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Jason scratches at the collar of his turtleneck.

The style has always looked good on him. As Slade said when the were at the tailor (because Slade has too much in common with Bruce apparently and is horrified by the idea of clothing not fitted to one’s exact measurements), they “work with the whole book worm thing” he has going on.

He has just been wearing a lot more of them since they got back from their trip a couple months ago.

Because it’s not the soft, comfortable fabric of the shirt that has him constantly fiddling with it. It’s what he’s wearing underneath it.

Slade said he couldn’t resist. And considering that every movement near the area catches the older man’s attention, Jason believes him.

Between that and the flash of platinum at his wrist, Slade rarely resists anything about him anymore.

Simultaneously showing the bracelet and calling the eye to his throat is the surest way to get his partners attention.

Slade doesn’t disappoint him, finally looking up from his phone. But he’s not blind to Jason’s game.

“You summoned?” the old man sighs at him, like he’s being a brat.

“You’ve been on that thing through three courses,” Jason points out. “Just wanted to make sure the world wasn’t ending.”

Slade’s eye lingers on his throat for a moment before catching on the bracelet and gives a much more genuine sigh. He looks tired and conflicted.

“I’m sorry for ruining date night.”

Jason snorts. “Please. Every night is ‘date night’—”

“You know I don’t consider reading together a ‘date’—”

“And you know I do.” He smirks, then lets it slip into something a little softer. “Anyway, you haven’t ruined anything. You just look lost in your head and I figured I’d remind you I was here. You know. Just in case.”

He gives Slade a pointed look. His meaning is clear. Slade has been trying to be more open and communicative. Sometimes Jason has to give him a nudge.

With a final glance down at his phone and a last, quick text, Slade finally sets it face down on the table. Then looks back up to give Jason his full attention.

“My son is in town.”

Jason blinks in surprise. Slade doesn’t talk about his son much. Rose has been a fairly regular presence since they stopped hiding their relationship from Jason’s family (and it’s still exciting to get to call it an actual relationship), popping in and out fairly regularly over the last several months. Jason had known her from Gotham Academy where she’d been a couple grades ahead of him. Then she had interned with Dick and they kind of became friends.

But Jason’s been with Slade for a little over two years now and all he knows about his son (the one that’s still living anyway) is that Joseph grew up with his mom in New York and doesn’t want much to do with his father.

“Oh! And he reached out?”

Slade takes a sip of his previously neglected wine and nods. “More or less.”

“That’s great,” Jason says, smiling at him. Slade’s a hard ass but Jason has managed to crack through that crusty exterior to the soft center. He knows Slade cares more than he would ever show. “You want to see him alone or invite him over?”

He’d like to meet Joseph, but Slade barely knows him himself and Jason would understand if Slade didn’t want his son to meet his younger partner. Younger than Joseph, that is. Jason is younger than Slade’s children. A fact that Rose finds delightful and never misses an opportunity to exploit.

Considering that Jason still hasn’t made up with his father but Bruce and Slade seem to be best friends now, Jason would very much like his own ally on Slade’s side. And Rose certainly isn’t going to be helpful in that respect.

She calls him ‘stepdad’ just to watch them both squirm.

“Do you want to meet him?” Slade asks. He seems genuinely surprised.

“If it wouldn’t be too uncomfortable for you,” Jason shrugs, “yeah. I would.”

It’s Slade’s turn to snort. “I won’t be uncomfortable. We both adults and the kids can understand that or leave until they grow up a bit.”

Narrowing his eyes, Jason gives him a glare. “That sounded pretty patronizing—”

“Maturity doesn’t happen at a universal rate, Jason. I can complain about people of any age needing to grow up without it being an indictment of the whole generation. Plenty of people my age could do with some development.”

“Not too many people your age,” Jason quips with an impish smirk, “Not very many people your age left in the world, old man.”

The expression on Slade’s face slips from considering to hungry in an instant. His eye trails down Jason’s face and stops at his throat again.

“Careful, boy,” Slade says, voice a smooth, low rumble. “Or I’m going to have to take you over my knee and spank you.”

The server chooses that moment to arrive to ask for desert orders and Jason turns as red as his crimson turtleneck. Seeing that the poor girl has also gone a brilliant shade of pink is not comforting.

Unsurprisingly, Slade just grins and, without taking his eye of Jason, says, “I think we’ll have desert at home tonight,” and sends the poor girl off to get the bill with a blush to rival Jason’s own.

 


 

Slade can’t help himself.

He thought after so long with the same person the novelty and excitement would slowly give way to routine and apathy. That’s what happened with his ex-wife, after all.

But so often around Jason he can’t even control himself.

Like now. When he’s pulling the kid’s clothes off him before they’re even out of the elevator, let alone in their apartment.

The deal is that Jason picks the collar he wears as long as he wears one, it doesn’t matter. Slade never thought he’d spend half his day distracted by trying to figure out which one was chosen. Usually he’ll cave and ask for hints which Jason will happily oblige with the vaguest, least helpful things he can come up with.

But today he had a four hour seminar and didn’t respond to Slade’s “increasingly desperate pleas” as Jason called it.

It takes all his strength not to just rip the stupid shirt off younger man. So he feels like he deserves some credit for his restraint while he carefully peels it over Jason’s head as they stumble out onto their floor.

The whole top floor is theirs. So there isn’t anyone to see them as Slade shoves Jason against the wall of the landing while they frantically undo each other’s pants. This time anyway. There was one memorable instance when they both forgot Dick was coming over and that was…

Well, it was quite awkward. For Jason. Slade still chuckled every time he thought about it.

There also might be a camera for security purposes but the building’s security is extremely discreet. It’s a big part of why Slade had chosen this place.

He doesn’t even pretend to try to hold back the possessive growl that rolls off his tongue at the sight of the delicate strip of black lace at Jason’s neck, a silver “SW” pendant resting in the hollow of his throat. He knows on the back of that pendant is an engraving that reads “Property of Slade Wilson” and what little control he had left disappears.

Jason yelps in surprise when Slade rips his boxer-briefs in half and lets the shredded fabric fall to the floor. Then he’s pressing Jason back against the wall again, mouths and nips along the line of fabric around his neck.

It’s not that Slade truly considers Jason his property, even if he absolutely considers Jason his. As much as he considers himself Jason’s. And isn’t that a strange feeling; giving himself to someone in that way. He’d been happy to accept that kind of trust and affection but when it came down to, not even reciprocating, just acknowledging that it was reciprocated, Slade had hesitated, unwilling to open himself up to that kind of vulnerability.

Unlike so many others through the years, Jason had simply continued on. Where Slade had been happy to take with only the smallest bit of guilt, Jason had happily given with only the smallest of hope.

Slade is still not used to it, the easy way they move around each other every day; the comfortable way they occupy the same space in the quiet moments; the way they slot so perfectly together when they finally flop back against the mattress, breathing hard and sweating after a brief third round. When Jason wriggles closer, rolls onto his side and throws an arm over Slade’s ribcage, and starts to drift off to sleep as his breathing evens out.

“We should clean up,” Slade rumbles against his temple after pressing a kiss to the spot. There are also some clothing they should grab just outside the apartment door.

Jason hums into the heated skin of Slade’s chest and licks his lips. Probably just to get some moisture before he speaks. But Slade knows him well enough now to not doubt the way that tongue flick over his nipple and the way the breath that follows chills the little wet stripe is any kind of accident.

“You know as well as I do that a shower is just going to end up in another go,” he says, the words sluggish and slurring. “The morning is fine. I don’t mind sleeping with you all over me.”

Even through the sleepiness, Slade can hear the heat of hunger in Jason’s tone. It’s enough to make him twitch in renewed interest.

Instead he just wraps the kid tighter in his arms and stares at the platinum hoop on his wrist, glinting in the moonlight that leaks through the shades.

Slade has changed a lot in the last couple of years. In no small part because of Jason’s patience and understanding. And the kid’s disconcerting knack for whittling away at Slade’s carefully constructed barriers without his even noticing.

Maybe it’s enough to build some kind of relationship with his estranged son. He hasn’t seen Joseph since well before he even started pursuing Jason. Since even before the ill-advised one-night fling with Dick. Joey spent that one summer “with him” after his year abroad between undergrad and graduate school. But… Slade pretty much never saw him. He’d been too busy with work and Joseph had seemed to find enough entertainment around Gotham to keep him occupied.

“I’d like very much for you to meet my son,” Slade mutters before Jason can slip into his dreams. Since Jason is the reason Slade has changed enough to swallow his pride and call his ex-wife to plead with her; all but beg her to pass along the message to Joseph that Slade was an ass and wanted to make one, real attempt to have something with his son.

What was left of Slade’s pride is the only thing stopping him from admitting to himself that he absolutely did beg Adeline.

He’s kind of surprised she did considering that, even while her dislike of him is certainly warranted, she’s always been a little too eager to complain about him to their son.

“Good,” Jason says, the word muffled by the way his lips are pressed against Slade’s skin before he shifts, just enough to speak clearly. “I’d understand, if you didn’t. But I’m happy you do.”

“It might be kind of difficult for you to talk to him though,” Slade responds, wanting to prepare Jason so that he’s not surprised. “I’ll have to translate. Always makes things kind of awkward.”

That gets Jason up on an elbow, looking down at him with narrowed eyes. “Why?”

With a sigh, Slade twines the fingers of his left hand through the fingers of Jason’s right. Slade may have come a long way since meeting Jason but he still has a long way to go.

He can’t believe he’s told Jason so little about his kids.

“Joseph’s vocal cords were damaged in the accident that-that killed…” Slade grunts. It’s been years, decades almost, and Jason is amazing but it’s still impossible to talk about. “Anyway, he’s mute. He can only speak ASL.”

Jason blinks at him for a second. Then his mouth splits into a wide grin and he huffs out a little laugh. “Oh! Don’t worry about that. I know ASL.”

It’s Slade’s turn to be surprised. “How?”

“What do you mean ‘how’? I learned it.”

“No, I mean why?” Slade asks. Turning onto his own side to face Jason head on. “It’s not like French or Spanish, you know? It’s not a romance  language, people don’t really think to learn ASL unless they have someone to learn it for.”

Even in the darkness and monochromatic shades of the moonlight, Slade can see Jason blush.

“Well, for starters, I didn’t learn French and Spanish because they were romantic either—”

“You kind of did,” Slade says, amusement positively ringing through the room. “You wanted to read your romantic books and poetry in the original languages.”

“Anyway,” Jason huffs, ignoring him. “They offered an introductory ASL course one semester and I thought it’d be cool to learn partly because people don’t really think about it as much as other languages.”

“Mmhm,” Slade hums, unconvinced. None of that explains the blush. “And the other part?”

Jason practically gulps.

“I… I was still… I was still really worried about getting Dick to like me,” he says quietly.

Sometimes Slade forgets that Jason had a life before the Waynes. Unlike his brothers, Jason didn’t know who his father was until his mother died and the state had to figure out what to do with him and started looking for family.

Slade vaguely remembers the small scandal when the name on Jason’s birth certificate was discovered. It could have been a bigger deal but Bruce’s wife was a gracious, caring woman before her own untimely death and accepted the new kid like he was her own.

“He was in college,” Jason continues, “and he said he was learning to sign so he could understand this new friend he made. I thought it’d… I don’t know, impress him or something, so I learned it too.”

He sounds so small and shy talking about wanting his older brother’s approval. It’s too fucking cute.

Untangling his hand from Jason’s, he moves it up to cup his neck; thumbs at the collar for moment before tilting Jason’s chin up and kissing him slow and deep.

Then Jason smirks against his lips and Slade braces himself for the jab that’s coming. “Worked out for me. Dick’s friend was hot. Ended up being my… my first real… anything.”

“Mmm. So you’ve always liked older men?” Slade teases. Dick’s only six or seven years older than Jason, it’s not really the same thing. His friends are certainly much more age appropriate for Jason than Slade himself. But if Jason is going to try to rile him up, Slade can give as good as he gets.

“I was 18 and we liked each other and that’s what matters.”

Something in Jason’s voice is hard and determined and not at all the same playful tone they’d previously established.

A part of Slade wants to pry and he wonders if he maybe should. He’s still new to sharing a life with someone and he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of when someone needs comfort versus when someone needs space.

But Jason is already snuggling back against him, nudging under his arm. So Slade lets it slide for the moment. Instead, he pulls Jason close again and follows him into a deep, exhausted slumber.

 


 

Grocery shopping would have been so much easier if Slade had told him anything about what his son likes.

Slade probably doesn’t know. Which Jason thinks is kind of sad.

His own dad at least knows what his favorite desert, even if he does leave the particulars to Alfred.

The whole thing kind of makes Jason want to call Bruce and finally end the extended silent treatment Jason’s been enforcing since discovering that his dad cut him off to make a point to his boyfriend.

Jason cringes the moment the word skates across his thoughts. Calling Slade a ‘boyfriend’ has always sounded really wrong. Slade is… not the ‘boyfriend’ type. Jason’s always gone with partner or… or just never put a label to it at all if he can help it.

He spins the bracelet around his wrist absentmindedly. Whatever it’s called, he doesn’t question Slade’s commitment to him.

So he felt a little guilty slinking out of the apartment as early as possible without waking Slade. Then worse when Slade a had texted him about it.

Slade:    Joseph agreed to come to dinner tonight.

Jason:   Great! What does he like? Is he allergic to anything?

A long pause had clued him in.

Jason:   I’ll keep it simple and have a couple options.

            It’s fine that you don’t know. That’s what this is about. Getting to know him. Don’t freak out <3

Another pause, several minutes passing, before Slade finally answers.

Slade:    You’re better than I deserve.

Jason just snorts and starts tapping at the screen to tell him to fuck off with that self-deprecating crap and that he love him when Slade sends another text before he can finish.

Slade:    You left pretty early. Is everything ok?

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Jason responds much more casually than he feels.

Jason:   Yeah. Of course. Just have a lot to get done today.

Slade:    You don’t have to lie. I won’t pry, but I’m not going to pretend I didn’t notice or let you pretend I didn’t.

Slade:    If you don’t want to talk you don’t have to. I just… want you to know you can. If you want.

Biting his lip, Jason types out his response. It’s good that Slade’s asking. He really has changed, a lot, even in just the last few months since the gala where they came clean about their relationship.

Jason:   Thank you. But I’m not lying. I’m fine.

Even if he wanted to talk about it, Jason knows he wouldn’t. Sometimes things are hard enough to move on from in the first place. So when they’re firmly in the past, dredging them up doesn’t do any good.

True to his word, Slade doesn’t push for more information. Just keeps a steady stream of texts periodically over the hours of the day. He asks what Jason’s going to make, gives his opinions on wine and sides, lets Jason know what time Joseph will be over, chats about what they’re going to wear.

By the time Slade gets home from work, dinner is ready and keeping warm in the oven while Jason stands at the counter, taking a break while the raspberry walnut torte cools before he adds the white chocolate drizzle. The earlier conversation all but forgotten.

Slade’s strong arms wrap around his waist and Jason leans into him, melting at the press of lips to the sensitive skin just below his ear.

Then with a playful slap to Jason’s ass, Slade turns around and starts to wash the dishes Jason hasn’t already done.

He’ll do the ones after dinner too, Jason knows. It’s part of the reason Jason doesn’t mind cleaning up a bit while he’s in the swing of things. He’s a messy cook and he knows it. Somehow it takes every single dish in the cabinets to make anything more complicated than scrambled eggs.

It all turns out great. Alfred taught him well in that regard. But Jason never managed to learn that kind of precision efficiency.

Big hands start to knead at the knots in his shoulders where he sits on the couch, taking a breather before he gets himself ready, and he moans.

“We should get cleaned up,” Slade hums, digging his thumbs into Jason’s muscles with just the right amount of pressure. “If we hurry, I can dirty you up a little more first.”

That’s an offer Jason doesn’t need to hear twice. Not with the way he’s already getting hard at just that firm but careful touch.

Slade takes him against the marble wall of their huge walk in shower. The warmth of Slade at his front and the coolness of the marble at his back with the heated steam of the water swirling around them feels almost surreal. It’s times like these where Jason easily forgets the world outside this apartment exists.

Until the security panel chimes just as Slade comes, to alert them to the arrival of a visitor.

They both curse simultaneously.

“Finish up,” Slade says, with a wicked smirk and a pointed look at down at Jason’s… unresolved issue, before rinsing off and wrapping a towel around his waist as he heads out of the bathroom. “I’ll hold down the fort until you come out.”

Jason growls in frustration and fantasizes about how he’ll get the bastard make it up to him after Joseph leaves while he jerks himself to completion.

He decides not to rush through his routine. Dries his hair, brushes his teeth, picks out his clothes, dresses. He doesn’t dawdle either but it’s good to give Slade and his son time to get a little comfortable. And if he comes out put together, quite a while after Slade, it looks like he got in the shower after Slade ran off to answer the door and not like they were in there together.

Not that Joseph won’t know they’re definitely sleeping together but there’s no reason to be obvious about it.

He can hear Slade’s voice after brief pauses as he makes his way down the hall. The poor guy sounds very formal and stilted. Like he’s barely familiar with the person he’s talking to. It breaks Jason’s heart.

Even if he is still not speaking to his own father.

There’s just enough time for Jason to think that the mop of curly blond hair looks vaguely familiar before Slade stands eagerly, looking relieved to have a buffer, and says, “Oh Jason, good. Joseph this is—”

Slade trails off at the look of disbelieving horror that has Jason’s eyes going wide and his jaw scraping the floor as “Joseph” turns around with stunning, all too familiar grin.

Hi, Jay, he signs as Jason’s pulse thuds loudly in his ears. Long time, no see.

It has been… about five or six years, by Jason’s count since he’s seen Joey Kane—definitely not Wilson, Jason would have remembered that. He would have made that connection.

He thinks.

To Jason’s continued horror, Slade looks back and forth between them for a moment before his eye lands on Jason’s face.

“You two know each other?”

Joey looks way too pleased when he turns back to Slade and Jason scurries around to the side of the coffee table so that he can see Joey’s hands say, Sure, pop. Jason and I go way back. He’s the only reason I didn’t bail early on you that summer I “visited”.

Realization quickly spreads across Slade’s face and Joey’s continued impish smirk tells Jason that he at least knew what he was walking into. It takes a minute to realize that Rose definitely realized Jason had never made the connection.

Jason hasn’t felt like he wanted to sink into the floor in a long time but he’d really like to rewind the last few minutes so that he could mentally prepare.

This is going to be a very long night.

 


 

“Wait,” Slade barks, glancing between them again. “What exactly are you saying?”

Joseph is incredibly smug as he signs. Jay and I dated all that summer, pop. Even tried to convince him to come to school in New York so we could be closer.

Jason looks half way between fainting and being sick. It’s crystal clear that he had never made the connection.

“How…” Slade starts, focusing on Jason, “…how did you not know? Or at least question?”

When Jason just blinks at him, obviously still shocked, Joseph answers for him.

You’re the only one who calls me ‘Joseph’ and I don’t go by ‘Wilson’ at all, certainly not in Gotham. No offense, but I didn’t really want anyone knowing we were related.

That’s fair. Slade knows that it’s fair. He’s not winning any father of the year awards; he’s aware that he was never a part of Jose—Joey’s life and that he doesn’t have any right to be hurt that his son is using the surname of the mother who actually raised him.

But that doesn’t stop it from hurting.

“Joey,” Jason rasps, finally finding what he can of his voice. “How did—why didn’t…”

Sorry I didn’t warn you, babe. But I didn’t want to risk you telling Slade. Promised Rose. Joey signs and Slade miraculously holds back the possessive growl that tries to escape at his son calling his partner ‘babe’ with entirely too much familiarity and affection.

Even so, his temple twitches when Jason flushes pink.

“Joey—”

“Hold on,” Slade says, running a hand through his hair. “Is Joey… is my son the person who was your ‘first real anything’?”

It’s amazing that Jason doesn’t just collapse at the speed with which he turns such a violent shade of scarlet that Slade thinks all of the blood in his entire body must be burning just under the skin of his face and neck.

Aw. Joey signs and he looks genuinely touched by that. It’s just another mark in the ‘what the fuck’ category that is quickly building up points. You really said that, Jay? I know I wasn’t your first, so it’s nice to hear that our time together meant so much to you.

He’s taken several steps closer to Jason so that he can rest his hand on Jason’s forearm briefly before bring it up to say, It meant a lot to me to. I came here with the hope of starting a relationship with my father. I was pretty depressed when he didn’t have time for me. But then I met you. You’re the only reason that whole summer wasn’t a complete waste of time for me.

It’s another perfectly fair comment. But it’s another one that stings.

The whole situation is too much for Slade to process. His lover, the most important person in his life, is also his estranged son’s ex. He was already struggling with his feelings and his issues about Joseph; about how he’d been a shitty father and how he’d have to figure out how to make things right. Now he has to deal with this.

And the fact that Joey seems to be saying things explicitly to twist the knife deeper isn’t helping. Slade knows he deserves every word. But Jason is getting caught in the crosshairs. And Slade is having a really difficult time wrapping his brain around Jason fucking Joey.

Or… Joey fucking Jason?

Christ, there’s the last train of thought he needs.

He’s getting whiplash from how often he’s alternating being disappointed at Joey, then Jason, then himself.

“I can’t believe this,” Slade mutters, more to himself, more to get some of the pressure off his chest than anything else. He sags back into his chair and scrubs his hands over his face.

That seems to jolt Jason out of his shock. He pulls away from Joey and crosses his arms over his chest.

“Hey, jackass,” he snaps at Slade, “You don’t exactly have any high ground to stand on here.”

Slade looks up at him, surprised at his tone, brows narrowed. “What—”

Think he’s talking about Dick, pop, Joey sighs happily. You know, his brother.

“That’s diff—” He slams on the breaks even before he sees Jason’s brows go up, daring him to finish that sentence.

There is no difference whatsoever and he knows it.

Actually, there is a difference, but Slade certainly isn’t going to be the one to point out that while that one-nighter with the elder Wayne boy was absolutely what both of them wanted at the time, his handling of things afterward was… less than ideal.

“Can we please just… start over,” he says, aware of how desperate he sounds. He just needs something, anything to get the thoughts of his hus—of his long-term partner and his son to stop trying to form into a solid image in his mind.

There is a minute of silence where Slade doesn’t dare look up to see if they’re talking to each other or if they’ve left. This is dangerous, unexplored territory for him. Jason has always given him… just… an unlimited amount of time to work through even the small, easy shit he’s never had to deal with before. Things like, holding the kid’s hand or calling their two year “agreement” what it is and finally saying the damn word out loud.

Two fingers of scotch, neat is slid into his eyeline, cutting off his line of sight to where he’s absentmindedly wringing his hands.

He looks up into a softer, kinder smile on Joseph’s face and takes the drink so that he can speak.

Of course we can, pop. I just couldn’t resist. Then Joey turns back to Jason and says, Sorry you got caught in the middle of this, Jay. Just wanted to see my dad squirm, you know?

Slade is positive Jason understands. After everything that went down with Bruce, there’s no way Jason wouldn’t take an opportunity to do something very similar to his own father.

Rose says you’re happy and that you’ve been good for Slade, Joey continues signing to Jason. Then his son looks back to him. If you hurt Jason, Rose and I will have to ruin you. You know that right?

Jason blushes again and Slade swallows hard, but gives Joseph a tentative smile. “You’d have to get in line behind his father,” he muses. “But I’ll do my best.”

Grinning, Joey bumps against Jason with his shoulder and nods toward the kitchen.

Smells good, he signs as the two boys start to make their way over to the oven. You’ve probably gotten even better since the last time you cooked for me.

Jason’s tentative laugh covers the quiet, pained groan Slade can’t quite manage to contain.

“Wish I’d known Slade’s ‘Joseph’ was my ‘Joey’,” Jason says, obviously oblivious to the phrasing that makes Slade choke and quickly down his drink in one go. “I could have made your favorites.”

Choosing that moment to stand and follow them was the wrong move. He’s just in time to catch Joey’s hands saying, You can make my favorites next time.

And Slade is absolutely certain that Joey is going to keep torturing him by subtly flirting with Jason until he feel like Slade’s paid his dues.

It’s going to be a very long evening.

 


 

“That was exhausting,” Jason sighs after closing the door behind Joey. He slumps dramatically over the counter next to where Slade is finishing the last of the dishes and groans.

He peeks up at Slade. The older man doesn’t even look at him as he rinses out the sink and turns off the water.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” Jason starts, closing his eyes so he doesn’t see any judgement or disappointment. “I just don’t know how—“

A warm hand rubs down his spine and he can’t help but lean into it.

“Don’t apologize,” Slade hums, pulling him up and into his arms. “You couldn’t have known. I’ve never told you Adeline’s surname, why would I? It was never important. There is absolutely no way this could have been avoided. I’m sorry I reacted poorly.”

Jason snorts. “You were understandably shocked. I think you handled it fine.”

They stay there like that for a couple long moments, just wrapped up in each other’s embrace.

“Can we go to bed,” Slade asks finally. “I’m… drained.”

There’s no doubt in Jason’s mind that Slade is not just physically drained but emotionally as well. Tonight was hard on Jason, he can’t even imagine how only-recently-acquainted-with-his-feelings Slade has managed as well as he has.

They’re dressed for bed and under the covers in record time, right back to clinging to each other. Slade lightly caressing the slim, sea green satin collar Jason had worn under his shirt tonight.

“I think it went well. All things considered,” Jason mutters.

Slade grunts. “It’d go better if he stopped flirting with with you for five goddamn minutes.”

“I didn’t even notice,” Jason lies, curling up against Slade’s bigger body.

“Hmmm.”

“The past doesn’t matter,” Jason says firmly into Slade’s chest. “All that matters is this. Us. Right?”

His voice cracks slightly on the last word and he hopes Slade is too tired to notice just how badly he needs that reassurance. Because the past can’t matter. He can’t allow it to matter. And if Slade says it does—

“The only thing that matters are the choices we make in the moment we’re in,” Slade responds, pressing a kiss to the top of his head and tightening his hold around Jason’s arms. “I choose you. And, I assume since you’re still here, you choose me.”

Instantly feeling a little lighter, Jason chuckles and buries his face into the warm skin of his partner’s broad chest. “Yeah. I choose you.”

They both start to drift off. And it’s just on the very precipice of consciousness that a thought occurs to Jason.

He gives Slade a gently nip with his teeth to get his attention and only speaks after the older man grunts to show he’s listening.

“Just because you’re being a sap doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten that you left me hanging in the shower,” Jason scolds lightly. “Don’t think I’ll forget you have to make that up to me.”

Slade just hums and turns, shifting Jason too so that they’re slotted together like puzzle pieces; like big spoon and little spoon. One big arm draped over his waist, playing with Jason’s bracelet, and the other under Jason’s head like a pillow, palm splay across his chest, pulling him close.

Slade’s breath is warm on his ear and Jason’s almost there again, right on the edge ready to fall over into blissful sleep.

So he nearly misses it; the quiet whispered words that stop his heart and catch his breath in his throat.

 “Marry me.”

When he can breathe again, Jason nods, certain that Slade can see or feel the motion, even in the dark.

He tucks himself in tighter against the older man’s front and manages two, equally quiet, cracking syllables.

“Ok.”