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Jason comes in through the window, which is typical, all sass and spit and the joys of breaking and entering. Dick tolerates this because really, what's the other option? Tell him no and he'll just keep doing it but add property damage so Dick really knows he was there. Small incendiary devices might be involved. Or large ones; Jason's never been afraid of overcompensation.

Another possibility, if Dick tells him they have to stop meeting this way, is that after a barrage of insults Jason will leave and actually never come back. That's surprisingly low on the list of things Dick would see happen, given that Jason is, after all, a thug and a murderer. And they were never brothers, not really, not at all. Acquaintances, comrades in tights.

The point is, he doesn't say anything when Jason comes in the window. And oddly, tonight, neither does Jason. He gets a beer from the fridge—and that makes Dick blink, because as far as he knew, there wasn't any beer in the fridge, and if Jason has started grocery shopping for him that's just too damn weird to deal with—and sits on the edge of the counter, drinking in silence.

"You need something?" Dick asks finally. Jason shrugs and swings his legs, bouncing his heavy boot-soles of the cabinets.

"How's business?" Dick tries instead, and Jason rolls his eyes and gives him a look of disgust. "Okay, why are you here?"

"I enjoy your company, Dickie." He takes another swallow, gives another pointed glance. "Everybody does. You're a popular guy."

"This isn't going to be another 'Dad loved you best' thing, is it?"

Jason actually laughs, and swings his feet again, the thud of them hitting the wood loud in the apartment. "Nah. Though I have been thinking about that, and I think maybe I was wrong."


"Mm-hmm." Jason ignores Dick's carefully posed indifference and finishes his beer, then tosses the bottle in the air and watches it describe three lazy flips before he catches it. "He loved me best, which is part of your problem, and young prince Timothy's. But he respected you more, and still does, which chaps my ass good, let me tell you."

Dick blinks twice and can't quite figure out what to say, finally falling back on "So what does Tim do best, then?"

Jason snorts in contempt and hops off the counter, taking the bottle to the sink. "Fuck if I know. Championship ass-wiping?"

"Charming." Dick watches him, his movements, the grace that was never natural or acrobatic but athletic in the way that bikes and muscle cars are, something put together for performance, firing on all cylinders. It used to be a miracle, when he was Robin, flying through his paces because there was a sure hand on the wheel, confidence, enthusiasm. Now he's built-up and tricked-out, a hemi under the hood and an Uzi under the passenger seat, and some beauty's been lost for power and edge.

"Why are you here?" he asks again, and there's something strange about his own voice, something like hope where he intended indifference or exasperation.

Jason glances at him and Dick realizes that neither of them is in uniform, no masks or lenses, and he can see Jason's eyes. "What is today, Dick?"

"Thursday, I think."

"No, I mean what is today?" Jason frowns, runs his hand through his hair, gestures vaguely with the other. "It's driving me crazy. My memory's kind of shot to shit, but doesn't today feel like...something? The anniversary of something? The day something blew up, or the old man's birthday, or..."

Dick tries to think back, but there are too many years, too many fights, and they all took place in the dark. "I don't think so."

"It's not Alfred's birthday, is it?"

Dick laughs, surprising himself, and shakes his head. "No. That one I do know. I'm pretty sure today's not anything."

"Huh." Jason shakes his head. "Guess I'll get out of your hair, then."

Dick wants to say you can stay if you want, but they don't do that, don't invite, don't intend. He watches Jason vault over the couch and off the window ledge, dropping down into the city night. He counts to twenty before he gets a beer of his own and goes back to the research that got sidetracked.

He leaves the window open.