‘Could you please slow down for a seco-’ Tim jostled as the car jerked over another uneven bit of road.
The driveway was long and twisting, and, usually, there was something beautiful about it. There was something beautiful about the farm in general; the vast expanse of green, the soft orange sky, the gentle buzz of things happening far away. Usually heading towards the house when the sun was setting felt a little ethereal. So different to Gotham that Tim wasn’t convinced it was even the same planet.
Right now, however-
‘Conner!’ Tim snapped as they jolted over another bump. He adjusted the tray of milkshakes balanced in his lap, scowling when he heard Kon laugh.
‘If you make me knock these over I’ll- I’ll-’
Tim met his eyes and his breath caught as he took in the way that the golden light washed over the other boy, slanting across his cheekbones and painting his lopsided smile. His eyes were crinkled and his lips were wet. A thin sheen of sweat coated his neck and glossed his forehead, dampening his hair and making it curl.
Tim sucked his lip between his teeth, only a little reluctant to admit that perhaps it wasn’t the farmhouse that was ethereal.
‘You’ll?’ Kon prompted as he rolled to a stop outside of the house. He sucked at the straw of his milkshake, eyebrows raised.
Tim clicked his tongue. He was never letting Kon drive again.
He reached to open the door, face set in a glare. ‘Well, it doesn’t matter now-’
Tim clenched his fists. Never again.
‘Babe,’ he asked levelly, ‘why is the child lock on?’
‘I’m giving you adequate time to finish your threat.’
Kon’s arrogance sparked a burst of annoyance in Tim’s chest and he scoffed, leaning back in his seat and sipping at his milkshake coolly.
‘If these melt then you can explain that to Damian.’
Kon leaned forward and Tim’s stomach flipped, irritation morphing quickly - so quickly it was actually embarrassing - into anticipation.
‘Sure,’ Kon lifted a hand to cup Tim’s cheek, thumb brushing lightly at his lower lip in a way that made him feel like electricity was buzzing under his skin. Kon’s eyes were a shade darker than usual, his expression more heated and Tim exhaled warmly against the pad of his thumb.
‘How’s your drink?’ Kon’s voice was low and gravelly and his eyes flickered to Tim’s lips, hot breath fanning across Tim’s cheeks in a way that drove him a little bit crazy.
He hummed, gaze fixated on Kon as he took a long drink of his milkshake before grinning something wicked.
For all his strength, Kon’s lips were soft against his, slow and deliberate, and Tim sighed into the touch. It was all he could do to keep still, to not jostle the drinks, to not push forward and kiss back forcefully. Kon tasted like the Oreos from his milkshake and his lips were teasing, infuriatingly so, teeth tugging at his lower lip in a way that made Tim feel hot, heart racing, blood searing in his veins.
Kon broke away and Tim chased him with a breathy whine, the fingers twisted in his t-shirt, yanking at his collar, did nothing to pull him back and Tim’s eyes blinked open to see Kon gazing at him, expression fierce.
‘Now,’ Kon’s voice was rough and the pad of his thumb brushed across Tim’s cheek, ‘what was it you were gonna do to me?’
Tim watched as the other boy’s tongue moved forward to run over the tip of his canine. He- He was just so- So- Tim felt breathless.
‘Positive reinforcement is more effective than negative when attempting to deter undesirable behavior.’
Kon smirked, arching an eyebrow. ‘Is that right?’ his voice was rough and appreciative, ‘what will you do for me then?’
Tim wet his lips, letting his eyes roam the other boy, taking a long second to enjoy him, disheveled and wanting, before he leaned backward and shrugged.
Kon groaned and the doors unlocked and Tim grinned as they climbed out of the car.
‘What?’ Tim grinned wider, following him towards the house, ‘fine. I’ll clean your room? Pair your socks? Do your casework?’
Tim made a face. ‘Sure but I gotta get these to Jon and Dami intact first.’ He took a sip from one of the two bright blue drinks and narrowed his eyes. What did they even put in it to make it blue?
‘You have trust issues. I can drive flawlessly-’ Tim fixed him a look that he ignored, ‘I wasn’t gonna knock them over. Jon would make that sad face he makes and nothing could convince me to do that to him,’ Kon pulled open the screen door, ‘how does it taste?’
‘Like drinking syrup,’ Tim wrinkled his nose in distaste before gazing up at Kon through his lashes, ‘nothing huh?’
Kon groaned and Tim slipped in front of him and into the house, with a smirk. Kon was easy to rile up and Tim was going away for a few days and what better way to leave than with bruised hips and an ache so good that he couldn’t sit down.
‘You’re killing me, do you know that? You’re actually killing me.’
Tim didn’t look at him, smiling in satisfaction as he walked in the direction of voices.
‘Got any sevens?’
Tim stepped into the kitchen, the tray of milkshakes in one hand and his own half-empty shake in the other. Damian and Jon sat at the small kitchen table, a deck of playing cards split between them.
‘Go fish?’ Tim snorted, raising an eyebrow and setting the drinks down in front of them. Damian glowered.
‘Ma banned us from electronics for the rest of the day,’ Jon offered.
Damian rolled his eyes and snatched up his milkshake, expression set stubbornly.
‘Daytime lasts until approximately 6pm so technically the ban ends in fourteen minutes. Then I can go back to destroying you at Mario Kart and you can stop cheating at go fish.’
‘Firstly D, I don’t think that’s what she meant,’ Jon sounded dejected but it quickly morphed into something indignant, ‘Secondly, I’m not cheating!’
‘It is impossible to be so good at a game of luck.’
Jon feigned a gasp, ‘did you just compliment me?’
‘No, Jonathan. I am scorning you. This is scorn.’
‘I’ll take it,’ Jon shrugged before sipping his own milkshake, pupils growing wide. ‘Oh my god. You were right, Dames. This is amazing.’
It’s literally just sugar, Tim didn’t say. Dick has given Damian bad habits and now Damian is giving them to you, he didn’t say. He just leaned against the wall, suppressing a smile and pitying whoever it was that had to deal with the two sugar-crazed teens later that evening. He really hoped it was Bruce.
‘Of course I was right. Richard and I have tried almost every combination in the store. This is by far the best,’ he paused, ‘any threes?’
Curious, Tim peered over Jon’s shoulder.
Two threes. Three sevens. A two. And a nine.
‘Go fish. Got any twos?’
Tim bit down hard on his straw to keep from laughing. Damian handed over a card with gritted teeth.
‘You are a liar, Kent.’
‘I am not!’ Jon protested before blinking up at Tim innocently, ‘Tim, am I cheating? Tell the truth.’
Tim remained carefully composed.
‘I don’t think it’s possible to cheat at go fish,’ he lied.
Perhaps this would be how he died. Damian would stab him with one of the knives that he definitely had hidden somewhere, all because he’d lied for Jonathan Kent.
Although, he was stupidly certain that they’d moved past all of that. Damian fixed him a look but before he could voice his betrayal Kon appeared in the doorway.
‘How are your cups of sugar?’ he asked, moving behind Tim and wrapping an arm around his waist. Tim leaned into the touch, smiling when Kon kissed his temple gently.
It wasn’t lost on him how at ease he felt. It made something he couldn’t identify settle in his throat and he swallowed.
‘Good. Because they took-’ Kon broke off with a groan. He looked at Jon. ‘Rock, paper, scissors?’
Jon wrinkled his nose but his eyes hardened and his lips pressed together in determination.
Tim met Damian’s eyes and saw his own bewilderment mirrored there before it quickly morphed into a scowl. Tim supposed it was his own fault that he was the subject of Damian’s ire but, as Kon had said earlier, there was nothing that could convince him to make Jon sad. Not even a murderous Damian. He stuck out his tongue childishly and delighted in how Damian’s scowl deepened.
‘Sorry, kiddo,’ Kon snipped at his hand with pretend scissors, ‘you can’t win at everything.’
Jon slumped, setting his cards face down and standing up with a grumble.
‘Okay fine, I’ll bite. What’s going on?’ Tim stirred his milkshake absently.
‘Ma wants someone to help with firewood-’ Jon muttered and then his eyes lit up and his lips broke into a sly smile and-
‘She wants both of us. Apparently, I can’t keep cheating at rock, paper, scissors. I don’t know how she thinks I’m cheating like it’s literally not-’ his voice trailed off as he set his milkshake down and left, glaring at a smug-looking Jon.
Tim heard the front door shut behind them.
It was quiet in their absence and Tim took Jon’s seat at the table, sipping at his milkshake and tapping his fingers on the wood. The windows were open wide and a gentle breeze fluttered the curtains, making them brush and catch on various sweet-smelling jars. Ma had been making jam and Alfred might kill him if he didn’t bring some back to the Manor. Secret relationship or not, he’d know.
Damian reached out-
Tim moved Jon’s cards out of reach.
‘That’s cheating,’ he chastised with a smirk.
Damian glowered and-
Tim’s skin had started to prickle. Not because of the breeze but because he’d been meaning to talk to Damian for days and this was his chance. The perfect chance. And Tim was going to waste it because his stomach was tying itself in knots and his heart was pattering so fast that-
‘I think I’m gonna come out,’ Tim blurted, voice strained and breathless.
Damian didn’t say anything, just stared at him expectantly and Tim took a shaky breath in a futile attempt to steady himself.
‘I’m going to come out,’ he repeated, slower and firmer, ‘talking…uh- with you the other week. I felt- It was- easier than I thought it... And, uh- I want to-’
Tim almost groaned in frustration. If this was how eloquently his coming out was going to go he’d rather the ground below him open and swallow him whole to avoid the embarrassment. He just needed a moment. To gather his words. To be honest.
‘I felt happy,’ he murmured after a long minute, ‘I can’t remember the last time I felt like there wasn’t weight on my chest. I want-’ he inhaled, ‘I want to talk about him to everyone. Anyone who will listen. But it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t talk to you first. I refuse to force you into any kind of situation you’re uncomfortable with and- what I’m trying to ask-’
Tim took another deep breath and tried to steady his pounding heart. It was like his tenuously maintained composure slipped further away with every word and regaining it felt like grasping at water. When he spoke, his voice was impossibly small.
‘Do you want to do it with me?’
His eyes searched Damian’s face. He’d thought his little brother might appreciate the excuse to tell someone, even if he wasn’t burdened by his silence or whatever it was that he’d said. Tim didn’t want to make him feel like he couldn’t- Just because Tim- He took a breath.
Damian had a thing about being second. Tim didn’t want to be the reason that something that wasn’t a big deal to Damian became something to fixate on and suffer over. He didn’t want Damian to feel like he had.
His brother looked surprised, a little perplexed but not betrayed or angry. Tim continued, words pouring from his lips before he could think-
‘It’s only a suggestion. No pressure. Please don’t feel like you have to. And I won’t do it if you think it’ll hurt you. I know that you said you don’t care but if you do - if you were lying - that’s fine. I don’t mind. We can figure something-’
‘Timothy,’ Damian interrupted him, he sounded sincere, if a little amused and a fraction annoyed, and Tim felt his uncertainty morph into confusion as he snapped his mouth shut, ‘you’re embarrassing yourself and, frankly, me. I’m insulted that you assumed I would not support you.’
Tim melted in relief. Tension drained out of his tight muscles and he slumped into the chair.
‘Thank you,’ he whispered.
Damian tutted, nose wrinkling and shoulders tensing like he wanted nothing more than to leave.
‘But I meant what I said before,’ he stated stiffly, ‘I don’t see a need,’ he paused, shoulders stuttering back down, eyes suddenly very interested in the cards in his hand. When he continued his voice was soft.
‘Thank you for thinking of me.’
His mouth sealed like the words were hard to say and Tim nodded because of course. He couldn’t imagine a world in which he didn’t talk to Damian first. He wouldn’t purposely make him feel abandoned, even if the worry that he’d feel as such was ridiculous or - what did Damian call it? - embarrassing. Tim might’ve rolled his eyes if he wasn’t feeling so fond. He couldn’t even muster up the strength to be annoyed. How else had he expected Damian to respond if not with snark and thinly veiled insults?
He opened his mouth to say something undecided but definitely far too affectionate when the front door slammed open and-
‘I let you win.’
He settled for a smile. Something warm and grateful and relieved. Damian nodded slightly, the high points of his cheeks reddening and Tim wanted to reach out and pinch them. Instead, he grinned widely and called out.
‘He’s lying, Jon. He wouldn’t sacrifice his pride for anyone.’
The youngest boy bounded into the room, Kon just behind him, and Tim stood up to give the kid his seat back.
‘Oh. I know,’ Jon agreed heartily, sitting down with a grin, ‘I won fair and square.’
Damian raised an eyebrow, ‘I don’t believe that fair is in your vocabulary,’ he lifted the cards in his hand slowly, deliberately, and Tim stifled a surprised laugh.
When- How had he- Of course-
‘Hey!’ Jon whined, ‘give me back my cards. That’s against the rules-’
‘Lying is against the rules-’
A hand slipped along Tim’s waist and the arguing faded into the background. He leaned against Kon, twisting in the hold so that his nose brushed the junction between his neck and shoulder.
‘I did let him win, you know?’ Kon spoke into his hair.
Tim gave a non-committal hum. Kon had once refused to let a seven-year-old girl win at DDR with the whole arcade watching. There was no way he let Jon win.
‘You don’t believe me? Your own boyfriend-’
Tim rose up on his tiptoes, pressing a kiss to the soft skin behind Kon’s ear and delighting in his sharp inhale.
‘I don’t think you’ve ever voluntarily lost anything in your life, Conner Kent,’ Tim spoke against Kon’s skin, feeling him tense in response.
‘I can’t believe that-’
Tim’s lips brushed his ear, breath hot, bouncing back against his face, as he tongued at the other boy’s earring, taking it between his teeth and tugging lightly. Kon broke off with a gasp and Tim let his lips quirk upwards in smug satisfaction as they trailed back down his neck.
‘You can’t believe that?’ He prompted, pulling back and turning his attention to his milkshake with an amused smile.
Kon looked at him, eyes dark, lips curled into a wicked grin and Tim swallowed involuntarily. When Kon spoke his voice was a whisper, barely audible over Damian and Jon’s ever-intensifying argument.
‘I can’t believe you thought you were gonna get away with that.’
And then hands hooked behind his knees, hoisting him up and Tim barely had time to scoff an honest I didn’t - because, really, he didn’t. He’d been hoping for the opposite actually and well, when had Kon ever denied him - before lips claimed his bruisingly.
Kon moved and Tim crossed his ankles around the other boy’s middle, pressing their chests flush together, one hand clutched tightly at the back of Kon’s neck, the other slipped up to tangle in his hair. He could hear noises of disgust behind them, growing more distant with every step. Embarrassed protests. Fake retching.
Tim grinned into Kon’s mouth.