Actions

Work Header

Through the Wire

Chapter Text

Jason was somewhere on the precipice between very, very drunk and absolutely hammered. Roy had warned him, he thought idly. "You’ll lose enough blood to affect your alcohol tolerance — be careful if you drink afterwards."

What did Roy know, Jason wondered. Stupid Roy. Jason had perfect control of his body, and he could choose to get drunk all by himself like a fucking adult, thank you very much.

Jason stretched out on his threadbare couch, enjoying the way it pulled at the bandage on his hip, just this side of the good kind of hurt. He tugged up at his shirt to inspect the tape holding down his cotton gauze, smoothing his fingers where it met his skin.

Okay, so maybe he had had a little too much to drink.

A noise from Jason’s phone surprised him, and he barely caught himself on the edge of his coffee table as he startled. “Woah,” he muttered, righting himself on the couch and grabbing at the phone.

It was Roy, of course - Jason couldn’t so much as think his name without him somehow knowing. Jason thumbed clumsily over the display and pulled the phone to his ear.

“Lo?”

“Jesus, Jaybird,” Roy laughed. He sounded exasperated but fond. “I told you not to drink so much.”

“Yeah,” Jason mumbled, “ya’ did. Didn’t listen though. Whoops.”

Roy sighed on the other end of the line. “You feel okay, though? Does it hurt?’

“M’fine. I’m not a baby,” Jason said, indignant. “Just a stupid tattoo, Roy.”

Thinking of the tattoo slipped Jason’s attention from the conversation. He pulled up his shirt again, smoothing his hands down his stomach to pick at the edges of the tape as if to peel it off - “Jason,” Roy said, and Jason snapped back to semi-alertness. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“Yeah,” Jason said. He swallowed, and his throat was suddenly dry. “Wish you’d been there. Was kinda lonely.” Jason would deny until his second death that he allowed himself to get drunk enough to be this level of honest, but Roy, to his credit, just sighed.

“I know,” he said, and he sounded sincere when he added, “I’m sorry that I wasn’t. But I’ll be back in Gotham soon.”

“Mm,” Jason agreed. Suddenly, an idea sparked in his mind. “Do you want to see it?”

“The tattoo?” Roy asked. Jason nodded for a moment before he realized that it didn’t translate.

“Yeah,” he said, “you can tell me if it looks all fucked up or not. I don’t know what’s s’posed look like.”

Roy just sighed. “I shouldn’t be encouraging this.” A pause, and then, “Be careful taking off the bandage.”

Jason smiled a little as he picked at the tape. “Kay,” he said. “I’ll text you.” He hung up the phone and straightened up on the couch, bracing himself as the room spun. Things were slightly easier once he was upright, but Jason still struggled a little to stand all the way up, take a few tentative steps, and shuffle slowly to the bathroom.

He tugged off his shirt, throwing it unceremoniously into the entryway, before he looked at himself in the mirror. His pale skin was flushed from the liquor, and his hair was a mess, the white patch sticking to his forehead. It took all of Jason’s concentration to peel off the top of his bandage carefully, slowly. He had to push his jeans down on his hips to get to the last bit, and then-

And then, Jason took a good look at the tattoo, admiring the way the black lines swooped and fell along his left hipbone. He traced his fingers near the curves, wincing a little at the tenderness. It had taken him forever to decide what he wanted — well, half-true. More accurately, it had taken him forever to work up the courage to get this.

Jason pulled his hand away and grabbed his phone. He took the picture unceremoniously — it was just Roy. And then, with a narrowed look of concentration, he selected the photo and sent it off.

Bed, Jason thought suddenly, or I am going to throw up. He abandoned the phone on the bathroom counter as he half-stumbled out of the room.

~~

Dick loved patrolling, he really did. It had been a part of his life longer than anything else had been, and he knew that vigilantism was as much his blood as being a Flying Grayson. But sometimes…

Sometimes, his adoptive family could be a lot.

Case in point was Damian, throwing every weapon on his person at Tim, who had affronted Damian by… Existing? Dick wasn’t sure what, if anything, Tim had done, but it didn’t seem terribly important as Tim dodged a coffee cup which shattered on impact with the wall behind him.

“Hey,” Dick snapped, “enough. No throwing household objects.” He paused to look at Damian, who was glaring daggers at Tim with a large book in his hands, apparently ready to bash Tim’s brains out with it. “Damian, Bruce will be back here in 20 minutes, and I am not covering for you if he finds Tim bleeding out on the floor.”

“Yeah, Damian,” Tim mocked, looking impressively composed for someone who had just survived a veritable onslaught of sharp objects, “what would daddy say?”

“Oh, my god,” Dick muttered. He rubbed his eyes as Damian actually snarled and launched himself at Tim, who was running at top speed as far away as possible. “You couldn’t leave it well enough alone.” To be fair to Tim, none of them were very good at backing away from points of contention — it seemed to be a Robin trait to run headlong into the exact situations where they should run away, to push limits when they should turn back and leave it the hell alone. Dick also knew — even if he hated to admit it — that Damian and Tim attempting to maim each other daily was safer, so much safer, than the alternative.

Because the alternative was Jason Todd.

Dick knew that it would never matter how many years passed: he would never forgive himself for not being there for Jason when Jason needed him. Maybe, if he had been around more, had been a voice of reason for Jason, had helped him find an outlet for the anger brimming just under his skin, waiting to be exploited —

It didn’t matter. Dick couldn’t change a thing about how he’d failed Jason, time and time again, like it was practiced. Even in his second life, Dick couldn’t manage to help Jason. Dick looked at him and saw himself reflected back, but distorted, like a fun house mirror, sharp edges and a smile that was all teeth and somehow still looked a moment away from broken. It made it hard to face Jason, hard to look at him and not see a boy beaten bloody with a crowbar.

The sound of Tim’s bo-staff smacking skin, hard, snapped Dick to attention. “Hey!” he yelled, in his best approximation of the Batman voice. “Stop trying to kill each other!”

The only response Dick got was the vague sounds of strangling from behind the Batcomputer. He was about to go over there and force Tim and Damian to hug out their rage — that’ll teach ‘em — when his phone vibrated in his pocket.

Dick huffed and fished out the phone, expecting the message to be from Babs or Wally, maybe even Bruce, if he was going to be delayed coming back to the manor. Instead, when Dick thumbed the screen awake, the notification read: 1 new text message: Jason Todd.

Dick felt his heartbeat in his throat as he gaped at the phone, frozen in place. He thought about Jason every single day, never failing to find something in his flat, Gotham, or the news to remind him of the Robin who fell from the nest, but they hadn't actually spoken since —

There had been a sex trafficking ring — wasn't there always? — and Red Hood had showed up with the Outlaws to dole out their own version of justice. It had been a flurry of violence and noise, smoke thick in Gotham's night, but it had ended with Jason and Dick and the leader of the ring on the roof. Jason had pressed a gun to the perp's temple, and the safety was off, but he wasn't doing it. Wasn't shooting. And it had taken Dick less than a minute to notice that the gun was moving because Jason's hands were trembling, and he wasn't moving or saying anything, just pressing the barrel of his gun to a rapist's head like he was waiting for someone else to come and pull the trigger.

"Hood," Dick had said, into the thick, heavy air over the building. "Hood, you don't have to do this. Put the gun down."

Dick hadn't been able to see a thing behind the red helmet, but he had wondered if Jason was smirking, or crying, or laughing, or if his face was as blank as his body language. Jason had just held onto the gun, as if Dick had never spoken, shaking and shaking and shaking, before he finally, suddenly, pulled away, coiled like a cat, and ran.

Dick had looked the perp up on the Batcomputer. None of them knew anything for sure, of course, and Jason wasn't exactly offering information about his origins on a platter, but the perp had been arrested before for soliciting sex from a minor. He'd been picked up in the Narrows, around the time when Jason would have been 7 or 8 and slumming there. He'd been released because they didn't have substantial proof. Because the kid, whoever he or she was, had vanished like mist at the hint of police involvement.

No one had spoken to Jason since. Red Hood had been relatively active within his own territory, disappearing for short stretches of time as he travelled with Arsenal to god knows where. Starfire had disappeared entirely, of course, and there had been an uptick in violence in the Hood's territory following it - but the wounds didn't seem to be from knives or guns. Dick had sent Jason a text, a week after that night on the roof — "How are you, Little Wing?" — but he'd never received a response.

Until this, three months later. Dick's phone vibrated again, reminding him, and Dick imagined it taunting him. Dick's fingers pattered over the screen, stalling, before he finally unlocked it and opened the message.

And then gaped and stared.

It was a picture — a picture of Jason — taken in a mirror in a dimly lit bathroom. He was shirtless, with his left thumb hooked in the waist of his jeans, pulling them down so the sharp line of his hip was visible. Jason's hair was damp and rumpled, sticking up and plastered to his forehead in alternating patches, and his eyes were unfocused, his lips ticked up in a lazy smirk. He looked really, really drunk, and really, really

Appealing. Oh, god.

Dick could feel a tidal wave of arousal hit him, and he felt himself nearly stagger with it. Jesus. He wanted to thread his hands through Jason’s hair and see if he couldn’t muss it up even more, tilt Jason’s head back to bare his pale throat so he could suck where Jason’s shoulder sloped to meet the column of his neck. He wanted to kiss and bite and bruise down Jason’s broad chest, lap his tongue over his y-shaped autopsy scar until Jason shuddered and begged him for more, please, more. Dick wanted to bury his face in the hollow of Jason’s hip and nip at the jut of bone there, trace over the black ink there with his fingertips as he —

Wait, was that a tattoo?

Dick snapped out of his X-rated thoughts as he noticed, really noticed, the black markings curving just over the top of Jason’s left hip. Dick hadn’t seen Jason shirtless in close to a year — and that had been unintentional — but he was fairly confident that Jason hadn’t had a tattoo there before. The skin around it still looked inflamed and irritated; Dick didn’t know a lot about tattoos, but he was pretty sure that this one was fresh. As in, only a few hours old, fresh. With the redness of the skin around it, it was hard to tell exactly what shape the black ink took, but it looked… It looked like characters in a language Dick wasn’t familiar with, something swooping and curved and beautiful. It looked like… Maybe three words?

“Dick?”

Dick whipped around, pressing the screen of his phone to his chest, to find that Tim and Damian had stopped trying to kill each other and were staring at him. They were far enough away that they couldn’t have seen the picture, but Dick felt sure that they could see right through him, right through to the awful, dirty little part of him that had just been extremely turned on by a picture of Jason Todd — a picture that he was confident wasn’t intended for him, no less.

“Hey!” Dick said enthusiastically, and he winced when his voice squeaked slightly. “Sorry, I got a weird email — probably spam, you know. Anyways, Bruce should be home soon so I’m going to head out, I have some things that I could get done and —“

“You trust me to stay here, unsupervised, with Drake?” Damian inquired, mercifully interrupting Dick’s rambling. Damian and Tim both looked completely bewildered as Dick practically ran to his bike.

“Yep, you guys got it, letting you take responsibility for yourselves and so on, gotta grow up sometime!” Dick rattled off. He paused to tuck his phone in his pocket, carefully, before putting on his helmet, straddling his motorcycle, and throwing the boys one last shaky grin. “Don’t call me unless it’s an emergency, don’t kill each other, remember I love you, bye!”

Dick peeled out of the Batcave. He normally didn’t drive this fast, but, well…

Him getting home to figure out what the hell he was going to do was classified, in his mind, as a worthy emergency.

~~

“Jason. Jaaaaase, Jaybird. Wake up, you jerk.”

Jason grumbled and curled in tighter to his pile of blankets, intent on ignoring the voice prodding at his consciousness from above him. Jason’s head fucking hurt, and he was only about half sure that he hadn’t swallowed his own tongue. Could he even confidently say that he was currently alive?

“Jason,” the voice insisted, and Jason felt a hand push at his shoulder. “Jason, you need to wake up so I can kick your ass for worrying me.”

The cheerful threat of violence was all it took to confirm for Jason that the voice belonged to Roy, and he groaned audibly. “Harper,” he groaned around his thick tongue and cotton-mouth. “What th’fuck are you talking ‘bout?”

Roy sighed and rolled Jason on his back, ignoring his pathetic whine as his face was exposed to the dim light in the room. Jason let out a noise that was very nearly a whimper as Roy prodded at Jason’s cheek until he cracked one bloodshot eye open. “Jesus Christ, what?”

Jason could tell, through the haze of his hangover, that Roy looked relieved. “You scared me, Jay,” he explained. “You were trashed when I called you, you told me you were going to send me a picture of your new ink, and then I never heard from you again. I thought you fell in the bathroom and brained yourself on the fuckin’ tub.”

“‘M fine,” Jason said, and he tried to sound at least a little sorry. “Hungover as fuck and possibly braindead from liquor, but I didn’t fall.” Jason pushed himself upright on the bed, slowly, as he tried to remember the previous night. “Besides, I did send you a picture — you must've know I was fine.” Jason managed a cocky grin in Roy’s direction. “Were ya' looking for a reason to come home early, Harper? Fuckin’ drama queen.”

“Never looking for a reason,” Roy answered, automatic, but his face had curled into a frown, “though I definitely never heard from you after that phone call.”

Jason took a good look at Roy, at his messy red hair pulled back from his tired eyes, and could tell that he was serious — but Jason could confidently remember deciding to take a photo of himself in the bathroom. Had he not managed to actually send it to Roy before passing out? Had he even managed to take the photo, or just gone through the motions? Where the fuck was his phone?

Roy, ever the mindreader, handed Jason his cell and settled next to him on the bed. Jason huffed, woke the phone up, and navigated to his photos. “See,” he told Roy, as he peered over Jason’s shoulder at his screen, “there’s the photo. Told you I took it.” But Roy was shaking his head and reaching his arm around Jason to grab the device, moving his fingers over the screen to select messages, and —

And the last message he had sent popped up. It was definitely the photo. But the recipient was not Roy Harper.

The recipient was Dick Grayson.

Jason could feel bile rising in his throat as he stared down at the phone with increasing dread. There was no way. There was no way in hell that he had sent that photo to… That he had managed to so beautifully fuck up what was supposed to be a fucking joke by… Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ. By sending a half-naked, drunk photo of himself to Dick Grayson.

Jason’s hands tightened around the phone, and he could distantly feel himself start to tense up. This couldn’t be happening. He had let himself get drunk and vulnerable, taken what was a hint and nudge away from a sexy picture, and then sent it to the one person on the planet — other than maybe Bruce — who could destroy his life with it. Who would destroy his life with it, and, knowing Dick, not even on fucking purpose, not knowing the consequences, but just because Dick would think it was funny and would send it around and everyone, everyone Jason knew would be able to see him more exposed than he had let himself be around them in years because —

Holy shit, the tattoo.

They would figure out the fucking tattoo.

Jason heaved in a choked-off breath and curled in on himself, unable to control the way his heart was pounding and his clammy, cold hands were shaking. He could feel his chest caving in on itself, the sensation as real and brutal as the Joker’s crowbar to his ribs had been, as he ran through the worst case scenarios in his head on a fucking torture-loop. They’ll all mock you relentlessly. They’ll know everything you’ve tried so hard to hide from them. They’ll see the parts of you that you pretend you left buried in your coffin. They’ll find out that you’re just a pathetic, stupid, ugly fucking kid who hides and runs from all the things he claims he’s not afraid of. They’ll know —“

“Jason!” Roy shouted right next to his ear, and Jason started a little with the sudden noise. “Jason, Jay, it’s okay. It’s gonna be okay, but you need to fucking breathe, come on, Jay!”

Roy’s hands were tight on Jason’s shoulders, and his face was inches from Jason’s, and Jason was staring at him with huge eyes as he hyperventilated. What a fucking train wreck. You’re just a fucking train wreck, and they’re all going to know. What now, street rat? Would you rather end up back in a coffin or be the laughingstock of everyone around? Pick your poison, because those are the best two outcomes of your pathetic, wasteful, miserable mistake of a life and —

Jason snapped back to awareness as Roy grasped Jason’s shoulders harder and shook him, and Jason gasped and fell back a little, taken entirely by surprise. It seemed to have Roy’s desired effect, though, because Jason could feel a shaky breath entering his lungs, idling, and then huffing back out. Slowly, slowly, until he was shaking less and breathing without heaving, and he could close his eyes for a moment to wipe the moisture away from around them.

Roy’s hands were gentle on Jason’s jaw. “I’m so sorry,” he said, when Jason had reopened his eyes. “I didn’t know what else to do. Are you… Are you okay?”

Jason closed his eyes again, because it was easier than seeing the pity in Roy’s, easier than admitting to himself that he had just had a complete mental breakdown. “I’m fine,” Jason, started, but a calculated look from Roy made him pause. “I… What the hell am I going to do?”

Roy was Jason’s best friend. He knew things about Jason that no one else knew — things that Jason couldn’t admit to himself in the mirror, most days. Like how the passion and intensity Jason threw into everything, he also threw into hating his own body; how he loathed looking at his autopsy scar or his shock of white hair and never failing to wonder whether or not he would have been better off staying dead. Like how Jason had buried any hint of his sexuality beneath a mountain of self-loathing and unresolved childhood drama, and the only reason he was fine with how intimate his relationship with Roy could be was because it was explicitly not romantic, not sexual. Like how Jason agreeing to be shirtless long enough to get the tattoo had been a big fucking deal, and the fact that he had offered to take a picture of it for Roy was not much less significant.

Like how, six months ago, the last time Jason had felt lonely and insecure enough to get drunk, he had texted Roy and confessed to him, “I’ve been in love with Dick Grayson since I was 15, and he never remembers I exist unless I try to kill him.

“We’re going to figure it out,” Roy said, and Jason shook his head a little, but Roy was insistent. “Jason, we will. We’ll figure out something you can text to him to diffuse the situation.”

“He hasn’t responded,” Jason said, and his voice was uncharacteristically vulnerable. “Christ, he’s probably already sent it to everyone I’ve ever met, and he won’t even provide me the decency of telling me to my face how much he’s making fun of me behind my back. What a… What a dick.”

Roy laughed, surprised, and Jason couldn’t help but snort in faint amusement. At least, if all else failed, Jason hadn’t chosen a lewd body part as his preferred name. Most of the world might be shit, but dick jokes would never not be —

Still clutched tight in his right hand, Jason’s phone vibrated.

Chapter Text

Jason and Roy stared down at Jason’s phone, twin expressions of horror on their faces. Neither of them spoke, and the air in Jason’s bedroom seemed to go still as the phone screen read: 1 new text message: Dick Grayson.

Roy broke the silence first, blowing out a heavy breath between his clenched teeth. “Jesus,” he muttered. “His timing is… Not so great, huh?”

Jason briefly considered punching Roy, briefly, before he realized that that was the point and met Roy’s eyes. He looked nervous on Jason’s behalf, but he was offering a half-smile. Jason took a deep breath and scrubbed his free hand over his face, trying to think. Okay. Okay, so Dick had responded to Jason’s accidental almost-sext. On the one hand, at least this would give Jason a chance to attempt to bury it under the rug and move on. On the other...

"You do it," Jason groaned, shoving his phone into Roy's palms. "I can't handle this. Just... Open it and tell me whether or not I need to start packing and ordering new IDs."

Roy snorted and unlocked the phone, tilting the screen towards himself so Jason couldn’t see it. Jason groaned again and buried his face in his hands, cheeks hot to the touch with embarrassment.

"Well, holyfuckingshit," Roy said, finally, and Jason peeked up through his fingers. "That is... Uh. Something. Definitely something."

Jason's hands came away from his face, and he uncurled, just a little. "Is it... Is it that bad?"

"Not in the way you're thinking," Roy replied. At Jason's puzzled look, he offered, "It's not bad like: "this stab wound is really bad". It's bad like: "holy shit, Jason, your brother is bad"."

"Jesus Christ, please don't call him my brother," Jason snapped, and Roy just grinned. "Why the fuck are you so happy? Are the ruins of my life that fucking hilarious to you?"

Roy rolled his eyes. "You idiot," he supplied, "he sent you a photo."

Jason froze, and his heart was pounding in his chest so loudly that he was sure all of Gotham could hear it. "A... A photo?"

"A photo," Roy confirmed, "of the variety of which you sent him."

Jason was pretty sure he was dying.

"Can I see?" he asked, but he had snapped up the phone before Roy could even respond. He took a deep-ish breath and flipped it over, screen up, and -

Oh. Oh, dear.

If half-naked selfies were works of art, Jason's was a kindergartener's macaroni project, and Dick's was fuckin' Monet. Dick was posed in front of a full-length mirror, wearing sweatpants swung low on his waist and nothing else, with one hand braced on his hip while the other held up his phone. He looked confident, and Jason couldn’t blame him, because Dick’s body was insane, really, just fucking insane. His perfect tight muscles were coiled under his golden skin, marked with pale scars that made him look dangerous and strong; Jason’s scars made him look like a rag doll sewn back together one too many times, but on Dick they just served to accentuate the rest of that skin. Dick was unabashedly grinning in the mirror, his smile tilted up on one side as if to suggest I have a secret and I’m not telling you, and his big blue eyes were peeking out from behind his unruly hair. And yeah, Jason thought, okay, his life was officially ruined now.

Because this, the slow build of interest in the pit of his stomach, swooping low, was not a thing that Jason allowed to happen, and for good reason. It never ended well even when Jason’s partners didn’t look like Greek fucking Gods, so Christ only knows how bad it would be if it were with Dick. Already, beyond his arousal, Jason could sense himself automatically taking stock of the differences between their bodies, cataloging Dick’s perfection against his own faults so he could mentally beat the shit out of himself later for them. And, really, it was going to be a long list - because Jason had known that Dick Grayson was the perfect specimen of male beauty, but actually seeing it was making him a little nauseous.

“”I know you didn’t mean to send that picture to me, but I figured this was only fair”,” Roy read aloud, and Jason noticed for the first time that there was a message attached to the photo. “Man, he is something fucking else, isn’t he?”

“Shut up, Roy,” Jason muttered half-heartedly. He curled in on his side and rested his cheek on Roy’s outstretched legs. “Fuck, this sucks.”

Roy sighed and ran one hand through Jason’s rumpled hair, trying to soothe him. “It’s okay, you know,” Roy said, because of course Roy knew exactly what Jason was thinking. “He’s not better than you, Jase. He’s not perfect.” He paused before he added, “I think he’s gained a little weight, actually.”

“Fuckin’ liar.”

Jason could feel Roy chuckle. “Yeah, okay, sorry. I made that part up. He’s really stupid hot - but so are you, Jay.” Roy caught Jason’s hand as he went to pull at the white stripe in his hair, proving for the thousandth time that he knew Jason better than Jason knew himself. “Quit your internal-torment bullshit,” he added. “Are you upset because you feel inadequate in comparison to him, or are you upset because he’s clearly interested in you and that scares you?”

Jason rolled over and stared at Roy blankly. “I’m sorry, fucking what?”

“He sent you back a half-naked picture, Jason. Don’t be thick. If he wasn’t interested, he’d have gotten the photo and laughed it off. This,” Roy gestured at the phone, still showing Dick’s message, “is definitely not laughing it off.”

“Are you mentally unwell?” Jason retorted, his voice starting to curl into that street-kid Narrows drawl. “This is Dick Grayson we’re talking about, Harper. He probably thought that this would make me feel better about myself or some other misguided shit. He’s right generous like that.”

“Jason, I know Dick,” Roy replied evenly, refusing to let Jason break eye contact. “I’ve known him since we were kids, and I might vaguely hate his guts now, but I can still tell when he’s acting up for attention and when he’s being honest. This is the latter. But that doesn’t matter, does it? Because you -“ Roy poked Jason’s forehead, “wouldn’t believe that anyone was attracted to you even if they said under truth serum. You’d rather brush this whole thing off as a huge mistake so you can get back to hating yourself and not have to work on your issues.”

“Get the fuck out of my bed,” Jason snarled, and he shoved at Roy hard, but Roy just took it and swung up on his knees so he could get right in Jason’s face.

“I’m right,” he argued, “and you know it. I get it, Jason, okay? You’ve been through more fucked up nonsense in 22 years than most people survive in a lifetime. But if you let that shit stop you from ever getting close to anyone besides ex-junkie Yours Truly, then they win. You are way fucking better than that, and you know it, even if you won’t admit it to yourself. You got this -“ he pressed his hand against the tattoo on Jason’s hip, “for a reason, didn’t you?”

“To remind myself of what I lost,” Jason intoned, emotionless.

“Bullshit. It’s to remind yourself of what you survived.”

Jason could feel hot tears start to prickle behind his eyes, because goddammit, fucking Roy, who always knew exactly what to say to get through Jason’s tough skin. They had had versions of this conversation before, but never like this - never with Jason feeling this degree of raw from insecurity and self-loathing, never with Jason shirtless and vulnerable in his bed. A part of Jason was pissed, really pissed, at Roy for pushing him like he had, but the rest of him felt tired and strung-out. He curled up on the bed again, with his back to Roy, and even that was a sign of trust that Jason was usually too defensive to allow.

And Roy, of course, carefully curled up behind him, going slowly so Jason could tell him to fuck off if he wanted to, until he had gathered Jason in what he would deny forever was a hug. “I’m sorry, Jay,” he said. “I was -“

“You were right,” Jason interrupted, quietly. “I’m in fucking love with him, and he sent me that stupid picture, and now I’m terrified that it’s either a joke or I’ll fuck it up somehow. I just…” and there were the tears again, “actually want him. And I don’t really want anybody.”

“I know,” Roy sighed. “I know. But I promise I won't let him hurt you.”

~~

Dick was secure in his appearance, most of the time. He knew that he was conventionally attractive, and he knew that people looked at him, whether he was in costume or not. But there was a certain, ugly something about not receiving a response to a half-naked selfie that had a way of twisting that confidence up.

Dick could see that Jason had read his message, which meant he had to have seen the photo, but it'd been four days and he hadn't responded. Dick was starting to get antsy. He'd been rejected before - Dick wasn't nearly as much of a sex God as his reputation would have you believe - but being rejected without so much as a word stung more than Dick expected.

It could also have something to do with the fact that this was Jason. When they were kids, Jason looked up to Dick as a mentor, when Dick was around, but they weren’t even particularly close - Dick was off trying to detangle his life from Bruce’s just as Jason did the opposite. Then Jason had - Dick still couldn’t bring himself to say died, after all this time - and Dick hadn’t even found out until after the funeral. It was messed up, and Dick let it eat at him for years, silently, until Jason had come back, and then -

And then he had almost been someone else. Dick still wasn’t sure exactly what percentage of the Red Hood was the Jason he knew from childhood and what was something infinitely colder and more lethal, but Dick knew it was still him. It was still the Jason who had hoarded food in his room for months in fear that it would be taken from him, and who had created little hiding spaces with warm clothes and nourishment all over the manor in case he needed to disappear at a moment’s notice. The Jason who had thrown himself into becoming Robin with more passion and determination than Dick knew what to do with was still there, but he was buried deep beneath layer upon layer of kevlar and leather, sarcasm and aloofness in even turns. Dick knew that Jason was protecting himself, but he had never stopped to think that maybe it was Dick he was afraid of.

“We’re going to be late, Grayson,” Damian called from the hallway, and Dick sighed and adjusted the collar of his shirt. They had been planning this sting for months, and Dick had committed to doing it, no matter how much he’d rather spend the night running from rooftop to rooftop searching for Jason’s safehouse. Instead, he had to wear a stupid suit, complete with tie, and schmooze with socialites while Tim and Damian attempted to gather information.

“Grayson!” Damian snapped. Dick huffed and rolled his eyes as he opened the door.

“Relax, I’m here, babybat,” Dick said as he ruffled Damian’s hair. “Get Timmy and let’s go.”

The drive to the event, at some swanky downtown hotel, was curiously quiet. Tim had been acting a little… Off since that night in the Batcave that Dick was trying not to think about, and his behaviour was starting to make Dick nervous. Tim wasn’t the most social of any of them, by far, but he and Damian hadn’t engaged in a single fight to the death in the last four days. And when Damian and Tim weren’t trying to kill each other, it was a horrible sign that they were working together on something far more sinister.

“All right,” Dick instructed, as they parked, “nice and easy tonight. I distract the guests, Tim breaks into the office upstairs, Damian stands guard. Get in, get out, and do it clean. Comms in and turned on?”

Tim wiggled his fingers in Dick’s direction as he leaned over and whispered something in Damian’s ear, and Dick figured that that was as much of an acknowledgement as he was going to get. Weirdos.

The party wasn’t overly busy, but it was easy to tell from first glance that the people present were either rich, powerful, otherworldly beautiful, or some combination of the three. Dick let himself relax into his stride as he walked in, confident smile plastered on his face, and headed for the bar. He ordered a drink that he could hold in one hand while he mingled and then he stepped out into the crowd.

~~

An hour of mind-numbing small talk had passed when things finally started to happen. Tim had had trouble bypassing security to reach the upper level, but he and Damian were there now, snipping at each other in Dick’s ear as he politely excused himself to the couple he had been talking to and walked away.

“Honestly, Drake,” Dick heard Damian chide, “could you take any longer to perform the simple task of picking a lock?” Tim sucked in a deep breath to retort, but Dick cut him off with a quick set of taps to his comm, their agreed upon signal for “Stop Antagonizing Each Other or So Help Me God”.

There was a moment of quiet as Dick settled himself nearer the entrance to the ballroom, leaning casually against a pillar there, and then Tim sighed in his ear, “Got it.” If they were in now, that meant Dick had to stall for ten more minutes before he left the party to bring the car around, trusting that Damian would guard Tim sufficiently if he needed it. It was basic information gathering - well, stealing - and they had done this a thousand times. The chances of anything going wrong were very slim.

The moment Dick thought that all was good was the exact moment that Jason and Roy entered the room.

Both men were dressed impeccably in well-tailored suits, and they looked at first glance like they undoubtably belonged in the party. But Dick knew better, and he watched for a calculated moment as Jason swept the room with frantic little movements of his eyes. It was nervousness, and Roy must have been able to sense it too, because his gaze was locked firmly on the side of Jason’s face as he visually swept the floor. Dick ducked behind his pillar a little, rounding his shoulders so neither man would notice him, as he hissed into his comm, “We need to get out of here now. Hood and Arsenal just showed up.” Dick could faintly hear Tim and Damian hurriedly deciding on an exit strategy, but he was busy peeking over his shoulder at Jason, studying him. He looked incredible in that suit, really, and his dark hair was pushed up and away from his face in a way that looked perfectly mussed, but it was the way he kept glancing over to Roy for reassurance that Dick was really interested in. They were standing only inches apart from each other, and their ties matched, and to the casual observer it would almost look like -

Like they were a couple.

Tim chose that moment to stride up to Dick, grabbing him by the fabric of his sleeve to pull him away from the room. “Out of here, now,” he muttered, but his anxious movement caught Jason’s eye and he and Roy turned, in unison, to face them head on.

Instantly, Roy snagged Jason’s wrist. “Gentlemen,” Roy declared, in a both perfectly polite and absolutely terrifying tone of voice that he must have picked up from Ollie. “Were you just leaving?”

“We were,” Tim started to reply, moving to tug Dick to the entrance, but he was cut off by Damian sliding over to them and hissing something about getting the hell out of here right now before this becomes a thing, Drake. Dick suddenly found himself flanked by the two younger Robins, and the only people who looked more confused than him were Jason and Roy.

There was no way Dick was leaving this party without saying something to Jason. “Jay,” he started, “are you -“ but he was abruptly cut off as Roy moved into a defensive position between Dick and Jason.

“Absolutely fucking not,” he hissed, furious.

“Grayson, car, now, or you will regret it,” Damian warned at the same moment.

Dick’s eyes widened, shocked, and he tried to look around Roy to see whether or not Jason looked as confused as Dick felt, but Roy was a solid wall between them. Dick felt flushed and confused, because what was this? Roy was treating Dick like he was a predator and Jason was a wounded animal, and it was intimate and protective in a way that made Dick’s heart drop in his chest. He sent one last glance Jason’s direction, met Roy’s hard eyes instead, and allowed himself to be escorted to the car. He got in, waited for Tim and Damian to do the same, and then locked the doors.

“What the hell,” Dick burst out, “was that?”

Damian and Tim exchanged glances in the rearview mirror, and Tim sighed. “Start driving,” he told Dick, “and I’ll explain.” Once Dick started the car and backed out of the parking lot, Tim cleared his throat and looked down at his hands, clasped in his lap. “You were acting very strangely on Monday when you left the ‘Cave,” he started, “and Damian and I were worried about you. You had mentioned receiving a strange email, so the next morning Damian and I decided to check into it to make sure everything was okay. We didn’t want to invade your privacy, but we were worried about you, so -“

“Oh, for god sakes,” Damian interrupted, “I will be elderly by the time Drake finishes making the truth sound kinder. We hacked into your phone, Grayson, and we saw the message exchange between you and Todd.”

Dick slammed on the brakes immediately, and it was a good thing it was late and they were alone on a side road. “I’m sorry, you what?” he bellowed.

“We saw the photos,” Tim confirmed gently. “We’re sorry Dick, we really are. We didn’t mean to involve ourselves in your private life, but we were worried.” Dick’s head was spinning, and he tipped forward to rest his cheek against the steering wheel.

“We obviously don’t know your intent in responding in kind to Todd’s certain type of message,” Damian added, “but we also think you should know that we’re fairly confident that the photo was meant for Harper, as the two of them are living together and appear to be involved in some kind of ungodly… Relationship.”

Dick felt the breath rush out of his lungs. “They are?” he asked, weakly, and he didn’t miss the pity in Tim’s eyes when Dick tilted his head and they met his.

“We were going to be a little kinder about telling you,” Tim replied with a glare at Damian, “but yes, we think so.” He let silence envelop them for a moment before he added softly, “We both care about you and your happiness, Dick. We thought you would want to know.”

Dick winced at that, because Tim was right. No matter how much it stung to have his stupid childish fantasies about a life with Jason Todd ripped from his chest, it was better to know than to continue on like an idiot. “Thanks,” Dick said eventually, in a quiet voice. “I appreciate it. Let’s… Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

Dick knew, in his gut, that Damian and Tim had been trying to do the right thing. Their actions had been borne out of the fact that they cared about Dick and didn’t want to see him get hurt. The problem, of course, was that it was way too late for that.

Dick definitely wasn’t asexual - not that there was anything wrong with that - but he knew that sexual interest and an emotional bond were intrinsically linked for him. He’d had sex with people he hadn’t cared about, earlier in his life, but he figured out pretty quickly that it didn’t do anything for him. He needed to feel the flood of emotions, the crush of affection through his body that sped up his heart, in order for him to be really turned on or even consider becoming intimate with another person. The upside to this was when Dick did have sex, it was almost always incredible - and when he didn’t have a partner, he didn’t feel particularly pressed to seek anyone out until he found that emotional bond again.

The downside was that moments like this, when his body figured it out before his brain did, hurt like hell.

The facts were easier for Dick to grasp at the moment, so he stuck to them: Dick found Jason attractive, had since he came back to them with a red helmet and rage that nearly levelled the city. That, in and of itself, meant very little - Dick wasn’t blind. He could see a beautiful person and acknowledge their looks without it having any effect on him personally. Dick, for instance, knew that Tim was growing up to be very pretty - but he felt absolutely no desire to do anything about that fact beyond tease him about his boy- and girlfriends.

Fact two, then, was that Dick had always really liked Jason, even when he was furious and wounded with him for taking Robin. When Jason was just a kid, it had been easy to explain the affection Dick felt for him as brotherly, ensuring that the tough little boy could lean on Dick if he needed to. But now, Jason was older and harder, with years of experiences Dick couldn’t even begin to guess at. Jason didn’t need Dick anymore, so Dick’s urges to protect and comfort Jason should have faded into platonic sadness and regret at not being able to save him.

But they definitely, definitely hadn’t. More than ever, over the last year and a half until that night with the rapist on the roof, Dick found himself seeking out the Red Hood when he had no reason to. His explanation was that he wanted to ensure that Jason stuck to the straight and narrow, but Jason’s use of lethal force had tapered off dramatically before Dick started to tail him. Dick had taken to “supervising” Jason’s fights anyway, under the guise of concern. Really, though, Dick was realizing, he just liked to watch Jason at work.

Jason as the Red Hood was strong and brutal, his actions exact and practiced and yet somehow seeming barely-leashed. There was so much power behind Jason’s fighting, as if he could level buildings with a slam of his hand, and the idea of having that kind of intensity directed towards him instead of a second-rate villain sent a shiver up Dick’s spine. And that wasn’t even considering the kind of person Jason actually was - surprisingly kind, empathetic with those less fortunate than him, loyal to a fault, never hesitating to do whatever it took to deliver children or young mothers from harm. Jason was wildly passionate, about everything he did, and Dick had a feeling that applied to his love life, as well.

So, yeah, Dick should have figured this out a long time ago, long before he got Jason’s photo and couldn’t avoid the arousal thrumming in his veins. Because if this was just physical, Dick wouldn’t have agonized over how to reply to Jason, how to make things even and put the ball back in Jason’s court, and finally settled on revealing more of his attachment to Jason than he’d intended. The Wayne-classic tradition of denying feelings had been barely working for Dick until that night in the ‘Cave anyways, so it was no surprise that he had ended up here, lying on his couch, feeling like absolute shit because he had finally admitted to himself that he had feelings for Jason exactly when he realized he had absolutely no chance with him.

And, beyond that, Dick also felt immensely guilty. He had known in his gut that Jason’s photo wasn’t meant for him, but knowing that it was meant for his - his Roy - made Dick’s response that much worse. It was wildly inappropriate, and unacceptable, and no matter how much Dick may want Jason in a fashion that was coming uncomfortably close to the L-word, he also cared enough about him to hate that he’d possibly caused a problem in his relationship.

Dick opened his phone for the millionth time and winced as his own photo showed up, scrolling until the message thread revealed Jason’s instead. Dick knew that it was wrong to still be looking at this photo and feeling sorry for himself, but a part of him couldn’t help it. He hated that after denying himself this for so long, it had been taken out of his hands right when he realized he would do anything to grab it. And besides that, Dick’s curiosity surrounding Jason’s tattoo was still running rampant. He had asked Tim about it when he dropped he and Damian off at the ‘Cave following their disaster of a sting. Tim’s eyes had softened as he told Dick, “Damian translated it. It’s written in Farsi, but I don’t think… I don’t think Jason would want anyone to tell you what it says.”

Finally, after stalling for much longer than he could justify to himself, Dick typed out, “I just wanted to say I’m happy for you and Roy. I’m sorry if I caused any problems between you.” and hit send. He groaned and pressed his hands to his face, wishing he could disappear from his embarrassment for a little while. He was pretty sure Jason would never, ever respond to him, but at least he would know that he had tried -

Dick’s phone went off. “What the fuck are you talking about?” Dick tried to temper his elation, because the fact that Jason responded didn’t mean anything, Dick.

If you want to keep it a secret, I won’t tell anyone - I just wanted to apologize.” Dick paused, before he added, “You deserve to be happy. I hope he gives you that.

Jason was replying rapidly now. “Are you high on something? I have no idea what you’re on about

I know that you and Roy are dating, or whatever you’re comfortable calling it. Tim and Damian told me - please don’t be mad at them. They were just trying to protect me.

Protect you from what?

Oh boy, Dick thought, this wasn’t great. He didn’t want to lie to Jason - and he probably already knew, what with the half-naked selfie that Dick had sent him completely on purpose - but Dick didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, either. “They knew that I had… Shown interest in you, and they wanted me to stop before I got too involved.

This time, Jason took a lot longer to respond. “Roy and I aren’t in a relationship, Dick” his next message, when it finally came, read.

Dick frowned as he responded. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to force you into a label you’re not comfortable with.” Dick chased that with, “He makes you happy, though?” Never let it be said that Dick wasn’t trying to be a good person.

Uh, I guess? But I’m not uncomfortable with the label. It’s just not what’s happening

Dick’s heart skipped a beat. “What do you mean?"

We’re friends, Dick. We’re not even sleeping together. I’m not seeing anybody, especially not Roy” Jason’s next text read, and Dick let out a breath he hadn’t known he had been holding. God, that was… That was good. Dick couldn’t help the huge grin that broke out over his face as he stared at the message. Jason and Roy weren’t together. Jason and Roy were just friends.

What was with the photo, then?” Dick replied, eventually, and he got off his couch and paced nervously as he waited for a response. If this went well, it could go really well. Really, really well.

It took Jason a few moments to respond. “I was plastered” the first text read, but a second followed shortly after, “And apparently alcohol lowers inhibitions and critical thinking skills”

Dick grinned again, and typed out a reply. “So what I’m getting from this is that I need to get you drunk to get another one of those photos?” Dick’s fingers hovered over the send button, but he wasn’t sure - he wasn’t sure that this was the right move. What if Jason panicked and backed away from this, from them? Dick had just finally gotten him within arm’s reach, and he could lose it all with one stupid message. Jason was actually available, and he was answering Dick’s texts now, so Dick felt somewhat sure that Jason was at least considering this. But what if he was wrong?

Oh, screw it. Dick took a breath, tilted his head, and hit send. What was life if he didn’t throw himself off the metaphorical building?

Jason’s reply was much, much faster than his others had been. “You want another one of those photos?”, and Dick felt relieved, because that was something. Not an offer, but not a no, either.

’Course I do. I’m all alone in my apartment and you're hot.” If Dick’s last text had been foolish, this one was absolutely stupid - he might as well come right out and tell Jason in explicit detail what he had done with his first photo. But the part of Dick’s brain responsible for rational thought was starting to cloud with desire, and sending an dirty text to Jason sounded like an amazing idea, so this message seemed tame in comparison.

I’ve had a few drinks” Jason’s reply said. “I’m at a bar. I could order another”, and then one that just read “Thoughts?

Dick tapped his fingers against his phone relentlessly as he stared at Jason’s words on his screen, trying to breathe deeply. Because it sounded - it sounded - like Jason was offering to take another photo. Another photo, but for Dick this time, and only him. Holy, holy. Holy crap. Was that what was happening here?

I think that bar probably has a bathroom.”, he quipped back. “Am I right?” Dick could see that Jason had read his message, but he didn’t respond right away. Dick allowed himself to imagine that it was because Jason had made his excuses to Roy and escaped to the washroom to lock himself in a stall. Dick flung himself on his bed as he pictured Jason leaning his head against the stall door and finding Dick’s picture in his phone, looking at it and touching himself through his jeans, getting hard for him, to him, and finding it hard to stop long enough to consider the best angle for a picture -

Finding it hard to stop. Yeah. Dick was flat on his back on his bed, grinding his cock against his hand through his jeans as he imagined Jason doing the same. “Screw it, screw it,” Dick gasped, and he yanked down his zipper, shoving his pants and boxers down his thighs so he could touch himself, really touch himself. He threw his head back and thrust up into his hand, and god he was so close just from thinking about Jason doing this for him, doing anything for him, but he wanted - he wanted to see the photo, wanted to see if he could make out Jason’s dick through those dark jeans that clung to his body, imagine pressing his tongue there and darkening the denim with his spit and want -

Dick’s phone went off.

Dick scrambled for it from his jeans pocket and fumbled with it, trying not to upend himself over the foot of his bed. Once he had the phone in hand, he froze for half a moment, considering. What if this had all been a joke?

Possibly even worse, what if Dick looked at this photo and it ruined him for other sexual encounters forever?

It's too late to take this back, Dick's crotch seemed to be saying to him, and, well, Dick tended to agree. Dick settled back and opened the message.

Jason was definitely in a bathroom - Dick could just make out the lock on the door and light shining through the gap from floor to stall. It looked like he was leaning forward with his head braced against the cool metal of the door, with one hand angling down the phone between them. The top half of the photo was mostly Jason's plain black shirt, rucked up against his stomach by his other hand so his pale skin was visible, before his hips took over the photo and -

His jeans were open and pushed down slightly. Dick could just make out the shape of Jason's half-hard length through the denim, and that alone would have been enough to make him come for days. But, even better -

Jason's boxer briefs, riding up above his unbuttoned jeans, were just barely obscuring the bottom of his new tattoo. And his underwear was Nightwing blue.

Dick made a noise that was somewhere between a gasp and a whimper and jacked himself once, twice, before he was coming hard as he choked on his own spit. God. It seemed to last forever, his limbs tensing tight before going completely limp even as his chest heaved with his panting. He felt wrung out and raw and so, so good as he came down, and he couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten off like that - especially by himself. And man, was that ever promising. This was just a photo. How good would it be if Jason was actually there?

Dick groaned a little at that image and threw an arm over his eyes. It was way too soon for him to get anywhere near hard again, but the thought of having Jason’s warm body pressed against his, the thought of his strong arms wrapped around Dick’s waist as they came down together, was enough to send another little roll of arousal through Dick’s stomach.

Dick’s breath mostly evened out as he closed his eyes, and he seriously considered just letting himself pass out where he was, boneless, without bothering to put on clothes or get under the blankets. He was trying to persuade himself to get up, and failing, when his phone buzzed from where he dropped it on the bed during one of the best orgasms of his life. Dick snagged it lazily and opened it up.

1 new text message: Jason Todd. It read: “…Dick?

“Oh, crap,” Dick muttered, staring at the message. He’d messed this up. It had been a full ten minutes since he’d opened Jason’s message, and Dick knew that Jason could see that he had read it. He was probably panicking - how would Dick feel if he were in that situation? Dick started to tap out a reply, an apology, but it didn’t feel quite right - like empty platitudes, despite the fact that Dick very much meant them, very much felt like an ass for getting so wrapped up in his own pleasure that he forgot to text Jason back.

Dick paused, hesitated for a moment, and then pressed the call button.

~~

Jason was trying to remember to breathe deeply as he pressed send on a follow-up message to his… Well. Photo. It had been ten minutes and Dick hadn’t responded, and Jason was starting to freak out just a little bit. Okay - a lot bit. Because maybe Dick was just in this for the long con, and Jason had played right into his hands. Maybe Dick was fucking with him. Maybe Dick had actually been interested until he had gotten the picture and then seeing more of Jason's body had changed his mind.

This had seemed like such a good idea back in the gloom of the bar, with all the things Dick was saying. Jason had gotten caught up in the moment, in the idea that Dick was jealous because he wanted Jason, and Roy had ushered him off to the bathroom with a hesitant half-smile, telling Jason that he could watch their target for a while, but be careful, Jay, and Jason had just wanted -

Jason had just wanted to make Dick feel good.

Jason was halfway to a panic attack, with his breath catching and swelling in his throat as he tried to inhale, when his phone began to vibrate. One look at the screen revealed Incoming call: Dick Grayson, and that didn't exactly help Jason stop hyperventilating at all. He pushed his head harder to the metal side of the bathroom stall as his gut battled with some other part of him that he'd rather not put a name to: You can't just ignore him forever. Yes, I can. You want to talk to him. No, I don't. You need to pick up the phone. No, don't you dare press answer, you stupid -

Jason pressed answer. "Hello?"

"Jason!” Dick exclaimed, his tone relieved. "Jason, I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking. I started to fall asleep and I just forgot to -"

"It's fine," Jason interrupted, because hearing Dick's voice was not doing him any favours. It was one thing to text him and be able to imagine that they were on an even playing field in some virtual world, but it was another entirely to hear him speak and remember that this was the Golden Boy, and Jason had just sent him a dirty photo over text, Jesus fucking Christ. "Can we just... Can we please just fucking forget it?"

“Wait, what?" Dick asked, and he sounded confused. "What do you mean? Why?”

Jason breathed in deeply, and placed a hand flat on his lower stomach, over the tattoo, to remind himself of who he was and who Dick was and why this was all sorts of fucked up. “I shouldn’t have you sent you that photo,” he muttered, finally. “It was a mistake. I’m sorry… I’m sorry that you had to see it. I got caught up in the moment and I’m a little drunk, and I would just… I would appreciate it if you could forget about it and we can pretend that this never happened.” Jason felt a flush of shame at lying to Dick about the fact that he was stone-cold sober - he and Roy were here on a case, for Christ sakes. But it had been so easy to take the excuse that alcohol offered him when Dick mentioned it the first time, and now it might be his only chance at writing this whole thing off.

There was silence on the other end of the phone, before Dick asked slowly, “Do you regret sending me that photo? I thought… I thought you wanted to do this.” Dick’s voice was wavering just a little with something that might have been worry, and Jason let out a curse under his breath. Of course, Dick would be concerned about consent when sending dirty photos, because he was Nightwing, and he was A Perfect Gentleman. Never mind that this, whatever the fuck it was, was ranking right up near the top on the “Jason Todd’s Sexual Encounters: Ranked from “I Consented” to “Not So Much”” list.

“It’s fine, Dick,” and Jason let a little of his annoyance at being treated like he was fragile seep in to his voice. “Don’t worry about it. Just… Delete both photos from your phone and bleach your brain, or whatever. Go find some leggy redhead to fuck and I’m sure the images will slide right on out of your mind.”

This time, Dick was silent for a long time. Jason pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it, but Dick hadn’t hung up. He was about to hang up himself - fuck this whole situation, burn it right the fuck down, Todd - when he heard Dick start to laugh. Jason felt his face flush with embarrassment, and his chest tightened again. Great, just great. Now Dick was laughing at him, probably looking at his photos and cracking up over the dumb dead Robin who tried to play at sexy and ended up somewhere near gruesome. Won-der-ful. With any luck, Jason could go for a home run and round out the evening with a panic attack in a shitty bar bathroom, maybe throw in some tears to really sell it. Stupid, stupid, stupid fucking street rat -

“Jason!” Dick chuckled into the phone, finally. “Jason, listen to me. Do you think I didn’t like the photo?”

And that - that made Jason freeze, his brain grinding to a halt. “Uh… Yes?”

Jason could hear Dick sigh into his phone, and it sounded fond in a way that he’d only ever heard from Roy, in a way that made his heart clench in his chest. “Jason, I liked the photo. I mean, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable - but I really liked the photo, if you catch my drift.”

“What are you saying?” Jason ground out between his teeth, because he needed to know for sure - he couldn’t take a suggestion and run with it, let his stupid heart get all cozy with the idea only to find out that that hadn’t been what Dick meant at all.

“I’m saying,” Dick sighed, “that I got off to the photo, Jason. This one, and the one before that. Pretty, uh, violently. They are great photos, Jase, seriously, and you are stupid hot, and your body is really really really great, and -“

“You’re rambling,” Jason interrupted. He could feel something like hope bubbling up in his chest, but it was trapped by a steel lump in his throat formed from the incongruence between the things Dick was saying about Jason's body and what Jason knew was the truth. He felt halfway between either screaming or crying, but he settled on, “Why did you call me?”

“I get, uh, sleepy afterwards, usually,” Dick admitted with an embarrassed cough. “I forgot to text you back, and then I saw your message and felt horrible, and I just wanted to - make it right?” He hummed a little before he added, cautiously, “And I figured if I haven’t, you know, totally killed the mood for you, this might be a little bit better. I didn’t get the chance to take a picture for you before I, um, finished, but I thought I could make it up to you? If you want?”

And just like that, the illusion - that Jason could do this the normal way, that he could send dirty pictures to someone and receive them in return and it didn’t have to be a big deal, that Jason could want Dick and have him, even - came crashing down around him. God, he had been fucking stupid. What did he think was going to happen, exactly? He could just send racy photos to Dick and hope he got off to them and that would be the end of that? It was Dick, for Christ sakes. He had a reputation for being generous in bed, and Jason should have known better. He should have known better than to back himself into a corner where he had to give up the gun and confess it all - sorry, Dickie, did I forget to mention that I’m pretty substantially fucked up when it comes to sex and I have a mental breakdown at the thought of someone else giving me pleasure? - or find some half-baked excuse to buy himself enough time to escape from this situation and probably the city.

Yeah, this whole thing was over. Jason needed to get off the phone like yesterday, or the sordid story was going to come pouring out of his lips and he would never, ever recover.

“Listen,” he told Dick, with a voice that he was proud to say was mostly even, “I appreciate the sentiment, I do. But I should probably - I should probably get back out there to Roy. He doesn’t like being in bars alone for this long, you know, and I don’t want to put him in a shitty place because of my selfishness.” It wasn’t exactly an airtight excuse, but it was believable, at least. “But I… I’m glad that you, uh, liked the picture. And I don’t regret sending it to you. Okay? Just… Maybe some other time.”

Dick sounded disappointed, and there was a smidgen of that worry from before sneaking in again. “Okay, that’s… That’s fine. I just, um. Can I call you tomorrow, maybe? And we can talk?”

Jason wanted to tilt back his head and let a bitter laugh rip through his chest, but he thought better of it. “Sure, Dick,” he said, and he imagined how the words whistling through his clenched teeth would feel in a world where they didn’t have to be a lie. “Sure thing.”

Dick let Jason go, somewhat reluctantly, and then it was all over, and there was nothing left but Jason holding his phone in a bathroom stall with his pants undone, making company with his shame. Jason felt too hollow to panic, which was morbidly nice, but he knew that by the time he got out of this bar the emptiness would have turned into self-loathing.

Jason purposefully avoided the mirrors as he left the bathroom, heading back out into the seedy bar. Christ only knew what he would see in his own eyes if he bothered to look.

Chapter Text

Dick called. Dick called, over and over, but Jason wasn’t answering, and it left Dick feeling sick to his stomach with guilt, horror over what he’d done. He should have known that this would happen, should have anticipated that Jason was only humouring Dick and would run as soon as he got the chance. He should have figured it out, but he had been so wrapped up in himself, so selfish -

So Dick called, for days, sent texts and left voicemails, but Jason didn’t respond to any of it. Anyone else would have chalked it up to a lost cause, but Dick kept trying, kept trying, so that he could at least apologize. When a week passed and it all turned up fruitless, and his casual-not-so-casual inquiry to Tim about Jason’s whereabouts revealed that he hadn’t been on patrol since, that they could tell, Dick knew what he had to do.

He had to talk to Roy.

Dick was excellent with social cues, so he could tell that Roy couldn’t fricking stand him, even before the debacle at their batched sting. He had some idea why, if he was being honest, but he was pretty sure the smarter move was to play naive, see if Roy would, at least, tell him that Jason was fine. Then Dick could move on with his life, get over Jason and -

Yeah, right.

So Dick ended up on the roof of a warehouse, just before dusk, after having tracked Roy back to that location. He’d been following Roy for days, but he’d evaded him at every turn, there one second and gone the next. Dick was half relieved and half terrified that Roy had let him follow him this time - and Dick knew that Roy had let him, knew that he couldn’t chalk his success in following him up to any kind of personal skill. Roy was an actual, honest to god genius, smarter than Dick and Damian and Jason and possibly even Tim, depending on the topic. Roy did nothing by accident when it came to his work, so Dick knew that Roy was expecting him to show up here. Whether it was to give Dick his approval or beat the crap out of him, Dick didn’t know - but he had a pretty good feeling that it was going to be the latter.

Dick swung down to a balcony on the side of the building, peering through the window to find Roy standing there, staring directly at him. “Oh!” Dick huffed, startled, and Roy just rolled his eyes and popped the latch. It was as much of an invitation as Dick was going to get.

Dick climbed through and got to his feet, taking in the room. It had definitely been a small warehouse at one point, but it appeared to have been converted into some semblance of a living space. Dick could see doors off to his left, presumably leading to old offices that Roy and Jason used as bedrooms, and a makeshift kitchen tucked into a back corner. Most of the floor plan was Roy’s workspace, a semi-chaotic mess with parts thrown half-hazardly everywhere, but there was a little living room of sorts placed amongst the mess. It was pretty spartan, but there was a couch - and Roy was sitting on it, upright and guarded, while he stared at Dick.

“Get it over with,” Roy snapped, as soon as Dick looked at him, and Dick felt a little taken aback. He didn’t know where to stand, or if he could sit on the couch without Roy punching him for it, so he hovered awkwardly by the window, feeling out of place.

“I’m sorry to intrude,” Dick started, carefully, “but I just wanted to make sure that Jason was okay. I haven’t heard from him, and I know -“

Roy barked out an interruption of a laugh, bitter, and narrowed his eyes at little more. “Have you considered that you haven’t heard from him because he doesn’t want to talk to you?” he asked coldly. “Or is thinking about that too hard for your ego to handle?”

“I don’t want to fight -“ Dick tried, but Roy stood up and moved towards him, and despite his lean frame, it was intimidating.

“Then you should have known better than to show up here,” Roy retorted. He cracked his knuckles, glaring at Dick all the while. “He doesn’t want to fucking talk to you. The fact that he’s ignoring you should have made that clear, but I know you’re a little slow sometimes, so let me break it down easy for you, Grayson: Leave him alone. You got your confirmation that he’s fine, so get out of here and don’t fuck with him again.”

Dick felt as though he had been slapped, and he stumbled back just a bit. “I’m sorry!” he exclaimed, trying to his sincerity show in his voice. “Roy, I didn’t mean to hurt him, I really didn’t. I know I messed up, and I’m sorry, but it wasn’t -“

“You didn’t mean to hurt him?” Roy yelled, and Dick’s eyes widened. “You didn’t mean to? News flash, Grayson: you never mean to hurt people. You just do it anyway, because all you give a fuck about is yourself!”

“I know what I did was selfish, and I’m so -“

“Shut the fuck up!” Roy roared. “Do you have any idea what you almost did to him? He really cares about you, Grayson, you fucking idiot - and you took what you wanted from him without even considering how he felt, just like you always do, just like you did with Kori!” Roy heaved in a breath and got right up in Dick’s space, and his eyes were wild. “What you did to her took her from me, you prick. You broke her heart so fuckin’ bad she ran from me the second I got too close to her. And you’re going to do exactly the same thing to Jason if I don’t stop you. And I am not fucking losing him too!”

Dick was speechless, staring at Roy with his mouth open in shock. Roy just laughed and shook his head, turned his back to him and walked away. “Figures you’d have nothing to say. Get the fuck out of here, Dick.”

“I think I might be in love with him,” Dick blurted out, because he had no idea how else to get this back on track, how else to prove to Roy that he was’t trying to hurt Jason. Roy stopped dead at the words and turned around slowly. His face was blank.

“Excuse me?”

“I think I’m in love with him,” Dick repeated. “I didn’t mean to - honestly, I didn’t mean to feel this way about him, I really didn’t, but I can’t help it. I think about him, about how I pushed him into something he wasn’t ready for, and I feel - God, I feel terrible. I know I messed up with Kori, and with Babs, because I just couldn’t - couldn’t love them the way they needed me to. But I don’t want to screw up with Jason, I don’t want to hurt him like that.” Dick took in a deep breath, his heart pounding in his chest. “It’s so stupid, Roy, and I know you won’t believe me anyway, but there’s - there’s something about him that I can’t shake. He deserves so much better than me, so much better than how I’ve treated him, but I want to do better by him. I know it’s selfish, know I should let him find someone who can be good to him the way he deserves, but I want that person that treats him well and loves him properly to be me.”

Roy, for the first time in Dick’s recent memory, actually looked shocked. “Uh,” he started, and he scrubbed his hand through his messy hair. “That is… Not how I figured this whole thing would go.”

“Me either,” Dick admitted, and he couldn’t help but laugh a little. “God, Roy, I’m sorry. After I left the Titans, I wasn’t the friend to you that I should have been. And then when Jason came back, and I realized that the two of you and Kori were teammates… It hurt a little. I figured that you spent most of your time off talking about what an awful person I was.”

“There was a decent amount of that,” Roy said, smirking a little now. “Not from Kori, what with the whole “I’m pretending not to know who Dick Grayson is” thing, but Jaybird and I spent some time discussing how best to punch you in the face if we got the chance.”

“I deserve that,” Dick agreed, before his smile dropped. “Roy, I really am sorry. About Kori, too. I didn’t know that you and her were -“

Roy looked heartbroken for a second, and Dick had to fight the urge to hug him. “We weren’t ever, really,” he said. “She was… Pretty fucked up over you. And, actually, I was pretty selfish about it, convinced myself that I could do the fuckbuddy thing and not get all clingy on her. Spoiler alert: that did not work out.”

Dick hummed in sympathy. “You were never great at casual,” he told Roy, and when Roy’s hackles raised a little, he amended, “I mean that as a compliment. You would have been really good to her. I’m sorry I took that chance away from you.”

“S’okay,” Roy muttered. “But if you hurt Jason… It won’t be. Okay, I mean. Because I’ll fucking kill you.”

“Noted,” Dick laughed, surprised, before he remembered that Jason hated him and felt his face drop. “In the spirit of not hurting him, and all, I should… Probably go. Just, tell him I’m sorry, okay? And, uh, make sure that he takes care of himself. Sometimes I worry that he doesn’t unless someone forces him to.” Dick turned to leave, hand on the window sill, when Roy sighed and swore under his breath.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he grumbled, “but you should talk to him. If you really mean all that shit you said about him - yeah, he could probably stand to hear it. Whether or not he stabs you after that is up to him, though.”

Dick hesitated for a half second. “Are you sure? I don’t want to upset him, Roy. I’ve done enough of that already.”

“Yeah. Incredibly, yeah, I’m sure. He’ll be back here any minute anyways.”

Thank you,” Dick breathed out, and he couldn’t stop himself from lurching forward to wrap his arms around Roy. “Thank you so much.”

“Hands off,” Roy said, strained, “or I am changing my mind.”

“Right,” Dick said, “sorry,” and he laughed a little, delirious with the fact that he was actually going to get the chance to talk to Jason, to make this right. “Can I sit down?”

“If it’ll stop you from hugging me,” Roy muttered under his breath, and Dick smiled. Even if things with Jason didn’t end up the way he wanted them to, Dick felt good knowing that things with Roy were okay, now. Not perfect, probably not even terribly friendly, but better. Dick could work with better. He wondered idly if Roy still like waffles, if he could persuade him to go get some, after all this was over, and was about to ask him when the door opened.

Dick felt his breath leave his lungs as Jason came in, dressed in street clothes and looking, frankly, exhausted. “Update: no, leaving the house did not “break me out of my funk”, Roy. Why the fuck do I ever listen to you anyway?” Jason said, walking without looking up. “I ended up walking around a museum, watching assholes try to woo their dates with bullshit art facts, and feeling sorry for myself. I would have been better off staying in bed.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Roy replied, and something in his voice must have tipped Jason off, because his head snapped up, taking in the room in seconds before landing right on Dick.

“Oh, hell no,” Jason started, backing right up against the door. “Did you fucking ambush me? Roy, what the fuck?”

“Jay, relax,” Roy told him, only serving to make Jason look more murderous. Roy sighed and went over to him, threw an arm around his shoulders. “He wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t think that you need to hear what he has to say.”

“Need it,” Jason scoffed, “like a bullet in the fuckin’ brain. G’off me Roy, I’m fucking out of here, this is bullshit.”

“No, stay,” Dick said, keeping his voice soft as Jason’s eyes locked back on his. “I’ll go, okay? I’m sorry, I didn’t want - I don’t want you to feel ambushed. I’ll go, and I promise I’ll leave you alone, all right?”

Jason stared at him, seconds stretching into moments, before he let out a frustrated noise and shook his head. “Fuck it, fine,” he replied. “We can talk. For half an hour, no more, got it, Boy Wonder? And you -“ he pointed at Roy accusingly, “- get out of here, you traitor. Go patrol or something, act like you have a job, you fucker.”

Roy laughed and tipped his face against Jason’s for a second. “You got it, Jaybird,” he promised. “I’d rather not be here anyway. I’m feeling a little punchy.” Jason looked at him, and Roy shrugged. “I said you should hear him out,” he told Jason, “not that I haven’t fantasized about beating him up the whole time he’s been here.”

“Hey,” Dick protested, but neither man felt the need to respond to him. Roy gave Jason a little push so he moved towards the couch, eyes wary and body posture tense, before he opened the door to leave.

“Good luck, be nice, don’t kill each other” Roy called out, and then -

Then, it was just Dick and Jason.

Jason was standing stock still, staring at Dick, so Dick cleared his throat a little awkwardly. “If you really would rather I leave,” he offered carefully, “I can. It’s no problem at all. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“Too late,” Jason grumbled, but at least it got him moving, picking the end of the couch opposite Dick’s and sprawling on it. “Talk, Dick.”

“Right,” Dick mumbled, clearing his throat again. “Mostly, I just - wanted to apologize. The way I behaved was totally inappropriate, and extremely selfish, and you deserve better than that. I’m sorry I pushed you into doing - that. It wasn’t fair to you. I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I at least… I at least wanted you to know that I’m sorry. And that you don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

Jason actually looked a little surprised. “You’re apologizing?” he asked. “I don’t need your apology.”

“I know,” Dick sighed. “I know you don’t. But I wanted to give it to you, anyway.” He pulled out his phone and looked at the time, sending Jason a sad half-smile. “Look at that, only took me five minutes. Now you’ve got a whole twenty-five to ream me out - or I can just leave, if you’d rather.”

Jason was silent, a thoughtful look on his face. “You don’t care that I freaked out?” he asked, eventually, and Dick felt horrible all over again.

“Of course I care, Jason,” he said, leaning forward just a little. “I’ve been worried sick. But it’s also none of my business, and I’m done forcing you to do things you don’t want to do, including talking about it. As long as you’re okay, then that’s enough for me.”

The look on Jason’s face had been replaced with one of vague confusion. “You didn’t force me to do anything, though,” he told Dick. “I… Wanted to, okay?”

Now the confusion was Dick’s. “Then why didn’t you answer my calls?” he asked, softly. “I thought I had… Are you sure I didn’t? Force you?”

Jason covered his face with one palm and groaned. “Fuck it,” he muttered, before he told Dick, “I didn’t answer because I was embarrassed. I’m insecure about my body and felt like maybe you were only doing it because you felt sorry for me, after you figured out what the tattoo meant. There, the answer is that I’m pathetic. Happy?” Dick's heart clenched hard in his chest.

“Of course I’m not happy, Jason!” Dick cried, mildly horrified. “I don’t want to make you feel like I wanted you out of pity. I wanted you because I want you, and I don’t know what the tattoo means, anyway!”

That, of all things, made Jason freeze. “You don’t?” he said, quietly. “I figured you had translated it and were… Mocking me behind my back.”

“I know it’s in Farsi,” Dick admitted, “but nothing else. It wasn’t my place to know unless you wanted me to, Jason.” He paused, hedging his bets, before he added carefully, “And I meant what I said about wanting you. I told Roy - I think I’m, uh. Falling for you. Yeah. And you don’t have to do anything just because I said that, but I thought - I thought maybe you deserved to know?”

Jason looked as though he were about to have a breakdown. He slumped back further on the couch and buried his face in his hands, shoulders quivering a little. Dick took a chance and moved a little closer, putting his hand on Jason’s arm, carefully. The touch seemed to jolt him out of himself, and his eyes were red when he looked at Dick and blurted out, “A Good Soldier.”

“Huh?” Dick queried. “What are you talking about?”

“The tattoo,” Jason ground out, pain twisting up his face. “It translates to “A Good Soldier”. I just - I wanted a reminder of that. That part of my life where I wasn’t a fuck-up. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it even fucking happened,” and his last words were crumpled up in a barely audible whisper.

“Oh, god, Jason,” Dick breathed. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I had no idea at all.”

“It’s fine,” Jason said, and Dick could tell that he was pulling back into himself again, pulling away from Dick. “Now you know, so you can - pity me, or whatever. Whatever, fuck, whatever.”

And Dick - Dick could feel his heartbeat pounding in his ears, his pulse hammering through his veins, his chest filling up with the desire to prove to Jason that he was more than that. He was more than the kid who failed, the Robin who died, the prodigal son that never came home. A need to make Jason feel loved was crashing through Dick, and he didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to prove it, so he settled for:

"Can I kiss you?" Dick asked, and Jason pulled his hands away from his face, eyes wide. "I want you to know that you can say no, and nothing bad will happen, okay? I won't get upset or storm out. You are in control, Jason." Jason closed his eyes, as if hearing that were almost too much, before he opened them and stared right at Dick.

"Jesus. Yes, of course you can ki-" he started, but Dick heard the of course and couldn't help but lurch forward, cutting Jason off by pressing his hands to his face. He could feel the flush of Jason's cheeks beneath his palms and the huff of his breath against his mouth as Dick just looked at Jason, taking him in. "What are you doing?" Jason asked, quietly, and Dick hummed out a breath, inches from Jason's lips.

"Going slow," he answered, smile tilting up at the side. "Waiting for you."

Jason groaned and leaned in, closing the distance so his lips met Dick's. Jason tried to deepen the kiss almost immediately, but Dick stopped him by pulling back just the tiniest bit, keeping the press of their lips light and sweet. Dick wanted to savour this, show Jason that he meant more than just sex to Dick, draw every moment out so Jason felt cherished. Dick wasn't sure Jason ever had.

"Dick," Jason muttered, against Dick's lips, "why are we kissing like grade schoolers?" Dick couldn't help but pull back to laugh, but he kept his hands cradling Jason's jaw.

"I like kissing like this," Dick replied cheekily. "It's not just for grade schoolers, you know. It's for when you care and want to make things last." He paused, tilting his head, before he added, "Haven't you ever wanted to kiss someone for hours, just because you could?"

Jason looked somewhere between indignant and longing. "Nope." He gazed at Dick as if appraising him before admitting, "Haven't kissed much at all, actually. Just a means to an end." Dick's heart lurched a little at that - he had had a feeling that was the case, but knowing that none of Jason's partners had ever slowed down long enough for this made him feel slightly lightheaded.

"Well, Little Wing," Dick said with a soft smile, "let's fix that." He leaned back in to let their lips connect again, and this time he pressed more firmly, though it was still chaste. He could feel the muscles of Jason's face tensing beneath his hands, so Dick smoothed one down to the back of Jason's neck, rubbing along the muscle gently with his thumb. Jason let out a soft noise at that, and Dick took advantage of his open mouth to move things along a little, parting his lips and flicking out his tongue to just barely touch Jason's lower lip.

Jason didn't pull back, but he didn't engage either - Dick had a feeling that if the kisses weren't violent and messy, this would be a whole new ballgame for Jason. And honestly, Dick was more than okay with that. A somewhat dirty little part of him liked the idea of teaching Jason, showing him something new. Dick slotted his lips back over Jason's, just barely open, so they were more sharing breath than kissing.

Jason's hands were trembling at his sides, so Dick pulled back to tell him, "You can touch me if you want to, Jason." Dick could see Jason's hands hovering as he leaned back in to kiss him, but it was only a moment before he felt them on his waist, solid and warm, and Dick let out a contented sigh into the part between Jason's lips. That seemed to embolden Jason, and he finally - finally - started to kiss back.

Dick couldn't help but moan a little at the feeling - he had possessed self-control at some point, but it was waning now, with Jason's large hands wrapping around his waist and his chapped lips pressing against Dick's, urging him to hurry up. Jason swallowed Dick's moan and chased the sound back into Dick's mouth with his tongue, and yeah, okay, when had Dick lost total control of this?

"Jason," Dick muttered, breathless, against his lips. "Slow down. I had plans for this." That, of all things, got Jason to smile: a crooked thing, but genuine.

"Fuck 'em," he replied, and Dick had a very firm argument as to why that was a bad idea, but it dissolved in his head the second Jason squeezed his waist and dove back in to kiss Dick hard. Dick opened his mouth and let Jason lick along his palate, shivering uncontrollably in response. His hands slipped to Jason's shoulders and all he could do was grip tight and try to keep up with the way Jason's lips slid over his, wet and frantic.

And Dick had really, really intended for this to be much more chaste than it was turning out to be. He'd hardly even hoped that he would get to talk to Jason tonight - let alone touch him - but he figured that if he ever did, their physical relationship would be incremental. Ease Jason into it, into being loved the way Dick wanted to love him, thoroughly and sweetly and slowly. But now Jason's hands were pressing into Dick's hips, and the thumb of his right hand was skimming below the waist of Dick's jeans, and Dick was having a particularly hard time convincing himself to stop Jason before this went any further.

And maybe - Dick half-rationalized as Jason kissed him a little harder, a little sloppier - maybe this was better for Jason. He was obviously more comfortable with sex as just sex, rather than an emotional declaration of affection, so would it be so bad to let this first time go the way Jason wanted it to? Dick could still love Jason like this, could still be tender even if things were a little faster, a little rougher.

"Dick," Jason grumbled, and Dick snapped back to attention, his gaze frozen on Jason's kiss-red lips, "I want..."

"I - We should -" Dick tried, but Jason was sucking at a spot on his neck now, and oh boy, that was great. "I don't want - I don't want you to think I only want - stop that, for a second! I don't want you to think that I only want you for sex."

Jason looked as though he had no idea what to do with that information, and he pulled away from Dick slowly. "Okay," he hedged, eventually. "But I'm... That's all I'm good at." He couldn't meet Dick's eyes as he said it, and Dick's heart plummeted in his chest.

"God, Jay," he said, softening his voice and smoothing his hands down Jason's front to rest on his chest. "That's not true. No matter who told you that, you're worth more than just sex. The person who told you that is an idiot, and I -"

Jason cut him off. "No one had to tell me, Dick," he warned, and his hands were back at his sides and curled into fists. "I don't have to be told that all I'm worth is a decent fuck when I used to literally sell it." Dick's eyes went wide, and he opened his mouth to respond, but Jason kept going. "Do you think I don't know what people want from me, if they look at me? They're not exactly interested in wine-and-dining me, Dickieboy. They want me to fuck them, or to let them fuck me, and they're going to do it anyways so I might as well give in and get it over with." Dick felt Jason heave in a breath beneath his palms, both furious and devastated. "So come on, Golden Boy, let me suck you off, and then you can get back to Babs or Kori or whoever the fuck else and laugh this whole thing off. I don't give a shit, I don't, just let me - just let me, fucking - fuck!"

Jason’s whole body was shaking beneath Dick’s hands, and Dick could tell that his jaw was clenched tight, his teeth grinding together. “Jason,” he said softly, trying not to let the panic thrumming through his veins show in his voice. “It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not!” Jason challenged, and he wrenched his body away from Dick’s and stood up. “Why did you have to do this, huh? Why couldn’t you just leave me alone instead of making me - instead of dragging me into this fucking - fuck, fuck, fuck!”

Dick felt as though he had been slapped in the face. “Are you just doing this because you think it’s what I want?” he asked Jason, his mouth suddenly dry with horror. “I thought you wanted this, too. God, Jason, I’m not - I’m not one of them. If you don’t want this, just tell me, and I will go.” Jason finally met his eyes, and Dick struggled to swallow. God, how had he messed this up so badly? He’d finally had Jason right there, close enough to kiss and touch, but he’d pressed all the wrong buttons without even knowing the buttons existed. Now he’d have to leave knowing that he’d done this to Jason, forced him into a situation where he figured his only way out was to give Dick what he thought he wanted, and all with the taste of Jason, mint and smoke, lingering on his tongue, mocking him.

“I -“ Jason started, and his gaze slipped somewhere beyond Dick’s face. “I… Want this. But I don’t know how to - to want it. I don’t know what you want, and even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to give it to you, because I just - don’t. Do this.” He was meeting Dick’s eyes again, but he looked ashamed. “You could have anybody, but you’re here. And I don’t understand why.”

Dick was beginning to worry about the negative repercussions from his heart hurtling toward his stomach so often in one night. “I’m here because I care about you, Jason,” he offered. “And I want whatever you want, okay? I want you to be happy and comfortable. I don’t do this with people that I don’t have… Feelings for.” Jason didn’t look prepared to respond, so Dick continued, sitting up on the couch so they were at least a little more level. “I don’t just want you like this - I want you, period. Whatever you’re willing to give me, and nothing more. All right?”

Jason was silent for a long time. He started to speak several times before closing his mouth and shaking his head, looking down at the cold cement floor beneath his feet. He tilted his head up, finally, and Dick’s breath caught because he couldn’t ever remember seeing Jason so vulnerable. “Why me?” he croaked out.

Dick wanted to laugh, because it was so obvious to him, because there were so many emotions flooding his veins that he had no idea how to put into words. How did he begin to tell Jason that the way Dick’s head swam when he was around him, the way his body craved Jason’s closeness, wanted to crawl nearer to him until he could feel Jason’s thrumming heartbeat beneath his cheek, was unlike anything else he had experienced? “Because you’re you,” he supplied, but he could tell by Jason’s face that it wasn’t enough. “Because you would do anything for the people you love, even if they can’t or won’t protect you in the same way. Because you’re so passionate about the things you care about that you would throw yourself in the face of danger for them without a second thought. Because I’ve never met someone so compassionate towards those in need, and never with any expectation of getting anything out of it. Because,” Dick had to pause to draw in a deep breath, “you are sharp and clever and you were a Robin and now you’re this but it’s still you, it always has been, and I -“

“Am babbling?” Jason supplied, not unkindly, and this time, Dick did laugh.

“A little bit,” Dick admitted. He reached out to Jason so their hands were just touching and added, “Roy asked me earlier, and I had a hard time explaining it to him, too. But I just… Do.” He smiled and grabbed Jason’s pinky finger. “I would probably be remiss if I didn’t also mention that I am not blind and you are very, very attractive.”

Jason let out a heavy breath and closed his eyes, but he didn’t pull his hand away. “I need -“ he began, before he cleared his throat and tried again. “I need a minute. I’m not running away, I just need -“

“Okay, that’s okay, Jason!” Dick assured him, pulling back his hand but smiling softly so Jason would know that he wasn’t upset. “Do you want me to go?”

Jason gestured vaguely at the window. “I’m just going to,” he said, but he hesitated before he walked over to open it. “Will you… Will you still be here?”

All the villains in Gotham couldn’t move me, Dick thought, but he said aloud, “Of course, Little Wing.”

Jason nodded and slipped out the window into the night.

~~

When Jason and Roy had moved into this abandoned warehouse, the balcony hanging off the side of the largest room had been a big selling point. Jason had imagined sitting there, staring at Gotham’s skyline and wondering what the fuck he was doing in this city, while he smoked away his anxiety. The window was a quick way for both of them to get in and out of the safe house in all their gear, but the balcony was decidedly Jason’s. He could be found out there more often than not after a night of patrolling, the ashes from his cigarette drifting down towards the alley as he kept an eye out for street kids that he could toss breakfast bars to.

If Jason had ever brought someone back to his place to fuck, he probably would have curled up on the balcony afterwards to chase the taste of other people from his mouth, hold the smoke in until it burned his lungs in a way that was familiar and controlled. But sitting there, the chill of Gotham’s autumn seeping into his bones, Jason faced for the first time that he’d never had sexual contact with another person in this safe house. He’d never even wanted to. Fucking was something he did elsewhere, at a stranger’s place or in an alleyway or the back of a shitty bar - Jason’s partners were usually not terribly discerning folks - but the dilapidated warehouse Jason occasionally admitted was home was free of that shit. Here he could sleep and eat and be annoyed senseless by Roy’s incessant mothering without worrying about faking pleasure, or enduring the look of pity in someone else’s eyes, or wondering if this nameless asshole would stop if Jason asked them to. This arrangement had been working for Jason, in a fucked up way. And then -

Fuckin’ Dick Grayson. Jason could feel the slow smoulder of arousal humming through his veins, the sensation unfamiliar and beyond a little concerning. Sex had always been something Jason did rather than enjoyed, but then Dick had kissed him like they had all the time in the world, opened his stupid, pretty mouth and started singing Jason’s praises, telling him that he was falling for him, as though it was nothing, not even realizing that it was setting Jason’s nerves on fucking fire. Jason had known - never admitted, but known - that being shown and told that he was worthy of better treatment was A Thing for him. Jason had shoved this bit of self-awareness back firmly into the vault of his subconscious, but it had chased him off and on since he was a kid, popping up when it was least convenient before Jason fought it back again with copious self-loathing. It had never caused him much of an issue beyond discomfort, but now…

Now Jason had to figure out what the hell to do. Dick had promised he would stay, wait for Jason to be ready to go back inside, and even that was enough to fan the flames in Jason’s stomach. If he went back in there and Dick was gone, Jason would probably never get over it. If he went back inside and Dick was still there, he knew that it was all over for him, now. Self-preservation be damned, he was going to do whatever Dick wanted, anything, even if it fucking killed him. Anything to get his hands back on his body, feel how responsive Dick was right there in front of him. Even if all Dick could give him, wanted to give him was this, one night, Jason was going to take it. He could hate himself later - and oh, he would - but he fucking wanted Dick, and that was overwhelming everything else in his life at the moment.

Did he abandon you? Only one way to find out, street rat.

Jason crawled gracelessly back through the window. His gaze was blocked by the curtain for a moment, and his breath caught in his throat at the thought that Dick might have left, but he pushed through and found him sitting there, on the couch, humming idly to himself. He straightened up when he saw Jason and pointed to the table in the middle of the room. "You left your cigarettes in here," he told Jason. "I was going to bring them to you, but I didn't want to intrude. Do you want to go back out?"

Jason blinked at the easy thoughtfulness and shook his head. "I just needed... Some air," he supplied. "I'm sorry I left."

Dick looked up at him in earnest. "You never have to apologize for taking a moment to yourself, Jay," he promised, and his voice was almost sickeningly sincere. "I just worry... Did I do something wrong?"

Jason had to bite back a laugh, because Jesus Christ, Dick fucking Grayson, everyone. Jason freaked, and Dick was the one who felt responsible. Jason wondered idly how far he could push that kindness - he knew Dick wasn't a pushover, but it seemed as though he was willing to do almost anything to make Jason comfortable. It was a power that made Jason a little dizzy, a little more aroused. And a little reckless.

"No, you didn't," he assured Dick, cataloging the way his eyes lit up for cold, dark nights alone after whatever this was inevitably fell apart. "I'm just... Not used to be told those things. Or treated like that. Or really treated any way at all beyond a body that they can fu-"

Dick made a little noise of distress in his throat, and it startled Jason. "You don't... Like it when I talk about myself that way, do you?" he asked, unsure, and Dick made that small sound again. Dick actually had the nerve to look sorry for Jason, and it should have pissed Jason right the fuck off, but it flared up that liquid warmth in his belly again instead. Christ, kid, get it together.

Dick was nearly bouncing off the couch with an apparent need to get closer to Jason, so Jason sat down beside him, leaving an appropriate distance between them as an exit strategy. "You talk about yourself as if you're not worth anything, Jay." Dick leaned forward to look Jason in the eyes and ended up right back in his space, rendering Jason's careful actions useless. "You're worth everything, you know. Whatever you want." And there it was again: that stupid itching in Jason's fingertips, that senseless longing to strip Dick bare and shut him the fuck up.

He might have said that last part aloud, unbidden, because Dick's eyes went wide. He tilted his head, considering something, before he said quietly, "Jason, you're very handsome."

Jason could feel his cheeks burning. "Stop it," he told Dick, but his voice wavered half-way, and it came out like a question, like a fucking plea. And that stupid, ridiculous tremble in his voice must have betrayed him, because Dick’s smile was slowly growing, a satisfied curiosity.

“What if I told you that I think you’re brilliant?” Dick asked offhandedly, casual in a way that Jason knew was purposeful. “Would you like that? Or if I -“

“Stop it!” Jason burst out, but Dick continued as if the interruption hadn’t happened.

“- told you that every single time your name comes up in conversation, I stop what I’m doing to listen? Or -“

Stop it!”

“- I could go over all the million stupid things I’d do for you, just to have a chance to hold your ha-“

Jason snapped and threw himself forward, cutting Dick off with a feral kiss. He wrapped his hands around Dick’s waist and nearly yanked him into his lap, sliding his palms back over his ass. Dick moaned, low and shameless, and Jason couldn’t focus, couldn’t even fucking think, couldn’t do anything beyond bite at Dick’s bottom lip and follow it with a hard suck, his whole fucking world reduced to making Dick shut the fuck up for a minute. Dick thrust his tongue into his mouth and Jason couldn’t have stopped the way his hips pushed up, seeking friction, if he had all the self control in the world. He was grinding up against Dick, chasing that feeling in his gut that he hadn’t gotten from another person in god knows how long, and it was fucking outrageous how good it felt, how fucked up he was for this, but he also wanted moremoremoremore, so he reached between them to pop the button on Dick’s jeans -

And Dick was off his lap and upright like the acrobat he’d never entirely grown out of being. Jason felt whiplashed, could sense the heat in his veins start to turn to icy fear. You stupid piece of shit. You should have known better than this. Look at him, and then look at yourself, and then do the math - you can do math, can’t you, tramp? Or are you too stupid to even -

“Woah, Jason,” Dick said, evidently seeing the panic Jason felt reflected on his face. Dick let out a soft sigh and sat back down on the couch, putting his hand on Jason’s arm. “I’m not going anywhere,” he told him, soothingly. “But we need to talk about this before either of us do something we regret.” Jason almost laughed, because regret was about the only constant in his life, and the concept of not involving it in this - thing - between them seemed impossible.

“”Talk about this”,” Jason quoted, and though his fear of having pushed Dick too far, having misread the situation and fucked it all up, was waning, he still felt cold, rejected, affronted. “Go ahead and talk then, Dickiebird.”

Dick sighed again. “I’m sorry,” he offered sincerely. “I got carried away, and then I overreacted when I realized that I don’t know - I don’t know what I can and can’t do with you, and you don’t know what you can and can’t do with me. I want to do this right, Jason,” and he tilted Jason’s head up so he could look at him. “I’m not saying no, I’m just saying not until we’ve talked about it.”

And that - well. It wasn’t exactly what Jason wanted, but he could live with it. The way Dick was looking at him was thawing him out, warming him up inside out again, and if Jason had had any sense about him whatsoever, the ease with which Dick could soothe him would have been extremely concerning.

Jason lived his entire life in front of other people with practiced motions, practiced reactions, practiced speech. Everything he did was calculated and controlled because without it, without being able to fake that cocksure attitude that he was known for, everyone would be able to see the holes in him that the Lazarus Pit couldn’t fix. But something about Dick Grayson had disarmed him, ripped away that cocky toughness and pretend arrogance, and left him as good as naked and trembling under his gaze. It was alarming how fast Dick had gotten right under his fucking skin when it had taken Roy, the only other person Jason ever let this close to the real him, months to get to the same place. Jason felt vulnerable and scared, and he should back up now, pretend the whole thing had been an elaborate joke and go back to playing it safe and lonely beneath his shield of sarcasm. But he wanted Dick, in a way he couldn’t remember ever wanting anyone, and his body was begging him to just give in -

“When I was a kid,” he started abruptly, “I went looking for food for my - my mom. I was fucking starving and stupid and careless, and this guy found me, and he -“ Jason squeezed his eyes shut tight, trying to stop his pulse from racing, “he fucking…”

“Jason.” Dick sounded horrified. “I’m so sorry. You don’t have to -“ but the words were like poison filling Jason’s lungs, and he had to get them out, couldn’t stop them now if he tried.

“It didn’t matter,” he pressed on, aching, “except that he kept fucking calling me his “good boy”. And I was too fuckin’ young to even really know, but I liked it, Dickie. I fucking liked it - and he could tell - he told me that what happened to me was my fault, that I deserved it because I wanted it, and I figured he was goddamn right. I was nothing, and I deserved it, but at least it was something other people wanted, so I started - doing what it took. To survive.” His breath left his chest in a heavy whoosh, and he opened his eyes to find Dick staring at him in distress. “But I controlled it,” he went on. “I told myself I’d never again let someone see that part of me that that fucker did, so I let people do what they wanted, but they could never make me feel pleasure without my fucking permission. That was mine. And then you came along, with your stupid fucking mouth and face and Golden Boy-ness, and now I want it. I fucking want it, want you, and I swear to god if you let what I just told you change anything, I’ll fucking -“ Jason cut himself off to laugh a little hysterically. “I’ll fucking lose my goddamn mind more than I already have, probably.”

Dick was silent, absolutely silent, and the panic started rising in Jason’s throat again. He could see the pain in Dick’s eyes, the pity there, but now the one time in Jason’s life he didn’t want Dick to shut up, he was just staring at Jason, and why wouldn’t he say anything?

“When you were - gone,” Dick whispered, finally, “I was… Assaulted. I was sexually assaulted. I wasn’t in my right mind, and someone took advantage of me. And I know it’s not the same as what you’ve been through, not nearly, but I just,“ he reached out to grab Jason’s hand, “want you to know that you’re not alone.” Jason felt his heart sink, felt fucking broken at the thought that someone had hurt Dick Grayson, the perfect one, the way Jason Todd, the undead fuck-up, had been hurt. Felt the distinct, sharp pain and bile in the back of his throat that he knew from his childhood on all over again, but for someone else, this time, and it was so much fucking worse. Jason was born for this, this jagged-edged bullshit, but Dick was better than that, deserved better than that, and -

“I’m so fucking sorry,” he told Dick, and for once in his life, he meant every word. “I don’t know what to say. I’m so -“

Dick shushed him and tugged on his hand until Jason was curling in, leaning into Dick’s body as he wrapped his arms around him. “Just c’mere,” he said, the words muffled through Jason’s hair. “I didn’t deserve it, and neither did you. We’re okay. Just c’mere, Little Wing.”

Jason let Dick hold him, let him murmur nonsense into the side of his head, as he tried to process. Tried to process that Dick knew, Dick got it, and he would have never wished it on a single fucking soul, but the idea that Dick understood the pain and baggage and bullshit, understood it intimately enough to know how much it fucked you up, and wasn’t running away felt like too much for his skin to contain. He felt Dick press his lips to Jason’s hair, a soothing nothing, but Jason turned his head and raised it, twisting until they were face to face, their noses nearly touching. Dick was still fucking smiling, shaky, but there, and Jason leaned in close until they were a breath apart, waiting. A question and a request. Can I, can I?

Dick closed the gap and Jason kissed him, slow, gentle, the way Dick had wanted Jason to kiss him what felt like hours ago on this same couch in this same room on another fucking planet. He let Dick lead, let one hand slip to the small of Dick’s back while the other followed his body up to curl around his face, feel the warmth of Dick’s cheek beneath his calloused palm. He felt six million things come crashing together in his chest, emotions that would have to be unpacked and categorized and freaked out over, but he could do it later, could do it after he memorized the way Dick tasted for the third and most important time that night. “Is this okay,” he murmured when Dick pulled away to breathe, and Dick actually huffed out a little laugh, as if the idea of Jason asking for permission to do anything was insane, as if the fact that they were reversing the way their first kiss had gone was funny to him, too. Dick smiled wider and leaned back in, kissed him a little harder and let it be the answer, let his lips moving over Jason’s be the yes.

Dick ran his hands down Jason’s back and slipped them under his shirt, and, oh. Jason pulled away a little, embarrassed, pressed his face into Dick’s neck and admitted, “I usually keep it on. I don’t - it’s just, my scars.” Dick stilled his hands but didn’t pull them away, nudged at Jason’s cheek with his shoulder until he looked up.

“You can keep it on if you want to, but I won’t judge you for your scars,” Dick told him. “I want to see you, but only if you’re okay with that.” Jason could hear the subtext in his voice - what you want matters - and he let out a shaky moan, nodded, and kissed Dick again.

Dick eased the shirt up inch by inch, letting his fingers burn slow trails over patches of revealed skin. He smoothed it up until it sat at Jason’s chest, moved him so he could pull it off and drop it to the ground beside the couch, not looking in the slightest to see where it landed. His eyes were glued to Jason’s skin, watching the way it flushed as Jason fought off his instinctive shame. Dick leaned forward and pressed his lips to Jason’s right pec, kissing a scar there softly before sucking gently where it met his unmarred skin, and holy shit, Jason was going to self-combust. He tipped his head back to stare at the ceiling, eyes lidded, trying not to moan as Dick lapped at another scar. Was this what Jason had been missing out on all this time?

Dick put a steady hand on Jason’s chin and guided his head down so he could look at him. “Bed,” he said, half order and half request, and Jason was agreeing with enthusiasm that coursed through his body, the thought of Dick in his bed, naked, making him dizzy. Dick leapt to his feet in a graceful arc, grabbing Jason’s hand and yanking him up to press them back together, laughing as Jason stumbled a little and fell into him, catching him and turning it into a burning kiss. Jason walked Dick backwards into his bedroom, until the back of Dick’s knees were against the bed. He fell onto it and pulled Jason on top of him in one smooth motion, agile as always.

And Jason - Jason could do this fucking forever, press Dick down to the mattress and kiss him breathless, but Dick wouldn’t stop squirming beneath him, trying to get leverage so he could turn them over. Jason couldn’t help but laugh at him - because Christ, who would have figured that all he had to do to win a fight against Dick was get on top of him? - and Dick took the distraction as an opportunity to curl his leg over Jason’s and flip them. Jason landed on the bed with a huff, ready to make an indignant remark, but Dick was pulling his shirt over his head and yeah, okay, point to Grayson, this was pretty fucking good too.

“Like what you see, Little Wing?” Dick quipped, smirking at the look on Jason’s face, and Jason was struck with the heady desire to punch him in the jaw and chase it with a kiss to the same spot. He lurched up into a half-seated position and settled for the latter as he got his hands on Dick’s body, Jesus Christ, fingers seeking out scars over way, way too much gorgeous golden skin to handle. Dick pushed him back down with one hand, smirk growing ever-smugger by the minute, and told him, “Now now, you’re being awful forward, Jason Todd.”

“Fucker,” Jason snorted, and Dick laughed, climbing on the bed and hovering over Jason’s body. He ran one hand up Jason’s side, skimming over scar tissue and muscle with a feather-light touch, before he curved his path and stopped right at the centre of the wings of Jason’s autopsy scar.

“Can I?” he asked, and Jason threw his head back, heart pounding with the idea that someone wanted to touch it, that stupid fucking ugly scar, rather than being repulsed by it.

“God, yes,” he huffed out, and he could hear Dick hum out his approval. Dick traced either side of the autopsy scar to the point where they met, gentle and careful, before he - “Christ!” Jason yelped, because that was Dick’s tongue back on his skin, following the scar down, stopping to nip every so often, until he reached the point of it, buried his nose in the red-brown hair there and put his right hand on Jason’s hip, directly over his tattoo.

“God bless this thing,” he muttered into Jason’s skin, nosing over so he could suck a mark into the hollow of Jason’s left hipbone, right next to the ink. Jason jerked up and moaned, the skin there still a little sensitive, but in a way that shot right through him in waves of heat. Dick lapped over the tattoo, tracing the pattern with his mouth, and Jason was actually panting, Jesus Christ. "You're so beautiful," Dick told Jason, and he felt like his chest cavity had collapsed.

“Come here, come here,” he practically begged Dick, and when he didn’t move as fast as Jason would like, he hooked his arms under Dick’s and dragged him up his body so he could kiss him raw. Dick was flush on top of him now, his right hand still cupping the tattooed hip like a lifeline, while his right tangled in Jason’s hair, tugging at the white patch. It occurred to Jason suddenly that Dick was paying particular attention to the parts of him that had changed, the markers of what Jason was now, and the realization made him groan into Dick’s mouth. Dick shifted over him at the sound and the movement brought their pelvises together, and Jason had barely even done anything for Dick but he could feel him, rock-fucking-hard, pressing against his own desperate erection. Jason rolled his hips, experimentally, trying to get to that sweet spot he’d found before their confessions on the couch, and Dick actually whined into his mouth at the friction. “Holy shit,” Jason gasped, head lolling back again as he jerked up, hard. “What the fuck do I have to do to make you ma - ahh - make that noise again?”

“Pants, off,” Dick stammered, and thank god he was so desperate too, thank god it wasn’t just Jason. Jason nodded his head, because that was a great suggestion, and he couldn’t even bring himself to sit upright to help, just let Dick unbutton his jeans and slide the zipper down for him. Jason felt a half-second of his usual shame, usual embarrassment at baring more of his body, but Dick was tugging on the jeans and muttering, “Get these stupid things off,” and the anxiety disappeared at the sound of Dick’s voice, the way he sounded so fucked up for Jason and only him and no one fucking else. “Better,” Dick purred as Jason’s jeans hit the floor, before he added, “Feel like helping, or just watching?”, coaxing Jason into tilting his head up to look at him, pupils widening as he realized that Dick was toying with the fly to his jeans.

“You’re gonna fuckin’ kill me,” Jason groaned, before he decided, “Watch.”

“Shocker,” Dick mumbled, but it was teasing and fond, and he undid his jeans and eased them off his hips as Jason stared and licked his lips, idly. Dick let his pants drop and stepped out of them, crowding back into Jason’s space as he ran his fingers over the edge of Jason’s boxers and mentioned, conversationally, “You know, I really do prefer the blue ones.”

It took Jason a second to catch up, but then it hit him. “You liked that they were blue,” he said, and that flush of being wanted coursed through his body again, so unfamiliar but addictive in a way that Jason knew was going to fuck him right up after this was over. “You got off on the fact that they were -“

“My colour,” Dick finished, “absolutely,” and he was back on top of Jason, tangling their legs together and propping himself up with his arms so he could angle his hips just right, Jesus. Jason had zero doubt in his mind that he could come just like this, grinding up hard against Dick’s dick, heh, through his underwear. The feeling was so good, and he wanted Dick so bad, and he was embarrassingly close when Dick panted against his ear, “Can I, can -“

“God, yes, whatever you want,” Jason choked out, and he didn’t have to look to feel Dick pull down Jason’s boxers and his own, so their cocks were pressed directly together, no barriers, and oh god, Jason was going to die. “Fuck, just fuckin’ -“ he croaked, and Dick got his hand between them, wrapped it around both of them tight so they could thrust up against each other. “I’m, I can’t, I’m gonna -“ and Jason felt Dick grip harder at that, shove harder against Jason’s cock at the words. “Jesus fucking Christ goddamn -“

“C’mon, Jason, you're so good, so good,” Dick babbled, and Jason fucking came, arched up off the bed and cried out soundlessly as his senses narrowed to the pure fucking pleasure howling through him. It lasted for-fucking-ever, ripping him apart inside out, and Jesus Christ, Jason had never come like that, ever, in his entire life. He couldn’t have guessed to save his life how long it took him to come back to his senses, but it was so good, floating like the best nothingness in the world as he came down.

It was probably inconsiderate, how long he drifted in and out of awareness, but when the daze mostly cleared and he opened his eyes, he realized that Dick was grinding against his hip, cock rutting over the tattoo, making the most outrageous mindless sounds. Jason shifted and pressed his hand down firmly on the top of Dick’s cock, so he was thrusting between Jason’s palm and his hip, and mumbled, “Dickie, pretty please?” and that was all it took. Dick practically wailed and came hard, coating Jason’s fingers and the side of his stomach with his release, before he collapsed onto Jason’s chest, shivering and twitching. Jason pet Dick’s hair idly with his clean hand, waiting for him to come back to earth, soothing him with little soft noises.

“Hmgd,” Dick mumbled eventually, and Jason laughed.

“I’m sorry, is that a word?” he joked, and Dick snorted against his chest. God, Jason felt so loose, felt so free and careless, and he knew that the real world and all its bullshit would come crashing back in tomorrow, but this was enough for now, just let me have this for now. “‘Cause it kinda sounded like a word, but you’re gonna have to be clearer if you want a response, Dickiebird.”

“Oh my god,” Dick amended, tilting his chin up to meet Jason’s gaze, and Jason nearly fucking melted at the pure adoration in Dick’s eyes. “I was trying for, “Oh my god”.”

“Noted,” Jason replied, and he felt Dick burrow into the crook of his arm. “You’re gonna fall asleep, aren’t you?”

“Nu’uh,” Dick slurred, and he was not exactly proving Jason wrong. “You’re gonna fall ‘sleep.”

“Get under the covers, dumbass,” Jason replied affectionately, mindlessly. It didn’t occur to him that he was offering to let Dick sleep there until it was too late, but the realization didn’t send Jason into a full-blown panic, anyway. There was an edge of worry to it, but nothing worth giving half a shit about in the face of Dick Grayson’s naked, sleepy body sprawled all over him. When Dick didn’t move, Jason sighed and moved them both, up the bed and beneath the sheets and comforter.

Dick just wormed closer, until he was wedged up against Jason’s body again, all warm and boneless. And vaguely sticky, but Jason could deal. “Night, Lil’ Wing,” Dick murmured, and Jason snorted a little at him.

“Good night, Dickie.”

~~

When Dick came to, it was to the sound of a phone vibrating somewhere near his ear. He yawned and stretched out, his body feeling heavy but good, before he curled back up and sought out the warm Jason that he was pretty sure was in bed with him. There was a moment of panic when Dick couldn’t find him, thought he might have left despite the fact that this was his safe house, but when he cracked open one eye he could see Jason crawling back into bed. Relief flooded through him, and he reached out for him automatically, cuddling up to him and earning himself a grunt.

“Why’re y’up?” Dick asked sleepily, and Jason grabbed his phone and unlocked it, showing Dick the screen.

8 new text messages: Roy Harper. “They’re mostly just him yelling, “Jason!” in all caps,” Jason supplied. “But this one…” Jason thumbed it open to find a link. He tapped it and Dick watched as it loaded, grumbling in confusion when it led to a… Headphone website?

“Wuh?” Dick asked, and Jason shrugged.

“No idea -“ he started, but before he could finish, a new text message popped up.

If there is even a 0.1% chance I will ever have to hear Dick Grayson orgasm again in my life, I expect these delivered with Express Shipping.” it read. Jason started howling with laughter, and Dick burrowed his face in his hands in embarrassment.

“Oh my god,” Dick whined, and Jason just cackled harder, head tipped back and face unguarded, and Dick couldn’t help it, couldn’t have stopped himself from wrapping his arms around Jason and resting his head on his chest if he tried.

Jason stilled and looked down at him, a small smile playing at his lips, then turned back to his phone. Dick watched as he hesitated, just for a second, before he selected the headphones and added them to his cart.

“Just in case,” Jason offered, soft and a little insecure, and Dick kissed him so hard he saw stars, stars, stars.