Chapter 1: Prologue
He doesn’t mean to say it.
Everyone knows that for all of Nightwing’s joking around and candidness, it’s nigh impossible to get any personal information out of him.
He’s suffered through extensive torture and wouldn’t even reveal the color of his eyes.
Dick knows the game, knows it well and hardly, rarely, almost never, slips up.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t.
“I bet your boyfriend wouldn’t like that,” Nightwing says, tone teasing even though there is currently nothing more he wants to do than to march over to where the limpet is curled around Red Hood, fawning over his saviour, and rip him away.
He holds back, he’s far too disciplined to ever do something like that, but through the haze of his jealousy combined with the fact that he’s far from peak form, the words slip out instead.
The limpet – a man, age obscure, but probably between 18-22 - freezes, looking at Nightwing as if he just realized he was there.
“Boyfriend?” The kid asks incredulously, looking shocked and livid at once. Or at least that’s what Dick assumes. The kid looks like a drenched alley cat, filthy, waterlogged clothes covered with dirt and some blood. It camouflages most of his face, but even then, there is no hiding the clear zeal of youth and impertinence of thinking you own the world.
Dick is hardly in any mood to coddle the kid, though he normally would offer some words of comfort. They did find the kid about to get mugged, after all.
But he’s nursing a fever, a badly sprained leg, and is running on less than three hours of sleep in the past 50 hours. Coddling is the last thing on Dick’s mind, especially since the previously assumed distressed citizen had immediately latched onto Red Hood.
The kid is currently fawning over his ‘hero’, showering him with praise and looking completely unphased from having been cornered by men that looked like they could crush him with their thumbs.
Dick’s been trying, unsuccessfully, for the past few minutes to get a story out of the kid. But the kid refuses to even look at Nightwing, and circumvents all of Red Hood’s clipped questions of inquiry. The only things he knows for sure involve the thugs. They weren’t just some street criminals. Dick recognizes the tats on their body as belonging to Black Mask’s gang. They also were armed to the teeth with weapons, the kind Black Mask tends to smuggle into Gotham.
But it is all probably just a coincidence. Black Mask has been sending feelers back into Gotham the past few weeks, and the kid probably just got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So he dismisses it, putting it in the back of his mind for later. Right now, he can’t help but want to take a jab at Jason. Anything to ruffle his feathers, to get back at the distance he’s been putting between the two of them lately.
“Course, haven’t you heard the rumors? Little Red Hood is bitten by the love bug, anchored and moored to Gotham’s very own Richie Wayne.” He makes his tone as mocking as possible, cooing just to be extra annoying. With his hands clasped near his face, he puckers his lips.
He can’t see Jason’s face, but he knows behind the red hood his boyfriend’s eyes must be narrowed. Dick’s patience might be frayed, but Jason's is probably ready to snap.
But Dick doesn’t care. He’s only fleetingly seen Jason over the past few weeks, both of them are under intense stress keeping up with Gotham. Batman is on a deep space JL mission. Tim and Damian are with the Titans, and Cass is in Russia. Batwoman and Spoiler have been helping as much as they can, but they’re both busy with a pregnant wife and final exams, respectively.
This is one of the nights where both ladies are lending a hand, and Dick had immediately taken advantage to assign Nightwing and Red Hood intersecting patrol routes, designed to end over their favourite donut place at the end of the night.
It was supposed to be a date.
“Ha ha ha,” Red Hood fake laughs, completely tense. “Jealous, birdie? Everyone knows those are just rumors.”
Dick should stop. Knows he needs to shut it, stop trying to goad Jason for something that he isn’t even intentionally doing.
“Pretty sure I caught you kissing loverboy the other night,” Nightwing presses, pleased when the man hanging off his boyfriend finally lets go, backing away.
“Say it ain’t true, Red! A real hero like you can do so much better than that fucking, air-headed whore! Is it the money? I bet it’s the money. Don’t you worry, I got plenty of it. I can - ”
“God, would you shut up? ” Red Hood snarls, fingers twitching at the side of his holstered gun. “For fucks sake, this is the fourth time in as many fucking nights I’ve seen your face. What the fuck are you doing, hiring fucking thugs to go after you? If you’ve got money, fucking hire a bodyguard or stop going out at the dead of night in fucking Gotham of all places. Fuck !”
Done, Jason turns on his heels, firing a grappling gun at one of the mid-rise buildings and flinging himself out of sight.
Dick winces, a twinge of sympathy running through him at the way the kid starts to crumble in the face of Red Hood’s tirade. It makes Dick feel shitty, because it was his fault, pushing Jason like that. The kid may be annoying, but Dick’s dealt with a lot worse, and he shouldn’t have given into his petty desires like that.
He sighs, trying to put on his big boy pants. They’re clearly not going to get much out of this kid, and Dick would rather be chasing after his boyfriend.
“Hey, man,” Dick tries to say reassuringly, “It’s been a long night. The police will be here soon, so just hang tight, yeah?”
Except the kid isn’t even looking at him, silently weeping as he stares forlornly at where Red Hood left him.
Having no energy left to be his normally cheerful persona, Dick follows Jason’s lead. It’s almost light out, and they’ve reached the end of their patrol. Dick heads back to where they parked their bikes. Unsurprisingly, Dick sees that Jason’s already gone. He heads back towards the Manor with only a brief report to Batwoman and Spoiler.
When he arrives at the Cave, he sees Jason, de-armoured but still looking like an armory, body corded in tightly contained fury.
Dick barely manages to take a step towards his boyfriend before Jason is stalking towards him. He enters Dick’s space, until they’re chest to chest; Jason’s large hand coming up to tightly grip Dick’s jaw and force the shorter man to look up at him.
“I don’t know what the fuck that was, Dickie, but I don’t appreciate it. Jealousy isn’t a good look on you.”
Dick wants to glare, but his eyes are still covered. More than that though, Dick knows Jason is right. It was uncalled for. “I’m sorry,” Dick murmurs quietly, Jason’s thumb and forefinger making it a bit difficult to shape his mouth around the words. “It was just the last straw, Jay. I just wanted a moment with you. That’s all.”
Jason sighs, gruff and discontent, and Dick hates how it makes him feel like a child being scolded. “I can’t even be mad at you when I know you’re giving me your stupid puppy dog eyes behind that mask.”
“Guilty,” Dick admits, sending Jason a rueful smile.
Jason lets go of his chin, stepping back and sweeping a hand through his hair. “Whatever. We’ve been stretched too thin. Don’t think I didn’t see you limping, Goldie. Let’s get to bed. I’m beat.”
Dick stares at Jason, gobsmacked. “You’re staying!?”
Jason doesn’t often spend the night in the mansion, heading for one of his safe houses after de-briefing and a clean up.
Dick can’t remember the last time he has gotten to spend time with Jason where Jason had made the first move. It feels like, lately, Dick has been putting in all the work to see each other. This is more than a welcome surprise.
Jason shrugs. “I’m tired. Besides, you apparently need a nursemaid. Alfred must really be overworking himself, if he hasn’t nagged you into locking yourself up in your room.”
The Englishman had tried, but in Dick’s defense, he wasn’t about to leave Jason with the burden of the entire city. Alfred dotes on them all, but everyone knows he has a special soft spot for Jason.
“Will you dress the part?” Dick asks teasingly, ignoring the latter half of Jason’s sentence. “I’d love to have a sexy nurse by my bedside.”
Jason doesn’t even bother to answer him, throwing him a finger and heading towards the shower room. “If you’re quick about it, you might be able to get a sexy handjob, but that’s it.”
“Deal!” Dick agrees quickly, practically skipping to follow Jason, spirits lifted.
Later, he does apologize to Jason one more time as they head to bed, but Jason shrugs it off easily.
For all intents and purposes, the entire incident should have been put behind them.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
Dick can’t believe he lost the bet. He never should have underestimated how many cups of coffee Tim could drink. Never.
So here he is, dressed to the nines and hiding his miserableness under a smile as fake as his story as he laughingly explains, “Oh, you know how clumsy Brucie is! Fell off the water ski before I could even warn him about the turn!”
“I’m so glad it was just a bad sprain,” one of the ladies currently surrounding Dick simpers, voice high and loud as she tries to convey just how ‘concerned’ she is, “my ex-husband had fallen off one of those things and nearly drowned when it knocked him in the head. Men and their toys, am I right?”
There is a polite round of laughter from the ladies, but the story clearly prompts a round of showing off whose husband or boytoy made a dumber accident, and Dick doesn’t have the patience for that.
“Speaking of,” Dick laughs himself loose from a sharp nailed grip around his bicep, “I’m afraid I must continue my rounds. I see Gallagher Sr. over there, and I have to extend my thanks for his generous donation of toys at our Christmas fundraiser.”
He expertly dodges, sneaking off backwards and towards the lone man, currently nursing a drink in one hand and apparently trying to chat up a potted plant.
Dick grimaces, already wary of how this is going to go. While Dick really is only here to be the face of Wayne Tech, he isn’t about to miss an opportunity to investigate what he knows is a money laundering scheme with ties back to Bludhaven. Gallagher Sr. is definitely one of the loosest ends within the circle involved.He is a man with a not-so-secret drinking and gambling problem, comes from old money, and it’s mainly land assets he clings to.
Truthfully, Gallagher wouldn’t even be on his watchlist, if it wasn’t for an interesting paper trail Tim stumbled upon when investigating Black Mask and the remnants of his gang. Jason’s been itching to find the man, deep underground for nearly three months now, but with Bruce only recently back from his mission, they’re still pulling in overtime to keep Gotham safe. Dick promised Tim he’d see if Gallagher’s lips were loose enough to talk, but he wasn’t expecting much.
“Mr. Gallagher!” Dick ambles up, shouting his greeting in an overtly friendly way, patting the man’s back and pretending not to notice when the portly man nearly tumbles over.
“Wazzhit – ah, Wayne! My boy, how goes it?” The man rumbles, clinking his glass of whisky against Dick’s champagne flute before Dick can answer, “wonderful party! Wonderful party! Bruce truly outdoes himself each year.”
They’re in New York, party hosted by the Khan’s. Bruce hasn’t hosted a party in nearly two years.
Dick smiles, laughing along.
“Yessir, I am glad you’re enjoying yourself. Is the bartender your best friend yet?” Dick nods down to Gallagher’s trembling hand.
Gallagher throws his head back with a roar of a laugh, “Cheeky, my boy! Remind me of my son, you do. He’s got too much spunk in him, gets it from his mother, I’m sure.”
“I didn’t know you had a son?” Dick asks curiously.
Well, technically he did. It’s probably in the profile Tim shoved at him before the party but it’s not like Dick gave it anything but a cursory glance, too preoccupied in trying not to choke with how tight Alfred clasped his tie.
“Bit of a black sheep, I must admit,” Gallagher snorts, and Dick can’t tell if the flush on his cheeks is because of the alcohol or some sort of shame. “Nothing like you, boyo. Got all this money, and I hear you’re a man in blue of all things! Nothing like my boy, nothing at all. Business is going down the drain, and he blows his money on his nails and closet, flying off to god knows where on a whim and expects it all to fall on his father’s dime! I didn’t raise him right, I didn’t. Too much of his mother’s influence, you understand. Nothing against fags, mind you – we’re progressive - ”
“Another refill?” Dick smoothly interrupts, smile tightening around the edges.
That snaps Gallagher out of his listing rant – literally listing right into the wall. Dick smoothly grabs a glass of water from a passing waiter and all but shoves it into Gallagher’s hands.
“What, oh yes, thank you. Vodka? Not my taste but, hey, if it’s free,” Gallagher gulps the water down with a nasty belch and Dick seriously considers retreating. Whatever Tim needs, surely he can hack into something or another and grab it?
“Ah, that was good! I should have tried it ages ago,” Gallagher laughs, stumbling along back to the bar. “What were we talking about again?”
“Your son,” Dick politely reminds, still working on how to get back to the ‘business down the drain’ blip Gallagher let slip.
“Ah, yes! Greg – he should be here! You know, he’s about your age! Nothing like a fine, upstanding man like you, mind you – oh, speak of the devil!”
Dick pretends to be shocked when someone comes up behind his back, placing a dainty hand on his shoulder. A palm to his chest, he whirls around, exclaiming, “Oh my, someone should put a bell on you!”
“Is that an offer?”
Dick freezes for just a second. There is something distressingly familiar about the man – teenager? – in front of him.
It takes him a moment to place it, taking in the impeccable makeup and combed dyed blond hair to the stringy mop and bruised face weeks ago. The kid doesn’t look nearly as gangly as he did before, but he still appears razor thin in a sharp suit, gaunt cheekbones and jawline only accentuated by his makeup. He looks like a doll and a starvation victim at the same time and it’s off putting. Above all else, though, it’s the eyes that give him away, staring coldly at Dick even as his lips twitch up in flirty smile.
Social cues and training prompt him to answer with a fake chuckle, “Woah there, tiger! I only just learned your name.”
“I could teach you a lot more,” the young man - Gregory Gallagher Jr., Dick remembers - purrs, but despite the heavy innuendo in his voice, his eyes are intensely penetrating. But it’s the wrong kind of intensity, the kind Dick only feels when he’s facing down Croc or Waller – the kind that wants to crush you underfoot and see where your bones end up. “I hope daddy didn’t throw in all the thirds and seniors and juniors at you, Richie. Call me Greg.”
Dick pretends not to notice the way Greg looks like he’s studying him like a bug under a microscope, reaching for the outstretched hand as Greg reintroduces himself. Beside them, Gallagher Sr. chortles something about how good it is for Greg to make friends his own age. He either doesn’t realize or care that they’re near a decade apart in age.
“Not many upstanding heirs like you here, Wayne. I should send my boy down to Gotham, learn a thing or two.”
Greg’s smile is icy when he turns his gaze to his father. “No need, daddy. I’ve been plenty of times. It takes a certain kind of man to live in a city like that, how can I resist the siren call?”
Dick is too trained to show how he tenses, but his sixth sense is going off. There is something in the way that Greg carries himself that reminds Dick all too much of Damian just after he arrived from the League of Assassins. Tightly controlled bloodlust.
Gallagher seems to be completely oblivious to it, patting Grayson on the back. “I’ll leave you two to it, then, shall I?” He doesn’t wait for either of them to answer, ambling – stumbling - back towards the bar.
It’s just the two of them, though Dick can sense there are sharks that are itching to interrupt their conversation. Right now, Dick can’t tell if he’d rather swim with the sharks or face down this tiger.
“So, you’ve been to Gotham, huh?”
Regardless of where he’d rather be, there might be a shot that Jr. might spill what Sr. didn’t. He can play nice, even as it looks like Greg is contemplating stabbing him in the eye with the olive pick he is playing with between his manicured fingers.
“I have. Beautiful city, a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to it.”
Dick laughs dryly. “That is certainly one way to put it, though a lot kinder than even we would describe it. There on business or pleasure, Greg?”
Greg looks at him, green eyes piercing. “A bit of both. Business at first, grew quickly into the latter. Your locale, they’re very…enticing.”
Dick can’t be sure if Greg is alluding to Red Hood, the corrupt officials or some other unsavoury business practice. Because there is no mistaking the way Greg is looking at Dick, challengingly, words twisted in innuendo.
“I’m glad Gotham ensnared you. It’s hard for people to understand her charm, realize why so many of us stay despite the rowdiness.”
“Rowdiness…that’s one way to put it. I’d personally say there is a thrill that leaves the most pleasant shiver running down your spine. I’d understand why the average tourist would be scared, but I was fortunate to meet the protector of your fine city. I think anyone would be reassured after a meeting like that.”
“Oh, you mean Batman?” Dick allows a bit of childish excitement to enter his voice. “That’s pretty lucky, man. It’s hard for even the locals to catch a glimpse - ”
“Not him,” Greg rudely cuts him off. “Nothing against the bat frea – batclan, but it was someone else. A name I’m sure you’re familiar with, even.”
Dick can instantly see where this is going but he has a façade to keep up.
“Oh, really? Who? I’ve always got my ear to the ground for rumors of new vigilantes, being part of GPD after all.”
Greg twirls his empty pick between his fingers, ignoring the waiter that subtly arrives and stretches his tray for the garbage. Dick gives his own glass up when it’s clear Greg hasn’t even registered the waiter’s presence.
“Funny you should bring up rumors,” Greg gives a fake laugh, high and reedy, setting the back of Dick’s teeth on edge, “the man I am talking about is actually caught up in quite a few of them. Revolving around you .”
Not even Richie Wayne-Grayson could ignore the venom in Greg’s voice.
He puts up his hands placatingly. “Oh man, what did I do? Whatever it was, it wasn’t intentional, Greg-o, scout’s honor.”
Greg smiles, tight lipped and thin. “Well, I wouldn’t say it was an accident. I don’t think the Red Hood does things on accident.”
Dick allows himself to freeze, tensing up. He takes a few seconds to figure out how he wants to play this. He laughs, nervously. “Oh my, I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about. The only Red Hood I know of is one of Gotham’s criminals.”
Dick’s gasp is real when Greg’s hand shoots out lightning fast to curl around his bicep. Despite being a good third lighter and wispier than Dick, Greg’s grip is solid, his manicured nails sharply digging through Dick’s suit.
“What - ”
“Don’t call him a criminal,” Greg hisses, stepping into Dick’s space. Dick allows himself to take a step back in surprise, subtlety looking around.
Unsurprisingly, they’ve got eyes on them. One man who Dick recognizes one of Brucie’s croquet club friends looks like he’s going to step in and intervene.
“Greg, you’re hurting me,” Dick tries to say calmly, quietly, but Greg doesn’t even twitch, in fact his other hand looks like it’s ready to come up and put the olive pick to the test. “People are watching, you’re creating a scene.”
For a second, Dick not even that is going to be enough of a prompt. But after a moment, Greg takes in a careful breath, releasing Dick’s arm and making a showing of running his fingers up and down the material asking loudly, “You simply must tell me who your tailor is!”
And just like that, the tension dissipates. Brucie’s buddy seems to have second thoughts about entering their bubble, and Dick is thankful for it.
Greg continues to pat Dick’s suit until Dick takes a step back.
“I apologize, Richie,” Greg soothes, tone completely insincere. “I just got a little wound up. You see, the Red Hood saved me quite a few times during my stay in Gotham. Meted out the type of justice a city like Gotham needed. I swooned a bit, you must understand. Like a hero from one of those silly novels, gallantly coming to my rescue. You can see why I don’t tolerate that kind of smear on his name.”
“I suppose I can see your point of view,” Dick allows himself to smile guilelessly, “he does have a way of making a lasting impression.”
Again, Greg’s features go tense, smile sharp. “Indeed, he does. I wonder then – did he do the same to you? You were awfully quick to give me a big blue type of answer, you know.”
“Greggy,” Dick laughs, “maybe you didn’t spend enough time in Gotham. The Red Hood isn’t a huge fan of the way the GPD does things, and we’re all equally wary about him.”
For a second, Dick thinks Greg is going to grab him again. “A very political answer, Richie, dear. I mean, not to gossip – oh, who am I kidding, I am a gossip queen – a little birdie told me that you and the Red Hood have a little forbidden affair going on.”
The way he chokes on air is a genuine reaction, looking at Greg in complete surprise. He’d almost forgotten his words to the kid in the alley weeks ago, but having them repeated here – amplified, it’s completely off-putting.
“No!” Dick nearly yells, too hastily, but this is performative. “Oh god, where do people come up with these stupid rumors? Trust me, Greg-o, there is nothing like that going on.”
There is an awkward moment of silence where Greg just stares at Dick intensely, face unreadable, even to Dick’s trained eye. It’s completely unsettling.
“Well,” Greg says, after too long a pause, voice forcibly light, “that’s reassuring to hear. You know, I might be in Gotham in the upcoming weeks to settle some business for daddy. Maybe we could hang out, see Gotham from the eyes of it’s Prince?”
Dick wants to raise an eyebrow at the sudden change in conversation, but he can’t deny that he's happy to let this thread go. He isn’t exactly thrilled about where the conversation has turned to but meeting up with the heir would be a good way to aid his investigation. It’ll be a pain, but it is also an easy way to follow-up on a lead.
“You flatter me,” Dick says, hoping that his words don’t sound forced. “but I would be happy to show you around!”
They exchange numbers, and Dick still can’t shake the feeling that Greg is hiding something in the way he enthusiastically - clearly faked enthusiasm - makes plans for them.
He’s gone just as suddenly as he came, leaving Dick to chat up an older gentleman, a conspirator’s wink thrown his way as he leaves.
Then it’s just Dick and the sharks, but Dick has this unsettling feeling that he’s bleeding in the water.
With Bruce back in town, Jason’s not around the Manor as often as he was in the weeks prior. It doesn’t exactly take a detective to figure out where else he could be.
It’s the middle of the day, but Dick is on his time off, so he saunters to Jason’s apartment complex near Crime Alley with a jaunty tune.
And he literally means Jason’s apartment complex. Jason bought the building under a fake name last year, converting the top floor into his own version of a HQ.
He’s courteous in tripping off some of the alarms because he wants Jason to know he’s coming. The asshole had been blowing off Dick’s suggestions for dates for the past two weeks, citing he’s working on a case.
“Honey, I’m home!” Dick yells, easily breaking into to Jason’s apartment proper.
No one is home, not that Dick’s surprised. The fake wall across the living room would lead to Jason’s workspace, but Dick has warm pizza in his hands and figures the smell will be enticing enough. And if Jason knows what’s good for him, he’ll come out before Dick decides to break in.
Sure enough, five minutes later, the wall parts and Jason saunters through, a frown on his face.
“Goldie, I told you, I’m busy – is that a meat lovers?”
“Don’t tell Dami,” Dick laughs, handing Jason three slices on a plate.
Jason’s shoulders sink, and he huffs in defeat, accepting the plate with one hand and curling the other around Dick’s waist.
Jason leans down just as Dick leans up and they meet in the middle, sharing a deep kiss.
“Hmm,” Dick hums, pulling away with a grin. “Missed that.”
Jason’s hand falls from his waist to his ass. He squeezes hard. “Missed this.”
Dick smacks Jason’s arm away. “Asshole. You’re the one cock-blocking yourself. Give me some domestic bliss before you start propositioning me with sex.”
Jason smirks. “You’re saying you’d rather have a cuddle than a thank-you blow job?”
Nearly an hour later, Dick sinks into Jason’s chest with an exhausted sigh. Figures there would be no way they’d keep it to some simple oral sex. Now his ass is throbbing, and he rode his motorcycle here.
“I’m staying the night,” Dick whines into Jason’s armpit.
He’s not too proud to admit that this is a bit of a test. It doesn’t escape his notice that most of his time spent with Jason quickly dissolves into just the physical aspects. He wants some time to just bask in Jason’s presence.
Jason traces his fingers lightly up Dick’s spine, humming in agreement. “Good. Gives me a chance to fuck you again before bed. Take a nap, I gotta go finish something.”
On one hand, this is Jason welcoming him into his space. On the other…
Dick screws the lid on his feelings. He enjoys having sex with Jason and it’s been some time since they’ve seen each other. He doesn’t mind fucking all night as long as they fall asleep together.
He turns his face to the side, eyes fluttering closed as Jason takes the opportunity to kiss him.
“Case?” he manages to get out between the soft continuous lock of lips.
“Yeah,” Jason affirms, gently moving Dick so he’s laying on the bed. “But nothing you need to worry about. Tim found some more stuff that might lead to Black Mask, so I’m digging into it.”
Dick smiles into the pillow, happy with how Jason is freely sharing his information. Years ago, it would have been easier trying to pull out an unrestrained Jason’s teeth than get him to work with them willingly.
“If you need any help…” Dick offers, hesitantly. He grimaces when he sees the tight look in Jason’s eyes. It’s a toss up most times of when Jason will accept the help and when he insists on going solo.
Jason scoffs, but it’s a soft sound. “Get some rest, Dickie. You’re gonna need it for tonight.”
“Promise?” Dick murmurs, shifting his legs so one is hiked up closer to his chest, clearly displaying his fucked hole.
Dick’s eyes are already closed, but he feels Jason leaning in, arches his neck as Jason grabs his jaw. “Promise,” his boyfriend whispers darkly, lips bruising as they kiss him goodbye.
Balancing work with the GPD and Nightwing doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for relaxing lay-ins like this, and Dick is going to soak it up for all it’s worth. He falls asleep with a smile on his face.
Dick does wake up before Jason comes back, but he contents himself with just dicking around on his phone while laying in bed.
He’s in the middle of a video of puppies introduced to kittens for the first time when a notification pops up at the top of his phone.
Greg Gallagher (6:46pm)
Hi Richie! It’s been a while, hope your doing well. I’ll be in Gotham this coming Friday, what do you say to a dinner with me on a yacht?
Dick raises an eyebrow at the text. It’s been almost a month since the gala in New York, and Dick had nearly forgotten their conversation under everything else that happens in life. Tim hadn’t found anything new to trace back to the Gallaghers, and they mutually agreed to let that lead drop unless anything new popped up.
Dick toys with the idea of blowing Greg off.
But if Jason was still looking into Black Mask…
Dick texts back an affirmative.
Immediately, his phone is bombarded with a slew of texts.
“Fireworks at Gotham Harbour?” Dick mumbles, looking down at the multitude of texts coming through his phone in confusion.
“What?” Jason asks, entering the room with a back-cracking stretch. “Is this another hint you want me to take you out, Goldie?”
“Oh, so you do listen,” Dick teases.
Jason playfull throws himself on top of Dick. “Hey, I selectively tune out whinging but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the gist of what you’re trying to throw down, Goldie.”
Dick pouts up at him, torn between the snaps of irritation under his skin and the relaxed, mischievous look in Jason’s eyes. In the end, he decides it’s not worth it.
“Stop pouting, Dickface.” Jason rolls until he’s on top of Dick, flirtatiously leering down at him. “I promise I’ll take you out. Soon. To Dunkin Donuts, even!”
Dick laughs, leaning up to pull Jason down for a quick kiss. Jason does him one better, hungrily pushing Dick back into the mound of pillows, one leg coming up to rest in between Dick’s thighs as he leans his weight in.
Dick moans breathily, breaking the kiss at the sound of another annoying ping. “Hmm, if you say so, Jaybird. But don’t keep me waiting too long. I might just say yes to a date with another man.”
Jason makes a displeased sound, pulling back to glare down at Dick with Lazarus green eyes. “I’m assuming there is some context I’m missing, Dickie.”
Dick contemplates playing this up, making Jason jealous. But that’s a dick move when Dick knows Jason still has many insecurity triggers.
So he giggles, pulling Jason back down. “Am I that easy to read, babe?” He bites down on Jason’s jaw, sucking a quick hickey there because he can. Jason yelps, trying to flinch away but Dick’s arms are wound tight around his shoulders. “Yeah, it’s for a case.”
Jason moves fast for a big guy, and between one blink and the next, Jason’s hauled Dick up, so he can cuddle in behind him. Dick allows the manhandling, helpfully shifting forward until they’re comfortable with Dick lounging back on Jason’s chest. He makes a content sound, leaning back and allowing Jason to pick up the phone from where it dropped down on the bed.
“Greg Gallagher? Why does that name sound familiar?”
It suddenly occurs to Dick, that Jason doesn’t know Greg is the crazy fanboy they met in the alley all that time ago. He doesn’t know why, but Dick doesn’t feel like sharing that info. Maybe it’s because he rarely gets to relax with Jason like this. He can feel his boyfriend’s pulse through his wrist, gently cradled in Dick’s hands. He doesn’t want to ruin the moment.
“Oh, his father, Gregory Gallagher Sr., will probably be in your files on Black Mask. Tim found some suspicious paper trails leading to one of Gallagher Sr.’s properties a while ago but further investigation led to a dead end.”
“And you’re going on a date with his son?” Jason asks, a small frown on his face.
And there it is again, this itching urge to want to ruffle Jason’s feathers. He wants to ham this up, wants to see Jason get jealous, get territorial. He forces himself to brush the urge aside. He wants Jason’s attention but he isn’t going to hurt Jason to get it.
Dick pokes at his frown, not stopping even as Jason glares at him and grabs his fingers. “Not a date. Richie the airheaded heir is going to talk up Gotham. I’m going to try and see if he will give up anything about his father’s business, see if I can’t solidify a connection between Black Mask and Gallagher Sr.”
Jason’s drops his hand back so it rests on Dick’s stomach, absent-mindedly tracing patterns as he reads through the barrage of texts Dick hasn’t seen yet. “He seems pretty fucking excited for a business dinner. You sure you made it clear that it’s not a date?”
Dick’s stomach flutters at the displeasure in Jason’s voice.
Dick shakes his head. “I met him at a Gala in New York a few weeks ago. You shoulda seen the way he was looking at me, Jay. Thought he was gonna stab me with an olive pick of all things.”
That gets a full bellied laugh from Jason. “This kid?” Jason shows the picture he must have searched for in relation to the name. “He looks like he’s the type to survive off of a slice of cheese and three grapes. Whaddya do to him?”
“Nothing!” Dick whines, sulking a bit.
Jason squints and for a second Dick thinks he might place the kid, before he shakes his head. “You must have seduced one of his dates or something.”
Dick fake gasps. “What exactly are you accusing me of, sir?”
Jason locks the phone, throwing it away. He grins down at Dick, both hands grabbing his waist and trailing down to his thighs. “Hey, facts are facts, Dickie. You’ve got an ass that’ll turn anyone’s head. Some poor fuck musta left the kid on his own to start panting after you like one of those old fashioned cartoons.”
“The ones with men’s tongue lolling out?” Dick turns in Jason’s embrace, now straddling his lover’s lap. “That’s giving me some ideas, Jaybird.”
Jason’s face looks gorgeous in the soft bath of evening light. It makes him look leisurely and predatory at the same time, especially as his hands migrate to grab Dick’s ass, squeezing down.
“I’m liking where your idea is going, pretty bird,” Jason purrs, voice deep and husky. It’s all it really takes for the small sparks of arousal to turn into a bonfire.
“Let’s put it to practice then, babe,” Dick grins salaciously, ducking down to eat up Jason’s smirk.
“Jason?” Dick murmurs, hand reaching out. It meets nothing but empty air. Dick opens his eyes, unsurprised but disappointed to see Jason’s empty side of the bed.
His hands clench into fists and anger surges through him. Was it too much to ask for a morning lay in with his boyfriend? He could understand at the Manor - Jason hated staying there longer than necessary. But in his own home?
Dick gets out of bed, marching to the faux wall. He bangs on the door. He can’t get in without Jason’s access codes which include biometrics and he isn’t in the mood to try and hack them.
“Jason!” Dick yells through the wall. The walls are too thick for his voice to get through, but he knows Jason has mics installed. “Get out here!”
The wall moves and Dick stands back, impatiently waiting for Jason to come through.
“Jeez, Goldie, what’s got your panties in a twist? Did I not fuck you hard enough or something?” Jason’s face is full of irritation as he stumbles through, dark circles under his eyes.
With dawning realization, Dick understands Jason hadn’t slept with him at all. He probably got up right after Dick went down for the count.
The anger swells inside him. Hot on its heels is the awful sting of hurt.
“Why are you so distant?”
He wants to yell and rant, take the time he needs to tell Jason exactly how much of a douche he is being lately. But at the heart of it, this is the problem and Dick doesn’t want the question to disappear into the tornado of the fight that would inevitably break out.
“What?” Jason asks, face confused. But Dick’s not fooled. He sees the minute ways Jason tenses.
“I said,” Dick repeats, slowly, “why are you being so distant?”
Jason stares at him. “What the fuck are you talking about, Dick? You’re literally standing here, in my home, talking to me not three feet away.
Dick shakes his head. “You know what I mean, Jay. In the past few weeks, the only time we talk is when we’re out on patrol. I can’t remember the last time we had a date, even just a basic pizza and movie. Lately all we do is fuck when we see each other.”
Jason makes an irritated ‘tch’. “You called me out here for this? For fucks sake Dick, go back to bed and get to sleep. Maybe you’ll wake up with your head on straight.”
Dick’s gut falls as Jason dismisses him, turning his back on Dick.
He moves forward, snatching Jason’s wrist. “Don’t turn your back on me, Jason. What’s going on? Was it something I did?”
Jason turns around, an angry furrow on his brow. Dick braces himself for a mean jab or a scathing insult being thrown his way but Jason stops, visibly swallowing.
“Dick, there is nothing wrong,” Jason answers, voice stressed. Dick doesn’t believe him for a second. “I’m just busy. I’m sorry I can’t be your cuddle buddy, but I have important shit to work on.”
Dick lets Jason go, his hand falling limply to his side. Hurt swells, pushing against his throat until it feels like he’s going to choke on it. “Oh, and I’m not important?”
“Seriously, Dick?” Jason seethes. He stops to take a deep breath, chest heaving and his face drawn into an irritated frown. It makes Dick feel small and he hates it. “This isn’t about you . I need time to finish this case, that’s all. Once it’s done, things will go back to normal.”
“Right,” Dick says slowly. He’s had enough. “Fine. Whatever. Call me when it’s done. However fucking long that takes.”
This time, Dick turns his back to Jason. He hurries to grab his stuff, changing as fast as he can. He exits the apartment through the living room, not even surprised that Jason’s not there anymore.
He hurries to his bike, hands shaking as he rips down the roads of Gotham. He heads back to his apartment, instantly feeling the crushing weight of loneliness as he steps in.
It’s not unusual for him and Jason to fight. But it’s been months - almost a year, since their last one. Dick had gotten used to it, the unconditional trust and support. But now Jason’s fixated on some case and letting it get between them.
But the way Jason had brushed him off -
Dick picks up his phone. He needs a distraction.
“Dick?” Tim’s voice answers sleepily.
“Hey, Timmie,” Dick says, injecting as much cheerfulness into his voice as he can.
“Why are you calling so early?” Tim whines.
Dick looks at the clock. “Timmers, it’s nearly 11.”
“In the morning?” Tim asks, scandalized.
Dick laughs, heart already lightning as Tim grumbles into the receiver.
“I’m going to come up to the Manor for lunch, I have a lead I want to talk to you about. Think you can be awake by then?” Dick teases.
Tim murmurs a few choice words back into the receiver but acquises easily enough. Dick hangs up with a promise to call Alfred and let him know he’ll be swinging by.
He stares down at his closed phone. It’s only been an hour. But there is no call or text from Jason.
Dick pushes his disappointment down.
He has other things to focus on.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
Dick looks at the yacht, sixth sense blaring.
It’s just touched evening, and Dick has driven to Gotham Harbour with a twenty-year-old bottle of Chardonnay clutched in one hand. He made sure to exchange details with Greg beforehand, but no, here he stands, nearly twenty minutes later, alone and facing a boat that looks like it’s due for a very severe tune-up.
Just as Dick’s contemplates calling Greg, someone shouts over to him.
Dick schools his face, turning around with a polite smile, greeted with an insincere one in turn.
“I’m so sorry I am late, the meeting ran over late and you know how traffic gets!”
“Right,” Dick says slowly, disbelief evident in his voice.
It’s on the tip of Dick’s tongue to point out that Greg is definitely not dressed for a meeting. He’s wearing leather pants and a mesh shirt, over layered with a bright pink bomber jacket, face full of makeup. He looks like he’s ready to go to the club.
Not even Richie Wayne could be dumb enough to miss these blatant cues.
Greg looks down at his clothes with a laugh. “I changed in the car! I wanted to look good for our boy’s night out,” Greg purrs, innuendo heavy in his voice.
Dick sighs, because that will have to be good enough for Richie. He puts on a bright smile. “You look amazing! I feel a bit underdressed.”
“Not at all, sweetheart!” Again, there is no mistaking the purposeful pause as anything other than insincerity. “Look at me, rambling about looks when I was the one not so fashionably late.”
“It’s not a problem,” Dick brushes off, trying for amiable.
“So forgiving, you’re too good for me, darling. Oh my, is that for me? And here I had my butler go and fetch us something for dinner. I hope you don’t mind if I store this away for now?”
Dick laughs, allowing Greg to take the bottle in one hand and lead him to the passenger loading area with the other. “That’s fine with me. What’s for dinner?”
Greg’s hand tightens over his bicep and Dick is thrown into the memory of the Gala. Greg doesn’t keep it there for too long, smoothing it over as they land on the deck of the yacht. At least it’s clean.
“It’s a surprise, Richie! Don’t want to ruin it for you. Come, let me show you the entertainment area. I had planned for outdoors originally, but the forecast is calling for rain. Such a shame.”
Dick frowns. “Should we reschedule?”
“Of course not! What’s a little rain? She may not have time for a make-over, but Stella is a reliable old gal. My uncle’s yacht that I borrowed for the night. He lives here in Gotham too, but I only just recently learned that – can you believe? He’s away for the time being, called away on a large project a few months ago, but he encouraged me to take Stella out for some exercise.”
Dick listens with one ear, suspicion clawing inside him. He’s piecing together what Greg isn’t saying, what he knows from Tim’s files. The Gallagher’s business steadily declining, the sudden shift to the Gotham greater area – discovering an uncle that has moved away around the same time Black Mask disappeared?
Dick bites his lip against the need to step into his Nightwing persona. There are plenty of things he can do as Richie. “I’m glad, though I feel like the tables have turned a bit. I should be the one taking you out on one of the Wayne ships!”
Dick watches as the corner of Greg’s lips tighten, clearly fighting against a scowl. “Yes, well, I was the one to invite you out, it’s only fair I play the host.”
They both walk under the deck, stepping into a clear entertainment area. It’s not large, a hallway that Dick figures leads to where the rooms are just to the back of them, and in front of the small leisure area is a discreetly, tucked away kitchen. It’s clear the yacht has not seen use, the leather of the built-in sofas worn and wrinkled, a fine sheen of dust covering the large window sills that display the darkened water of the Gotham harbour.
Dick takes it all in with a keen eye. He’s sure there is another person on board, there is a display of small snacks set up on the kitchen island marking it off from the leisure area. And someone must be navigating – Dick makes a small surprised sound as the boat lurches – because they’ve clearly just left the harbour.
“Wonderful! I asked the captain to hurry since we’re so behind schedule. I have a surprise planned for you after dinner.”
“Oh really? What kind of surprise?” Dick asks, voice light with guilelessness.
“Oh silly, I can’t exactly tell you otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise. Anyways, let me grab some drinks for us so we can relax.”
Dick busies himself with trying to turn on the out-dated flat screen tv mounted on one wall. He’s only partially surprised that it doesn’t turn on. Dick has no idea what Greg is angling for, but this hasty meetup is clearly indicative he wants something.
In between the time of accepting Greg’s invitation, Dick’s been thinking on what the kid’s motivation could be. He can only think of two things, either Greg wants Wayne investment money or he wants more information on the Red Hood. Dick doesn’t want to jump to conclusions, Bruce would probably lecture him for even thinking about it, but the latter seems more likely. If that is the case, Dick can humor him, use the number of loose threads Greg has left hanging to pick the conversation back up about his uncle, his business and his properties while dangling information about Hood as bait.
“Here we are! A bit of an aperitif before the night begins. I hope you like sweet!”
Dick accepts the pink concoction with shrug. “More of a beer guy myself but I’ll never say no to a good drink, especially the type that packs a hidden punch.”
For some reason, that gets Greg to splutter into his drink, having lifted it up to take a sip. Dick hurries over, thumping Greg on the back.
“We hit a pretty hard wave there, must have been a while since you’ve had to time swallowing a drink down on open water,” Dick laughs good-naturedly.
“I’m normally a lot better at swallowing,” Greg says haughtily, eyes hooded in what could have been come-hither eyes if the kid didn’t look so blank.
It’s still awkward nonetheless. “Right,” Dick says, hands flying off of Greg. He reaches for the drink he put down, taking a small sip.
“Oh dear, I’ve gone and made it awkward, haven’t I? I promise I did not invite you here with the intention of seducing you, Richie. I have a very particular type, and sorry to say, you’re not it.”
He doesn’t sound very sorry at all.
Still Dick makes a show of relaxing his shoulders. “No need to be sorry, in fact I’m glad to hear it! I don’t get a lot of chances to make friends in Brucie’s crowd, leaves me feeling a bit lonely when I have to attend parties on his behalf. It’ll be nice knowing I have a friend in you.” Okay so maybe he’s laying it on a bit thick, but the more Greg underestimates Richie’s nativity, the better it is for Dick.
“Of course, Richie,” Greg simpers, ushering them to set down as he brings in a small platter of food. “I would love to be friends. So much we could share between us. Let’s start now, huh?”
The chat over food, the conversation slowly sludging along as they eat. Dick’s careful not to drink too much, completely aware of the way Greg seems to want to ply him with alcohol.
“So, you think you’ll be down here quite often because of the business?” Dick asks, reaching for a small cheese cube. He almost has it to his mouth before his grip slips. He laughs it off as it bounces off his chest and lands in Greg’s lap, the kid migrating closer on the couch until his crossed knee is touching Dick’s thigh.
“Oopsies,” Greg giggles, a small flush visible under his skin, taking the small cube and popping it into his mouth. It’s the most genuine reaction Dick’s gotten from the kid and it makes him falter for a second, before he repeats his question in different words.
“Hmm, oh yes, I suppose. Daddy’s not much use these days with the strategic planning so I’m helming a lot of it. There are a lot of unique opportunities here in Gotham that can do well for us.”
“But there are a lot of other unique circumstances here too,” Dick points out. “Aren’t you afraid?”
Greg laughs, head thrown back dramatically and mocking as he looks back at Dick with clear mirth in his eyes. “Afraid? Nothing of the sort. I told you, hadn’t I? I was face-to-face with Gotham’s finest. I can understand how the city sleeps easily with heroes like the Red Hood protecting her.”
Dick’s been waiting for the conversation to end up here. Strangely, all the points he had to misdirect Greg seem hard to throw down now that he’s facing Greg’s intensity again.
So he laughs nervously. “Right, you mentioned you were a fan.”
“Fan makes it sound so superficial,” Greg responds, voice sobering quite quickly. “I deeply admire his work. It takes a lot to decrease the crime rate.”
He might as well have said murder criminals.
Dick frowns, setting his drink down, making a surprised noise as he misjudges the depth and nearly sends the drink spilling. He should probably cut himself off.
“He’s been…helpful,” Dick says carefully. “Especially since he started working with Batman. It’s admirable how he’s tried to change - ”
“Bullshit!” Greg cuts him off with an angry snarl. “Batman has neutered him. Red’s way of doing things was much better, cleaning the filth off the street and making sure it wouldn’t come back. Ever.”
Dick is about to respond – but abruptly, the room sways.
For a brief second, Dick thinks he’s undergone vertigo because of the swaying waves. But it’s only a flash of a thought. On it’s heels is the observations he’s been unconsciously taking in since he’s entered the room.
He’s been –
“Oh, finally ,” Greg huffs. “That drug took forever to work.”
“What?” Dick says unintelligently, struggling to focus on Greg because the room hasn’t stopped spinning.
Cold, manicured hands, dig into his chin forcing his head to turn to Greg. “Look at me, bitch. I didn’t go through all this effort for you to not realize exactly what’s going to happen.”
Why aren’t his vaccines working? Dick’s been indoctrinated with most types of drugs and poisons, has built up a strong tolerance to sedatives.
Whatever this drug is, it must be new. And that makes it dangerous.
Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be affecting the mind. It feels exactly like a sedative, a slow, involuntary relaxation of his muscles. At least he can think.
“Greg,” Dick slurs, “what are you doing?”
“Getting rid of the competition,” Greg says coldly. “In a few moments this boat is going to sink. Faulty maintenance and all that. I’ll be heading towards the lifeboat, but oh, unfortunately, Richie-Wayne was too drunk to follow proper evacuation protocols. The poor kid, I can’t believe he fell overboard.”
Ice cold fury wraps around his spine. He can’t control his facial features so he knows that it must show on his face.
Greg laughs. “So the kitty does have claws! I knew you couldn’t be as naive as you pretended to be. No one is that stupid. Well, I guess you are since you’re going to be dead soon.”
“Why?” Dick asks, trying to keep Greg talking. He doesn’t know if the ship sinking will be a timed occurrence, or if whoever is controlling the button, will wait until Greg’s in the all clear to do so. He needs to keep Greg here and talking as long as he can to allow his body to fight off the drug.
“Why?” Greg repeats, venomous. “You have everything I don’t. Money and looks. A father who gives a shit. The love from a city behind you. The fucking Red Hood . I have always hated you, from the moment I first read about you in the newspaper years ago. The only thing that kept me from trying to tear you down was distance. But now, I’m in Gotham, baby. And there isn’t enough room for the both of us.”
Dick gasps as Greg pushes him away, loosened body helplessly sinking back against the leather sofa. Greg gets up, casually grabbing the cheese knife as he looks down at Dick.
“There is nothing I would like more than to carve out your face. But, since I am going to be the sole survive, I won’t have anything even remotely connect me to foul play.”
Greg slams the knife back into the block of cheese. Dick doesn’t flinch.
He’s concentrating inward. The room isn’t spinning as much as before, that can only mean that Dick’s either acclimatizing or the drug is wearing off.
Fingers dig into his arms and it feels like they’re going to be yanked right off when Greg pulls Dick up. Dick stumbles, unbalanced, and crashes right into Greg.
“Fuck!” Greg yells, stumbling back. He manages to find his footing, arms tight and painful around Dick’s shoulders.
He can barely keep his knees locked. That is not a good sign.
Fuck, he can’t panic.
“Urg, fucking weather! I was going to do this outside, you know? It would have been so easy to just roll you right overboard but nooo , your shitty city decided to go and invite a storm!” Greg grunts, lifting Dick’s listing form, until he can get a shoulder under Dick’s arm. “Fuck, you’re so heavy! Have you never heard of a diet!?”
Dick tunes out Greg’s griping, mind reeling. It’s taking them a while to climb up the steps, Greg’s grip continuously slipping. Fuck, if he gets out of this, he’s going to be so fucking bruised.
But the point is that Greg is taking his time getting Dick up the stairs. That must mean it’s not a timed explosion that Greg plans on using to sink the ship.
“Why?” Dick asks, letting fear infuse his voice, “Why are you so obsessed with the Red Hood?” The words come out half mumbled but Greg gets the gist.
“He saved me,” Greg says breathily, either from admiration or exertion. They’re almost at the top of the stairs now. “I was in this shitty city as a last resort to beg money off some dirty rich family member I’ve never heard of, when a bunch of homophobic assholes started tailing me. Not even Gotham’s villain of the day – just ordinary fuckers who needed to compensate for their tiny penises with their dirty fists. Didn’t like that I was wearing a skirt, can you fucking believe? Hood found me in time, literally saved my ass because those assholes were gonna - ” Greg cuts himself off, but the emotion in his voice speaks volumes.
Pity wells inside Dick, but he pushes it aside. He needs to be objective about this because he’s going to be fucking murdered in a few moments if he doesn’t get his act together.
“Anyways, he fucked them up. Shot their dicks, watched them cry and beg and didn’t even care. He turned around to me and personally escorted me back to my hotel. It was love at first sight. I’ve worked towards being everything Hood could ever need since that night. And then, just a few months ago, Uncle Roman calls me up. Gives me the in I need, because momma refused to let me move to Gotham, threatened to cut all my cards. It was all aligning, it was fate - and then, you.”
Dick gasps when Greg’s nails puncture through skin, drawing blood and pain.
“When the fucking blue bird told me you had taken him from me, all I could see was red. I hated you, but with that, I knew I needed to kill you.”
Dick groans as Greg slips again, either slamming Dick against the railing attached to the wall to stop Dick from falling backwards. Pain explodes as his head richotes off the metal of the stairwell.
Before he can list backwards, he instinctively tightens his abs, fighting not to let gravity pull him back. He’s amazed when it works, just in time for Greg to grab his lapels and drag him back towards the final remaining steps.
Just another few minutes. If he can get his arms working, he’ll knock Greg out and steer the boat back to harbour himself. Just a few more minutes.
Dread curls in his gut as the Gotham skyline comes into view.
“ Finally, ” Greg wheezes, sweat pouring down his face and body. Because of the mesh shirt, Dick can feel it wet against his side and it makes him curl in disgust.
No, no, no – he needs a few more minutes! Think!
“Do you think you can get Hood’s attention?” Dick throws out, knowing he’s hit a land mine when Greg all but throws him to the deck.
“You think I can’t?” Greg laughs, crazy tinged in his voice. “I would have had him ages ago, if it weren’t for you ! I’ve been following him since he saved me, you know? I can’t believe I missed his fling with you. But, at least I know it can’t have been serious. He’ll probably miss you for a hot minute at most. I’ll be there to help ease his pain. I’ll be there for him like no one else has been. I’ll be there to make sure he returns back to the way he was before Batman and you brainwashed him into this shell of a man!”
Dick cries out as Greg’s boot catches him in the stomach. He holds nothing back and the impact against his vulnerable abs has him choking on bile, feebly trying to curl into himself protectively.
Rain splashes his face as he tries to take heaving breaths in.
“You know, forget what I said. This is the perfect weather for you to die. Miserable and hopeless. It’ll only help my cover story.”
As if to lend aide to Greg’s dramatic moment, thunder rumbles in the sky. Dick half expects Greg to break out into maniacal laughter.
He doesn’t. Instead he crouches down, fingers prodding at Dick’s cheek. “I’ve wasted enough time. I’m going to dump - ”
The roar of an engine has Greg cutting off and Dick’s heart leaping.
“What – no one is supposed to know – the fuck? ”
Dick doesn’t see it, but he hears it all the same. The sound of the engine keeps getting closer and closer – too close.
He flies down the deck as something crashes into their boat.
He’s lucky that he slams into the wall, stopping his momentum. If they’d been hit any other way, he most likely would have flown through the deck rails, doomed to drown.
It doesn’t mean he’s happy about it though. His head knocks hard into the hard material of the wall, connecting to the cockpit. It disorients what little concentration he’d managed to regain and it takes a second to place the screaming.
Blearily he opens his eyes, blood trickling into them, looking at Greg’s completely panicked face. It takes a second to realize why he would be panicking, right as the boat starts listing to the side.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” Greg screams, clearly working himself into a panic attack.
But Dick’s been trained better than that. Yes, they’re sinking. But there is a reason they’re sinking.
As if summoned by his thoughts – “See, this is why I don’t trust you with other men, Blue.”
Dick feels every bit of tension inside of him relax, a smile overtaking his face. He still fucking hurts all over, he can barely keep his eyes open, it feels like he’s drowning with the way the rain is pelting the deck, but Jason is here to save him.
“What – who – oh my god, Hood!?” Greg screams hysterically.
But the Red Hood isn’t looking at him. Dick watches as Jason turns his back on Greg, making his way over to Dick. He does a spot check first and then reaches for Dick’s head with gloved fingers. “You okay?”
“Been better,” Dick slurs, injecting a bit of humor into his voice.
He moans in pain as Jason’s arms get underneath him, lifting him up, until he’s being carried in Jason’s arms. Nightwing wants to scream that this is no position to hold Dick with a hostile on board, but Dick is happy to be safe in Jason’s arms. He lets his head sink into Jason’s strong shoulder with a sigh of relief.
“Hood, Hood, what are you doing?”
That gets Dick to split his eyes open one more time. In front of them, shaking like a leaf and valiantly trying to keep his balance with only one hand on a rail, Greg stands.
“Rescuing my boyfriend, what does it look like?” the Red Hood snarls.
Dick shivers. This close to the voice modifiers, Red Hood sounds feral with anger.
Sure enough, Greg releases a pathetic sob. “You – how – I had guards!”
“Yeah, now you don’t,” the Red Hood replies coldly. Dick knows how it sounds but he also trusts Jason not to have killed.
Greg clearly doesn’t. He crumples against the railing with a hysterical scream. “But they were my way out! What the fuck, we’re going to fucking drown! Oh my fucking god! I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die - ”
“Hey!” the Red Hood yells, voice penetrating. “Get a fucking hold of yourself. I am going to get off this boat, it’s up to you if you follow.”
“Crashed?” Dick asks, voice feeling too thick but to get out the basics. He knows Jason will understand.
“I didn’t crash the boat, Dickie. How stupid do you think I am? The engine on his getaway boat is as loud as Tim’s snoring. Once I got close enough, I set off the bomb. I assumed there would be actual mercenaries and I needed the element of surprise. I can’t believe you got taken down by that wasp of a kid alone .”
The humiliation of it stings. “Don’t remind me,” Dick murmurs, the words almost unintelligible between his slur and the howling winds. The storm is definitely picking up.
He tenses only for a second as Jason takes a running jump, vaulting off the railing of the deck and slamming hard into the deck of the boat he must have commandeered. Dick’s vision swims and he has to fight down his nausea.
“Fuck what did he do to you?” Jason murmurs, voice edged with worry. It’s weird to hear it from Red Hood’s modifiers.
“Drug,” Dick supplies.
“Do you know which?”
Jason makes a sound of irritation. “I can’t do a blood blot here. Keep awake for me, alright? I’m gonna grab the fuckmunch, and then I’ll have you in Bats’ lair. RR knows your coming, you’re lucky he is a paranoid fuck.”
Ah, right. Dick forgot he agreed to get biometric tags embedded under his skin. It must have tipped Tim off, probably sensing the strange body reactions before Dick did. And since Tim knew where he was, he must have sent Jason, since he is closest to Gotham Harbour.
“’Kay,” Dick agrees, voice subdued. He can already imagine the lecture he’s going to get. Drugged and nearly murdered by a civilian, of all things. Damian is going to murder him.
Jason places him down on a bench. “I’ll be back. Try not to fucking get killed, please?”
Dick gives him the cheekiest smile he can muster. “No promises, Red.”
Jason snorts, white lens permeating all the judgement that must be in his eyes right now. Nonetheless, he turns around and goes to retrieve Greg.
Dick can’t sit up enough to see the other boat. He hopes Jason remembers to check for other people. There must at least be a captain.
He anxiously awaiting Jason so it’s the only reason he hears it.
“I don’t fucking get paid enough for this.”
Dick tenses. He slowly turns his head, just as a man stumbles his way into the cockpit. A clear military man, thick and grizzled with a hard look in his eyes that might be because of the blood running down his face. Fuck.
Dick still can’t control his limbs. He’s a sitting duck. He needs to just hope –
As if triggered by his thoughts, the man turns around, making direct eye contact with Dick. Confusion is clear in his eyes before they gain clarity. Dick sucks in a nervous breath as the man approaches the door separating the cockpit and the sole of the boat.
“Huh, I thought the kid was gonna kill you.”
“I can be pretty charming when I need to be,” Dick says with a nervous laugh. His voice still isn’t back at complete functionality but he doesn’t sound as debilitated as he had been before. He needs to play this like he’s choosing to sit here, slumped.
“Is that right?” The man asks, disbelief clear in his voice. He reaches around his back, scowling when he realizes his gun isn’t there.
“I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed but there is definitely something going on. Who knocked me out? Your bodyguard?”
Dick tries for a smile. “Something like that. Hey, you know I overheard you earlier. ‘Not getting paid enough’, huh? Well, you clearly know who I am since you’re working with Greggo, so how about I offer you a better deal. Name your price.”
The man’s lips twitch, pulling down into a hard frown. “Like I said, not the sharpest, but I ain’t an idiot. As if you’d let me walk. Like attracts like, you see. And I can count on that bloodthirst cocksucker up there to actually come through, unlike you. Mask put in his word, and everyone knows the Waynes are with the Bats.”
Dick’s just about to open his mouth, trying to buy some time, when the boat rocks violently.
Dick slumps back in his seat but the man tumbles straight into the wall. .
“-don’t know what you’re doing, I’m trying to help you!”
Red Hood and Greg enter into view, Greg frantically trying to clutch onto Jason while Jason wrestles him down. Ha, so much for being the only one caught off guard by the civilian.
“What the fuck –“
Red Hood sees the goon first. His head swivels from the thug to Dick. When he sees Dick isn’t hurt, his shoulders relax a bit.
“You!” Greg screeches, seeing what Red Hood saw. “I spent money on hiring you to avoid this situation. What were you doing, sleeping on the job? For fucks sake – kill him !”
Dick’s stomach sinks, nervously looking the man. He isn’t armed, Jason wouldn’t have left him with any weapons, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t do a lot of damage with his bare hands.
But Jason is right there – even if Dick can’t defend himself –
Dick yells, head pounding as the goon tackles him. He’s easily wrangled into a chokehold, the man’s muscular forearm tight around his throat and applying extreme pressure.
His breath is choked off immediately and Dick can’t help but instinctively try to thrash. His muscles don’t respond and that is what actually makes him panic. He’s not unfamiliar with having someone at his throat, but not being able to defend himself will never be a primal fear he can tame.
“Nuh uh. Take one step and I will break the pretty boy’s neck,” the military man snarls.
Dick can barely see Jason, vision going hazy. But he doesn’t need to see Jason to know what Jason is going to do.
Even over the sound of his choked breath and the violent waves lapping around their boat, the sound of a gun being cocked is unmistakable.
“I will put a bullet through your head, if you so much as twitch a muscle.”
Dick can practically feel the pounding merc’s heartbeat from his back.
“H-Hood,” Dick tries to choke out, trying to stop Jason. No, he doesn’t want Jason to kill. Jason’s worked so hard on himself, Dick doesn’t want it all to unravel not because of something like this.
But he also can’t deny that he’s dying. It hurts, having air be denied, the pain of a sensitive organ being slowly crushed.
“Trust me.” He vaguely hears.
He hears a gunshot from the white noise roaring in his ears, hears a shriek – but it all seems so far away.
Dick must black out because he doesn’t know what happens next.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
“-ick, Dickie, please, Dick!”
Dick feels consciousness return like a rushing tidal wave, slamming into him at once.
He gasps, trying to get upright, trying to get on his feet like his training has engraved into him.
But he can’t move.
He tries to struggle but he can’t move – why can’t he move – what is happening –
At the roar of his name, Dick finally snaps out of it. For the first time, he concentrates outside of himself.
It all comes back.
He’s in Jason’s arms, the Red Hood staring down at him.
“Dick,” Jason’s voice sounds emotional even through the red hood, “I need you to tell me if you can breathe without aide.”
Dick realizes he’s wheezing, breath coming in short and fast. But he isn’t choking. Years of playing on the wrong side of air depravity have instinctually made him try to breathe in a way that won’t set him into a debilitating fit.
Now that he is aware of it he takes calmer and more measured breathes. It hurts badly, but it can do it.
He doesn’t think moving his neck is a good idea, so he blinks as fast as he can, aware of the pain in his no doubt bloodshot eyes.
Jason’s shoulder slump. “Oh, thank fuck.”
Dick wants to smile at Jason’s concern, but he can’t muster up the energy for it. His mind is active again and he remembers the goon, remembers Greg.
He can’t see much because of Jason’s barrel chest, but he sees legs peeking out from behind Jason’s back.
“I knocked him out. I shot the fuckface that was choking you with a tranq dart and just bitchslapped the murderous fucker. He fell unconscious. Now that you’re awake, I’m going to tie them up. Then, I’m getting us the fuck out of here.”
Sounds like a great plan.
He groans hoarsely when Jason picks him up again, placing him on the bench, but this time lying down. He watches with tired eyes as Jason ties the two up with the rope from the emergency life preserver. That done, he goes below for a moment – Dick can only guess to make sure that there are no other surprises.
He comes up empty handed, which makes Dick sigh in relief.
His eyes shift to the deck-line, watching in impassiveness as the yacht that they were on slowly sinks. He can only hope that Jason got anyone else out in time.
The boat lurches into motion, Jason building up to top speed in a few moments. It makes Dick feel sick with the constant rocking. His head limply moves to and fro, which doesn’t help the pain in his throat at all nor the massive spikes of pain from the concussion he undoubtedly has.
God, he’s never going to live this down. A complete damsel in distress.
He falls unconscious at some point during the boat ride back, only waking up when pain makes itself known, Jason once again cradling him in his arms.
“- in there. I’m taking him to the hospital.”
“We can - ”
“No.” Dick places that as Jason’s voice, reasoning coming back slowly. They must be ashore, and Jason must have either paged Oracle or the GPD directly to apprehend the criminals.
“Hood, he’s a civilian - ”
“He’s mine,” Jason’s voice sounds absolutely lethal with the voice modifications.
Fuck, time to do some damage control.
Dick struggles to open his eyes, unsurprised when he does to see a few GPD officers standing off to the side, warily eyeing the Red Hood.
Oh, looks like he’s in luck.
Red Robin rolls in on his motorcycle just in the nick of time, before Dick has to open his mouth.
“Don’t worry,” Tim’s voice sounds soothing and professional at the same time, “the Waynes are aware of what happened, there should be an ambulance here in - ”
Seems like today is the day for dramatic moments. No sooner than Tim speaks does a siren puncture through the air.
It is probably planned. That ambulance will take them straight to Dr. Leslie, and Commissioner Gordon would be called in to take a statement.
“Well, would you look at that?”
Dick doesn’t care too much for semantics, he just wants to get to the point where it doesn’t feel like his throat is going to cave in on itself and his head is going to explode.
Jason drops him into the ambulance but doesn’t get in with him. Dick knows why, but it doesn’t stop him from whimpering in distress.
“Get better,” Jason – Red Hood – says simply, before turning around and using whatever distraction to get away from the GPD.
The doors close and a paramedic is asking him a few questions, her tone gentle and calm as she works over him. Dick can’t get words out and she seems to understand that, switching to non-verbal cues.
It takes up the length of the ride. He doesn’t quite pass out again, but things get hazy from travelling from the ambulance to Dr. Leslie’s table.
She draws a few blood samples, unwilling to give him anything until she knows what drug he’s been hit with. He can only assume Tim filled her in.
Tim comes in, Red Robin mask off, looking at Dick in a combination of worry and exasperation.
“Only you, Boy Hostage,” Tim shakes his head sardonically, before jumping in with Dr. Leslie to come up with an antidote.
He fades in and out as they talk, sighing in relief when something is finally given to him, taking away the aching pain from his throat and head.
He slips out of consciousness just as Jason walks in the door.
He doesn’t want to hear the lecture Jason has for him, anyway.
When Dick wakes up, he’s in his bed at the Manor.
“I was just going to try and kiss you awake, Sleeping Beauty.”
Dick’s eyes flit to the side, taking in Jason’s weary form slumped into an armchair. He looks worse for wear, dark circles under his eyes.
“J - ” Dick tries to say Jason’s name but his throat seizes up, no sound coming out. In the same second, Jason is on his feet, leaning over Dick with a finger pressed to his lips.
“Don’t talk,” Jason orders him, voice hard with sternness. “I’m not playing, Dick. Your throat is seriously fucked up. Not a sound.”
Irritation wells under his skin, hating the tone Jason is taking with him. It’s all amplified because of how shitty he is feeling. But he can’t exactly deny that if he were to try to talk, he’d be sent into a coughing fit.
So he nods.
Jason withdraws his hand but doesn’t move from the bed.
Dick waits for the lecture, the ribbing, the taunts.
“I’ve never seen you so helpless.”
Dick’s eyes widen. That wasn’t what he was expecting. He stares at Jason, confused. His stomach twists to see the distress on Jason’s face.
“And while he was choking you, trying to kill you, your eyes were on me , begging me not to kill him.”
Dick remembers that. Remembers that even with the arm across his throat, the terror of having his air supply taken away as he was helpless - it was the fear that Jason was going to kill again that really made him panic. He moves his hand, placing it on Jason’s thigh. He squeezes as best as he can. Except Jason flinches away.
“After all these years, you still don’t trust me?” Jason’s voice is rough, angry, but all with the undercurrent of hurt.
Dick feels like someone just stabbed him in the heart. Immediately, he tries to sit up, tries to lean over and grab Jason’s arm. Familiar panic wells in his gut, this fear that Jason is going to leave him.
“Stay down!” Jason barks, voice harsh but touch light as he keeps Dick’s shoulders pinned. “God, Dick, just stay still. I have a lot of shit to say and this is probably the only time I can say it.”
Dick’s hands flutter in the comforter helplessly, wanting to reach up and touch Jason but also recognizing the urgency in Jason’s eyes. He nods.
Jason leans back, a shaky hand running through his hair. “You asked me why I was distant the past few weeks. You know what Black Mask was to me.” He pauses, eyes looking away from Dick as he seems to try and work through his memories.
Dick hesitantly lets his hand brush Jason’s thigh. This time Jason doesn’t pull away.
“Let me start again,” Jason says, eyes moving back to Dick’s but this time they are filled with resolve. “I’m sorry for brushing you off that morning. I didn’t say what I meant, but I still hurt you and then I was too proud to apologize. I should have told you why the case was so important to me.”
Dick nods, accepting the apology. After everything that’s happened, he can barely remember what he was so upset about.
Jason takes a deep breath, continuing. “I’m serious about you, Dick. I want to take this relationship to the next level.”
Dick stares at Jason, stunned. For a second, the words don’t make sense to Dick but when they sink in, his heart inflates, pure joy singing through his body. He can’t help it, his throat starts to flex before he can stop himself as he tries to shout ‘me too’. He’s lucky that a sharp spike of pain stops him before he can damage his throat any further. Stupidly, he thinks the next best thing should be to hug Jason, but his boyfriend seems to anticipate this, one hand firmly pinning Dick’s shoulders to the bed.
“Dick,” Jason warns sharply, and Dick immediately stops squirming. Voiceless and immobile the next best thing he can do is to smile up at Jason.
Jason sighs. “Turn down the brightness, Goldie.”
Dick swats at Jason for ruining the moment.
Jason just rolls his eyes. “I’ll tell you again when you can respond to me, Dickface. But listen, okay? I’m not done.”
Dick stills. He tempers down his fluttering heart, remembering that Jason has a lot more he wants to say. He nods to show he’s listening.
“When I started thinking about getting more serious - ” Jason cuts himself off, pink tinged his cheeks. “Look, I want to be a better person for you, okay?”
Dick nods happily, heart feeling like it might burst. He’s noticed, of course he has, how much better Jason has been about things that matter to Dick. Speaking with Bruce, being there for Damian, joining in on team missions more.
“Black Mask - Sionis, he was a big part of my past. When I realized he was trying to get back in Gotham, I…” Jason trails off, sighing. “He gets under my skin nearly as much as Bruce does, Dick. I need to keep him out because he has an influence over me that I need to break. So I threw myself into the case because to me it made all the sense in the world that locking him up meant having your hand.”
There are tears prickling Dick’s eyes. Without his voice, he feels like he might just explode from all the feelings he has inside.
Jason must understand because he grabs Dick’s hand, allowing Dick to squeeze the life out of it with a fond eye roll.
“Yeah, yeah, look at me, having a feeling.”
The soft smile on Jason’s face slips and correspondingly feels his heart stutter. “I’ve done my best not to kill. Almost four years, Dick. But you saw the gun in my hand and you thought I was going to kill him.”
Dick squeezes Jason’s hand harder, absurdly afraid he’s going to pull away. He shakes his head, because that wasn’t it, Jason has the wrong idea -
“I have given up a lot, Dick. To be someone you could love.”
Dick can’t just sit here. He can’t let Jason think that Dick doesn’t love him. “I l- y-u,” Dick forces out. The words are barely intelligible just wisps of heavy air but the gist is there.
“Dick!” Jason snarls, “stop!”
Dick shakes his head. He’s survived much worse than this. He can’t do anything about Jason’s pin, but at least he can grab Jason’s hand with both of his own. “I t-st y-.”
It hurts, of course it does, but he would risk going mute it it meant that Jason understood that Dick loves and trusts him.
“Dick!” Jason yells again, fury in his voice.
He hovers above Dick now, trying to tug his hand away, but Dick won’t let him. Tears do spill down the side of his cheeks but he doesn’t care for the pathetic picture he makes.
“I - ” Dick winds up to say again.
“I know!” Jason explodes. “Fuck, Dick, I know you love me, now shut your fucking mouth!”
He does in a fashion. He mouths the words repeatedly, making sure Jason’s green eyes are locked on him. Jason’s face crumples, a thin sheen of wetness clouding his eyes before he closes them. He ducks his head on to Dick’s shoulder.
“I know,” Jason repeats. “I know. I know somewhere in that twisted martyr head of yours there are a lot of things you would sacrifice for me. But I don’t need that, Dick. I need you to trust me.”
Dick winds his arms around Jason’s shoulders, wishing his boyfriend would just let his weight go and lay on top of Dick. Instead Jason pulls away.
“You know what the worst part is?” Jason laughs, mirthless and self-deprecating. “I don’t even trust myself. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to make sure he could never touch you again.”
Dick cups Jason’s face bringing him as close as Jason will allow him. ‘But you didn’t’ Dick mouths, hoping the message comes across. He thumbs under Jason’s eyes, wiping away tears that Jason won’t spill.
“But I didn’t,” Jason confirms, quiet.
They share an intense moment, looking into each others eyes. There is conversation here to be had. Dick needs to confess to his own sins as well, to stop trying to explain away actions. If they’re going to be serious, they need to communicate a lot more.
“So do me a favour, Dickface,” Jason says, a half smirk on his tired face. “Don’t test my resolve any more, okay?”
Dick cracks his own grin at that. ‘I’ll try’ he mouths, before he pulls Jason down for a kiss.
“One day, you’ll see the humour in this,” Jason teases him, throwing the latest gossip mag in Dick’s face.
It’s been two weeks since the ‘incident’ and Gotham’s rumor mill still won’t let go of the Red Hood coming to Richie Wayne’s rescue. At some point during Hood’s docking and the GPD swarming in, someone had snagged a picture of Dick in Hood’s arms. It was quickly circulated, and not even Wayne’s PR control could keep it out of the media. Granted, they didn’t try very hard.
Bruce didn’t believe in interfering with the press unless absolutely necessary and apparently his former ward shacking up with Gotham’s resident ‘bad boy’ wasn’t enough of an issue to get involved. Sucks for Dick. So, this is what tasting his own medicine feels like.
Dick groans. It’s almost quiet and light, still trying to give his throat a break.
He rolls over in Jason’s bed, pouting up at his boyfriend in betrayal.
The thing that surprised Dick the most out of this entire deal – the only reason he puts up with all the jabbing by Tim, Damian, Duke, Steph, and Babs – is that Jason finds the entire thing hilarious.
Dick can put up with a lot, if it keeps the smile on Jason’s face.
“Stop teasing me,” he whines, voice quiet.
What irritates him the most out of everything is that he’s been told to keep his speaking down to a minimum. Jason seems to think that includes subvocal sounds, so no sex has been on the table for the past two weeks.
He’s been doing really well in his recovery, and he doesn’t want to wait any longer.
“Babe,” Dick whines, using his finger to trace a small pattern on his own bare chest, hoping to entice Jason in, “come cuddle with me. I need some support from all this trauma.”
It’s not like Dick hasn’t been milking what he can from this.
Jason raises a challenging eyebrow but obliges nonetheless, falling into bed behind Dick and easily spooning him. He’s due to go out for patrol – another thing Dick’s been banned from – tonight, but there are plenty of things they can get up to –
Dick yelps when a phone is dropped onto his chest.
He glares at Jason but picks up the phone.
Greg Gallager Jr. to be sentenced to 4 years, Gallagher Sr. under investigation, possible connections to Black Mask
Dick rolls his eyes.
He isn’t surprised that the sentence is that light. Gallagher’s must have used what little pull they had left to soften the blow. The hired mercenary is in for life, Dick knows via Tim. Dick’s already told both his family and Gordon about Greg’s admission to being in contact with Black Mask - Roman Sionis. They’ve traced him back to New York.
Bruce has already forbidden them from chasing after him, not that anyone is surprised. It doesn’t stop them from giving the GPD as much information as possible, though. Last Dick heard, Gordon has been talking to the NYPD Commissioner.
“If he so much as toes the line into Gotham, I will make sure he never walks again.”
The brings Dick back to the present. For a moment, he’s confused, until he realizes that Jason is talking about Greg.
Dick gasps as Jason’s arm tightens around him. Behind him, Jason ducks his head into Dick’s neck.
Honestly, Dick’s been waiting for this. Humor is a defense mechanism Jason employs to hide his concern. Now that Dick’s recovering, bruises fading, the familiar anger is back.
“I’m okay,” Dick whispers, hand tracing over Jason’s forearm lightly. “My hero,” he teases, trying to lighten up the mood.
For a second, he thinks Jason won’t bite. But then the pressure of Jason’s head disappears, and a hand tucks under his chin, tilting his jaw back gently.
“Where is my reward?” Jason asks, voice pitched low and his gaze intense.
Dick needs no further prompting, shifting so he’s completely on his back. Jason naturally hovers on top of him, and Dick grabs Jason’s face gently between his palms, guiding him down.
Their lips meet gently, Jason just lightly brushing over Dick’s as if he’s afraid too much pressure will break him.
It’s ridiculous and Dick rectifies that quickly by tugging Jason down further. When Jason tries to keep it chaste, Dick winds his legs around Jason’s waist, really tugging him down.
Jason falls with an ooff, and yeah, that might not have been the smartest idea Dick’s had. He wheezes at the sudden weight but quickly gets control of himself, shifting his arm to the back of Jason’s head so he is locked in place as Dick kisses him like he wants to.
Jason finally concedes, the roll of his eyes practically a physical touch that Dick can feel. Dick glares back with his own. This doesn’t feel sexy at all –
Dick moans, eyes fluttering closed as Jason finally puts his tongue into play, teasing the seam of his lips and easily diving in when Dick eagerly opens his mouth.
They make out softly for a few minutes, their bodies heating up at the familiar intimate touch. They’re both bare chested so it’s easy for Dick to start caressing Jason’s back and chests, teasing going up and flicking Jason’s nipples.
That gets Jason to moan, hips reflexively thrusting forward.
Unfortunately, they’re both wearing boxers so the friction isn’t as great as it could be, but the pressure is no less glorious.
They pant into each others mouths, but it’s Jason who breaks away first.
“You okay to do this?” Jason asks, trying to sound unaffected and unconcerned, but Dick knows his boyfriend all too well.
“Yes, Jay,” Dick smiles at his, giving him a cheesy wink. “Your damsel wants to give you his thanks.”
Jason groans at the lameness. “Dick, why do you have to be so corny?”
Dick can’t resist. “Because I’m horny!”
Jason’s face falls. “Fuck, I walked right into that one.”
Dick uses his legs to tug Jason back down. “You did. Now, while I love chatting with you, how about we get to the fun stuff?”
Jason looks torn for a second. He gives Dick a once over again. His shoulders lose some of the tension and he nods, a dirty smirk encroaching his face. “Alrighty, Goldie. I know you missed this dick – oh, fuck -”
“I know you missed this Dick!” Dick retorts back, breaking into giggles at the look of pure disgust on Jason’s face.
“Fuck, nope, can’t do it!” Jason breaks out of Dick’s hold, ignoring Dick’s whinging. “Try again tomorrow, when your mouth isn’t feeling so smart.”
Dick’s tongue itches to say something to that statement but he’s already on thin ice.
“Jaybird,” he whines, “come on, I’ll be good. I’ll shut up!”
Jason arches an eyebrow at him. “Yeah, like I believe that.”
“Okay, I’ll keep the word play out of it,” Dick concedes, pouting at Jason, “please come touch my dick? That happens to be on your Dick?”
Jason slaps a hand over his face in exasperation. “I have a line up of people begging to fuck me - apparently willing to kill to get my attention - and out of all of them I chose you .”
Dick knows it’s meant as a jab, but he could honestly care less. “Yeah, you did,” Dick replies softly, arms out and beckoning.
Jason sighs, exasperated. “Yeah, I did.”
Dick can’t help his pleased smile, something Jason has no problem covering with his mouth.
Dick does show Jason how much he appreciates him, flipping him over and worshiping Jason’s body until he eventually rides him into completion. When Dick cums, he flops on top of Jason, panting.
His throat is already sore, but it was completely worth it. His body thrums on the high of a good orgasm and his heart feels full and sated when Jason’s arms wrap around him, cuddling him close as they catch their breath.
Dick’s already feeling tired. It’s been a long day in general with press conferences upon interviews upon more press conferences, but right here, right now, it’s all worth it.
Jason cuddles him until he’s almost asleep, only slipping out from underneath him when it’s time for him to head out for patrol.
“My hero,” Dick whispers to Jason’s back, watching him change into his Red Hood uniform.
Jason finishes changing, sitting on the edge of the bed, his ungloved hand slowly carding through the hair on Dick’s head. “I’ll save you anytime you’re in trouble, Goldie. Promise.”
Dick shivers at the uncharacteristically serious tone. It feels as good as a love declaration.
He reaches up to grab Jason’s hand, bringing it down to face level and kissing the back of it. “I know. I love you too,” Dick whispers.
Jason makes a small embarrassed sound, tugging his hand free and standing up.
“But seriously, you can cut down on the Boy Hostage take, Dickie,” Jason snarks, already heading towards the faux wall that hides his HQ.
Well, the moment was as good while it lasted.
But, honestly? Dick wouldn’t have Jason any other way.
“Stay safe, Jay,” Dick calls, as loudly as his healing throat dares.
Jason pauses, before entering. He turns back to Dick, his green eyes looking heavy as they take in Dick’s form laying in his bed, tangled up in the blankets.
“I’ll do anything it takes to come back home to you,” Jason tells him, or tells the air left of him, pink dusting his cheeks before he turns around and ducks into his control centre, the wall coming back down silently.
Dick’s grinning so hard his cheeks hurt.
He hugs Jason’s pillow close to his chest. He’s still tired, will probably fall asleep soon, but he wants to stay up just a bit longer, see if he can hear the roar of Jason’s engine as he tears down Gotham’s streets on his bike.
Greg Gallagher may have been one special brand of crazy, but he was right in the one thing that mattered most, even if he hadn’t known it.
Jason Todd was always meant to be a hero and Gotham is lucky to have him.
And that is all folks! Thank you again to Abbyromana for all the help betaing this when I came crawling to you at the nth hour!
In this epilogue I hope it comes across that Dick and Jason have decided to live together. It will resolve the issue of Dick thinking they aren't spending enough time together and Jason's need for physical intimacy (which I hope I hinted at strongly enough) and companionship. :)
I hope you all enjoyed the ride!