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In Between Be and Begin

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It’s been a long day.


This is something of an understatement.

At the end of it he finds himself sitting cross-legged on his old bed in Titans Tower, watching the long rays of the California sun drag across the floor of a room that Cassie seems determined will forever be his.  “You’ll always have a home here,” she’d insisted when he’d voiced his surprise.  He has to admit that it’s nice, having somewhere he can always call home.

The Titans are family, first and foremost.

It’s soothing in a way that nothing else in his life can be right now, with Bruce gone and everyone in Gotham scrambling to save the city, to have this one place as a constant.

Some things never change.  Or, he’s finding, they never seem to change for long.

For example right now Kon is pacing back and forth outside his door, trying to figure out if he should knock.

Tim looks down at his hands, at black gloves that are so different from his old green ones, and wonders what the hell has happened to his life.

“Come in, Kon.”

The door opens and Kon walks in, and Tim takes a moment to be pleased that he’s still good at that particular game.  Of course, it’s not really that hard, but no one else has to know that.  The proximity alarms around his door don’t actually tell him anything more than the fact that there's someone in his hallway, pacing back and forth.  The secret is that almost everyone else just knocks, and Bart always moved so fast that the sensors could never catch him.

Kon shuts the door behind him and then walks across the room, stopping in front of the windows and rocking back on his heels, stuffing his hands in his pockets.  His eyes seem far away, uncertain about what he wants to say, so Tim just waits him out while he makes sense of whatever it is.  The whole situation is so abnormally normal that it twists Tim’s stomach into knots.

It’s been a very long day.

It started when Cassie called him that morning, interrupting his breakfast, her voice pitched shrill and urgent, demanding he come out to California but refusing to tell him why over the phone.  It’s a testament, Tim supposes, to her faith in him and their long history together that she wouldn’t believe what she was seeing until he confirmed it.  It didn’t matter to her that the League had already had their hands all over them both, that they had already proven it true.

He didn’t know what to expect when he walked into the med labs at the Tower, and what he found was something that had never even crossed his mind.

Kon, sitting on a gurney and wearing an aggravated expression, and Bart, younger than Tim had seen him last, flitting around the room like a whirlwind.

He’d stopped dead at the sight of them.

“Hey Rob,” Kon had said, swinging his feet a little and staring at Cassie sullenly.  “Would you tell her it’s us so she’ll stop wigging out?”

Privately, Tim thought that it was just another shining example of typical League disregard of the younger heroes that they hadn’t been allowed to be there when they first arrived, or at least informed when their identities had been confirmed.

None of that matters now, not with Kon standing in his room, watching the setting sun out the high windows while Tim watches him.

“I thought you’d be with Cassie,” Tim finally says, once he realizes Kon’s not gotten any closer to saying anything himself.

Kon shifts, shrugging awkwardly with his hands still in his pockets.  “We talked for a long time, but it was really weird.  It’s unfair, man.  My memories are really fuzzy, but everything still feels like it happened a few days ago.”  He crosses his arms over his chest, an obviously protective gesture.  “Did you know about the cult?”

Tim studies his downcast face, the familiar curve of his shoulders.  His brain is still having trouble believing in what his heart already knows.  “We all went a little crazy when you died, Kon.”

Kon looks at him at that, surprise written all over his face.  He comes over to sit on the edge of the bed.  “What, even you?”

As if Tim is any sort of paragon of sanity.  He can feel a painful sort of smile tugging at his mouth.  “Cassie didn’t tell you?” he asks.

Kon shakes his head, his bright blue eyes suddenly worried.

Tim doesn’t really know what to say.  How do you tell your back-from-the-dead best friend that you almost drove yourself completely off the deep end trying to clone him?  About that damn underground lab and all of those failures he’s suddenly grateful for.

He takes a deep, steadying breath, holding out his arm to show off all the red and black.  “Well, other than the costume change—“

“Which is awesome, by the way,” Kon interjects.

“Yeah, well,” Tim continues, fighting back a smile.  He’s not really happy about what he has to say.  “Other than the costume change, I—God, I don’t really know how to say this…”

“Just say it,” Kon says.  “What could be so—“

Tim stops him before he can finish.  “I tried to clone you.”

There’s a moment of absolute silence, long enough to make Tim start to regret his honesty as he stares down at his hands.

And then Kon says, “Tim,” in this voice that sounds pained more than anything else.  Tim still can’t look at him, afraid of what he’ll see.  Pity, or something worse.  Disgust.  Or maybe even fear.

“I know it was crazy,” he says, “but I just didn’t know what to do.  After my dad died, and then Steph… I guess I just wasn’t prepared to lose anyone else.  I know it’s not an excuse—“ 

Kon touches his face, startling him out of his confession, his hand warm and alive and Tim can’t help but look at him now, even though he doesn’t want to.

There’s nothing damning on his friend’s face, just pain and sympathy.  Kon runs his thumb along the edge of the mask and Tim leans into the touch.

“Can you take that off?” Kon asks softly.  “I kinda need to see your face right now.”

Tim nods assent, reaching for the solvent in his belt.  Kon starts peeling it off before he can get it, and Tim’s waiting for it to sting but it doesn’t.  He can feel an invisible layer of something as it slides between his skin and the glue, making sure nothing comes off his face but the mask.  He wouldn’t have expected this use for Kon’s unique power, but it works, and the gesture feels extremely intimate, sending a thrill down his spine.

“There.”  Kon smiles once it’s off, warm enough to light up the room even if is a little sad.  “You don’t have to explain if you don’t want to,” Kon says.  “I get it, you odd little freak show, remember who you’re talking to here.  You can’t scare me away.”

Tim wants that.  He needs it, terribly, to be true right now, and so he kisses him.  He doesn’t think about it, just lets his body act, moving to catch him by the shoulder as he presses their mouths together.  Kon makes a startled sound, sealed off by Tim’s mouth and more felt than heard, but he kisses back before Tim can even worry about it in earnest.

This is familiar, even though it shouldn’t be.  They’ve never done this before, never managed to do anything but dance around it, girlfriends and teammates making it easy to ignore.  Tim feels determined to make it impossible now.  Now that he has Kon’s mouth on his, Kon’s skin the only thing he can smell and triggering sense memories of happier times.  Simpler times.

Tim deepens the kiss, tilts his head and opens his mouth for it as he pulls Kon closer.  Kon doesn’t hesitate, moving his hand to cup the back of Tim’s head and pushing his tongue into Tim’s mouth.

Tim hears himself make a sound into the kiss, feels it echo in Kon’s mouth.  He shifts until he’s got his knees underneath him, closing the distance between them.

Kon pulls away, mouth pressing open against the line of his jaw, down his neck above the collar of his cape.  Tim can hear his own breathing; can hear it become harsher as invisible fingers dip under the fabric at his throat, gentle and firm.

“Take—take this off,” Kon says, nipping at his earlobe.

“Yeah,” Tim agrees, and anything more coherent than that will have to wait because they’re actually doing this.  He’s not going to wake up this time, miserable and aching.

He pushes at Kon’s chest, since Kon seems more intent on leaving a mark on his neck than he is at actually getting him out of the cape.  “Let me up,” he says, and his voice sounds strange.  As if it belongs to someone he doesn’t know.

Kon moves back, letting Tim off the bed without quite letting him go, his hand falling to rest on Tim’s hip just below his belt.

Tim works at the catches of the cape as Kon stares up at him, his fingers suddenly uncoordinated and clumsy.

“It’s weird,” Kon says.  Tim gets the cape undone and it slithers to the floor, but Kon catches his hands before he can reach for his belt.  He’s watching Tim intently, his gaze both appraising and cataloging.

“It feels like I’ve only been gone a few days,” he says, continuing to look Tim over until Tim starts to feel uncomfortable, until he wants to tug his hands away.

“So it’s totally bizarre to see you so tall,” he finally says.

Tim laughs, surprised, and Kon grins up at him.  He feels better than he has in a long time.

“You do look good in my colors,” Kon says quietly, momentarily serious before he lets go of Tim’s hands, dropping his own to curve around Tim’s thighs.  “But I bet you’d look better out of them,” he adds, smirking and squeezing the backs of Tim’s legs.

It’s meant to be funny but Tim can’t laugh this time.  It’s just so Kon, so bright and happy that the laugh sticks in his throat.

Kon watches him eagerly as he disarms the belt, letting it fall to the floor before he moves to open the tunic, undoing the hidden catches and shrugging it off with the gloves.  Once it’s gone there’s just the t-shirt, which he jerks over his head quickly.

As soon as he tosses it aside Kon pulls him forwards, the intent as obvious as the heat in his eyes when Tim crawls into his lap.

“God, you’re hot,” Kon mumbles as he kisses Tim again.  “I always wanted to do this,” he adds between every press of lips.  “I always wanted you.”

It’s not profound.  It’s not even something that he didn’t already know, on some level.  Even so, the chance to actually have it?  He never thought that would happen.

“You can do anything,” Tim says, gasping at the feel of Kon’s very warm hands against his back.  “You can have anything.”

Kon kisses him harder, pulling Tim down to the bed and then flipping them over, pressing him down, his hands petting across Tim’s chest and down his sides.

Tim arches into the touch, grabbing Kon’s t-shirt and pulling it out of his jeans, over his head and off once Kon realizes he has to let go.

When Kon pushes him back down it’s skin to skin, and it feels so incredible.  Almost too much, a physical overload as he runs his hands down Kon’s back, wonderful skin smooth and alive under his fingertips as Kon kisses his face, his throat.

Tim can feel Kon’s tactile-telekinesis again, this time it’s moving down his legs, tugging off his boots and tickling at his suddenly bare feet.  He shifts under Kon to pull his legs out, to spread them along Kon’s body and bring them flush together.

Kon’s hard, and Tim doesn’t know why he should be surprised but he is, arching up as Kon shudders and pushes him down.  “Jesus, Tim.”

Thrusts down against him again and then says, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, “We should be naked.”

Kon gives him one last biting kiss before he sits up, sits back and hooks his fingers under Tim’s shorts.  Tim lifts his hips helpfully so Kon can tug them down, sits up himself for the moment it takes to peel them all the way off.  He lies back on the bed, legs spread wide and he can feel himself blushing as Kon looks at every inch of his bared skin.

Kon is flushed himself, and Tim has to bite his lip when Kon moves his hand to his own pants, pressing his palm against his own erection.

“You look amazing like this,” he says, shaking his head.  “I knew. I always knew…”

Kon shifts up on his knees, his hand at the fly of his jeans.  “What do you want, Tim?  Anything you want, I’ll do it.”

The answer, Tim finds, is surprisingly easy.  “I want you to fuck me,” he says, watching Kon’s eyes go wide.

“Oh,” Kon breathes out, his hands stopped and his pants halfway undone.  “Are… Are you sure?”

Tim nods, feels his blush deepen as he says, “I still.  I still haven’t…”

“You’re still a virgin?” Kon asks, incredulous.

Tim winces a little, internally, tries not to let it show on his face.  “That a problem?” he counters, somehow managing to keep his voice even.

“Don’t go all ‘Robin’ on me, boy wonder,” Kon teases.  He gets off of the bed for the split second it seems to take for him to remove the rest of his clothes and then crawls back on, onto his knees between Tim’s spread legs.  Solid muscle, gorgeous unmarred skin and a wonderful sort of flush spilling down his chest, and Tim hears himself groan as he watches Kon wrap his hand around his own dick, looking at Tim thoughtfully through heavy-lidded eyes.  “I mean, apart from it being really fucking hot?  No, it’s not a problem.”

Tim feels some of the tension leave his body, feels the rest of it redirect itself, twisting hot in his stomach.  “Good.  I’d hate to have to beg you,” he says slowly, smirking a little when Kon’s expression goes slack, jaw hanging open for a second before he snaps it shut.

“You.  You are unbelievable.”

Kon leans over him and Tim pushes up for the kiss that comes surging down.  There’s something that feels a lot like joy singing through his blood with every beat of his heart, and it’s amazing how normal this feels, how normal he feels, as if Kon is the piece of the puzzle he’s been missing.

“I wouldn’t mind the begging,” Kon says when they come up for air, finally bringing his body down to Tim’s.  Skin to skin again except this time it’s so much more, and Tim thrusts his hips up for the feel of it, “Please,” spilling out of his mouth without his permission.

Kon groans.  Tim didn’t mean to do it, but whatever works…

“Please,” Tim repeats, pushing his hips up and hissing at the friction, Kon’s dick moving alongside his own.  Kon groans, biting Tim’s throat.  “Fuck me, Kon, please.  I want to feel you insi—mmph!”

Kon kisses him roughly, obviously to shut him up and Tim grins, biting at Kon’s lips.

“You’ve got to stop that,” Kon says firmly, pushing up on his hands, head hanging down. “Especially if you mean it,” he adds.

He looks up at Tim after a moment and raises an eyebrow.  “So where is it?  Under the bed or in the drawer?”

“Drawer,” Tim answers and Kon smirks.

“See, I knew you were a real boy.”

Kon opens it with the ttk, fumbling around and not taking his eyes off of Tim’s face.  Tim smirks up at him when Kon finds the lube, flipping the lid open and slicking his fingers up.  “You think you’re hot shit, don’t you?” Tim asks.

Kon grins, cocky, even though he says, “I think you’re hot.”

He sits back on his heels again, bending Tim’s leg up and sliding one finger against the cleft of his ass, circling around before pressing in gently.  For a second there’s something close to wonder on his face, and if Tim wasn’t watching him intently he would’ve missed it.

“What is it?” he asks.

“I can’t believe you’re letting me touch you like this,” Kon admits.  “I never thought you’d…” he trails off, shaking his head.

When he adds another finger Tim closes his eyes, gasps and moves into it, willing his body to relax and accept the intrusion.  He can still tell Kon is watching him, even with his eyes closed, and it’s an amazing feeling, such a turn-on to let go of everything and let someone else take over.  After a few minutes of gently stretching him open he slides another finger in.  Tim is surprised at how easy it is to take it, how good it feels, and the burning ache of it just lets him know that it’s real.

He opens his eyes to find that Kon’s not watching his face.  His eyes are fixed on his own hand, the join of their bodies and Tim feels himself flex at the thought.  Moans as he feels himself clamp down on Kon’s fingers, watching Kon’s face as he sees it and feels it himself.

“God, I can’t—“ Kon swallows.  “I need to—“

He pulls his fingers out and Tim whines at the sudden loss.

“Shh, baby.  I’ve got you,” Kon says, slicking himself up, quickly replacing his fingers with his dick, blunt and just more.

It’s almost painful, would be painful if Tim didn’t want it so much.  Instead it just adds a sharp edge to the feeling, sends heat shooting through him and breaks his skin out in a sweat.  He stares into Kon’s eyes as he pushes in, until Kon can’t take it and kisses Tim’s eyes shut, burying his face in his neck and whispering his name over and over again.

Once he’s in all the way he stills, letting Tim adjust.  The admittedly small part of Tim’s brain that’s still working notes that it’s a strange feeling, although not in any way that doesn’t just feel good.

“Kon,” he says, moving into it.  “Please.”

“Yeah, okay.  Absolutely.”  He moves slowly at first, every thrust measured and even, until Tim pushes into it, pushes up against him.

Then there’s nothing but movement, each thrust pushing him higher and higher, pushing him out of his mind.

“God, I missed you,” he hears himself say.  He feels so good that he can’t even think to censor himself, can’t think about the consequences of the words coming out of his mouth.  “I missed you so fucking much.  There was never anyone, never anyone else.”

Kon groans, the movement of his hips turning ragged, saying “Tim, Tim,” again and again as he kisses his face, kisses his mouth.  Tim wraps his arms around Kon’s neck and kisses him deeply, using the leverage to help him move his hips, meeting each one of Kon’s thrusts.

“Fuck, Tim.  God.  I want—“ he breaks off, pressing Tim’s leg up, holding him still and deepening the angle until Tim sees sparks behind his eyes.  “I want to watch you ride me,” Kon says, adding, “sometime.  Not now because I’m about to come.”

Tim moans, every sound rushing in his ears until he can’t hear anything, his own gasps drowned out by everything else when Kon wraps his hand around his dick.

Two more ragged thrusts, two more pumps of his dick in Kon’s fist and he’s coming so hard he can’t remember how to breathe, arching up and clenching around Kon.

“Fuck, oh fuck, Tim,” Kon swears, and Tim can feel it when he comes, pushing through it and slicking him up inside.

Once he stops moving he all but collapses on top of Tim, heavy but not unpleasantly so.  Tim runs his hands over Kon’s short hair and breathes shallowly, enjoying the moment.

After a while Kon rolls them over, tugging Tim along until he is sprawled out on top of him.  He shifts a little, makes himself comfortable, and sighs.  He can tell Kon is thinking, can see the wheels turning in his head because it’s always been obvious when he makes the effort instead of just letting anything fly out of his mouth.

“Did you mean what you said?” Kon asks eventually, tentatively.

“What, that I missed you?  Of course I did,” Tim says evasively.

“Tim, come on.  Not that.  The other thing.”

Tim can’t really do anything about it now, just tell the truth.  Confess and commit to it, and that’s terrifying.  “Yeah,” he answers, because it’s not as terrifying as the thought of missing a chance again, of having this taken away from him before he can even begin to think it’s real.

“Good,” Kon says.  He laughs.  “If I’d have known this was all it took to get you to open up…”

Tim smiles against his chest.  “What?  You would’ve fucked me senseless a long time ago?”

He can feel Kon breathe out, long and low underneath him.

“When did you start talking like this?” he asks.  “I’m not complaining, but man, I feel like I need to be making up for lost time.”

Tim pushes up, pressing his hand to Kon’s chest for leverage and shaking his hair out of his eyes.  Kon smiles and pushes it out of his face, runs his hand through it and tugs on the ends a little.  “This is hot.  What is it with you bat-types that just makes you look incredible when you let yourselves go?”

Tim grins down at him.  “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

Kon laughs quietly, a low, huffed out sound.  “Don’t give me that.  I’ve seen scruffy Nightwing, and seriously.  People should not be allowed to be that hot with three days worth of stubble and dirty hair.”

Tim laughs, loudly.  “I’m going to have to tell him you said that.”

“Go ahead,” Kon replies, grinning shamelessly.

Tim studies him, familiar smile in a wonderfully familiar face.  “We’ll make the time?” he asks, knowing there’s more to the question than that, knowing that Kon will understand it.

Kon nods, tugging him back down by the hand that’s in his hair.

“There’s no time like the present,” he says, and Tim has to agree.  Nothing else is guaranteed, he doesn’t say, but he thinks that he probably doesn’t have to.

Kon kisses him again, all of the urgency from earlier burned away, leaving them with something slow and easy.

It’s as good a start as any.