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Compromise

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There are times that Tim can’t help but stare.

Part of him blames his photographer’s mind. He had learned at a young age to notice details, to look and keep looking until he found the beauty in things. He’s also been taught to analyze and interpret, to turn and twist and find meaning in the smallest clues. Given all he’s learned, it’s actually not surprising that Tim occasionally finds himself caught up in looking.

“What,” Jason says the third time Tim glances at him over the top of his tablet, “do I have syrup on my face?”

Tim shakes his head, giving a small smile as he looks back at his tablet. “No, I think you’ve successfully managed to get it all in your mouth. Again.”

“I put it on the list,” Jason protests, pointing his fork at the refrigerator. Sure enough, syrup is scrawled across the bottom of the white board, below eggs and carrots and peanut butter. There’s a message on the bottom of the board, written with the green marker that Jason claimed as his own, reminding Tim to record the Star Trek marathon on Saturday afternoon and to go see Leslie about the ache in his left arm that won’t quit.

“You did put it on the list,” Tim agrees. “I can swing by the grocery store on the way home this afternoon. I’ve got a meeting with R&D this morning. It’ll last a few hours, but I can skip out after that’s done.”

Jason shakes his head before gulping down the last few swallows of his milk. “I’ll head over there after you leave. I’m not doing anything else today.”

Tim raises an eyebrow. “You’re resting your leg so you don’t pop any of the stitches that Alfred was nice enough to give you.”

“I’m healed enough to get the groceries,” Jason says, rolling his eyes. “Tell you what, I’ll pay using your debit card if that’s going to make you feel better about it.”

“You would have done that anyway.”

“And I still will,” Jason promises, standing and grabbing his dishes and the plate that Tim’s toast had been on. Tim watches as he walks to the sink and starts washing. He isn’t favoring his injured leg, but they’re both far too versed in hiding things for Tim to be sure.

Jason snorts without turning back to face Tim. “Unless you’re looking at my ass and getting ideas, stop staring.” He tosses a smirk back over his shoulder. “If you are staring at my ass, then I’m going to suggest you get a nice look at it now so you can distract yourself with interesting thoughts during your meeting later.”

“Thanks,” Tim groans. “Now I have no chance of getting through that meeting without thinking about your ass.”

“You’re welcome,” Jason says, shaking his hips. His pajama pants slide down half an inch, and Tim looks back to his tablet before he can actually start getting any of the ideas that Jason was talking about.

He’s distracted by an email from Dr. Benson, the head of the project he’s meeting R&D to discuss, so Tim doesn’t notice Jason moving until he’s standing next to Tim, one eyebrow raised. “You and that tablet are getting awfully close. Are you gonna marry it?”

“I’ve considered it,” Tim says, setting the tablet on the table. “It’s fast, it’s compact, it keeps me up-to-date on things-”

“I keep you up-to-date on things,” Jason protests. “It was only once. And, in my defense, I was trying to keep pressure on my leg.”

Tim mimes tapping the communicator that they all wear on patrol. “O, this is Hood. I’ve run into some trouble at Third and Alser; could you send someone my way?”

“She would have sent Damian anyway,” Jason counters. “He was closest.”

“Yeah, but she also would have sent the car for you,” Tim replies. “Instead, I got a frantic message from Damian about you bleeding out in an alley, and did I have a vehicle nearby, and perhaps some emergency sutures?”

Jason sighs and holds his hand out. Tim takes it and isn’t surprised when Jason tugs him out of his seat and into a hug, resting their foreheads together. It isn’t that they don’t talk about things like this, or even that they don’t do it often. They tend to leave the work-related things for work-related hours, though, and if Tim hadn’t had a particularly vivid dream last night, he probably wouldn’t be bringing it up now.

“Hey,” Jason says, pulling Tim’s focus out of his own head. “I’m sorry, babe. Okay?”

“I know,” Tim says quietly, closing his eyes and settling his palms on Jason’s hips. “I just… have a very vivid imagination.”

“I didn’t bleed out,” Jason says. “Or even lose all that much blood, considering.”

“Thirty-seven stitches,” Tim reminds him, opening his eyes back up and looking directly into Jason’s. “Five days on bed rest until Alfred was sure you wouldn’t pop them all as soon as you flexed your thigh.”

Jason pulls him in closer, setting his chin on Tim’s head. “I’m sorry,” he repeats, wrapping his arms around Tim’s back. “You know I can’t promise that it won’t happen again.”

“I know.”

“I’ll try to be more careful,” Jason says. “And next time I get injured, I’ll call you and O. Does that make you feel any better?”

“Yeah,” Tim admits. “It would help if you carried a compression bandage in with your gear, too. Maybe swap out a grenade?”

“But I like the grenades,” Jason whines, exaggerating the sound as he sways them a little. “Can’t I take out a spare grapple instead?”

The knot in Tim’s stomach uncurls, and he realizes that they’re actually compromising on this. They’ve been together for almost a year, cohabitating for just over three months, and now they’re apparently to the point in their relationship where major considerations can be both asked for and given. It feels important, like it’s a moment to celebrate, but Tim just smiles and presses his face into Jason’s shoulder. “Make room for it somewhere. Please.”

“I can do that,” Jason says, squeezing Tim briefly before letting go and stepping back. “And I can also handle the groceries, so. Any other requests for the store?”

Tim glances at the list on the refrigerator, running through his mental checklist before shaking his head. “If you see something we can’t live without, grab it, but I can’t think of anything that we didn’t already write down.”

Jason nods. “Any dinner requests?”

“Not fish,” Tim says, wrinkling his nose.

“I remember,” Jason says, grinning. “We had the windows open for two days.”

“It’s a small apartment,” Tim defends. “It smelled!”

“It was December,” Jason adds, laughing when Tim swats at him. “I’ll find something while I’m there.”

Tim nods. “Sounds good to me.”

There’s a moment of contented silence before Jason cocks his head. “Babe, it’s not that I don’t want to stare at you all day, but if you miss that meeting then Fox is going to have you fried and served for brunch. He might come after me next.”

Tim starts and blinks, looking at his watch. “Oh, hell,” he swears, grabbing the tablet from the table and turning towards the door. “I can blame traffic, right?”

“You walk to work,” Jason says mildly. “We live less than two blocks from the office.”

“Just as long as he doesn’t ask me what I was ‘up to’ with that look on his face,” Tim groans, shoving the tablet into his briefcase and slipping his feet into his shoes. “I don’t want to think about Lucius thinking about us having sex.”

Jason makes a face. “Great, now you’ve got me thinking about it.”

Tim laughs and pulls his jacket on, glancing in the mirror so he can straighten his tie. “At least I can distract myself with thoughts of your ass in pajamas.”

“You really are the lucky one,” Jason agrees, leaning down to press his lips to Tim’s. “See you later, babe.”

“You, too,” Tim says, walking towards the door. “Be careful at the store.”

“Yes, dear,” Jason singsongs, smirking when Tim narrows his eyes. “I’ll be careful. I promise.”

Tim knows the smile on his face is more fond than anything else. “If you fall and pull a stitch, I’m going to laugh while I’m sewing you back together.”

Jason blows him a kiss as Tim shuts the door.