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the art of failure

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It's one thing if Dick was ignoring him. Jason's been stirring up trouble lately, enough to get Bruce’s attention definitely, but he can understand if Dick was at least smart enough to know he's out of his depths with Red Hood. It's another to just not see Nightwing around at all.

It's a whole different fucking book to find out Nightwing retired.

Robins don't retire. They just don't have it in them. Jason can vouch for the fact that they'll sooner die doing something straight fucking stupid before retirement even comes to mind. Dick especially. Dick wouldn't know what retirement meant if it bit him in the fucking ass. He almost thinks Dick’s dead, that Bruce tried this bullshit ‘retired’ rumor to hide the fact that even his best, golden son died in his idea of ‘care’. That's not the case, fortunately or otherwise.

Jason still sees him around, obviously now located in Gotham as opposed to his precious Blüdhaven- and it's definitely Dick. He's really not surprised that it's difficult, even for him, to find out what could have driven Dick to retire completely. Bruce is good at hiding things and has clearly gotten even better over the years. All Jason can find are scraps of nonsensical rumors and blatant lies. Regardless of why, it's obvious it's true.

Dick is around but he's not a vigilante anymore.

In the end, Jason isn't sure why he cares so much. So Dick retired, that doesn't affect him- he keeps saying to himself as it obviously affects him very much. It just doesn't make sense and it bothers him in a way that crawls under his skin. He's not sure if he just wants a reason to be angry or if he wants the confrontation or if he's looking to reopen all those wounds his death left but Jason waits for an opportunity to talk to Dick alone.

It's not easy but then again, Jason doesn't go out of his way for it, either. When he does see Dick, he always seems to be with someone else, usually Drake or one of the other Bat kids. Annoying. The opportunity does eventually present itself, though. Gotham’s big but when Jason has some free time, he'll have a look to where Dick might be and hang out for a while. He keeps this weird pattern now that he never did before.

Today, he's on a nice rooftop for brunch. As nice as rooftops in Gotham can be. He eats here often and the rooftop seems to be strictly for Dick and his guests- like the ‘good’ son of a rich man he is, Jason notes sourly. His guest isn't Drake or one of his buddies, though, and Jason goes blind in rage when he sees Bruce at the table with him instead. He can't help it. Jason has seen Bruce face to face more than once now and he hates it every time.

It's difficult to get a reign on himself, to stop himself from doing something stupid like ruining their brunch just to piss Bruce off, but he manages just barely. If he talks to Bruce with Dick around he'll never get the answers he wants and he knows it. Dick will shut him out completely if Jason openly gets into it with Bruce. He's always taken their dad’s side. By the time Jason can see straight again, it looks like Bruce is leaving already, meal half finished and Dick half socialized.

Jason can read his lips from where he loiters patiently and he hates that he can hear Bruce’s rough, grumbly voice clear as day in his head.

‘Something’s come up,’ he says unapologetically. Jason can't see Dick’s lips from here but he assumes the answer is something overly forgiving. ‘We should do this more often, though.’ What, so he can leave in the middle more often? Bruce hasn't changed much but Jason already knew that. He looks away, annoyed, as Bruce and Dick talk a little more before Bruce finally leaves.

Jason moves in closer. Once he's gone, Dick stops trying to hide his obvious disappointment and visibly becomes dejected. He shoves a whole strawberry in his mouth and shortly after, irritably shoves the leafy part back out with his tongue. Just to make sure Bruce really is gone, Jason waits another minute and a half before actually beginning to make his way down to the lower rooftop.

As silent as he moves, the second he hops down onto the roof behind him, Dick is alert. Jason stops as Dick turns minutely in his direction. A quiet pause passes. Dick turns the other direction, suddenly gripping his fork more like a weapon than a utensil, and Jason just waits. Whatever he's waiting for, a reaction of any kind really, never happens. Dick looks fully over his shoulder, stares at Jason a moment, then scans the area before turning back. His grip lightens like he hadn't found any threats and the tension in his shoulders loosens.

There's no way.

Jason takes a step forward. Dick clutches his fork again and this time, looks squarely at Jason without hesitation. He doesn't say anything, though, and Jason stays dead still. His helmet absorbs the sound of his breathing and while he's not sure how good Dick's hearing is now or how loud his heart actually is outside of his own eardrums, the padding of his gear hides that, too. There's no way for Dick to know he's here. He hates that he's right and when he waits long enough, Dick turns away from him again. This time he doesn't relax, he's obviously unsettled, but he goes back to eating without acknowledging that Red fucking Hood is standing on the same roof as him.

Dick's blind.

This time when Jason walks forward, he doesn't stop. Dick jolts, more out of discomfort than surprise, and he turns to follow the sound of Jason’s steps across the roof.

“Bruce asked you not to sneak up on me,” Dick comments. He doesn't really think Jason is one of the waitstaff here but he's also not going to openly give away the fact that he knows he may very well be in danger. Jason turns off his voice modifier. He doesn't want Dick to immediately take him as a threat, he tells himself, and speaking in Red Hood’s voice after, for as far as Dick’s aware, trying to sneak up on him is pretty threatening.

“I'd hate to get on his bad side,” Jason replies. Dick seems perplexed, a slight tilt to his head as he tries to place Jason’s voice.

“Who are you?” he finally asks. No, of course he wouldn't recognise Jason's voice. The last time he heard him was nearly ten years ago and ten times as many packs of cigarettes at least. Jason never had his hopes up. He waves a hand in front of Dick's face but Dick doesn't respond to it, simply looking at where he's heard Jason's voice coming from. Not even low light vision; he's completely blind.

“Care to take a guess,” Jason says. Dick frowns. He watches, or pretends to, as Jason scrounges the table for something halfway decent looking. Ultimately, he's not that much of a picky eater and he tilts his helmet back enough to shove some food in his maw. All this fancy shit Bruce tries to buy Dick’s patience and understanding with leaves a bad taste in his mouth but free food is free food.

“Not really,” Dick answers eventually. He has yet to release his attack grip on his fork but unless Jason actually does something threatening, he's too stupid to protect himself preemptively. Whether or not he still can isn't up for question. Dick is focused on his mouth, or more specifically where his voice is coming from, and Jason has no doubt in his mind Dick can throw that fork with enough accuracy still to hit what little face he's showing to eat.

“I'm hurt,” Jason says flatly and Dick frowns even more. He doesn't realise how honest it actually is until he says it. Even if he wasn't blind, would Dick recognise him? He's not the spindly, soft faced kid he used to be. He's few things he used to be.

He can't do this.

“I'll see you around, Dickie,” Jason says before Dick gets a chance to say anything else. He's already moving to the edge of the roof when Dick gets to his feet, likely spurred by the sudden movement. “Can't say the same for you.”

 

Jason has to mentally regroup. He should leave it, he got what he wanted; Dick isn't Nightwing anymore because he can't see anymore. That's all he was looking for. Now he's looking for more. How did Dick go blind, what the hell is Bruce doing about it, why is ‘replacement Jason’ acting as his keeper? Not to mention a thousand other questions that gets Jason’s blood boiling just thinking about them.

Which is why he finds himself at Dick’s apartment a couple days later. It didn't take too much to track it down, in fact he just sort of followed Dick home one day. Why he's living on his own halfway across the city from his family makes Jason boil all over again. The lights are all off but- Dick’s blind, why would the lights be on? He lets himself in silently through a window.

Dick's hearing is exceptional.

“Hello?” Dick says somewhat aimlessly. Much like at brunch, his grip on his book changes to something far more offensive. Again, Jason makes sure his modular is off first.

“Hey, Dickie,” he replies, flipping a lamp on.

“You,” Dick scoffs. Even if he doesn't recognise him as Jason, he still recognises him from their last encounter. “Who are you?” he practically demands this time. Jason considers just telling him. There's no way Dick would believe him and all that would happen is a messy conversation of Jason digging out every mean bit of knowledge he has about the family to prove his identity.

“Still don't recognise me?” he says in false hurt. “Breaks my heart-” Dick is just as fast as he used to be- faster, maybe, but Jason is faster, too. Without warning, Dick throws the book slightly lower than Jason's face. He almost thinks it's him being too nice but when Jason moves out of the way, the lamp smashes behind him. Dick is using the darkness to his advantage- something he doesn't know is pointless to Jason's hood. Fighting Dick isn't in his plan, though, and neither is fighting Bruce.

Jason lashes out swiftly, throwing a still sheathed switchblade from his pocket across the room and knocking Dick’s phone off the table. Both items go clattering across the floor and Dick draws back swiftly.

“Let's not go callin’ daddy,” Jason says plainly. “I'm not here to hurt you. Ain't no reason to get Bats involved.” Dick freezes. A silent moment passes. Of course, he'd never openly confirm that. He's not that stupid. “What's wrong, Nightwing?”

“Who are you?” he demands again.

“How did you go blind?” Jason returns, getting straight to the point. Dick is already ill at ease with his presence, no reason to make him even more tense by dancing around the subject. The sooner Jason is satisfied, the sooner they can both be done with this.

“I asked first,” Dick replies.

“Answer my question and I'll answer yours,” Jason promises, perhaps not with any intention of a completely honest answer but an answer all the same. Dick gives him an annoyed look. “You stopped being Nightwing because you went blind. What happened?”

“Why do you care?” Dick asks shortly.

“Call me curious,” Jason assures.

“I'd rather call you an asshole,” Dick says.

“That's not very ‘golden son’ of you,” Jason replies. Dick only frowns in further annoyance.

“If you obviously know so much about me, why don't you know what happened?” he asks. Jason shrugs.

“I've been gone a while,” he says. “Fine, I'll go first. Red Hood, ‘vigilante’.”

“I've heard of you,” Dick says, unimpressed. “What do you want?”

“Just some answers,” Jason promises.

“Why?” Dick insists again.

“I'm your biggest fan,” Jason says sarcastically. Whatever it is, Dick seems to take his presence as less and less threatening as they talk. Either that or he's come to the acceptance that if Jason wants him dead, there's not a lot he'll be able to do about this. He irritably plops back in his chair.

“It was an accident,” Dick finally tells him. “Vigilante work. I was trying to stop this guy and some chemicals he was working with got airborne. He didn't mean to blind me.” He laughs a little but Jason is far from amused. “He kept escaping Arkham just to work on a cure for me. Bruce finally just let him work.”

“Who?” Jason asks. Dick stops smiling again.

“Doesn't matter,” he answers. It does, actually, because Jason is suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to murder the man responsible for doing this to his brother. This is exactly what he hates about this family. Dick is blind, he can't do literally the only thing he's ever known anymore because of one idiot's ‘mistake’, and yet that man deserves his protection? He took everything from Dick. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Jason will find out on his own.

“Satisfied, ‘biggest fan’?” Dick asks scathingly.

“Nah,” Jason replies. He looks at the broken lamp briefly before picking up the book Dick threw at him. Thumbing through it provides him with nothing more than braille pages. This was custom made, Jason notes, freshly printed. That doesn't surprise him.

“You said you'd answer my question,” Dick points out.

“Red Hood,” Jason repeats. “Red if you're not feeling wordy.”

“What do you want?” Dick asks mildly. Jason sets the book down on the table next to him and Dick ever vigilantly follows every sound Jason makes with his non-functioning but still bright blue eyes.

“Maybe I'm just checkin’ up on you,” he offers. “Seein’ how you're doin’.” Dick looks unconvinced. Jason flips a few switches to see which one turns on the lights but none of them seem to. “Do any of the lights in your place work?”

“How would I know?” Dick replies with a fleeting gesture to his face. He always was pretty but now that he's older he's- still pretty but with a jawline that could kill.

“Point made,” Jason murmurs.

“Someone that's been gone a while, that I knew, and that seemingly has an interest in my personal well being,” Dick lists off as he gets to his feet. Jason moves out of his way as he heads for the equally dark kitchen.

“You're never gonna figure it out,” he promises. Who would rightfully guess their brother back from the dead? “Don't hurt yourself.”

“But you're not going to tell me,” Dick answers. “Hungry?”

“I could eat,” Jason agrees. “I'm not the same person I used to be. It doesn't matter.” He's not sure where his want to be angry and to be justified in his anger went but he supposes he's glad for it. At the end of the day, Dick was probably one of the few good things in his life before he died.

“I'm doing fine,” Dick tells him rather curtly like he's tired of being asked and just wants to be left alone. Even the fridge light is burnt out. He feels around for a moment but it's nothing but styrofoam eat out containers. Obviously he can't be expected to cook; he wasn't even good at it when he could see. Jason loiters in the door frame while he watches Dick effortlessly navigate his own kitchen. Moving anything would surely throw him through a loop and Jason is sure so would helping.

“Why aren't you living with Bruce?” he asks, crossing his arms as he leans. “Alfred basically did everything for you, anyways.” It's absolutely killing Dick to not know who he is and Jason knows it. Dick's a detective, though, and a good one. He'll put it together eventually but it's another story as to if he'll believe the conclusion he comes to.

“Got tired of being coddled,” Dick scoffs, slamming the microwave harder than necessary. “Not that moving out particularly helped. Bruce still keeps eyes on me.” Jason glances around minutely. If the place had cameras, Bruce would be here by now. “Relax, there aren't cameras. Anymore.”

“Anymore?” Jason repeats but this doesn't surprise him either. Bruce's favourite, now blind son insisting on living on his own? He'd have to keep an eye on him somehow.

“Took ‘em down after he found out I was gay,” Dick says. “The hard way.” Jason can't help but laugh.

“He caught you with, what, a one nighter?” he asks. He always knew Dick had a preference for dudes but last Jason knew, he swung both ways. Things change, he guesses.

“Yeah,” Dick replies and he laughs a little, too. “I shouldn't be laughing, I was fucking mortified. I was so angry.” The patterns he has now make sense. Watching him go about his business dishing out leftovers is obviously something he's practiced a lot, whether he wanted to or not. The fact that he can hear Jason coming from only the slightest sounds, can pinpoint exactly where to look for those sounds, and pick up on where to throw something based on a nearly inaudible click- he's been like this a while.

“And let me guess, Bruce was just an overwhelming fountain of support otherwise,” Jason says sarcastically. Dick sets a plate at his little kitchen table and then the other and Jason waits until he sits down to join him.

“What? You mean finding out I was gay?” he questions with a scoff. “Dad doesn't care. I doubt he even makes a distinction.” Sure he doesn't. It's not as though Bruce pays attention or talks to his own kid enough to be given a chance to say something stupid about it, anyways. Jason takes his hood off and Dick stares at him. It really is dark in here, he can only faintly see by lights still shining in from outside.

If Dick were anyone besides Dick fucking Grayson, this would obviously be an opportunity for an attack. They're so close together, if Dick really wanted to, he could go straight for Jason's face. He's quick and at this range, Jason isn't sure if he's quicker. More so, if Dick makes the first move, Jason would only have half the reaction time and considering how ‘innovative’ Dick can be, there's no telling what he'd try. These awkward sort of pleasantries they have going on can change in an instant.

“What are you lookin’ at?” Jason scoffs. “Not lookin’ at.” Dick looks borderline offended for a brief moment and honestly, maybe that was a little unnecessary. Jason's not going to take it back, of course, and definitely not apologise. Not his style.

“Sorry,” Dick says instead. Jason feels that irritation again; the favourite son, always just a little better. “Usually I can't hear you breathing. It's weird.”

“You saying that is weird,” Jason replies. Dick huffs a small laugh as he begins eating. Again, Jason wants to be annoyed at how the prissy Dick Grayson can't even eat leftover pasta like a normal person but it becomes clear quickly his ‘formal’ knife and fork technique is less about being prissy and more about being blind. He uses his knife to figure out where his food is. A lot of his expectations about Dick are going to need some reworking.

They eat quietly for a while.

It's Dick's phone that breaks the silence. It begins making an annoying buzzing noise from the ground where Jason had knocked it to earlier and he glances at it.

“I got it,” Jason murmurs as Dick moves to get up. He picks up Dick’s phone, unsurprisingly unscratched, and hits answer before it goes to voicemail. ‘Bruce’ seems like a call neither of them want him to miss. Jason puts it in Dick’s hand and Dick instinctively puts it on speaker before putting it down on the table.

“Dick?” Bruce’s voice still makes Jason’s skin crawl. It’s unfortunate that he is glad Dick can’t see the expression he makes just in reaction to it. “Is someone there?” For ‘keeping an eye on him’, this is a delayed call. Jason has been here quite a while now, if Bruce really had that close of an eye on Dick he should have known something was wrong way sooner.

“No,” Dick replies as he goes back to eating. “Just me.”

“Are you sure?” Bruce asks. Jason leans back to look out the window and then look to the front door. He keeps a hand on his helmet just in case but he hasn’t seen anything and more importantly, he hasn’t heard anything. If Bruce was around, he’d know it.

“I can check?” Dick offers.

“The neighbor heard something crashing,” Bruce says.

“I knocked over a lamp,” Dick scoffs. Someone got good at lying in the last decade. He might be blind but he can still roll his eyes with the best of them. “The ‘neighbor’ can mind his own business. Again.”

“The window sensor went off,” Bruce says. Of course there were sensors on the window. Jason feels stupid for not checking closer or, at the very least, not assuming that every entrance on this place has some way of telling Bruce who’s coming and going.

“There was a cat,” Dick murmurs, trailing off slightly. Bruce is quiet for a moment, perhaps deciding if he’s going to be buying this or not. Jason isn’t sure why Dick is bothering covering for him when he could full well tell Bruce that he’s here and have Batman here in mere minutes, sooner maybe, depending on where Bruce even is. Maybe he’s discerned Jason as not being a threat to him- which isn’t wrong but Jason doesn’t like it anyways.

“Okay,” Bruce finally agrees. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” Dick promises.

“One of those nights?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Dick says softly. “One of those nights.” Jason could do without ever having been a part of this conversation.

“Damian could-” Bruce begins, only to stop when Dick sighs particularly loud.

“No,” Dick replies. “Thanks but I’m about to head to bed, anyways.” Always ready to send someone else in his stead.

“Alright,” Bruce relents quietly.

“Love you, dad,” Dick murmurs. An awkward pause.

“I love you, too, Dick,” Bruce answers. That doesn’t sound weird and forced at all. Jason withholds the violent scoff he wants to make. Dick hangs up and an even more awkward silence looms in the room.

“There’s things you can still do without your sight,” Jason comments as if off handed. “If he really wanted to, Bruce could have you doin’ something, not sittin’ ‘round in the dark by yourself.”

“Stop,” Dick says shortly. He doesn’t say anything else, not an explanation or excuse, a clear indicator that he has no interest in this conversation. Jason does, though.

“Stoppin’ you from being Nightwing all together is bullshit,” he goes on more pointedly. “He can’t expect you-”

“I said stop,” Dick repeats. He stops for a moment, exhales deeply, then continues eating. “Bruce didn’t stop me. I’m useless without my sight. I’d just be in the way.”

“That’s fucking bullshit and you know it, Dick,” Jason snaps.

“Just stop it,” Dick bites back at him. “I’m not talking about this with you.” ‘With him’. Jason scoffs mutely but drops the topic. He knows for a fact even if Dick knew he was his brother he would be dodging this conversation by any means necessary. Dick isn’t broken, even if he feels like he is, he’s just used to being the perfect son perfect at everything always. Not being able to see apparently ruins that for him.

Dick shakes the heavy silence first.

“Besides, shouldn’t you be happy? There’s one less ‘bat’ running around,” he comments. Jason doesn’t dignify that with an answer.

“I should go,” he says instead.

“Yeah, you should,” Dick agrees, a little meaner than he has been thus far. Jason can take a hint.

 

So, Jason doesn’t exactly have a good reason for seeing Dick again. He got the ‘more’ answers he wanted, not that he was happy with them, and Dick was right, he should be happy that Nightwing isn’t around to be another pain in his ass. He isn’t. That being said, Dick is still his brother and that should be enough of a reason to check up on him again.

That and obviously the rest of the family isn’t doing a good enough of a job. Jason has snuck up on Dick more than once now, could have absolutely rendered him heavily injured if not dead if that was really what he wanted to do, and none of them would have been able to do anything about it. Hell, he doubts they’d even know about it right away. As billionaire Bruce Wayne’s son and Nightwing’s alter ego, Dick needs way more of a watchful eye than that.

Again, Jason finds himself at Dick's window a couple days later. Considering its not ground level, this is actually not the easiest thing in the world and that's especially so with the box he's brought with him. This time, however, Jason takes the precious few seconds to dangle outside the window while he checks the sensor. A combination sensor; there's surely similar ones on all the windows and doors. If anyone, or anything, enters or leaves this place, Bruce will know about it. It was bold of Dick to try to pass Jason’s entry as anything to do with a cat and surely, Bruce didn't believe it for a second.

At least he's learned when to let Dick lie.

Jason stops what he's doing as Dick comes to stand next to the window, ‘looking’ out. For a moment, he just waits and for some reason, Jason doesn't move. It's automatic, he supposes, assuming Dick is staring at him for being caught in the act of doing something he disapproves of. In reality, Dick has no way to know where he is unless he makes noise.

“You gonna let me in?” Jason asks. Dick exhales shortly.

“Fuck, Red, you scared the shit out of me,” he scoffs. “I thought I heard something.”

“And what, you just decided to stand at the window like a fuckin’ dumbass?” Jason says as Dick opens the window for him. He hoists himself inside. “Good to see your self preservation hasn't gotten any better.”

“It's usually birds not dangerous, volatile vigilantes,” he answers.

“Ouch,” Jason murmurs back. “Dangerous and volatile?”

“You've been tormenting dad for weeks,” Dick says. Jason just kind of shrugs in agreement. He's not wrong, after all. “What are you even doing here?” he asks tiredly. Jason drops the box he's brought with him and Dick very quickly adjusts his stance for flight mode. “What is that?”

“A lamp,” he says. Dick stares at him. “I'm not being an asshole, it really is a lamp. To replace the broken one?”

“You brought me a replacement lamp?” he repeats incredulously. “Why?” Yeah, in retrospect, Jason sees how that was kind of pointless to do. It wasn't even actually his fault, anyways.

“Aesthetic?” he says before he realises this, too, relies on Dick not being blind. “I didn't think this through that much, ‘ight?” Dick snorts a small laugh.

“Thanks for the gesture, I guess,” he says and his grin is definitely amused. Same ol’ Dick with a smile that could melt ice off a tundra. Jason absently pulls out his knife to cut the box open. He pretends not to notice Dick’s jolt at the sound of metal being unsheathed. “Are you only going to stop by when you have a reason?”

“What's’it to ya?” Jason answers mildly.

“You have been tormenting Bruce for weeks,” Dick repeats. They shouldn't exactly be friends right now, no. If Dick knew what was good for him, or anyone else, he would have told Bruce immediately but he doesn't and he hasn't. That's a ‘why’ that still eludes Jason. Dick hasn't figured his identity out yet, either, and likely won't. Is he really lonely enough to make friends with someone he considers ‘dangerous’?

Well it is Dick.

“I can leave,” Jason assures but he doesn't even pause as he begins emptying out the lamp pieces to begin putting together. He turns on the lamp that's definitely already been replaced to work not in pitch blackness.

“No,” Dick says. “It's fine.” It really shouldn't be. Jason's not going to argue that with him, though. He'd like to be able to keep an eye on Dick without having to sneak around him. Maybe Dick sees this as some kind of ass backwards way of helping; maybe he has told Bruce and now they're keeping an eye on each other. As much as Jason would like to think Bruce wouldn't let Dick openly convolute with someone he knows is dangerous just for an upper hand, it doesn't sound that unlikely.

Is Dick really still clueless about who he is?

“Are you trying to use me to get leverage on Bruce?” Dick asks and his voice is teetering that line of disapproved sounding like he expects an honest answer he won't like.

“Not everything's about Bruce,” Jason scoffs back. Dick looks unconvinced. “I'm not low enough yet to use Bats’ blind kid as leverage, thanks.”

Yet,” Dick repeats with an amused snort. “Sorry I didn't assume the mean vigilante tormenting my father is just hanging around because he likes me. Hank Renalds?”

“Who?” Jason answers blandly. “So what if I do like you and don't think your shitty family’s doin’ enough?”

“I'd tell you to mind your own business and trying to manipulate me against my family isn't going to work,” Dick assures. “Would I recognise you if I could see you?”

“Doubt it,” Jason says. “When’d you get so pessimistic?”

“I guess everything just seems dark to me now,” Dick sighs out. Jason turns to look at him and sure enough, Dick grins with far too amusement for his own shitty joke. He goes back to working on the lamp. Dick laughs quietly.

“Like I said, you want me to go, I'll go,” Jason promises.

“Tea?” Dick offers as he turns to head for the kitchen.

“If you're makin’,” he agrees. Jason looks around the room a little better with the light being on for more than a few minutes. There's white markings all over the floor and he wonders if Dick knows they're there. It's clear they're for indicating exactly where the furniture should be in case something gets moved out of place. They're worn in and it wouldn't surprise him if they've been here since Dick started living here: never move anything.

Sure, Dick navigates his own home with stunning precision and that definitely has to do with knowing the layout like the back of his hand, but he's not some glass gem. Jason also knows for a fact this stagnant living must be driving him stir crazy. Bruce, and hell the rest of the family too, seems to be treating Dick with kiddie gloves and Dick is letting them. It pisses Jason off.

“Red?” Dick questions curiously and Jason looks back at him emerging back from the kitchen with two mugs. He stops and stares- not staring, waiting. Jason realises, a little belatedly, Dick isn't asking his attention but his location. He can hear Jason working but doesn't know specifically where he is from that alone.

“Yeah,” Jason answers back and sure enough, that gets Dick moving again. How he can possibly think he's useless when he can pinpoint sound so easily is beyond Jason. He can still move, he can still think, just because he can't fling himself around the city doesn't mean there's nothing for him. Just look at Oracle.

Dick hands him a mug.

“If you're gonna make me drink unsweet tea, I'm not comin’ back,” Jason says. Dick snorts a laugh.

“What would I do without you,” he replies, taking his own cup and settling himself on the couch. “You know where the kitchen is. Do it yourself.”

“Alfred would be appalled at how you treat guests,” Jason murmurs, a joke he delivers maybe a little too deadpan but Dick laughs again anyways. His laugh always did make Jason feel better.

“Alfred isn't here, though, is he?” Dick assures. Jason exhales a small, amused sound of his own. He takes his helmet off as he walks past Dick to the kitchen. Dick follows the sound of his footsteps and when Jason returns, he looks at him in a way that definitely makes it seem like he's looking.

“‘ight, I know you can't see but you're definitely fuckin’ starin’,” Jason says. Dick makes a face of consideration but doesn't argue.

“I'm trying to put a face to the voice,” he explains. Jason sits on the coffee table and Dick tilts his head curiously for a moment before giving him a scolding look that's easily ignored.

“You wanna touch my face or somethin’?” he says and even he's not fully sure if it's a question or an offer.

“You wouldn't believe how much that really isn't all that helpful,” Dick assures mildly. “Unless you have, like, really distinct features or broken bones or something, faces all just sort of feel the same.” Jason shifts around to face the couch and by extension, Dick. He grabs Dick's wrist, a truly harmless and thoughtless gesture, and Dick yanks away so hard he almost dumps his tea in his lap. Jason pulls back in response, not as hard but hastily giving Dick his room back.

It's not silent when Jason can hear how hard Dick is breathing.

“Uh, sorry,” Jason offers because he really doesn't know what else to say. He was wrong; Dick is still fully aware he's a threat. The jolt he made hearing Jason pull out his knife was fully under the assumption that it was going to be used on him. Not being able to see him, Dick really thought Jason’s intention was to hurt him. He feels vulnerable and it shows all at once without warning and then not at all.

Dick exhales irritably.

“Don't do that,” he says plainly. “I can't see what you're doing, you know.”

“Give me your hand,” Jason says. Dick looks at him unsurely but ultimately, he willingly holds his hand out. This time, Jason thinks about what he's doing much more. He's careful when he touches Dick, makes sure he's not going to flip again and injure both of them, then brings his fingers to his face. He presses two of Dick’s fingers against the scar that cuts from the corner of one eye down across his cheek and over the corner of his mouth. Dick feels it tentatively and thoughtfully. Jason didn't have it before so he doesn't expect this to raise any questions about his identity.

“Ouch,” Dick murmurs as if he's one to talk. He's riddled with much worse ones- albeit not on the face. He's too pretty for that.

“I said the same thing,” Jason assures. Dick snorts a quiet but distracted laugh. His fingers stray away from the scar to Jason's jaw, feeling him out curiously. When Jason doesn't stop him, he continues to his cheeks then the bridge of his nose, his eye brows, then forehead and follows his hairline. “What happened to this not bein’ helpful?”

“Oh it's not,” Dick agrees. “I still have no idea what you look like.” Jason pushes his hand away.

“Enough,” he says mildly and Dick grins damn near mischievously.

“You offered,” he insists. “Your face feels nice if that counts.” If he knew Jason was his brother, if he knew how much Jason had changed, he surely wouldn't think so. He doesn't say anything and instead goes back to his tea. Dick stops smiling and awkwardly does the same.

"So, done with my ‘aesthetic’ lamp yet?” Dick asks.

“Almost,” Jason assures. “Then I'm replacin’ all the burnt out bulbs in your place.”

“Sounds like you plan on being around frequently enough to use them,” Dick comments with a suggestive arch of the brow.

“Sounds like having a pitch dark apartment is a safety hazard,” Jason replies. Dick is thoroughly unconvinced. “And what are you gonna do about it if I do, anyway?”

“You know I have a door, right?” he asks.

“Distantly,” he answers.

“I'm gonna order some food,” Dick says. “Hungry?”

“I could eat,” Jason assures. He watches as Dick slips off to the kitchen. It's weird, honestly, having wanted to be so mad at Dick and now- Jason looks at the window. Even opening it from the inside sets the sensor off. Bruce knows someone is here. He listens in to Dick speaking in the kitchen, not particularly quietly. As far as Jason can tell, there's no code; just Dick having a nice conversation with someone taking his order.

Maybe at some level, Dick does recognise him. Jason can't explain why else his brother would be stupid enough to try to make friends with someone like Red Hood. Dick has done some dumb things but if he truly thought Jason would hurt him, or anyone he cares about, he wouldn't be playing some game like this. Of course, Dick obviously doesn't understand how much Red Hood really, really wants to hurt Bruce.

Jason looks back as Dick pleasantly returns.

“Hope you like pizza,” he says.

“There are people who don't?” Jason answers. Dick laughs. Being this nice to someone ‘tormenting’ Bruce; Dick has to know on some level. He plugs in the new lamp right beside the other one and turns it on to make sure it works. “Now I'm done.”

“Describe it to me,” Dick urges in a tone far too dramatic to be serious.

“It's a lamp,” Jason replies blandly. “It's tall.”

“You have such a way with words, Red,” Dick hums sarcastically. “Thanks, though. Even if it's totally pointless, I do appreciate the effort.” Jason looks at the pair of mismatching lamps. This was stupid, definitely, but ultimately harmless, he guesses. It made Dick happy.

“Do thing one and thing two describe shit for you?” he asks. They obviously don't replace lights for him Jason notes as he begins working on changing out the ceiling one in the living room.

“Tim and Damian?” Dick murmurs. “If I ask, yeah. Why?” Jason shrugs, another gesture he realises Dick can't read.

“Curious,” he says simply.

“Are you going to tell me why you're so interested in me at least?” Dick asks. “Or ‘concerned’ about me if that's what we're going with.”

“Hard for you to believe someone actually cares what happens to you?” Jason asks back with more of a bitter bite than he strictly means. It's hard to help; as if everyone hasn't always care more about Dick.

“Someone like you? Without good reason, yeah, it is,” Dick agrees. “I don't know what you have against Bruce-”

“No, you don't,” Jason interrupts coldly. “Not everything's about Bruce, Dickie-bird.” The silence that falls is painfully calculating. It's hard to say for sure what Dick is thinking, if he's trying to remember someone Bruce wronged or if he's deciding if he truly does believe what Jason is telling him. This isn't about Bruce. Well, it's about his negligence to his own son but honestly, Jason doesn't think he could go through with using Dick like a token piece.

“Don't call me that,” Dick says, flat and leaving no room to argue. Jason wants to just out of spite, definitely, but he doesn't. He goes on changing light bulbs in silence. There's something different, meaner, about Dick and Jason isn't fully sure it just has to do with his sight.

The knock, fortunately, keeps the increasingly normal awkward silence short.

“Delivery!”

“I got it,” Jason assures.

“I'm not helpless, you know,” Dick comments but he sounds amused if nothing else. Jason makes a talking gesture with his hand that, as it turns out, is really just for himself. He hears Dick get up and move around behind him as he answers the door, though. There's a reason Jason doesn't use the door. Bruce might not have cameras on the inside, but he definitely is going to know who's coming and going from Dick's apartment.

Jason is immediately aware the peep hole has been replaced with something a little more useful. Additionally, it looks like Bruce, at the very least, can remote lock down the door. He wouldn't do the same to the windows, not when Dick is still fully capable of escaping if, and when, push comes to shove. Taking care of the angle of the camera, Jason answers the door and the guy delivering looks surprised. Most Gothamites know better than to be nosy.

“Uh, where's Dick?” the guy asks. Considering the phone conversation, it's not that surprising to find this guy on first name basis with Dick.

“What’re you, his boyfriend?” Jason replies shortly. “How much for the goods?”

“It's, uh, paid for,” he assures wearily. “Is Dick alright?” There's no reason this should rub him the wrong way, it's just some guy that probably sees Dick pretty often and has an ounce of empathy, but it absolutely does. Jason gives him a chilled, cutting look and the sheer amount of intimidation he puts out causes the delivery boy to shrink back.

“Are you tryin’ to suck him off, now?” he asks.

“Red!” Dick bites just as the guy is turning the same colour. Jason steps back as he hastily comes to do damage control, all but leering over Dick’s shoulder. “Sorry about him. I'm fine, thank you.”

“It's- uh, I'm glad you're alright,” the guy says, obviously doing his best to ignore Jason and obviously failing. Dick smiles. Bruce may not be attentive but he's definitely controlling. There's a reason this guy is so familiar with Dick and much like the neighbor, he's probably going to go off and tattle that someone is in Dick’s apartment. With Dick intent on covering for him, Jason doesn't see this as a particular issue.

The guy finally hands over the food to which Dick hands it to Jason anyways.

“Thank you,” Dick says politely and his sheer lack of interest in this guy is palpable. Just because he's blind now doesn't mean he doesn't have taste.

“Of course. Did you, uh, need help with anything today?” he asks. Jason makes an obscene blow job gesture with his tongue and hand and the guy somehow turns redder, urgently looking between him and Dick who, of course, is unaware of anything going on. As nice and attractive as Dick is, people actively pursuing him is nothing new- and just as annoying as Jason remembers.

“No, I think Red has everything handled,” Dick assures. Jason arches his brows at the guy suggestively before deciding Dick’s oblivious nature is doing a better job of breaking this guy’s heart than he ever could. He takes the pizza back to the kitchen table.

“Right,” he hears the delivery guy say slowly. “Well, if you do need anything-”

“I still have your number,” Dick assures in that way that assures he's never used it and doesn't plan to. He really hasn't changed, has he? As much as Dick is obviously a little more protective of himself, both in terms of his feelings and personal space, he's still the same charming, stupid Dick Jason remembers. He's always been way too busy thinking about his own things to actively notice when someone is crushing on him- unless it benefits him, of course.

Dick knows he's charming.

Jason flips the box open and he hears Dick close and lock the front door again. He digs a slice out while Dick makes his way over. As much as Dick should be living with someone, it's pretty clear why he got fed up with living at the manor and it has a lot more to do than just ‘coddling’. Jason steps out of the way to avoid Dick walking into him. Dick takes a second to feel for the edge of the box, feels out the length of it, and then grabs a piece. The two of them standing around eating pizza directly out of the box almost feels like they're kids again.

“Shouldn't you have a cane or something?” Jason asks.

“I do,” Dick replies.

“Shouldn't you use it?” he specifies. Dick scoffs.

“Who says I don't?” he asks mildly.

“I've never seen you with it,” Jason says.

“How long have you been stalking me?” Dick asks. ‘Stalking’ seems a little mean- not incorrect but mean. He changes the topic.

“Delivery boy wants to get in your pants, you know,” Jason comments off handedly.

“No he doesn't,” Dick says in exasperation, like he's been told before just as fruitlessly. “He's just a nice kid trying to help.”

“Yeah, help himself into your pants,” Jason assures. That ‘kid’ was easily a couple years older than Dick but by voice only, that's obviously something Dick can't tell. Judging by how Dick acted when Jason tried to touch him, he's not too worried about someone trying to take advantage of him. He's still obviously capable of laying out most people.

“You sound like Tim,” Dick scoffs. The statement feels like someone dragging bad chalk down his spine. Jason silently sneers and that urge to want to fight, to want to initiate an argument Dick would have no idea the cause of, is back tenfold. Same ol’ oblivious Dick.

“I gotta go,” Jason says with a chill he can't help. Considering how bemused Dick reacts, he obviously hears the difference in tone. “Thanks for the pizza.”

“Yeah,” Dick murmurs and he sounds scorned almost, like a kicked, blind puppy. “Any time.”

Jason leaves before Bruce can send someone competent to check on Dick.

 

Annoying. Jason sits on the roof of Dick's building while he waits for the annoying guest to leave. He might be plain clothed today but that doesn’t mean he wants Mr. Replacement seeing him even if he can't recognise him. If he keeps hanging around Dick’s apartment in his gear, Jason knows someone's going to wise up eventually and that's going to make it a lot harder to check up on his brother. Wearing different ‘disguises’ isn't going to make Dick suspicious, anyways.

As if to prove his point, Jason has been loitering around way too long for Dick’s little seeing eye bird to not realise something’s up. He's even smoking. If Bruce knew in any regard that Red Hood not only knew about his blind son but was actively engaging with him in his own home, Jason knows he wouldn't be quiet about it. He'd growl and spit and ‘warn’ to high heaven.

He can't lose another son.

Jason watches as Drake finally leaves, still seemingly unaware of his presence. As annoying as the kid is, at least he's actually around. Maybe he does know. Dick has never been that good of a liar but if he's passed Jason off as a different, more ‘benevolent’ vigilante, they might, might, be wise enough to give Dick his space and begrudgingly accept Jason’s ‘eccentrics’.

Or maybe he's right and Dick is trying to help Bruce get a one up on Red Hood.

But that's seeming more unlikely by the day.

Once he's sure Drake is gone, Jason stubs out the remains of his cigarette and gets to his feet. He brushes himself off, grabs his bag, and begins the climb down to Dick’s window. There's no way for him to get past the sensor without triggering some kind of reaction, not without seriously getting into the hardware of it, so he doesn't bother trying. He just knocks.

“Red?” Dick questions wearily.

“Expectin’ someone else sneakin’ in your window?” Jason asks. Dick exhales shortly but, all the same, opens the window for him to climb through upon confirming his identity. The sudden knowledge that anyone with a good, clear voice recording of someone Dick trusts could be willingly welcomed in rubs Jason the wrong way.

“You see my concern,” Dick says and he crosses his arms stubbornly. “Still haven't figured out where the door is?”

“Nah,” Jason assures and Dick cracks a smile. He shakes the bag he's brought with him and Dick’s expression goes, extremely swiftly, from briefly alarmed to curious. As much as he knows Jason is a threat to him, even now he obviously doesn't want Jason to think he thinks that. “Hope your stove works.”

“I think so? What did you bring?” he asks bemusedly.

“Food,” Jason replies and Dick looks at him blandly. “Avgolemono turkey soup.”

“I-” Dick hesitates. If Jason told him now, he'd have to believe it, right? Everything Dick has ‘collected’ on his own, he'd have to believe Jason is his little brother back from the dead. “Haven't had that in a while.” It's one of Dick's favourites- not in a way that he’s list it if asked but rather in a way that it would require at least a dozen people physically stopping him from making himself ill on it.

Cooking is something Jason has learned to do quite recently. He’s good at it, at least he thinks so, and as much of a pain as avgolemono is to make, he doubts Dick is picky enough to not like it. Jason begins moving around the kitchen, now with an actual light source, and Dick quietly sits at the table to listen. Is it all the differences between teenage him and now him that’s throwing off Dick’s ‘masterful’ detective work? Maybe it’s his blindness.

Or maybe it just killed all confidence he had for any skill he had.

“You came over just to cook for me?” Dick eventually asks. Jason glances at him out the corner of his eye, Dick ever constantly following the sound of his movements; of his voice. He doesn’t say anything. “Why?”

A question they keep circling back to.

“Because you need to eat somethin’ ‘sides take out everyday,” Jason answers blandly. “And Alfred obviously ain’t stoppin’ by everyday.” Dick snorts a laugh.

“What do you want from me?”

It sounds- broken. Jason can’t help the way he stops for a moment, long enough for Dick to notice clearly, but not something either of them acknowledge. After all this time, after everything Dick is still capable of but unable to do, he doesn’t understand why anyone would go out of their way to help him if they’re not getting anything back; if he can’t be useful back. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn if that’s why he left Bruce’s ‘coddling’, as if Bruce ever coddled.

Dick just hopes they’ll forget about him.

“God, you still talk so much,” Jason murmurs. “What I ‘want’ is some help.”

“I’m not exactly cooking ready,” Dick scoffs back. Jason drops a bag on the table in front of him and Dick blinks curiously but, even with his inherent sense of danger, he can’t help but feel around. “What are these?”

“Herbs,” Jason answers shortly. “Pluck ‘em.” If Dick was planning on arguing, which perhaps he was, he decides against it. He might fumble with it in the beginning but it’s Dick and it doesn’t take him more than a couple minutes to get it down without trouble.

Now Jason doesn’t want to tell Dick his identity for a different reason. To his siblings, to his own father, Dick feels like an obligation and if he finds out Jason is his brother, he’ll just think he keeps coming around for the same reason. For the time being, it’s best to let him think they’re strangers or, at the very least, old friends.

“You’re not a Falcone, are you?” Dick ask.

“God no,” Jason replies. He seems relieved at any rate. “Watch the stems. Don’t. Don’t watch the stems.”

“If you keep doing that, you will hurt my feelings,” Dick says in a less than serious ‘matter-of-fact’ tone. “I’m very sensitive about my impairment, Red.”

“Shut up, blindy,” Jason scoffs back. Dick snorts a laugh. “Doesn’t anyone ever bring you real food? Drake was just here.”

“You’re like a guardian angel that came down just to nag me about my family,” he murmurs.

“Your family sucks,” Jason says.

“You suck,” Dick says. Jason scoffs louder but it just gets another laugh from Dick. “Are you ever going to tell me who you are?”

“I told you, Red Hood,” he answers mildly. “Who I was before doesn’t matter.”

“Were you always a vigilante?” he asks.

“I wasn’t a villain if that’s what you’re askin’,” Jason assures.

“It’s okay if you were,” Dick murmurs. “People change.” Sometimes too much.

“I wasn’t,” Jason says again, more annoyed this time. Dick leaves the topic alone. As much as he really would give someone who used to be a ‘bad guy’ a second chance, the situation here is almost exactly the opposite. From Robin to killer; Dick would surely have a lot to say about that. Jason takes the herbs out from under him.

“My family isn't that bad, you know,” Dick says softly after a while. It's always so fucking quiet in here. He can hear himself think. “I don't know what they did to you and I'm sorry-” He can be sorry for anything, can't he? “But they do a lot for me, Red. It might not seem like it to you, but they do.”

“I'm not interested in hurtin’ your siblings,” Jason assures him fleetingly.

“Just Bruce?” Dick says. Jason goes on cooking without a word. No, as much as Dick may act like it sometimes, especially when it comes to his own recklessness, he’s not stupid. Jason isn’t going to lie to him, doesn’t even want to, but openly agreeing with it is just going to end to another unpleasant conversation neither of them want.

It’s so fucking quiet in here.

“Don’t you ever listen to music or the news or somethin’?” Jason asks mildly. “It sounds like a fuckin’ morgue in here.”

“Not usually. It’s distracting and I like knowing what’s going on around me,” Dick assures with a nonchalant shrug. Most of his awareness is now based on his hearing, of course he doesn’t want to obscure it. “I listen to case files sometimes.” It’s so ridiculous and yet so very Dick.

“Solve any of them?” Jason asks.

“Not as many as I used to,” Dick says and sighs quietly. As much as he's not looking to make it his full time job to make Dick feel better, what is Jason supposed to do when he keeps acting like a kicked puppy?

“Maybe if someone was better at describing things to you,” he comments off handedly.

“Do you have anything to talk about that isn't criticising my family?” Dick asks and he pretends to look at his nails in boredom. “You could tell me about your day instead?” The thought of Dick wanting to hear how his day was is, honestly, briefly perplexing. It's more the thought that anyone wants to hear about his day but especially Dick.

“‘ight,” he murmurs. More shocking is, Dick listens. Jason, of course, leaves some things out but overwhelming, he just tells Dick about his day. Chasing down some dealers that he definitely didn't beat within an inch of their lives and definitely didn't kill any of. Cleaning out a warehouse definitely not so his own people can move the product for themselves. Harassing politicians. The usual stuff.

Dick doesn't so much participate as he just nods along and hums little noises of agreement. It's hard to tell if he takes Jason’s word at face value or if he knows well Jason kills and has suddenly decided that's not fully against his ethics.

“You keep busy,” Dick notes when Jason eventually trails into silence. “That's good.”

“Because it means I'm not botherin’ Bruce?” Jason replies mildly.

“Not everything is about Bruce,” Dick says.

“Fuckin’ brat,” Jason scoffs and Dick just grins at him. He doesn't mind the quiet as much anymore. There really isn't much Dick can help with, mostly because the difficulty of this recipe comes more from technique than excessiveness, but he tosses little things in front of Dick as he comes across them and Dick diligently figures his way through them.

The fact that Dick still somehow thinks he's ‘in the way’ pisses Jason off to no end.

“Here,” he murmurs exclusively to let Dick know where he is. Dick looks up at him curiously and when Jason holds a piece of turkey in front of his face, he perks up like a cat catching a whiff of tuna. As well as he can hear, watching him try to reach for the meat Jason holds out is a struggling effort at best. He saves them both the pain of this and instead, just shoves it in Dick’s mouth. This, of course, gives away Jason’s position and Dick instantaneously latches onto his wrist in what is actually a very painful grip.

Which he is immediately distracted from by turkey.

Jason waits about half a moment while Dick makes a content noise and chews.

“Can I have my hand back?” he asks. Dick quickly lets go, his face flushing pink. “Thanks.”

“Sorry,” he says softly. “That's really good, wow.” Jason clenches his fingers as he looks at his wrist. If he had felt threatened, Dick absolutely could have broken his wrist if not more- shattered a couple small bones in his hand. Dick may be stupid for letting someone like Red Hood this close to him but Jason supposes he's just as stupid. As much as Dick isn't malicious, the soreness in his wrist really drives home how scared and jumpy he is.

“Thanks,” Jason replies, a little too delayed and Dick awkwardly turns away.

“I, uh, I really don't mind you hanging around,” Dick assures. “I appreciate the help and all but just having some company that isn't-” Obligated. “Family is nice.”

“You must be real fuckin’ lonely if you're fine hangin’ out with someone like me,” Jason says.

“You seem like an okay guy, Red,” Dick insists with an amused smile. “Besides, sometimes dad needs a reason to think a little more critically.”

“Critically,” Jason repeats. “Uh huh.”

 

Jason keeps his distance for a while even if, he thinks, in the grand scheme of things a week really isn't ‘a while’. It's a combination of having other things to do that leaves him too exhausted to bother and intentionally not wanting to give Dick any ideas that he'll always be around. Besides, Dick is going to be a lot less forgiving when Jason actually starts hurting Bruce.

Still, he shouldn't be surprised. He knew Dick was lonely and he knows Dick is needy for attention. Before, there was never any lack of it for him but now that he's almost entirely put himself on house arrest unless he's with someone, obviously things are different. Jason really, really shouldn't be surprised Dick is desperate enough to get attention from anyone.

Not to say Jason isn't still royally pissed off.

Dick, sitting on his couch, with the fucking delivery boy nuzzled up to him. This sure as hell isn't a friendly social call considering professional pizza boy is pressed right up against his neck and his hand is way too high on Dick’s thigh. Dick used to have standards, at least. Bruce definitely isn't paying him to keep his son this kind of company.

Jason takes his helmet and heavy vest off without thinking about it really, leaving them on the rooftop before dropping down to Dick’s window. He doesn't knock, doesn't even hesitate, just flings it open and tosses himself inside. Dick is on his feet instantly and, fucking surprise, standing in front of his little friend protectively.

“Interruptin’ somethin’?” Jason asks scathingly.

“Red,” Dick replies, exhaling a small noise of relief. “I have a front door, Red!”

“Did seein’ me make your balls drop, buddy, is that it?” Jason says, all but ignoring Dick. Unsurprisingly, the guy moves away from him in a hurry when he moves closer. “What's wrong, wanted to make sure you got yours before someone else did?”

“Red, knock it off,” Dick demand. He grabs Jason's arm and Jason throws it off instinctively. “This really isn't any of your business.”

“Yikes,” Jason replies. “I'm hurt, Dickie-bird. Keepin’ some asshole from takin’ advantage of a blind guy not my business? How ‘bout ol’ Timmy boy? Is it his business?”

No,” Dick says irritably. “No one's taking advantage of me. You need to leave.”

“I just got here, baby. Now tell me, what's a thirty- thirty five?- year old man want with a twenty four year old, beautiful blind kid?” Jason urges. He makes to walk around Dick, to physically put hands on the guy, but Dick moves into his way again with extreme deliberation. “Nothin’ to say? Weird almost as if daddy Wayne put you in the perfect position to let Dickie rely on you without you actually having to do anything. Not good at pickin’ up guys that know better, eh?”

“I won't ask again,” Dick snaps at him. “Leave, Red.”

“Or what? You'll call dad on me?” Jason asks coldly.

“Yes,” Dick answers. Maybe it's an empty threat but it doesn't matter. Dick knows what kind of threat that is. He's not even angry. Jason knows angry and he knows they can argue for hours without getting anywhere; stubborn just like dad. No, Dick just wants him to leave.

“Whatever,” Jason says, patting Dick heavy on the shoulder. Dick shoves his hand off. “Good luck, birdie.”

 

It's the better half of two weeks before Jason comes around again. Two weeks of being annoyed; at Dick and delivery boy and Bruce but mostly himself, if he's honest. He knows he had no reason to react that way. What Dick does and who he does it with is no business of his. It still makes him so angry, though, and he's more annoyed about that than anything else.

He brings more food with him.

“Red?” Dick asks tentatively when Jason taps on his window. He's obviously not expecting anyone else but it has been a while.

“Santa,” Jason replies. Dick lets out a small, unamused sigh but, all the same, opens the window for him. Jason shakes the bag he has for Dick to hear. “I brought food.”

“Red,” Dick says and he sighs. “I'm sorry.” Jason had no plans on apologising. In fact, he had no plans on bringing it up at all. He should have known better than to think Dick would just let them move on like nothing happened. Jason walks past him towards the kitchen and Dick inherently follows.

“Nah, it's fine,” he assures. “You were right, it was none’a my business.”

“No, Red, I- you were right,” Dick insists. “I knew he was a creep and I shouldn't have- you were right to be upset.” That's not surprising. Dick isn't nearly as ‘playboy dumb’ as he comes off as being.

“Whatever,” Jason says noncommittally and he waves a hand briefly before remembering Dick can't see it. “No harm, no foul, right?” He thinks they're both fully aware Jason would have seriously injured that man if Dick hadn't stopped him. It's not the first time Dick has stopped him from doing something stupid and malicious and it won't be the last.

“Okay,” Dick replies, distinctly unsatisfied with how this played out but he drops it all the same. “What did you bring?” He's lonely. Jason knows that. The opportunity was there and Dick took it in a lapse of judgment. Honestly, it was probably because Jason had stayed away so long. Just like when they were kids, he steps all over Dick's feelings without meaning to.

“Guess,” Jason answers. Dick pouts initially but Jason pulls the cast-iron skillet from his bag and gives it a thump and Dick perks up curiously. He tilts his head as Jason sets it on the stove top and starts to get to work.

“A pan?” he says. He comes to stand nearly over Jason's shoulder and Jason nudges him out of the way a little.

“You got like two,” Jason replies.

“I can cook some,” Dick assures.

“That sounds like a disaster waitin’ to happen,” Jason says. He loudly sets a couple potatoes down.

“Potatoes,” Dick says but he looks puzzled when Jason does the same for the carrots. He wanders around, interested obviously, but trying to stay out of Jason's way. The fact that he's so starved for something to do he's like a kid redirects all of Jason's annoyance back at Bruce. He tosses down the package of meat and balls up the bag.

“Season these,” Jason instructs, grabbing Dick by a belt loop and pulling him towards the counter. He moves the salt and pepper audibly nearby and Dick seems surprised. Like last time, he's more than happy just to have something to do. Jason watches him more out the corner of his eye than anything as he peels potatoes. He doesn't consider himself a very patient person by any stretch of the word but things have always been different when Dick is involved.

Dick fumbles around, there's really no helping that, but he manages to get the package open and awkwardly position the meat. He makes a face at having to touch it but it quickly disappears when Jason looks over his shoulder to make sure they're good.

“Steak and potatoes?” he asks. Jason holds a carrot slice in front of his face and it takes a few seconds for Dick to notice. He takes it tentatively with his teeth but likely has already presumed what it is. “And carrots.”

“Bingo,” Jason says. Dick laughs.

“You don't have to keep cooking for me,” he assures.

“Gotta? No. Gonna? Ya,” Jason replies. Dick smiles as he carefully salt and peppers the two steaks. When he's done, he washes his hands and moves aside to let Jason do the heavy lifting.

“If it helps,” Dick says softly. “I wasn't actually interested in him. He was just there and I thought you'd gotten bored of me.” He says ‘bored’ but it sounds like ‘fed up’.

“I have shit to do sometimes,” Jason answers. It isn't a lie but he knows he stayed away a lot longer than he needed to. “Next time I'll text you or somethin’.”

“I'd like that,” Dick says with a smile.

They talk about something else.

 

Jason finds himself coming over every couple days to coming over every other day to just plain coming over everyday. It becomes a habit; he finds time during the day to pick up groceries and then spends the night cooking at Dick's house. He makes the mistake of texting Dick one day when trapped in a ‘meeting’ with some local gangsters and now Dick periodically texts him throughout the day. Jason always replies, eventually, so he supposes he's half to blame.

He gets comfortable.

It's so nice having his brother back, Jason forgets the kind of man Dick is. He isn't sure why; maybe because they don't bicker like they used to. Maybe he bought too much into Dick not being Nightwing anymore. Maybe he's just stupid.

Jason climbs into Dick's window as usual. He doesn't really knock anymore, Dick has become accustomed enough to hearing him that he doesn't need to. Which is why it's especially startling when Dick nearly shoves him back out the window. Jason catches himself easily and once he's not caught off guard, gives Dick a dirty look.

“What's your fuckin’ problem, Dickolas?” Jason snaps. Dick already looks pissed which, just inherently, makes Jason pissed. “Are you tryin’ ta fuckin’ kill me?”

“You said you were a vigilante,” Dick replies, angrily.

“What fuckin’ about it?” Jason demands before his brain catches up with recent events. He suddenly knows what this is about. “Dick, you don't seriously-”

“You're not a ‘vigilante’,” Dick barks at him. He tries to shove him again and Jason pushes his hands away irritably. “You're just a murderer.”

“They were drug pushers!” Jason snaps.

“You strung their bodies up!” Dick replies.

“They were targeting kids!” Jason assures.

“They belonged in prison!” Dick spits. This shouldn't be surprising. Dick never understood then and he doesn't understand now. The golden son that won't even take action against the man who took his life away. Everything is forgivable- except anything Jason does.

He doesn't say anything and Dick puts a hand over his eyes in frustration. Not for the first time, regrettably Jason's glad he can't see. They're both quiet. Dick is mad, definitely, but he also seems hurt and Jason isn't sure why. He knew about Red Hood already, knew he was out for Batman’s blood and surely knows this isn't the first time Jason has killed people. He has no reason to be making a big deal out of it now.

“You knew Red Hood didn't have a no kill code,” Jason says firmly. Dick, for maybe the first time, turns away from his voice. “They got what they deserved. And you know what, Dickie-bird, if I ever get my hands on the guy who did this to you? I'll do things much worse.”

“Get out of my apartment,” Dick says.

“What's wrong? Thought you could change me for the ‘better’ and now you have to run home to Bruce with your tail between your legs in defeat?” Jason asks sourly. Dick shakes his head in disbelief.

“For someone who insists not everything is about Bruce, you sure like making everything about him,” he replies. Jason can't help but sneer. “Do you really strive to make yourself so unlikable the only reason you can fathom someone wanting anything to do with you is to manipulate you?” He's forgotten how easily Dick can hurt without even meaning to; how efficiently he can dig into the source of an issue and twist. He doesn't even know ‘Red’ that well.

“The ‘justice’ system is a sham,” Jason bites.

“But you, righteous judge, jury, and executioner, are flawless,” Dick says sarcastically. “Get out.” Jason doesn't want to leave. At least, he doesn't want to leave until he knows Dick won't permanently stop talking to him. He'd always forgive Jason eventually, once he calmed down and thought things out better, he'd always find Jason and talk things out more calmly. Everything is forgivable, especially when it comes to Jason.

But Dick doesn't know he's Jason.

Jason moves forward a little too quickly and urgently, Dick jolts away from him. His eyes flicker around wildly as if he's trying to see and failing. He's always been afraid, that's nothing new, but again the reaction stands out all at once. It hits Jason hard how much Dick really thinks one day Jason's going to hurt him. He definitely knows Red Hood is a dangerous killer.

He's not even wrong.

Dick exhales tensely when Jason doesn't try getting any closer. He takes another step away and runs a stressed hand through his hair again.

“Get out, Red,” he says again, calmer this time as if he's afraid of making Jason any angrier. Maybe they're afraid of the same thing. Jason takes a step back and Dick focuses on the sound he makes as he does. Red Hood is unpredictable and Dick is- lonely.

“Sorry,” Jason murmurs. He's not sure what for or even if there's anything for him to be sorry about but he doesn't know what else to say to make sure Dick doesn't give up on him completely. He takes another step back towards the window. “I'm leaving.”

Dick doesn't say anything.

Jason leaves.

 

A couple days pass but all Jason can do is wait. He doesn't particularly like to, not in situations like these, but he learned to be a patient man long before he died. Long before he was Robin, even. He might not consider himself a patient man but he knows it. His annoyance grows but his anger doesn't- something he's coming to find often when Dick is involved. If Dick expects him to admit he's wrong, he's going to be waiting a long time.

Jason's more annoyed that he knows that's not what Dick is waiting for.

Dick texts him first a few days later. Jason's mostly just glad his temper still hasn't royally fucked things up yet. Again, he think on some level Dick recognises him. There's no way Dick would be this nice to any ol’ common ‘murderer’. But, then again, it is Dick. He has too much kindness in his heart sometimes.

Dick< Busy?
Jason> Are you gonna call to yell at me

Jason knows he said some things he didn't need to. Doesn't he always? Killing may be against everything Dick believes in but he's always had friends who didn't feel the same. When it comes to people he likes, and trusts, he always seems to be able to look the other way even if it is with noisy complaining. Brother or not, Dick likes him.

Dick trusts him, or his judgement at least, and that's a little more alarming.

Dick< :/
Jason> Do emojis have the same impact when they're phonetically read out?
Dick< So you're not busy?
Jason> Tell me what you want first
Dick< You're being awfully mean to a blind guy…

As it so happens, he is fairly busy at the moment. Jason's not actually going to tell him that, though. He knows he had no reason to tell Dick how bad he wants to hurt the man that hurt him or how much he would given the opportunity. Dick surely already knows anyways. Reaffirming his aptitude for violence wasn't exactly proving himself worthy of trust.

Jason> And?
Dick< You haven't been around in a few days. Are you alright?
Jason> You didn't sound too thrilled to see me last time I was around
Dick< I know…
Dick< I'm sorry.
Jason> Aren't you usually

Why Jason allows himself to say anything to anyone ever is honestly a mystery. A few minutes go by and Jason is forced to contemplate what the hell is wrong with him. Now he doesn't want to tell Dick who he is for a different reason. Dick would be even more disappointed than he already is if he found out this is what Jason has become. More accepting maybe, but far more disappointed, too.

Dick’s resolve against killing has never been something Jason looked down on him for.

Apologising really isn't Jason’s style, though.

Jason> Soup?

A couple more minutes pass. He wonders if he'll have to make another exception for Dick.

Dick< I feel like you derive a special kind of enjoyment from watching me try to get soup into my mouth.
Jason> I can bring straws
Dick< Please don't.

They do what they both do best and don't talk about anything they don't have to.

 

In the grand scheme of things, maybe making a beeline for his brother's apartment when he's injured isn't the best of ideas. Considered how monitored it is, how likely he is to run into another sibling or worse, Bruce, the fact that Dick can't see and isn't exactly up for playing nurse- just in general everything about it is poorly thought through. Jason does it anyways, obviously.

At the end of the day, he's not looking for help but rather comfort and going back to a cold, lonely safe house in his condition sounds hellish. Dick's apartment, or rather Dick himself, is comforting. He can lick his wounds in peace and Dick will dote over him and Jason will be annoyed but not annoyed enough to make him stop.

Jason almost eats shit down the side of Dick's building trying to get in the window.

“Red?” Dick says with clear concern as Jason bumbles his way through the window. Maybe he should have used the door after all. Dick wanders towards him slowly, arms gingerly stretched out to find out where he is. “I smell blood. Are you okay?”

Jason takes his hood off and Dick hones in on his ragged breathing immediately.

“Peachy,” Jason snaps back sarcastically and he moves past Dick to collapse on the couch. Dick follows, feeling his way first to the edge of the couch and then tentatively finding Jason's arm. He feels him out slow and cautious, not wanting to hurt him by mistake. Holding Jason's wrist in one hand, he feels up his arm and across his chest with the other before he realises this might be a bad idea.

“Where-?” he asks softly. Jason pushes his hand down to his thigh and the mangy wound there. Dick reels back quickly at the warm, wet feeling of blood and frowns even more. He rubs his fingers together before reaching back down to feel it out. Jason jerks as Dick touches his injury more directly, letting out an annoyed hiss and making Dick yank back just as quick.

“That blood you smell? It's me bleeding,” Jason assures him irritably.

“Sorry,” Dick murmurs. He rubs his hand on his own pants to get rid of the sticky sensation on his fingers. “What can I do? How bad is it?”

“Not stick your fingers in it for starters,” Jason scoffs. Dick bites his lip. “It's not that bad, okay? Just hurts. Where's your med kit?” It's a lot more than just the gouge on his leg but Dick doesn't need to know that, either. He's bruised and scratched up to all hell, there's a good patch of road rash on his back and thigh and several puncture wounds across his shoulders.

Needless to stay, he bit off more than he could chew.

Dick gets up and wanders off. Jason tries not to get blood on everything in the meantime. This was absolutely a bad idea but it's a little late to turn back now. He'd do himself even more damage trying to get back out the building. Dick brings a first aid kit back.

He sets it on the coffee table and sits on the other end of the couch, carefully reaching out again to find where he is without touching him. Jason moves his hand into his reach and Dick latches onto it, squeezes his palm gently in worry. He's not sure when this became something he found comfort in again. One of the very, very few things now a days.

“I'm sorry,” Dick murmurs, reaching to stroke the inside of Jason's wrist with his other hand. “I can't- I don't want to hurt you more trying to help.”

“It's fine. Like I said, it's not that bad,” Jason assures. It might be a little worse than he's making it out to be but it's still nothing life threatening. He's been beat up before, definitely a lot worse before. Dick frowns and his eyes flicker about wildly like he's trying to look him over. Jason pulls his hand out of Dick's death grip and moves the medical kit into his lap just to give him something to do.

Dick stays completely quiet as he listens to Jason begin to clean and patch his wounds. Some of the familiar sounding rustling makes him more worried looking but he doesn't say anything. He's obviously trying to assess how much Jason is telling the truth and Jason isn't about to make that easy on him. He stitches up the wound on his leg, the only one that really needs it, and just cleans the rest of them. Bandaging them right now would be pointless.

When he moves to get up, Dick fumbles the kit to try to figure out what he's doing. Jason goes ahead and takes it out of his lap before he spills it all over the place. Dick exhales tensely.

“Relax,” Jason says. He didn't realise how much this would stress Dick out but he probably should have. He can't help and it's killing him. “Show me how ta work your tub.”

“Sure,” Dick replies, giving a nod and trying to settle himself. He gets up, reaches for Jason again just to touch his arm, then leads the way down the hall. Normally he navigates effortlessly and honestly, Jason hadn't realised how much of an effort that was. Now that he's distracted, Dick looks vaguely lost even in his own home going as far as to use the wall to guide him.

Jason feels kind of bad now.

Dick’s bathroom is a hell of a lot nicer than his own, though, so Jason gets over it. This tub is actually big enough for him to sit in without awkwardly hanging out like some asshole too big for his own body. Dick turns the water on and Jason is already starting to strip down. He's sore and warm water sounds heavenly.

“I'll clean the blood out when I'm done, don't worry,” Jason promises. Dick manages to scoff a small laugh. “Which reminds me, who cleans this place anyways? I know you don't and there ain't usually lights in here.”

“I do actually clean it,” Dick assures in faux offense. He moves over to the sink to wash his hands and in the meantime, Jason climbs into the tub. The warm, almost hot water immediately draws a groan from him. It stings his wounds and taints the water a pink color but it's so nice. Dick perks up questioningly and he turns back to Jason again. “Are you- in the bath already?”

“Yeah,” Jason murmurs as he sinks further in. “Whadda about it?” Dick flushes pink.

“You could have asked me to leave,” he says.

“What? Are you gonna peep on me, blindy?” he asks. “Be my guest.” Dick presses his lips together, obviously more than a little unamused. He just huffs though, turns away as if it makes a difference, and leans against the sink.

“I do my own cleaning,” he says again. “It's not like I have much else to do. Tim tells me where I missed spots when he comes over.” Jason rolls his eyes. He knows Dick doesn't want to be coddled but there's a huge difference between that and actually helping him. They could actually be letting him do something instead of sitting in his own self pity.

“When was the last time you went out and did something fun?” Jason asks.

“When was the last time you did?” Dick replies. Jason gives him a long stares he's sure Dick can feel.

“Sounds like you're suggesting we should go do something fun together,” he says dryly. Dick looks taken aback.

“I didn't-” he says, tripping over his own words more than a little. “I didn't say that. I mean, I wouldn't be against it, of course. That- yeah, if you want, I'd be fine with that.” Jason wasn't actually offering to do that but seeing Dick look so strangely pleased by the idea means he sort of has to now.

Where can he take his blind brother and actually have fun?

Jason sinks lower into the water until his mouth is submerged. A few seconds pass by and then Dick looks alarmed. He pushes off the sink and moves towards the tub. It's truly incredible how good his hearing has gotten. If Bruce had actually put the effort in to retrain him when he lost his vision, he'd probably be out doing stuff by now. It's not too late but Dick's going to have a tough time wanting to do anything anymore.

“Red?” Dick asks worriedly. Jason raises up a little again.

“‘m fine,” he murmurs. Dick exhales in relief. At least he can't see the blood Jason's gotten all over the place.

“You should get out,” Dick says. “You have some blood loss and the hot water is just going to make you faint.” He makes a good point no matter how much Jason stubbornly wants to stay in the warm water. He pulls the plug and waits for his blood tinged water to drain before rinsing himself in the shower. Dick finds a towel to hand him and pretends to look somewhere else while Jason pats himself dry.

“I'm fuckin’ huge compared to you but you got some extra clothes I can borrow?” Jason asks.

“Oh, um,” Dick hesitates. “Sure.” He motions for Jason to follow him further into the apartment. Jason glances around his bedroom, making no effort to not be nosey, as Dick rummages around. When he grows bored of this, he plops down on the bed. Dick turns to look at him curiously but ultimately doesn't say anything before going back to searching. Eventually he somehow finds what he's looking for and walks back to the bed to hand it to him. Jason understands his hesitation immediately.

“Are these Bruce's clothes?” Jason asks blandly.

“They're just clothes,” Dick says in exasperation. “They won't kill you.”

“I'm gonna look like an asshole,” Jason scoffs.

“So you'll match how you sound,” Dick says. Jason opens his mouth to reply, closes it, then starts pulling the clothes on. Dick smiles.

He knew Bruce was big but he supposes he never really understood how big. Even with Jason’s new post-death growth spurt, the clothes hang off him in places. At least they're casual. As much as he wants to give Bruce the benefit of a doubt and assume that he slept here at some point, he knows it's more likely something happened and Dick had to wear these clothes home.

“I'm going to order some food,” Dick tells him. “It's been a while since we've eaten out, anyways and you're hurt.”

“You don't have to twist my arm,” Jason murmurs back. He waits until Dick is out of sight before going back to snooping. Like the rest of the house, Dick's room is very clean cut and organized to make sure he can find everything and navigate easily. With enough poking and prodding, though, he finds what he's looking for- sort of.

Jason's willing to bet the safe at the back of Dick's closet has his Nightwing gear in it. He looks back out the bedroom door to see where Dick is and when he's ultimately not in sight, or hearing range, Jason examines the safe a little closer. Bruce definitely put this here, that's for sure. No tumbler, just a digital lock, likely with an opportunity to get it wrong- in case Dick hits the wrong buttons, of course.

He's also willing to bet opening this thing immediately gets Dick a call from Bruce. If he opens it, there's no way he can get away with lying about it- so Jason doesn't plan to. Six numbers and there's no way it's a date. Bruce is way too paranoid to let that slide.

Jason taps in a number and the safe opens.

“Haven't changed that much after all,” he murmurs to himself. Inside, sure enough, is Dick's Nightwing gear. His suit, his escrima sticks, his mask, and several other items useful to him from time to time. Jason pulls his costume out to look at it better. It's still in perfect condition, clean and ready to be used whenever Dick feels the urge. Of course Dick hopes one day he'll be able to go back.

It pisses Jason off even more that they've allowed him to wallow in his own misery.

“Hold on, dad,” Dick murmurs as he makes a beeline back to his room. Jason doesn’t even pretend he's not snooping. “N-no, I just wanted to look at it. I mean- you know what I mean.” He swats blindly at the bed to try to find Jason. “I didn't know it was a crime to look at my own gear. Did you rig my safe?”

He heads for his safe, his hand finding Jason's back, and his conversation stops.

“I'll have to call you back, dad,” he says. He grips Jason's shoulder- hard. With his new injuries, that hurts quite a bit actually. A few moments of silence pass after he hangs up. He reaches past Jason to feel for the safe, making sure it is, in fact, open. Another lapse of silence. Finally he says, “you opened my safe?”

“You should think of a new lock code,” Jason comments. Another pause.

“Put it back,” Dick says. “It was locked for a reason. You shouldn't have done this.” He sounds so disappointed and that gets Jason more than anything. Of course, his instinct is still anger first.

“Relax, would you? I was just snooping, I'm not stealin’ from you,” he assures mildly. “I don't need any of this shit.”

“Just-” Dick says and he lets out a stressed breath. “Please, stop. I don't-” He makes an absent gesture at the safe before turning away from it and Jason. “I don't even want to think about that stuff anymore. Put it away.”

Jason knows what ‘fun’ thing they're going to do.

“I'm putting it back,” he murmurs. Dick sighs. He rubs the bridge of his nose as Jason puts the suit back and closes the safe again. As always, Dick moves to forgive and forget.

“Do you want some tea?” he asks. “Food will be here soon.”

“Sure,” Jason agrees. He pockets Dick’s domino.

 

This is either the absolute worst idea or potentially something Dick actually really needs. For better or worse, Jason is already committed to doing it. The worse that could happen is- well, Dick could die but Jason doesn't see it coming to that.

He's checked the street twice, making sure he parks his bike out of view of any nosey cameras, and while he doesn't wear his hood, he doesn't take his tinted motorcycle helmet off as he waits. Dick rounds the corner tentatively and stops to listen for a moment. Outside of his apartment there's a lot more noise and while it doesn't seem to distract him, he's obviously more weary of his surroundings.

“Red?” he finally says. Jason pops his visor up.

“Ov’a here,” he replies and Dick wanders closer slowly but surely.

“What's this about?” Dick asks. He reaches out cautiously and Jason grabs his arm to supply him with some contact. Immediately, Dick tilts his head curiously and reaches to feel Jason's leather glove with his other. “What are you wearing?”

“You said we should do somethin’ fun together,” Jason reminds him. Dick looks surprised.

You said that,” he corrects swiftly. “What are we doing exactly?”

“You'll see,” he promises. His surprise turns to something a little more unsure. “When was the last time you were on a bike?”

“Like a-?” Dick begins, already reaching for Jason's face. Jason grabs his hand to stop him. He reaches back, grabbing the second helmet, and puts it in Dick's hands.

“Like a motorbike,” Jason assures. Dick feels the helmet out and by his face, he almost looks overwhelmed. It takes him a few seconds to turn his focus back to Jason and shake himself out of it.

“A while,” he answers. “It's been a while.”

“Do you trust me?” Jason asks.

“That feels like a loaded question,” Dick murmurs back. “What if I say no?”

“Then this is gonna be a terrifying ride,” he replies. Dick laughs a little but he nods.

“Yeah,” he says quietly. “Yeah, I trust you, Red.” Jason taps the helmet in his hands. As much as Dick hesitates again, he finally puts it on and situates it properly on his head. He looks uncomfortable at first, obviously not used to having his hearing distorted in such a way, but he smiles nervously in Jason's direction. Jason hands him the extra leather coat he's brought along and again, Dick feels it out thoroughly before putting it on. It's a little big on him but he obviously doesn't mind. He flushes nervously.

Jason mounts his bike and reaches to touch Dick's arm gently, alerting him to where he is before dragging his fingers down and taking his hand. He pulls Dick closer and with minimum trouble, helps him onto the back of his bike. Dick adjusts until he's comfortable and he inhales shakily.

“This feels weird,” he admits. “It's been a long time. It's- really different not being able to see.”

“Bad?” Jason asks. He shakes his head. “Good. Grab on.” Dick reaches back, looking for the proper place to brace himself and Jason rolls his eyes. “Grab onto me, Dick.”

“Oh,” Dick replies hesitantly. Nonetheless he leans forward, wraps his arms around Jason's middle and lets out another small, surprised noise. “Oh.”

“What?” Jason scoffs back.

“Nothing,” Dick assures at once. “Tim didn't mention you were, uh, so fit when he described you.” Jason snorts a laugh. He figured at some point Dick asked someone what he looked like, he's never asked Jason himself, but he can't even imagine how that conversation went down. It would have been great to hear, though.

“Probably figured it was all body armor,” he says. He revs his bike and Dick tightens his grip immediately. Jason reaches back to flick Dick's visor down and then his own and then they're off. For the first couple minutes, Dick clings to him tightly like he's afraid of coming loose otherwise. Then, slowly, he lightens up. He relaxes, breathes deep and just takes in what he can of the ride. He might be blind but he can still enjoy the feel; the sensation of the wind and vibration of the bike, the pull as they weave through the city, the sounds.

Dick rests his head on Jason's back, holding on comfortably and enjoying the ride.

Jason takes his time but not long enough to actually make Dick concerned about how far they're going. He needs to put some distance between where they're going and where the rest of the family usually expects Dick to be but he knows better than to take Dick completely out of the city- or even the district where he lives. He doesn't actually want Bruce on his ass tonight.

When they start to slow down, Dick lifts his head again curiously. Jason parks his bike in a garage and Dick turns his head back to listen to it close behind them. He lifts his visor again.

“Where are we?” he asks.

“‘round the corner from the museum,” Jason says.

“Are you taking me to the museum?” Dick questions curiously as he takes his helmet off. Jason leaves them both beside his bike.

“Nope,” he answers. He dons his own domino and slicks his hair back, ensuring the paint covering his vitiligo spot is holding. Today he doesn't want to be recognised as Red Hood or Jason Todd. From his pocket, he takes out Dick’s domino and puts it in his hand. “You need to wear this.”

“Why?” Dick asks slowly.

“Do you want all the ‘Bruce Wayne's poor blind son’ attention?” Jason scoffs. “How many more questions you gonna ask?”

“Start answering them and maybe less,” Dick replies begrudgingly. He puts the mask on, making a face beneath it and scrunching his nose. “You're not using me to rob a place, are you?”

“Yeah, I'm gonna use a blind kid as a scapegoat,” Jason agrees sarcastically. “Come on.” He takes Dick's hand and leads them outside. Dick takes something from his pocket that looks like a marker and with a flick of the wrist, it extends to a full length cane. Curiously, he uses it to scan around. There's not much to ‘see’ and once he's satisfied with whatever it is he was looking for, he retracts his cane again. Jason leads him away.

“Stairs,” he says. Dick follows him easily up the first flight and Jason lets go of his hand on the second. Using his key, he taps on the handrail as he passes each curve and Dick quickly picks up on the tell. He's never been here before, at least not in a very long time, but he navigates easily when given proper tools. It's exactly as Jason expected.

“This place didn't have an elevator?” Dick asks, somewhat annoyed looking.

“You really wanna get in an elevator in this part of Gotham?” Jason asks. Dick scoffs a mute noise back. Complaint aside, he's still obviously in good shape. That's also not surprising.

“End of the line,” Jason says. Dick comes up alongside him as he jams the roof access door open and takes them outside. “Follow me.”

“Where are you taking me, Red?” Dick asks a little more forcibly this time. He's getting nervous.

“Almost there,” Jason lies. “Ledge. Three feet.” He kicks the edge with his foot and effortlessly, Dick hops up after him.

“There wasn't an easier way to get here?” he insists. He follows Jason and the noises he makes at a decent pace, navigating the rooftop without even thinking about it. Jason doesn't even have to pull him.

“Gap. Sixteen inches. Jump. It'll be worth it,” Jason promises. Dick sighs. “Fence. Watch the top. Landing is clear.”

“Red,” Dick says impatiently even as he easily vaults the fence right after Jason. “This feels like you're just-” he stops, looks perplexed for a moment, then gives Jason a look. The gig’s up, obviously. Jason watches as Dick listens to his surroundings again. “Red, are you just taking me free running?”

“Maybe,” Jason replies coyly. Dick wanders towards a ledge, following the sound of traffic down below, and Jason grabs the back of his jacket to make sure he doesn't wander off. He pretends to look down before backing up again.

“Red,” he repeats, even more unsure. “I can't-”

“Already have,” Jason cuts him off swiftly. Dick inhales shakily. “You said you trusted me, right?”

“I knew I'd regret that,” Dick murmurs mildly. He reaches back to latch onto Jason firmly as if suddenly needing to make sure he stays upright. Much like on the bike, however, he just needs time to adjust. He takes in the feel of the wind, the distant noises of the city down below, the sensation of height, and he slowly relaxes again.

“Come on,” Jason says. Dick hesitates. “You miss this, don't you? Come on.”

“Okay,” he says quietly. Jason grabs his arm again, loosely but enough to give him some much needed contact, and guides him. Now knowing what's happening, Dick is far more unsure of traversing the rooftops but once he realises he was doing just fine before, it's effortless for him. Jason doesn’t know how long it's been since he's been able to do anything like this but Dick definitely doesn't look or move like he's out of practice.

With no where particularly in mind, Jason instructs Dick through the city slowly but surely. This might be the first time he's seen Dick actually enjoy himself since finding out he had become blind. It doesn't take long to be able to let go of him again. Dick trusts him to give competent enough instructs so he doesn't end up hurting himself or worse. Jason's always close enough to make a split second decision in case something goes wrong but overwhelmingly, Dick is equally as capable of following instruction. Between that and his ability to place sounds in his surrounding, it's absolutely amazing to Jason that he can still think of himself as unable to function as Nightwing.

He doesn't need anyone to hold his hand, he just needs a new way to be a hero.

Something Bruce should have helped him with.

“Easy,” Jason instructs. “You're gonna need a running jump for this one. Five feet gap, next building ten inches higher. Ledge is here.” He guides Dick to the edge of the building and he swallows nervously before nodding.

“Got it,” he agrees, nodding. Jason reaches down to squeeze his hand lightly and Dick smiles. He lets go and backs away from the ledge. Dick follows, listening to his steps as he goes and stops in the same place. Jason takes a running start at the gap and gracefully clears it with a single leap. Once on the other side, he snaps to let Dick know he's ready.

Dick swallows nervously but he's looking right at Jason. He takes a running start, leaps, and lands safely on the other side. The suddenness must catch him off guard though, because he stumbles violently and Jason quickly moves to grab him by his arms to stop him from tripping onto his face. There's a brief moment where he has to reorient himself before he blinks and turns his head up to Jason. He reaches out, placing his hands on Jason's shoulders in return and offers a small, sheepish smile.

Then, without warning, he leans up and kisses Jason. On the mouth. Fully.

Jason panics. He shoves Dick away harshly and Dick looks startled like that's definitely not what he was expecting. Jason feels way more alarmed, though. Dick turns a bright shade of red.

“Oh my god, I'm so sorry, Red,” he says urgently. All at once, Jason realises the unintended consequences of not telling Dick who he is. It seems so painfully obvious how not knowing that they're brothers has made so much of what Jason does come off as courting: being so over familiar, being so comfortable, being so nice. Dick thinks he's been flirting. Without the proper context, Jason realises some of his ‘jabs’ definitely do come off as flirty. He thinks they're old friends, or acquaintances at least, why wouldn't he think Jason was interested in him after everything?

“I'm so embarrassed. I thought- god, I don't know what I thought,” Dick rambles on when Jason is too caught off guard to speak. He looks embarrassed but he also looks utterly hurt. Jason might as well have been leading him on this entire time. He threw a hissy fit about Dick trying to sleep with someone else. “I'm so, so sorry. I shouldn't have- like, at all.”

The easiest way to sort this out is by just telling Dick the truth. Jason still doesn't want to do that. If it wasn't bad enough that Dick was going to think Jason was just around out of obligation, now he's going to feel bad about not recognising Jason- enough to actually come onto him. It's not like Jason can outright reject him, either. Dick would also never talk to him again, more out of sheer embarrassment than anything else. Every outcome to this situation is bad and Jason should have seen it coming weeks ago.

It shouldn't be surprising but the idea that Dick is so lonely, so eager to have someone pay attention to him, that he's grown attached to Red Hood of all people makes Jason's stomach roll.

So while Jason's brain is telling him to just tell Dick the truth and get it over with, he absolutely doesn't do that. He can't now. They're way past the opportunity for that. He ducks down to kiss Dick, a little harder than he means to, and Dick jolts. If he plays along for now, he doesn't have to hurt Dick’s feelings or leave him absolutely mortified. Then he'll just-

Then he'll just do everything in his power to make Dick as unattracted to him as possible as fast as possible.

A flawless idea. Nothing can go wrong.

“Red?” Dick says questioningly. “I don't-?”

“It's fine,” Jason replies shortly. “You surprised me, okay? People don't usually- I'm not exactly an attractive guy.” Dick snorts a small, amused laugh. He reaches up to touch Jason's jaw and gently feels for his lip with one hand, finding that long scar and following it up to the edge of his mask. Jason does his best not to grimace.

“Even if I wasn't blind, I don't care what you look like,” Dick assures. “As much as the tabloids would like you to believe, I'm not that shallow. You can pretend to be an ass all you want, I really enjoy being around you, Red. I- this- all the things you keep doing for me- I haven't been happy like this since, uh, since I lost my sight.”

Oh Jason's fucked up. Jason's fucked up so hard. He's fucked up so many things in his life but none as bad as he's fucked this up.

“Thank you, Red,” Dick says. “For this, for everything. You make me feel like less of a burden.” Jason honestly can't believe how much he's fucked this up.

Wait. No. This is Bruce’s fault.

Dick pushes his fingers into Jason's hair and leans up to kiss him again. Everyone always calls Dick a good kisser and honestly, that's definitely something Jason didn't need to know first hand. He responds, just enough to make sure Dick doesn't think he's put off, but that's a slippery slope. The slight reciprocation leads Dick to deepening their kiss, his hot tongue working some kind of magic in Jason's mouth that makes him weak in the knees.

He grabs Dick's jaw in his hand, pushing them apart quite forcibly.

“Dick,” Jason rasps and he's surprised how out of breath he sounds.

“Sorry,” Dick replies with a little laugh. His fingers tighten in Jason's hair briefly before sliding down the back of his neck and resting on his shoulders again. “Got a little carried away.” A little.

“Let's go,” Jason says. Getting Dick back home from here isn't particularly difficult and Jason does it in a bit of a blur. He's too stunned and disorientated to form proper thoughts let alone to work out a way to get himself out of the mess he's gotten himself into. His face is a solid red and behind him, Dick follows along in a pleased, blissful state.

He holds on comfortably tight during the ride back.

Jason needs to ditch him immediately and figure something out. That was the plan, anyway.

“You were right,” Dick says as he takes his helmet off. “I did miss that and it was fun. Thank you again, Red.”

“Don't mention it,” Jason assures.

“Are you coming in?” he asks. Absolutely not. “We can order some food. I, uh, could use some help icing my knee after that, actually. It's been a while since I moved around this much. I'm sore.” Fuck. Dick laughs a little and Jason sighs inside his own helmet so Dick won't hear. He lifts the visor.

“Yeah,” Jason says. “Okay.” Dick smiles. They head inside with Jason safely hidden under his motorcycle helmet. Once back to the relatively safety of Dick's apartment, Jason rips it and his domino off, dropping them on the coffee table and ruffling his hair in both hands. He can't believe he kissed his brother.

Dick is clearly fine with giving him a refresher. He puts a hand on Jason gently, more to find where he is first, and then moves to rest his hands on his chest again. Before now, Jason really never took notice of how small Dick is or rather, how big the pit made him in comparison. Even more reasons as to why no, of course Dick would never recognise him as his brother in a million years even if he could see. He leans up again and gives Jason another shallow kiss on the mouth and Jason leans back.

“Red?” Dick murmurs. He backs off a little. “Sorry, too much? It's- it's actually really hard to read tells without body language.”

“No, it's fine,” Jason assures fleetingly. “You just deserve a lot better than me, Dick.”

“Is this really what we're doing?” Dick asks and he looks thoroughly unamused. “Don't. Seriously? Don't, Red. Don't try to put me up on some unobtainable pedestal now.” Jason doesn't say anything. “When I first lost my sight, I tried to think of the silver linings and I thought, maybe people would start seeing me as their equal instead of- you know what? Nevermind. Sorry, Red, that run was more cathartic than I thought. I shouldn't be making you listen to all this.”

This is the first time since they were kids that Dick has actually confined in him.

Dick starts to back off and Jason grabs his wrists instinctively. He's far beyond thinking through the repercussions of his actions anymore. He needs to deal with what's happening now, and he'll deal with the fallout later. Again, Jason kisses Dick, less forcibly this time but still just as sudden. He pulls back again and Dick laughs.

“Stop apologisin’,” he says. “I said you deserve better than me, not that you're gonna find it, blindy.”

“You know, one day you're gonna have to stop pretending to be an asshole just to push people away,” Dick says but his tone is more amused than anything. Jason scoffs mildly in response and Dick kisses him again. It's not a fluke. Again, he tentatively lets Dick explore his mouth and again, it makes Jason weak and warm. He can't believe he's getting the best kiss of his life from Dick.

Jason tries to think of anyone else but the kiss has him so dazed, it’s hard to think at all let alone to try to come up with someone he’d actually want to kiss. Dick wraps his arms around Jason’s neck, trying to find some leverage, and Jason awkwardly puts his hands on Dick’s waist. When he pulls away, again Jason finds himself more breathless than he wants. Dick huffs an amused sound.

“This okay?” he asks. What Jason should be doing is using this as an easy out and taking the excuse to leave as soon as possible. However, he’s clearly an idiot who likes making everything worse on himself and is apparently easily disorientated by one good kiss. He nods and Dick smiles back at him. Jason does flinch this time when Dick reaches for his face but it’s not something he notices. Without his domino on, Dick can follow the expanse of his scar properly, tracing it with his fingers gently before moving on to caress his jaw and then his neck.

He moves further down and Jason feels paralyzed. Dick’s hands follow down his broad chest curiously, to the waistband of his jeans, and then further. It obviously is more of a surprise to Jason than it is to Dick that he’s already semi-erect. He can't believe he's gotten hard for his brother. Dick palms him through his jeans and Jason closes his eyes briefly, trying to make another effort to imagining anyone else. It's hard to do when he's so hyper focused on Dick unbuckling his belt and starting on his jeans.

With a content hum, Dick gets down on his knees. Jason’s having trouble thinking at all let alone to any kind of helpful extent. Dick presses his face briefly into Jason's stomach and audibly inhales his scent.

“You smell so nice, Red,” he murmurs, hooking his fingers in Jason's belt loops and nuzzling his face into the crook of his thigh. Fuck, fuck, fuck-

Fuck,” Jason rasps. Dick smiles. He presses his mouth against Jason's quickly swelling cock through his boxers before pulling them down and letting his cock bounce free. This is bad. From this angle, Jason can't see Dick's eyes behind his domino but he can see the peek of his tongue as he licks his lip. This is so bad. Dick wraps his fingers around his hard cock to explore its shape.

He's a freak, that's it. He's a sick freak. There's nothing he should find arousing about his blind brother on his knees in that stupid domino feeling out his cock.

“Wow, you're, uh, a lot bigger than I expected,” Dick says, his face flushing a dull shade of red. Jason truly can't believe how hot this is and how screwed in the head he is. The fact alone that it's his brother should be the biggest turn off in the world and finding out that it isn't is far from Jason's favorite thing. Neither does the intrusive thought that the only thing that would make this better would be Dick in his Nightwing gear.

Dick kisses down the side of his cock and nestles his lips at the base, breathing in his scent again. His hands slide down the front of his legs and he pauses for a moment before feeling his thighs more fully. He manages to fluster even more somehow and he squeezes Jason’s thighs firmly.

“That's-” he says then repeats, “wow. You have really nice thighs.” All this flattering is getting Jason more than a little riled up. If it's not enough that he's usually just too unpleasant for people to like, let alone compliment, the idea that he's so sheerly Dick's ‘type’ is a big stroke to the ego. Beautiful, charming, out of everyone's league Dick Grayson likes his thighs and his scent and his cock.

He's so fucked up.

Dick follows Jason's length back to the tip with his mouth and, gripping his thighs as he does, takes the head between his lips. That tongue that kisses so well does more than that. Jason doesn't exactly have deft fingers when he's dealing with his own arousal and Dick is easily finding places with his tongue he didn't know about that make him groan. He seems particularly pleased with himself as he sinks further and further down.

Without his sight, it's immensely clear how much he relies on his hearing even now. He looks focused, listening to Jason's breathing and the breathy curses he makes and adjusting his tactics to match. It's not like Jason is that hard to please when just seeing Dick like this nearly sets him off. Of course his brother is good at this, there's a reason he's such a popular playboy. Jason covers his eyes with a hand and tilts his head back as Dick takes his cock into his throat like it's nothing.

“Fuck that's good,” he groans. “Shit, Dick.” Dick hums contently in response, nearly taking Jason out at the knees with the sensation, and digs his fingers into his thigh tightly. Jason spares a look down between his fingers. He takes Jason in full easily, shiny lips stretched around the base of his cock and his throat bulging slightly behind his adam’s apple. It's a lot to deal with all at once. Jason doesn't even know what he's supposed to be doing with his hands during this.

Dick pulls off slow, leaving Jason's cock slick with spit, and he catches his breath for a second- something Jason decides is a good idea. Even if that's difficult with Dick’s lips still resting on the head of his cock. It's also short lived. Dick sinks back down to the root again in a single, undeterred movement, then begins to bob his head in long strokes. The first few are shallow then he pushes further and fucks his throat on Jason's cock.

Jason covers his mouth with his hand, unable to do anything but watch. He not going to last much longer at this rate. Dick looks so good. He tosses his head back again and groans behind his fingers. When he comes without warning, Dick makes a surprised little noise and hurriedly pulls back so he can swallow properly.

“Oh fuck,” Jason breathes out in a ragged voice. Dick holds the base of his cock as he pulls off, mouth slick with spit and cum. He hums contently as he quickly reaches down to unbutton his own jeans, fishing out his cock and stroking himself in hand. Jason tries not to shudder too noticeably as Dick leans his head against his thigh while he hastily finds his own end.

Red,” he groans. Jason’s stomach drops. “Fuck you're hot.” Dick still has no idea who he is. This is so bad. Jason bites his palm with a cringe as Dick mouths at his thigh, moaning against him hotly. He comes easily and afterwards, pants against Jason’s thigh. This is a lot worse than bad.

He's really fucked himself into a corner here.

“That was-” Dick pants, still trying to catch his breath. His voice is hoarse already. He reaches up to take his domino off, holding it in his lap and rubbing the edge with his thumb. “Really nice, Red. Thank you for tonight. It was a fun date.” He even thought it was a date. He took his brother on a date then took advantage of him being blind. Jason should have stayed dead.

“Yeah. Listen, I gotta go,” Jason says. Dick sits back on his knees and Jason hastily tucks himself back into his pants. “Do you, uh, need anything or- anything?”

“No,” Dick murmurs, shaking his head. “Red-”

“You didn't do nothin’,” Jason assures curtly. “Somethin’s just come up. Vigilante stuff. You know the deal.”

“Right,” Dick says. “Okay. I'll see you tomorrow?” No.

No, no, no, no, no.

“Yeah,” Jason agrees. “Course.” He's a dumb fucking shit who doesn't know how the hell to control his fucking mouth. If he knew what was good for him he'd never show his face around here again. Dick smiles.

“Good luck,” he offers.

Jason's going to fucking need it.

Chapter Text

Alright, so he got a blow job from his brother. A really good blow job. It's never going to happen again so it's fine. Jason will just let Dick down easy and blow some smoke about not being ready for this and Dick, sweet, kind hearted Dick, will let sleeping dogs lie. At least long enough for Jason to make himself as unappealing as possible.

Jason stops his bike at the end of Dick's street.

Bruce is here.

Seeing as Jason isn't actually an idiot, he keeps his distance as he watches the car parked out front. It's not empty, clearly, but it looks like Bruce is already inside. This shouldn't be that surprising; Jason did take Dick out for a night on the town. Of course Bruce found out. He gets as close as he's willing to risk and tries to see what he can through Dick’s window.

Bruce is definitely here. He's checking the window and Jason makes sure to stay out of immediate sight until he goes away.

Jason> Bruce is here
Dick< Ugh, yeah. Sorry.

When he walks away from the window, Dick wanders past after him like he's trying to physically chase him out of the apartment at a snail's pace. He holds his phone in one hand, though, linked to his headphones and has obviously been trying to get help from one of his other siblings. If Bruce is on a war path of ‘worry’ no one's stepping in to help him- especially not Jason.

Jason> Let me guess, not happy about the stunt I pulled yesterday
Dick< It wasn't you. It's complicated.

Of course it's complicated. It's Bruce. Jason gets higher ground, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself but wanting a better angle on the window. He knows he needs to be careful. He also knows Bruce isn't going to do anything. Bruce may be a hard ass but he'd never actually hurt any of his kids- Dick especially. Jason pulls out his binoculars and peers through one side into the apartment.

They're in a loud ‘disagreement’ if anything but they're moving too much and Jason still doesn't have a good enough angle to make out what's being said. If he gets a good angle, Bruce will spot him immediately. Dick runs a hand down his face.

Jason> You good?
Dick< Fine.
Dick< Sorry, I can't get him to leave. Mind coming back tomorrow?
Jason> K

Unsurprisingly the one time Bruce’s presence is unwanted he doesn't have anything else to attend to. Jason sticks around to watch some more but there's not much to see when he can't make out their conversation. If he's trying to convince Dick that it's too dangerous for him to be out like that or that he's in no shape to be doing those kinds of things anymore, Jason will make the next few weeks even more hellish for him than usual. Dick enjoyed himself. He needed it.

Jason supposes he should be glad he gets to postpone today but if the price of that is Bruce loitering around, he's not sure it's worth it.

He stores his groceries away until tomorrow.

 

No Bruce. No baby birds. No Alfred.

Jason checks around just to be sure but it seems Bruce’s worry had less to do with who Dick was with and more to do with the danger he thought it involved. If Jason thought for a second Dick couldn't handle it, he wouldn't have gone through with it. He's not going to treat Dick like a helpless child just because everyone else seems to be. Surely by now Bruce knows the ‘vigilante’ Dick is hanging out with is Red Hood. Why he's not upset about that surely has to do with whatever Dick has been telling him.

That and Jason has been too distracted lately to be as confrontational with Batman as he has been. Now that he's been around a while and more importantly been around Dick, a lot of his anger has petered out into a simmering annoyance again. His desire to hurt and maim has all but faded.

Jason climbs up to Dick’s window and stops to check it for anything new. Nothing seems different.

“Red?” Dick murmurs as Jason hops inside and sets his bag down on the coffee table.

“Yo. Pops not gonna harass you today?” he asks. Dick lets out an annoyed exhale.

“No,” he assures. “And he wasn't ‘harassing’ me. He was just concerned.”

“Uh huh,” Jason replies absently as he looks around for bugs. Considering they never move anything, it’s not particularly difficult but Bruce is notoriously crafty. There's no way Bruce was here and didn't do something. It'll be a cold day in hell when Jason lets him pull something that easy over on him.

“You did take his blind kid running across Gotham’s skyline,” Dick comments. Jason looks around suspiciously when he doesn't immediately find anything. No obvious bugs or cameras doesn’t mean there aren’t any. He doesn’t like this. “We- talked about maybe doing some training again.” Jason stops, turning to give Dick a perplexed look.

“Really?” he asks skeptically. That's harder to believe than not finding any new surveillance equipment in Dick's apartment. Maybe for once in his life Bruce is actually giving Dick some breathing room after all. Also hard to believe.

“Yeah,” Dick agrees and he smiles. Jason doesn't say anything for a moment. He's a little annoyed, admittedly. Dick has been blind for at least a year, more maybe, and only after Bruce sees him making progress out of his control does he step in to offer help? If he had been there for Dick from the beginning, none of them would be in this mess. Jason knows a part of it does have to do with Dick just not wanting to before and his new confidence is exclusively from getting to know ‘Red’ but it still ticks him off.

“Good,” he says without any real feeling behind it. Dick notices, clearly. However, he also seems to still remembers Jason doesn't like Bruce so he changes topics for everyone's benefit.

“If you have some time, I thought we could watch a movie together?” he offers.

“Watch?” Jason echoes back, picking his bag back up. He hesitates briefly before taking his hood off, tucking it under his arm just in case. Would his own father even recognise him? He never stopped to think about that.

“You can watch,” Dick clarifies. “I'll listen.” Jason grunts a noise of agreement. Now that he knows for a fact that Dick thinks he’s been flirting with him, he’s hyper aware of how everything he says and does comes across.

“I’m gonna start some food,” Jason murmurs.

“I’ll set the tv up,” Dick says.

Either Bruce doesn’t know the vigilante Dick is associating with is Red Hood or he doesn’t know Jason’s been courting him. Accidentally courting him, but courting all the same. If he did, there’s no way he would stand for this. If he finds out, it’s possible Bruce would put up enough of a stint that Dick would drop the whole thing just to save them all the trouble.

It might also make it next to impossible to get near Dick ever again, though.

Jason preps food irritably. He looks back into the living room where Dick is meandering through trying to make the television work like he wants it to. While he can obviously sort it out himself, he doesn’t seem as practiced in this as he is in other things. He doesn’t like not being able to hear what’s going on around him let alone to not know where something is coming from so it makes sense that movies aren’t his go to entertainment. That being said, Jason is here and clearly he’s less concerned about something happening in his company.

Once he has it set, Dick settles into the couch to wait. Jason takes a little more time than strictly needed. Unfortunately, he can’t keep this up forever with Dick listening to him move around. When he finally makes himself finish up what he’s doing and move to join him on the couch, Dick smiles mutely in his direction. Jason plops down on the couch and instinctively stretches himself out leisurely, dropping his heels on the coffee table in the process.

“Alfred would have your head if he knew how you were treating my furniture,” Dick assures teasingly. Jason scoffs in return. If Alfred had any idea what was going on here, he’d have much high priorities than that. Dick passes him the remote and Jason begins the movie before they have to talk anymore.

This is it. Dick’s going to make a move and Jason’s going to have to hurt his feelings. As if on cue, Dick reaches over to find where Jason is, puts a hand on his thigh and then moves closer. With Jason’s arm stretched across the back of the couch, Dick can lean against his side comfortably and settle in. Jason tries to relax and focus on the movie. This is fine, he guesses. There’s nothing inherently romantic about it. Dick’s always been pretty tactile with people he’s close to.

Surely it’s only a matter of time before he gets bored of this, though. Dick closes his eyes and tilts his head against Jason’s chest to listen to the movie. When he starts getting handsy, just tell him no. That’s all there is to it. Just tell him no. Don’t think about his full lips or how he deepthroats a cock like he was made for it. Definitely don’t think about how good he looks on his knees in that stupid domino or him getting himself off from just giving a blow job.

Oh good, he’s half hard. That’s fucking great. Jason glances at Dick out the corner of his eye to check if he notices anything off but he doesn’t seem to. At least he doesn't have to worry about that. He tries to will his arousal away by thinking of something else.

A loud crash from the television makes Dick blink in surprise. His eyes scan around pointlessly and he adjusts again as if to hear better. Jason knows his hearing is good but he doesn't know exactly how good. There's a lot more than hearing to his perception now, too. His ability to mentally place objects in his surroundings from said hearing is phenomenal. He can remember where to look for Jason's face and follow it just from his footsteps. He remembered which light switch turned on which lamp, heard it come on, and knew where to aim to smash it.

Dick has always been otherworldly talented. That obviously hasn't changed.

“Can you even tell what's goin’ on?” Jason asks idly.

“Not entirely,” Dick admits. Considering how his perception works now, Jason imagines this is all pretty jarring to him. He can surely tell what noises are coming from the television and which aren't but there's still a lot happening on screen- sounds he really can't pin a position to.

“You want me to describe it?” Jason offers.

“No,” he assures. “Honestly I'm not that interested. I just like sitting with you.”

Jason knows Dick is lonely; isolated from his work only in turn to isolate himself from everyone he cared about. It never really occurred to him that he was lonely, too. When was the last time Jason had company like this? That anyone bothered to give him the time of day beyond what he could do?

He really doesn't want to lose this.

“Right,” Jason murmurs. They don't have to watch a movie to do that. Jason wonders if this is because he mentioned how quiet it always is in here or if there's something in particular that drew Dick to want to watch this movie. He hasn't been paying enough attention to even know what it is. He's too focused on waiting for Dick to do something.

Which never happens.

The kitchen timer going off startles Dick more than the movie does and he lets out a small, amused but still vaguely stressed huff. Even if he can't tell what's happening, he's obviously paying close attention. He pushes himself up and sits back in the couch to let Jason up.

“Smells good,” Dick compliments as Jason wanders past. He plates them some food and Dick just sits on the couch and listens. More and more he tries to find things that aren't so difficult for Dick to eat. Kind of like how more and more Dick makes an effort to make his apartment less quiet when Jason is around, he supposes.

Jason holds a plate in front of Dick and he sits up better before carefully reaching up to find it. He sniffs curiously as Jason plops back down and drags the coffee table out of its marked position for them to eat on. With one hand, Dick reaches out to feel for the edge and he sets his plate down before poking and prodding at it as usual.

“Can you eat n’ listen?” Jason asks.

“I think I can manage,” Dick assures with an amused laugh. They eat and watch and when they're done eating, Dick tucks himself back into Jason's side like he belongs there. He's comfortable though and he’s really not doing anything so there's no reason to stop him. Jason finds himself absently moving his hand onto Dick’s far shoulder and as he pays more attention to the movie, rubbing a soft circle there with his thumb.

He always took Dick to be a ‘honeymoon’ type, that once the barrier of sexual intimacy was broached, he'd be hyper focused on it until he either got tired or bored. Maybe that's just him buying too much into the ‘playboy’ image everyone talks about, one he already knows is far from accurate.

“Did anythin’ ever happen ‘tween you ‘n Barbara?” Jason asks. Dick blinks in surprise though he’s not sure if it’s because Jason is asking or because he didn’t expect Jason to know. He keeps narrowing down the field of people he might be with each tidbit of information he gets. Jason wonders if he’s even had a passing thought that it might be his dead little brother, if he thought about it then dismissed it immediately. He wonders how many times over the years Dick wanted his brother back, hoped for it even, only to be faced with bitter reality again.

“Uh,” Dick begins awkwardly but, as usual, he doesn’t press Jason on who he is anymore. He’s just ‘Red’ now. If he assumes Jason is anyone else, he doesn’t mention it. “Yeah. We dated for a while but uh, she was like a sister to me. It was weird.”

He regrets asking.

“Pretty weird,” Jason murmurs. He moves his hand back to the couch.

 

Jason flicks the butt of another cigarette down to the street below. He knows sometimes, much less frequently now, Dick goes out with his family. Shopping or out for food or even back to the manor now and again. Still, it’s rare he’s not home at this time a night even if not specifically because he knows Jason drops by around now.

It’s been an hour.

Jason> Where are you

Twelve minutes. Another cigarette.

Dick< Training with Damian.
Dick< Were you coming over tonight?

He comes over every night.

Jason> Nah
Dick< I can be home in ten minutes.
Jason> Don’t worry about it
Dick< Sorry I should have told you.

Jason snaps his lighter open and closed irritably in his hand. He lays back on the gravely roof. He’s glad Dick is putting an effort into doing what he loves again, he really is, but he’s not sure what that’s going to mean going forward. ‘Red Hood’ isn’t exactly on the family’s favorite persons list right now regardless of his dwindling desire to see Bruce’s blood thrown across the city. If Dick expects them to make some sort of truce just for his sake, he’s going to be disappointed.

He doesn’t like the idea of Dick getting too busy for him.

Jason> When are you gonna be done?
Dick< I didn’t really plan on a time. Couple hours?
Dick< Really, I can come home now.
Jason> Nah
Jason> I’ll catch ya tomorrow

It’s not like Jason’s really going to ask Dick to stop what he’s doing just for him. He doesn’t think Dick’s been ‘training’ since he went blind or, at the very least, since he somehow came to the conclusion that he couldn’t be useful anymore. This has to be a huge step for him.

Dick< Okay. I’ll be home tomorrow. Promise.
Jason> Good luck
Dick< Thanks :)

Jason stares at his phone. He’s not sure if he trusts the rest of the family to know the difference between coddling and reasonable accommodations. He’s not sure if he trusts them not to play the ‘your enemies won’t give you a break and neither will we’ card, either. They’ll just have to see.

Maybe this is a good thing. If Dick gets his confidence back, he’ll realise he’s too good for ‘Red’ and break whatever thing they have going on off on his own. Less work on Jason’s part.

Which is what Jason wants. Of course.

Of course.

 

Well, he is here. Jason watches as Dick limps into his apartment building. He waits a bit, gives Dick time to get into his apartment and settle in, then he climbs down to the window he always enters through. Usually if Dick hears him, he’ll come to greet Jason at the window- and he always hears him. Today, he’s not in sight. Jason looks around suspiciously but, ultimately, he hears the water running in the bathroom.

He sets his bag down in the kitchen doorway before quietly heading down the hall. The tub faucet is loud and Jason is quiet enough to get away with not being heard under it. He thinks, at least. The door’s wide open, likely so Dick can hear the rest of the house when he eventually turns the water off, and when Jason peers into the bathroom, Dick looks in his direction curiously. He stops, listens, then goes back to what he was doing when Jason doesn’t move.

Dick feels the water height before turning it off and starting to strip down out of his clothes. He's bruised; heavily. They're all fresh, from today and yesterday easily, and cover most of him. Some are precisely shaped, blows from training sticks by someone who obviously expected him to be able to block them. Others are both more expansive and more hazy, impact bruises from falling or, in this case, flinging himself into things. All in a ‘controlled’ environment, Jason is sure.

He has a lot more scars than Jason remembers. None of them are fresh, none of them are even new, but they're all over and some of them look mean. Dick is, always has been, exceptionally good at whatever he decides to do. His scars aren't marks of failures, not like Jason’s are. He's always gotten most of his scars by throwing himself in harm’s way for the sake of someone else. Usually people that didn't deserve it.

Dick climbs into the tub and closes his eyes, sinking into the cool water with an exhausted exhale and settles in to soak his bruises.

“How was trainin’?” Jason asks. Dick jolts, splashing water around as he urgently moves to attention. He relaxes soon after, recognising Jason’s voice almost instantly, and puts a hand over his chest.

“Fucking christ,” he hisses. “Red. You asshole.”

“Were they trainin’ you or beatin’ the shit out of you?” Jason questions. Dick sits back again with a disgruntled noise.

“Little of both,” he murmurs back. He closes his eyes again, not that it particularly matters to him, and sinks lower into the tub. While he's still obviously in good shape, actual training has likely left him tired and worn out. It has to have been a while since he was run through this kind of workout. “Did you watch me undress?”

“It wasn't very sexy, don't worry,” Jason assures. Dick snorts a laugh.

“From now on I'll make sure I do a strip tease every time I get undressed just in case you're sneaking around,” he promises. Jason's too busy not thinking about his brother doing a strip tease to think of something witty or anything at all, honestly. “All the better anyways. I'm way too sore in way too many places to get on my knees today let alone anything else.”

“What ever will I do?” Jason replies sarcastically. It wasn't like he'd let that happen anyways. No matter how much he keeps thinking back to it.

“You could always return the favour,” Dick murmurs in a vaguely coy tone. Jason feels his entire face turn red. He's so caught off guard by the idea of getting on his knees for his brother he doesn't know what to say. Dick’s empty eyes drift in his direction as if to fruitlessly make sure he's still there. “I was- just kidding. I'm too sore for even that, actually.”

“Maybe, uh, maybe next time,” Jason says and he tries to steady his voice so Dick doesn't notice anything off. Whether he does or not isn't entirely clear. He doesn’t say anything, a vacant kind of look on his face that makes it hard for Jason to be sure what he’s thinking. After a moment he just smiles faintly, though.

“Maybe,” he answers back. Jason’s already bombing this whole ‘unappealing’ thing.

“I’m gonna start dinner,” he says and Dick hums back a faint noise of understanding.

And Jason’s not going to think about sucking off his brother. He’s not going to think about how nice his cock looks or him leaned against Jason’s leg, complimenting his thighs. All while definitely not thinking about how since it happened he can’t seem to get off to anything besides Dick.

He’s so fucked.

Jason hears Dick get out of the tub and a few moments later, pad down the hall to his bedroom. He finishes what he’s doing and sets the timer before heading down the hall. He knows Dick can hear him, there’s no distracting noise this time, but he drags his fingers along the wall audibly as he goes anyways. Dick’s laying face down on his bed, still fairly wet but obviously not caring. His back is a mess of bruises, dark and more intense than Jason realised they were earlier.

Dick is obviously aware of his presence, his slight adjustment to listen to Jason move is apparent, but Jason is still careful. He touches the edge of the bed first before sliding his hand to Dick’s back and grazing his fingers up his spine. The gentle touch makes Dick exhale softly into the pillow.

“You good?” Jason asks. Dick nods. “Want some ice?” Dick nods. “Gonna need a lot of it.”

“Just for the shoulders,” he mumbles into the bed. It does seem to be his shoulders that’s the worst of it- a lot of both getting knocked onto his back and falling onto his back. Dick calls a soft ‘thank you’ as Jason heads back to the kitchen. He stirs a few things then fills a bag with ice and returns to the bedroom where Dick hasn’t budged an inch. Jason wraps the bag in a paper towel and sets the back right between Dick’s shoulder blades.

The relieved groan Dick lets out is unfortunately familiar and makes Jason’s face red all over again.

“That’s much better,” he says. “I know getting back in the rhythm is hard but this feels- pointless.”

“You’ll get used to it,” Jason promises. He rubs the back of Dick’s neck a little, the one place he isn’t bruised to hell and back, and Dick murmurs back a noise of agreement at him. “You have some pain reliever around here?”

“Yeah,” Dick sighs back. He reaches out absently to grab his phone and with a few flicks and taps of his thumb, opens something up before handing it to Jason. Jason looks at it questioningly. “Should be on the second shelf in the medicine cabinet. Two from the left.”

“Right,” Jason says. He heads back to the bathroom. Upon opening the medicine cabinet, he realises why he needs Dick’s phone for this; none of the bottles had readable labels on them anymore. Instead, the labels have been replaced with some sort of QR code looking things. Sure enough, everything is where it should be and when Jason points the camera at the proper bottle, it brings up a page for tylenol to be read out by the screen reader.

This has been made specifically for Dick and his needs, obviously. It’s not like that would be difficult or even time consuming for the likes of their family but still Jason finds it- not surprising, just unexpected. They might have definitely gone a little overboard with the whole marking where his furniture goes and rigging most of his house to know what’s going on but maybe he should give them more credit than he has been. Bruce is thorough and he does care albeit in a weird way.

That’s nothing new.

Jason scans a few other bottles. Vitamins, supplements, antibiotics, vicodin, and steroids. The usual vigilante stuff. Hell the usually family stuff; always prepared for anything. He takes a few of the pain pills, returns to the kitchen to stir again, and then back to the bedroom with a water bottle in hand. Dick still hasn’t moved.

“Are you gonna be the first man to die exclusively from bruises?” Jason asks, setting Dick's phone back down on the side table. Dick groans in return. He only sits up a little when Jason touches the water bottle to his arm. With an exhausted huff, he pushes himself further up and reaches to take the ice from his back. He palms it, a solemn look on his face, and Jason takes it from him before putting the water in his hand.

“Is this a mistake?” Dick asks. Jason puts the pills in his other hand.

“Never knew you to give up cause somethin’s hard,” he murmurs.

“It’s not because it’s hard,” Dick says. He looks at the pills. “I don’t know what these are.”

“Tylenol,” Jason assures.

“And I take your word for it,” Dick replies.

“Ask one of your little handlers then,” Jason says.

“And take their word for it,” Dick says. He feels over the pills with his fingers, presses his thumb against the number imprinted on them and the shape of them. Jason doesn’t say anything. “If I can’t hear, I can’t do anything, Red. Even if by some chance I can be Nightwing again, how long until everyone knows I’m one audio bang away from being completely helpless?”

“So you upgrade,” Jason answers. “You build ear plugs that automatically cancel out any frequency that would deafen you.”

“If I get up on those roofs by myself, I’m one misstep away from an impromptu suicide,” Dick urges.

“How is that different than when you could see?” Jason scoffs back. Dick frowns. “Why’d ya have to be alone back then? Why ya have to be alone now?”

“What’s the point if I’m going to have to rely on someone else all the time? I’m a liability now,” he says.

“Take those,” Jason says. “They're tylenol.” Dick lets out quiet laugh.

“I know,” he says. That wasn't what he was getting at, Jason knows, but it matters. He has people he can trust specifically for this reason- people who, regardless of whether he can see or not, know damn well what he brings to the table. Dick swallows the pills down and sets the water aside to rub his face in his hands. “Sorry. I'm just tired.”

“If you're gonna give up, then give up. I'm sure the rest of the family would love if you never put that fuckin’ suit on again,” Jason assures. Dick clenches his teeth enough to make his jaw jut out. “You're lucky you went blind. You could have died.”

But I didn't,” he bites.

“But you didn't,” Jason repeats back. Dick opens his mouth briefly to reply before stopping and considering it slightly more. He sighs, releases the tension in his shoulders, and laughs again.

“But I didn't,” he says again.

“I know you,” Jason says. “You wouldn't know how to quit if it saved your life.”

“You're impossible,” Dick assures humorously.

“Uh huh,” Jason replies. His timer goes off. “Don't tell me you're too sore to eat.”

“No,” Dick says as he gets to his feet. Even then, he winces a little and shifts to try to get rid of some of his aches. He reaches out, finding Jason's arm and comes closer to give him a shallow but very affectionate kiss. “Thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jason murmurs. It's just a kiss. “Someone’s gotta talk some sense into you now and again.” Dick grins at him.

 

It isn't surprising that Dick starts making sure to be home around the same time now. Sometimes he's just getting home as Jason climbs down to his window and others he's already settling in from a rough training session. If he's not going to be home, at least Dick lets him know well in advance. It's nice even if Jason is still on the fence about the family training him again.

“Red,” Dick murmurs. It's comfortable. Jason's sat on one side of the couch and Dick leans against his side, a typical position for them lately. While he watches video feed on his phone, Dick reads braille printed case pages. He hasn't worried about anything happening for a couple days now. It doesn't seem like Dick has even considered their ‘date’ as anything serious and hasn't tried to pursue anything more from it.

Jason grunts back a noise of acknowledgement. He should be glad, he doesn't have to hurt Dick’s feelings now, but he just feels- disappointed.

“Could we go for a ride?” Dick asks.

“Where,” Jason replies.

“Oh, uh,” Dick murmurs and he considers it quietly. It occurs to Jason that he doesn't particularly want to go anywhere; he just likes the ride. He always liked his motorcycle and now that he can't ride, hitching along with Jason is the closest he's going to get. It's not like anyone else is going to take him and especially not the way he wants to go.

“Let's grab somethin’ to eat,” Jason says. “I don't feel like cookin’, anyway.”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Dick agrees pleasantly. “Your pick. Anywhere I pick is likely to have nosey people in it.” Jason snorts a quiet laugh as Dick pushes himself up and heads down the hall to put on something more appropriate. He returns with his jacket and helmet and smiles in Jason’s direction. Of course he kept that thing. Hell, he probably still has his motorcycle.

Jason dons his own helmet and taps the doorways as he heads out. Dick follows. They take the stairs as opposed to the lift and, unsurprisingly, Dick doesn't need much escorting. If the training lately has done anything for him, it's rebuild his confidence. While he definitely needs a lot of fine tuning before he actually goes out into the world of crime again, Dick has proven time and again that he is wildly capable without his sight.

A brief check to make sure there's no immediate prying eyes and Jason makes for his motorcycle. Dick pulls his own helmet on as Jason uncovers it from the only vaguely hidden spot. He hops on and pulls Dick over to join him. Unlike last time where he was uneasy and unsure, this time Dick climbs on behind him without a problem and naturally wraps his arms around Jason's waist.

It's about the ride so while Jason already has a place in mind, he doesn't head there immediately. He takes to Gotham’s streets fast and confident. Dick rests his head on Jason's back as they ride, taking in the feel of their movement and the quickly passing sounds of a busy city. This time, he's less worried about taking too long. It's a nice day for a ride.

When they finally do arrive, Dick holds him tighter as Jason slides neatly into the alley nearby. They dismount and Dick pulls his helmet off to have a more clear hearing of his surroundings. It wouldn't be surprising if he knew where they are by sound alone. Jason leaves their helmets with his bike. People around here know better than to fuck with his shit.

Like last time, Dick extends his cane from his pocket and scans the area curiously. Jason watches as he swishes it around the alley and makes his way out toward the street.

“What’re you doin’, anyway?” he asks mildly. Dick doesn't stop what he's doing, just tilts his head questioningly and follows a building edge. Jason keeps a few paces behind him, we'll out of range of his swinging.

“Just looking,” Dick assures. Jason scoffs. That part he got, obviously, he doesn't know what Dick is actually ‘seeing’ out of this. Whatever it is, he stops with little warning and retracts his cane again before turning back to Jason. “Where are we going?”

“This way,” Jason says and gestures with his head for Dick to follow. He doesn't see this, Jason realises too late, but Dick naturally follows his voice and steps anyways. They head back the way they came and Jason leads him into a little sub shop. He touches the back of Dick's arm carefully and guides him to one of the tables.

“Here, sit,” he instructs and Dick feels out the table to find a nearby chair. “I'm gonna go order us somethin’.” Dick nods agreeably as he settles in and curiously listens to the surrounding shop. It's fairly quiet in here today, a recorded game on the tv and a few customers minding their own business. Just the way Jason likes it, honestly. He heads for the cashier.

“Hey Peter,” the man grumbles as Jason leans against the counter and plucks a toothpick out of the jar there. He returns the greeting with a mute nod as he props the pick in his mouth. “Who's your friend?”

“Don't recognise ‘im?” Jason asks. The man leans sideways a little to look at Dick again before slowly looking back at Jason.

“Did you kidnap Bruce Wayne’s son?” he asks in a flat tone.

“Why’d I have to have kidnapped ‘im?” Jason scoffs back.

“I don't want anymore trouble than you normally bring, Peter,” he insists.

“Then make us some food and stop being a bitch,” Jason replies. The man gives him a skeptical look but, nonetheless, sends a double order of Jason’s usual to the kitchen. After a moment, he looks back at Dick again and nods his head questioningly at him. Jason arches a brow.

“I heard he was in a accident,” he mumbles. “Looks fine to me.” Obviously Dick’s new impairment isn't common knowledge. Bruce is smart to keep it under wraps seeing as Dick is his son and all. It's not like he's easy to kidnap, even now, but there's no point in tempting fate for no reason. Jason fishes a peppermint patty out of the container on the counter and holds it up.

He throws it, soft and underhand, at Dick.

Dick jolts as it hits him in the chest, urgently scrambling to figure out what he's been hit with. He picks the candy out of his lap and curiously feels it out before looking vaguely in Jason's direction. It's a new surrounding for him and he doesn't know fully where Jason ended up when he walked off. He makes a petulant face.

“Geez, he's blind?” the man says in dim surprise. Jason nods as he twirls the toothpick in his mouth and takes another candy from the container.

“Who’s in the back?” he asks. The cashier grimaces. “Cool, good timing. Hey Dick.” Dick looks more accurately at him as Jason calls to him openly and he perks up. “I gotta go talk to some guys real quick. I'll be right back.”

“Okay,” Dick replies though the weary look he gives obviously isn't completely trusting in the benevolence of this ‘talk’. Which, honestly, is fair. Jason heads down the hall and he hears the cashier sigh behind him. There's talking going on in the back room that stops abruptly when Jason walks in. The three guys all jump nervously but none of them try to flee. Jason comes to stand beside their table, unwrapping the candy in his hands. The bruised and battered man he stands beside bares his teeth awkwardly.

“Peter-” he begins.

“Heard you were hangin’ ‘round your ex’s street again,” Jason says, flicking the wad of foil at the man’s face. He winces. “Didn't we just talk about this?”

“I wasn't,” he sneers back. Jason pops the candy in his mouth.

“That's not what I heard,” he assures.

“She's lying outta her fuckin’-!” before he can finish that statement, Jason grabs him by the throat and slams him down into the table, hushing him instantly. The other two urgently jolt away from the table.

“I got’a friend out front with very sensitive hearing so you're gonna keep your voice down, ‘ight?” Jason says quietly. He releases the guy's neck and slowly, he sits back up again. “Since you didn't understand our first talk, here's the new deal: you leave Gotham or I kill you.”

Peter-” he hisses unhappily but Jason doesn't care much for what he actually has to say. Instead, he whips his knife out in less than a second and points the freshly sharpened tip at the man’s throat.

“Lemme make somethin’ clear here. I didn't kill you the first time ‘cause ya ex begged me not to,” Jason assures, smooth and easy. “And I ain't killin’ you now ‘cause my friend has a ‘sensitive’ stomach, too. You have one week. Go anywhere near your ex’s house again and no one’s gonna be around to stop me from scalping you in the street. Got it?”

Silence.

“Good,” Jason says. He takes the money from the poker game they were playing, counting it in his hand briefly before giving his bruised friend a pat on the back. “Have a good night guys.” They wisely don’t say anything as he leaves.

By the time Jason wanders back to the front of the shop, a couple of men have made their way in and to the table directly beside Dick in an otherwise empty storefront. Dick seems to be listening to the tv with mute interest but it’s unlikely he hasn’t noticed his new friends. Jason makes his way back to the front counter. He puts two twenties down.

“For the food,” he says and the cashier takes it.

“Hey, aren’t you Bruce Wayne’s kid?”

“No way, he’s not pretty enough.”

“And for the peppermint things,” Jason goes on, putting a hundred down as he takes the toothpick from his mouth. The man gives him a look but slides it off the counter and into his pocket nonetheless. He looks to Dick being harassed by the two guys and nods minutely.

“You gonna help him?” he asks. Jason glances over his shoulder. Dick looks well annoyed by the two that have shifted to sit at his table with him but he’s being extraordinarily patient especially considering all the training he’s been cooped up doing.

“I know how we can find out. Gimme your wallet.”

“Why would I help him?” Jason replies as the cashier hands him a bag with their food.

“Isn’t he blind?” he questions.

“Sorry, I didn’t bring my wallet, actually.”

“He’s blind, not helpless,” Jason murmurs, stuffing a few napkins into the bag and then a few more just in case. There’s several loud bangs and some rattling behind him that makes the cashier take a more surprised expression. “Hey Dick, want something to drink?”

When he turns to look again, Dick looks ruffled and his two aggressors are unconscious. He straightens out his shirt and hurriedly slides out of his chair before extending his cane and making his way towards Jason. Once there, he grabs onto his arm and huffs an annoyed noise.

“Water’s fine,” he assures in a clipped voice. Jason holds up a pair of fingers and the cashier hands him two waters. He stuffs them in the bag with their food and ties it off before swinging it over his other shoulder.

“Thanks,” Jason says. “If they bother you, let me know.” While he obviously means the guys in the back, he'll deal with the two unconscious ones if he has to as well. The cashier nods.

“I will,” he agrees. “Thanks, Peter.” Dick retracts his cane as Jason guides them out again. It's a little too crowded in this shop all of a sudden. Once they're a few steps outside, Dick laughs quietly.

“Your name's Peter?” he asks.

“No,” Jason huffs back immediately. “Red is fine.” That's- technically a lie. He's not sure how much more obvious his identity could get using his middle name as an alias but Peter is a common name. It's why he used it. Hide in plain sight and all that.

“I was just asking,” Dick promises in amusement. Jason dislodges him with a small arm shake so he can pull the fire escape down. Dick tilts his head to listen to Jason start climbing and once he's up, follows after him. It isn't quite like stairs but Dick manages without any issues.

“You alright?” Jason asks as they climb towards the roof.

“Those guys?” Dick clarifies and he makes a disgruntled noise. “I'm fine. That's not unusual for me. I hate when people touch me like that, that's all.” They were trying to rob him and that's his complaint. Jason can't help but laugh a little.

“Come on,” he says, snapping his fingers to let Dick know he's holding out his hand. Dick takes it and Jason helps him up onto the roof from the fire escape. They hop across to another building and then up onto another. When they're where Jason wants them to be, he takes Dick's arm and guides him to the edge. He sits and Dick sits with him, legs dangling off.

“Sounds nice over here,” Dick murmurs.

“This part of the city gets quiet around now,” Jason says as he unbundles their food. “As quiet as Gotham gets, anyways.” Dick laughs.

“Thanks,” he says softly. He doesn't specify for what. They eat, enjoying the quiet and the comfortably cool Gotham overcast. It’s nice. Jason can understand why a lot of the places Bruce and Drake had lunch with Dick at usually involved roof seating; a vague attempt at giving him the sensation of his old life.

When they’re done eating, Dick tucks into his side and Jason only hesitates a little before wrapping an arm around him. Again, there's nothing inherently romantic about this Jason tells himself. They sit together all the time and nothing happens. Dick just likes the contact- and attention. Jason knows for a fact this is far from platonic and he knows if he keeps allowing it things are only going to progress but he doesn't want to turn Dick away from all physical contact.

Which is why he's really not surprised when Dick leans up to kiss him. Jason lets him but doesn't fully return it. It's just a kiss. A kiss Dick delves deeper into gradually. This is where Jason should be stopping him, should tell him no and that he's not ready for their relationship to go this far. He really, really should.

God Dick’s tongue makes it hard to think. Jason can't help his slight shudder as he tilts into the kiss more and Dick puts a hand on his chest fondly. He forgot how nice this is and how good Dick is at it. There's not a lot of harm in it, honestly. If Dick tries to go any further, then Jason will stop him. He squeezes Dick closer.

Dick breaks off and he clenches his fingers in Jason’s shoulder as he bites his lip. Jason steadies his breathing.

“Red,” Dick says softly. “Are we dating?” No, is the answer to that, absolutely not. Jason's hot mouth is suddenly way too dry. “Sorry, it feels like a stupid question and I hate asking but you're kind of hard to read sometimes. I don't want to pressure you into anything.”

“You're not,” Jason says, more curt than he means. Dick looks unconvinced, empty eyes focused on Jason’s mouth; on his tone. He tries to think of something else to say but all the lies he had prepared about not being ready have fluttered away.

“So we are?” Dick asks tentatively. No. No no. No. This is an easy out, just say no.

“Do you want to be dating?” Jason replies which is, distinctly, not a ‘no’. Because he's an idiot. Just a straight dipshit. God said put all the stupid in this one. Dick smiles a little and he rests his head on Jason's chest.

“I would like that, yeah,” he admits. “If you would.”

“Yeah,” Jason murmurs. He just can't tell his brother no. Truthfully? He doesn't want to. Dick tilts his head up in his direction again, a fond smile on his face, and he kisses Jason warmly. It's less intense this time.

“Is there something sweet around here?” Dick asks as his fingers stray up to the nape of Jason's neck.

“You,” Jason says without missing a beat- or thinking. A surprised look crosses Dick’s face and again, Jason is so, so glad Dick can't see how red he turns. Why he lets himself say anything ever is a fucking mystery. No wonder his fucking brother thought he was flirting this whole time. Dick muffles out a laugh that doesn't stay that way, burying his face into Jason's chest as if to hide it. Jason covers his eyes with his hand in sheer shame.

“That was cute,” Dick says in amusement. “But I meant something more like ice cream.”

Jason, fortunately, knows of a place nearby.

 

He's not sure exactly what it is that spurs Dick on to more physical contact, if it was the confirmation that they're dating or the outing itself or the assurance that Dick isn't pressuring him into anything, but by the time they get back to his apartment, he's all hands all over. Jason barely has a moment to get his helmet off before Dick is back to kissing him in that way that makes him weak all over- and hot in the groin.

“Dick,” Jason grunts between lips. Dick’s hands find their way to his waist, latching onto his belt loops and holding their hips close.

“Red,” he answers in a husky tone. Jason has a distant fantasy of Dick calling him his real name, proving he's known all along and accepts him both as a brother and a lover. Of course, he's immediately filled with guilt at the very thought that someone as morally upright as Dick could ever be okay with something so taboo. “Red?”

Jason needs to tell Dick no, to get him to back off and take things slow. Dick’s his brother for fuck’s sake and everything about this is fucked up. But he doesn't want to tell Dick no.

“Are we gonna get out of the kitchen this time?” Jason asks. Dick huffs a laugh, immediately rolling his hips forward and grinding their swelling cocks together. Fuck Jason wants this. Instead of answering, Dick arches up to kiss him more and moves his arms around Jason’s neck. He lifts a knee up along Jason’s thigh and immediately, Jason gets the picture.

Dick is not very big. Jason might have sprouted a couple inches past the six foot line over the years but Dick is only about five-six, a full eight inch difference. He's heavier than he looks, though, being mostly lean muscle, but Jason doesn't find it at all difficult to lift him. Grabbing Dick around the thighs, Jason hoists him up and Dick’s legs wrap around him securely.

Fuck, Red,” Dick rasps against his mouth. He pushes his hands into Jason's hair and goes back to thoroughly exploring Jason's mouth with his tongue. Jason carries him down the hall, only stopping once to pin Dick against a wall and get a better grip. Dick’s groans grow more feverish and his hands push down Jason’s back. He finds the edge of the bed somewhat haphazardly and sits, pulling Dick further into his lap and feeling the heat radiating off him

Jason struggles with his sheer desire for this and the dread about how fucked it is. A struggle that is easily being swayed by Dick grinding down against him. Dick is breathing just as hard as Jason when he pulls away, lips shiny and more bitten than Jason thought. He's absolutely gorgeous.

Dick's hands find the front of Jason's jacket, quickly seeking out the collar and then the zipper to hastily pull down. Jason helps him push it off and discards it to the floor before Dick moves to kiss his throat. Whether it's his intention or not, Jason can already tell he's going to have bruises all over his neck. With Dick’s eagerness, it feels intentional. He stops long enough to pull Jason's shirt off and then hastily twist out of his own, both of them promptly being tossed aside.

There's a lot of new bruises, layered over the old ones, but that's not surprising with how hard he's been training. Jason has seen Dick naked before and even beyond that, just knows what he looks like but Dick doesn't have the same privilege. He knows from what's been described to him by other people and vaguely from how much they've touched in doing other things but it must be a disjointed image for him.

Dick bites his lip as he slowly feels out Jason's shoulders moving across his collar and down his chest. Just because it doesn't equate to a visual image doesn't mean it's pointless for him. Like with Jason's face, he doesn't know what he looks like but he knows what he feels like. Jason isn't sure he'd have the same confidence about being naked around someone who could actually see him and all the rugged, gnarly scars he has.

As Dick explores him more, Jason leans back on his forearms to let him. His fingers trace several of his scars as he comes across them and he takes his time feeling out every inch of Jason's chest and stomach. Then he starts down further, coasting his hands over Jason's hips toward his thighs.

Jason reflexively grabs Dick’s wrist hard and sudden, startling both of them more than a little. Dick immediately halts, not pulling out of Jason’s grip but swiftly covering his hand with his own.

“Wait,” Jason says quickly. Dick looks a little puzzled when Jason grabs his legs and pulls him further up to straddle his stomach. Jason hastily unbuckles his gun harness and Dick blinks as he hoists himself up enough to pull it out from under him. He had specifically not worn it when he took Dick running. Carefully, Jason reaches to hang it off the bed post, trying not to alert Dick to exactly what it is. He surely knows but-

“Do you seriously wear your guns in my house?” Dick asks pointedly. Okay, he knows.

“Do you want a serious answer to that?” Jason replies. Dick shakes his head but it’s in amused disbelief if anything. He reaches back to feel Jason’s thighs again, undeterred this time, and fondly squeezes them. It takes a little effort from both of them to move higher onto the bed and Dick positions himself between Jason’s legs, thighs hoisted over his own. He feels them up again thoroughly and Jason rests his head back with a flustered expression.

Dick feels his way to Jason’s hard on and palms him through his jeans before working them open. He pulls his cock out from his boxers and strokes him slowly. Jason tries not to quiet himself so Dick can hear him but hearing his own raspy sounds makes his face even pinker. As much as he knows Dick can’t see him, his eyes are still focused on Jason’s voice and that makes it far worse when Dick lifts his hand to lick his palm.

“Fuck,” Jason groans and he reaches to push his hair back as Dick strokes him quicker. When he stops, Jason grunts an unsatisfied noise.

“Red,” Dick says, grinning as he slides his hands under the waistband of Jason’s boxers and shimmies them down further. Jason grunts in response. Dick leans in kiss Jason's chest before finding his way up from there. He mouths another spot on Jason's neck. “Can I fuck you?”

Why does he have to ask? Why does he have to give Jason another opportunity to say no that he knows damn well he's not going to take? Why does Dick have to be so nice.

“Yes,” Jason rasps back, a shudder going down his back. Dick groans into his skin.

“Is this your first?” he asks. Jason hates how flustered this is making him. He shakes his head minutely even if the idea of his sweet older brother showing him the ropes is painfully tempting. Dick strokes his cock again. “Red?” Fuck, he can't see.

“No,” Jason grunts. “Are we done with the twenty questions yet?”

“Maybe,” Dick answers and he uses both hands to work Jason’s cock. He feels like he should reciprocate but he's not sure how and actively touching in return sets an even stronger sense of guilt in his stomach. Dick doesn't seem to mind do he doesn't worry about it. With a couple movements, Jason moves with Dick to get his pants and boxers off the rest of the way.

“There's lube and condoms in the side drawer,” Dick says. “Could you grab them, please?” Surely some of what he's doing is exclusively because he knows it's getting to Jason. He reaches for the drawer quickly, yanking it open and finding the supplies neatly stored away. Of course Dick is prepared; he's the pretty playboy. Jason physically puts them in Dick's hands for the ease of thing.

“Thanks,” Dick hums. He holds the condom between his lips and Jason swallows as he uncaps the lube. All he can do is watch as Dick holds his cock still and slicks him with lube before stroking it in. His fingers move further down, prodding at Jason’s hole inquisitively and spreading the lube around thoroughly. Dick’s eyes drift as he focuses on exploring.

Dick,” Jason groans and maybe he does it just to get Dick to turn his direction again but he'd never admit it. He lets out a more guttural noise as Dick slowly pushes a finger into him. It's been a while, he'll admit, and as much as Jason wants to get on with it, Dick taking his time is likely for the best. As good as he is with his tongue, he's also good with his fingers.

Jason knows Dick can feel him trembling, he makes no attempt to hide his small grin even around the rubber, but he can't help it. Every twist and turn and spread of his fingers sends a jolt up Jason's spine and a groan from his lips. If it was hard to think before, it's impossible now. When he's loose enough, Dick begins thrusting them in and out and Jason arches against the bed. His impatience rises quickly with his ache for something more than fingers.

Dick withdraws his fingers when he's finally sated with how prepped Jason is and Jason exhales an audible noise at the sudden lack of stimulation. He catches his breath and watches as Dick reaches to unbutton his own jeans before fishing out his hard cock, dripping with precum already. Last time, Jason could barely see with the position Dick was in and how much he was trying not to look. This time, he gets an unobstructed view as Dick opens the condom and rolls it down his very pretty cock.

This is really happening. Jason stares as Dick tries to move into place, hands feeling out Jason's thighs and groin to help figure out where he needs to be. He's really letting this happen; he's going to let his brother fuck him. Dick uses his thumb to guide the tip of his cock to Jason's stretched hole and Jason's breath hitches as he slowly pushes in.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Jason chants under his breath as Dick bottoms out. Dick runs his hands up Jason's thighs and leans over to kiss whatever part he finds, the movement grinding his cock into Jason’s sweet spot. He reaches up instinctively and wraps his arms around Dick's neck to which Dick returns to kissing the front of his throat with vigor. His hands brace against the bed to stop Jason from accidentally pulling him down.

“You're tight, Red,” Dick murmurs into his skin. He rocks his hips forward minutely and Jason shudders out another grunt. “Are you okay?”

Yes,” Jason answers shortly. Dick smiles.

“You feel amazing,” he says as he begins to move easy and shallow. Jason tightens his grip. Just like last time, hearing that his brother likes the way he is makes Jason both way hotter and way more flustered than it should. He groans approvingly as Dick begins to more fully thrust into him. The more he hears Jason vocally agree with what he's doing, the more Dick moves until he's fucking Jason to a steady, feverish rhythm.

“You're like a completely different person like this,” Dick breathes as he mouths at Jason's jaw, his heavy breathing right in his ear. Jason digs his nails into Dick's back, rasping out mindless expletives with every thrust. “I like when I can hear how you feel.”

“Don't, fuck-” he groans hotly. “Don't get used to it.” Dick laughs a little. He moves to kiss Jason on the mouth and Jason arches into it without thinking. His hard cock rubs against Dick's stomach with every move and he groans into Dick’s mouth helplessly.

“I've been thinking about you,” Dick says against his mouth and Jason nearly whimpers. “How good your thighs would feel wrapped around me.” He runs his hand down Jason's thigh and squeezes appreciatively. “How you'd sound.” Another consuming kiss. “And tremble for me.” Jason claws at Dick's back for purchase. Every thrust pulls him closer and closer to orgasm.

“You're so much better than I ever imagined,” Dick groans. Jason comes hard, another curse muffled by Dick’s mouth, thighs clenched hard, and toes curled. He shudders as Dick slows his thrusts to deep, rough strokes before coming soon after. Dick’s kiss gets a little easier, a little less overwhelming, and he slowly moves to kiss Jason's neck again as they catch their breath. Jason stares at the ceiling, fingers still cemented in Dick's shoulders- not that he seems to care.

He just fucked his brother. He just full on fucked his brother.

“Are you staying?” Dick asks. Jason looks at him briefly before loosening his grip. He's left scratch marks all over Dick's back and in return, his neck is covered in hickies.

“Yeah,” Jason murmurs. He couldn't have fucked this up any better if he had actually tried. All because he didn't want to hurt Dick’s feelings. All because after years of looking up to his charming, attractive, sweet older brother, his fucked up brain crossed some wires in a direction they never should have been crossed.

Dick kisses him again.

“Are you okay?” he asks softly.

“Fine,” Jason says. “Just seein’ where your reputation comes from. Damn.”

“I'll take that compliment to mean you enjoyed yourself,” Dick assures. Jason winces a little as Dick finally pulls out and they both move into more comfortable positions. “You were great, too. I love the sounds you make. Your voice is really nice, Red.” He runs his hand up Jason's chest and settles his fingertips gently in the hollow of his throat. Jason flusters.

“Thanks,” he mumbles. Dick smiles.

Jason still ends up the big spoon.

 

So he's dating his brother now he guesses. Jason flips between defeated acceptance and gut gnawing guilt. It's not like there's much of a change in how Dick acts, he obviously already assumed they were in a relationship, but now Jason has dumbly confirmed it. He's had so many chances to stop this whole situation in its tracks and time again he's only made it worse.

One day Dick is going to find out and Jason isn't sure how he's going to react.

At any rate, Dick’s training has wildly boosted his confidence again. Jason would be annoyed, Dick doesn't need to be rushing out and getting into trouble, but it's hard to be when he is obviously so happy. He starts wandering around his neighborhood again and then very quickly beyond even that, taking to the streets with ankle whacking gusto. That pattern he kept when Jason first returned to Gotham has been all but smashed.

Jason frequently runs into him just out in the city and in a way, it's nice. If he gets close enough, Dick can actually pick out his footsteps in a crowd. Knowing what he knows about how Dick perceives the world now, it's a little flattering too.

Which if course means Jason makes a point to sneak up on Dick whenever he gets the chance. It's surprisingly difficult but it's still good practice- for both of them, honestly. He hangs out quietly around a corner while Dick makes his way to the little grocery market. As long as he doesn't move, Dick can't sense him with his armor on.

Someone whistles.

It sounds like- Jason.

Jason has not whistled.

All at once, Jason remembers that brief fear he had about someone being able to fool Dick easily with a recording. This isn't a recording, though, there's no way anyone could get a sound clip of him that clear. Someone's mimicking him- and Dick falls for it. Immediately, Dick perks up at the sound and he smiles as he changes route to head in its direction. Jason quickly ducks into his hiding spot better before seeking higher ground.

With a little maneuvering, Jason gets eyes on the copycat and he internally curses. Slade fucking Wilson. Dick approaches him with the same familiarity he'd approach Jason with. Jason swiftly makes to get closer. He doesn't know what this is about but it can't be anything good.

“Dick,” Slade greets, in his own voice fortunately, and instantly Dick looks taken aback. He back peddles a step and makes a displeased expression. “It's been a while.”

“Slade,” Dick scoffs back. “What do you want?”

“No ‘hello’?” Slade asks.

“Hello,” Dick says curtly. “What do you want?”

“Where's Jason?” Slade asks without missing a beat. Oh this definitely isn't good. Dick's expression changes to legitimate puzzlement and he tilts his head a little. Unlike with Jason where he always looks at his mouth, Dick is focused straight ahead at Slade's chest. No, Jason realises, at his centre of balance.

“I don't know a Jason?” Dick replies in confusion. Slade takes a step closer and Dick's entire being exerts a warning pressure.

“Jason Todd. Your brother,” he says more firmly. “Where is he?”

“My brother?” Dick repeats slowly. “Slade, you know Jason's dead. He's been dead nearly a decade. What is this about? What happened?” A quiet moment passes and Jason moves back to ground level as quick as possible without alerting either of them. It's not easy. Very slowly, Slade raises a hand and waves it in front of Dick's face. No reaction. Jason has the straps off of his gun in a heartbeat.

“How long have you been blind?” Slade asks.

“Something you don't know about me?” Dick says scathingly. “Shocking.” Slade unsheathes a sliver of his sword, clearly without any intention of actually drawing it, but all Dick hears is the sound. He moves quick, grabbing Slade's hand and shoving his sword back into its sheath harshly. More silence.

“Don't think just because I'm blind now I'm going to be an easy target,” Dick warns. “Tell me what this is about, Slade. Jason's dead.”

“You don't know,” Slade says with obvious interest.

“I don't know what?” Dick snaps back. If Jason lets this go on any longer, Slade’s going to ruin everything. Whatever this is about, it needs to stop now. Silently, Jason steps out into view and Slade has eyes on him immediately. Jason shakes his head.

“I'll tell you what,” Slade says and he knocks Dick's hand off his own with a brushing gesture. “I'll let you know if I find him.”

“You do that,” Dick sneers back irritably. He backs off, glaring briefly at Slade's chest before making his way back out the alley. Jason waits until he's far enough away, well out of his abnormally large hearing range, before approaching Slade. As he does, Slade withdraws a piece of paper and holds it out to him. Jason plucks it from his fingers.

“Playin’ messenger bird now?” he murmurs.

“When it pays well,” Slade replies. Jason reads the paper long enough to gather what he needs from it. It tucks it away. “You're spending an awful lot of time with your brother for him to not know who you are.”

“Stay away from him,” Jason says. “Mind your own business.”

“Hm,” is the only acknowledgement he gets. That's not ideal but when is it ever with Slade.

“I got your message, birdie, now fly away,” Jason scoffs. Slade doesn't, not immediately, he just stares at Jason for a few seconds before arching a knowing brow. He turns to walk off without anything more to say, thankfully.

Jason crumples the paper in his pocket in annoyment.

 

Dick< I'm heading out for a while. Mind coming over tomorrow?

“Where are you headed?” Jason asks as he hops through the window. Dick jumps a little at his voice and he exhales shortly to settle himself. He pockets his phone.

“Red, you're here early,” he says.

“Slow day,” Jason assures. “Training?”

“No,” Dick murmurs. “Not today.” He's being cagey. The dread that overcomes Jason just thinking about the idea that Dick finally has found out is suffocating. He should have figured it out ages ago so Jason wouldn't even be surprised.

“Mind if I tag along, then?” he asks.

“I-” Dick pauses to sigh. “I don't think you'd want to come. I, uh, I'm going to the cemetery actually?” Oh. That's much worse. That's significantly worse.

“Someone die?” Jason asks. “Should you be dressed for a funeral cause you're not.”

“No,” Dick assures and he huffs a little laugh. “Not recently, anyways. I- my younger brother died when we were teens. I was just- thinking about him the other day is all.” Yep. This is the worst possible result of Slade running his mouth. He honestly thinks he would have preferred Dick finding out he's not dead and also sort of in love with him in a definitely not brotherly way.

“Oh,” Jason says. “Sorry.”

“I wouldn't mind if you want to come,” Dick admits. “Company sounds nice.” Jason winces his eyes closed as he runs a stressed hand through his hair. This is a bad idea in almost every conceivable way. Not only is it a bad idea but Jason doesn't want to be anywhere near the grave he fucking dug himself out of let alone with Dick mourning over it.

“Yeah,” he says. “Sure.” Dick smiles a little.

“I’m going to stop for some flowers on the way,” he says.

“Course,” Jason agrees. Dick puts his jacket on, as he was doing when Jason entered, and heads out. As usual, Jason leaves back out the window to meet him outside. He should probably come prepared for a casual outing with Dick more often so he's not making it glaringly obvious Red Hood is hanging around Bruce Wayne’s son.

Bruce has to know, right? Maybe Bruce has even figured out who he is already.

As always, Jason has absolutely no insight to anything Bruce might be thinking and trying to figure it out himself just gives him a headache. He stops trying.

They walk for a while.

“Did you know Jason?” Dick asks out of nowhere. Actually hearing his real name come out of Dick's mouth directed at him makes Jason's skin jump in fear. He has to figure out an answer quickly.

“Knew of ‘im,” Jason murmurs. He walks a little behind Dick, keeping clear of his cane, and keeps his hands shoved in his pockets. “Kept to himself.”

“Yeah,” Dick agrees. “He was kind of like you, actually. He put on this rough, tough exterior to push people away but he was- he was a good kid.” This feels super bad it turns out. Jason awkwardly doesn't say anything. “You two would probably have gotten along really well.”

“He was just a kid,” Jason comments. “He'd be different now.” Dick frowns a little.

“I guess you're right,” he says. They walk some more in quiet. Jason opens the door to the flower shop for Dick but he stays outside while he shops. The lady inside seems more than happy to help poor, blind ol’ Dick pick out a bouquet of flowers and he comes out a few minutes later with a bushy bunch of white flowers; lilies and snapdragons mostly. Jason supposes he never really had a favorite flower before he died.

He guesses he doesn't really have a favorite flower now.

“Do these look okay?” Dick asks worriedly.

“Yeah,” Jason assures. “They look okay.” Dick gives a relieved little smile. They continue to the cemetery.

Jason's been actively avoiding coming anywhere near here since he's been back to Gotham. The place weirds him out for perfectly good reason. Hopefully they're not going to be here long. As they round the corner for the entrance, rain starts falling. Dick looks up curiously, closes his eyes against the few drips, then laughs.

“Gotta love the timing of Gotham rain,” he murmurs.

“It rains like four times a week every week,” Jason replies mildly.

“Law of large numbers?” Dick offers with an amused smile. He stops at the entrance of the cemetery briefly before exhaling a heavy sigh. “Sorry, Red, could you help me there? I don't want to just go around whacking headstones. It's, uh, it's Jason Todd. It should be in the fifth row from here.”

“Sure,” Jason agrees. He knows where his grave is. Linking arms with Dick, he leads them through the cemetery. It's even more unsettling looking down at his own tombstone. This grave is empty and he knows it. Dick gently taps it with his cane before untangling from Jason's arm and kneeling in front of it. He reaches out to touch the smooth stone, guiding his fingers over the name carved into it and the engraving below. For a while, he just sits with the flowers in his lap, soaking up rain and staring.

Jason isn't sure what to do, if he should do anything, so he doesn't. For everything that he's done so far, it feels too disingenuous to try to comfort Dick now. He feels sick to his stomach. Dick really has missed him all these years. How fucked up is that?

Eventually, Dick finally puts the flowers down and gets back to his feet. He brushes some dirt off himself and breathes deeply. They come out shaky, though, like he's trying not to cry and Jason flinches.

“Are you okay?” he asks. Dick nods. He reaches out blindly and Jason takes his hand, immediately causing Dick to bury himself in his arms. Jason squeezes him in some lackluster form of comfort. Several more seconds of Dick trying to stop himself from crying pass and Jason feels it hard in his chest. There was a time where he honestly didn't think Dick even thought about him after his death. He feels guilty thinking that now.

“Wanna go home and drink?” Jason offers.

“That sounds nice,” Dick agrees. “Thank you, Red. And thanks for coming with me.”

“Sorry I’m not good at this whole ‘feelings’ thing,” Jason offers mildly.

“It’s okay,” Dick promises in amusement. “Having you around always makes me feel a lot better, you know. You feel like- something I’ve been missing, if that makes sense?”

Jason looks at his grave.

“Can we go? Graveyards freak me out.”

They talk about something else.

 

Jason stares at the location Slade gave him. Not just any location, no, specifically the location of the man that blinded Dick. He’s already checked it and knows for a fact that it’s accurate but he hasn’t acted yet. As much as he wants to, really truly wants to, he knows Dick would assume it was him no matter what. Jason isn’t even sure he’d bother lying about it.

He balls the paper up again as Dick enters the apartment.

It's immediately clear how agitated Dick is. He yanks his jacket off, throwing it aside carelessly, and limps to the sink to splash cold water on his face and neck. It looks like he's come straight here from training and in a hurry at that. He's still slightly damp with sweat and flushed red. He turns the water off and tries to catch his breath before his anger wells back up and he slams his hands into the edge of the counter with a snarl. Jason hasn't seem him this worked up since, well, he was upset about Jason being a ‘murderer’.

“Rough trainin’ session?” Jason asks. Dick turns to him slightly before turning back again. He pushes off the counter and heads towards Jason's voice.

“I'm done,” he says irritably. “I can't do this. It was stupid to even try.”

“What happened?” Jason asks. He doesn't want to jump to any conclusions but if any of the family, or anyone else even, has been trying to deter Dick, they're going to be getting a very noisy visit.

“The same thing that always happens,” Dick snaps. “They take it easy on me and I still manage to get the shit kicked out of me every time. I knew this was never going to work.” He's frustrated, that's obvious, and Jason isn't even surprised. Someone like Dick who's used to everything being easy for him suddenly met with something like this? He hates it. That being said, Jason doesn't believe this is actually hard for Dick.

“At best, I’m going to get myself killed. At worst, I’m just going to be in everyone’s way,” he goes on angrily, rubbing his temples in his fingers. Jason stands and with his foot, pushes the couch back. Dick looks in his direction with an annoyed expression. “What are you doing?”

“Makin’ room,” Jason replies, pushing the coffee table against the tv.

“For what?” Dick asks mildly.

“To spar,” he assures. Dick looks unamused.

“I’m not fighting you,” he says.

“I’m not takin’ it easy on you,” Jason says. He’s also not giving him much of a choice. He knows full well what Dick is capable of without having to have seen any of his training sessions so far. Sure enough, Jason moves forward fast and without any hesitation, Dick blocks the incoming blow and the subsequent follow up.

Red,” Dick hisses. That doesn't stop Jason but it doesn't stop Dick, either. Blow for blow, Dick blocks him until he gets annoyed enough to actually try to push Jason away from him. It's actually alarming how good Dick is at this still. Maybe it's just because it's Jason and Dick knows his shape and size intimately but he is so distinctly aware of Jason's physical presence, he has no trouble figuring out where he is or how he's moving.

Not only is Jason not taking it easy on him but he's intentionally trying to take advantage of Dick's disability with few results. They're so close and Dick's hearing is good enough that Jason can't move without an audible cue- ones that Dick seem to pick up on without thinking about it. His training recently clearly hasn't been for nothing.

“Red, stop it,” Dick demands, catching Jason's arm and shoving him away full body. His disadvantages are still much the same though; he's still smaller, has a shorter reach and just less overall power. All things that Dick knows how to work with from when he had his sight and obviously hasn't forgotten. Like muscle memory, he turns Jason away again and again. He's getting more and more annoyed, however.

In a different fight, maybe Dick would be at a severe disadvantage. If they moved too quiet or if he couldn't mentally figure out what they were built like. That's the thing about Dick, though, he learns. He learns fast.

It catches Jason off guard. Dick shoves him back and when Jason moves to get in close again, Dick kicks one of his feet out from under him and puts him off balance. In a flash, he has Jason's shirt in both hands at the shoulders and shoves him back into the wall, somewhat effectively pinning his broader form there. They're both out of breath and while Jason is sure they could keep this up all night, he's proven his point.

“You know what I think, Dick?” he says. “I think you've been taking it easy on them.” Dick stares at him, as always focused on the heavy breathing coming from his mouth. He doesn't says anything so Jason does, “I think, you've got it so in your mind that you can't do this that you actually believe it and refuse to try.”

Instead of actually making any sort of reply, Dick lunges up to kiss him hard. Jason jolts a little, it really comes out of nowhere, but it only takes him a second to reciprocate. Dick is quite a bit shorter than him but he's always been disproportionately strong for his size; he's capable of pinning Jason against the wall easily and it's kind of hot? It's a rough, choppy kiss with both of them being out of breath.

“You're an asshole,” Dick says against his mouth.

“I'll work on that,” Jason promises sarcastically and Dick laughs breathlessly before diving back in for another kiss. It’s a little more expected this time and Jason leans over more to answer it this time. Dick pushes back against him and his weight is comforting in a way. His frustration is still palpable but it’s just that; frustration. He’s not actually going to give up and he certainly doesn’t need anyone to tell him that but burning off some of his pent up energy seems to have helped.

Dick pulls back again and he loosens his grip minutely before arching up for another fleeting kiss. Something’s wrong.

“Red,” he says quietly, breathlessly. “Who trained you?”

Shit. There’s no way. There’s no way Dick can tell that Bruce trained him. That was years and many, many mentors ago. They didn’t even fight that long. Jason makes a conscious effort to withhold his Robin training. He can feel his pulse sky rocket suddenly and he knows at this range, Dick can feel it too.

“S’it matter?” Jason asks. Dick is quiet for a moment. He releases Jason’s shirt and takes a step back, running a stressed hand through his hair.

“No,” he mumbles. “Guess not. I’m going to go take a shower. I’m sweaty.” There’s no way that was this easy.

“‘ight,” Jason agrees. “I’ll start dinner.” Dick smiles at him faintly and Jason watches as he heads down the hall. Once he’s gone, Jason puts his face in his hands.

He’s so screwed.

Chapter Text

Jason stares at the piece of paper again. He still hasn’t done anything about it and honestly, he tries not to think about it too much. Now that he knows where this guy is, he knows he’s one angry fit away from heading over there and putting a violent end to him. It doesn’t matter when or why he does it, Dick is going to blame himself and that’s something Jason has just come to accept at this point. He’ll get over it.

Probably.

“What do you keep looking at?” Dick ask curiously, head rested on Jason’s chest as he stares blankly at the same crumpled note.

“What?” Jason scoffs as he crumples it back up again. Before he can shove it back into his pocket, Dick reaches to clasp his hand gently.

“You’ve been carrying this paper around lately,” he says. “It’s bothering you.”

“How d’you know it’s the same piece a paper?” Jason replies irritably. Dick makes a look of disbelief.

“Alright, why do you keep carrying around different pieces of paper?” he corrects.

“I wish you’d stop noticin’ weird shit,” Jason says as he plucks Dick’s hand off his own and stuffs the paper back into his coat. “It’s nothin’. Don’t worry ‘bout it.” Dick makes an unsatisfied noise but, like many things, he doesn’t make an effort to pry any further into Jason’s life. For some reason, he’s more than accepting that Jason is just ‘Red’ to him. Which seems unlike Dick to miss an opportunity to be nosey but Jason is far from complaining at this point.

He probably still thinks Jason used to be a bad guy trying to get better and worried that if Dick found out, he’d be shunned. What isn’t unlike Dick is his endless capacity for forgiveness and, to a degree, patience. There will come a time when Dick gets fed up with waiting for Jason to come around on his own but that’s too far off for Jason to be worried about it now.

“How’d you go blind?” Jason asks. Immediately, Dick’s face sours a little and he sighs.

“I told you,” he assures fleetingly.

“Sort’a,” Jason replies. “Not with a ton’a detail.”

“Does it matter?” Dick asks and Jason shrugs a little.

“Just curious,” he says. Dick is quiet for a moment, an unhappy expression sketched across his face. Jason doesn’t think it’s that he doesn’t like talking about it, it’s that he specifically doesn’t like talking about it with Jason. Probably because it makes Jason irrationally angry and more prone to doing something about it. Eventually though, he lightens up a little and strokes a small circle on Jason’s thigh with his thumb.

“Tell me something and I’ll tell you,” Dick assures. Yeah, he saw that coming.

“Tell you what?” Jason asks.

“Anything,” Dick says then specifies, “something good.” Something good that won’t immediately give him away. At this point, that seems difficult. It already feels like anything Jason says or does will be the final thing that completes the picture Dick is building- building and obviously ignoring. Jason has to think about it and Dick just waits.

“For months after we first met, I didn’t think you liked me,” he finally says. “It felt like you took every chance to show me up. Guess it didn’t really help I didn’t like you back. I, uh, learned better before you noticed, I think.”

Dick is silent. Maybe that was more obvious than Jason thought. The hand on his thigh stalls briefly before Dick nuzzles into him a little more.

“Red,” he says. “Are you afraid I won’t like you if I knew who you were?”

“Yeah,” Jason admits quietly. “A lil’.”

But Dick doesn’t press.

“Like I said,” he goes on. “It was an accident. I was, uh, chasing a big bad in Blüdhaven and there was this scientist working for him. I found out where they were holding up and went in to try to deal with them.” He’s intentionally leaving out names and places so Jason won’t go after them, clearly. He’s not wrong to. Jason has the name and place of one guy; he can't say he wouldn't still tear apart any person even remotely connected to the situation if given the chance.

“I already knew it was a risky environment. I was prepared. They were working with some serious chemicals which was why I was so hasty to get in there before they hurt anyone else. I found the lab first and the scientist did what people like him usually do when they see people like me; he came at me with deadly intent. I’m not sure they really, uh, understand that sometimes. People forget we’re baseline, hell, some people just don’t know that.” Dick works his fingers into Jason’s thigh in a kneading motion as he talks. He doesn’t sound particularly worked up in any way but he obviously isn’t having a great time recounting this.

“We fought and he kept throwing things at me. Breaking a lot of things. At the time I didn’t really get the chance to understand what was happening, it was all so sudden. There were these alarms going off in the lab from all the chemicals and there were armed men trying to break the door in and I knew I had to get out of there. I tried to drag the scientist out with me but he was so manic, he ended up breaking my safety cowl.”

A pause.

“I remember immediately my eyes burned. I couldn’t breathe. I panicked, I think, and tried to escape but he followed me. Every time I blinked, I just saw less and less and could breathe less and less. As soon as I was out of the building, I had to pull my cowl off just so I wouldn’t suffocate. By then, I couldn’t see at all. The scientist attacked me and I knocked him out just on sheer instinct. I bumbled into the nearest place I could find and hid and called dad. I didn’t know what else to do.”

“It was so dark. I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. By the time Bruce got there, I was so disoriented, I couldn’t even walk by myself. I felt so stupid. After all the training I’ve had, all the years I’ve put into this, and I couldn’t even figure out where my own limbs were after sitting in the dark for a couple hours.” Dick spaces out more and more as he recounts what happened. As much as Jason feels bad for making him have to tell it again, he needs to know this and more importantly, he needs to know from Dick. Jason puts his hand over Dick’s gently.

“And Bruce took you home?” he asks. Dick nods.

“Dad brought me back to the manor,” he agrees. “Ran some tests that didn’t bring up anything. Brought Barbara in to run more test then Tim and Leslie. They couldn’t find anything. It was days of me just sitting around being useless while everyone tried to figure out what was wrong with me. All I could do was try to recount whatever chemicals I could remember from the lab without being able to give any visual confirmation.”

“They never found anythin’?” Jason asks.

“No,” Dick says. “Dad caught the scientist eventually and dragged him back but- when he found out what happened to me, he became even more manic. He really did try to help but it was already clear that whatever had happened, he hadn’t meant it and there was no going back.”

“So Bruce took ‘im to Arkham,” Jason scoffs. Where all of their accidents end up.

“The guy was completely neurotic at that point. He became obsessed with trying to fix me,” Dick explains. “It was the best place for him, he was going to hurt himself. Eventually he did. Blinded himself like he blinded me in an effort to test cures on himself.”

“I guess guilt’s its own punishment sometimes,” Jason murmurs.

“Yeah,” Dick agrees. “It is.”

“What about the rest of the family?” he asks.

“What about them? They did what they could to help me adjust,” Dick says. “It took Damian the longest to come around to the idea that this was permanent, I think. He’d always get mad when I took too long to do something and I’d get mad back and he’d go hide somewhere. He’s so quiet, he’d always snap at me when I bumped into him.”

“Colour me surprised,” Jason says mildly. “The brat is a brat.”

“Tim did what he could to accomodate me,” he goes on. “Helped me set up my phone and made my cane. Stuff like that. He still puts a lot of effort into making sure I can manage, even with the training. I think he thinks he ‘owes’ me for helping convince Bruce to take him on.” That’s something Jason didn’t know and pisses him off. It doesn’t surprise him but it still makes him irrationally annoyed. Fortunately that's not the topic at hand right now.

“And dad,” Dick says pausing to take a long inhale. “I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s disappointed or guilt ridden or- sad but it feels like he doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore.”

Jason has to go beat up Bruce immediately.

“What about you?” he asks. Dick sighs again.

“I wish it hadn’t happened,” he confesses. “If that’s what you mean. It was- it still is hard. Sometimes I still wake up in a panic because I can't see. I’m never going to get my old life back and that’s difficult to accept even now.” He forces a quiet laugh. “It feels like a punishment sometimes.” Jason rubs his shoulder gently, a weak gesture of comfort. There’s not much to say and he knows Dick isn’t expecting him too. It’s more obvious than ever why Dick took a liking to him so quickly.

Jason doesn’t see any reason to keep the address he was given.

 

Guilt eats away at Jason more than ever. Every time Dick calls him ‘Red’, and Dick doesn’t call him anything else, it serves as nothing but a reminder that he’s taken advantage of his blind brother. In equal amounts, however, Jason is also afraid. If he comes clean to his brother now, he’s not sure what would happen. He loves Dick and he’s accepted that once Dick knows who he is that their romantic relationship will end. Jason’s fine with that.

What he’s not fine with is Dick shunning him completely.

And that’s the best case scenario right now. Dick is so forgiving, he might just tell Jason to never come around again and be done with it. Or, he might tell Bruce. Jason is even less sure how Bruce would react. He could care less about what the other mismatching siblings think but if he’s not extremely carefully, Bruce still can and will fuck his whole shit up. In either case, it would be completely within Dick’s right to do so.

Jason’s seriously, seriously fucked up.

As much as all Jason wants is for Dick to see him as a brother again, he knows he’s burned that bridge long ago. Being disowned at this point would probably be a godsend.

Dick stops what he’s doing when he hears Jason pop the window open and climb inside. He smiles as he listens to Jason brush himself out and drop his bag on the coffee table before pulling his hood off. Jason plops down on the couch beside him. It’s been a long day already and it's nice to be able to come here and just relax. Dick gladly scooches over to sit near him. He reaches up to find Jason’s face and gives him a soft little kiss.

It’s so gentle, so affectionate and nice, Jason can’t stand it anymore. It's the final straw on the guilt that's been sitting in his stomach and chest for weeks now. He grabs Dick’s wrists before he gets any further and makes him lose his nerve again. Dick blinks but he remains still for the moment.

“Dick stop,” Jason says quietly. A concerned expression crosses Dick’s face at the seriousness in Jason's voice and he backs off a little more. “I, uh, I should tell you somethin’.”

“Okay?” Dick replies hesitantly. “Is something wrong, Red?”

“That’s not my name,” Jason says. He lowers Dick's wrists down to his lap but he doesn't let go just yet. Dick immediately looks surprised and then alert. This is something he's been waiting to hear for a while now. He tilts his head minutely in that way that says he’s paying an especial amount of attention to what comes next and Jason has to withhold a sigh. “It’s Jason.”

“Jason?” Dick repeats slowly. An uncomfortable shudder goes down Jason’s back hearing his name but he nods.

“Yeah,” he says. “Jason Todd.” For a moment, Dick just looks confused then his face falls. He irritably takes his wrists out of Jason’s grip, giving him a sour stare the entire time. Wisely, Jason lets him go.

“That’s not funny,” he bites, bitter and curt. “What the hell is your problem?”

“Dick,” Jason replies tiredly. “Don’t make me drag up a bunch’a stuff ‘bout me from our teen years. My favorite colour was green? Bruce took me in as Robin ‘cause I stole the hubcaps off the Batmobile? Which I only managed ‘cause he was in the middle of fixin’ them up or whatever but I would’a gotten ‘em off anyways-”

Jason,” Dick cuts him off and he lunges forward suddenly, wrapping his arms around Jason’s neck. He hugs him tightly and Jason hesitantly hugs him back around the waist. After everything, this feels weird. No matter what it was going to feel weird, Jason thinks. “You’re alive?”

Of course he doesn't argue anymore than that. After all this time, it was only a matter of time before he figured it out himself. Jason telling him outright was just snapping the right pieces into place. Dick had to have thought it was him on more than one occasion, surely, only to second guess himself. He had to have known, even if just subconsciously.

“I- yeah, I am,” he assures. “For a while now. It’s a long story. Sorry, I would’a come ‘round sooner but it’s been, uh, a busy few years.” Jason can feel full body the shudder Dick makes right before he hurriedly reaches up behind Jason's back to rub his eye. He pretends not to notice.

“No, it’s fine. You’re alive,” he repeats, squeezing Jason tighter. “I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Jason murmurs. Dick pulls back again and his eyes are more than a little wet but he doesn't cry. He takes a shaky breath and digs his fingers into Jason's shoulders before smiling sadly. Tentatively, Jason leans in to return the kiss from earlier. The second their lips touch, however, Dick violently yanks back. He holds Jason at arm’s length and again his expression shifts to alarm.

This is what Jason has been dreading. A dawning understanding takes Dick's face as he remembers everything that's happened between them. Jason winces as Dick backs off even more, looking more like a skittish animal than anything else. Several moments pass where all Dick does is stare at nothing and all Jason can do is wait.

“Jason,” Dick says softly. “Why didn't- why didn't you tell me sooner?”

“I’m not- I’m different now,” he replies. “I wasn’t sure if you’d want to see me again. Not see.”

“You're my brother, of course I wanted to know,” he assures. Despite everything, Dick leans in to hug him again and Jason closes his eyes. He breathes deep and it's a lot more choppy than he wants it to be. “I love you no matter what, okay?”

“Don't tell Bruce,” Jason says quietly. Dick lets him go and Jason withholds the urge to want to pull him back.

“Are you going to tell him?” he asks.

“When I'm ready,” he assures but even he isn't sure if he's telling the truth. Dick exhales softly but he nods.

“Okay,” he agrees. “Okay.” And again he hugs Jason like he just can't help himself. For a while, they just sit together comfortably in one another’s arms but Jason’s anxiety is ramping up by the second. He's not sure what happens now. Dick is now fully aware of what's happened and the more that Jason thinks about it in retrospect, the more he understands exactly how bad everything he's done was.

At any rate, he expects something.

When Dick finally releases him, he breathes deeply to settle himself and just smiles.

“What did you bring?” he asks, glancing minutely towards the table. So they're just not going to talk about it. Of course not. Jason should be glad, Dick isn't even going to acknowledge it, but it feels- lacking. Even if it's bad, he feels /something should happen. Right now, though, Jason isn't going to try to push the issue. What is he supposed to say?

Can we still date?

“Food,” Jason answers.

“Oh, my favorite,” Dick replies sarcastically. “Anything I can do to help?”

“Uh, sure,” he murmurs.

This might be the worst possible outcome, actually.

 

Dick acts weird- not that Jason can blame him. He switches randomly between not wanting Jason to touch him even accidentally and being as comfortable with him as ever. Jason tries not to react to it too much but it doesn't seem to matter, either way Dick becomes cold soon after every time. It's obvious Dick wants to ignore what happened and can't.

Still, he never asks Jason to leave and if Jason doesn't show up, he still texts to make sure he's okay. As far as he can tell, Dick hasn't told the family yet, either. It seems Dick just wants them to go back to how things were before minus the romantic involvement- as evidence by Dick still almost exclusively referring to him as ‘Red’ still.

Which is more annoying than Jason wants to admit.

It feels like they're at an impasse.

Jason watches as Dick skims the case file that’s been printed up for him with his fingers- all the way on the other side of the couch. He stares long enough that Dick’s ‘sixth sense’ kicks in and he looks back at Jason curiously. It's Jason’s first instinct to be mean; to remind Dick that he was the one that started their fling, that he enjoyed it even. He doesn't do that, of course, and after a moment, Dick awkwardly turns away again without saying anything either. Why can't he just be mad at Jason and they can both call it a day? Even that would be better than this.

“So we're just not ever gonna talk ‘bout what happened?” Jason asks and if it seems out of the blue, Dick doesn't notice. His face turns a faint shade of pink before he exhales mildly and turns away even more, actively facing away from Jason's voice.

“What’s there to talk about?” Dick asks as if he doesn't know exactly what. Jason leans his head into his hand irritably.

“We were datin’,” he says bluntly. “That's a good place to start.”

“We're brothers,” Dick murmurs.

“Yeah, adoptive brothers,” Jason scoffs.

Jason,” Dick snaps at him at once.

“Just sayin’,” Jason says quickly in conceit and gives a harsh shrug. He knew that would never fly with Dick but it was worth a shot. Even with Jason trying to come to terms with the fact that he very much wants his brother in a non-brotherly way, suggesting that they aren't real brothers feels bad.

“Do you- not see us as brothers?” Dick asks and even turned away, Jason can see the corners of his lips tugged down into a frown.

“It's not like that,” Jason replies with a tired exhale. “It's- complicated.” How is he supposed to explain that being brothers isn't a deal breaker for him? Preferably in a way that doesn’t sound as awful as it is.

“Have you always felt like this?” he asks tentatively.

No,” Jason assures. Dick sighs and it only makes Jason more agitated. Again, he wants to point out that Dick is the one that initiated this. It's not like Jason is a completely different person; he wasn't faking being ‘Red’. He's still the same person Dick liked so much before, Dick just knows who he is now.

“If you're gonna be mad at me for takin’ advantage of you, then just be mad,” Jason scoffs.

“You didn't take advantage of me,” Dick murmurs.

“I avoided tellin’ you who I was ‘cause I knew you wouldn't be okay with it,” Jason replies mildly. Dick doesn't say anything. “‘xactly.”

“Is that why you came to see me?” he asks quietly. Jason’s skin jumps.

“No,” he snaps back. “That's- things spiraled out’a control.” Surely Dick noticed that Jason never started anything, only went along with what Dick wanted. Then again, he probably still thinks Jason had been flirting with him intentionally for weeks. Trying to explain that he definitely wasn’t leading Dick on just sounds like a bad lie at this point.

Neither of them say anything for a few minutes.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Dick finally asks again. Jason bites his lip.

“At first, ‘cause I didn’t want you to be disappointed with me,” he admits. “You knew about Red Hood. Wasn’t exactly someone you would’a been proud of. After that I just- didn’t want you to think I was hangin’ ‘round out of ‘family obligation’ or somethin’. By the time I realised you thought I was pinnin’ for ya, you were- happy? I hadn’t seen you happy like that since I’d been back. And I was happy. I didn’t- see the harm.” There’s no reason to lie. He sees no way to make this better. He also sees no way to make it worse but that’s attributed more to how he fucked this situation far beyond salvageable.

“I would have been happy knowing my brother was still alive,” Dick assures, his face annoyingly solemn.

“It’s not like I can do anythin’ ‘bout it now,” Jason scoffs back. A sentiment Dick obvious agrees with by his silence. “I gotta go.”

“Red,” Dick says softly. Jason flinches at the name. He gets to his feet and Dick only makes a half hearted effort to stop him. “Wait, please.” But Jason doesn't want to wait so he doesn't. He hears Dick’s loud sigh behind him as he flees back out the window.

 

Jason keeps his distance for a couple days. Dick sends him a text asking if he's okay to which Jason replies shortly and Dick leaves him alone. He should be glad, Dick is willing to forget what happened and they can be brothers again. He's acting strange now but Jason knows if he just waits it out, Dick will eventually go back to normal.

Except that's not what Jason wants at all.

He knew going into this that his relationship with Dick would have to stop and in theory, he'd been fine with that. In actuality he just feels disappointed and annoyed and scorned all of which end up transferring to anger. Angry at himself mostly, as if that's anything new.

Honestly, Jason should know better by now.

When he does finally stop by to check on Dick, Jason arrives to find the window open. Dick’s window is never open. Immediately, Jason gets down low and finds a good angle to look into Dick’s apartment. Despite looking annoyed, Dick just seems to be sitting around. Perhaps he opened the window to listen to the city? Or maybe to listen for Jason's approach.

Both incorrect guesses. The second Slade comes into sight, Jason is immediately filled with a seething rage he barely contains. Slade wanders around Dick's living room while Dick stares at nothing. Jason can't read Slade's lips but when Dick finally does talk, he can read his.

“Someone like you?” he says. “Not without an ulterior motive.” Slade smirks. He wanders around some more, seemingly taking in the accommodations of Dick's apartment, before finally coming to join him on the couch. Despite there being more than enough room literally anywhere else, Slade sits directly at Dick’s side and takes up a commanding amount of space, going so far as to put his arm across the back of the couch behind Dick.

Dick’s eyes briefly flicker in his direction on instinct before they drift back to resting position. If Slade is speaking, Dick isn't particularly reacting and he's not saying anything in reply. He crosses his arms and makes a face but it's unclear if this is just in reaction to having his personal space encroached on. Slade leans in further, making it clear he is speaking into Dick’s ear and Dick’s eyes drift further in the opposite direction.

Despite everything, Dick doesn't actually look uncomfortable. He looks mildly annoyed but it's more akin to begrudgingly waiting out the visit of a nagging relative; not fear of an effective mercenary and what he might do. Slade puts his hand on Dick’s thigh, not even bothering to be coy, and even then Dick just kind of sticks his nose up. Jason's skin prickles with increasing agitation as Slade paws the inside of Dick’s thigh. As much as he wants to intervene, he's not sure if he should.

“You're still a dirty old pervert,” Dick scoffs mildly and he crosses his arms more firmly but still, he doesn't come off as particularly bothered. Everything Jason knows says Dick wouldn't be putting up with this if he didn't want to, even if it is Slade. Perhaps especially from Slade. Whatever Slade says startles Dick suddenly and shortly after, makes his face turn pink. He turns to him, putting their faces extremely close, but the scene lacks something knowing Dick can't actually stare Slade down and, in fact, Slade can't in return, either.

More things are said and the more Jason can't make out, the more he hates whatever is happening here. Dick turns away again and Slade seemingly takes it as a cue to get closer to him. Even from across the fucking street Jason can feel the sexual tension building. He almost snaps when Slade kisses behind Dick’s ear. Dick gets to his feet and for a moment, Jason manages to calm himself.

That is, at least, until Dick moves to close the window and proceeds to draw the curtain- generally a sign that tells Jason he's not home. Jason moves quickly, circling back around to the other side of the building to the bedroom window instead. Sure enough, Dick heads in and behind him, Slade follows. He's not.

Dick closes the curtain in his room, as well. He is.

Even if it's for a split second, Jason knows Slade spots him before the curtains close completely. Every part of him demands he do something about this but to what end? To make Dick mad at him again? To drive Dick further into the arms of any available suitor just to try to forget about dating Jason? Dick has such a low threshold for loneliness and Jason can no longer satisfy it. Hanging around now just means he's in the way of Dick finding someone else who can.

Jason takes his anger out elsewhere.

 

Dick< Are you okay? I haven't heard from you in a while..
Dick< Jason..

Dick< We should talk.
Dick< Please?
Dick< When you're ready, you know where I am.

Dick< At least let me know you're still alive?

Dick< Tim says RH is still making a nuisance of himself so you're fine, I guess.
Dick< I wish you'd talk to me instead of giving me the cold shoulder.

Dick< Maybe.. you lost your phone?

Dick< I miss you.

Dick< I love you.

Dick< Stay safe.

 

Jason hasn't seen Dick in a few days which, yeah, he has been actively avoiding Dick for weeks now but that doesn't mean he doesn't still see him. Dick wanders the city actively when he's not training or running errands. It's a real pain to get anywhere near him since he so easily can pick Jason's steps out in a crowd but Jason still keeps an eye on him from a distance.

It's now been three days since Jason has seen him, far too long for Dick to stay still without good cause. Checking his apartment has assured he hasn't been there in a few days, either. Jason presumes he's back at the manor but hopefully, it's not because he's injured. There's no way for him to check since there's no way for him to get that close to the manor without tipping someone off.

Even then, Jason would prefer if Dick was physically injured over finding out that he's decided not to train any further. Getting involved with ‘Red’ was a large reason as to why he wanted to try working towards being Nightwing again. It's hard to believe he'd stop that just because they're no longer a thing but Jason's doubts are louder than ever.

Jason stares up at Dick's window irritably from the alley down below. Just as he's about to take his hood off to smoke, he spots something coming at him fast from down the way. As much as he's perfectly capable of making a quick escape, he sees some benefit in this long overdue encounter. Drake hits him hard, pushing him back against the wall and quickly pinning him down with his staff.

There's a moment of silence when Jason doesn't react as expected before Drake slowly reigns himself back a little. More silence then Drake lets up all together. Jason shakes the front of his jacket out mildly.

“What did you do?” Drake asks, teetering the line of demanding but obviously trying to restrain himself. He knows force won't get any answers out of Jason. As much as Jason doesn't like the kid, Drake's not stupid.

“In regards ta what?” Jason replies, fixing the neck of his helmet. Drake narrows his eyes.

“In regards to Dick,” he specifies irritably. “He's-” Drake pauses, loses some of his energy. “Sad.” Oh great, good to know. Jason should have figured that, did he thinks, but he didn't want to think about it.

“‘n you think that's my fault?” Jason scoffs back.

“You had an argument,” Drake says as if he knows anything. “What did you say to him?”

“How ‘bout you mind your own business?” Jason answers curtly. Drake tightens his grip on his staff. “Why should I tell you anythin’, anyway?”

“Because you don't know how to fix it,” Drake replies matter-of-factly. The fact that Drake seems to have come to the correct conclusion before Jason was even aware of it is more than a little aggravating. He sneers under his hood silently.

“Nice try, baby bird, but we didn't have an argument,” Jason assures. “He found out something he didn't like knowin’.” Drake looks a little surprised before he sighs heavily and pinches the bridge of his nose. Jason glares at him.

“You knew,” he says sharply. Drake lifts his chin defiantly and the gesture gives more of an answer than words ever could. Jason takes a step towards him, easily towering over him, but he doesn't budge. “How long have you known?”

“Since Dick asked me to describe Red Hood to him,” Drake answers.

“Does Bruce know?” Jason demands.

“I don't know,” Drake says firmly. “Maybe. Maybe not. You've kept him well distracted. Or maybe it's just denial.” Such a noncommittal answer sounds avoidant but ultimately, that's not Jason’s priority right now.

“Why didn't you tell Dick?” he asks.

“I didn't think it was mine to tell,” Drake assures. He's right but Jason's also not convinced. Dick obviously didn't know until Jason told him but he highly doubts Drake refrained from spilling the beans for something as simple as minding his own damn business. They stare at each other for a long time.

“Where's Dick now?” Jason finally asks.

“I don't think that's any of your business,” Drake answers in an annoying mimic of earlier. Jason lurches forward in an angry but faux show of aggression; one that Drake seemingly doesn't buy. “Talk to him.”

“Well aren't you awfully supportive of this,” Jason says sarcastically. “What's your deal?”

“You make Dick happy,” Drake says. “You got him to start training again. And besides, it's clear your intentions are decent even if your means to get there aren’t. I don't see why I should condemn you just for that.” There's no way Drake thinks his big ‘secret’ is that he's Red Hood. Dick knew that from the start; Dick knew his methods from the start. There's no reason Drake, or the rest of the family, shouldn't have figured out long ago that the vigilante Dick was fooling around with was Red Hood.

“Just that,” Jason repeats in a flat tone. Drake exhales curtly.

“I understand that you don't see Dick as a brother,” he says. Again, the idea makes Jason’s skin crawl and he holds back the want to snap. “Just because Bruce took you both in doesn't mean you ever developed familial feelings. As heart broken as that makes Dick right now, I think he'll come to understand.” He's missing a huge part of this that makes this entire situation more complicated.

Jason does see Dick as a brother.

He looks up at Dick's window again.

“Talk to him,” Drake repeats. Jason makes a face. “He loved you as a brother and he adored you as Red Hood. He already feels bad for driving you away. Just give him a chance to understand.”

The only thing there is to understand is Jason is a fucking freak that wants to get it on with his own brother. Jason rubs the back of his head tiredly. He can't avoid Dick forever. This would be a lot easier if Jason even knew what he wanted anymore.

Dick would take him back as a brother and nothing more in a heartbeat, something Jason thought he'd be lucky to even get; something he thought he'd be fine with. Asking for anything more than that would be cruel especially when Jason doesn't even deserve that. The more he thinks about it though, the more he wishes he had never come clean. They were fine. No one was getting hurt. Dick was happy.

The more Jason thinks about Dick having anything to do with Slade, let alone sleeping with him, the more full of jealous rage he becomes.

“I can't talk to ‘im if I don't know where he's at,” Jason comments mildly. Drake arches a brow at him.

“He'll be home soon,” he says. “A couple more days, maybe. You've ignored him this long, I think you can wait.”

Maybe Jason can figure out his own shit by then.

 

That's definitely Dick. Holy shit.

Seeing Dick in his Nightwing gear again after all this time is kind of jarring. Jason hates that his first thought is ‘that's kind of hot’. There's something to be said about all his childhood idolizations coming back to haunt him and it's nothing good.

It looks like he's by himself which is a little surprising to see so soon. Jason hops across a couple buildings towards him and Dick immediately perks up at the sound of his steps. He seems to smile instinctively but when Jason gets closer, it falls away again. For a moment, neither of them say anything; just stay on opposite sides of the roof and listen to the bustling city below.

“Back in costume already?” Jason finally asks. Dick looks alarmed immediately and without hesitation, reaches for his sticks. Jason urgently fumbles for his helmet. “Shit, wait. It's just a voice mod.” When he turns it off, Dick relaxes again and after a moment, he laughs softly.

“Sorry,” he murmurs. “I knew you had one but I don't think I've ever heard you use it? I'm a little high strung right now if you couldn't tell.”

“Yeah,” Jason replies faintly. An awkward pause.

“Uh,” Dick says with a quiet exhale. “Y-yeah, back in costume. Well, it's more of a test run, actually. I made some modifications to my suit to, uh, help. Hopefully.”

“Oh. Cool,” Jason agrees with a nod. Right off the bat he can tell Dick took his suggestion about the ear plugs to heart. Looking close enough, the lenses of his domino obviously aren't lenses anymore, either. Hazarding a guess, Jason would say it's likely some sort of camera, either sending a live feed somewhere or saving it to ensure someone can see what Dick ‘saw’ if need be. He'll have to be careful what he says and how much he shows. A lot more so than he's been as of late.

“RH we should, uh, talk soon,” Dick says.

“Yeah, I know,” Jason murmurs. He knows he can't avoid Dick forever if not only because Dick will get fed up with this eventually and physically come after him. If he lets things get that far, Dick would probably kick his ass just for all the trouble of it. Besides, he does want to talk, he just isn't sure he'll ever figure out what to say let alone what he wants out of it. He has to make things right or at the very least, make it up to Dick.

“I-” Dick begins but an alarm going off not far from them cuts him short. He sighs before smiling minutely. “Have to handle that.”

“Right,” Jason says. He's not sure how he feels about Dick going off to ‘handle’ things on his own already. Shouldn't he have a whole family around trying to ‘coddle’ him or whatever? Then again, knowing Dick he probably isn't supposed to be out here on his own. At the same time, Jason guesses he's glad Dick is confident enough in his ability already to do this. He's always been a fairly good judge of what he was capable of so he’s trying not to be too concerned he might get hurt.

“Care to join me?” Dick asks sheepishly.

“If people see Nightwing’s first night back in action with Red Hood, they're gonna talk,” Jason murmurs.

“They talk anyways?” Dick replies, grinning as he moves past Jason towards the commotion. For a moment, Jason almost forgets Dick’s blind now, watching as he jumps down from one roof to another with a graceful gait. So Jason follows.

A part of him truly does realise the significance of this; Dick is trusting him. After everything, Dick still trusts him to not only work alongside him but to, ultimately, be his eyes. He was the one that told Dick he didn't have to do this alone, after all, it only seems right for Jason to put his money where his mouth is.

Even if, perhaps, his help isn't strictly necessary.

Dick perches himself on the ledge of the building overlooking the alley with their attempted car thrives below. Panic instinctively crawls in Jason’s belly when Dick gets too close to the edge but he's fine. Of course he's fine. Jason joins him. The most dangerous thing Dick can do now is listen and listen he does.

Several men down below irritably rustle and snap at one another while they try to get the alarm to stop. They're noisy even in their hushed tones and after a moment of assessing the situation, and allowing the alarm to stop, Dick moves. He jumps down, landing on one of the men to both subdue that one and break his own fall. The others urgently jolt away. Even when Dick had his sight, Jason remembers always being awed at the sheer confidence he had going into situations; at the complete lack of fear he had.

He thinks he feels that awe doubly so now.

There's a moment where nothing happens; the men are too startled to react right away and as such, Dick can't be absolutely certain to where they are. It’s likely he knows their positions, can hear them breathing, but he's waiting for confirmation before acting. If he moves and he's wrong, there might not be time to recover. Then everything happens all at once.

One of them takes off and in an instant, Dick throws one of his escrima sticks at him, knocking him out in a single strike. The others bolt in different directions. They're too lowly of criminals to try attacking Nightwing outright. Dick turns down one way of the alley then the other before suddenly making chase. He picks up his stick as he goes and easily navigates his way back up onto a building. Jason follows after them not far behind. He doubts this is about an attempted grand theft auto so he doesn't consider chasing the others.

Besides, Jason is far more curious as to how Dick is managing this well.

It's not a long pursuit, Dick is far faster, and when he catches up, he slams his perp into the nearest surface. This is a little sloppy, Dick almost knocks him out in the process, but once he has hands on the guy he grabs him better and pins him to the wall. Still, Jason hangs back and waits to see if he'll actually need the support.

“Where's your boss?” Dick asks.

“B-boss?” the man replies, poorly feigning ignorance. Dick hoists him up a little further. Jason hears him audibly sniff. “H-hey, what’re you-?”

“RR,” Dick says. “I have a lead. Auto shop on Second. Heading there now.” The thief looks alarmed.

“What? No! There's not- how did you-? Aw shit.” That's a good question. He obviously smelled something but to be able to place it not only immediately but accurately is impressive. That's not even the closest shop to them. Dick handcuffs the guy’s wrist to his own ankle and leaves him to be picked up by the cops. When he's done, he hops back onto the roof and brushes himself out.

“Red?” Dick questions. Jason kicks one of his feet against the rooftop and Dick smiles as he walks closer. The fact that he can still act so casual, so comfortable, with Jason after knowing the truth is both aggravating and a godsend. “Where are we?”

“Fifth. Second is a couple blocks that way,” Jason says, motioning with his head before he can stop himself. “Uh. I mean, your left.” He definitely had a better way of figuring that out than asking Jason. “Doesn't look like ya needed my help after all.”

“No,” Dick agrees slowly. “But the company is nice.”

“Pretty sure you got better company than me,” Jason scoffs. Dick sighs.

“You're as dense as you were when we were young,” he says which makes Jason annoyed first and foremost. Dick grabs the front of his jacket and before Jason can stop him, bashes his face into Jason's helmet. They're both startled for a few seconds for vastly different reasons.

Did Dick just try to kiss him?

Dick gets his bearings back before Jason does and he laughs softly.

“Okay, that was stupid,” he murmurs softly as he reaches up to cup Jason’s hooded face in his hands. He leans in again, more carefully this time, and sure enough, kisses Jason’s mask where his mouth would be. Holy shit. Jason’s stunned. “I need to finish this but we do really need to talk, okay?”

Apparently they do.

“Right,” Jason says absently. “Yeah. I-” am so confused. He doesn't actually know what to say and after a moment, Dick gives him a puzzled look. Jason rustles a little to let Dick know he's still here and Dick smiles nervously. “Company? I mean, shit, do you still want the company?”

What is he fucking twelve again?

“I wouldn't say no,” Dick assures.

“Okay,” Jason murmurs. Dick smiles.

Unsurprisingly, Dick really doesn't need the help. Jason sticks around in case he needs back up but all he really ends up doing is watching from across the street as Dick beats the shit out of a gang of car thieves. Again, if the situation were different maybe he wouldn't be doing as well but honestly, Jason can't think of anyone who that isn't true for. There's no reason for Dick to be out on his own in most situations, anyways, even if it's just someone like Jason watching his back or Drake listening for regular updates.

He wonders if it was the nearby flower shop that tipped Dick off or maybe the faint smell of baked goods. Maybe he recognised one of the many restaurants in the area. Maybe he knew the scent of car paint and window tint- one of the few places that do both in this part of town.

Maybe Dick is far more capable than anyone could have reasonably expected.

From the beginning, Jason had never expected Dick to be able to don his Nightwing gear and go out into the city to fight crime again. When he said Dick could still be a hero, this isn't what he meant. In the end, though, he can't be surprised either. Leave it to perfect, flawless Dick Grayson to learn to adapt even to blindness.

Dick’s going to get himself killed but what's new there?

Judging by how Drake shows up in a hurry and shortly after, Damian hastily converges from a completely different direction no, Dick wasn't ‘supposed’ to be out on his own. That's definitely never stopped him before. By the time they get there, however, Dick has already handled everything.

Jason decides he has plenty of other company now.

 

Dick definitely tried to kiss him- would have if Jason hadn't been wearing his hood. The thought is still disorienting. This is what he wanted, right? Drake mentioning Dick would ‘come around’ to not seeing him as a brother still makes Jason’s stomach twist. He knows he can't have it both ways, he either gets a brother or a lover out of this, and he supposes at this point, the second is his only choice. The thought alone of Dick sleeping with someone else shouldn't get his blood boiling as much as it does.

Jason sees Dick come home, once more plain clothes and particularly pleased looking with himself. He watches from the opposite building as Dick downs two bottles of water in record time and proceeds to scrounge around the fridge for something to eat. It's hard not to laugh; just like when they were kids. Jason gives him a few minutes to settle in before heading over. It gives him some time to steel his own nerves, too.

When he climbs in the window, Dick looks over his shoulder briefly to smile at him. Jason can't believe how nervous he is.

“Hungry?” Dick asks.

“I'm good,” Jason assures. He closes the curtain behind him and pulls his helmet off. For the first time in a long time, it feels suffocating. Dick walks in his direction and Jason flinches. He's not sure what to expect and that's unsettling. His nerves make him freeze up and after a moment, Dick makes a perturbed face at not being able to find him. It's kind of funny that all it takes is not moving to confuse him- not moving and not breathing.

Breathe, Jason.

“Ova’ here,” he says and the crack in his voice just makes him flinch again. Dick obviously notices by the frown he puts on. He reaches out, gently finding Jason's arm, and pulls them together. Without saying anything, Dick just wraps his arms around Jason's chest and Jason instinctively clings to him harder than he means to. It's so soft and gentle and warm. Dick wasn't always like this, isn't always like this, but he always has been for Jason.

Jason only realises he's shaking when Dick rubs his back.

“Come on,” he murmurs softly, breaking them apart. He takes Jason's hand and tugs him along. “I really need a bath.” Delaying their talk any further isn't ideal but Jason can't bring himself to push the issue right now. He just follows Dick to the bathroom and watches in a daze as he begins running the water. As often as this happens, he barely registers Dick undressing and climbing into the tub.

Until Dick gestures for him, at least. Everything comes rushing back at once and Jason’s face grows too hot for comfort.

“Jason,” Dick says and a jolt goes down Jason's back. It's still so weird to hear his name like this. Dick’s hand remains outstretched in his general direction in a quiet beckon. Jason fidgets. He looks elsewhere.

“Not sure you understand how big I actually am,” he murmurs.

“Please,” Dick urges. Jason ruffles his hair with both hands but he doesn't have it in him to refuse; doesn't want to. He shucks off his jacket and Dick smiles a little at the sound. Hastily, he undresses and once again he finds himself unfortunately glad Dick can't visually scrutinize him. Despite the tub being big, it's not quite big enough but once Jason steps into the warm water, it's easy enough to settle.

Dick ushers him down, letting Jason sink into his lap, and gently draping his arms over Jason's shoulders. He presses a kiss to the back of Jason's head.

“I need you to calm down,” he says quietly. As close and bare as they are, Dick must be able to not only feel how tense Jason is holding himself but the nervous fluttering of his heart and hitch in his lungs at every out of place noise. “Everything is going to be okay, Jason. Please relax.”

Jason definitely tries. The warm water and Dick’s encompassing presence helps a lot. He lets himself breath and slowly, he relaxes into Dick’s arms. Dick softly traces some of Jason’s scars again, perhaps more clearly understanding what some of them are now that he knows the truth. The silence should be unsettling but it's not. Jason takes a deep breath and Dick nuzzles his head fondly.

“I should have known sooner,” Dick murmurs. “I- I did, I think. Know it was you, I mean. It was hard to believe, though, and I- I don't think I wanted to.” All Jason can do is watch Dick’s hands on his chest. “I already had these feelings for ‘Red’ and if you were Jason, I wasn't sure what would happen. I didn't know if they'd go away or even if I wanted them to. It was easier to not think about it.”

“When did you know?” he asks quietly.

“In retrospect?” Dick says. “I definitely had a weird feeling about you right away. You were- I couldn’t believe you were still alive. I dismissed it. For sure knew?” Jason feels him smile against his head and he lets out a little huff of a laugh. “Peter?”

Jason can't help but laugh, too.

“But,” he goes on. “You said you were Red. You said we were dating. I was happy and I, I don't know, I didn't want to lose that. I didn't want to lose you. It's not like I had any proof you were my dead brother. So I just- ignored it, I guess.” He pauses, nuzzles into Jason’s head again and tightens his fingers briefly.

“I shouldn't have,” Dick murmurs. “You said I wasn't pressuring you but I shouldn't have pushed so much. I convinced myself you were just nervous about dating and letting me make all the moves was easier.” Jason lets out an unamused scoff of a sound. Leave it to Dick to try to turn things around to make it seem like he wronged Jason.

“When you told me the truth, I wasn't sure what to do? I didn't know why you were telling me at all. If, maybe, you were tired of me or something,” Dick admits quietly. Jason reaches up to knit one of his hands with Dick’s. “I couldn’t ignore it anymore but the feelings didn’t go away.” Definitely not for lack of trying.

Jason isn’t sure what to say. He leans his head back into the crook of Dick’s shoulder and it’s always so fucking quiet in Dick’s apartment. It makes it hard to think. Dick isn’t turning him away, though; isn’t rejecting him. That’s a lot more than Jason expected and because of that, he has no idea where to start tackling this situation. They just sit quietly for a long time, long enough that Jason can feel the bath water starting to grow cold.

“What d’ya want to do?” Jason asks.

“I don't know,” Dick answers softly. Well, at least they can not know together.

“Should I go?” he offers tentatively. Dick squeezes him.

“No,” he says.

“Yeah,” Jason says. “Okay.”

 

They decide to take things slow- which lasts all of about two days. That's about how long it takes for Dick to realise Jason and ‘Red’ really aren't different people and for Jason to realise Dick really has forgiven him if he ever thought anything of it in the first place. Honestly, Dick is way too forgiving for his own good.

One tentative kiss is all it takes.

Jason only means it as a greeting, honestly, leaning in to kiss him fleetingly and initially, Dick seems hesitant. When Jason moves to pull away, however, Dick follows, giving him another faint kiss in return. Then another and a third. Jason finally puts his bag down when Dick grabs the front of his jacket to really kiss him.

God, he's still so good at this.

As much as Jason has missed this, Dick seems to have just as much. He practically holds Jason down at his level to kiss him until they're both out of breath- a surprising feat considering how active they both are. Even when they do part to breathe, Dick doesn't actually let him go. His eyes hood, only looking at Jason's mouth in theory, and his tongue runs over his lip nervously.

“And this doesn't weird you out?” Dick asks.

“Nah,” Jason replies first and foremost. “S’it bother you?” Dick doesn't answer for a long time, long enough for Jason to worry that he's changed his mind, but he leans back in to capture Jason's mouth again and the worry fades. That longing desire Jason felt when Dick knew him as Red hasn't gone anywhere. If anything, their unexpected ‘break’ has made it twice as strong.

“Jason,” Dick murmurs as he withdraws again. The sound of his name sends prickles down Jason’s back. It feels good hearing it. Dick moves his hands to touch Jason's chest instead, drawing them upwards and cupping them around the back of his neck. His thumbs stroke his jaw line softly. Jason ducks down to resume kissing. Dick steps back and Jason has to follow to keep his balance. It's only a few steps before Dick’s back hits a wall.

“Jason,” Dick says again as Jason braces a hand against the wall behind him. He's definitely doing that on purpose. Jason moves to kiss behind Dick’s ear instead and earns a shudder for his effort. “Fuck, we agreed to take it slow.” He positions his hands on Jason’s collar like he's going to push him off but he doesn’t actually. Instead, he keeps tilting his head to encourage Jason’s actions.

“Wanna stop?” Jason asks against his throat.

“No,” Dick admits.

“Me either,” he agrees.

"I've been, ah, thinking,” Dick murmurs.

“Thinkin’ what?” Jason replies, fairly well distracted by mouthing at Dick’s neck. Dick flushes a faint pink though, and Jason realises suddenly how suggestive of a statement that was. Like the way he was ‘thinking’ last time? The implications gets his blood pumping without even trying. He nips Dick a little rougher and Dick reaches to wrap his arms around his neck and pull him closer. The little cant of his hips makes how aroused he is no secret.

“About you with your nice cock deep in me,” Dick says lowly and Jason wasn't sure exactly what he was expecting but the sheer lewdness catches him off guard. He turns a much darker shade of red than Dick does. Eagerly, he moves to catch Dick's mouth again, slamming into him a bit too roughly and knocking their teeth together. Dick laughs breathlessly into the kiss before finally pulling Jason off of him. They both pant.

“Bedroom?” Jason breathes.

“Bedroom,” Dick agrees, already pulling at the front of Jason's jacket to pull him down the hall. Jason tugs it off as they fumble towards the bedroom, touching and kissing and groping the entire way. Without any hesitation, Dick hurriedly twists out of his own shirt and starts on his jeans. It's far from a show but nonetheless, Jason is enraptured with watching. He works on getting his own clothes off but with more layers, it takes him much longer. Dick sits back on the bed and spreads his thighs, his aching hard on already leaking precum.

Jason struggles to get out of his under armor as he watches Dick stroke himself. His fingers stray further down and Jason’s breath hitches as he uses a pair of fingers to show off his twitching hole. He grins at the audible reaction he gets before reaching for the bedside table. It's far too enticing to look away even as Jason has a hard time getting his damn boots untied enough to get them off. If anything, though, Dick seems amused by his annoyed rustling.

Dick slicks his fingers with lube then drizzles more down his cock and hole, working it in with his fingers. The low, throaty groan he makes is definitely to make sure he has Jason's attention- as if Jason has been anything but focused on him but Dick can't really know that. He pushes two fingers into himself and tilts his head back as he thrusts them down to the knuckle. Already dark patches are blooming on his neck. Jason didn't think he'd been that rough but the sight alone makes him feel well satisfied.

“Jason,” Dick groans out as he works himself open easily with his fingers. The hot, needy sound of his name still makes him jolt. He's undressed but he lingers to watch. Each little twist of Dick’s hips, the rolls of his wrist and curve of his throat; it’s transfixing. Jason groans weakly.

“I’ve been making sure I can take you,” Dick says. The thought punches Jason in the gut; Dick, alone, fingering himself to the thought of Jason. For as much as Jason has been doing his best to not to jack off to his brother, Dick has obviously not had the same reservations. Jason moves towards the bed, kneeling at the edge to lean in and capture Dick’s mouth with his own again. Dick arches to meet him briefly.

“Here,” he murmurs and he moves further onto the bed. Jason watches as he makes himself comfortable on his belly, showing off the expanse of his toned back and perfect ass. “Like this.” The beautiful arch Dick makes as he reaches back to display his slick, stretched hole makes Jason unreasonably flustered. He's rock hard, as if he hasn't been this entire time, and a far too whimpery noise leaves him.

“Y-yeah,” Jason answers hotly. He picks up the lube and moves to straddle Dick’s thighs with his own. For his effort, he gets a weak moan from Dick and the back of his neck flushes that pale pink again. Dick nuzzles his face into the pillow. Jason can see the ripple that goes down his back at the sound of him uncapping the lube and thoroughly slicking himself.

Tentatively almost, as if now is the time Dick is going to change his mind, Jason brings a hand up Dick's thigh and squeezes his ass. Fuck he has such a nice ass. When inevitably Dick doesn't protest, Jason presses his thumb into his hole and feels the shudder that runs through him. Not in his wildest dreams did he thinks something like this would ever happen.

“Jason,” Dick groans out impatiently. Jason doesn't make him wait any longer. He braces one hand against the bed to steady himself and with the other, presses the tip of his cock in. Dick buries his face further into the pillow with a needy noise. The snug tightness that meets him as he sinks in deeper makes Jason grunt quietly. Inch after inch, Dick takes him though, toes curling and back arching the entire time. When he's completely in, Jason runs his hand up Dick's side and shudders out a noise of his own. He feels so good.

Fuck,” Dick rasps and his fingers twist into the sheets. “You're deep. God.” Jason leans over to kiss from Dick’s shoulder to the back of his neck. He grinds his hips forward and Dick makes a heavy, guttural groan into the pillow. It's a lot all at once and he pauses to give them both a chance to adjust. Dick reaches back, stroking Jason's thigh fondly before pushing back into him again.

“You grew so much, Jason,” he murmurs. The statement sends an unexpected spark of arousal through Jason. “You're so big now. Not ‘little wing’ anymore, hm?” The jolt that goes through him makes him buck forward rougher than he intended and Dick gasps. A harsh shudder goes through him as he fists the sheets tight enough to pale his knuckles. “Jason.”

Shit, Dick,” Jason rasps back.

“Oh fuck, keep going. Please,” Dick urges before Jason even gets a chance to ask if he's alright. He's clenching down so much. Jason moves one hand down to Dick's shapely waist and uses the other to brace against the headboard for some leverage. He moves slow at first, shallow, grinding movements to test the waters. It quickly becomes apparent by Dick’s needy moans that this isn't enough for him. His sounds turn into a steady stream of ‘yes, yes, yes’ as Jason picks up pace.

Jason can feel how hard his fingers dig into Dick's waist and hear the audible sound of their skin meeting with every thrust. Dick arches to meet him each time, squirming and arching beneath him.

“Jason,” Dick moans breathlessly. “Fuck, your cock’s so thick, little wing. So good.” Jason chokes out a surprised noise that catches even himself off guard. Obviously Dick has figured out his attraction to their taboo relationship. His face grows so hot and red, he's shocked he doesn't give himself a nosebleed. He thrusts hard enough draw a startled gasp from Dick and he whimpers into the pillow.

“R-rough,” Dick rasps out.

“Too much?” Jason asks between pants. Dick shakes his head.

“No,” he assures. “I like it.” Dick knows how to get him so flustered so easily. Jason pulls out and Dick immediately lets out a disappointed noise, lifting his head questioningly. When Jason grabs his upper arm, however, he moves with him easily to get onto his back instead.

“Lemme see you,” Jason says as he palms Dick's strong thighs and pushes them up and open. Instinctively, Dick reaches up to wrap his arms around Jason's shoulders. He uses his hands to find the nape of Jason's neck in order to pull him down and kiss him thoroughly. Jason hastily aligns his cock again to thrust back in and Dick moans into his mouth. He holds on tight, one hand tangled in Jason's hair and the other dug into the base of his neck as Jason fucks him hard and fast.

Dick is absolutely gorgeous. Face flushed pink, slightly shiny from sweat, and lips well bitten- all Jason wants is to kiss him stupid. Not that Dick seems to have a problem with that. Every sweet noise he makes disappears between them. His hard cock rubs against Jason’s stomach with every move, dripping precum heavily and twitching with arousal at every thrust. Jason isn't going to last much longer like this, either.

When he reaches to wrap his fingers around Dick’s aching cock, Dick shudders violently. He pulls away from Jason's mouth and tucks his face into his neck instead, mouthing at his skin as he breathes hot and hard. Dick rolls his hips desperately both into Jason’s hand and down against his cock in rocking, jolting movements.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Dick chants, more breathless with each one. His fingers dig in harshly and his body tenses as he comes, a guttural noise rolling from his lips as he basks in the sensation. He clenches down hard enough that Jason winces slightly and his thrusts shorten to deep, rough strokes. “Oh fuck, Jason.”

“Dick,” Jason groans as he hooks his hands under Dick's knees. Dick's toes curl.

“Inside,” he urges and a shudder goes down Jason’s back. “Come in me, little wing, I want it.” God, Jason always knew Dick had a mouth on him but this isn't exactly what he thought that meant. Already on the edge, Dick’s lewd insistence is more than enough. Jason pushes in deep, making Dick bite his lip and toss his head back, and comes hard. He growls out a noise as he kisses Dick roughly, stuffing his seed deep inside him, and Dick moans.

They take a moment to catch their breath again. Dick loosens his grip but still holds Jason close to kiss him slow and sweet as they come down. Jason plies Dick's hands from around his neck, getting a mild complaint for it, and gingerly pulls out. Dick stretches as Jason moves to lay beside him. It doesn’t take long for Dick to roll over and seek him out again with a hand before moving in to lay against him. It's- nice.

“'n this doesn't weird you out?” Jason asks. He means it to be joking, he thinks anyways, but by the time they come out he realises he means them too much. Dick runs his hand over Jason's chest fondly.

“A little,” he admits quietly. “But I like this. I like us.”

“Yeah,” Jason agrees and he moves to let Dick rest his head on his chest, wrapping an arm around him. “Me too.”

 

 

Epilogue

Jason grabs a pair of champagne flutes from a passing waitstaff who gives him a pointed look and receives a glare in return. They keep walking. He gulps one down and sets the empty flute aside. Dick elbows him in the rib area but he can't hide his small grin.

“I hated these galas when we were kids 'n I hate 'em now,” Jason scoffs mildly before drinking down half of his second glass. There's not nearly enough alcohol in these. “I can't believe you blackmailed me into this.”

“I didn't blackmail you,” Dick replies. Jason wouldn't say he's hiding behind Dick but only because Dick isn't tall enough for that. There feels like there's so many people here. “I just said I'd take Roy if you were too busy.”

“Yeah, ‘n suck ‘im off,” Jason mumbles. Dick gives a playfully scolding look in his direction over his own champagne flute.

“You're working your way to not getting sucked off tonight,” he murmurs back. Jason wisely doesn't respond to that. There's more than a couple people staring and while Jason is certain it's not really because of him, it's definitely because of him. Of course Dick showing up with a new boyfriend is going to draw attention. Mostly though, Jason is more concerned with the rest of the family staring at him from their stupid table.

“Your family keeps lookin’ at me funny,” Jason says under his breath. He finishes off his flute in a single drink.

“They're your family, too,” Dick assures, turning to face him.

“Just ‘cus Bruce couldn't keep his pen in his pants while I was takin’ a dirt nap doesn't mean they're my family,” he scoffs irritably.

“It does, actually,” Dick insists. “Nice try, though. Want to get them to stop staring?”

“I can think of’a couple ways,” Jason murmurs, trying not to meet any of their many, annoying eyes. Dick grabs him suddenly by the shirt and yanks him down into a kiss. It's not a discrete kiss at all, either. There's lots of tongue and for a brief second, Jason completely forgets where he is. Dick pulls away again and Jason spends a few seconds dazed.

When he does look over at the family table, everyone has quickly found something else to look at.

“Way better than my idea,” he says and Dick laughs. He holds up a watch suddenly and Jason checks his pocket only to find it not there anymore. Dick feels it over with his fingers to check it out.

“And I'm giving this back to dad,” he assures. Jason scoffs loudly.

“When’d you get good at pickin’ pockets?” he asks.

“No one ever said I was bad at picking pockets,” Dick promises, handing Jason his half finished drink. “I just have the sense not to steal things.” Jason makes a face at him that, whether or not Dick realises or not, Dick winks at him fondly for. As he walks off towards the family table, Jason tries not to fluster too much and finishes off Dick’s drink for him. He watches from his safe distance as Dick goes to stand beside Bruce and talk.

Being here is weird. Being here with Dick is even worse. While no one has really said anything to him yet, and Jason doesn't expect them to, it still makes him irrationally anxious. He runs a hand through his hair and takes a deep breath to try to steady himself before walking over after Dick. Getting close enough, of course Dick glances over his shoulder at him and gives him a fleeting smile. Jason puts a hand on his waist loosely.

“What's up fucks,” he greets with a short nod.

“Are you done eating each other’s faces?” Drake asks behind his glass.

“It's nearly as bad as when he was dating Koriand’r,” Damian murmurs.

“That might be little extreme,” Barbara assures. “At least he has to breath.”

“Scooch,” Dick instructs. There's already room for him at the table but, nonetheless, the rest of the family shuffles around to make more- for Jason. He hesitates as Dick takes his seat beside Damian. Ultimately, though, Jason plops into the empty chair beside him and awkwardly fixes the collar of his shirt. He feels out of place and more than a little underdressed now.

“You're really tryin’ ta out me here, aren't ya,” he mumbles, mostly to just himself and Dick. It's not exactly like anyone else's dates are sitting at the family table. This is how rumors start. Dick puts a hand on his knee in comfort.

“Oh yes,” Drake says mildly. “I can see it now; ‘Wayne’s second eldest son not dead and dating eldest son.’” Jason gives him an annoyed look.

“‘Man who looks nothing like dead fourteen year old probably dead fourteen year old,’” Stephanie adds in.

“‘Grayson’s new date actually deceased younger brother? More inside,’” Damian goes on.

“‘Blind son dates adopted young brother who's definitely not dead,’” Barbara says. Cass giggles quietly.

“‘Wayne family closer than you think and also haunted?’” Duke cries dramatically.

“‘Bruce Wayne’s children behave for once in their lives in a shocking turn of events,’” Bruce says flatly.

“‘Bruce Wayne commits eight back to back crimes of passion,’” Dick sings.

“‘Bruce Wayne has stress aneurysm at age redacted,’” Drake says. It's subtle but Jason appreciates it he guesses; Bruce taking the attention off him and Dick before Jason actually gets the idea he's unwanted here. The rest of the family continues to banter around them and Jason looks over at Bruce who glances back at him. Jason sticks his tongue out. Bruce huffs a small noise but cracks an ever so slight grin as he turns away again.

He hates to admit it but Jason thinks he misses this. It used to be just him and Dick, sat on either side of their dad trying to make him break his playboy smile facade for a real one. They always felt isolated from the rest of the party; their own private bubble no one dare intrude upon uninvited. It always felt comforting during events Jason otherwise felt out of place in. There's a lot more of them now but it has the same feeling.

Jason looks at Dick quietly, watching as he acquaints himself with the table setting while listening to his siblings joke and bicker playfully. He reaches out to touch Dick’s thigh softly and Dick gives him a questioning look. When Jason leans over to give him a soft kiss on the cheek, Dick smiles fondly and leans into it.

Well, he didn't screw everything up.