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Breaking with love and pain

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Dick takes to the night air like a suffocating person, and in a way, his quarantine in the manor had been doing that: suffocating him.

He has missed the wind tugging at his hair, the soft caress of it on his skin, and the moment of weightlessness at the apex of every jump.

Running from rooftop to rooftop, he leaps the gaps between like someone chased or desperate to make an appointment on time, neither of which he is. No one is waiting for him out here. If there's anything he wants to shake, it's the restlessness his days of inactivity have carved into his bones.

As he swings by the gargoyles overlooking Cathedral Square, he half-expects Jason to be brooding with them. His chest aches with a force that knocks him off-center and he tumbles across the next rooftop instead of continuing his mad dash. Once his roll is out of momentum, he flops onto his back bonelessly and catches his breath.

His heart beats rapidly against the piece of paper he carries with him inside his suit, a sort of patch to stop the bleeding ache, even as it's salting the wound. Today's choice reads:

Dick fucking Grayson, I think every time he opens his mouth. Shut up and kiss me already. I'm waiting.

I'm waiting because I don't want to presume. He gets that all the time, right? People wanting to kiss him? Maybe even stealing kisses without his permission. I don't want to be another creep, but I also don't know how to communicate that I'd totally be down with kissing him.

Sometimes he can still feel the weight of Jason's body in his arms, the drag of his gloved thumb against his jaw, his fingers tightening in the hair at his nape. Even during his final moments Jason didn't want to presume, and Dick, being too stupid to notice, had denied him that one last boon that could have made dying easier.

Sometimes, he wonders if Jason haunts him for that slight.

With the wind brushing softly over his face he can almost believe it to be true.

Not for the first time he wonders if the feelings he's drowning in are only a mirror of what he's been reading in Jason's journal entries. If it's vanity that made him fall in love with him now, after absorbing Jason's unfiltered view of him.

Perhaps it's guilt he's feeling, not love.

He tries to be realistic.

For all his daydreams about marrying Dick, Jason would never have mentioned it, at least not until he felt Dick's equal. By that time, Dick might have built a life with someone else. Even if Jason had survived and confessed his dying wish, Dick would have given him his longed-for kiss out of a sense of obligation, maybe dated him for a summer, before they both moved on.

Still, he'd take the bitter sweetness of disillusioned love over this crushing grief any day if it meant Jason were alive again.