When Jason got back to his safehouse, Tim was bleeding all over his couch.
Okay, Jason thought, so it’s going to be one of those nights.
He started stripping off his uniform, dropping his helmet to the ground with a loud clatter before getting to work on the catches of his top. Tim didn’t flinch, which was a good sign. It meant he knew Jason was there but hadn’t gone so fucking feral yet that he felt the need to jump him. If anything, he’d curled further into the couch when Jason had walked in, burying his face in the cushions and offering Jason only an unenlightening view of the line of his back.
And the ever-widening dark stain spreading under him.
“Didn’t think I was due for a social visit anytime soon,” Jason said. He stripped off his jacket and top in the same easy motion, adding them to the growing pile of discarded clothes. “Guessing dear old daddy didn’t send you, huh?”
Tim’s voice was low and level, if somewhat muffled by the couch. “Please don’t finish your striptease, Hood. I don’t want to see you in your underwear.”
“What, you got eyes in the back of your head now?” Jason scoffed. He kicked off his boots, then tromped past the couch into his bedroom. Not because Drake had told him to, but because his uniform wasn’t exactly the most comfortable thing in the world and goddamnit, if you couldn’t wear sweatpants in your own home what even was the point of saving the world on a bi-weekly basis? Might as well let shit burn at that point.
When he walked back into the living room, pulling on a ratty old t-shirt as he went, Tim still hadn’t moved. He was in costume, sans-domino and boots, and still leaking blood from some unknown wound. Jason gave him a quick once-over– no visible injuries, not that he could see that much with the way Drake was lying. He was on his side, knees pressed to the back of the couch, arms wrapped tight around his abdomen. His dark gloves didn’t show any signs of stain, though they did look suspiciously shiny. His eyes were closed. He looked like he might’ve fallen asleep.
Jason nudged him with his foot.
“Hey. Move over, shortstack.”
Tim grumbled, baring his fangs in a grimace and squeezing his eyes tighter shut. He didn’t move.
“Move over or I’m sitting on you.”
That did the trick. With a low growl just on the far side of inhuman, Tim rolled over, drawing his knees to his chest. He opened his eyes into thin slits, hazy in the gloom. Jason hadn’t turned the lights on when he came in, which meant the only illumination came from a single ray of light falling from the open door to his bedroom. It cut a sharp line over Tim’s cheek, picked out the matted blood in his hair.
He hadn’t left the lights off for Tim’s comfort. The little shit had just surprised him on his way through the door, interrupting his routine.
Jason sat down heavily, sighing at the familiar relief of taking a load off after a long work night. There wasn’t much blood on this half of the couch, not that it would’ve stopped him if there was. His pants had had worse.
“So,” he said conversationally. “Feel like getting the fuck out of my house?”
Drake’s voice was as disgustingly reasonable as ever. “I’ll be out of your hair in a few hours at most. I just needed a safe place to hole up for a bit and yours was closest.”
“I don’t remember ever inviting you.”
“I don’t remember ever asking for your permission.”
Jason hummed low in the back of his throat. Drummed his fingers against the arm of the couch.
“You didn’t call daddy to come pick you up,” he said. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tim’s shoulders tense. Interesting.
“I’ve got this handled. I just need some time to heal.”
Jason nodded slowly. “Scared to disappoint the big man, then?”
“Ooh, or scared to prove him right that you’re not ready for this? I mean, this is pretty soon after your last fuckup, can’t imagine pops is thrilled to have you back out on the streets.”
“Wait, wait,” Jason held up a hand, a grin spreading over his face. He’d just hit gold, he fucking knew it. “Or did you sneak out?”
Tim’s answering silence was all he needed to hear. Jason laughed, low and self-satisfied and mean .
“Oh damn, babyteeth, didn’t know you had it in you! He is gonna be puh-issed when he finds out about this. And he will, you do know that, don’t you? Big daddy Brucie always finds out!”
Tim kicked him. Not hard, not with the savage clinical efficiency that Jason knew had been trained into him, but hard enough to drive home his unhappiness about the direction of this conversation. Jason let it drop, but didn’t stop smiling for a long moment.
He shook his head.
“Whatever. I won’t rat you out. But you knew that, right? S’why you decided to crash here?”
“It certainly wasn’t for the charming company,” Drake said dryly. He still hadn’t unwrapped his arms from around his torso, and his complexion was. . . lacking. Lacking color, mostly, except for the dark smudges under his eyes that stood out all the more for the paleness of his skin.
Jason grabbed the remote off the coffee table and started flicking through channels. The spread was shit and mostly pirated anyway, but eventually he found an episode of Kitchen Nightmares to be appalled by and settled in for the show. Tim had closed his eyes again, and his breathing, unnecessary as it was, was shallow. Jason watched him for a moment before bracing an elbow on his shoulder and dangling his wrist in front of his face.
Tim cracked an eye open. Looked over the tracery of veins on display in front of him, then up at Jason. Jason looked back at the TV, watching Gordan Ramsey go to town on an owner who didn’t see anything wrong with giving his customers food poisoning.
“Go ahead,” he said, “Chow down. Take as much as you need; you know I can handle it.”
There was a moment’s pause, then Jason felt cool, sticky fingers close over his arm. There was a sharp pain in his wrist as Tim bit down, then the usual sloppy sounds of a vampire guzzling blood. Tim wasn’t usually such a messy eater; then again, he wasn’t usually injured and starving.
Jason tuned out the wet slurps and gulps in favor of Ramsey’s colorful insults. The pain in his wrist had faded to a dull ache, only really sharpening when Tim readjusted or took a particularly hard pull. Jason wondered, absently, how he’d gotten hurt. He doubted Tim would tell him. He, like the rest of the bat brood, disapproved of Jason’s method for dealing with threats.
The music swelled, the camera focused in on the latest atrocity that Ramsey had uncovered, and the show abruptly cut to commercial. Jason sighed, glancing down at where Tim was mouthing greedily at his bleeding wrist. He was taking a lot. No surprises there. An injured vampire was a hungry vampire, and it wasn’t like Jason hadn’t given him the go-ahead to act on it. He did hope Tim wouldn’t kill him, though. He was kind of enjoying this episode so far.
Christ, when had this become so. . . normal to him? Why yes, this is my vampire technically-but-not-really-brother chewing on my arm, thanks for asking! Oh, you want to know why I’m not worried about him offing me? Well, ever since I was resurrected by black magic that shit doesn’t really seem to stick!
God, he needed a fucking drink. He wondered, not for the first time, if Talia had meant to create an immortal human who could play eternal chew-toy to vampires. He wondered, not for the first time, if he cared. Whatever Talia had meant for him to come back as, he clearly wasn’t it. He wasn’t anything that anyone wanted. Not anymore. Maybe never at all to begin with.
Tim pulled away from his wrist with a wet pop. He was panting, chest rising and falling in the memory of shortness-of-breath, fangs slowly receding. His eyes were unfocused, gazing off into the middle distance of the dents in Jason’s wall. There was, for the first time that night, a healthy flush to his cheeks.
He pulled himself back together soon after, shuttering his expression and wrestling his breathing under control. He let go of Jason’s arm, sat himself up, and began meticulously cleaning the blood off his face. It was a futile effort, for all the effort it was– his gloves were soaked in blood, and tracked half-dried smears of it over his cheeks each time he went to wipe it away.
Jason took pity on him and pointed him towards the shower.
“Go hose off,” he said. “You need it. You can go through my dresser if you want, though I’m warning you right now none of my clothes’re gonna fit you.”
“And whose fault is that?” Tim muttered, and though his voice was bitter, it lacked bite. He stood, stretching, and Jason took the opportunity to get a good look at his stomach. There was a jagged, bloody slash through the material of his uniform where it stretched taut over his belly, but the skin underneath was smooth and unbroken.
He waited until he heard the shower turn on to deal with the couch. It wasn’t the first time someone had gotten blood all over it– hell, it wasn’t even the tenth. He could toss the cushions in the wash if he wanted (he’d given it a cursory google once and the verdict the internet had bestowed upon him allowed it), but he didn’t really feel up to doing laundry right now. Instead, he hit the patch of blood with a couple spritzes of some bargain bin stain remover and flipped the cushion over. His wrist had mostly stopped bleeding, so he didn’t bother throwing a bandage on it. If he died, he died.
Tim’s freshly-showered return saw him sprawled out on the couch, still enthralled by how shit people were at keeping their restaurants clean. His hair was damp and hung lank about his shoulders, shoulders that were now clad in Jason’s no fucks given tee. He had, apparently, given up on finding pants that would stay up, which was fine. Jason’s shirt was big enough on him to practically be a dress.
“Move over,” Tim said.
Jason, ever the contrarian, grinned up at him and didn’t budge.
“Come on, I know you vamps love snuggling up to something warm-blooded. C’mere.” He crooked his fingers at Tim, then patted his chest to invite him to rest his cheek on his manly bosom. Tim responded by grabbing his ankles and bodily removing his legs from the couch, sitting down with a sigh that seemed pulled from his bones.
“You’re an ass,” he said. Jason hummed acknowledgement and propped his feet up on Tim’s lap.
He realized, after half an hour of companionable silence, that this was the first night he hadn’t spent by himself in a very long time.
When he woke up in the morning, Tim was gone.