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this could be the first night of the rest of our lives

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Roy feels like shit.

He’s supposed to be preparing for his second date with Jason, or, more accurately, he should be just about on his way out the door. But Lian's babysitter had cancelled at the last minute, a family emergency that Roy can't even fault her for, and he'd had to call Jason to cancel. The younger man had been understanding, but Roy thought he could definitely hear disappointment in his voice, too.

Or maybe that's just him projecting.

More than his own disappointment, though, he hopes that Jay doesn’t think it’s some kind of test, or posturing, to see if he can accept that Lian will always be Roy’s first priority. Not because she isn’t, just- He’d gotten the feeling that Jay already understood that, and there’s no point in cruelly driving the point home. That's just not who Roy is, even without Dick's warnings not to fuck Jason around.

The date isn't exactly postponed indefinitely, but Roy hadn't been able to commit to a specific time yet. Jason, fortunately, has a schedule that's essentially wide open for the time being, at least, and Roy had promised to get back to him as soon as he's able - but he knows the chance won't come up for another week, if not longer.

So, yeah, he's feeling pretty much like shit, and he can't even show it because he doesn't want Lian to catch on. He’s just set down a plate of hastily made dinosaur nuggets and fries in front of her when the doorbell rings, and Roy sighs. Why people think that showing up uninvited at dinnertime will make others more receptive to their sales pitches is beyond him.

He’s sure his annoyance is visible on his face when he pulls the door open, but it isn't a sales person or even a missionary standing on his doorstep.

No, it's Dick Grayson-Wayne in all his glory, with a bag full of candy and dvds in his hand. Roy blinks a few times, not saying anything in his confusion, and eventually steps aside to let his friend in. It's only once he does so that he realises Jason is standing behind him looking utterly mortified.

“Heeeey, Roy,” Dick says cheerfully, setting the bag down and starting to take off his jacket, “Jay, get in here. He isn't going to bite.” He chuckles, then adds, “Well, yet, anyway.”

Roy turns red, and clears his throat as Jason timidly steps inside and closes the door behind himself.

“Um, hi,” Jason says quietly, and he's about as red as Roy is, at least.

“Hey,” Roy says, and gives them both a confused look, “Uh… Not to be rude, but why are you here?”

Jason winces, and shoots Dick a helpless look, but his older brother just grins.

“I’m here to babysit Lian, obviously,” he says, and it just happens to be at that moment that Lian comes into the hall to investigate the source of the voices.

“Uncle Dickie!” She shouts, and promptly barrels into him, causing him to let out an exaggerated oof.

“There's my girl!” He coos as he bends down to scoop her up into his arms. She giggles as he peppers her face with loud, smacking kisses, and then suddenly points at Jason.

“Who's that?” She asks, and Roy and Jason both hesitate. Fortunately, Dick comes to their rescue.

“He's my little brother, Jay,” he explains, and Lian makes a face as her attention returns to Dick.

“Anudder one?” She asks, and, just like that, the tension seems to break, all of the adults unable to keep from laughing.

“Yup,” Roy confirms, “Uncle Dickie has all kinds of siblings. I bet he doesn't even know how many.”

Dick snorts, and rolls his eyes, “You say that like it's my fault my dad collects kids instead of antiques. Or stamps.” Jay's mouth twitches into a smirk at that, but he doesn't say anything.

“Anyway,” Dick continues, and his voice takes on a conspiratorial tone, “Jay really needs your daddy's help with something, so we're gonna have a movie night while they're gone.” Lian squeals, and looks at her father.

“Uncle Dickie’s gonna stay with me?” She asks excitedly, and Roy just about melts, even if he still has no idea how this came to pass.

“Yeah, sweetheart,” he tells her, and takes her from Dick when she reaches out for him, kisses her forehead, “But first you need to go finish your dinner, or Dickie’s not gonna let you have any of the treats he brought.” Lian pouts, but doesn't argue, and when he sets her down, she walks over to Jason and gives him a hug.

“Bye-bye, Uncle Jay!” She says, and Roy's heart stops for a second because Jay looks a bit like he's about to burst into tears. He manages to pull it together, though, and gives her a bewildered smile.

“Bye, Lian,” he says, and his smile turns a little more wicked, “Don't let Uncle Dickie eat too many candies, okay? Auntie Babs won't be happy if he's too hyper to sleep when he goes home.”

Lian giggles again and salutes Jason before going back over to her dad for another hug, and Roy kneels down to give it to her, kisses her head again, too.

“Be good for Uncle Dickie,” he tells her, “Don't stay up too late.”

“Okay, Daddy,” she says, and then scampers back off to the kitchen.

When she's gone, Roy stands up and looks at Dick suspiciously.

“So,” he says, and leaves it at that. It doesn't take long for Dick to cave.

“Okay, look, I went to the Manor, and Jay was there, but, like, I knew it was supposed to be date night,” he explains in a rush, “So I asked him if he forgot, and he told me what happened, and I just couldn't have that. And it's not like I had anything going on for the night. Honestly, I was just gonna hang around until Jay got home so I could get all the juicy details from him…”

Jason shudders when Dick wiggles his eyebrows aggressively, but his brother pays him no mind.

“But now I guess I'll just have to grill you, instead!”

Roy groans at that, and Dick grins.

“Aww, don't be like that, Roy,” he says as he grabs Roy's jacket off his hook and hands it to him, “Now, skidaddle. Lian's bedtime is eight-thirty, yeah, I know. You better have my brother home by midnight or I'm gonna sic B and Dami on you.”

“Dick!” Jason protests, and that mortified look is back, and his cheeks are a pretty pink that Roy thinks he'll enjoy trying to cause again, “I'm so sorry, Roy, don't listen to him.”

Roy gives a defeated little sigh, and tries not to think about owing Dick a favour in the future. It's not as if he minds the turn of events, not at all, but a little heads up would have been nice. He'd planned on changing, and probably taking a shower, for their original plans. Instead, he shrugs on his jacket, makes sure his wallet is in his pocket, and then slips on his shoes.

He holds out his hand to Jason, who takes it a bit hesitantly but with a small smile.

“Shall we?” He asks, and Jason's smile widens.

“Yeah,” he says, squeezing Roy's hand lightly, “I suppose we shall.”

When they're settled in Roy's car and pulling out of the driveway a few minutes later, Jay blurts out an I'm sorry.

Roy just hums, and keeps his eyes on the road, and hopes that not being under direct observation will help the other man relax.

“For what?”

“For what?” Jason repeats, sounding confused, “For- I just showed up at your house, where you live with your daughter, like some kind of bloody stalker, with my big brother there to bully you into going out with me.” He sounds embarrassed, and also a little bit miserable, and Roy reaches out to rest his hand on Jay's knee, doesn't think much of it when he flinches before relaxing again, “I'm sorry. I didn't mean for any of that to happen. I told Dick it was a bad idea, that I wouldn't do it, but -”

“Hey,” Roy cuts in, because Jason is really starting to work himself up, and his mouth shuts with an audible click of teeth, “It's okay, Jay. There's no reasoning with Dick when he gets an idea in his head.” He returns his hand to the steering wheel, and then adds, “Besides… It was all a little unexpected, but I'm still glad to be seeing you again. So don't sweat it, okay?”

Jason is quiet after that, and Roy risks a glance over at him. He looks confused, and a bit tense, but eventually lets out a stuttering breath and visibly relaxes.

“I'm glad, too,” he admits quietly, and Roy grins.

The silence that follows is comfortable, and Roy eventually starts humming along to the radio as they make their way into town.

“I'm not sure I'm dressed right for where we planned to go,” he points out after a while, and Jason looks thoughtful for a moment before speaking.

“That's okay," he says easily, "We can go somewhere else if you'd be more comfortable. I'm not picky.”

Roy is relieved, if he's being honest. He hasn't cared much about his appearance for years, but Ollie would have his head if he'd rocked up to a five star restaurant alongside an al Ghul-Wayne heir in scuffed up jeans and flannel.

“I think I might know just the place,” he says, and Jay smiles over at him.

“I'm sure it'll be great."

They end up at a diner that Roy often takes Lian to, because they serve all-day breakfast, and their kids’ menu is really well priced. The waitress, a young woman named Connie, looks up when they walk in and smiles brightly.

“Roy!” She greets, and walks over to give him a hug before grabbing two menus and leading them towards a booth, “How lovely to see you again.”

“Hey, Connie,” he replies with an easy smile, “How was that trip down South?”

“Oh, I didn’t want to come back,” she replies with a laugh, “The beaches there sure make Gotham harbour look like a pitiful sight.”

“I’m not sure that’s very hard to do,” Roy points out, and Connie laughs again.

“Too true… So, is the little miss with your father again?” She asks curiously, but Roy shakes his head.

“No,” he tells her, “Quality time with her Uncle Dick.”

“Ah,” she responds, a wistful look on her face, “Your handsome cop friend; the Wayne boy.” Jay snorts at that, and Connie seems to remember that Roy has unknown company. “And who is your new friend?” She asks, turning to give Jason a once-over and then freezing.

“Oh- Mr. Wayne,” she realises, a blush spreading across her cheeks as she stammers, “My apologies, sir. It's lovely to have you with us.” Jay gives her a shy smile, and shakes his head.

“There's no need for that,” he reassures her, “And Jay is fine, please. Mr. Wayne is my father.”

Connie blushes darker, but nods as she sets their menus down on the table, “Of course, sir. Please, sit down. Can I get you both some coffee to start with?”

Roy nods his agreement as he settles in on one side of the booth and Jay sits across from him.

“I’ll actually take tea, please,” Jay tells her, “Peppermint, if you have it? Thank you.”

Connie nods, and flashes them both her usual charming smile, “Of course, coming right up!”

Roy smirks after she walks away and fixes Jay with a look.

“That happen often?” He asks, tilting his head in the direction Connie had gone. He’s not all that surprised when Jay blushes that pretty shade of pink again.

“More often than I'd like,” he admits softly, “It didn't happen as much across the pond. I'm not so used to it anymore.”

Roy can understand that. One of the reasons he chose to stay in Gotham after Jade left is because he doesn't get recognised half as much as he does in Star City, and he wants to keep Lian out of the limelight as much as he can. Maybe dating an al Ghul-Wayne heir is a little counterproductive to that, but, well, it wasn’t as if Roy planned it.

“I'm sure it'll be better once you've been back in town for a while,” he says, hoping the thought will reassure Jay a bit, “Your siblings don't deal with it too much. Well, except Tim, but I guess becoming CEO of Drake Industries when he was only eighteen will do that.”

“It's still so weird to think you know my family so well,” Jay admits self-consciously, “Hell, I bet you know them better than I do now.”

Roy looks at him thoughtfully for a long moment then says, “Well, you're back now, and far as I can tell, they're glad to have you around. You'll get there.”

Jay shoots him a grateful smile as Connie returns with their drinks, and blushes again when he realises they haven't even touched their menus. Connie just hums, and tells them to take as long as they need, and walks away to give them more time.

Jay takes the teabag out of its package and sets it in the small metal pot to steep, and then opens up his menu.

“Any recommendations?” He asks, glancing up at Roy.

“Uh, I usually do the all-day breakfast,” he says sheepishly, “The Belgian waffles are really good, and the omelettes. I had the lasagne once, it was nice. Homestyle.”

Jay kind of hums, and looks back down at the menu.

“Breakfast for dinner,” he muses, a hint of that wicked smile he gets sometimes on his lips, “You're a man after my own heart, Roy.”

Roy feels his cheeks heating up in response, and coughs to clear his throat.

“Well,” he finally says, “You know what they say about the best way to a man's heart…”

Jay chuckles, and gives Roy a fond look that he can’t quite interpret. He wonders if maybe it means I don’t think you’re going to need help with that, or if that’s just him projecting again.

They both end up ordering the waffles when Connie comes back around, and settle into a comfortable silence for a few minutes. Jason fixes himself a cup of his tea, and Roy sips at his coffee, and then, finally, Jay speaks up.

“Lian seems like a great kid,” he says gently, and Roy feels himself smiling.

“She is,” he agrees, “She’ll give Dick a run for his money tonight, though.”

Jason smirks, and says, “Good. He deserves it.”

“Hey,” Roy points out, “He got us here, didn’t he?”

Jason hums, and takes a sip of his drink before conceding, “Yeah, I s’pose he did.” Then, he seems to sober up a little and adds, “But I’m sorry. I’m sure you didn’t intend for us to meet this early on.”

Roy just shrugs. Jay’s right, but it’s not the worst thing that could have happened. Besides, Dick had helped them dodge a bullet there, introducing Jason as his brother like he had.

“It’s alright,” he says finally, “She only knows you as one of Dick’s siblings for now, anyway. We’ll… cross the other bridge when we get to it.” If they get to it, he reminds himself, but Jay doesn’t correct him, either. In fact, he seems pretty satisfied with the answer, and Roy finds that the bit of tension he was still carrying finally fades.

Just like on their first date, Roy finds that it’s dangerously easy to be around Jay, that time seems to just slip away as they talk. They trade a few embarrassing stories about the Wayne kids, and Roy opens up about his own siblings, Connor and Mia, now that Jason knows who he really is. Jay mentions that he’d actually run into Ollie not that long ago, at an event for The al Ghul Corporation a few months before he left England, and how he’d spent most of the night talking to anyone who he could get to stand still for long enough about how precious his granddaughter was; Jay had thought it was sweet, and wondered if Bruce would end up doing the same thing when one of them eventually gave him a grandchild.

“Bet Dick and Babs are giving it a valiant effort,” Roy points out at that comment, smirking and wiggling his eyebrows suggestively, and Jay blushes and rolls his eyes.

“I don’t wanna think about Dickie gettin’ it on with anyone,” Jay protests, “Not even his wife.”

Which Roy think is pretty fair, because he’d probably throw himself off  building if someone tried to tell him about Mia or Connor having sex. Not that he doesn't know Connor are Kyle are, but. Yeah. So not thinking about that.

It’s long since gotten dark by the time either of them realises how long they’ve been talking, the diner fortunately slow enough that Connie hadn’t needed to pressure them into leaving. Even after they finally call for the bill - which Jason pays too quickly for Roy to protest, a smug grin on his face when Roy starts pouting - they still linger a bit longer. Jay takes Roy’s hand into his own when they finally leave, and Roy can’t keep from smiling over at him as they walk back towards the public parking lot they’d left the car in.

“Do you mind?” Jay asks, a pack of cigarettes in his other hand, and Roy shakes his head.

“S’cool,” he says, “Just not in the car, is all.” Or the house, but he figures that goes without saying - not to mention, he isn’t sure when Jason will be coming over again.

“I’m not an animal,” Jay teases, “Besides, Mum would kill me if she caught wind of me smoking in someone else’s car.”

Roy chuckles at that, and watches as Jason takes out a smoke and lights it up. He tests which way the wind is blowing and frowns, then lets go of Roy’s hand and comes to stand on his other side, so the smoke isn’t in his face. Once he’s satisfied with that, he takes Roy’s hand again, and Roy tries not to stare at Jason’s lips where they’re wrapped around the cigarette, definitely tries not to think about them wrapping around something thicker.

He fails. Spectacularly. But Jay doesn’t call him out on it, probably doesn’t even notice, because his face is tipped up towards the sky as he lets out an exhale and smiles in the moonlight. If anything, it just makes Roy feel like an even bigger pervert.

Fuck, Bruce is going to skin him alive.

Jay looks over at him and quirks an eyebrow, makes a small, questioning noise in the back of his throat.

Roy squeezes his hand once and shakes his head, and Jay gives him a small smile.

“Time to get you home, Cinderella,” he teases once they've reached his car and Jason has put out his cigarette.

Jay rolls his eyes, blushing slightly, and gives Roy a half-hearted little shove.

“You've spent far too much time with Dick,” he laments, and Roy laughs as he unlocks the car and opens the passenger-side door for him.

“Perhaps,” he concedes, and finally lets go of Jason's hand so he can get in the car.

“Definitely,” Jason protests, just before Roy closes the door and then goes around to the other side to join him.

The drive to Wayne Manor is peaceful, and Roy enjoys the comfortable silence, thinks Jason enjoys it, too, if his soft smile is anything to go by as he alternately watches the scenery passing outside the widow and Roy himself.

The gates open to let them through when they approach the Manor, and Roy pulls up the drive, stalling the car when they reach the top.

“Thanks for tonight,” he says, turning a bit in his seat to face Jason, “I’m glad we didn’t have to reschedule.”

The younger man grins at him, then ducks his head a little.

“Me too,” he admits, “Even if it took Dick meddling to make it happen.” He casts a shy look up at Roy, and bites his lip for a moment before adding, “I had a really great time.”

Roy can’t keep from looking at Jason’s mouth once again, especially with the way he was just biting his lip, and he finds himself wetting his own lips with his tongue.

“I did, too,” he murmurs, and slowly tears his gaze up to meet Jason’s. He swallows, and sways forward slightly as he says, “I’d really like to kiss you right now.”

Jay blushes, and his eyes dilate just the slightest bit as they drop to Roy’s mouth. He bites his lip again, and then finally gives a small nod.

“Okay,” he says, so softly, and Roy feels his heart skip a beat before he’s leaning across the console and pressing his lips lightly to Jason’s. It doesn’t cross his mind that this is the first time he’s kissed someone in nearly five years, or that kissing Jason feels nothing like kissing Jade had. He’s not really thinking about anything, except the fact that Jason starts kissing him back after a long moment and he feels like he’s on fire, burning up from the inside out.

“God,” he whispers when they finally break apart, and Jay’s cheeks are so fucking pink, and Roy wants to kiss them, too, wants to feel the heat of his blush against his lips.

“It’s Jason, actually,” Jay teases, and Roy rolls his eyes, leans in and presses a chaste kiss to his lips.

“Close enough,” he says, and Jay grins at him, meets his eyes for a long moment before tipping his head slightly at the unasked question he finds there.

Roy unbuckles his seatbelt in order to lean over more comfortably, and kisses him again, deeper this time, and he greedily swallows the little gasp that Jay lets out. Slowly, the younger man brings a hand up to run through Roy’s hair, and he shivers slightly at the touch, runs his tongue along the seam of Jason’s lips. Jason’s mouth opens enough to allow him entrance, and Roy doesn’t hesitate, reaching up to cup Jason’s jaw as he kisses him like he’s starving for it - and maybe he is, it’s been so fucking long.

Jay tastes like cigarettes and peppermint, and it's not nearly as off-putting as Roy might have expected. He can't help wanting more, and the sudden spike of desire is dizzying as he sucks at Jason's tongue, scrapes his teeth over his bottom lip.

Jason himself is a little more passive, letting Roy lead, but he doesn’t shy away from it, keeps making these quiet little noises of encouragement, so Roy figures it’s okay. His hand slips from Roy’s hair to settle at the back of his neck, and Roy has half a mind to climb fully into his lap, but manages to refrain.

It feels like it goes on forever, until Roy finally concedes that they need to breathe and pulls back, eyes opening as he presses a few quick kisses across Jay’s cheek to the curve of his jaw before pulling back completely, fully intending to go back in to get a taste of Jay's neck once he catches his breath, but something outside the car catches his eye.

“Holy shit!” He exclaims, sitting up straighter and clutching at his chest.

Jay looks like he’s about to make a snarky comment about the reaction when he notices that Roy is staring past him, looking out the window. Turning his own head to look, he makes a choked noise and sinks lower in his seat.

“Oh my God,” he breaths, more embarrassed than he thinks he's ever been, because Damian is standing right outside the car with his arms crossed and sporting the most intense glare, “Oh my God, I'm going to fucking kill him.”

Roy swallows hard, and looks back at Jay, forcing a weak smile.

“Don't be too upset with him,” he says, despite his still pounding heart, “I've been led to believe he did the same thing to Steph and Kon.”

Jay snorts, and looks a little more relaxed when he says, “Yeah. I remember little baby Dami giving Babs the major stink-eye back in the day, too.”

Roy is struck with the sudden realisation that Jason wasn't at Dick and Babs’ wedding a few months earlier. Maybe if he had been, Roy would have recognised him when they met in that parking lot. He isn't sure if he should mention it, though, so he doesn't.

Maybe he'll ask Dick sometime.

Damian gives up on waiting for them, and raps on the window with his knuckles, causing Jay to let out a pitiful little moan before he sits up and opens the door.

“What the Hell, brat?” He demands, and Damian scowls at him before turning his attention to Roy.

“You will keep your grubby paws off of my brother, Queen,” he tells him, then grabs onto Jason's sleeve and starts to yank him out of the car, “Is that understood?”

“Dami,” Jason protests, scrambling to undo his seatbelt because the kid is not letting up, and all but yelps, “Dames, what the fuck? Let go of me.”

“I am protecting your virtue,” Damian replies sharply, and Jason just gapes, speechless, as he practically falls out of the car, only staying upright because his brother steadies him.

“Jay,” Roy says, waits until the other man looks at him, and he's too far away to say for sure, but Roy thinks he might be shaking, “Hey, Jay. It's okay. Alright? It's okay. It's kind of… cute.”

“It is not cute,” Jay nearly shrieks, and buries his face in his hands, mumbling something that sounds like Jesus Christ, this is a nightmare. He flinches away from Damian and lets out a shaky breath.

Damian fixes Roy with one last glare and then grabs Jason's arm again, dragging the suddenly resigned man towards the Manor, “Come along, Brother.”

Roy just watches them go, heart finally starting to return to its usual rhythm.

God, Tim had warned him that Damian might be a bit overzealous, but he still thinks this was a bit too much. Poor Jason had looked utterly mortified, and they'd had such a nice night, too. Fucking brat.

His annoyance only festers on his drive home, growing into something more akin to anger by the time he gets there.

“Your youngest brother is a Goddamned menace,” he seethes after letting himself into his house, and Dick looks a bit like a deer in headlights from his spot on the couch.

“Um,” he eventually says, “It's… how he shows he cares?”

Roy frowns, and deflates just a little, although there's still something there, buzzing under his skin.

“Yeah, I figured,” he mutters, “But he could have done it without traumatizing his brother in the process.”

“C’mon, Jay's a big boy,” Dick reasons, “He can handle a little teasing and embarrassment between siblings.”

“I’m not sure that level of force really constitutes teasing,” Roy snaps, because, honestly, he'd had time to think about it on the ride home, and it wasn't sitting right with him. Jay had looked almost frantic when Damian had first grabbed him.

“Wait,” Dick says, finally looking suitably concerned, “What?”

“Oh, you know,” Roy replies, all faux-casual about it, “He just took it on himself to literally drag Jay out of the car and into the Manor after threatening me.”

Dick lets out a long sigh and moves to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Damnit, Damian,” he mutters, then looks up to give Roy a sympathetic look, “Look, I'll talk to him. Just… We're all a bit protective of Jason right now, and Damian doesn't take kindly to perceived threats. Something must have spooked him.”

“Spooked him?” Roy demands, fighting to keep his voice down to keep from waking Lian, “He wasn't the one who looked freaked out.”

“I'll talk to him,” Dick says again, his lips pressing into a firm line.

Roy hesitates for a minute, before speaking up again, a thought returning to him from earlier in the night.

“Why wasn't he at your wedding?” He asks, and Dick freezes, then starts fidgeting with the mug in his hands to distract from it.

“What?”

Roy frowns at him.

“You do a good job with the big brother schtick, and, look, I appreciate what you did tonight,” he says, “But how close are you and Jason really?”

Dick is quiet for a long moment before sighing again.

“He was supposed to be there,” he explains eventually, “Something… came up at the last minute, and he couldn't make it. Don't get me wrong, it stung, at the time, and we fought about it. But I get it, now. It was out of his control, and that's all I'm going to tell you. This is part of a bigger conversation you'll need to have with him, eventually. Don't ask me to betray his trust.”

Roy can feel the fight draining out of him as Dick speaks. He's using that voice he gets when he's talking about a tough case at work, and Roy really doesn't like that, especially when he remembers Dick's own version of the shovel talk.

Jason has been through a lot, he'd said, and Roy is starting to wonder if he should be a little more concerned about that. Whatever mess Jay had been involved in… Well, Roy needs to be sure it isn't something that can come back and bite him and Lian in the ass.

“Dick,” he asks, tired, “What am I getting myself into here?”

Slowly, Dick sets his mug down and stands up, stretches out and walks over to him. He places a hand on Roy's shoulder and gives him a serious look.

“Roy,” he says steadily, “I love you, and I love Lian, and I would never withhold information that puts either of you at risk. Can you just trust that, until Jay is ready to open up more?”

Roy holds his friend's gaze for a long time before nodding. Dick squeezes his shoulder and then steps around him to go into the hall.

“I’ll talk to Damian,” he reiterates as Roy follows him, “Whatever happened, just… Don't hold it against Jason.”

“I won't,” he promises, and Dick looks so relieved that he adds, “We had a really good time, before that. I like him, Dick. I'm going to keep getting to know him, no matter what your family does to interfere.”

Dick beams at him and, a second later, Roy finds himself trapped in a tight embrace.

“I'm so happy for you, Roy,” he murmurs against Roy's ear, “You deserve to be happy.”

Roy feels himself blush, and pats Dick awkwardly on the shoulder before he's finally released.

“Thanks, Dick.”

The older man flashes him another bright smile before pulling his jacket and boots on and grabbing the bag of dvds he must have put aside earlier in the night.

“Night, Speedy,” he says as he opens the door and heads out.

Roy rolls his eyes at the old nickname, and replies, “Night, bro.”

He locks up behind Dick and then just leans against the door for a few seconds, trying to shake off everything that had happened that night after Damian showed up. He manages a smile, and finally pulls away, taking out his phone as he heads towards his room.

need help hiding the body? he types out before hitting send. Jason's reply comes about a minute later.

nah. alfie intervened, so the brat lives to torment me another day.

Another message comes in before Roy can reply.

i really am so sorry, though. if you wanna stay the hell away from me and my crazy ass family forever, i'll understand.

Roy frowns at that, starts to type out a reply, stops, and then hits the call button and raises his phone to his ear. Jay answers with an anxious-sounding hello? and Roy wishes he could actually see him.

“Hey, Jaybird,” he says softly, “It's going to take a lot more than some eighteen year old with an alpha male complex to keep me from wanting to see you again, okay?”

He hears Jason let out a slow breath, and then-

“Okay,” he whispers.

“I told him he needs to apologise,” he adds after a moment, and Roy snorts.

“Yeah,” Roy says as he walks into his room, “I’m not gonna hold my breath for that. Tell me he at least apologised to you, though.”

Jason makes a confused noise, and asks, “Why would he?”

Roy frowns, and closes his bedroom door gently, “Did you forget the part where he manhandled you like some kind of unruly child?”

There’s a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line, and then Jay says, “He was just… He made a mistake. He thought he was protecting me.”

“Yeah,” Roy says, “Protecting your virtue, I remember.”

“Yeah…” Jason says, and he sounds- Something. Uncertain, maybe.

“Look,” he continues, “Don’t hold it against him. Please? He meant well.”

“Right,” Roy sighs, “Sure.”

“Roy…”

He sighs again, “Okay, Jay, I’ll let it go.”

“Thank you.”

Roy hums, then says, “I should get to bed.”

“Oh,” Jason says, and he sounds disappointed, now, but Roy doesn’t have time to feel bad before he continues, “Right, Lian has ballet in the morning, doesn’t she?”

“Yeah,” Roy confirms, and if he’s pleased that Jason remembers, well, he doesn’t have to admit it to anyone but himself, “I’ll call you sometime tomorrow?”

He can practically hear Jay’s smile when he replies, “I’ll hold you to that. Goodnight, Roy.”

“Goodnight, Jaybird,” he says back, and he’s smiling, too, when he hangs up and throws himself down on the bed.

He falls asleep with the phantom memory of Jason’s lips against his own and a pleasant fluttering in his stomach.