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Mutually Beneficial

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Jason knows who Slade Wilson is and that he should stay away from him.

 

He knows the man is a vicious competitor of his father’s with a business ethic firmly in the dark gray to black side of the spectrum.

 

He also knows that his older brother drank too much one night, while he was in college, and fell for Wilson’s sweet talk, whatever that could possibly sound like, and that the older man still, years later, finds ways suggestively drop Dick’s name into conversations with their father.

 

So when he sees the man’s signature white hair and eye patch approaching his position at the bar, Jason makes a real attempt to avoid him. Only a small crowd of people who chose that precise moment to head for the patio, blocks his escape.

 

“Trying to hide, kid?”

 

Jason sighs and turns back to face the old man. “Think that’s what they tell you to do when a predator is on the prowl.”

 

Slade’s lip quirks up on one side and his icy gray eye twinkles. “So, does that make you the prey?”

 

Heat creeps down his ears. “Maybe not me specifically. But there’s not many reasons for a man like you to be at a campus bar full of students, what? a third your age? Do you expect me to believe you’re not hunting, Mr. Wilson?”

 

The lopsided smirk grows into a full grin and the older man shifts his giant body closer, angling so that Jason takes a small step back into the bar. It’s not that he’s never noticed Wilson’s sculpted muscles and large frame before, he has. He won’t pretend that he hasn’t occasionally had Slade on the mind during those quiet personal moments in the dark. Not to himself, anyway. But this close, he feels small, which is not a sensation he’s very familiar with, and all he can smell is the smoked, woody, clean scent of the larger man’s cologne. It’s… a little distracting.

 

“Not really,” Wilson rumbles down at him, voice pitched low with just a hint of gravel. “I am here for a business meeting,” he waves a hand to a table in the corner with a couple shady looking men sitting around it, one of whom Jason recognizes as Roman Sionis, another of his father’s competition and a man who has creeped him out since he was a kid. They seem to be interviewing a younger man, looking over his resume. “But I’m an accomplished multitasker,” Slade finishes, eye traveling the length of Jason’s body.

 

“Hard pass,” he gulps, unconvincingly apparently, because Wilson gets even closer, knee nudging Jason’s thigh. The hand on the bar side, hidden from the rest of the room by the counter and their bodies, rests gently on his hip and stays as he tries to step away again. This time he runs into the barstool behind him and ends up half sitting on it as Wilson makes himself comfortable between his legs.

 

He should leave. He should insist, loudly, that the old man leave him alone, shove him away, and go back to his apartment. But he’s not used to this kind of attention. Definitely not used to such forward behavior.

 

Instead, he grips Slade’s wrist as hard as he can. Slade may be much bigger and stronger than him, but he’s no delicate little flower.

 

White brows raise above the unwavering gaze and irritating smirk.

 

“I’m not my brother,” he growls, pushing the hand away. He knows that’s not really fair. Dick… hadn’t regretted anything or been at all remorseful, but it’d just been the one time and he had admitted that he probably wouldn’t have made the same choice a second time. Especially with how disappointed their father had been.

 

“Oh, I’m aware,” Slade says quietly, just for the two of them, “You may look like the rest of your family, but Bruce and Dick? Neither would ever call me ‘Mr. Wilson’. And Dick’s too worried about making your father proud. That’s not failing you share. Is it, lit major?”

 

Jason scowls. How does this asshole know about that? He’s argued plenty with his dad about not wanting to be part of Wayne Enterprises. He wants to be a professor and write. Jason doesn’t see why it’s such a big deal when Dick, Tim, and Damian are all interested.

 

“Mr. Wilson?” He says softly, looking up at the mogul through his lashes.

 

“Yes?”

 

Jason thinks the way the older man leans in closer a fraction of an inch is unconscious. So he smiles sweetly and tilts his head back a little.

 

“Kindly fuck off,” he snaps before finally shoving Wilson away and slipping around him.

 

He ignores the way the other man’s grin gets bigger and he definitely pretends like he doesn’t hear him call out “See you around, kid,” as he leaves the bar.

 


 

Slade makes sure he bumps into Jason more frequently over the next several weeks. Enough so that the kid’s initial reaction to seeing him goes from irritated to resigned to indifferent. Which is great progress.

 

Now that his presence has shifted from negative to emotionally neutral, he can start working up to evoking positive feelings.

 

He’s not really sure why he cares. Except that the kid was right, he enjoys the hunt. Even if he rarely has the patience for it. He often pulls the trigger too early. That’s what happened with the older brother. Difference is, he at least had that one in his sights. Dick had flirted back, made his interest obvious and pursued it aggressively. This one is more reserved. More in his own head. He’ll have to be drawn out. Where Dick was a fellow hunter, Jason is, as he’d said, prey.

 

Shy, mouthy prey that Slade can’t get off his mind.

 

Maybe it’s the rejection. The fact that the kid says no even though Slade can see the attraction is mutual. Slade doesn’t remember the last time someone who was attracted to him denied him.

Actually, he does. Guess Jason has at least one thing in common with his father, aside from the physical similarities. 

 

“Mr. Wilson,” the kid sighs in feigned exasperation, giving a slight smile over his champagne flute, as Slade approaches, “What a surprise to see you.”

 

Slade snorts at the sarcasm, joining the younger man at the standing table in the back corner of the ballroom, as far away from the pomp of the gala as he can get. Slade’s noticed that parties like this deplete Jason’s energy faster than that of the rest of his family’s and the kid often slips away to find a quiet place to recharge.

 

“Done for the evening already, beautiful?” On his third ‘accidental’ run in with Jason, Slade had told him he was adorable for some reason and had immediately made a mental note to compliment his good looks at every opportunity, just to see that brilliant shade of pink.

 

Jason isn’t immune to the flattery yet. And Slade isn’t immune to the blushing.

 

“I was thinking about sneaking out for a smoke. Just for a few minutes. These things really take it out of me, you know?”

 

He does.

 

“Mhmm,” he hums, crowding Jason’s space a little more. He’s been encouraged lately when the kid doesn’t immediately try to step away to reestablish his personal bubble. “Want some company?”

 

A smile tugs his lips up when he hears Jason swallow hard.

 

“Not this time,” Jason replies, shooting his own mean little smirk up at Slade. “I won’t be long. We are the hosts, after all.”

 

Slade watches him go over the top of his tumbler, impeccably tailored suit clinging in all the right places. How did all these kids end up with such perfect asses he just wants to sink his teeth into and thighs he wants wrapped around his head?

 

He glances over to where Bruce is laughing brightly with a small gaggle of women and thinks “Right. Genetics” just before he notices Roman slinking out the ballroom door. Probably to try to snoop through Wayne’s house.

 

But then the minutes tick away and Jason doesn’t return for longer than Slade would have expected it to take. Long enough to go through several cigarettes and the kid hadn’t seemed that on edge.

 

He’s halfway across the room, a foreign sick feeling roiling in his gut, when a familiar form steps in his path.

 

“Richard,” Slade sighs, “I was just on my way out. What can I do for you?”

 

Dick eyes him up and down, but not in the fun way. “Saw you talking to Jason.”

 

“And?”

 

“And what do you want with my little brother, Slade?”

 

Slade rolls his eyes. “This is your gala. You’re the hosts. He’s the only one who doesn’t interrogate me or look down his nose when I speak. So he’s the one to whom I addressed the polite, society niceties.”

 

Dick considers him for a long moment.

 

“This is a lovely party, Dick. But I have business to attend to, so if you don’t mind…?” Slade motions in the direction of the exit.

 

Finally, Dick steps aside. “Stay away from Jason, Slade.”

 

Slade just snorts and takes the opportunity to leave.

 

When he’s in the hall, he turns left for the courtyard instead of right for the car.

 

It’s pretty much what he was expecting when he reaches the courtyard and follows the muffled sounds of a struggle into the hedge maze. Suddenly a lot of things over the years start adding up. Roman’s lurking in corners, eyes lingering just a little too long, little ‘jokes’ about ‘cock teases’ and ‘putting uppity sluts in their place’.

 

Except that Jason seems to be holding his own. His shirt is ripped but Roman is the one with a black eye, bloody lip, and seems to have a slight limp.

 

Until Roman gets in a lucky grab and Jason’s face hits a wooden bench just a little too hard, stunning him.

 

Sionis doesn’t waste the opportunity, quickly getting Jason to the ground on his belly and sitting on his legs.

 

Slade hauls him off the kid by his collar as easily as he would a naughty puppy, and throws him against the nearest hedges.

 

“What the fuck, Wilson!” Roman snarls.

 

He hears Jason getting to his feet behind him so he turns and offers the kid his hand. The younger man stares at it for moment and blinks a few times before swallowing and accepting the assistance.

 

“What do you think you’re doing Roman?” Slade asks, voice calm as he checks over Jason’s face, looks closely at the cut on his head. He’ll have to dress it but it’s a relatively minor injury.

 

“You got the older one, I was just—“

 

“I didn’t take anything that wasn’t given, you fool.”

 

“This one’s been begging me for it for years, you self-righteous bastard.”

Jason is already shaking his head from where he’s leaning his weight against Slade’s side. “What the fuck are you—“

 

Slade hushes him with a hand at his back, rubbing between his shoulders.

 

“Roman. I’m one of the few people who will still do business with you. If you value your company and your lifestyle, I suggest you forget whatever you think anyone has been begging you for. I can assure you, it’s in your head. If you don’t, I’m sure Wayne would be very interested in what’s just happened here, at his home, to his son, and he shouldn’t have any difficulty burying you even without my help.”

 

The other man glares at them, hate clear in his expression, before straightening his suit and all but fleeing.

 

“Sick fuck,” Jason mutters once Roman’s gone.

 

“Come on,” Slade responds, sliding his arm around the kid’s waist. He’s a little shaky. “Let’s get you patched up.”

 

A few minutes later they’re in the kitchen of Wayne Manor while a very concerned British butler fusses over Jason’s wound while the boy insists that he just had too much to drink and tripped in the courtyard while trying to sneak a smoke.

 

“We’ll circle back to the smoking. Again,” the butler, Alfred, says sternly, making Jason smile sheepishly, “But do you expect me to believe that a fall is the reason you’re missing three buttons from your shirt and the knuckles of your right hand are swollen and bruised?”

 

“Uh… yeah…?”

 

Alfred’s eyes flicker up to Slade before resting back on the younger man, full of worry and love.

 

“Seeing as Mr. Wilson seems to be undamaged, I’ll assume he wasn’t the one on the other end of your fist?”

 

“Al, honestly, I’m fine.”

 

“That may be, young man. But you are still lying to me about what happened. Your father will be even less convinced.”

 

“Let’s keep this just between us. No reason to get him worried about nothing.”

 

Alfred looks back up at Slade, allows his gaze to linger, then pointedly dart between him and Jason.

 

“It seems to me that there is quite a bit to worry about.”

 

Jason rolls his eyes as the butler finishes up, fixing a large band-aide over the cut on the kid’s head.

 

“You may attempt to convince me more thoroughly on the drive home. No doubt you are no longer in the partying mood.”

“No doubt,” Jason mutters, “But you’re not taking me home, Al. You’d have to drive all the way to the city and all the way back. I said I’m fine and I meant it.”

 

“You may have a concussion, Master Jason. You are not driving—“

 

“I’ll take him,” Slade offers. When Jason looks at him with surprise and Alfred with suspicion, he shrugs, “I’m heading back anyway.”

 

After another five minutes of arguing and reassurance, Jason manages to convince the butler to allow Slade to drive him home.

 

They’re halfway back to the city, Slade nudging him awake every time he starts to nod off, when Jason turns toward him, lids creeping lower as he starts to drift off again.

 

“Thank you,” he mutters, before Slade has to poke him in the ribs.

 

“Any time, kid.”

 

When he stops in front of Jason’s building the kid gives him a funny look out of the corner of his eye and rubs his neck. Then it’s Slade’s turn to be surprised when Jason invites him up.

 

Slade’s not the type to ask too many questions when he gets what he wants. So his moment of hesitation before he nods and turns off the car isn’t very like him.

 

Neither is the feeling of mild unease as they ride the elevator up.

 

But it isn’t until he’s sitting at the kid’s counter, drink in hand, as Jason slips between his spread legs, so pretty with the way he’s blushing fiercely, that Slade grips his hips with one hand and gently take his chin with the other.

 

“You sure about this, kid?” He asks even though he doesn’t really want to. “Maybe tonight isn’t the best time.”

 

Jason licks his lips, bright blue eyes fixing on Slade’s, before he smirks mischievously. “I might have a concussion,” he mumbles, moving so that his lips brush Slade’s, “I need you to make sure I don’t fall asleep.”

 

That’s all the invitation Slade needs. He firms his grip and pulls the kid against him, meeting his lips and licking into his mouth. He holds Jason tightly, keeping his movements slow and tender.

 

He drops his hands, gives the kid’s ass a squeeze before lifting him up and sitting him on the counter. Then he drags his fingers down those thick thighs, takes one of Jason’s legs in hand and watches his face as he unties the shoe, slides it off, peels the sock off, and repeats the action on the other foot before gently, separating the remaining buttons of the shirt.

 

Slade lets his fingertips dance over well-defined abs on their way to the waistband of the dress slacks. Suddenly, Jason takes a hold of his hands and waits until Slade looks back up into his eyes.

 

“Please don’t… don’t use this against my dad…” he pleads, blushing again and dropping his gaze.

 

Slade tilts his chin up so that he can see those sweet, blue eyes. “I won’t say a word.”

 

With that, he glues their lips back together until he has Jason’s slacks off. Then he gently guides him down onto his back, smiling at the soft hiss as the coolness of the marble meets warm skin. Takes the kid’s legs and presses them forward until the knees are bent and up by Jason’s chest, tells him to hold onto them.

 

The blush is creeping down Jason’s whole body; gets brighter when he drags a thumb over the winking, exposed hole. But it’s the uninhibited moan the younger man lets loose when Slade licks a fat stripe over it that he wants more of.

 

He soon decides he could eat this kid out forever if it meant hearing his breathy gasps every time he stiffens his tongue and fucks into him, his pleased whines when Slade flattens it, making it go wide inside him, his confused whimpers when he nibbles on the rim.

 

It’s not long before he loses track of time. All he knows is he doesn’t stop until Jason is a writhing, gasping mess above him, sweat shimmering over his skin, fingers of one hand buried in his own hair while the other is wrapped around his cock, pumping unevenly.

 

Even then, Slade only notices all that when Jason speaks.

 

Please,” the kid says breathlessly, “Mr. Wilson, please… more.”

 

His cock leaps and before he’s even registering what his hand is doing he’s reaching for his wallet and the condom and packet of lube contained within.

 

Slade gets his fingers slicked in seconds and leans forward to hum in Jason’s ear while a single wet digit circles the eager opening.

 

“Sir,” he mutters hotly against the kid’s ear.

 

“Wh-What?”

 

“‘Mr. Wilson’ is alright. But if you’re going to be so amenable, I’d prefer ‘sir’.”

 

His eyes track the bob of the younger man’s adam’s apple as he swallows hard before moving up to brilliant blue under thick lashes.

 

“Please… sir,” Jason whispers.

 

Slade kisses him in reward and drinks down the gasp as he slips a single finger in easily.

 

Things move faster from there. He adds a second and third when the pressure eases, making sure to rub against the prostate on every inward motion, until finally, with Jason practically in tears, Slade feels comfortable enough to free himself and roll on the condom.

 

Sinking into the tight, velvet heat, with the kid laid out in front of him like an offering, hands holding onto his forearms for dear life, Slade would like nothing better than to mark Jason up, outside and in, make sure everyone knows that this one is his.

 

The thought of Roman’s hands on Jason earlier draws out a possessive growl and his next thrusts are harder, deeper. When the kid’s hips buck up and he cries out, spilling all over his own abs, Slade keeps that pace, not letting up until he gives a handful of final, erratic thrusts and stills with his own hips pressed against Jason’s ass.

 

They stay like that for a moment. Both sweating and panting, Slade’s cock comfortably sheathed inside the warm, snug passage. When he does finally pull out, Jason gives a little whine of protest that makes Slade chuckle.

 

He ties off the condom and drops it in Jason’s trash before ripping off a few paper towels and wetting them.

 

With the younger man watching him, upside down from where he’s still laid out on the counter, Slade reaches over his head and wipes up the come drying on the boy’s belly. Then he moves back around and wipes the lube up, from where his dirty hand had gripped Jason’s hip, from around his hole, and, indulging a little, he dips his fingers back in an inch under the pretense of cleaning up.

 

Jason takes Slade’s hand when he offers it and he pulls him upright on the counter. Cups a hand to a reddened cheek, thumbing the kid’s lower lip.

 

“That… wasn’t what I expected,” Jason says, voice a little raspy and quiet.

 

“Mmm. Me either.”

 

Slade forces his hand away and straightens. He needs to leave. Quickly.

 

“I had a good time, kid.”

 

Jason blinks at the sudden change in atmosphere. His face gets redder as he asks, “Any… any chance you-you might want to, uh… do it again?”

 

Damnit.

 

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

 

The kid’s face falls. “Oh… right. ‘Course.”

 

“I’ll see you around, Jason.”

 

That’s the last thing he says. Striding purposefully to the door, Slade leaves Jason sitting there, naked, on his kitchen counter.

 


 

The clank of dishes being set in front of him jolts Jason out of the book he was reading and back into the real world to see a steaming cup of plain black coffee. His preference. But he didn’t order it.

 

Then he notices the man slipping into the seat across from him and frowns. It’s been three weeks since Slade fucked him and bailed as quickly as possible. Jason’s feelings on the matter are conflicted. The way it happened, he’s pretty sure it wasn’t anything he did so much as it was Slade’s issues. He’s not hoping to never see the man again. But he wasn’t exactly in a hurry to do so either.

 

He just stares at the older man for long moment before closing his book and shifting in his seat to face him.

 

“Mr. Wilson,” he starts, noting the way Slade tries to keep the smirk from tugging up one corner of his mouth. Jason raises the mug to his lips and asks, “How can I help you?”

 

“I’ve reconsidered your proposition,” Wilson answers without hesitation, short and to the point.

 

That was definitely not what Jason was expecting. He chokes on the hot coffee.

 

“What?” He manages to gasp.

 

“I’ve thought about it a great deal and I believe we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

 

Jason just blinks at him. Why would Wilson think it was still an option after the way he left?

 

Slade leans across the table, letting his grin out. “I’d like regular, exclusive access.”

 

Jason’s brain shorts out. “What? Why?”

 

“I’d have thought that was obvious. I want to fuck you again.”

 

An older woman walking past stumbles and shoots them scowl but Jason can’t spare the brain power to care.

 

“I thought that wasn’t a good idea,” Jason finally snips when he finds his tongue.

 

Wilson shrugs. “I have my reasons for believing that and some of them are certainly still relevant. But as I said, upon reflection, I find I’ve come to a new conclusion.”

 

“What makes you think I’m still interested?”

 

“If you’re not, you say no, I say ok, and we go our separate ways. I’ve asked. The worst that can happen is you refuse. It’s not a life or death situation.”

 

Jason doesn’t really need the long moments he takes to mull it over. He already knows he is still interested. But he doesn’t want to seem too eager or easy.

 

“‘Exclusive’?” He asks, latching on the the weirdest part.

 

The older man’s eyes go dark. “Yes. I don’t like other people touching my things.”

 

“‘Things’?” Jason repeats indignantly, “People aren’t things. And I’m not your property.”

 

Slade’s smile turns sharp and predatory as he leans further across the table.

 

“Not yet.”

 

Warmth pools in Jason’s belly and he shudders. There’s no way Wilson missed it.

 

“What about you?” He asks, shoving all that aside, “Do you plan on being exclusive?”

 

“If you want. If it’s a condition of your agreement, it’s an easy concession.”

 

“Do you… even realize what you’re asking for?” Jason can’t help but question. The way Slade is phrasing everything, it sounds all business but what he’s asking for is, frankly not something Jason would have ever expected.

 

“This is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Nothing more.”

 

“Uh, huh. That’s pretty much what a relationship is…”

 

“Call it whatever you want, I don’t particularly care. This is about sex.”

 

“Exclusive sex. Which you’ll get how? Call me up whenever you’re feeling horny?”

 

“And if you were willing I would likely ask for you to accompany me to certain functions, though none with anyone who might know you. I assume you still wish to keep your family in the dark.”

 

Jason nods emphatically. Then smiles. “What if I’m feeling horny?”

 

“All points are reciprocal. If I can call you, you can call me. If you attend functions with me, I will attend functions with you, etc.”

 

Jason rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “Let me think about it,” he says as he rises, knowing full well he’s going to agree.

 

“Of course. Take your time. I’ll check back with you tomorrow.”

 

“How ‘bout I call you when I’ve made a decision.”

 

Without waiting for an answer Jason leaves Slade, sitting there alone at the café, as the server sets Jason’s bill on the table in front of the old man.

 

He’ll call him in a few days.

Chapter Text

“He cut me off.”

 

Slade looks up from where he sits on the sofa, using his tablet to catch up on emails. Jason’s nostrils are flared, his face flushed. He’s cute when he’s angry.

 

And the sex is usually pretty mind-blowing. That’s when he’s pissed at Slade, though.

 

This is something else. A family thing. Slade tries to stay out of that shit and Jason hasn’t ever involved him before.

 

Their mutually beneficial arrangement is still going strong over a year later. Jason drags him to poetry readings (which he will never admit he somewhat enjoys) and he ‘drags’ Jason to Dubai and Tokyo. He likes having him around, whether they’re fucking or not. But it is, still, definitely not a relationship.

 

Point is, in all this time, he’s never seen the kid this mad.

 

Jason marches straight to the bar, grabs the first bottle his hand closes over without looking, downs two fingers, and pours another before stomping over to stand in front of Slade.

 

“I can’t believe he fucking cut me off!”

 

Slade can’t really believe it either. He never would have thought Wayne had it in him to sever support from one of his kids. Unless…

 

“Did he finally find out who you’re spending your free time with?”

 

The scowl deepens. Damn, it’s adorable.

 

“Said he won’t pay to indulge my hobby. I can get a useful education or figure things out on my own.”

 

That is surprisingly cruel, Slade thinks. Especially knowing how hard Jason works, that he’s top of his class at one of those highly ranked, ivy covered, schools that prides itself on how badly they torture their students. Especially knowing that Jason is, in fact, a talented writer after having snooped around on the kid’s laptop in what was absolutely an innocent attempt to look out for him, and absolutely not a jealous investigation to make sure Jason wasn’t breaking the exclusivity portion of their agreement with this ‘Roy’ character he kept talking about.

 

He wonders if Wayne knows any of this. Jason is reserved and not disposed to sharing his accomplishments, even to defend himself.

 

Either way, there’s no way he can afford to stay at that school without his father’s support.

 

He seems to come to the same conclusion as his body slumps. Then, just as quickly he straightens back up.

 

“Fuck him. I can—”

“I’ll pay your tuition and, I assume, your rent,” Slade offers casually. It really isn’t a big deal to him. He has more money than he knows what to do with anyway.

 

Jason freezes and his jaw drops open a little, blinking quickly.  Slade smirks, outwardly ignoring the way his cock twitches in interest. That deer-in-the-headlights look is his number one favorite. Figuring out ways to draw out that shocked expression has been his one of his most satisfying pursuits. Especially after Jason made him promise to ‘chill out’ after he bought him a yacht. It was harder to provoke such extreme flattered, surprise when you couldn’t just dump money into it. But Slade found it was much more rewarding. Private box tickets to Jason’s favorite play and first editions of his favorite books weren’t exactly cheap, even if they didn’t reach yacht levels, but they did require a level of consideration that seemed to stun the kid and Slade always enjoyed trying to figure out what to do next.

 

Jason opens his mouth and closes it. Then opens it again, pauses, licks his lips and narrows his eyes.

 

“No, you won’t,” he says, but it’s not as firm as it could be, “I’m gonna figure it out on my own. Like he said. Prove I can do it. Just to spite him.”

 

“Don’t be stupid,” Slade argues, rolling his eye, “Starting with a liability no one else in your family has had doesn’t prove anything.”

 

“It makes it more satisfying if I’m successful.”

 

“And more hurtful if you fail.” He closes his tablet and sets it on the coffee table. Then looks back up, giving Jason his undivided attention. “He’s trying to stack the deck against you, so you’ll go running home with your tail between your legs. Your brothers don’t have student loans, they didn’t have to worry about a job on top of their studies. None of you got scholarships because daddy can cough up the cash. How’re you planning on paying for that fancy school of yours?”

 

“I’d… get a job…” he stammers, sounding less sure.

 

“You’d need more than one. And then you’d have to take fewer classes. Which would take you longer to graduate, costing you even more money.”

 

Jason’s quiet for a long moment as he considers. The defeat flickering across his face is unbearable.

 

“If it makes a difference, you can work for me,” Slade grins, “I’d obviously pay you more than you’re worth, enough to cover everything, but you’d do a job and make your own cash.”

 

The kid frowns. “I’m not working for you.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“For one, yeah, I’m pissed but I don’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings and undermine my argument by working for his biggest competitor,” he starts, and sure, that’s fair. “Not to mention none of them know about this. But mostly, it’s because you’re a snake. I won’t work for a company with such sketchy-ass business practices.”

 

Slade chuckles at that because it’s true. He reaches out and pulls Jason into his lap.

“Then earn it a different different way,” he rumbles, popping open the top several buttons of Jason’s shirt and slipping his hand inside to tug on a nipple.

 

It’s Jason’s turn to roll his eyes, even as he inhales sharply and sighs.

 

“You suggesting you start paying me for what I’m already giving for free? ‘Cause I’m not really down for that either.”

 

“No. I want to take care of you. Make sure you’re provided for. I enjoy spoiling you.”

 

That sounded a lot more… domestic, than he’d expected. Fortunately, Jason doesn’t seem to take it that way and steers them into much safer waters.

 

“You… wanna be my sugar daddy?” He giggles.

 

“If that’s what the kids are calling it.”

 

“That’s not exactly ‘earning’ anything. I already spend time with you. We already fuck—“

 

“And I already shower you with expensive gifts. What’s one more?”

 

Jason blushes. “My education is different. My dad—“

 

“It’s not,” Slade says, twisting the nipple lightly, drawing another happy sigh. He grins wickedly, “How about I support you and you call me ‘daddy’.”

 

“Oh my god,” Jason grumbles and slaps his hand out of his shirt, twisting to get out of his lap.

 

Slade drops his hands to the kid’s waist, holding him in place. He sits up so that he nip at Jason’s jaw.

 

“Alright, seriously. I’ll just pay your tuition. In exchange, three nights a week, you make one of your fancy dinners—“

 

“Slade—“

 

“And you move in here.”

 

Jason goes still in his lap.

 

He pulls away, just far enough that he can look up into that beautiful, stunned face. He has a sudden urge to be free of his slacks.

 

A pink tongue darts across shapely lips, his cheeks flush pink, and Jason swallows hard.

 

“Are… are you sure? You don’t have to—“

 

“I don’t have to do anything. I only do the things I want,” Slade growls, low and dark, making the kid shudder as he pulls him further into his lap, ass resting on his crotch. He knows Jason can feel how hard he is.

 

He leans up and sucks a mark onto the exposed clavicle, earning a moan and the smallest roll of hips.

 

“Say ‘yes, sir’,” Slade commands with a hungry growl.

 

Jason hesitates, just for a moment. So Slade bucks up, tipping the younger man into his chest where he presses their lips together roughly, taking.

 

When Jason pulls away he’s breathless, lids heavy, lips parted slightly, shiny with Slade’s saliva. It takes all Slade’s control to wait.

 

“Yes, sir,” he whispers softly.

 

The words aren’t all the way out of his mouth before Slade tears Jason’s shirt off him. The subsequent gasp turns into a yelp when he uses his substantial strength to do the same to the trousers.

 

He spends the next half hour bouncing the kid in his lap. Their hands travel everywhere as though they’ve never touched each other before and need to explore every inch of muscle and flesh. Their mouths are warm and wet. Jason, always so sensitive, gasps at each scrape of his beard, moans at each squeeze of his hands.

 

Slade growls possessively and pulls him down onto his cock harder with every noise until he cries out himself as he fills the kid with his release.

 

He watches, mesmerized, as his come leaks out when he lifts Jason off of him. Feels it drip down his hand as he slips two fingers inside, rubbing firm circles into the kid’s prostate as he carries him to the bedroom. Enjoys the way Jason, limbs wrapped around his waist and neck, clings to him tightly, sucking and biting and kissing wherever he can reach.

 

The next day, Slade helps him terminate his lease, pack up his things, and move him into his penthouse.

 

It is still, absolutely not a relationship.

 


 

 

They both know that ‘Jason’s room’ is just a gesture.

 

He only sleeps there when they’re mad at each other and even then, one of them usually goes to get the other before the night is through.

 

It’s Slade who makes that move more often than Jason would have expected.

 

Despite the ‘deal’, Jason does get a job. Nothing major, not like he would need if it weren’t for Slade. Just a few shifts at the library on nights when he’s not making ‘one of his fancy dinners.’ And, at Slade’s encouragement, he even manages to get a couple short stories sold and published.

 

He also did change his financial situation with the school and applied for scholarships. But he ended up withdrawing from consideration. Something in him felt guilty about taking something someone else could use more.

 

All things considered, living with Slade is surprisingly easy. They’re both neat, like the same kind of movies and music, and when Jason cooks, Slade cleans up. Sometimes, after a particularly… athletic round of sex, the old man will even bring him breakfast in bed before pressing a kiss to his lips or forehead and heading to work.

 

But Jason can’t help worrying that all the easy domesticity may put Slade off. The older man still seems pretty adamant that this is just an addendum to their previously negotiated agreement. Jason isn’t convinced that Slade still feels that way but… Jason is becoming attached, invested. He may actually lo— really like the mogul.

 

He’s trying to let Slade figure things out on his own, not wanting to push or even suggest anything for fear it’ll send the other man running.

 

Then, three months in Slade asks if Jason likes the sofa. He’s been thinking about getting a new one and would like his input.

 

A month after that they get a new mattress, one with a firmness they both agree on.

 

Slade adds shelving to the living room for Jason’s book collection.

 

His clothes are in the second closet of the master suite.

 

There’s even a picture of them sharing a beach lounger from their trip to Spain, golden tans and tiny swim trunks, on full display.

 

Jason isn’t sure what to make of it. He wants to talk tot Slade about it but every time he tries to bring it up it just sounds like the stereotype nagging girlfriend and he doesn’t want to scare him away.

 

On top of all that, he misses his family.

 

He’s been ignoring his father completely and avoiding his brothers. How does he answer when they ask how he’s doing? When they inevitably ask how he’s making ends meet? When they ask where he lives now?

 

When the caller ID reads Tim or Damian, Jason occasionally answers, just to buy himself some more time to figure things out. It’s easy to avoid the hard questions on the phone.

 

When it’s Dick, he lets it go to voicemail and texts back.

 

It’s really unsustainable. It’s been about eight months since his falling out with his father and his brothers are starting to sound less and less understanding and more and more angry at his distance.

 

Something’s gotta give.

 

And it does.

 

“When was the last time you spoke to Dick?”

 

Jason practically jumps out of his seat at the irritated sound of Tim’s voice. It’s 11pm on a Tuesday, the library is dead and Jason had been lost deep in Regency era England. Again.

 

When he turns to face his little brother, Tim’s arms are crossed over his chest, eyes narrowed, lips pursed in an annoyed frown.

 

Jason runs his hand through his hair and smiles weakly. “Hey, Timmy. How, uh, how’d you find me?”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry, were you trying to hide?”

 

He’s never seen Tim look so… severe before.

 

Never seen him look so much like their father.

 

“Look, now isn’t really—“

 

“I swear to god, Jason, if you try to brush me off, I’ll get everyone down here to drag you home and grill you about the hell is going on.”

 

Jason flinches. That’s not anger. It’s concern.

 

“I get blowing off dad, honest. We all think he’s being a jerk. But us? We haven’t seen you in nearly a year. Why won’t you take Dick’s calls? What the fuck is going on?”

 

“I—“

 

“The truth, Jay,” Tim snaps.

 

They stare at each other for moment. Then Jason deflates, slouching back into his chair.

 

“It’s… not you guys,” he sighs, “It’s me—“

 

“I know.”

 

Jason frowns at him. “I just… I’ve been… seeing someone…”

 

Tim’s brows go up. “Oh. That’s good, I guess. What does that have to—“

 

“It’s someone none of you are going to like. It started as… I don’t know, just for fun? But I… it might be more now. I don’t know,” Jason says softly, looking to the floor, “I didn’t... I don’t know how to tell you guys. That’s why I’ve been… avoiding you.”

 

With a great sigh that Jason feels is probably exaggerated, Tim moves around the book return counter and hops up onto the desk.

 

“I won’t judge you,” he says gently, kind smile on his lips, “If you want to tell me, I’ll keep an open mind. We miss you, douche bag. Let’s take baby steps. You talk to me. I’ll help you make up with Damian and Dick. And Alfred,” Tim gives him a more pointed, less kind look that makes Jason feel like shit for cutting out the butler too, “Then we can turn our collective strength on dad.”

 

Jason gulps. “Things might get a little complicated… with Dick.”

 

“Why’s that?” Tim asks, eyes narrowing.

 

“The guy I’m seeing… it’s been, Jesus, it’s been about two years now. He asked me to move in after dad cut me off. He’s, um, helping me finish school, he’s the reason I sent those stories to that publisher,” they don’t really need to know the extent of things, but he’s trying to put off saying the name. And at the same time, verbalizing all the ways Slade has been quietly supportive and encouraging… it makes Jason realize how much all that means to him in a way he hadn’t before.

 

“Jay?”

 

He blinks and shakes his head a little, realizing he trailed off, lost in the realization that he does, in fact, love Slade.

 

The way Tim is smiling at him, it’s clear that has shown in his expression.

 

“Oh, Tim,” Jason sighs, dropping his face into his hands, “I’m so sorry… please don’t hate me.”

 

“Nothing you could do would make me hate you,” Tim assures him, resting a hand on his shoulder.

 

Jason peeks through his fingers and mumbles, “It’s Slade Wilson.“

 

Tim’s smile falters and the color drains from his face. “What?”

 


 

 

It’s well past 1am when Jason opens the door to the penthouse, so he’s not surprised by the darkness.

 

His conversation with Tim was exhausting but he thinks it ended alright. They’re going to meet up again in the next week or so to talk things out some more. And in the meantime, Tim promised not to say anything to anyone about his… Slade.

 

With all that, it’s no wonder he missed the candles.

 

And the slow, jazzy music.

 

And the way all the curtains are still open to the twinkling, city lights.

 

But he stops dead in his tracks when he sees the two wine glasses on the balcony table.

 

Then all the other stuff crashes in around him. His mouth goes dry, all the moisture seemingly moving to bead in his eyes. He feels like he’s been kicked in the gut. All his breath is stolen away as his heart breaks.

 

Jason stands there for long moments, unable to move, unsure what to do. Until he hears footsteps coming from the bedroom.

 

Their bedroom.

 

He turns and rushes to the door, trying to get out before—

 

“There you are.”

 

Slade’s deep, gravelly voice vibrates through him, even now making him shudder with desire.

 

“Where are you going?”

 

Jason gulps in a desperate bid for moisture but it doesn’t help.

 

“I… I don’t want t-to interrupt,” he rasps. It’s all he can do to keep himself from sobbing, but his voice sounds as shattered as his soul, even to him.

 

There’s a brief pause. Then Slade speaks into his ear, making him jump. He hadn’t heard him move that close.

 

“Interrupt what, beautiful?”

 

Slade’s arms slip around his waist, tug him close, and he doesn’t have the strength to pull away. And he still fucking blushes when Slade calls him that.

 

Big, strong hands turn him around so that they’d be facing each other if Jason wasn’t staring at his shoes. Slade gently takes his chin and tilts his face up.

 

“There’s no one else here, Jason. Mutual exclusivity. Remember?” The older man uses his free hand to gesture at the rest of the room, the candles, the music, the wine, “This is for you.”

 

The words instantly settle him, washing over the cool fear and hurt with warmth.

 

“Perhaps it’s cliché,” Slade continues, “but, as I’m a little out of my depth here, I figured it was best to stick to the classics.”

 

Jason blinks around the room a few more times before meaning there sinks in.

 

His attention snaps back to to Slade so fast it gives him whiplash. He sees the usual hunger in the old man’s eye, the predatory twinkle of the hunter with his prey in his sights. But the rest of his expression, the serene smile, relaxed brow, the way the cool grey eye searches his face…

 

It’s open, honest… sincere.

 

Slade’s finger hooks in the waistband of his trousers and pulls him close, hips flush together. Nibbles on his ear, kisses his way down Jason’s jaw, slides his tongue into Jason’s mouth for a slow, lazy make out.

 

When they separate, he swipes his thumb across Jason’s lower lip.

 

“It’s been two years. That’s the longest… agreement, I’ve ever had. Thought it deserved some recognition.”

 

Jason sinks into the larger man’s steel embrace, warmth flooding through him from his ears to his toes.

Chapter Text

Tim and Alfred had convinced Jason that the best way to break the news to Dick and Bruce would be at the annual Wayne Foundation Charity Gala. A public gathering where everyone will be on their best behavior, but still in the safety of the manor in case anyone needed a private place to cool down.

 

Damian had agreed. But the evil little curl of his lip suggested it was because he would find humor in what Jason wants to avoid. A big, public, fight.

 

“This is not a good idea,” Jason complains, fidgeting in the passenger seat of Slade’s Aston Martin, tugging at the crimson silk bow tie at his throat.

 

The moment he’d put it on, Slade had immediately stopped checking his texts, went online, and ordered a bunch of chokers and collars. Blood red leather, pastel pink lace, black silk… He can’t believe the thought had never occurred to him before. He’d even gone the extra step and had his own initials stitched, stamped, or engraved wherever he had the option.

 

“It’s not a bad one either,” Slade says, watching him stop messing with his tie in favor of putting his hands on either side of the seat and lifting himself up before shifting forward, slouching more dramatically.

 

Slade grins when he continues to squirm. “What’s the matter, sweetheart?”

 

The color that blazes across Jason’s cheeks is not for the endearment this time.

 

“Fuck you. We’ve been driving forever. Are you taking the long way just to be an ass?”

 

“I would never,” he laughs, “Might be driving a little slower, though. Been too distracted by your ass.”

 

The color of Jason’s face brightens. Christ, Slade could do this all day, every day.

“I hate you.”

 

“You didn’t have to agree.”

 

“You’re… persuasive,” Jason mutters, looking away and trying again for a better angle.

 

He should hope so. He’d pulled out all the stops. With the possible exception of Jason himself, Slade doesn’t recall wanting anything as passionately and completely as he’d wanted this.

 

When the thought occurred to him a few days ago he didn’t’ waste any time, immediately starting to butter Jason up. A day at a spa to calm the building nerves in anticipation of this evening followed by Jason’s favorite restaurant the first day, his favorite take-out and delivery after that. A marathon of the Pride and Prejudice mini series, breakfast in bed. Non. Stop. Sex.

 

They’d always fucked like rabbits, but the last four days must have set some kind of record. Jason’s on break and Slade took three of those days off. With the exception of the spa and dinner out after, they’d been home, going at each other on ever single surface of their apartment.

 

Their apartment.

 

Slade knows that eventually he’s going to have to admit what this is, what it’s become. Probably sooner than he’d like, if things go the way he thinks they will tonight. But in the meantime, he’s still much more comfortable dwelling on the way he bent Jason over the bathroom counter, the sound of the kid’s gasps and moans, the purple marks he left all over the blank, rippling canvas of that muscular back. The way Jason cried out and clenched around him, clinging to the intrusion, as Slade filled him up. The hunger and need he felt watching that tight ring of muscle suck at the smooth, silicone plug he pressed into him. The deep, unrelenting, surge of possessiveness that crashed over him watching Jason dress, knowing he’s marked and claimed, that he’ll face his family with Slade inside him. The sudden anger he’d felt at that the thought that Wayne might be an asshole tonight. The worry that Wayne may hurt his… Jason tonight, may break his heart. The knowledge that if Wayne makes Jason cry, Slade will absolutely beat the shit out him.

 

Slade looks at the kid out of the corner of his eye. He’s the only one allowed to make Jason cry. He’s the only one he trusts to make sure the only tears his boy ever sheds are ones of pleasure.

 

Jason is still fidgeting. Slade knows his discomfort isn’t just the plug.

 

He sighs in defeat when his hand twitches toward the kid without his permission, and reaches over. Jason’s eyes snap to where Slade threads their fingers together and he goes still, just staring. Such a simple gesture, but one full of an intimacy that has literally stayed his hand.

 

It feels like an admission. One Slade finds himself uncharacteristically at peace with. Especially when Jason’s breath hitches and he swallows.

 

The rest of the drive is passed in comfortable silence as Slade idly rubs his thumb over the back of the kid’s hand.

 

Jason’s never pushed for more. Never asked for a thing, let alone any kind of commitment or acknowledgement that things have definitely changed. He’s never asked where this is going or if it’s still just a convenient arrangement. Never spoken a single word to subtly or directly suggest they make anything official or call it anything that would make Slade cringe.

 

Even though Slade can see that he wants to. Has wanted to for some time now.

 

And Slade, fearful of being tied down, of having someone else’s happiness dependent on his presence in their life, after having failed at that so spectacularly before, has selfishly taken advantage of Jason’s consideration. Even as the idea of the kid walking away grows increasingly… unbearable.

 

He knows, has always known, that the extravagant gifts and gestures were a substitution, a way to make himself feel better about not giving Jason what he really wanted. The kid has never been impressed by his wealth and he knows that, despite all the money he’s thrown at this… all he’s ever done is take. And all Jason’s ever done is give.

 

They pull up the manor, fashionably late.

 

Slade’s out of the car and nearly to the front steps before he notices that Jason hasn’t followed.

 

Opening the passenger door and squatting low, he takes one of the hands the kid is wringing nervously and waits until Jason meets his eyes.

 

“Everything will be fine. I promise.”

 

“You can’t know that. What if… what if something goes wrong?” He drops his eyes to the gravel. “What if I lose everything important tonight?”

 

“Impossible,” Slade growls, more forcefully than he intended, but it brings that clear, blue gaze back up to meet his eye, “Your brothers will always love you. And Bruce, for all his self-righteousness, just wants to make sure you’re happy and safe. Tonight may be rough, it may end poorly. But they’ll come around.”

 

He pauses and cups his other hand to Jason’s cheek, marveling at the easy, open way the boy leans into his touch. “And no matter what happens with them, I’m not going anywhere.”

 

The kid gulps and clings to his palm tighter. “What if… what if I say… something stupid? If, in the middle of everything, I blurt out something that makes you… uncomfortable?”

 

So they have the same worries about this confrontation but for different reasons. Slade feels an unfamiliar hollow sensation in his gut. He’s worried he be forced to say aloud something he’s been thinking for a very long time. He’s worried about exposing a vulnerability he already has. While Jason… Jason’s worried about Slade running if he says the words.

 

He slides his hand down to take the kid by the chin, looks him right in the eye.

 

“There is nothing you can say that will make me leave you.”

 

Jason’s eyes get wide and he sucks in a breath as Slade pulls him from the car, links Jason’s arm through his, and guides him into Wayne Manor.

 

 


 

 

 

They mingle on the edges of the crowd for half an hour or so, careful not to touch or get too close, orbiting wide around each other but unable to resist catching each other’s eye. Until Alfred gives Jason a nod and he and Slade make their way to the reception room down the hall.

 

He’s already changed seats twice by the time Tim and Damian enter only a couple minutes later. Then he tries the sofa again, sitting by Tim, with his little brother between himself and the door Dick and Bruce will come through any moment now. He tries the armchair across from Damian but that’s too close to the door and too far away from Slade.

 

The older man is leaning against the big mahogany desk casually enough that most people would think him bored. But Jason knows him better than that, can see the stiffness in his spine that isn’t usually there.

 

When Jason walks by to try the chair behind that desk, because it’s a perfect place, close to Slade but far from the door, the bulk of the furniture and the huge businessman between him and the others, Slade gently, and almost absent mindedly, slips his arm around his waist and tugs him to his side.

 

The familiar solid warmth helps calm Jason’s nerves somewhat and he leans against the larger man.

 

Tim’s eyes narrow slightly at them while Damian’s roll.

 

Suddenly they hear voices in the hall, approaching the door, and Jason stiffens. He feels Slade square up beside him.

 

“—be gone long, Alfred. It’s our event,” Bruce is saying as the butler pushes the door open.

 

“Jason!” Dick squeals, taking three fast, excited steps into the room before his eyes land on Slade and he jerks to a stop.

 

Bruce’s reaction is less obvious. He pauses on the threshold, shooting Alfred a look. The butler just raises his brows and nods his head to the room at large, silently nudging Bruce along.

 

Jason’s mouth is suddenly dry, and his breath comes a little shorter. All his insides are trembling, and he thinks it might be visible on the outside too.

 

All at once he realizes he doesn’t know how to start this conversation.

 

For better or worse, Dick, eyes lingering on where he and Slade are pressed together before snapping up to the older man’s face, saves him the trouble of figuring it out.

 

“What the fuck are you doing here?” He snarls.

 

“Take a breath, Dick,” Tim says calmly, standing and moving to put a hand on the eldest‘ s arm. “We’re all here to talk. I think we all agree that this family has been divided too long—“

 

“Yeah this family,” Dick argues, waving his hand to include everyone but Slade, “He’s not a part of this family. So I’ll ask again, why are you here?”

 

The hand at his waist gives a reassuring squeeze, and Jason looks up to see Slade’s brows raised at his older brother. But the old man stays silent.

 

Jason opens his mouth even though he doesn’t know what he’s going to say, only that he needs to say something. Answer Dick’s question somehow, in a way that doesn’t sound ridiculous.

 

“He’s here with Jason,” Bruce’s voice rings out, clear and authoritative, “They’ve been seeing each other for some time now.”

 

Jason stares as his father approaches. He’s both relieved that he didn’t have to find the words and pissed that he’s been stressing about this for… a very long time and the bastard already knew.

 

But Bruce doesn’t so much as glance his way. His eyes remain fixed on Slade as he comes to a stop just a couple feet away.

 

The tension in the room is palpable as his father and his… Slade, glare at each other. Slade’s an inch taller than Bruce and only a bit broader, the physical similarities start and stop with each being fit. But watching them stare each other down, it occurs to Jason that he’s somehow managed to find a… man whose need to control, whose possessiveness, entitlement, and arrogance rivals his father’s.

 

Suddenly Bruce takes a step back and moves to the side, raising an arm toward the door, “We should speak privately.”

 

Jason flinches. He does not want his dad and his… Slade to say a single word without him there to mediate. “What? I don’t think—”

 

“Yes. Let’s.”

 

Slade pats Jason’s hip as he pulls away and turns to him.

 

“Don’t worry,” he says with a wink, “Your father and I haven’t been in a physical altercation since he was about your age.”

 

Jason scowls at the same time he hears his dad mutter a displeased ‘hrn’.

 

“Asshole,” Jason mutters, just loud enough for Slade to hear because the older man knows that now is not the time to be rubbing in the fact that Slade is nearly old enough to be his grandfather.

 

He doesn’t have long to dwell on it, though.

 

“Jason what the hell are you thinking?” Dick all but shouts at him a split second the door closes, leaving him alone with his brothers.

 

Actually, Slade and his father leaving is better, he thinks. He can handle his older brother.

 

“Two years,” He says simply.

 

Dick blinks. “What?”

 

“We’ve been… uh, together? For over two years.”

 

His brother recoils slightly. “You’ve been with the same person for over two years and you’ve never told us?”

 

The switch from angry and overly protective to scandalized and offended is so abrupt it nearly sends Jason’s mind spinning.

 

“Yeah,” he spits instead, his own irritation bubbling up, “Silly me, I was worried you guys might react like assholes. Clearly my apprehension was unwarranted.”

 

Dick is silent for a long moment. Just stands there, chewing on his lip, eyes full of concern that makes Jason uncomfortable. Tim glances worriedly between his older brothers while Damian plays a game on his phone, ignoring them completely.

 

“Two years. With… Slade…” Dick says finally, hesitantly.

 

“Yup,” Jason answers shortly, crossing his arms across his chest and kicking his heel back against the desk.

 

“And you’re happy?” Tim chimes in.

 

A smile tugs at his lips. “Yeah. I am. Be happier, though, if I can stop avoiding you guys.”

 

He looks pointedly at the oldest.

 

“You’ve only been ignoring me for the last nine months though…” Dick questions before gasping theatrically, “Oh my god! You’re pregnant!”

 

Jason can’t hold back the huff of laughter or rolling his eyes on their way back up to his brother’s smiling face. The concern is still evident in his gaze… but at least he’s trying.

 

“After dad cut me off… Slade… he asked me to move in with him. Paid for school. I… didn’t know how to answer any questions you’d ask so I just dodged it entirely.” Saying it aloud makes him feel even more like a jerk.

 

“Oh…” The surprise is as clear in Dick’s voice as it is on his face, “I-I didn’t think Slade was even… capable of that kind of, uh, commitment.”

 

The word makes Jason cringe.

 

“He’s… not capable of saying it,” Jason mumbles, “But he is capable of… feeling it.”

 

 


 

 

 

“You going to give me a shovel talk, Brucie?” Slade snarks as they reach the patio. The patio that looks out on the courtyard and hedge maze where Roman had tried to…

 

Slade can’t refrain glowering at the dark wall of shrubs, even though he knows Bruce is watching him closely.

 

“Alfred told me you took Jason home after he was attacked,” Bruce starts quietly, a shadow passing over his face as he follows Slade’s gaze, “And that he suspects you came to his defense before that.”

 

“Kid did a pretty decent job of protecting himself. Bastard got a lucky strike,” Slade growls.

 

This isn’t beginning the way he expected it would.

 

Bruce hums noncommittally. The silence that follows is heavy and Slade doesn’t like it one bit.

 

“Did you really think I didn’t know who my son was spending his time with?”

 

“Honestly never gave it much thought.” It’s the truth. He had promised Jason that he wouldn’t say anything and he had kept that promise. He’d made sure that the kid was comfortable with the level of visibility at all times. Slade never took him anywhere without thoroughly divulging how likely it was that they’d be recognized. But Slade had never really cared if Bruce knew. He had only ever cared that Jason felt comfortable. And as time went on, it became less and less important to the kid. “He’s the one who worried about what you’d think.”

 

“And you indulged his desire for secrecy. For his sake?”

 

That’s about all Slade’s willing to take. He turns toward Wayne fully, standing straight, using the slight edge he has on the other man’s size to loom, threateningly.

 

“And you cut him off for not wanting to join the family business. For his sake?” He retorts.

 

Wayne’s not threatened one bit. He turns toward Slade unhurriedly, an infuriating grin plastered to his face.

 

“Of course not. That was for yours.”

 

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

 

“You’d been secretly seeing my son for over a year,” Bruce says, turning back to look out over the grounds, “He’d… grown attached. And, forgive me, but I was unwilling to trust his heart to your reputation. So I took a closer look at you. Some months after the start of your… arrangement, you began making quiet but generous contributions to causes Jason is passionate about. Then, and I doubt you even noticed this for quite a long time, your entire business started to take better contracts and operate more ethically,” Bruce narrows his eyes in his direction, “Not nearly enough, to be clear, but… better. And it was plenty to convince me that Jason was more to you than just an expedient…”

 

“Lay?” Slade supplies meanly, taking more joy in Wayne’s crinkled nose and annoyed frown than he should. He doesn’t like the implication that Bruce did all this to…

 

“If you hadn’t stepped up, I would have confronted Jason about your relationship,” Bruce gives him his own wicked smirk at the word, “But you did. And not just in the way I was expecting. You pulled a few strings to get his writing on someone’s desk but you didn’t use one of the publishers you own and could influence into printing his work.”

 

“Is this going somewhere?” Slade snaps, starting to feel uncomfortable at having all his secrets laid bare.

 

Wayne is quiet for another long moment.

 

“You’re taking Jason to England in a couple of months.”

 

Slade stiffens. “Yes.”

 

“Seemingly in celebration of his graduation?”

 

“Seemingly.”

 

“A lot of specific places on your itinerary.”

 

Slade stays silent and still. He doesn’t bother asking how Bruce has their itinerary. Or how he recognizes the list of stops he plans on making. He assumes Jason had spoken about visiting all the places featured in the adaptations of his favorite book since long before he moved into their penthouse.

 

He hopes that Wayne stops there.

 

So of course the man continues.

 

“You made a rather large purchase from a London jeweler.”

 

“Anyone ever tell you you’re a meddlesome fucker?” Slade snarls.

 

Bruce chuckles but, blessedly stops his assault.

 

“We should get back to your party,” Slade snaps, turning to head back inside.

 

“One last thing,” Bruce says, a dangerous edge to his tone.

 

When Slade looks back to him, he sees something hard and vicious in his steel gaze.

 

“I’m going to burn Janus Industries to the ground,” Wayne says darkly, “Couldn’t help but notice that you quit working with Roman soon after Jason was injured. Thought you might be interested in helping.”

 

Slade grins, sharp and cruel. “There’s very little I’d enjoy more.”

 

When Bruce reaches out, Slade takes his hand for a firm shake.

 

Wayne’s gaze softens, just a little.

 

“Thank you for protecting my son.”

 

 


 

 

 

The whole trip has been a whirlwind of amazing.

 

Jason knew Slade cared more than he let on, but he didn’t know the older man had been paying this much attention. Enough to figure out which places were his favorite and plan an entire celebratory tour of locations used for the adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.

 

They’re near the end of the vacation and this is his favorite spot. Generally Jason likes the miniseries better than the movie (even though the movie is a very close second) but it’s hard to argue with the cinematography and the choices made by the film’s location scout.

 

The Temple of Apollo at Stourhead Garden is everything he expected and more. Mostly because he expected other tourists but they seem to be the only ones around. Which makes it seem private and special.

 

He leans against one of the pillars and smiles happily as Slade turns away from the stunning landscape, green brilliant against he gray of the overcast sky, sunlight puncturing through little gaps in the rainclouds, and walks toward him.

 

“I know I’ve said this already,” Jason says, “but this is incredible. Thank you so much.”

 

Slade’s looked a little off since they got here. If Jason didn’t know him so well he’d say it looked like nerves. He hopes Slade isn’t getting sick.

 

The older man opens his mouth then closes it again quickly. The action makes Jason raise his brows. He’s never seen Slade at a loss for words before.

 

Jason watches him straighten, take a deep breath and huff it out in determination, and pull a mid-sized jewelry box out of his coat, the kind a watch might come in.

 

“I know I’m not… great, at communicating. Especially things like…”

 

“Emotions?” Jason smirks.

 

Slade swipes his tongue across his lips to get some moisture and his intense gaze is serious as it bores into Jason’s soul.

 

His playful smile slides off his face as Slade hands him the box.

 

Inside is a simple, unadorned band. Simple, except that it’s definitely platinum and looks custom fitted to rest on his wrist.

 

Slade reaches out and holds either side of the box so that Jason can remove the gift itself.

 

He glances up at the older man. The weight of the moment hangs in the air, this is important.

 

“You deserve to know… but since I have trouble saying the things I want to say,” Slade mutters nodding at the band so that Jason twists it to reveal the engraving on the inside, “This is the best I can do.”

 

Jason feels like such a sap as tears start to fill his eyes at the third word, knowing what the rest will say even before he finishes.

 

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

 

“I hope it’s enough,” Slade says, taking the band and slipping it onto Jason’s wrist, “For now.”

 

He flings himself into Slade’s arms, slamming their lips together like he’ll die if he doesn’t feel Slade’s tongue on his.

 

“It’s perfect,” he whispers into his lover’s mouth, “It’s everything.”

 

He slides his hands up under Slade’s shirt and that’s all it takes to tempt the older man into shoving him back against the pillar.

 

In moments Jason’s jeans are hanging off of one of the ankles he has wrapped around Slade’s waist as he thrusts into him, a chain of breathy, unbroken ah’s and mmm’s punched out of his mouth.  His arms are wrapped around Slade’s neck, fingers buried in the white hair, nails scratching at his scalp.

 

Slade is holding onto him so tightly Jason is getting lightheaded, one arm around his waist, one snaked up parallel to his spine with a big hand gripping his shoulder, giving him the leverage to pull Jason, bodily, down onto his cock as he growls possessively.

 

It’s desperate and needy and neither of them last very long.

 

When they’ve caught their breath and redressed, Slade pulls him close by his coat and buttons him into it so that the stain of his own release isn’t visible, and kisses his forehead tenderly.

 

He drags Slade back when he goes to pick up the box so they can leave. They both want to get back to their hotel but he needs to say this first.

 

When Slade meets his gaze, Jason squeezes his hand and fiddles with the buttons on the older man’s shirt.

 

“I love you too.”