They really needed to close the curtains, Tim thought absentmindedly. Someone could drive by and see them at any time. Then half the city would know about them before dinnertime. One of whom would almost certainly be Kal.
But closing them meant getting and she was entirely prepared to do that just yet.
His finger traced soft patterns onto Kon’s bare shoulder, his mind too hazy from orgasm-induced exhaustion to aspire to anything too complication. The outline of Orion was first. Then the Big Dipper, expanding into Ursa Major. Gemini. Draco. Perseus. It was one of the habits he’d gotten into these last few months, drawing out Earth’s constellations when he had a moment.
There was a high chance Kon was watching him right now. Maybe he was wondering where the patterns came from. Maybe he thought they were just the nonsensical images of a wandering mind. He wouldn’t be wrong, Tim’s mind had done nothing but wander all day. More than enough that all he wanted to do was shift his leg just like that in order to draw out a sharp inhale, and then he’d forget about the curtains all over again. There wasn’t a point in closing them anyways, now that he thought about it. They were never going to manage keeping this a secret from anyone.
“You’re insatiable,” Kon breathed out, full of wonder.
Tim snickered against the side of his neck. “I don’t know why you thought I’d be anything else.”
“Neither do I.”
His knee shifted a bit further, pushing Kon’s legs apart.
Tim had known something was wrong the moment he regained consciousness. Part of it was that the last thing he’d been able to remember was getting hit mid-fight by a bright, nearly blinding light. The rest of it was the overwhelming sense that he was somewhere new and foreign and not quite right.
That had been the biggest understatement of the century. Maybe even the millennium.
He’d laid there, in that bed, and stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling. There had been an IV in his arm but that was just about the only thing in the room he’d recognized. He’d known intellectually that panic had started to set in, maybe with a good dose of shock just for good measure.
Then doctors had rushed into the room, even though he couldn’t hear the familiar beep-beep-beep of a heart monitor. They hadn’t known English, hadn’t spoken any of the dozen languages Tim was fluent in or the other ten he could only comprehend. Despite that, they’d mostly just seemed relieved that he was conscious. He could understand that much. He’d been relieved to be conscious as well, even with the circumstances.
Someone else had followed in after them, their clothes just different enough to make Tim realize they were all wearing variations of the same uniform. That was the moment when things had gotten a bit weird. Because the last time he’d checked, Superman didn’t have a medical degree as either Clark Kent or Kal-El, and he definitely shouldn’t have been Tim’s first visitor if things were even vaguely okay. That spot had been reserved by Bruce, by all accounts, followed by Dick and Damian, Conner, and finally the Titans.
There were varying orders depending on the circumstances or who was involved but Clark was never at the top of that list.
“Clark?” he’d forced out, even though his throat had been akin to sandpaper at the time.
“Clark?” had been echoed back at him.
Rather, that was the moment he’d realized he wasn’t looking at the Man of Steel. Or at least not the Man of Steel he’d known.
He’d hesitated then, of course he had. He’d been in a room he’d never seen before, surrounded by people speaking a language he’d never heard, faced with a Clark Kent who wasn’t Clark Kent. The pieces had started to come together then but it wasn’t a conclusion he’d wanted to be faced with.
Then he’d swallowed and tried again. “Kal?”
The man’s mouth had twisted with his confusion, even as he waved off something one of the doctors said. “How do you know my son’s name? Ah, your neural transplant seems to be working, at any rate. I’ll have to do tests on its accuracy later. Still, it’s necessary that I find out who you are and why you came to Krypton.”
Kon met him kiss for kiss, the heat growing between them at an exponential rate. Any second and he’d catch aflame, burning away everything unimportant.
All this just from the moment of their bodies, skin and skin. Their fingers intertwined and their calves pressed together, a baseless attempt to be as close as possible even as the rhythm between them grew more frantic. This afternoon was about quick and fast and close, working through the months of tension and carefully held back desire before they died out with it. The time for slow worship, bringing each other right to the edge and keeping them there, would come later.
Just the thought made his breath catch in the back of his throat.
“Kon,” he murmured breathlessly in the brief space between their lips.
It took him a moment to realize the answering groan wasn’t his own nor the full-bodied tremors between them. He continued to move against Kon’s thigh in even, shallow thrusts while he waited for him to work through it, self-satisfied pride settling in his chest. The sticky mess on his hip was caused entirely by him.
Kon smirked up at him, his usual arrogant confidence softened by the fondness in his gaze, and then proceeded to flip their positions so he was on top. “Sorry. Hope you don’t complain if I take advantage of this opportunity to return your favour from earlier.”
His mind went blank right up until the moment Kon started to crawl down the length of his body, peppering kisses along Tim’s scarred chest.
Things had gotten pretty confusing after that point.
Well, more confusing.
First had been the trial. The Kryptonian Council had wanted to confirm that Tim was telling the truth about, well, everything. Starting with how Tim had gotten to this reality in the first place. They’d been left visibly unsatisfied when Tim had been left to explain that he didn’t know, that the fight had been business as usual up until the point where Tim had woken up on Krypton rather than somewhere on Earth. After that, the topics had become a bit easier to answer.
The death of Krypton in his reality had been a big point with them. It seemed that they’d been facing similar issues in this reality but had managed to hold it off for some length of time - they had refused to answer his own questions of how, unsurprisingly.
It had quickly gone on to his own abilities, particularly why he’d been fighting in the first place. Especially when he’d claimed not to be apart of any military efforts, just a regular human trying to do what was right. He’d briefly mentioned the Justice League from there which had gotten into a long discussion on Superman and his abilities, including a rather amusing flicker of triumph on Jor-El’s face. And that had been that.
More or less.
There had been no denying that despite the parts Tim couldn’t have known without having come from another reality or something equally fantastical, there was a definite air of impossibility to his story. Dimension-hopping hadn’t been a particularly common occurrence back in his own reality, nevermind here.
Thus they’d set up a brief sponsorship. One month living with a Kryptonian outside of the House of El, in order to both integrate him into society and prove that the family wasn’t attempting to plot against the Council. It had been a popular theory for the first couple of weeks.
It hadn’t technically been the most unenjoyable month of his life. His sponsor had been understanding of his situation, didn’t seem to mind that he hadn’t known even simple things like how to use the kitchen appliances or drive one of their pod-like vehicles. But it hadn’t stayed like that. There had still been duties that his sponsor had outside of teaching him how to survive on Krypton, hours when they’d had to leave for various reasons.
Then the month had been over and the Council had given him his own apartment to live in.
Suddenly it hadn’t just been hours of being alone but rather days. Days spent struggling to convince himself to get out of bed for the day, to go out to get food, to eat that food. More common had been the days where he’d stayed in bed, his mind running through every possibility for every scenario he came across.
There was no telling what had happened after he’d left the fight and he hadn’t seemed capable of letting himself forget it. They had probably thought he had died when he’d gotten sucked into this reality. For all he had known, the worst could have happened. The Titans could have fallen apart, Bruce could have taken a turn for the worst and those had only been the two more common worst case scenarios he’d gone over. They hadn’t been nearly as bad as the times when he’d gotten caught up considering that they’d just… moved on with their lives as if he’d never been there.
Really, the only thing he’d managed to figure out about his new life had been how to feed himself. And with each day that had passed, his hope that he’d get to go back diminished into nothing.
“You know,” Kon mused as he propped himself up on his elbows, “I’ve wanted to do that since the first time I met you.”
“Jesus,” Tim exhaled, the sound stuttering. His lungs couldn’t seem to remember how to work properly, yet he almost could have fallen asleep right then and there. Even with Kon perched between his legs, looking very much like the cat who just ate the canary.
The red robin was a much more accurate choice in words, in this case.
“Yeah, that. It. Him. Whatever. Your Earth idioms are weird. But back to the whole me sucking you off thing. You’d been acting like such a little shit and all I could think about was getting down on my knees and finding out if you’d still be so cocky with my mouth on your dick. The answer is yes, in case you were wondering,” Kon continued, lightly.
If Tim didn’t feel like, well, like he’d been lying in bed and having sex all day, he wouldn’t have been able to control any obvious signs of interest at that. “You don’t think you need to test that out more?”
“You make a good point.” Kon smirked at him. “I mean, there’s so many ways I could do it. It would be a shame if I didn’t take this opportunity to try them all out.”
A thought he would definitely keep in mind for later then. Maybe more of a constant frame of reference for everything Kon did because there was no undoing that revelation. He didn’t want to undo that revelation. The knowledge that Kon had wanted him even then, right from the very start of this mess, just this better.
Plus there was no forgetting how good Kon was at giving blowjobs.
All it took was a pointed look to convince Kon to make his way back up the bed and Tim took advantage of their proximity to kiss him again. It was slower and softer than their previous kisses, the heavy, bitter taste still thick on Kon’s tongue. They really should have started with this, it would have made everything just a little bit simpler before they fell into bed with each other. His confession would seem a bit less orgasm-induced at any rate.
Tim drew back, his hand lingering on the back of Kon’s neck, and took a deep breath. “Just so we’re on the same page here, I’m sorta in love with you.”
There shouldn’t have been anything for him to worry about.
Even if Kon didn’t feel the same way, even if Tim had misinterpreted everything, he could potentially deal with this being a one time thing. Maybe even a casual thing, if it came down to it. He wasn’t really a one night stand type of person or a friends with benefits type of person but if it was Kon, his world wouldn’t end. He’d get past it.
Still, his fingers were restless, filled with far more energy than he knew what to do with. Than he should conceivably have given the way he’d spent his entire day. That wasn’t it either. His heart rate had spiked somewhere over the past few minutes, each beat loudly echoing in his ears.
Kon snorted. “Did you really think I’d crawl into bed with you if I didn’t know that? My bed, I should point out, instead of some seedy hotel room or the guest room.”
“You don’t know what a seedy hotel room is,” Tim pointed out, distracted.
“Doesn’t matter. Because now you’re going to make some weird argument about how I can’t possibly know if it’s me you’re really in love with instead of my weird twin from another reality. And you’re wrong. Just because you were kind of in love with him, doesn’t mean you’re not in love with me. You just have great taste.”
Tim swallowed. The words made sense when he thought about them separately but together was an entirely different story. Because it sounded a lot like Kon was saying he wanted to be here, regardless of any feeling Tim had for Conner. “You used weird twice.”
“What? No, I said weird and-” The sound that came out of Kon’s mouth clearly wasn’t English; his neural transplant had probably just picked up the closest approximation it could find.
The transplant worked extremely well, was really phenomenal technology even if he hadn’t consented to it. If he’d been given the chance to, he would have. Well, maybe if he’d been given the chance to and knew Jor-El a bit better than he had when he’d just gotten here.
But at the end of the day, it was only technology. A small chip in the back of his head that could translate from Kryptonian and ensured he spoke it as well, for the mutual benefit of him and everyone around him. Connotations could be lost, intentions lost because the cultural gap was still huge between Earth and Krypton. There was every chance that he’d missed something, that he’d said something he hadn’t meant to and that was far more terrifying than anything else he’d experienced here, especially right now when-
“Stop it,” Kon muttered. “Are you really going to make me say it? Of course you are, you paranoid bastard. I love you too.”
His reaction to meeting Kon had been perfectly reasonable, in hindsight.
It had been nearly a month after Tim had moved into his own apartment and the days had dragged on without an end in sight. He’d just been lucky that it had been one of the days where he’d managed to drag himself out of his bed. He hadn’t made it far, just to the living room couch, but he’d still been dressed in clean clothes. That had been his daily accomplishment.
He’d almost missed the knocking at first, actually. Nobody had exactly dropped by to say hi since he’d been declared capable of surviving on his own. By whose standards, he hadn’t known but it was only by chance that he’d stumbled upon an online library.
Then the sound had repeated itself and he’d finally realized what it was.
Even the shock of waking up on Krypton hadn’t compared to the shock of opening that door to Conner. Not just some look-a-like that was vaguely related to Kal but actually Conner, his Conner, the one that shouldn’t have existed outside of the Earth in his reality.
For just a moment, it had felt as if someone had lifted a large weight from his shoulders. Tim had almost rushed forward to pull Conner into his arms. Even if they weren’t able to go back to their reality, everything would have been better. It had been as simple as that. If Conner was there then Tim could finally move forward with his life.
But something had stopped him, likely the impossibility of it all. The chances of Conner actually being there had been frighteningly low. Conner couldn’t have even existed because Kal had never gone to Earth, had never been cloned by a human scientist curious to see what would happen if they mixed the DNA of a Kryptonian and a human. Of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. And it couldn’t have been his Conner, not really, because the chances of him being forced into another reality and that reality being the same one Tim was in were about as high as finding a needle in an ocean of haystacks.
Life hadn’t worked like that for Tim. Never had, never would.
More likely had been the chance that this was some enemy of his, disguised in order to put him off guard. Whoever they were, they’d done their research well.
And so, he’d attacked.
A swipe to the knees first, because the look-a-like held himself artificially straight in a way that had suggested a previous injury. The kick had connected but the punch to his gut hadn’t, the block almost pushing Tim off guard. The look-a-like had followed with his own punch, not hesitating to put his strength behind it and they’d ended up trading hits all the way down the hall. There had been no holding back but all of Tim’s hits were matched blow for blow.
At least until he’d managed to bring the look-a-like down to the ground.
Then the look-a-like had grinned up at him as Tim crouched over his chest, one good hit away from winning. He’d known that a quick shift of balance would have flipped his advantage in a moment. The look-a-like hadn’t done that.
But that grin.
It was all he’d needed to see to know it was Conner. Maybe not his Conner, but no less real for it.
“Who are you?” he’d snapped.
“Kon-El,” came the easy introduction and Kon had looked every bit like he was perfectly comfortable with being pinned to the ground. “Illegal abomination of the House of El and current representative of the Kryptonian military. They call themselves a guild, don’t ask me why.”
Kon had inclined his head a bit or rather as much as his position had allowed him to. “That’s what I said, wasn’t it? How about you let me get up and we’ll go to apartment to talk a bit?”
There really hadn’t been anything Tim could have said to that and so he’d stood, offering out his hand. Kon had taken it without any hesitation. Like it was really meant to be that simple after everything that had happened. Granted, most of which Kon hadn’t known about at the time. There’d been no way for him to know Tim had been thinking about his counterpart from an alternate reality who almost certainly thought he was dead. Tim hadn’t thought it was a good idea to break that news right off the bat.
“I know it’s no ‘I’m sorta in love with you’ but c’mon, you could react a bit more than that,” Kon sniped but the corners of his mouth twitched as he held back a smile.
Tim leaned forward, closing those couple inches between them and reveled in the feeling of Kon’s lips against his own. Kon who just so happened to be in love with him. Kon who was everything he’d ever wanted. Kon who was, quite happily, pinning him to his bed right this very moment.
“I wish we were on Earth right now,” he mused lowly.
Emotion carefully drained from Kon’s face. “Why?”
It was difficult to keep himself from smirking but the illusion was perfect as he continued, “I never tried it out for myself but I hear accelerated healing does a lot for a person’s refractory period. And I have a few theories on how super strength and tactile telekinesis could be used.”
“I like it when you talk dirty to me, Drake.”
Tim couldn’t exactly pinpoint how thing had changed after Kon had showed up at his door. He’d turned down the offer from the Kryptonian Military Guild because he hadn’t liked the sound of some of the initiatives they’d been trying to put forward. But that offer had led to offers from other guilds, all of which were interested in Tim’s background for some reason or another. It had been as if feeding season had suddenly started.
In the end, he’d considered all of the offers but the Science Guild was the one he’d chosen. Most of his time had been spent studying the potential gifts Kryptonians could acquire from a yellow sun or an in-depth comparison of Kryptonian and human physiology.
That hadn’t stopped Kon from stopping by almost every evening. More so once he’d mentioned that representative of the Kryptonian Military Guild wasn’t exactly a permanent job for him. Just the one he’d been saddled with that week.
It had been weird. It had been tense. It had been everything Tim had wanted, even if he didn’t let himself think about it too much. Or at all, really. A job had given him something to do with his time, a way to take his mind off of everything. And even when he hadn’t been working, Kon had been there to distract him, to drag him out of that spot in his mind where he could get stuck for weeks if he wasn’t careful.
There wasn’t any one moment where he’d started to trust Kon, it had just happened as easily as breathing. And it hadn’t just been as an alternate version of Conner because from what he knew about other realities, that kind of reasoning never worked out. It had been as a friend. Maybe even as a bit more than a friend because Kon was far more comfortable with letting his eyes wander than Conner ever had been.
But there was the moment when he’d figured out just how much he trusted Kon.
It had been a regular evening. Tim had been cooking, Kon making fun of his fondly termed “Earth cuisine”. He’d gotten used to having someone around again, had never really let himself get used to being alone. Having Kon hanging around had almost been second nature.
“So, what do you even do when I’m not around?” Kon had snarked from where he’d sat on the kitchen counter. “I bet it’s boring here without me… Unless you walk around in the nude, so you can jerk off whenever.” His eyebrows had waggled suggestively, making Tim roll his eyes. “That’s a shame. I wouldn’t have bothered knocking anymore. So, what then?”
Tim had shrugged and poked at the meat in the frying pan with his fork. “Nothing interesting. I read a lot and train when I’m not doing that. I know you guys don’t have crime like back in Gotham and if you did, it wouldn’t really be my place to do anything about it but-” He’d smiled instead of explaining. It had just been one of those topics he didn’t really like talking about.
His near constant restlessness was another such topic.
“Really? Dude, I’d thought you’d stopped doing all that,” Kon had replied curiously without missing a beat.
“It would take a lot more than this to get me to stop,” he’d replied simply.
Kon had grinned at him, the same grin from when they’d fought, nothing held back from its ferocity. “Sweet. We need to spar sometime.”
“What?” His mind had short circuited, food forgotten and jaw slack with shock as he turned his full attention towards Kon. “What are you talking about?”
“Did you think I just got angry skills one day of the month or something? That’s not really how it works. After I was, you know, created, the military insisted I get proper combat training. Then there was this whole thing where they nearly sent me out on what was pretty much a suicide mission a couple solar systems over. Probably would have either died or still been there if Kal hadn’t stepped in,” Kon had explained with a shrug.
It had been said so easily.
As if Kon hadn’t actually cared if Tim knew about his past with the military. About some nearly successful plot to get rid of him. The lump of emotion in his throat had been difficult to swallow back, the realization that Kon trusted him so completely along with it. Of course, there had been no way for Kon to know just how important that kind of trust was to him. After all it had come from being a vigilante, from being trained by Batman, from parts of his life that were impossible to share.
But the realization that he trusted Kon to the same degree, that he wanted to share those details of his life, well, that had been a bit more surprising. Tim knew how much it meant. Had lived through the benefits and consequences of being careful for years before he’d ever come to Krypton and would continue to live with them for the rest of his life. Information was precious, and information about himself ever more so.
“Mad skills,” he’d corrected after a moment, pushing past the rush of emotion, “not angry skills.”
Kon had frowned, displeased. “Aren’t they the same word?”
“No, they’re two different words; angry and mad. They mean the same thing but the saying is ‘mad skills’.”
“Cool. I got it that time.”
“But why do you want to spar with me?” Tim had asked, carefully turning back to his frying pan. He’d been lucky it hadn’t started to burn. “There’s no reason for you to keep up those skills now.”
The way Kon had snorted must have been picked up from Tim because he’d never seen any other Kryptonian do it. “You’re such a hypocrite. I’d been fully trained, you know. And besides, I like it. The rush of it or whatever. It was even better usual when we fought each other.”
Tim’s heart had chosen that moment to jump up into his throat, his hand tightening around his fork.
“So, I figure sparring with you will be even better. No holding back but no worrying about getting hurt, we both get the chance to let loose a little. Everyone wins.”
As if he could have refused.
“...Have the curtains been open this entire time?”
Tim blinked, glancing back towards the window. “You didn’t notice?”
“No, I was too preoccupied to notice thing like curtains of the view of my ass from outside. I bet the back door is unlocked too. Any moment someone’s going to barge in here and demand to know why I had the audacity to have sex with you.” Kon’s voice took on an edge of desperation that had Tim running fingers through his short hair.
“Do they do that often?”
He must have let a bit too much of his underlying anger through because Kon lifted his head from the pillow to stare at him. They held each other’s gazes in a silent battle of willpower. Then Kon’s head fell back down onto the pillow in defeat.
“Sometimes?” Kon tried. “It’s definitely been a while. At least a few months, maybe half a year or so. Nobody really likes the idea of me getting someone pregnant, even artificially. Kal gets angry about it but nobody can really do anything either way. Asking me to be entirely celibate would be ridiculous but there is some logic to making sure I don’t have kids.”
Tim rolled his eyes. “Sorry. Weird Earth idiom. It means I don’t believe a single thing that comes out of their mouths when it comes to you.”
Kon frowned and he was definitely looking at Tim again, even as Tim flopped over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling with an unusual intensity. His hands were just itching to get to them - to the Council - and show them just how much Kon care about this planet. Really, truly cared. It wasn’t just about taking on all of the odd jobs nobody wanted, like representative of the Military Guild or runner for the Science Guild or whoever needed a bit of help, please, Kon, we don’t have anyone to spare at the moment. It was about every time he jumped and said yes, agreed to help them with a smile on his face.
It was bullshit.
But Tim already knew Kon didn’t want him to do anything about it. They’d talked about it once. Kon also had the unfortunate habit of clamming up whenever Tim mentioned the freedom Conner had. Sure, some of that had been about Conner’s powers but not all of it. Otherwise Kon would have been fine hearing about Conner having friends and a spot on the Titans, being accepted.
The hand on his cheek drained the frustration out of him as it tilted his head back towards Kon. It wasn’t fair. But there also wasn’t anything he could do about it right now. Maybe in a few years, when he got a better feel for Kryptonian culture and social hierarchy, he could change things. Would change things.
Maybe Kon would agree to it, when the time came.
“You better not be planning world domination up in that big head of yours. Because then I’d have to try and stop you, and neither one of us wants to be a part of that fight. It would never end, for one thing,” Kon murmured.
“It could work,” Tim countered. “All I’d need to do is stage a coup d'etat and get you to stop me. Sure, they’d need to lock me up but with your newly minted status as hero, you could be the one to interrogate me about the rebellion. On a weekly basis, even.”
“Right. Because nobody would be suspicious about that.”
It had taken a couple of weeks after the conversation in Tim’s kitchen to actually set up a time and a place to spar. They had set up stipulations, of course. No lethal force, hand to hand only, that sort of thing. They’d both gotten into it, drawing out what was acceptable and what wasn’t over the span of an afternoon. All of which with the understanding that they could change things later, to make it work for them.
Such as their agreement on not using weapons. Tim had wanted to try them, to push each other just that little bit further, but Kon had disagreed. So, they’d come to a final verdict. No weapons the first time around and the next time they went, they’d discuss adding weapons into it.
There might have been a part of that wanted to recreate that moment. The moment where Kon had been underneath him, grinning. Only in his mind, they hadn’t stopped there. Kon flipped him like he should have during their fight and thing escalated until sparring was a word they could only loosely apply to what they were doing. More like a struggle to see who could get off first.
Those had only been his fantasies though.
“On the count of three?” Tim had asked.
Kon had had a place in mind, apparently, when he’d suggested they spar together. A gym a couple blocks away from his apartment, whose owner didn’t mind it when he showed up after hours. Most of it had been filled with exercise equipment but there’d been a room in the back, completely stripped of everything except some mats lining the floor. Perfectly set up for something like this.
Kon had lifted his chin in clear agreement. “Together.”
Tim had moved the moment the word two left his lips.
Any other person would have complained about things being unfair but Kon had only muttered some untranslatable insult, trying to hide his laughter. More importantly, he’d been prepared. His muscles already tense with the expectation of getting hit and that had been easy enough to take advantage of by swerving past instead going straight for the offense.
The blow to Kon’s back had been more of a test than anything else. He’d pulled his punches, calculating the when, the where, the how much. It had been everything Kon should have expected from him.
It was par for the course that Kon had passed with flying colours, turning on his heel and hitting back with equal force. Both of them were capable of control there.
Things had continued on like that for a while as they traded easy hits, dodging rather than blocking, moving in tandem instead of acting against each other. If anyone else had been around to see them, they might have thought it more of a dance than a fight. Light and easy and fun, in a way. They wouldn’t have seen the potential for danger.
Then they’d started to hit a bit harder.
It had been impossible to tell which of them started escalating things.
It hadn’t mattered.
Kon’s punches had held real weight behind them and Tim had moved with a real threat of incapacitation. His heartbeat had skyrocketed. Kon had grinned at him, wild and wild with something Tim hadn’t quite been able to pinpoint. He hadn’t needed to know what it was to know it was mirrored in himself. It hadn’t taken much more for the last of his restraints to disappear, no holding back, nothing short of everything he was poured into each motion, each punch and kick.
Each blow had been redemption. Each dodge had built this thing between them a bit stronger, a bit more stable. Each though had set his skin on fire, shocking him with its intensity. Redemption. They hadn’t acted on it but they’d both been aware of the heat building between them, the tension thick enough to cut with a knife. Or a kiss.
There hadn’t been much noise to begin with but the sudden lack of it had been nearly deafening.
Kon had stopped.
Kon had stopped and Tim hadn’t known why.
Then he’d felt the pain blossom in his jaw. It had been just enough to actually hurt and he’d stopped then, raising a hand to the sensitive spot. The swelling had already started, would bloom into an impressively bright bruise given a couple hours. He’d been hit harder before. It had been nothing compared to the bone-deep ache that came from being thrown into a building for all that it would sting for a few days.
The much more urgent factor had been Kon and the way he’d stared at him. His eyes had been too wide, too frantic, too scared about the damage done. “Are… are you okay?”
It had hurt to grin but Tim hadn’t stopped himself. The idiot. As if he was afraid of a little pain. “Never better. It was a great hit. Again?”
He’d missed something because the look in Kon’s eyes had changed. Not like before, not scared, but something else and it had been new and terrifying and Tim had wanted to do what he always wanted to do when he found himself in a new, terrifying situation. Wait a moment, observe, and then jump in when it was least expected - consequences be damned.
“Kon?” he’d said instead.
The knock came nearly half an hour later.
Tim’s eyes squeezed shut at the sound. He’d been so close to falling asleep, curled up with Kon around him and not a single care in the world. They’d barely managed to get up for a quick bathroom run, a few minutes spent picking at the scarce amounts of food in Kon’s fridge. And the curtains were finally closed, shutting them off from the rest of the world.
“Ignore it,” Tim muttered as he felt Kon tense behind him.
“They’d still be around tomorrow. We can have this one day for ourselves.”
His thumb moved in small, soothing circles on the inside of Kon’s wrist until he felt the weight against his back start to relax. It lasted all of a moment before they knocked again, louder this time. As if they’d managed to miss it the first time around.
“Kon,” came Kal’s voice from the general direction of the front door, “it’s me. Look, I understand why you guys don’t want to talk right now but we need to have this conversation now.”
Now. As in later wasn’t an option anymore. Tim could recognize the tone, the attempt to be understanding even with urgency laced into his voice; he’d heard Clark use it on Bruce a thousand times before. And never for anything short of an emergency. Kon knew it too, was already moving away from Tim.
Kon didn’t apologize as he crawled out of the bed. Tim didn’t need it. Maybe if they were different people, they would have taken the time to pause, kiss, exchange murmured apologies. But they weren’t and so Tim silently watched Kon pull on a pair of pants instead. No underwear, he noted with rapt interest. Maybe that was a regular thing for the Kryptonian. Come to think of it, he didn’t actually know if Kon had been wearing underwear before everything leading up to this.
He’d have to test it out in the future.
A future he’d make sure they had.
Kon slipped out of the room with only a rueful grin, one that Tim readily returned. Voices could be heard a moment later as Kal was clearly let into the apartment. They were soft at first, just soft enough that Tim couldn’t make out any of the words himself. But it didn’t stay like that for long. Kon seemed desperate, voice raising as he tried to find sense in Kal’s hurried explanations that really didn’t say much of anything.
Something was going on. Something beyond their relationship. After all, there was no reason for the Council to be angry about it. None of the concerns that the Council had apparently used to drag Kon in front of them didn’t apply to this situation.
That just made this more confusing.
Yet, sending Kal to talk to Kon would be an unexpectedly passive move on their part from what Tim knew. He hadn’t seen them since his trial but it was simple enough to make the inferences based off of conversations he’d had with other people. Thus there had to be something else going on, something neither of them knew about.
A moment of silence passed before the volume of Kon’s voice rose again and Tim carefully stepped out of bed. A pair of pants were lying conveniently on the floor but he scrounged through Kon’s drawers for a pair of boxers instead. If, by any chance, this was about the recent development in their relationship then Tim wasn’t going to hold anything back.
“Kon?” Tim called out as he wandered out of the bedroom, not bothering to look at anything other than Kal standing in the middle of the kitchen. “Is something going on?”
Do they know? was his unasked question, along with do they care? But Kon likely wouldn’t notice the second part.
Kon shrugged. His attention didn’t wander from Kal, even if they were no longer saying anything to each other. “Depends. Kal seems to think so.”
Don’t know was his answer then. Possibly with a bit of this isn’t what I expected and a lot of I fucking hate this. The last of which was a sentiment Tim could wholly agree with. Their relationship wasn’t anyone else’s business, so long as they were both consenting. Everyone on this damn planet was just so obsessed with Kon being a clone that they forgot everything else.
“Kon,” Kal tried again. His eyes flickered over to Tim, cheeks briefly darkening as his gaze stayed firmly on Tim’s face. “Tim. Can we just talk about this for a moment?”
“We can if you tell me why you’re here. Do they know?” Kon snapped.
“I don’t know.”
“Like I’m going to believe that after last time.”
A flicker of panic and regret moved across Kal’s face. If someone didn’t know what they were looking for, they certainly would have missed it. Just like Kon had, his hands tightening into fists. A few more wrong words and this would turn into a fist fight. Which was exactly the last thing they needed at the moment.
Tim stepped forward, placing himself just on the edge of Kon’s line of view. Not touching him - there were a few careful inches between them - but there nonetheless.
“Kon, we should at least listen to what he has to say,” he murmured, his voice purposely soft.
We need information.
We need to act.
“From what you’ve told me, Kal’s been on your side before, hasn’t he? I… don’t know what happened last time but he might not be here to condemn us.”
“Fine. Fine, let’s-” Kon cut himself off with a sigh and he forced his hands to loosen. His fingers were still twitching, like he could quite keep them from moving entirely. “We’ll listen to you, okay? But we’re not guaranteeing anything.”
“Hey,” Kon had spoken up one evening, as he scrubbed at a dirty plate, “I want to show something.”
It hadn’t really come out of the blue. Tim only noticed later but Kon had been nervous since he’d showed up early that afternoon with hardly a suggestion for what they should do on their mutual day off. Not that he’d minded too much; he hadn’t had anything more strenuous than a day of laying around planned himself.
The work with the Science Guild had just gotten more intense. Nothing he hadn’t been able to handle but there had been a lot of blood tests, closely followed by intense physical activity. It’d had something to do with finding out if humans would exhibit similar to Kryptonians under the influence of a yellow sun if exposed to certain types of radiation over a long period of time. They hadn’t felt it necessary to share their preliminary results thus far but Tim had found himself curious as what they’d find.
“Sure,” he’d replied easily.
Kon had blinked and then frowned, a crease forming between his eyebrows. “Just like that? You don’t have any questions? You always have questions.”
“Of course I have questions.” Tim had pried the plate from Kon’s hands, deeming it clean enough, and dried it as he continued to speak, “I just figured, you know, they’d be answered when you show me this thing. I do trust you.”
“Yeah, oh. Does that work for you? I can promise to ask as many questions as you want once we get there if it really bothers you that much.”
There had been no real recognition of Tim’s offer as Kon nodded, shocked into a daze. Tim had rolled his eyes while he put the plates away into the cupboard but he’d been smiling as well. The thick headed idiot had clearly been nervous about this, whatever it was. It had to be important.
They had taken off as soon as they finished washing the dishes, bundled up in thick jackets at Kon’s insistence. The pod had led them through the city and then past the city limit, buildings getting increasingly smaller and farther apart until they’d disappeared entirely. Tim had watched the landscape with a near obsessiveness. He hadn’t left the city, not even once, had never had the chance to see what Krypton really looked like.
In truth, it had been a lot less glamorous than he’d expected.
Flat, wastelands had spread for as far as the eye could see. There hadn’t even been much foliage, just the odd patch of half-dead grass that covered. Even the skies were darker than he’d expected, the red sun a small dot along the horizon. The planet had been dead. There hadn’t been a single sign of life outside of the city.
An hour must have passed before the pad had started to slow. Kon’s fingers had tapped nervously along the controls in a short, frantic rhythm, and most of Tim’s attempts at conversation had ended almost as soon as they’d began. As if he’d needed more evidence about Kon’s emotions towards all of this. Towards taking him somewhere in middle of nowhere. Alone.
If it had been anyone else, Tim would have been worried.
Then the pod had declined, the distance between them and the ground slowly getting smaller until they were only a dozen feet above the ground. Then ten.
“Kon, what are you-”
Kon had turned and forced himself to smile. “It’s fine.”
And then they’d gone through the ground, almost as if it hadn’t been there to begin with. Tim had realized then, that it wasn’t, and his eyes stayed fixed on the sky as they went deeper downwards. There must have been some sort of projection along the ground to make it seem as if this canyon wasn’t there.
Maybe he should have called it a labyrinth. There really hadn’t been a more fitting name. There had been layers to the canyon, bits and pieces of smooth, solid rock that jutted in and out, startlingly complex in its design. It’d been beautiful. The further they’d went down, the wider it got and the more flashes of tunnels and compartments Tim had spotted from the corner of his eye. There’d been an almost winding quality to the way they all conjoined with each other. Perhaps the canyon had once been underwater or maybe a large animal had once lived there, now wiped away with the passing of time.
They’d stopped sooner than Tim would have liked on a small section that expanded across the width of the canyon. He’d stepped out of the pod and stopped, overcome by the miles of darkness still below them, by the miles of twisting rock above them. By the urge to jump.
Not with the intent to crash dramatically at the bottom, his life cut off forever.
But how he used to jump from the top of a skyscraper in Gotham. With complete trust in his own abilities, in that something - his grappling hook, more often than not - would catch his fall, in the city itself. This had been a place he could have faith in, unlike the foreign city over an hour away.
And in that moment, he’d needed it. Each and every aspect that had driven him to chase after Batman and Robin, the final nail in coffin that had been Jason’s death, and the mess Bruce had been afterwards hadn’t just disappeared. They’d all been driven by the need to do something. It had been a simple decision back when he was thirteen but it would have been even simpler now.
Tim had turned away from the edge then, only to find Kon staring at him.
They sat at Kon’s kitchen table.
The silence was suffocating. Kon hadn’t stopped watching Kal, not even for a brief moment. That was something Tim understood, of course he did. But it almost meant he wasn’t comfortable enough to retreat back into the bedroom, not even to put some clothes on. At least, now that they’d nearly confirmed this wasn’t really about their relationship.
This felt more and more like a confession, only emphasized by the heavy, solemn look in Kal’s eyes. It made Tim wonder whether that was the real reason he wanted to listen to him, rather than his own common sense. Whether he’d ever move away from his years as Red Robin, from the years where only Batman was a higher authority to him than Superman. Regardless, it made him listen. Maybe that was the important part.
“Are you going to say something or not?” Kon finally snapped.
Kal glanced towards Tim, looking for support, only to receive an impassive stare. “Alright. You guys deserve to know. It’s why I’m here, anyways.”
“Then just say it. It’s like ripping off a band-aid-” Tim sighed at their blank looks. “A bandage. It’s like taking off a small, sticky bandage. Better to do it fast rather than draw it out.”
“Right. Well, as far as I can tell, the Council has no intentions on condemning your relationship, sexual or-”
Kon stood, his chair screeching as it was shoved backwards without a care. “What the fuck? If the Council doesn’t want to drag me in front of a trial for corrupting their interesting, little specimen of a human, then what are you here, Kal? Rao, you make me so angry.” He frantically glanced down at Tim once he realized what he’d said, suddenly terrified. It only dissipated once Tim evenly met his eyes, knocking their ankles together underneath the table.
None of what Kon said had the shock value he thought it had. It wouldn’t have taken a genius to figure out that Kon was scared of corrupting him, among other things.
Tim just hadn’t had the chance to convince him otherwise yet.
“Kon, I don’t think they know. Kara was the only one who saw you two and that’s only because she dropped by to ask you something this morning. She came straight to me and promised not to tell anyone else,” Kal explained.
“You - they-” Kon swallowed back his anger and slowly lowered himself back down to his chair. “Kara really came to you?”
“I know she hasn’t always been the most supportive person but she cares. We all do. And that means doing things like withholding information from the Council on a matter they honestly shouldn’t care about in the first place.”
“Then why are you here?” Both of the Kryptonians stared at Tim and he shrugged. “It’s still a valid question. Nobody looks like that when they just want to say everything’s going to be fine.”
Kal sighed. His fingers were twitching, subconsciously seeking out something to fiddle with. “You’re right. The Council currently doesn’t know about you but when they find out - and they will find out, eventually - they aren’t going to ask you to stop like they have in the past.”
“My sources have been telling me about a new initiative to… expand Kryptonian influence to other solar systems. Particularly ones with yellow suns. And they want the two of you to be the face of that initiative.”
“I come out here sometimes to think,” Kon had admitted. His voice had gone soft, hardly more than a whisper, but even that wasn’t enough to prevent it from being a shout against the otherwise still silence.
Kon’s following snort had been automatic. “Nah, I come here to jerk off.”
“That’s gross,” Tim had thrown back.
“Don’t knock it until you try it.”
“No, really. Why would you all the way out here to jerk off when you’ve got a perfectly good bed back home?”
“Some of us like a bit of public sex, Drake. Come on, this is only the start.”
There had been nothing left to do except follow Kon into a tunnel in the canyon wall, his comments coming to an abrupt stop as what little light they’d had disappeared. But Kon had seemed like he knew where he was going, didn’t falter nor stumble. Tim most certainly had.
Just how long had Kon been coming out here for? Tim had been overcome by the image of a teenaged Kon, frustrated with the teasing and hostility of everyone around him, flying over the plains in a stolen pod until he stumbled over a deep crack in the ground. Maybe he’d flown down out of spite, half expecting to crash and burn. Maybe he’d thought nobody would care if he died, that people would shrug and consider it just another day. And then maybe he’d stopped, punched the stone walls until his anger finally drained away and then decided to live just to spite them. It was what Conner had done, shortly after they’d found him.
And then he would have found this, Tim had realized, as he stared at the waterfall across from them, the water crashing into a pool nearly twenty feet below.
It had been gorgeous.
It had been absolutely gorgeous and Tim hadn’t known how he’d missed the sound of rushing water. It must have come up on them so gradually that he’d dismissed it as background noise. Either way, it had made his breath catch.
The cavern had been lit by algae in the water, painting the waterfall a fluorescent blue before filling the pool below. There must have been something letting the water out but it had been impossible to see from there they’d stood. Underwater vents of some sort. Somewhere slightly to their left, Tim had noted, as he continued to stare. The current had been headed in that direction.
Somehow, figuring that out didn’t subtract from any of it. This had been what Tim had expected out of Krypton. Moments of beauty in underground rivers, even if he’d never thought it would be quite like this. This was the life and wonder of an entire planet.
A platform had caught his eye after a moment, caught along the side of the opening the water flowed from. It couldn’t have been more than a foot wide.
Nothing could have been more perfect to jump off of.
“Is there a way to get up there?” he’d shouted over the sound of crashing water, pointed up to the ledge.
“What?” Kon had shouted back, bewildered. “No, I don’t think so. But why would you-”
Kon’s voice had curled up and died the same moment Tim had started to strip out of his clothes without explanation, leaving only his underwear on. He’d smirked and kicked his clothes to the side before stepping towards the ledge. Not having a proper path had been fine with him. The streets of Gotham would have been more difficult to maneuver. This had a safety net.
“Tim, what are you doing?” Kon had yelled as he’d tested the strength of the small fractures in the rock, just big even to act as holds. “You can’t go up there. That’s insane!”
Tim had laughed, the sound drowned out by the waterfall. “It is, isn’t it?”
And then he’d swung around the edge, leaving the tunnel entirely.
He’d been able to feel Kon’s eyes glued to his back as he maneuvered the rock wall. It had been a rush, made him feel like he was on top of the world. That the sound of the water had drowned out the inevitable shouts for him to go back towards safety had been a disappointment rather than a deterrent. Kon had needed to know that this was the sort of life he lived. That it wasn’t about to change, Earth or Krypton or anywhere else.
It had become more than a feeling when Tim had reached the small platform, finally able to twist himself around to look back towards the tunnel. Kon had been staring at him. Their gazes had locked together then, heated instead of scared, even as Tim had reached down to feel the water flowing through his fingers. There’s been no obvious signs of adverse side effects, just good old water with the heavy scent of salt and the cool, silk-like joy of it against his skin.
And then he’d jumped, head first.
Tim had kept his eyes on Kon for as long as he could manage, hoping to convey just what this meant to him. Then he’d passed the tunnel, gravity taking its hold on him, tucked his head in towards his chin, and turned his body around in a mid-air somersault.
He’d been laughing as he hit the water, cold surrounding him from all sides. All it had taken from there was a kick, then two before he’d broken through the surface feeling like an entirely new person. Leaps of faith would always be his salvation. And Kon had been watching him the entire time. Tim had known what he’d seen in that split-second moment and it hadn’t been fear or concern. No, it had been something far less innocent.
And, he’d realized as he glanced upwards, feeling better than he had in month, Kon was still watching him.
That had sent lightning through his veins almost as quickly as the jump had.
“Join me!” Tim had shouted, only half hoping that his voice could be heard over the waterfall.
Kon must have been able to.
There was no other explanation for what had happened next. Kon had disappeared from view entirely, leaving Tim virtually alone, but when he’d returned, there hadn’t been a scrap of cloth on his body. The shadows from the tunnel had made it nearly impossible for Tim to truly appreciate the view but the light from the algae was enough for him to know what Kon looked like. Something akin to Adonis, that was. Tim would have never grown tired of looking at him.
But he hadn’t gotten that chance, not then or there. Kon had stood on the edge of the tunnel, his toes visible from where Tim had stilled in the water, and then he’d jumped. There hadn’t been any acrobatics, none of the fancy moves that Tim had used, but neither had he needed them to keep his attention.
A light spray of water had hit Tim in the face and moments later, Kon had risen from the water. His eyes had sought out Tim immediately, a spark of something in them that hadn’t been there before.
“What the fuck!” Kon’s voice had been a whisper against the loud roar behind them but Tim hadn’t had any doubt he was shouting. “You didn’t say the water was cold, Drake!”
Tim had laughed and swam over to the Kryptonian, acting almost entirely on instinct. It was the only reasonable explanation he had. The adrenaline had messed with his head. Kon had looked nearly irresistible with the algae in water lighting up his face in a soft blue. But really, those were just factors and not the reason.
Frantically pressing his lips against Kon’s would always be instinct to him.
There hadn’t been any hesitation on Kon’s part, not for this. Not like people mentioned in stories or songs; a brief moment where they were forced to wonder whether their affections were returned. No, Kon’s reaction had been instantaneous as he surged back with equal passion. As if everything up until that moment had just been a prelude to this.
The world had faded away. Tim had ceased to notice the water around them, the roar of the waterfall, even his own thoughts had faded away into nothing. It had been as if he’d momentarily ceased to exist at all. The only thing that had existed were the cool lips against his own, quickly heating as the kiss grew more intense, the fingers digging into his hips, the intense, addictive warmth touching him.
Kon had been the one to pull away first but only to lean in further, his breath ghosting over the shell of Tim’s ear. “So, do waterfalls make you horny or something? Or is this something you’ve been meaning to do for a while?”
There had been no denying the rough edge to Kon’s voice.
“A bit of both,” Tim had replied, almost breathless. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but you can’t deny the allure of a waterfall.”
“It makes sense,” Tim pointed out when Kon lapsed into silence. “Both humans and Kryptonians have a reputations and if it seemed like we were presenting a united front, well, other planets would have a good reason to listen. My guess is that the Council wouldn’t have told us what they intended. Just given us the opportunity to go on so-called peacekeeping missions, then all they’d have to do is flaunt our relationship whenever they had the chance.”
Kal nodded in agreement. “In a lot of places, a romantic relationship between a human and a Kryptonian would be a telling sign of a partnership between Earth and Krypton. Even if the human army wasn’t present. Given how close the two of you have grown these past few months, it would only lend to the legitimacy of their fiction. I doubt many people would even question it, actually.”
“Shit,” Kon swore.
“That just about covers it.”
“Shit,” Kon repeated, burying his head in his hands. “Fuck, what are we supposed to do? I mean, unless you think we should go along with it.” He lifted his head again to look over at Tim. “I don’t want to be a part of this but if you think we can stop this from the inside then I’m all in.”
“No, I don’t think being part of an intergalactic dictatorship would be a good idea.” Tim paused, taking in the awkward expressions of the Kryptonians at the table. “That is what they’re trying to do, right? I didn’t get that horribly wrong?”
Kal sighed and shook his head. “No, you got it right.”
“It’s just no one says it quite like you do, Drake. No beating around the tree on that one.”
The look in Kon’s eyes was too bright for Tim to do anything other than smile and lean over to press a kiss to the corner of Kon’s mouth. His cheeks were warm when he pulled away, suddenly remembering they weren’t alone, but Kon grinned back at him. Later, Tim would inform him about his mistake in the idiom, at least once they were alone. It didn’t feel like the sort of thing he wanted to share with Kal, even unintentionally.
But the look faded when Kal subtly cleared his throat and Kon frowned again. “So, if we’re not going to agree to this, what are we going to do? I can’t imagine they’ll be too happy when we say no.”
“You’re right. Which is why Tim is going to take an… extended vacation in order to avoid being used by the Council. It won’t be above table, exactly, and there will be a formal search as he isn’t supposed to leave the planet. But there will be a ship in the hangar at noon tomorrow that no one will be paying much attention to with enough supplies to disappear off the grid for at least a few months,” Kal explained.
Kal tried to hide a smile. “Well, you don’t have to go with him if you don’t want to but everyone is under the impression that you will.”
The trip back to Kon’s apartment had been something akin to torture. Neither of them had managed to say a word, eyes catching every few minutes as if they were drawn together like magnets. But they both had been grinning like lovesick fools.
That description had been accurate enough, really.
The most difficult part had been stopping himself from touching Kon. A hand on his leg or intertwining their fingers had felt like not just a good idea but a great one. But Tim had also known he didn’t have the restraint to keep himself from taking it further, not now that he knew this wasn’t one-sided. And he’d wanted to continue things somewhere other than a cramped two-person pod in the middle of nowhere. At least at that moment.
Judging by the way Kon had kept looking at him, the sentiment had been returned. In fact, Tim hadn’t needed the extra evidence to know that. His memories of the waterfall had been crystal clear, clear enough to make his pants feel tighter than usual. They hadn’t even gotten further than a hasty handjob before climbing out of the pool.
It had been a relief for both of them once they reached the city limits. Even more so once Kon had finally parked the pod outside of his apartment.
“Is this where you carry me over the threshold?” Tim had teased as he’d climbed down onto Kon’s balcony.
Kon’s face had twisted with his confusion. “Why would I do that?”
“It’s a custom on Earth after a couple gets married; one newly-wed carries the other into their house, can’t remember why. It’s probably something gross but the thought is still there, I guess.”
Kon hadn’t responded and when Tim had turned to find out why, he’d found himself face to face with the Kryptonian, the space between them non-existent. For one terrible moment, he’d thought he’d made a huge mistake. That the joke had been too early for this new, fragile thing between them. That Kon was the sort of person he couldn’t so much as mention marriage to until they were firmly at the two year mark and even then, only in jest.
But then Kon had leaned down, cupping Tim’s face carefully in his hands, and kissed him as if he thought Tim might just blow away with the wind.
The last of Tim’s patience had shattered right then and there on the dimly lit balcony, along with the last few defenses he’d had left. There had been no point but to surrender to the unavoidable knowledge that was head over heels for Kon-El, illegal abomination of the House of El, errand boy for half of the planet. He probably always had been.
And so, he’d tugged Kon inside, reaching for any clothes he could get his hands on.
They sat in the cockpit, moments away from starting the ship. There wasn’t going to be a chance to linger after that. Someone from the control building nearby would rush over to find out what was going on. After all, there weren’t any departures scheduled for at least another week.
And yet, they were still sitting here.
“Do you want to go to Earth?” Kon asked.
His eyes were focused firmly ahead, not letting Tim see anything that was going through his mind at that moment. As if leaving the one place he’d called home wasn’t a big deal. Tim had made the offer for Kon to stay last night, suggested that only he leave.
The rejection he’d gotten to that offer had been immediate and loud.
But despite all that, this was something Tim could emphasize with. Even if they did go to Earth, it still wouldn’t be his Earth. It wouldn’t be the Batman or Robin he knew. Not his Batgirl, his Titans, his Nightwing, not even his Red Hood. More accurately, they wouldn’t be his family. It still felt like a piece of himself was missing. There was really no telling what the differences between this reality and his own would be back on Earth. A million different variations existed.
This would still be his Kon though.
“Nah,” Tim said, shaking his head.
“Yeah, really. Let’s go check out somewhere new.”
Kon took a deep breath, hands posed over the controls. “Okay. Okay, I can do that.”