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"That's not him."

Lord Bruce's voice was flat and annoyed, conveying his irritation with Jason's new master Tim far better than his expression. His expression was perfectly calm, a little distant, and faintly derisive, none of which endeared him to Jason. He'd had more than enough of that kind of fucking shit with Slade, his last master.

Jason had known to expect a large, expensive manor but he hadn't expected to end up at Wayne Manor, home of the famous and infamous Lord Bruce Wayne. Slade had ranted endlessly about Lord Bruce's idiocy blocking his plans. He'd spent many nights taking his anger at the Wayne family out on Jason. From what Jason could see right now, Slade might have had a point about Lord Bruce, though he seemed one hell of a lot smarter than Slade's descriptions of him.

"What?" Master Tim gasped at the same time as Steph.

"That's not him," Lord Bruce reiterated. "I don't mind you buying yourself a slave, Tim, but I do expect you to complete your mission."

"But he said the code words!" Tim protested.

The word 'mission' made Jason's hackles go up, though he tried hard not to show it. Master Tim's response made Lord Bruce and his slave, an old man named Alfred who had to be the one that his benefactor had warned Jason about, both stiffen as if they'd been struck. They exchanged looks. In the background a cheerful young Lordling with the same dark hair as Lord Bruce and Master Tim frowned. He came over and put his hand on Lord Bruce's shoulder before anything else could be said. Jason was pretty sure that he should know who the Lordling was from Slade's descriptions but he couldn't place him.

"I'll go get him," the Lordling offered.

"I wanted Tim to do it, Dick," Lord Bruce snarled, answering Jason's question about Dick's identity.

"He's already been out today," Dick said with a casual shrug. "He can't go again without being obvious and if we don't move quickly we'll lose Roy. You know we can't afford that. Roy's too important."

Lord Bruce nodded slowly, his jaw working in visible anger that made Master Tim shiver and shrink back just a little. After a moment he turned to Alfred and jerked his chin towards Jason. Alfred's low bow was perfectly respectful but the way he held out his hand for Jason's leash was anything but. The old man obviously ruled the household if he was allowed to take other slave's leashes at will.

"I'll take care of him," Master Tim said, clutching the leash in fingers that went white from the grip.

"You will talking with me while Dick goes and completes your mission," Lord Bruce snapped. "Alfred will see that he's cleaned and taken to your rooms. He is your responsibility, Tim. I won't have him involved with anything vital, not until we know who tricked you and why. He's an unknown factor and I won't allow him access to anything until this has been cleared up. Is that clear?"

"Yes sir," Master Tim whispered.

He passed the leash over to Alfred very reluctantly. When Jason glanced back as he left the room, Dick was leaving with Steph in tow. Master Tim looked like he expected to be beaten within an inch of his life. The surrounding servants looked decidedly uncomfortable, but none of them looked like they'd speak up. Alfred snapped Jason's leash, bringing his attention back to where he was supposed to be going.

The cleaning was much better than he'd expected, with warm water and clean towels instead of cold water from the well and old rags. The old man treated his bruises, whip marks and black eye with a low level healing cream. It'd take a few hours for them to fade but it was better than letting them heal naturally. The kitchen slaves refused to meet his eyes so obviously the message to isolate Jason had already gotten out.

Throughout it all, Alfred didn't ask him a single question. He didn't give Jason any instructions. He only spoke to tell Jason what to do next. There were a few too many slaves in the household, even for a big place like Wayne Manor. Oddly, some of them looked abused while others looked perfectly happy and content. Jason wasn't sure if Lord Bruce played favorites or if he had a habit of rescuing slaves. He wasn't sure that he wanted to know. It might be dangerous for him to know.

Once Jason was properly clean and dry, Alfred returned the clothes that Master Tim had bought Jason to him. The fucking leash was snapped back onto Jason's collar and then Alfred escorted him to a suite that was obviously his new master's. It was large and comfortable looking with several big comfy chairs and a couch that looked like it would be big enough for Jason to sleep on, if that was allowed. The fireplace had a low coal fire burning in it, with a sheepskin rug in front and a painting of a garden scene over the mantle. There were lots of paintings of garden scenes on the walls. Jason liked them a hell of a lot more than Slade's battle scenes and nude paintings.

"You will remain here until you master arrives," Alfred said sternly enough that Jason nodded once the leash had been removed. "If you leave without him, you will be summarily sold at the very best. Master Bruce will not look kindly on any attempts to cause trouble or escape. I will not be responsible for any consequences of you do so."

"Understood, sir," Jason said. He kind of doubted that he'd be killed out of hand, not with all the obviously rescued slaves around the household, but being sold again would suck.

Alfred left, closing the door to the suite with just enough of a bang to make Jason wince. The suite was a lot nicer than he'd been expecting. He had honestly expected to be thrown into the slaves' quarters in chains after the welcome he and Master Tim had gotten. This certainly wasn't what he'd expected after the stranger who could have been Jason's older brother had talked Master Tim into buying him.

It didn't really matter to Jason. Being kept in chains all the time would still be better than Slade. Being free of that son of a bitch was worth pretty much anything. Of course, being really free would be the best thing ever but Slade had made it perfectly clear that he'd make sure that Jason spent the rest of his life as a slave, no matter what the law said. He didn't quite feel bold enough to check out the other rooms and given the old man, Jason didn't think he'd be allowed on the furniture, so he settled down on the sheepskin rug in front of the fireplace and waited for his master to come back.

It took way too long for a simple lecture.

By the time Master Tim arrived about an hour later, Jason was on edge. Seeing his master wince as he shut the door was enough to have Jason on his feet and by his side in an instant. Master Tim started and then smiled sadly at Jason. He shook his head to keep Jason from asking what had happened. It didn't take long to find out. All that took was following his new master into the bedroom where Master Tim gingerly stripped off his tunic and revealed a back covered by marks from a riding crop.

"The hell?" Jason asked, pulling the tunic out of Master Tim's hands. "Why were you beaten? If anyone should have been beaten it should have been me!"

"No, not you," Master Tim sighed. "I was the one who failed. You just happened to be there. It's all right. It was mostly for show. Bruce wanted everyone to know not to trust you until you'd proven yourself."

"It's wrong," Jason complained very quietly, apparently quietly enough that Master Tim didn't hear him or pretended he didn't.

"Um," Master Tim said as he tried to treat the marks on his back, "can you put this on for me?"

"Yeah, sure, Master," said Jason.

He took the jar of highly expensive healing cream, carefully soothing the cream onto the stripes with as delicate a touch as he could. Master Tim's body was covered with scars that made Jason growl. A Lord's son shouldn't be covered with scars and fading bruises. An asshole warrior/assassin like his last master was one thing, but a kid like Tim should be pampered and spoiled, not look like someone who was as abused as any slave.

"It's not like that," Tim said with a tired sigh. "I know what you're thinking. I'm not abused. I'm a warrior, Jason. These came from combat."

"You? A warrior?" Jason asked before he could control his tongue. "You're a kid! You can't be over fourteen."

"I'm eighteen!" Tim growled, bristling at Jason so ferociously that Jason winced and did a proper bow of apology for once. "Sorry. You can sit up. I get sick of people assuming I'm a kid. I'm not. I just have this baby face."

Jason chuckled at the disgusted expression on Tim's face. He started to say something but the bedroom door opened and Dick strolled in with a tall redheaded slave behind him. Tim started and bit his bottom lip. The look he gave Dick made Jason's stomach roil. No brother should look at his sibling with that sort of awe and need.

"No worries, I have taken care of everything. Roy's safe and the mission is a go again," Dick said. He gestured towards Roy, the slave who Master Tim was apparently supposed to have bought instead of Jason. He paused and frowned when he saw the marks on Master Tim's back.

"I'm fine," Master Tim said before Dick could say anything. "Bruce just had to make a point for everyone else. It's not that bad."

"Oh Tim," Dick sighed.

He settled on the bed, all but climbing into Master Tim's lap to check the marks with entirely too much touching. Jason moved out of the way while he swallowed down curses, as well as the urge to smash Dick's face in for the way he cupped Master Tim's cheeks to tenderly kiss him. Roy's face was perfectly expressionless, as if there was nothing at all happening. Unlike Jason, he'd apparently managed to learn the skill of pretending that he was nothing but furniture.

"I'm fine, Dick," Tim whispered once Dick was done kissing him. "Really. It looks worse than it is."

"You're sure?" Dick murmured. Even though Jason wanted to beat him up, he had to admit that Dick looked honestly worried about his little brother.

"I'm fine," Master Tim insisted. "Seriously, Dick. It's okay. I understood and agreed to this. Go on. You should get Roy working on his… stuff. I'm going to stay in tonight. I'm supposed to be in disgrace so it makes sense."

"You just don't want to go to the party tonight," Dick laughed. "All right, rest up and get acquainted with your new boy. Let me know if you need anything."

"I will," Tim promised.

Dick kissed Master Tim again, taking his time at it. Jason's teeth ached from how hard he gritted them. As Dick left he brushed his hand entirely too familiarly across Roy's hip. Roy smiled at the touch, following his master perfectly willingly. Master Tim put a hand on Jason's arm, keeping him from throwing the jar of healing cream across the room in rage once the door was shut.

"That…!" Jason bit down on the urge to shout obscenities. "Does he always treat you like a pleasure slave? He's your brother! He should keep his fucking hands to himself!"

"Adopted brother," Master Tim laughed. He was blushing but smiling so maybe Jason wouldn't get beaten for his eternal inability to control his temper. "I'm adopted. So is Dick. We're only brothers legally, not by blood."

As far as Jason was concerned that didn't make the slightest bit of difference but it was clear from Master Tim's expression that it made a world of difference to him. Jason dropped it, continuing to treat the marks on Master Tim's back. By the time he'd coated all of them the top ones had started to fade.

"Thank you," Master Tim murmured.

"I'm a slave, Master," Jason said with an awkward shrug. "You don't have to thank me."

"I know that I don't have to," Master Tim said while looking Jason in the eyes with a serious, almost grave, expression. "But I will when I feel it's appropriate. And um, just so that you know, you're completely mine. Most of the slaves here are property of the family but you're going to be fully mine. No one else gets to touch you or punish you, only me."

"That's probably a good thing," Jason said with a rueful grimace. "I'd probably smash that brother of yours face in if he tried to touch me. I've never been a lap dog even though I was born a slave."

Master Tim made a noise that was kind of like a laugh swallowed in a sneeze. His grin lit up the room and made Jason's cock jump. There was something about him that really got to Jason, though it probably had a lot to do with being free of Slade. After him, any master would be good.

"Come on," Master Tim said. "I'm going to order some food and then you can tell me about yourself. There's a lot I should fill you in on."

"Master?" Jason said, catching Master Tim's hand so that he didn't walk away. Jason deliberately stayed seated on the bed so that he was properly lower than his Master.

"Yes?" Master Tim asked.

"Don't tell me anything," Jason said dead seriously. Master Tim's eyes went wide and then narrowed as if he'd just kicked his master's brain into a gallop. "Seriously, don't tell me one fucking thing. I'm no idiot. You guys are obviously up to something but a slave's testimony only counts if they've been told things. If I just figure things out on my own then nothing I discover is admissible, so keep me in the dark. Don't tell me about what Roy's up to. Don't tell me what you were supposed to do. Don't tell me about your battles or anything that might cause trouble."

Master Tim nodded slowly, thoughts clicking by behind his eyes. He squeezed Jason's fingers and pulled him to his feet. Jason stood a good head taller than his Master but he didn't seem bothered by it. If anything, he looked like he liked that Jason was bigger than him.

"All right," Master Tim said. "Don't tell me what you figure out, all right?"

"I can do that," Jason said with a smirk. "I'm not so good at controlling my temper but not sharing things I'm really good at."

The sneeze-laugh returned, accompanied by the room-brightening grin. They had a good meal, better than Jason had had in literally years. He could hear slaves and servants scurrying by outside to prepare for the party. Master Tim's suite was like an oasis of peace in the middle of chaos.

They went to bed early, Master Tim pulling Jason into his bed instead of making him sleep on the rug in front of the fireplace. The next day he woke to Master Tim easing out of bed in an attempt at not waking Jason. When it was obvious that it hadn't worked, Master Tim had Jason bathe with him and then dressed Jason in a nice tunic so that he could accompany his master to breakfast.

That was an exercise in the silent treatment that had Jason's temper brewing again. It was kind of boring being relegated to Master Tim's meticulously cleaned rooms once breakfast was done but apparently this was going to be his life from now on. That night Master Tim returned, smiled his brilliant smile at Jason and shared little anecdotes about his day while getting ready for bed. They slept together and then the next day began the same way.

Between the boredom were exercises in frustration that pressed Jason's self control to its limits. Dick seduced Tim with touches and kisses, pulling him away from Jason and returning his Master kiss-stupid, blurry-eyed and wobbly-legged. Lord Bruce took every opportunity to make it clear that Jason's simple presence made him angry and disappointed in Master Tim. Alfred flatly refused to give Jason any duties, stating outright that Jason had to appeal to his master if he was bored. That was the last fucking thing that Jason would do. No slave of any tenure would ask for something interesting to happen to him. That was just stupid. Still, he was bored and it apparently showed.

"You're bored, aren't you?" Master Tim said a few days later.

"Eh, could be worse," said Jason with a casual shrug. "Just gets kind of boring to be stuck in the same rooms all the time."

"I'll take you with me tomorrow," Master Tim promised. "Bruce is starting to calm down. Pretty soon it'll be okay to give you real duties and allow you out more."

They climbed into bed together, Master Tim sighing as he draped himself over Jason's chest. His back and sides were covered with fist-shaped bruises. In a couple of places he could literally see the outline of knuckles on his master's body. Jason gently rubbed his master's back, trying to loosen the tight knots of muscle.

"Don't stop," Master Tim moaned.

Jason complied, smiling at the way Master Tim whimpered when Jason shifted position so that he could straddle Master Tim's hips for a better angle for the massage. By the time Jason had worked his way to Master Tim's front, both of them were hard as a rock. It was almost impossible to ignore the needy look that Master Tim gave him.

"Want you," Master Tim whispered.

"I'm yours," Jason said quietly. "All you ever had to do was say it."

"Don't want you to be forced into it," Master Tim complained. He tried to push Jason off of him but Jason didn't move.

"I was just waiting for permission," Jason chuckled. "Seriously, you're fucking hot and I've wanted to fuck you since I saw you in the Market, even with those god-awful tights you were wearing."

Master Tim laughed at that, grinning at Jason. The first kiss was tentative and nervous on both sides as they felt out how this was going to work. Jason's unknown benefactor had been right. His master definitely didn't want to be the one doing the fucking. That suited Jason to the bone so he took charge of the fuck, at least until it came time for actual penetration.

"What?" Master Tim asked when Jason rolled off of him and lay on his back.

"Come on, you know a Master's always supposed to be on top during penetration," Jason said with his best cocky grin. He stroked his cock, spreading oil on it to make sure that Master Tim would have an easy ride.

"True," Master Tim laughed.

He straddled Jason's hips, slowly pressing down onto Jason's cock. It felt fucking incredible, better than anything Jason had gotten in a very long time. Being the one doing the penetrating had been incredibly rare in his life as a slave. His brief few weeks of freedom had been too filled with travel for him to get much sex then either. Despite that, Jason thought Master Tim felt like heaven.

Master Tim didn't tie him down or restrain his hands. If anything, he encouraged Jason to touch him, to play with his nipples while stroking his cock. It was like making love as a free person, not like being fucked as a slave. Slade and his previous masters had done enough of that for Jason to see the difference instantly. This wasn't masturbation with a living cock. Master Tim really did want him and like him.

They both gasped when they heard the outer door enter and Dick call a cheery greeting. Master Tim shoved Jason's hands towards the headboard and he took a firm grip on a couple of the rails. If that asshole got too fresh Jason would rip the rails out and beat him with them.

"Don't!" Master Tim called without any effect as Dick breezily walked into the bedroom. "Dick! Go away."

"Oh, I like," crooned Dick.

He calmly climbed on the bed with them, pressing up against Master Tim's back to caress his nipples and rub his thumbs over the jutting bones of his hip. Dick's legs straddled Jason's. The urge to kick up and smash the fucker's balls for interrupting them was nearly uncontrollable. It was apparently also obvious because Dick did some tricky thing where he hooked his feet over Jason's shins, immobilizing his legs so that he couldn't do anything. The rails creaked under Jason's hands.

"Dick…" Master Tim moaned, undone by Dick's kisses and caresses.

He thrust down onto Jason's cock with needy little whimpers that made the bed bounce. Dick laughed quietly, encouraging Master Tim to take what he wanted from Jason. His hand slid down to cradle Master Tim's cock. The rails under Jason's hands made a splintering noise and Dick rode up a little as Jason's legs surged up automatically.

"You really should have chained him," Dick murmured into Tim's ear. "He's not safe yet. I can go get the chains if you want me to. It might be fun to do this with your boy instead of mine or Steph."

"Stop it!" Master Tim gasped, abruptly pushing Dick's hands away. "Dick, I didn't invite you in and I don't want to do this with you right now. Please leave."

Dick looked astonished as he eased back from Tim and then carefully got off of the bed. Tim had his arms wrapped around himself protectively. It took everything that Jason had not to sit up and wrap his arms around Tim. The rails on the headboard cracked again. After a second Dick snorted and shrugged while heading for the door.

"Fine, enjoy your masturbation then," Dick drawled. The bedroom door shut just hard enough to double for a slam without actually being one.

"That asshole!" Jason shouted once he heard the outer door slam too.

He flung the broken rails across the room and sat up to hug Master Tim to his chest. Jason was still hard, though not as hard as he had been before Dick decided to invite himself into bed with them. Master Tim had gone totally limp when Dick said the word 'masturbation'.

"It's not fucking masturbation," Jason growled into Master Tim's ear while half-crushing him. "It's not. It never was and he only said it because he wanted to hurt both of us. The fucker was holding my legs down so I couldn't kick him in the balls."

"You didn't," Master Tim breathed with something looked like an awed grin creeping across his face. "You wouldn't."

"I will beat that fucking asshole bloody if he tries that again, brother or no, lord or no," Jason said with absolute sincerity. "I can't do a fucking thing about what he does with you when you're somewhere else, but if he tries that crap while I'm around I'm not going to hesitate. He's just jealous that you've found someone else to fuck."

Master Tim laughed breathlessly, pushing against Jason's chest to get enough room to breathe. His cock was stirring against Jason's belly but it was still a surprise when Master Tim kissed him to stop the angry flow of words. Jason groaned into his mouth, willing to let his anger go if it got him tender hot little kisses like that.

"I want you on top," Master Tim whispered once they stopped to breathe.

"All you have to do is ask," Jason whispered back. He grinned at the way Master Tim blushed and ducked his head for a moment.

"All right," Master Tim said in a tone that was the exact opposite of masterly. "I want you to fuck me. I want you to hold me down and pound me through the mattress. I want to feel what you do to me tomorrow. I want Alfred to comment on how I'm walking tomorrow evening because I'm still feeling you inside of me."

"Mmm, I'll do my best."

Jason grinned and proceeded to do exactly that. He'd never liked being held down because for Jason it had always been a way to emphasize that he was the slave and thus nothing more than an animate fuck toy to his masters. Master Tim seemed to love being held down. He whimpered at having his wrists tied to the headboard with a scarf. Moans filled the bedroom when Jason pinned his knees to his chest. It was a good thing that Jason was still angry with Dick because he nearly lost control and came when Master Tim came. The anger gave him enough of an edge to be able to keep fucking Master Tim through a half dozen more positions and two more of Master Tim's orgasms.

"Holy fuck," Jason groaned once he finally came, filling Master Tim's ass up. "I hope you don't expect that every night from now own."

Master Tim laughed his little sneeze-laugh into Jason's chest, snuggling close despite the sweat covering both of them. Sleep swallowed them both once they'd gotten cleaned up and changed the sheets. Jason slept better than he had in years, all thanks to Master Tim's precious weight on his chest.

The next day, Master Tim kept his promise. Instead of making Jason go back to his rooms, Master Tim brought him along on his daily routine. Lord Bruce didn't look terribly pleased about it but he didn't say anything. Dick looked like he'd swallowed his tongue when Master Tim showed up at some sort of council meeting with Jason on his leash. Steph waved at him discretely, winking at Jason and grinning. No one else paid him any mind and the meetings and errands that Master Tim went on were perfectly prosaic, so his boredom wasn't completely removed. It was better than sitting alone in Master Tim's rooms, anyway.

The next several months explained to Jason exactly why Lord Bruce had been so annoyed with Master Tim for buying Jason by mistake. Jason was nearly certain that they were slave runners, people helping escaped slaves to escape from the country to freedom in the next country over. He recognized their patterns from when he'd made his run to freedom, though Jason was pretty sure he'd never interacted with this portion of the network. He'd been freed first, not helped to escape while he was still a slave.

Slaves appeared and disappeared, constantly managed by Alfred's expert care and Lord Bruce's stern demeanor. That sternness slowly dissolved over time, showing Jason the man who would adopt a traveling gypsy boy and a rival lord's son after his untimely murder. Steph and Roy slowly opened up to Jason, sharing bits of their lives before they ended up at Wayne Manor. Steph was a firebrand, bright, determined and highly vocal when there were no masters around. Roy was as steady as a mountain and twice as strong. Jason was pretty sure he was only pretending to be a slave for some sort of mission. He didn't have the right mannerisms for a true slave.

Jason never said a word about what he'd figured out. He knew better than to speak up.

The midwinter festivals were starting up the next time Master Tim took him out in public. He'd become Master Tim's constant companion. Dick's seductions still occurred, but not as often and never where Jason could see them. Jason was fairly certain that Master Tim had warned him not to do anything while Jason was around because Dick never touched Master Tim in Jason's sight anymore. It actually let Jason see why Master Tim loved his brother so much. Beneath the asshole behavior there was a brilliant, needy young man who desperately wanted to be loved by everyone around him. He just didn't go about it in the best ways sometimes.

"Put this one on," Master Tim said. He held out the bright red tunic with black embroidery for Jason. "I think it's the most appropriate for the party tonight."

"If you say so," Jason said. He grinned at the way Master Tim's nod died halfway through once Jason was naked.

Jason still hated the fucking leash that the law required when he went out in public with his master. It didn't matter that it was Master Tim holding the other end. For Jason the leash would always be the true symbol of his slavery. A collar was just a collar to him. The leash symbolized how his movements were restricted and controlled at all times.

The Luthor mansion wasn't as big as Wayne Manor but few homes in the country were. Jason made sure to be on his best behavior once they got there. He knew from observation over the last several months that Lex Luthor was on Lord Bruce's side on the slavery issue. His father Lionel and brother Lucas were clearly on the other side.

"I'll be so glad when this is over," Master Tim sighed as they waited to be announced into the ballroom.

"No kidding, Master," Jason murmured. "My knees are going to ache from all the kneeling."

Master Tim's sneeze-laugh was interrupted by a drawl that made Jason whirl and glare.

"How very interesting," Lord Slade Wilson said, smirking at them both. "I never thought I'd see the day that you became a lapdog, Jason."

"Lord Slade," Master Tim said. "I didn't expect to see you here. You know my Jason?"

Dick and Steph were both on alert. Lord Bruce had his best Brucie expression on, though Jason could see his fierce curiosity in his eyes. Jason refused to move out of the way as Slade approached. Slade's smirk widened.

"I do indeed know him," Slade said. "I'm quite impressed that you managed to tame him. I never could break his stubborn will. If he hadn't sold that day I was planning on putting him down. I'm fascinated to find that he ended up with you. I'd thought that he'd end up in the fighting pits. One of my friends was… quite disappointed to discover that he'd already sold before he could get to the market to buy him."

"You asshole," Jason growled.

"Jason, stop that," Master Tim said.

He jerked the leash and made Jason kneel by his side. Jason went down reluctantly, though he stayed up on his toes so that he could stop Slade from whatever the fuck he was up to. He didn't have long to wait. As Master Tim reached out to shake Slade's hand a little knife appeared in Slade's other hand.

"Get away from him!" Jason roared.

He bolted to his feet and shoved Master Tim backwards onto his ass while stepping between them. Slade grinned triumphantly. He shoved the knife into Jason's arm, leaving a long gash that dripped blood. The Luthor family guards grabbed Jason and threw him to the ground.

"He has a fucking knife!" Jason bellowed. "He was going to knife my master! You assholes, look at my arm! He was going to knife Master Tim!"

"That's enough!" King Clark bellowed over the guards shouting, Slade smoothly explaining and Master Tim trying to get the guards to let Jason go. "Release the slave. Slade, you were not invited to this event. You will kindly leave. Now."

Lord Lex was standing behind King Clark, all but vibrating with anger that Slade was there. Slade bowed quite properly and left without a word before the guards let Jason up. Lord Lex sighed and gestured for his medic Toby to attend to Jason's arm.

"What happened?" King Clark asked.

"He used to own me, your Majesty," Jason growled as Toby worked on his arm, smoothing healing cream into the long cut. It burned, which was unusual but Lord Lex was known for experimenting with new healing potions so Jason ignored it. "The guy's a fucking assassin. He tried to knife Master Tim and I got in his way."

"He has been making some odd inquiries about my slave," Master Tim said thoughtfully. "I've been putting him off. He's not welcome in our home."

"He's not welcome in anyone's home," Lord Lex said with an indignant snort.

His voice sounded strange, like he was singing in a warbling tone of voice. Jason blinked, shook his head and then caught Master Tim's shoulder as the world wobbled. He couldn't quite make out what Master Tim said, but his face looked surprised and then worried.

"Poison," Jason said. The words came out as a mumble so he tried again. "Poison! Healing cream… activated… poison."

Jason's legs gave way but he didn't feel it when he hit the floor. He wasn't sure that he had hit the floor. His head was tilted at a strange angle and his arms had gone in different directions. One of his feet was tucked in a painful way under his other thigh but he couldn't move his body to relieve the pressure. There was shouting, or maybe pleading, all around Jason. Master Tim caught Jason's head, helping him look into his Master's face. Master Tim was crying, saying something pleadingly that made no sense at all.

"Glad… I… saved… you…" Jason breathed.

He wasn't sure that the words came out right but the several big tears that crept down Master Tim's cheeks made him think he might have. There wasn't time to say anything else before Jason blacked out, convinced that those tears were the last things he'd ever see. Slade had gotten his way at last. Jason was dead.

Waking up an indeterminate time later with a body that felt like he'd been beaten through the floor and an arm that felt six sizes too big was a complete surprise. Slade wasn't normally this inept. He'd not only missed his target, he'd failed to kill Jason, too.

"Hey," Master Tim breathed once Jason managed to open his eyes. They were in a strange bedroom with lavender walls and bedding. Master Tim's eyes were puffy from crying.

"Hey." Jason's voice came out scratchy and strange. "What happened?"

"Lord Lex had an antidote for the poison but your arm's a bit messed up," Master Tim said. "Bruce did some checking. You were freed. You shouldn't be a slave at all. Lord Slade tried to kill you to hide that he'd enslaved you illegally."

"Yeah. I guess. I don't know," grumbled Jason. "All I know is that fucking Slade sold me and then had kittens when he discovered my new master had freed me. I was seventeen days across the border when he caught me and brought me back. Said that I'd die a slave and should just resign myself to it. That's where the bruises and chains came from when you met me."

Master Tim gently cupped Jason's cheek. He looked worried and just faintly upset, which Jason knew meant that he had to be freaking out inside. The effort to turn his head to nuzzle Master Tim's palm was almost more than he wanted to do but he did it anyway to try and comfort Master Tim. A little smile ghosted across Master Tim's lips, disappearing almost immediately.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Master Tim asked.

"Didn't want to get you in trouble," Jason said. He didn't shrug the way he normally would have. "That's why I didn't want you to tell me anything, too."

"His Majesty is talking about using your case to revise the slavery laws," Master Tim said. "I've already spoken to Bruce. We all agree that you have to be freed, even Dick."

"Okay." Jason drawled the world until it had a silent 'and then what?' on the end of it.

"You can go anywhere you want," Master Tim answered so quietly that it was only the silence in the room that let Jason hear the words. "I'm um, not officially your master anymore. We've already signed the papers. You're free again."

"Cool," Jason said, grinning at Tim (not Master!) in delight. "So does that mean I can smash Dick's face in the next time he tries to pull you off to fuck? 'Cause I so will. Once I can move."

Tim blinked, went flamingly red and then laughed his silent, shoulder-shaking laugh that was a half step above the sneeze laugh. He looked shy and happy as he carefully moved to sit on the bed instead of on the chair sitting next to Jason's bed. Jason kissed his fingertips as the brushed over his lips, desperately wishing he felt good enough to get an erection. Unfortunately he really didn't.

"Yes," Tim said. "I think that you can. Though I will warn him first."

"Don't let him kiss you when you warn him," Jason warned. "I'll break his stupid nose for that."

"And ruin the work of art that is his face?" Tim teased.

"Hell yes," Jason declared as firmly as he could, given how shitty he felt. "The only work of art I care about is you."

Tim laughed the real laugh, the one that filled a room with joy. He carefully curled up next to Jason, avoiding his aching arm, so that they could cuddle. It was more than Jason had hoped for in a very long time and more than he really deserved.

"Hey," Jason said a long while later.

"Hmm?"

"Did you ever find out who that guy was?" Jason asked. "You know, the one who convinced you to buy me?"

"Um, well," Tim shivered and leaned up on his elbow to meet Jason's eyes. "Actually, Lady Zatanna did some checking and… from what she was able to determine he… wasn't from this plane. He's from a totally different world than ours."

"He wasn't a fucking angel or demon, was he?" Jason asked with more than a little horror.

"No one knows," Tim admitted while curling back up half on top of Jason's chest. "Zatanna said that he was surrounded by energies she'd never seen. She couldn't tell what he was. All she'd say was that we should judge by the results of his actions."

"Hmm."

Jason didn't say anything else. He refused to believe that an angel would take an interest in him. He certainly wasn't a demon, not if Jason was now free and had the one person he cared about in his arms. In the end, it didn't really matter what the guy had been. There was still a lot to do, like dealing with fucking Slade Wilson and finding a job so that he wasn't parasiting off of Tim, but Jason knew he could do it now.

He was free.

Anything was possible now.