us to have a normal, happy, purely romantic relationship first. Build up trust. And during that time, you’ll go to therapy. Then…” Jason paused for a second. “Maybe we can incorporate more aspects to our relationship later.”

“What- What will you do in the meantime?” Dick asked, a tiny tendril of fear worming its way into his heart. He did not want Jason to replace him.

“I’m not going to find a new sub, if that’s what you’re afraid of. I’m also looking into a new dom to do demonstrations at the club. Helena offered to help run the club for a while, so… I’ll have more time for you.”

“You’re- You’re giving up your lifestyle for me?” Dick asked, his voice trembling. “You don’t have to-”

“I’m not giving it up, Dickie,” Jason said. “I’m just reorganizing my priorities. I’ve realized that there are other things that come first now. I want you to know that we are equals in this relationship. If there’s anything you don’t like, tell me. Feel free to yell at me and fight your opinion. Don’t ever feel obligated. Okay?”

Dick did not answer for a long time. Then, he nodded very slowly.

Jason smiled and leaned in, pressing his lips to Dick’s, gently biting down on Dick’s lower lip before soothing it with his tongue. “You can be a little selfish sometimes. It could be good for you, darling.”

Chapter Text

The play room was soundproof, but even then, Dick heard the crashing of the glass coffee table shattering followed by the slam of the front door.

Dick sobbed and curled in on himself tighter. Time ticked away slowly, and Dick just wished for Jason to come back. To yell at him, to kick him out, to smack him, anything.

Dick was such an idiot. Why could he not do anything right? Was it really just so difficult to please Jason? Was Dick really so incompetent that he could not do anything good for his Dominant?

Dick just wanted to… to die. He wanted to disappear off the face of the earth and spare everyone from his existence. Maybe at his funeral, Jason could finally smile and say, “Good riddance. He was good for nothing anyway.”

Dick’s tears had run out, and they had felt sticky tracks on his face. He was reduced to dry sobs, and even his sobs were getting weaker as he started falling asleep. Dick tried his best to stay awake, wanting to be able to be able to beg for forgiveness the second Jason came back.

But when the door to the play room opened again, and Dick lifted his throbbing head, it was not Jason standing there.

“Oh… Dickie,” Roy whispered. He rushed over and dropped to his knees, pulling Dick into a hug.

Dick sobbed, fresh tears welling up in his eyes.

Jason was not coming back for him.

“Oh, fuck, dude… I- Jay called me, and told me to get here as soon as possible, and- where- where is he?” Roy asked, smoothing Dick’s hair back.

“G-G-Gone,” Dick choked out before wails took over him again. “H-He le-left me-e-e bec-cause h-he h-h-hates me, a-an’ I’m s-so fucking use-useless, I just-” Dick gave a frustrated scream.

“Shh…” Roy whispered. “Oh my god your back, Dick, what-” He cut himself off. “C’mon, let’s got you home, okay?”

Dick shook his head aggressively. “I- I have to w-wait for- for h-him t-t-to get ba-back! I- I have to say s-s-sorry!”

“He’s not… He’s not coming back here, Dick,” Roy said softly. “Not for a while at least.” Roy took a deep breath. “When he called me… he sounded really angry, so… um, I think he might’ve gone to the nearest bar and…” he trailed off. “We should leave.”

Dick shook his head again, but Roy stood, hefting Dick up with him. Roy practically dragged Dick out of Jason’s apartment, and the entire time, Dick was sobbing, trying to latch onto shelves, walls, or doorways to stop Roy.

“Stop it, Dick!” Roy said when Dick broke away again. “Stop acting like such a child! I’m trying to help you!”

Dick back away from him. “N-No! Don’t- Don’t touch me!” He curled his arms around himself and stumbled. “Everyone hates me,” he whispered to himself.

Roy’s expression went from frustrated to heartbroken. “That’s not true, Dickie… you know that’s not true.”

Dick shook his head again. “You’re lying.”

“Dick…”

Dick sniffled and stood there, his head dropped low and his arms around himself. He stared at his feet for several minutes. Then, he nodded. “I’m- I’m sorry. I want to go- to go home now.”

Roy nodded. “Okay. Let’s go home then.”

~

Dick did not go to work for a few days. Thankfully, Roy called him in, explaining some things to Barbara, and she popped by during lunch, raging about how she was going to beat Jason up.

Dick barely mustered a weak smile at that.

He did not feel like smiling. He did not feel like eating. He did not feel like moving. He did not want to do anything. He just wanted to lie in bed and waste away. It was what he deserved.

Dick had asked Roy to put his phone in the living room so he would not have the urge to check it.

For two days, Dick did not look at his phone. His only contact with the outside world was through Roy and Barbara.

One night, Roy popped his head in, holding Dick’s phone in his hand. “Um… you have a lot of missed calls. Mostly from Jason… one from Bruce… and a couple from the Commish.”

Dick swallowed hard, his throat feeling a bit parched. “Let me see,” he said.

“You… sure?” Roy asked.

Dick nodded.

Roy tossed the phone over, and he gave Dick a worried look before shutting the door behind him to give Dick some privacy.

First, Dick listened to Commissioner Gordon’s voicemails. One was to wish him well, and the other was to ask if Dick was going to be coming in anytime soon. He had a special case for him. The second one was sent earlier that day.

Bruce’s voicemail was short and to the point. There was a gala in few weeks. He wanted Dick to attend in his place.

Dick’s finger hovered over Jason’s name, wondering if he should listen to the voicemails. There were 13 missed calls from him in the past few days, and 6 of them had voicemails.

Dick started from the oldest one, dating the same night of the awards’ night, and Dick’s punishment gone wrong.

“Hey… I’m really sorry I walked out like that… I shouldn’t have done that, I know. I- Dick, I can’t do this anymore. This- Our relationship isn’t- isn’t okay! So… I want to terminate our contract. Call me.”

“Dick, I don’t know if you got my voicemail last night, but Roy confirmed that he picked you up and took you home and that you weren’t in the greatest state, and that’s entirely my fault. I shouldn’t have left you to drop by yourself. I know you hate me and probably don’t want to hear my voice, but call me. We need to talk.”

“Dick, I’m assuming you’re ignoring me. Roy’s ignoring me as well now. And so is Barbara. Which means I have no means of contact with you. While I could go and find out where you live, I felt that I might be an invasion of privacy. Again, as soon as you feel like you can face me again, call me.”

“Dick Grayson, this has gone on long enough. I showed up at the police department only to find that you haven’t been to work, and Barbara kicked me out as well. Call me.”

“Nghhhh… Dickie! How- How’re youuuu? I’m great- great, thanks for askin’! ‘m at a bar right now an’- an’ there’s this chick here who kinda- kinda looks like you! Anyway, I’m drunk, and I miss you. Call me! Mwah!”

“Please ignore that last voicemail. I was drunk and not thinking straight. But do call me, Dick. Seriously.”

The last voicemail was from earlier today. Dick stared at his phone for the longest time while an automated voice asked him what he wanted to do with his voicemail.

He deleted them all, threw his phone across the room, shattered it, and fell asleep crying again.

Why could the world not swallow him up any sooner?

Chapter Text

Dick was having a great week.

He and Jason had been texting back and forth all week since their date, despite the fact that they were both too busy to see each other.

A couple of nights that week, even though they were both exhausted after a day of work, they would take some time and just talk on the phone.

It was comforting to fall asleep to Jason’s voice in his ear.

At work, he had been working on the case of the dead editor-in-chief still, and it was not an easy case, but Dick did not feel like he was working to drown out negative feelings anymore. If anything, Dick found work just as enjoyable as everything else, and he was much more cheerful. Everyone noticed.

On Thursday, Dick went over to Cain Publishing’s main office to interview certain people. He had already done a round of interviews earlier that week, but he needed more information, and there were some things he needed to know.

“You can use this room for your interviews,” one of the secretaries said, opening the door of a small conference room.

“Thank you,” Dick said, smiling at her. “Can I talk to the editor’s secretary again? A… Miss Rosemary?”

“Of course, sir!” the bubbly secretary said. “I’ll go get her for you!”

Dick got through his interviews quite quickly. Apparently, it was no secret that Halcyon Books hated Cain Publishing. Why that was, there were many different speculations. Some say it was because Cain Publishing had published several great hits in the past couple of years while Halcyon struggled. Some say it was because Halcyon’s jealousy and ineptitude. Some claim that there were some sort of personal issues between the heads of the two companies.

Dick had already looked into the history of both publishing houses, and neither of them did considerably better than the other. They were always neck to neck, hence them being rivals, so Dick disregarded the first theory. The second theory Dick did not even bother with. The only thing Dick had left as a possible motive was based off the third claim.

But it made sense. A lot of murders stemmed from personal issues between individuals, not necessarily entire groups.

Dick was taking notes when there was a knock on the conference room door. He looked up, expecting to see the young, bubbly secretary from before.

Instead, it was Jason’s sister – Cassandra.

“Mr. Grayson,” she said. “I have brought coffee.”

“Oh,” Dick said, blinking. “You- You didn’t have to. I was just going to leave.”

Cassandra smiled. “No, no, sit. I want to talk to you.”

“Okay…” Dick said, settling back into his chair.

She set down the coffee, and took a cup for herself, taking it black. Dick put a splash of milk and some sugar in his.

“There… are some things I suppose you might want to know,” she started. “About my father.”

“Your… father? I’m sorry, but I thought your father…”

“Yes, he passed away a few years ago, but it is his name on the company, and his legacy that remains here,” she said. Her face grew dark. “And in turn, it is his past that haunts this company.”

“What do you mean?” Dick asked.

She kept her voice low. “The CEO of Halcyon… was an old friend of my father’s. I remember seeing them talking and laughing together when I was younger. They often attended the same parties as well. But somehow… things went wrong, and they drifted apart.”

“So you think the CEO of Halcyon ordered someone to kill the editor-in-chief? But why? Mr. Edward had nothing to do with whatever dispute your father had with Halcyon’s CEO.”

Cassandra pursed her lips and sipped her coffee. “Yes, that is true,” she said. “I suspect that… if it truly was my father’s friend who ordered Mr. Edward to be killed, he would be going after my father’s legacy.”

“I see,” Dick said. He quickly scribbled down a few more things. “Then I suppose I have quite a bit of work to do now,” he said. “I’m headed over to Halcyon this afternoon. Is there anyone you think I should talk to?”

Cassandra nodded. “Talk to their editors, and most of all, their CEO. Mention my father.”

“Of course, Ms. Cain,” Dick said.

Cassandra blinked at him in surprise. “Just Cass is fine,” she said with an easy smile.

“Then, I insist you call me Dick.”

She nodded. “I was not sure if it were appropriate given the circumstances. But I suppose, seeing that you are Jason’s lover now…”

Dick choked on his coffee.

“He also insists you stay for lunch, by the way,” she said, standing up. “Top floor. Just give your name to his secretary.”

With that, she walked out, leaving Dick to wipe up the coffee he spit all over his notes and the conference table.

Then, with a sigh and a smile, he headed up to the top floor.

~

Dick gently pushed open the door to Jason’s office.

“-don’t accept that! No, I’m telling you, I am not taking that for an answer. I don’t care. You work it out. Of course, now I have other things to attend to. Don’t call me back until you’ve got this sorted out!” Jason snapped.

He ended the call and looked up, smiling widely.

“Dickie!” Jason stood, then cleared his throat. “I mean… Detective, to what do I owe this visit?”

Dick rolled his eyes. “Your sister. She told me you wanted to see me.”

“Cassie?” he asked, eyebrows raising. “I haven’t even talked to her today, that scheming little brat. She’s so sweet. Well, welcome to my office, darling. What do you think?” Jason asked.

“Spacious,” Dick said. He walked to the ceiling to floor windows and peered out at the expanse of the city. “Pretty view.”

Suddenly, Jason was pressed up behind him. “I’ve got a better view,” he whispered.

Dick shivered.

Then, Jason wrapped his arms around Dick’s waist and rested his chin on his shoulder and pressed a kiss to Dick’s jaw. “Your pretty face.”

“And here I thought you were going to make a comment about my ass.”

“I was tempted,” Jason said. “But there are so many things about you that are nicer to look at.

“Oh?”

“Your gorgeous blue eyes… Those sinfully sharp cheekbones… Those sweet lips and curve into the prettiest smile… The soft, dark hair… The small dimples in your cheeks when you smile…” Jason whispered, kissing said dimples as Dick started smiling.

Dick turned around so that his back was pressed against the glass. “Now I have a pretty view as well.”

“Pretty?”

“Oh, so pretty,” Dick said. “The prettiest one in this whole building.”

“Oh, I’m offended,” Jason said. “One, that title goes to you. Two, my shoulders are too broad to be considered pretty. And darling, I would be beautiful.”

“Of course you would be,” Dick laughed. He leaned his head against Jason’s shoulder and took a deep breath, sagging tiredly against Jason.

“Something wrong?”

“No,” Dick said. “Just happy.”

Jason’s arms tightened around him. “Happy is good. I like it when you’re happy.”

“Me too,” Dick whispered.

~

Dick fidgeted with his hands and his pants as he sat in the comfy chair in the therapist’s office.

Dick looked at the nameplate on the desk – Leslie Thompson. She was apparently one of Jason’s good friends and was easy to talk to. Dick was never really good at talking to people at all, so he was not sure if he would find Leslie “easy to talk to”.

He startled slightly when the door opened.

“Oh, hi, Dick, right?” Leslie asked, walking in and sitting down in her chair. She grabbed the glasses sitting on her desk and slid them on. “How are you today?”

“Um… okay,” Dick said. “Nervous, I guess.”

She smiled. “No need to be. You say what you want to say. I’m not here to pressure you in any way. My job is just to listen and advise.”

Dick attempted a smile. “And… if I don’t want to say anything?”

“You don’t have to,” Leslie said slowly. “Not immediately at least. But a little… tip. You’ve carried a lot of that emotional weight, haven’t you? It’s been a long time where you just keep it to yourself, and you’ve seen what carrying all that yourself does. I’m not talking about the ‘sharing the weight with someone else’ crap. I’m saying that maybe keeping it to yourself isn’t working, so… maybe it’s time you tried another tactic.”

“Talking it out?”

Leslie nodded.

Dick took a deep breath. His eyes flickered to the tissue box on Leslie’s desk, sitting next to a mason jar of M&M’s.  

Leslie smiled kindly. “You can hold the tissues, if you want. Or the candy. Whatever makes you feel better.”

Dick started to shake his head, then he stopped and took the tissue box and held it in his lap. He took another deep breath and looked out of the window. “What do I talk about? I don’t know where to start.”

“Wherever you want. Beginning, middle, end, they’re all good starts,” Leslie said quietly. She folded her hands in her lap and leaned back in her chair. Dick noted that she did not have a notepad of any kind.

“You’re not going to… write stuff down?” Dick asked, wincing.

Leslie raised an eyebrow. “Would you rather I take my notes right now?”

“No,” Dick said. “I like it better like this.”

Leslie smiled.

Dick stared out of the window for a couple of minutes. He decided not to start with the most obvious, the most painful things. “One of my best friends, Barbara, tells me that I overwork myself too much sometimes. I can kind of see where she’s coming from. I stay late a lot, I bring cases home, I sometimes come in on weekends and do miscellaneous things around the office. I called it ‘volunteer work’, saying it’s good for morale,” Dick said with a small snort.

“So you agree with her?”

“I don’t… know,” Dick admitted. “I don’t think I’m overworking necessarily. I think I’m just doing my job well.”

“Then why does Barbara think you’re overworking yourself?”

“I- I fall asleep at work sometimes, and I go through an entire pot of coffee by myself on good days,” Dick said with a small wince. He fell silent. “Okay, maybe I overwork a little bit. But Babs says it causes me not to have a social life. She says I don’t get out enough because of it. But I do go out! Once a week, sometimes even twice. I go to lunch with Babs a lot as well.”

“Do you ever go eat with anyone else other than Barbara?” Leslie asked.

“Yeah, my other best friend, Roy. But he’s busy a lot… doing who knows what, heh. I only really go out with Roy when Roy asks first.”

“Hm,” Leslie hummed.

“It’s not that I don’t want to hang out with Roy. Roy’s great. I love him, he’s my best friend, but… every time we go out… eventually the conversation turns to… him.”

“To Roy?”

“No, my- my ex-boyfriend,” Dick said a wince. “He… wasn’t a very good person, according to everyone else.”

“I see,” Leslie said.

Dick stopped talking and he frowned out of the window instead for a while.

“So what do you usually do with your friends when you go out?” Leslie asked, directing the conversation away from the ex. Jason had told her – baby steps. Dick was emotionally fragile, Jason had explained rather worriedly.

When Jason had called her, she could imagine Jason sitting in front of her, talking in a hurried and hushed voice, leaning forward as urgency filled his voice. He was honestly worried about Dick and was at a loss of what to do. Right after scheduling an appointment for Dick, he scheduled one for himself as well, saying that he needed to talk things out after the whole “manipulation” event.

Dick blinked a couple of times as he was gently brought out of his stupor. “We go out for lunch or dinner. Sometimes we go out drinking, but I usually have work, so those days are rare. Roy likes taking me to really random places. It’s how I met Jason actually.”

Leslie smiled. “At his BDSM club, right?”

“Yeah,” Dick said, his smile turning fond. “Strangest first meeting ever, I think. But… I’m glad I met him. Jason’s- Jason’s good.”

“Good?”

“A good person,” Dick said. “His heart’s in the right place and all.”

“But?” Leslie prompted.

Dick was silent for several moments. Then, he whispered, “I don’t- But what if he’s wrong?”

“About what, Dick?” Leslie asked softly.

“That I- That I can be fixed. I’m sorry, but I don’t understand how some talking can- can fix me,” Dick said, his voice shaking a little bit. “Can you really fix me?” He was gripping the tissue box really tightly now.

Leslie considered her words carefully. “No,” she finally settled on. “I can’t fix you, not really. Only you can ‘fix’ you. Because those things that you see as broken, only you see them. It’s all a person’s perspective, you see. It’s like seeing the glass half empty or half full. What you might see as a flaw, something broken, someone else might see as your strength, as your strong point.”

“How?” Dick asked sadly.

“Okay,” Leslie said. “What about yourself don’t you like.”

Dick snorted. “Everything?”

Leslie did not bat an eyelash at it. “More specifically?”

“I don’t… I’m on the heavy side sometimes,” Dick started slowly. “And my hair gets oily easily. My skin isn’t blemish free. I have dark circles under my eyes a lot. And my smile is more often fake than real.”

“Has Jason ever told you what he likes about you?”

Dick blinked at her. Then, he nodded, blushing. “Y-Yeah. Um, a lot.”

“Okay. So what does he say?”

“Uh… he- he says he thinks I’m- I’m beautiful?” Dick squeaked, flushing more and refusing to meet Leslie’s eyes.

“Just pretty?” Leslie asked with a slightly teasing tone.

Dick wrung his hands as he kept talking. “He likes that… that my hair always smells good and is soft,” he said quieter. “He… likes my smile too,” he practically whispered. “Stuff… like that.”

“You should ask him,” Leslie said. “I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you exactly what he thinks about you.”

“I- I can’t ask him,” Dick said. “I- He’ll think I’m narcissistic.”

Leslie chuckled softly. “Trust me, he won’t think that. The man adores you. I’ve known Jason for a long time, Dick. He definitely won’t think you narcissistic.” Her eyes glanced at the clock. “Ah, unfortunately, our time here is up, but before our next meeting, I want you to do a bit of homework.”

“H-Homework?” Dick asked worriedly.

“Nothing hard, I promise,” Leslie said. “First, I want you to invite both Barbara and Roy out to hang out sometime this week, together or separately. But you must do the inviting, and spend a few hours with them doing something you want to do. The second thing, I want you to look at yourself in the mirror once every day and aloud, compliment yourself. Even if you’re feeling like utter crap, find something about yourself to compliment, okay?”

“Um…”

“It’s not as painful as you think,” Leslie said.

“Okay,” Dick said.

“I’ll see you next week then,” Leslie said.

Dick nodded and gave her a small smile. He left her office feeling a whole lot lighter. He walked outside and found Jason’s car still parked outside.

Jason looked up when he saw Dick walk out. Immediately, he smiled and waved. Dick slid into the passenger’s seat.

“How was it?” Jason asked.

“It was… good,” Dick said, smiling a little. “Leslie’s nice.”

“So, um, progress then?”

Dick contemplated it. “Maybe,” he said. “We’ll see. Start the car. I think I want burgers for dinner.”

Jason practically beamed. “Of course, Dickie. I know just the joint.” He started the car, and they pulled out of the parking lot, driving off into the depths of city as the sun started setting behind them.

~

“Mmm, no, go with the striped blue one again,” Jason said.

Dick sighed and picked up the blue tie for the third time, holding it up to his chest. Jason took a step back and frowned.

“Maybe you should go with a bowtie instead,” Jason finally said.

“A bowtie?” Dick echoed. “I don’t have any bowties.” He scrunched his face together. “The last time I wore a bowtie was when I was eleven and attending galas with- with Bruce.”

Jason reached into his pocket and pulled out a simple black bowtie, tossing t to Dick. “Well, I know you don’t like the guy, but you look too stiff with a tie.”

Dick sighed again and held the bowtie up to his neck. Jason smiled and nodded. Dick fumbled with it for a second, trying to get it on.

“Turn around,” Jason said softly, reaching up to held fasten Dick’s bowtie. “Too tight?” he asked, slipping a finger under the strap to see if there was enough room for Dick to breathe.

“I’m okay,” Dick said, breath catching at the slight pull on his throat.

Jason smiled, fixing the collar of Dick’s button up over it. He stepped back and grabbed Dick’s blazer, tossing it to him. “C’mon, then,” he said. “We’re going to be late.”

“I don’t even know where we’re going,” Dick complained half-heartedly.

“You’re not supposed to,” Jason said with a smile. He held out his hand to Dick, who took it with a small pout. Jason pulled him in and gently pecked Dick on the lips, making Dick feel all warm inside. Jason moved his hand to rest on Dick’s waist, holding him there against him. He moved to kiss Dick a little harder, but reigned himself in. “We’ll never leave if we keep this up,” Jason said. “Let’s go.”

~

Jason took Dick to a high-class seafood restaurant overlooking Gotham Bay.

They talked over their crab stuffed mushroom appetizers, and Dick was nervous at first because it was the first fancy date he and Jason had been on. He was afraid he would spill wine on his shirt, or he would use the wrong fork or something.

Miraculously, he did none of that. Dinner went without a single blip, and Dick found himself enjoying their date very much.

They also went for a short boat ride through the bay. Dick leaned against the railing with a glass of wine in his hand, the ocean spray in his face. It was cold, but it was nice.

“There you are,” Jason said, coming out of the back of the boat. He squished in next to Dick, their shoulders, arms and hips all touching. “What are you doing out here? It’s cold.”

“Thinking,” Dick said softly.

“About what?” Jason asked.

“Lots of things,” Dick answered. He gave Jason a small smile. “You, us, my friends, family, work.”

Jason chuckled quietly. “I see. Do you ever just think about… useless things?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, things that are a honest waste of time to think about. Things that give people existential crises. Like how the universe is so, so, so damn big that we’re just this tiny insignificant little speck and the things we worry about are absolutely meaningless in the grand scheme of things.”

Dick rolled his eyes. “Sure, when I was younger. I don’t have time to consider that now. I’m too busy.”

“I think about it,” Jason murmured. “I think about how I really honestly don’t make a damn difference in this fucking universe, so why do I worry so much about every little thing?” Jason laughed and clinked his glass against Dick’s before taking a sip. “Never found an answer to that question,” Jason said. He shrugged. “Sometimes, it’s good not to know.”

Dick sipped his wine as well. “I beg to differ. I like knowing.”

Jason winked at him, taking a step back. “Well, Detective, you’ll never know everything there is to know. But, you can always learn some new things every day. So since we’re docking soon, why don’t you let me take you back to my place and we can do some learning together?”

Dick’s eyebrows furrowed. “Was that whole conversation just to get to that one line…?”

Jason scoffed. “Shut up, Grayson. I was winging it.”

~

They were kissing before the door closed completely.

They lost the shoes, jackets, and ties before the lights flickered on.

They were stumbling to the bedroom before either of them got a chance to take a breath.

Jason pushed Dick down onto the bed, panting hard, and his fingers playing with the button of Dick’s shirt. “Are you okay with this?” he asked. “Honestly?”

“Yes, yes,” Dick said harshly, reaching up to grab Jason and pulling him down into another kiss. Jason gave into the kiss for a few seconds before forcing himself to pull away again.

“Dick, I’m serious, I-”

“Damn it, Jay, I’m not incapable of having normal sex!”

Jason stared down at Dick for another second before he decided that Dick was telling the truth. He slammed his lips back into Dick’s, kissing him fast and hard. Then, as he unbuttoned Dick’s shirt, Jason followed his hands’ path, kissing and licking his way down Dick’s neck, and chest.

He licked Dick’s right nipple, gently running his teeth over it too, satisfied when Dick arched slightly into the feeling. Then, he went and gave the same treatment to Dick’s left nipple.

He threw Dick’s shirt away and started tugging his own off as well, not giving a damn about the spray of buttons he just ripped off a rather expensive button up.

“Wait- Wait,” Dick panted.

Jason immediately stopped everything, freezing in his tracks.

Dick wiggled out from underneath him, swung his leg over Jason, and pushed Jason down onto the bed.

“Dick, what-”

“Can I- Can I suck you off?”

Jason’s expression must have looked absolutely comical with his bugged out eyes and slightly gaping mouth while supported by his elbows. “Um…” he said intelligently.

Dick took his surprise for hesitance. “I mean-”

Yes,” Jason choked out. “I would- I would like that. Very much.”

Dick smiled. “Okay,” he said, a bit shyly. He slowly slid down along Jason’s body.

Jason could not help but feel the pressured drag of Dick’s shirtless torso moving over his very hard cock, still restrained in his slacks. “Fuck,” he hissed, throwing his head back. “Dickie…”

Dick finally got in level with Jason’s cock, and he worked his hands deftly to undo Jason’s belt, dropping it over the edge of the bed. Then, he unbuttoned the straining pants, and slowly eased it down. He looked up at Jason. Dick bit his lower lip seductively and gave Jason a small smile. He could not help but feel a little victorious as Jason muttered another curse word.

 Dick took a deep breath, exhaling over Jason’s clothed cock. He took satisfaction in seeing it twitch in response. Then, Dick decided it was enough teasing, and he clamped his teeth over the band of Jason’s briefs and started pulling it down, all the while, maintaining eye contact with Jason.

Maybe he was not done teasing yet.

When Dick finally threw the briefs away to join the rest of their clothes, he settled himself between Jason’s legs, and he reached out and tentatively touched Jason’s cock.

Dick was well aware this was the first time he was blowing Jason. Dick just hoped that he would live up to whatever expectations that Jason had in his head.

Then, without letting himself thinking much more about it (and over thinking it), Dick encircled Jason’s cock with his hand, and lapped at the swollen head. Then, he did it again, this time, letting his tongue dip slightly into the slit. Dick got a taste of Jason’s precum – slightly bitter and a tad salty, but not bad. He swirled his tongue around, getting the head of Jason’s cock all wet before fully taking it into his mouth.

Dick slowly worked his head up and down on Jason’s length, looking up every few moments to see how Jason was taking it.

Still supported on his elbows, Jason had his head thrown back and would let out the occasional moan, and his hips would stutter to keep from fucking into Dick’s mouth.

Dick worked more of Jason’s cock down his throat until the head brushed against the back of his throat. Dick felt the urge to gag for a second, the tickling feeling that generally came with triggering one’s gag reflex, but he was skilled enough not to. Finally, he had taken Jason completely.

A hand threaded through Dick’s hair. “Oh god, that’s good,” Jason groaned. “Holy shit, Dickie-”

Dick pulled back slowly, hollowing out his cheeks and sucking hard at the same time. With only the head of Jason’s cock in his mouth, Dick took it all the way down again.

As he started speeding up, Dick’s nervousness also faded away, urged on by Jason’s gasps of pleasure and encouraging words.

Dick continued his slow blowjob, wanting to drag it out, despite his need to have some stimulation as well. His own cock, still trapped in his pants, could only rut shallowly against the edge of Jason’s bed. It was good, but it was not enough.

“Oh, fuck, Dickie, I’m going to-”

Dick slid all the way down on Jason’s cock as the other man fell backwards completely onto the bed, grunting as he came into Dick’s throat. His fingers were pulling at Dick’s hair now, holding his head there while he came. Then, Jason pulled Dick back, shooting the last couple strands of cum into Dick’s open, wet mouth.

“Was that good?” Dick rasped, clearing his throat before repeating the question.

Jason gave him a smile. “So good, baby,” he said. Then, he pushed himself up into a sitting position. “Now I’m going to return the favor. Up on the bed.”

Dick tried not to be too eager as he scrambled onto the bed, pulling his pants off as he went.

“I want you on your elbows and knees,” Jason said, gently massaging Dick’s ass with a hand. Dick got down onto his elbows, his ass high in the air. “Perfect,” Jason whispered as he slowly peeled Dick’s underwear off.

Then, with his thumbs, Jason spread Dick’s cheeks, revealing his hole. Jason blew on Dick’s hole, making his ass clench, muscles contracting. Jason chuckled quietly.

“So fucking perfect,” he told Dick. Then, he kissed the base of Dick’s spine, gently kissing his way down to Dick’s hole.

Dick’s breath hitched as he realized what Jason was about to do. He grabbed a pillow and hid his face into it, moaning loudly when he finally felt Jason’s tongue tough the furled muscle of his hole. Unconsciously, he spread his legs a bit wider and arched forward, pushing his ass up, and consequently, pushing Jason’s face deeper into his ass.

Jason laughed and pulled back, blowing air over Dick’s spit-slick hole again. “Good?”

Dick turned his head to the side and let out a gasp. “Jay, please, I need- please give me something!”

“Of course, Dickie, darling,” Jason whispered, running a hand down Dick’s spine before spreading his ass again and diving back in. Except this time, Jason did not waste time, and he got straight to business. He licked and forced his way into Dick with his tongue, wiggling it around as Dick moaned and whined into the pillow, half begging half sobbing in pleasure.

“Jay, I need- oh god, please! Ahhh, mmhph!” The sheets by Dick’s hands were rumpled and pulled out of place now. “I can’t- I need you to take me now, please Jay!”

“Take you how?” Jason asked cheekily.

“Oh, just fuck me,” Dick groaned.

“As you wish, darling,” Jason said. Within seconds, he had gotten lube, a condom and two fingers up Dick’s ass.

Jason was quick but thorough with prepping Dick. Though as he rolled the condom on and lined himself up to Dick’s twitching hole, he wondered if he should have been a bit gentler and less clinical with the prepping. But of course, Dick was too desperate anyway to notice.

When Jason finally pushed into him, Dick bucked back to meet him. “Oooh, yes, Jay-” Dick’s moaned.

Jason leaned forward, kissing the back of Dick’s neck as he slowly pistoned his hips in and out of Dick’s ass. “So good,” Jason grunted. “Oh god, you feel so fucking good, Dickie!”

Dick could feel his orgasm building, boiling and coiling deep in his guts. His cock was leaking and ignored, but it did nothing to stop his climax from growing. “I’m close, Jay.”

“Yeah?” Jay murmured right by Dick’s ear. “Come for me, Dickie. C’mon, darling.”

“Hnnn,” Dick groaned, squeezing his eyes shut and strangling the hell out of Jason’s sheets.

Jason’s thrusts were getting more erratic as well. He pounded Dick with a bruising force, chasing that orgasm that was so close.

Fuck,” he hissed. “I fucking love you, Dick!”

Dick gasped at his words and came immediately. The sudden clenching around Jason’s cock pushed Jason over the edge.

After they both came down from their climaxes, Jason slowly pulled out and rolled off of Dick, exhausted.

Dick rolled over onto his side, his eyes wide as he panted. “You… love me?” he asked in a raw whisper.

Jason stared back at him. He had certainly not planned to say it that way, but it was true. He loved Dick, and he wanted Dick to know that.

“I do,” Jason said.

Dick opened his mouth then closed it, biting his lip tightly.

“Is that so hard to believe?” Jason whispered, reaching up to touch Dick’s slightly sweaty face. “You’re my boyfriend. I’m bound to fall in love with you at some point.”

“I didn’t…” Dick trailed off, then took a deep breath. “Never mind.”

“Didn’t think that I would? Didn’t think that I could?”

“Yeah,” Dick admitted. He closed his eyes.

Jason’s hand went a bit higher, brushing through Dick’s damp bangs. “Oh, Dickie,” he murmured. “Darling, I’m so lucky to have had this chance to meet you and to fall in love with you. It’s still surreal sometimes, but I’m sure that I do love you, very much.”

Two tears squeezed out of the corners of Dick’s closed eyes. “Okay,” he whispered.

And Jason, despite the fact that they were both sweaty and hot, wrapped an arm around Dick’s body and held him close.

~

A few hours later, after they had both gotten cleaned up, and Jason stripped the bed, they were lying facing each other.

The Gotham skyline was dark over Jason’s shoulder, and Dick could really only see the outline of Jason’s form, but he knew that Jason was as awake as he was.

“When… When can we go back to the… um…” Dick trailed off, his face burning with embarrassment.

“The what?” Jason whispered back.

“The whole… BDSM thing,” Dick said, as quietly as he possibly could.

Dick himself was not sure he was ready for that yet. Jason would not hurt him on purpose, and Jason was a good person in general. He knew about Dick’s vulnerable points, and he promised to work aroud them. However, Dick was still worried that Jason would dump his ass, and leave Dick all alone and confused, even though Jason said he loved him. Love does fade.

Dick noted that he should probably ask Leslie about his trust issues during their next session.

Dick also knew very well that Jason was still upset about how their last scene went. Dick felt guilty for putting so much guilt on Jason’s shoulders, and Dick was certain he had destroyed any credit he had with Jason regarding his physical state.

Jason sighed heavily. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “There’s no rush.”

“I know, I know,” Dick said quickly. “I was just… wondering.”

“Well, probably after a few more therapy sessions, and if you honestly make an improvement in the way you see yourself and how you take care of yourself,” Jason said. “Then, we need to have a serious talk about how we’re going to proceed.

“Dickie, I cannot, cannot, cannot have you manipulating me like that,” Jason said, a hint of frustration coming through. “It’s- It’s my job to make sure you’re safe during a scene, to make sure you’re comfortable and stable emotionally. If you lie to me…”

“I know. I’m sorry,” Dick said quietly, wanting to shrink in on himself from the chastisement.

“I’m not yelling at you, Dick,” Jason said. “I just need you to understand.”

“I get it.”

“Do you?” Jason asked.

Dick did not answer.

Jason just sighed. He put an arm around Dick’s waist and pulled him in. “Dick, I love you. I don’t want you to get hurt, and I want you to trust me not to hurt you, okay? So when both you and I are certain on that fact, then.”

Dick was silent for a few beats. Then, with his forehead touching Jason’s chest, he nodded. “Jay,” he whispered. “I think I love you too.”

Jason just smiled and kissed the top of Dick’s head.

~

Dick invited Roy out, as he promised Leslie he would do.

They went to a bowling alley because Dick remembered Roy mentioning once that he liked bowling and because they have never gone together before.

Within the first ten minutes of just sitting in the car and driving to the bowling alley, Roy said, “You’re different. Happier. What did you do?”

At the time, Dick had just smiled and said, “I’m healing.”

Roy had beamed at him, clapping Dick on the back, sending Dick chest first into the horn and scaring the little kid on the sideway beside them. Still, Dick was happy that Roy was proud of him. It made him feel proud of himself.

The very next day, Roy dragged Dick out to a supposed celebratory party, at a nice, high-end club.

“This is really ridiculous,” Dick said when Roy finally found the reserved table. Dick noted that Roy had also invited Barbara, Jason, Cassandra. “Roy, you didn’t have to-”

“Nuh-uh,” Roy said with a laugh. “My best friend is finally, finally getting over his asshole ex. I’m celebrating. First round of drinks on me!”

Dick slid into the seat next to Barbara, across from Jason.

“So,” Jason said, smiling around the rim of his glass. “Surprise?”

“No one said anything,” Dick pouted. “I could’ve- I could’ve at least changed,” he said, pointing to his uniform. “I feel like people are glaring at me because of it.”

Jason’s foot touched Dick’s ankle from under the table. “Nah,” he said. “I’ll make sure they don’t do anything to you.”

Dick turned to Barbara, giving her a kiss on the cheek and then smiling and waving at Cassandra. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey, yourself,” Barbara laughed. “I’m glad you’re finally feeling better! If Mr. Miracle over there is seriously making you this happy, I’d gladly convince my father to give you more time off so you guys can canoodle all day long.”

Dick blushed furiously.

Roy returned with the drinks, sliding each person a shot. “To Dick Grayson!” he cheered.

Roy ended up sitting next to Dick, and with the loud music and the plentiful drinks, it was not long before he was loose-lipped and extra touchy.

“Dickie,” Roy groaned, leaning his head on Dick’s shoulder. “Can you- Can you tell me somethin’,” he asked.

Dick grimaced and tried pushing Roy off of him. “Why’re you so- so heavy?” Dick groaned. He was a little more than buzzed himself.

“Tell me somthin’,” Roy said. “You- You won’t lie to me right? Because I’m your best friend?”

“I won’ lie to you,” Dick promised solemnly.

Jason chuckled in amusement from across the table. He had been nursing his two glasses of wine all evening, casually eating fries from the table’s shared basket. His eyes twinkled in the flashing lights of the club, and Dick thought it was really pretty.

He grinned back and Jason.

“Okay,” Roy said, finally getting off of Dick. “So- So can you tell- tell me whyyyy you ‘n Jay have- have been flirtin’ ‘cross the table all night?”

Jason immediately choked on his fry and started laughing. Cassandra rubbed his back while Barbara snorted in laughter as well.

“Whaaat?” Roy asked incredulously.

Dick did not know what was so funny either. He looked at Roy solemnly. “’Cause he’s my boyfriend?”

Roy gasped dramatically. He sputtered unintelligibly for a few seconds. “What? You- You didn’ even tell me?!”

“Y- You didn’t know?” Dick asked. He turned to Jason. “You didn’t tell him?”

“Yeah!” Roy said. “Why didn’ you tell- tell me either?!”

“You’ll forget it all by morning anyway, Roy,” Jason said with a chuckle. “But I’m sorry,” he amended when Roy pouted at him. “Fries?”

It turned out that Roy did not forget come morning. Then, he phoned both Dick and Jason separately, guilt tripping the both of them into promising him several favors.

Still, he ended the phone call with, “I’m happy for you,” he had said. “Both of you.”

~

A couple of days later, Dick breezed into Leslie’s office with a smile.

“Good morning, Leslie!” Dick said as he sat down.

“Good morning, Dick,” she said. “Something good happen?”

“Yeah,” Dick said. “I’ve… I’ve had a good week. I did my homework. Invited Roy out to go bowling together. Found out I’m not a natural at bowling, but we had fun. Yesterday, Babs and I went shopping for hours, and I was dead tired when I got back home, and Jason was there, he had made dinner, and he gave me a foot massage. He also made me breakfast this morning. Did you know he could cook, Leslie? He’s a brilliant cook.”

“He’s a man of many talents,” Leslie agreed.

“Anyway, I’m doing pretty good. How are you?”

Leslie smiled a bit more. “Quite well myself,” she said. “I’ve also had a good week.”

“That’s good,” Dick said.

“Did you do the other half of your homework?” Leslie asked.

Dick blushed. “Y-Yeah, I did,” he said. “The first couple of days were really hard. I spent about ten minutes in front of the mirror, but on the third day Jason caught me, and I explained to him my ‘homework’.”

“And?”

“And he… he made me late for work by listing off a lot of things I could have complimented myself on. It was… a little easier after that.” Dick took a deep breath. “I’m getting better at it, a little, at least. But, um, I… wanted to talk about my ex today.”

“Sure,” Leslie said.

“While we were dating, I think I was too in love with him to realize that he was a horrible person,” Dick said slowly. “I know now that he was emotionally abusive, verbally abusive, and basically tore up my self-esteem.”

“Is he still around?”

“No,” Dick said. “Kicked him out for good. He hasn’t bothered me since, and I don’t know where he is anymore, but I’m not curious either. I just… He’s the reason I’m not myself anymore. But now that he’s gone, I’m still not myself. I’m… I’m still haunted by this ghost of him, I think. Like, as long as I’m like this, I can’t really get rid of him, but if I can’t get rid of him, I’m always be stuck like this.”

“Why can’t you let go of him?” Leslie asked. “You no longer love him, right?”

“No,” Dick said. He smiled wryly. “I guess somewhere deep inside I still care about him. It’s… hard not to care about someone you used to love. Sometimes I wonder if he could change, if he has changed.”

“Does he affect your relationship with Jason?” Leslie asked.

“Well, I can’t function properly, so I guess so?”

“That’s him affecting you,” Leslie said. “But does he affect your relationship with Jason? As in, are you apprehensive of your relationship with Jason because of your experience with your ex-boyfriend?”

Dick looked at her in surprise. “I… yeah, a bit. I always think Jason is going to leave me someday. He’s going to get bored of me, tired of me, and he’s going to leave. I still think that sometimes. I mean, how do I know he won’t? Jason says he won’t, but how can I trust him?”

“You trust him,” Leslie said. “You do, but you’re denying it aloud.”

Dick shook his head. “I don’t know. Do I?”

“I think you do,” she said. “You’re happier around him. He makes you happy, right?”

“Yeah…”

“So you’ve opened up to him before. You trust him enough to open up to him, which is why you’re happier with him.”

“Huh,” Dick said softly. “I guess I do trust him. I- I trusted him with the whole… BDSM thing, but I wasn’t sure emotionally.”

“It’s hard not to trust someone emotionally when you give them all the reigns to your physical health and safety,” Leslie said.

“I suppose.” Dick fell silent. He glanced at the clock. There was still half an hour in their appointment, but he felt drained already. “Can I- Can I leave early? I think I’m done talking for today,” he said.

“Of course,” Leslie said. “Some more homework: I want you to show your trust in Jason bit by bit this week. In small ways. For example, trust him to take care of you when you’re tired. Trust that he’s going to come back at night when he leaves early in the morning for work. Trust that his every action has your well-being in mind.”

“Okay,” Dick whispered. “Thanks, Leslie.”

“Oh, one more thing,” Leslie said. “I hate to do this, but… antidepressants.”

Dick smiled wryly. “I figured.”

“Take one every morning and night,” Leslie said.

“Yup… got it,” Dick sighed. “See you next week.”

“See you next week, Dick.”