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a contrast (early bird remix)

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Jason doesn't have to look at the alarm clock on his bedside table to know it's barely past the asscrack of dawn. He's resigned himself to being an insomniac; beats having nightmares any day of the week. Yet for once he wakes without a heavy groan sitting deep in his chest—usually an expression of the meagre amount of sleep he got.

He feels rested and relaxed.

He's warm under the covers, his muscles are lax, and his cock is just the right hardness for a lazy morning wank. He scratches his stomach leisurely, licks his lips, then moves his hand further down to his boxer briefs. Wisps of pleasure curl through him as he runs his knuckles down the underside of his cock. He exhales through his nose.

This is good.

His other hand slides between his thighs to cup his balls and squeeze them gently. Warmth is pooling in them, slowly rolling through Jason. He brushes his thumb over his clothed erection, up and down, from root to tip, and teases the head a little.

This is very good.

Just then, something decidedly not belonging to Jason's body settles on his stomach and a warm sigh puffs against his neck.

With a sudden jolt, Jason leaps out of the bed as if stung by a hornet, heart beating in his throat as well as in his cock. He's ready to defend himself, despite the fog still settled over his senses. The moment he realizes what caused his fright, he deflates like a whoopie cushion.

You told him he could stay, you idiot, and then you both fell asleep after watching Singin' in the Rain.

Dick rubs his eyes, and the smile spreading across his face puts sunlight breaking through a cloud cover to shame. Jason's breath stops. It's the smile of someone waking up from a pleasant slumber, he knows, but it makes Jason break out into goosebumps nonetheless. He instantly relaxes, tension rolling off of him so distinctly that his legs feel wobbly in their sockets.

"Morning." Dick's voice is still faint from sleep and he stretches like a particularly drowsy cat. "Did I wake you?"

Embarrassment curls through Jason. "I should be asking you that."

As his arms fall to his side, Jason notices his boner, still hidden inside his boxer briefs but not any less obvious for it. He hastily turns around and pulls a random assortment of clothes out of his drawers. He mourns his alone time a little.

"I'm heading for a shower and am gonna make breakfast after that. Is there anything in particular you want?"

"You don't have to." Dick's eyes flicker to the bundle of clothes that Jason is holding suspiciously low in front of himself. "I'll be out of your hair in just a second."

Jason shrugs. "You're already here and I'd enjoy the company. It's no trouble."

Dick smiles again and Jason thinks he'll need to get his heart examined. It's doing entirely too much spasming for it to be healthy anymore. Maybe a side effect of dying. "I'd love to join you. I miss breakfast times at the Manor, when Alfred made us all sit down, even Bruce who was still groggy from patrol."

"Oh yeah?" Jason teases softly before he can stop himself. "You never seemed happy to have me around back then."

It's been a sore topic in the past and that's where it should stay. He doesn't want to seem like he's stirring up some shit so early in the morning. It doesn't matter anymore either. He died, came back, water under the bridge.

Dick, thankfully, doesn't rise to the occasion. "Well, you were a little punk."

"And I'm not anymore?"

Dick grins. "Now you're a big punk."

"I'll take that."

With a quiet huff of laughter, Dick closes his eyes and rolls back onto the mattress. Jason uses this chance to slip into the bathroom before the gravity emanating from his bed reels him back in. More sleep would be nice, but well. He has a problem to address first. One he doesn't need Dick around for.

Jason feels a lot more settled with a door separating them. It doesn't lock, but all he really needs is to be out of Dick's line of sight.

He dumps his clothes onto the closed toilet seat and reaches for his toothbrush. There are two inside the glass and it's a startling sight at first, just as Dick's presence had been startling. Jason is used to living alone, so the touches left by another person stand out to him like a road sign.

Thinking no more about it, Jason scrubs his teeth and strips for a shower. As the spray hits him and droplets run down his naked body, he considers picking up where he left off earlier. There's still warmth thrumming through him, but the mood is gone. With another person in his space—worse, another Bat—Jason feels more vigilant than usual. Dick might storm into the bathroom any second for whatever reason and Jason would feel better about it if he weren't trying to get himself off when that happened.

In the end, he makes it out of the bathroom without incident. Only to find Dick out of bed and rummaging through his kitchen, opening and closing cupboards.

"Looking for something?" Jason asks, leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed and looking perhaps a little too approvingly at the way the t-shirt Jason gave him yesterday is hanging loose from those shoulders.

"Hey," Dick says, a lot less sheepish than Jason would have expected. Who knows? He might have taken up Jason's offer to stay as long as he likes and is already making himself at home. "I wanted to set the table but I don't know where you keep everything."

"I'll do it." Jason shoulders past Dick only to notice that, nope, this isn't working. Not with two people in this kitchen. They'd be dancing around each other all the time. "You can, I don't know, take a shower or something."

Dick hooks a finger over his collar and tries to be inconspicuous about taking a sniff. And about suppressing a wince. "Guess I better. Don't start without me."

"Wouldn't dare."

With Dick out of his hair, Jason can concentrate on whipping up some breakfast. He fires up a pot and takes a mix of frozen berries out of his freezer. While they're heating up, he makes porridge, slices up two bananas and fills a small glass bowl with a handful of almonds. Dick never complained about food sensitivities but it never hurt to make ingredients optional.

He sets a plate of rye bread on the table, a jar of peanut butter, and whatever else might pass as a breakfast food. He fills two glasses with orange juice and is about to whip up a chickpea omelette when Dick says, "Jason, this is too much."

He's back in his own clothes from the night before, standing in the doorway and toweling his hair dry. He's also eyeing the kitchen table as if he expects it to collapse under its own weight.

Maybe Jason got carried away there a little. Not that he would admit to it.

"I've seen you wolf down as much all by yourself."

"I mean, you didn't have to go through all that trouble."

Jason wipes his fingers on a kitchen towel and slings it over the back of his chair. "If it helps, think of it as giving me the opportunity to brush up on my rusty cooking. I rarely do it for myself, you know."

"Now you're making me sound like a good Samaritan when all I do is mooch off you."

"Shut up and dig in."

"If only I knew where to start." Dick sits down and rubs his hands.

"Our special of the morning is a warm porridge with a side of berries and a topping of almonds, bananas and a sprinkling of coconut flakes," Jason intones with his best snobbish server voice.

Dick laughs. "That sounds delicious. I'll take one."

"Coming right up." Jason drapes a kitchen towel over his arm for effect, dresses the porridge and places it in front of Dick with a flourish.

"Thank you, that looks even better than it sounded."

Jason sits down with a bowl of his own. "What do your other senses say?"

Dick cocks his head and makes a disappointed face. "Alfred taught me not to play with my food, so I'm not allowed to touch it."

Jason rolls his eyes.

"Aside from that," Dick rejoins, "it smells excellent and the taste is—" here Dick pops a spoonful into his mouth, and almost immediately his shoulders lower and his eyelids close. "Mmh, that hits the spot."

Jason feels his cheeks warm and keeps his gaze to the perimeter of his bowl. He positively hunches over it, as if afraid Dick was going to steal it. Some habits are hard to shake, even years later, when the circumstances you find yourself in have changed.

They eat in companionable silence for a while, not counting the happy little noises that Dick makes as he's thoroughly enjoying his food. Jason couldn't talk even if he wanted to with his throat as tight as it is. Even swallowing proves difficult.

"You know," Dick says after a bit, taking a big swallow from his orange juice, "I haven't been this well-rested in a while. What kind of mattress do you use? I think I'll need one of those."

Jason scoffs. "I'm pretty sure it was my exceptional company that did that. You knew I'd waste anyone before they even came close to waking you, so you didn't have to listen for anything yourself."

"That's probably it." Dick grins and sets his glass back down. Take that, Jeffrey. Self-righteous narcissism, my ass. "Guess that means I have to take you home with me later. Gotta put you to the test."

"Do you even have space enough for two?" Jason asks, ignoring the fact that his own apartment barely has space enough for two. It was fine for a sleepover, but not much more than that.

"Not after I'm done eating," Dick says and pats his stomach. "Pretty sure I won't be jumping any roofs tonight."

"You can try dive-bombing perps to stop them from getting away."

Dick sighs, playfully forlorn. "Guess that will be my lot. Hope you're happy. You've grounded this bird."

"I didn't force you to eat this much."

"Then who else set it in front of me? It feels rude not to at least try everything."

"That's not something that Alfred taught you."

"No, but that was mostly Bruce's influence." The first bars of a pop songs chimes, then breaks off. Dick frowns. He takes out his cell phone. "Speak of the devil."

Jason feels the mood shift instantly. "What does he want?" he asks as nonchalantly as possible, trying not to let his annoyance show. "Isn't it past his bedtime already?"

"Don't know yet. You're not gonna like hearing this, but you and he are a lot alike. He texted me a time and an address and expects me to jump."

"I didn't expect you to jump," Jason grumbles into the dregs of his porridge. "It was a suggestion."

"It's still as informative as what Bruce is doing." Dick sighs, gulps down the last of his orange juice and stacks it into his bowl, which he puts on top of the place he used, and—to Jason's mild horror—puts all of it in the sink without scraping the crumbs into the trash.

"Do you have to dash right away?"

"There's still time before the rendezvous, if that's what you mean, but I thought I'd use the time to play Cupid and check up on Babs and the rest. If they're awake, that is."

"Sure." Jason didn't think the mood could shift any more than it did then. "Do you have everything?"

Dick pats down his pockets. "If I don't, I'll have to break in again tonight. Just so you're forewarned."

"Don't let it become a habit. One day I might start shooting."

"I'll make sure to announce my presence so I won't startle you." Dick gets up and walks back into Jason's bedroom, presumably to grab his jacket from where he let it drop yesterday.

Jason starts clearing away his own dishes and the perishables. When he closes the fridge door, Dick is standing in front of him, vibrating and expectant.

"Come here, you big lug," he says and envelops Jason in a bear hug. Knowing Dick, Jason should have seen it coming and yet he's startled all the same. "Thanks for breakfast. And, you know, for letting me stay over."

"Anytime," Jason says. He feels awkward about hugging Dick back, but he knows from experience that he won't get out of this number before he does. "I mean it."

Dick squeezes Jason one last time, then lets go. "See you around, Jason."

"Yeah." Jason raises his hand in parting and yanks it down again when Dick doesn't turn around again. With a grunt, he rinses the dishes.

Something is bugging him, although he hasn't yet figured out what that something is. Bruce, most likely. Bruce is always a safe choice for everything that irritates Jason, even if it's bug bites. Bruce interrupted what would otherwise have been a nice morning.

His apartment seems bigger with Dick gone, Jason thinks as he picks up the towel Dick left in the kitchen to throw it onto the laundry hamper where it belongs. On his way to the bathroom, he spots a box that doesn't belong on the bedside table: Dick forgot his cufflinks.

Jason doesn't know how to feel about that. It could have been deliberate, because Dick didn't like his gift after all, or it could have been happenstance, because Bruce's summons came out of the blue.

Jason wonders if he should let Dick know about them; give him a reason to drop by again. He has half of his message typed before he reconsiders. Let Dick go about his business first. If he gets a ping from Jason now, he'll have forgotten all about it by the time he's free again. Jason can send his text later.

For now, he has a book to read.