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Their first date—officially—is the Halloween party Steph invites them both to. Jason doesn’t check his email as consistently as Tim, so by the time he RSVPs to the e-vite, Tim’s already marked himself as going. Jason wouldn’t say he doesn’t know how to socialize like a normal person at this point, but, “In fairness to myself,” he opens the phone call to Tim in which he might be panicking a very mild amount, “I was busy being trained by and then killing world-renowned assassins at the time when others were learning how to be teenagers.”

“This about Steph’s party?” Tim asks after an impressively brief pause.

“I probably can’t go as Red Hood, right? That’s like…breaking a rule, or something.”

“Hey, um, Jason?”

“Yes?”

“Maybe take a breath, okay? Steph won’t care if you show up without a costume. I mean, she’ll give you shit, but she’ll also let you hide in the corner with a bag of Three Musketeers and a keg of Pabst.”

“Pabst is not how you show someone you love them,” Jason all-but yells. The silence that follows after makes it all the more clear that Jason is more stressed about this than he should be. The thing is…ever since the whole accidental heat incident, Jason’s been kind of getting along with the family. Dick and he have found common ground in making fun of CSI-type shows, Cass and him have shared each other’s favorite knife tricks, Steph keeps letting him have the books from her lit classes after she’s finished, Babs actually tells him when he’s about to get ambushed by one of the other bats, Duke has begun talking to him rather than watching him like he might turn into a zombie at any given moment, Kate left him a basket of apples and honey in late September, Jason’s bonded with Damian over their tendency to make sure the city’s pigeons and possums are well-fed, and he’s even managed a few nights of comfortably silent patrols with B.

And Tim, well. Jason’s learned how Tim likes his coffee at each of the different parts of the day, and has gotten him addicted to Jason’s particular blend of cold brew. They’re in a dead heat in chess matches, argue vociferously over what sitcoms are funny, and it’s possible they’ve adopted a cat. Sort of. It’s an outdoor cat. An outdoor, Gotham back-alley cat. But it might be theirs.

Jason is more than a little afraid to rock the boat. If he weren’t, he would have kissed Tim by now. That is besides the point, though. The point is, Jason would like to not fuck Halloween up. And if that’s because he secretly feels like it might fuck everything else up, that is between him, his therapist, and the universe, thanks very much.

Tim says, “Well, if we come in matching costumes, I bet she’d upgrade us to like, Blue Moon.”

“You don’t drink,” Jason says.

“You’re not big on it, either. If you don’t want to do the costumes thing, just say.”

Jason blinks. “Uh. What are we going as?”

“Hadn’t gotten that far,” Tim admits. “Red fish blue fish?”

Jason snorts. It’s a fun idea. Only, “Pinky and the Brain?”

Tim doesn’t even breathe before saying, “I’m Brain.”

“No shit,” Jason tells him, and just like that, Jason is going to a Halloween party with the boy he likes and has a Plan.

Tim laughs. “It’s a date, then.”

Jason smiles down at the floor. “Yeah, okay. A date.”


It turns out that pretending to be a giant, tweaked-out rat creature made beloved in the 90s is easier than being Jason Todd. Having the costume on is weirdly close to being Red Hood, in the way that it allows Jason to hide. Also, Steph has made six flavors of mini-cupcakes. Both of these things make for a pretty enjoyable time. That, and the fact that Tim is doing the worst imitation of Brain hands-down, but is totally intent on going down with that ship.

Jason suspects Tim and Steph might have pre-gamed a bit. And since Tim doesn’t drink often, he’s not hard to tip right over into buzzed. It’s cuter than it has any right to be. Jason hates his hormones. And his heart. Every part of him that looked at Tim Drake in the light of day, finally having burnt off most of the Pit’s aftereffects, and thought, “yes, please.”

For all his antics, Tim doesn’t leave Jason to fend for himself the entire evening, not unless Cass is nearby, or, in a pinch, Dick. It’s quietly, stupidly thoughtful, which sums Tim right up.

It’s going on two in the morning when Jason says to him, “Maybe I should drive you home?”

Tim leans into Jason, the big head of his costume making it hilarious. “I was just gonna Lyft. It’s out of your way.”

“Sure, okay,” Jason says.

Tim tilts his head and almost falls over from the weight of the costume dipping to the side. Jason swallows down laughter and puts his hands on Tim’s shoulder’s to steady him. Tim tells him, with the too-intense sincerity of the Pretty Darn Drunk, “I’m a little drunk.”

“Yeah,” Jason agrees, smiling more softly than the situation calls for.

“You could—you could take me home. With you.”

Jason’s breath catches. He wonders if the costume, the mask, makes it easier for Tim, too. “I could make you breakfast in the morning. Help with the hangover.”

“Or you could kiss me,” Tim says, a little forcefully.

“Or—”

“Unless you don’t want to. I thought you wanted to, but you never did and so maybe you didn’t—”

“I want to,” Jason said. “But not when you’re drunk, okay? Just. Not then.”

“Can we cuddle when I’m drunk?” Tim asks.

Jason wonders if that’s something Tim has wanted this whole time, and only with liquid courage been able to say, like the kissing. “We can definitely cuddle.”

“You should take me home, then.”

“Oh.” Behind the costume mask, Jason blinks. “Um. Gladly, yeah.”


Tim cuddles like it’s a competition and one he intends to win. Mind you: Jason is not complaining. Jason likes his partners aggressive in their desires, greedy in their wants. Jason thinks if he had been alive for it, he would have fallen for Tim embarrassingly early, when the pushy little shit made Bruce, Bruce take him on as Robin. (Tim will say Bruce only did it because Dick pressed the point. Part of Tim’s burning hotness is he doesn’t realize how incredibly powerful he is.)

Once their costumes are off, the late October night is chilled, and Jason hasn’t turned on the heat in his apartment yet. He’s never gotten used to doing so until just slightly after blankets and sweaters aren’t even helping anymore. They cuddle on the couch, Tim wrapping himself over Jason and murmuring things about Jason’s muscles that Jason is three thousand percent certain he’s not supposed to hear. When drunk, Tim isn’t great at regulating his decibel level.

Jason runs his hand over the back of Tim’s head, his neck, fingers brushing through strands of hair. It’s nice, how well Tim fits with him, warmer and heavier and better than any blanket. Tim asks, “Can I—” he’s got his lips up against Jason’s neck. “Can I kiss here? Just here.”

Jason grins and plants a kiss atop Tim’s head. “Yeah, I guess I can agree to that.”


They migrate to the bed when Jason accidentally rolls over in his sleep and dumps them both onto the floor. Tim grumbles, “Cuddles to be continued in bed,” and weaves sleepily toward this goal. Jason follows.

Jason wakes later than he’s used to, but still before noon, and spends the next hour making Tim drink water and coaxing him to take a hot shower. When Tim is sitting at the kitchen island, double fisting a water glass and a coffee mug, drowning in a pair of Jason’s sweats, and watching Jason scramble eggs, he says, “I wanted to kiss you last night.”

“Yup,” Jason agrees, not looking away from the pan. Jason can be as brave as the next bat, but he doesn’t always need to be and right now, he’s severely lacking the wish to even bother pretending.

“I still want to,” Tim says. The statement borders on mulish.

Jason’s chest loosens. “Good. That’s—that’s really good.”

“Oh.” Tim pauses. “Okay. That’s. I’m glad.”

Jason turns off the flame to the stove. “There’s something I have to tell you.”

Really, Jason’s needed to mention it for weeks now, and he’s kept putting it off. Tim tilts his head. “You’re secretly the love child of Killer Croc and Ivy?”

“Obviously not, I’d have sexier teeth.”

“Right, point. That was my best guess, so.”

“I’m due to have a rut.”

Tim narrows his eyes. “Um. Yeah? I mean, alphas have them about once every four months and it’s been three since the time with the roof and my thing—”

“Heat,” Jason says, because Tim has told him that Tim’s therapist says he needs to use non-judgmental but factual terms regarding his omega biology.

“Yeah, heat,” Tim rushes the word, but he says it, “and anyway, that makes sense, is what I’m saying.”

“The thing is, it’s, uh, easier? With a partner? And for the last few years Roy or sometimes in a pinch Babs have helped me out, and I don’t know—I mean, if you want me to just do it alone, that’s not a problem—”

Tim holds up a hand. “Go back. Roy is another alpha and Babs is a beta.”

“Yes,” Jason agrees. He shoves the plated eggs at Tim and takes a deep breath. “That’s…I like—they’re both good at taking charge.”

Tim blinks like an owl experiencing hay fever. “You like being topped during a rut?”

“I like being topped. End of sentence. But when I’m in a rut, it’s intensified by the power of infinity. Did you think I kept a bunch of silicone and glass dicks around for décor?” And okay, Jason might be feeling a tiny bit defensive. He knows it plays against the alpha stereotype. He thinks Tim, of all people, shouldn’t have a problem with that.

“And you don’t think I can help. Because I’m an omega.”

“Wait. What?”

“You said you would do it alone—”

“Because we haven’t even kissed yet and I’m not gonna pressure you into spending a rut with me! Jesus, Tim. I was just trying to see if you were okay with me seeking help. It’s fine either way.”

Tim chugs the last of the coffee, holds his mug out demandingly for me, and asks, “Did you even consider just asking me?”

Jason pours Tim some more coffee. “I—no. But that has way more to do with my issues around consent and…and how much I don’t want to fuck this up than with you.”

Tim takes a slow sip of water. “All right. I can—I can see that. But the thing is, I’d like to help. Even if all you’re comfortable with is the idea that I’m doing it as a friend, the way Roy or Babs might. I want to be the person here with you, for you. And both of us are perfectly sober and capable of consent at this moment.”

Jason smiles and harshly tamps down on the urge to do a fist pump of victory. “Yeah. We are. We should, uh, practice, maybe? Before? While we’re both in our right minds.”

“Absolutely. Anything else would be irresponsible,” Tim says, digging into the eggs.

“Wouldn’t want that.”

“Fuck no,” Tim says, mouth full, eyes dancing with sardonic glee.


Two days later, when they’ve leveled up from making out on every available surface to checking each other’s naked selves out in an actual bed, Tim says, “I read about this in a book,” and does something with his tongue on the back of Jason’s knee that might be magic. Jason normally hates magic, but this is good magic, this is magic he will gladly accept, this is—

“Why are you muttering about magic?” Tim asks.

“Tongue,” Jason says, because Jason is an eloquent motherfucker even when all the blood in his body has been diverted to his dick.

Tim laughs and licks a stripe up Jason’s thigh, drawling, “Thiiiighs.”

Jason likes hearing Tim laugh, especially like this, now, but also, he hasn’t built Thighs of Mass Destruction for nothing. He uses them to flip both of them so Tim is on his back—still laughing, although more breathlessly now—and Jason’s above and he says, “I want to suck you.”

Tim, cheeks flushed, says, “No deal, I wanna fuck your face.”

Jason loses a second to the sheer amount of yes he is experiencing. He’s in so much trouble.


Jason’s not sure how long he’s been staring at the sauce pan in front of him trying to figure out what he was doing when Tim lets himself in and says, “Hi Buttercup, I’m home.”

Tim’s coffee-and-ozone scent, always a vague presence, batters at Jason. He wants to drink it. Tim says, “Uh, Jay?”

Jason shakes his head. “I was.” Right. “Rut makes me stupid.”

“That’s actually not—I read a lot about—” Tim laughs. “Sorry, I just meant, c’mere.”

Jason goes. Tim’s got his arms out and Jason fits himself in between them, smelling at Tim’s hair, his neck. Tim keeps one arm around him and gets the other in between them, undoing Jason’s pants and wrapping a hand around his cock. Jason comes at the second tug, too worked up to be bothered by the almost-painful friction.

“Good,” Tim says, licking at the shell of Jason’s ear. “Now get naked and ass-upward over the couch.”

Jason just about swallows his tongue. He trips getting out of his pants and is confused to find Tim there, holding him steady. His fingers get caught in his shirt and once again Tim helps, his hands clever and coordinated. Jason does manage to get himself over the back of the couch on his own.

Tim asks, “Think you can wait for me to get undressed, too?”

“Don’t wanna,” Jason says, making grabby, flaily hands behind himself.

“Okay, okay,” Tim says, his hands soothing their way up Jason’s back, and then there’s the sound of a zipper, the ripping and rustling of a condom being opened and put on, and Tim slides in, far more assertive and immediate than when they’d first done this days earlier. Not that Jason had been interested in complaining either time. He reaches down to grab hold of his cock, but Tim beats him there. “Uh uh.”

“Tim—”

Tim pulls out a bit and thrusts back in hard. Jason says, “Fuck, okay, yeah, whatever you say.”

“I say I get to make you feel as good as you made me feel,” Tim breathes, punctuating the thought with ever-harder thrusts.

“I didn’t—”

“You don’t know what you did. You don’t have the slightest idea,” Tim says.

“Tim, gonna—”

Tim moves his thumb over the head of Jason’s cock and Jason comes so hard he’s pretty sure he loses the ability to breathe during it. When the haze of the orgasm clears up a bit, Tim’s still fucking him, although at a more gentle rhythm, as though easing him through the pleasure. If he weren’t in a rut it’d probably be too much, but he is, so it’s mostly just the best thing ever in the history of ever. “How long do you think you can—”

“Dunno,” Tim says. “Wanna find out?”

Yes.


At some point, Tim drags Jason into the shower and has the water pound out some of the adrenaline that the rut is producing, all the while having Jason rub off on his thigh. Jason keeps talking about how hot Tim is, and Tim gets that he’s so hopped up on pheromones and sex drive he’d probably think Gargamel was a catch, but it’s hard not to feel like some kind of sex god with a guy who is six four and two hundred and twenty pounds of pure muscle going on about how he wants to discover every inch of your body with his tongue.

“Jay?” Tim asks.

“Mm?” He’s immediately post-orgasm, probably his sixth in as many hours, and Tim’s not completely confident Jason’s entirely awake.

“If I wanted you to fuck me, would you?”

Jason makes a sound that’s maybe a laugh. “You’re silly.”

“And you’re practically traumatically brain injured at this point, but—”

“Shh,” Jason puts a finger to Tim’s face. It’s probably meant to go over his lips, but Jason is still tucked around Tim, his chin hooked over Tim’s shoulder.

“Jay—”

“Anythin’, Tim. That’s…anything you asked.”

“Oh.” Tim feels a little bit like he’s taken advantage, now. It’s easy to forget that Jason has built his personality out of sheer will and desperation, that the exoskeleton which can crush and cut and kill is made to house an inside softer than a fucking marshmallow. Also, even when remembering these things, it’s still a little hard to believe Jason has allowed Tim inside. Tim, who might not have meant to take everything from him, but accidentally sort of had. Tim thinks maybe it’s lucky for both of them that he will do anything to keep Jason’s inner self safe, keep it whole.

Jason interrupts his thoughts by asking carefully, “That something you like?”

“I don’t know,” Tim tells him quietly. He makes himself say the next part, give this to Jason the way Jason has promised to give anything to him. “But I’d kind of like to find out with you.”

Jason pulls back to give him the world’s brightest smile, so pure Tim’s surprised to find Jason’s still capable of it, given all the crap the world has thrown his way. Jason says, “Not…not now, kay?”

“No,” Tim agrees. “No, I was gonna get you dried off and use one of your toys on you until I’m ready to go again.”

Jason’s cheeks flush a little deeper. “Yes. Let’s. That is a Good Plan.”

Tim laughs, he can hear the capital letters. “I have lots of those.”

The way Jason looks at him, the implicit “yes, you do,” bare on his face, causes Tim to lose his breath for a moment. He retaliates by bundling Jason up in the towel until he’s breathless from laughter.