We don't talk about it, it's something we don't do
'Cause once you go without it, nothing else will do
The lights in the hallway hummed faintly. Fluorescent, and yet not entirely unpleasant. It wasn’t a bad apartment building by any means, Dick thought, though Slade could certainly afford nicer. He had never asked why Slade lived there of all places, but figured it had something to do with its location: on the edge of town, secluded, free of loiterers and drug dens and all the other pleasantries that came with most of Gotham.
Dick walked down the hallway, shoes thudding against the carpeted floor. Stopping before a door, he knocked once. Moments later, perhaps a moment longer than was strictly necessary, though, Dick smirked with fond exasperation, Slade had no doubt heard his knock and was simply stalling as to be petty, the door opened.
An imperceptible eye raked over Dick’s frame, and a smirk adorned the man’s face.
“So nice of you to show up, little bird.” The man crooned, his tone a blend of sarcastic and genuine that Dick had never found anyone else to quite be able to pull off the way Slade did.
“Yeah, well, it’s been a long week. I’m horny. We doing this or what?”
Slade stepped back, swinging the door open invitingly.
“I’m ready when you are.”
Afterwards, when they had been going so long that even Dick’s libido had to admit defeat, they lay in Slade’s california king-size bed, Slade lazily tracing a hand over Dick’s bicep.
“What would you call this?” Dick broke the silence.
Slade hummed, head turning slightly. “This?”
“You know, you, me, us.” Dick rolled onto his stomach, gently craning Slade’s head so that their eyes met. “The sex.” He said playfully.
“I think you just answered that.” Slade replied, voice neutral.
“So that’s all this is to you, then.” Dick inquired, attempting to keep his tone from coming off too accusatory.
“Is there something I’m missing here?” Slade asked, propping himself onto an arm.
Dick shook his head, eyes flitting away.
“What brought this up anyway?”
Dick shook his head. “Nothing, really. I just wanted to make sure we were still on the same page.”
Slade didn't seem convinced, but he let the matter pass.
An hour later, Dick walked out the front door of Slade’s apartment complex, covered in faint bruises that had been bestowed upon him by Slade’s wandering hands and mouth.
He chose to focus on the sting of those as opposed to the ache in his heart.
Dick was in the Batcave later that night, legs swinging absentmindedly as he listened to Bruce discuss the tail end of the case. Dick was only somewhat listening. He had been there to take down the drug trafficker, he knew what Bruce was going to say.
He was thinking about Slade. Hearing him say that they were nothing but...well “friends” might be too strong, but acquaintance seemed so impersonal, so whatever-they-were with benefits. It made Dick feel weird, like his insides were squeezing and he found it harder to breathe. He didn’t know why he felt that way, that was exactly what they were.
He was pulled from his thoughts when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He hadn’t even realized he had zoned out. His face snapped up to meet Bruce’s eyes, irritation shining in them.
“Dick, you with us?”
Dick was about to reassure the man that he was absolutely with them 100%, and definitely was not thinking about the weight of Slade’s thighs on top of him, nope. Before he could, though, Tim’s voice shot up from across the room.
“He’s probably just tired. Late night, Dick?” Dick wouldn't have had to look at his little brother to know he was smirking.
Bruce frowned, clearly frustrated that he was not on the same page as Tim.
“What do you mean, Tim?”
Tim laughed a little, before hopping down from the med bay gurney where Alfred had just finished stitching up a small gash on his bicep. He headed over to where Dick and Bruce were currently standing.
“Come on, Bruce. I thought they called you the world’s greatest detective.”
He stopped by Dick, pointing to his neck.
“Look at those hickeys! Dick clearly had some company last night.” He wiggled his eyebrows playfully, lips spread into a goofy grin.
Dick tried to smile, but he knew it looked strained. Ordinarily he would have had no problem with the teasing, cherishing any moment where Tim felt secure enough to come out of his shell. Now, though, any and all conversation centered around Slade shot a pain through his chest.
Dick reached up to cover his neck, blushing.
“Come on, Tim.” He mumbled, unable to meet anyone’s eyes.
Tim just laughed. “Seriously, Dick, be careful. You know he loves you, but if you get knocked up Bruce is gonna be pissed. Do you know how hard it will be to have a shotgun wedding when Bruce doesn’t allow guns in the house?”
Dick decided he should leave.
As he was heading out, he heard Tim call from behind him.
“Are you heading back to your knight in shining armour?”
Dick paused. He felt the irrational need to defend himself.
“He’s nothing like that. It doesn’t mean anything. There will definitely be no weddings, shotgun or otherwise.”
And with that, he was gone.
Dick sighed, fingers absentmindedly playing with the duvet.
He and Slade had finished for the night, and Slade was resting, laying with his eyes closed. Dick attempted sleep but couldn’t manage, and gave up after an hour or so of staring at the wall.
He slowly sat up, careful to not wake Slade, if at all possible. He was attempting to put his jeans back on when Slade sat up, watching Dick silently. As he sat down to get his shoes on, Slade spoke.
“Leaving so soon?”
Dick snorted. “I got here a little after 5pm. It’s almost midnight.”
“You could spend the night.” Slade offered.
Dick shook his head. “Nah, I can’t do that.”
Slade’s face remained impassive.
Dick looked up at him with a frustrated expression.
“Because it’s just sex, remember? I’m here for sex. Now that we are done with the sex part, there’s no reason for me to stay.”
He stood up to grab his jacket.
Slade sighed. “Dick, what’s going on?”
Dick paused by the door to the bedroom. “Nothing.” He said, voice small.
“Okay, fine! It’s just…” Dick sat down on the bed next to Slade.
“Just. The other day, I was wrapping up a drug bust with Tim, and he made a stupid comment about a hickey I had, and when I went to leave Tim was joking about weddings and I laughed and said you weren’t that important, but then I got to thinking, and it’s like, is it insulting to say you’re not important? Is it insane to say you are?” Dick finished vomiting his words and looked at Slade hesitantly.
Slade’s face was blank as he processed Dick’s thoughts.
“Well that depends” was Slade’s eventual answer. “Do you think this could go anywhere?”
Dick blinked. “Anywhere, like...a relationship? Like dating? Like you, Slade Wilson, Deathstroke, conqueror of worlds or whatever, and me, Dick Grayson, Nightwing, Batman’s former apprentice, like, going to a movie and then an Italian restaurant? Together?”
Slade snorted. “You make it sound so complicated.”
“Well, isn’t it?” Dick asked, letting the question settle in the open air. Slade fixed him with a look that made his answer clear.
“I mean, yeah, okay. I mean yeah I would be open to...that. Like, a date. Or dating. Whatever. I mean the sex is amazing and you’re really awfully attractive but I wouldn’t be opposed to something more. I mean if you were down.”
Slade looked amused. “I would say that I’m ‘down’, yes.”
Dick nodded. “Good, okay. Me too.”
Slade smiled, faint but no less genuine. “Okay.”
Dick nodded again, not entirely certain what was going on. “Okay.”
There was a brief pause as they both thought.
“So you wanna go again?” Dick eventually said.
Slade laughed, loud and bright, and leaned in for a kiss.