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I Thought You'd Never Ask

Chapter Text

Jaime tapped his foot anxiously while he waited for the bell that would signal the end of his school day. He really needed to stop hanging around Bart so much, he was picking up too many of his habits. Jaime had noticed that he’d gotten less patient since spending so much time with the impulsive speedster. Still tapping his foot, his eyes wandered from the clock to his surroundings, and he found another set of eyes already staring at him from across the room.

 

Usually when someone gets caught staring, they have the common sense to look away and pretend like they weren’t just staring, but not her. Her eyes lingered on his for a little too long, and she winked.

 

[Prolonged eye contact is a tactic used to assert dominance. Eliminate the threat!]

 

Jaime ignored his scarab, trying his best not to talk to himself in front of the class. He must have looked terrified of her, but he was pretty sure she wasn’t holding eye contact to assert dominance.

 

Jaime broke the eye contact after she winked and sunk into his chair, trying not to look as uncomfortable as he felt. He never knew how to act in these kinds of situations. What are you even supposed to do when someone winks at you? Jaime became painfully aware of his facial expressions. Every muscle in his face tensed, despite his desperate attempts to appear relaxed. She probably wasn’t still staring, but he felt like she was. He felt like everyone was. His foot started tapping even faster- even Bart would be proud of how fast he was tapping. He couldn’t wait to get out of here.

 

Jaime shared a few classes with her, but they rarely talked. This wasn’t the first time he caught her staring, though. It seemed like it had been happening all week. Jaime didn’t know her very well, but she was good friends with one of his best friends, Brenda. She was nice enough, but attention always made Jaime uncomfortable, and he felt like everyone could tell.

 

Can’t the bell just ring already?

 

Luckily, he was distracted by his phone buzzing, and pulled it out to see a text from Bart.

 

Bart: jermano! Where are you right now?

 

Jaime: it’s ‘hermano’ (eye roll emoji)

 

Jaime snickered as he sent the text, and his phone vibrated again less than a second after he hit ‘send.’ He was actually glad for the momentary distraction.

 

Bart: Really? I thought j was like the spanish h? I’m confused

 

Bart: where are you??

 

Jaime: that explains why you keep mispronouncing it lol. The h is silent.

 

Jaime: I’m at school, whydwued

 

Jaime practically jumped out of his seat when his teacher dropped a text book on his desk and cleared her throat.

 

“Put it away.” She glared at the phone in his lap.

 

Jaime quickly put his phone away in his pocket, and once again felt like everyone was staring at him. When he looked around, whatshername caught his eye again. She gave him a sweet smile before reaching for her things to prematurely pack up for the end of class.

 

Crap, what was her name?

 

Finally, the bell rang, and Jaime practically scurried out of the room and straight to his locker, almost tripping over himself on the way there. He grabbed his books and turned to head home, but he ran right into whatshername, who had apparently followed him.

 

“Ay!” Jaime let out a startled yelp and almost dropped his books.

 

“S-sorry. No te vi.” Wait, why was he apologizing?

 

Whatshername giggled. “Hey, Jaime.” She looked slightly more sheepish than she did when she was staring at him earlier.

 

“Hey, uh… hi.” Crap. Don’t let her know you don’t know her name!

 

“So, the Sadie Hawkins dance is coming up on friday...” Oh no. Jaime knew where this was going.

 

“Yeah, it is, huh?” He had to have been turning red by now.

 

“Yeah! Well anyways, I know we don’t really talk much, but I think you’re really cool, and I know this is last minute, but I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go? Like, together?” She bit her lip in anticipation.

 

“Oh, um, wow… well...” Jaime felt bad. He knew she had been crushing on him for the past few weeks, and he didn’t want to lead her on. She did seem really sweet. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but he also really didn’t want to go to that dance with someone he barely knew. Jaime’s capacity to handle awkward social interactions was pretty much constantly being maxed out because of Bart, and it was really overwhelming. He realized he’d been lost in thought and she was still waiting on an answer.

 

“I, uh, I don’t want to lead you on or anything. I’m taken. Sorry.” He lied. He didn’t know what else to do. This way hopefully her feelings wouldn’t be hurt, and he still wouldn’t have to go to that dance.

 

Whatshername looked slightly disappointed, but not upset.

 

Just then, Jaime felt himself get practically tackled into a surprise hug that almost knocked him over by none other than Bart Allen. Bart had come out of nowhere, and Jaime wasn’t expecting him at all.

 

He doesn’t even go here!

 

Actually, Jaime wasn't sure if Bart even went to school at all.

 

[Eliminate! Eliminate!]

 

Jaime had to pull his sleeve down and fight back his armour from taking over and attacking Bart over the alarming embrace.

 

Bart jumped back from the hug and stretched his arms out into the air in his classic ‘look at me’ pose, grinning way too wide.

 

“Ta-da!”

 

“Bart! What are you doing here?” Jaime was trying to hide his irritation. Bart could have just exposed him as Blue Beetle in front of his entire school!

 

Bart ignored the question and turned his focus on whatshername, who was still standing in front of Jaime, looking very amused.

 

“Who’s this?” Bart and whatshername both asked simultaneously.

 

“Oh, this is Bart. Bart, this is…” shit. Jaime didn’t know how to play this off. Luckily, she finished before the pause got too long.

 

“Nice to meet you, Bart! I’m Blanca! Oh! Is this your...?” She looked at Jaime with a brow raised, gesturing in the direction of the speedster, then enthusiastically shook Bart’s hand, “So, I’m guessing I’ll see you two at the dance then? You’re a lucky guy, Bart.” She winked.

 

“What dance?” Bart tilted his head like a confused puppy.

 

Jaime opened his mouth to protest, to tell Blanca that it wasn’t like that. That Bart was just a friend, but she looked like she was about to figure that much out on her own. Her smile faded, and Jaime started to feel guilty. Her feelings would be even more hurt if she thought Jaime lied about why he didn’t want to go to the dance with her, so he went along with it. He grabbed Bart’s arm like a lifeline, hoping he would play along, too.

 

“Blanca… I, uh, I haven’t actually asked yet.” He said under his breath. Then, still maintaining a death grip on Bart’s arm, he asked. “Bart? Do you wanna.. er... go with me? To the dance?” Jaime cringed internally. He was so embarrassed. Bart would never let him live this down.

 

Luckily, Bart was a good friend, like, a really good friend, and he caught on. Bart clasped his hands against his heart and swooned.


“I thought you’d never ask, mi amor!” He said in a terrible spanish accent, attempting, but failing to roll the r in amor . Then he threw his arms around Jaime way too enthusiastically and planted a light kiss on his cheek, making Jaime’s face flush into a deep red.

 

A few moments later, Brenda came running up to Blanca and Jaime with an expectant look on her face. She must have known Blanca was going to ask Jaime to the dance. Jaime was a little frustrated that Brenda didn’t give him a heads up, though.

 

Blanca didn’t look embarrassed as she answered Brenda’s nonverbal question. “Well, I was going to ask Jaime to the dance, but he’s going with Bart, here.” She grinned, looking genuinely happy for them.

 

Bart slipped his hand in Jaime’s and leaned into him, grinning wide. Apparently, Bart was an excellent actor. Brenda’s jaw dropped.

 

“Jaime, I had no idea! You never told me!”

 

“You never asked.” Jaime said, trying to sound cool, but he had probably never been this nervous before. Unlike Bart, Jaime was a terrible liar.

 

“Well, I’m happy for you. Anyways, I came over here to see if y’all wanted to hang out after the dance. Since it ends at 8, some of us were going to go to a late dinner. You all want to come?”

 

Jaime started to say no, but Bart squeezed his hand and looked up at him with big green puppy eyes. Bart’s eyes even got extra shiny, like he was about to cry. His lower lip puffed out and his chin gave way to the tiniest tremble. Anyone who could say no to Bart’s puppy face had to be evil . Like, straight up supervillain evil.

 

Dammit, Bart.

 

“Okay. We’ll be there.”  

 

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Translation

No te vi: I didn’t see you

Mi amor: my love

Chapter Text

Friday 2:35 PM

10 more minutes. Only ten more minutes, and then Jaime could go and be anxious somewhere else. He couldn’t stop thinking about the dance. He didn’t know if Bart being at the dance- no, being his ‘date’ to the dance- made him feel better about going or just more nervous. On one hand, Bart was his best friend, and he did have a talent for helping Jaime let loose when he was anxious. Things were undeniably much more fun when Bart was around. But on the other hand, something about the idea of being in a relationship with Bart, even if it was fake, made Jaime feel… actually, he didn’t really know how he felt about it. His stomach tied itself in knots and blood rushed to his cheeks just thinking about it.

As if on cue, Jaime’s phone buzzed with multiple messages from Bart.

Bart: super moded right now

Bart: help please!!!

Bart: it’s an emergency

Jaime was about ready to get up and run out of class early, no questions asked. He would be there for Bart in a heartbeat if he needed to be. Then he got another text.

Bart: a fashion emergency

Jaime rubbed his hand down his face and had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud.

Bart: what are you even supposed to wear to these kinds of things anyways? 

Jaime: ADM Bart you scared me!

Bart: you should be scared! This is serious stuff

Jaime: Nothing too fancy, like a button up and jeans maybe? Don’t sweat it 

Bart: I need help can I come over? 

Jaime: sure. Just don’t pull another surprise hug on me. You know Khaji Da doesn’t mess around

And finally, the bell rang. Jaime swung his backpack lazily over his shoulder and walked out of the classroom to his locker. He put his things away and turned on his heel, then, as if by a strange force of deja vu, he almost ran right into someone and dropped his books again, just like he had the other day.

[The Impulse is no match for us! Eliminate him! ]

Jaime did his best to ignore his scarab. Bart stood in front of him with a wide grin and his arms outstretched in front of him. He opened and closed his hands, like he was silently asking for a hug.

Jaime rolled his eyes. “I'm gonna have to say this still counts as a surprise hug.”

“But I didn’t even touch you!” Bart pouted, he looked like he was dangerously close to pulling out his puppy face, so Jaime caved and pulled him in for a quick hug. Then the two of them walked to Jaime’s house to solve Bart’s so called emergency.

 

 

“So, did you bring any clothes to wear? Or did you want to go shopping really quick?” Jaime asked as Bart paced his bedroom at an impossible speed.

“Shit! IknewIforgotsomethingandIdon’thaveanymoneyto-” 

“Bart! Despacito. You’re talking too fast.” 

Bart just continued pacing the room, even faster now.

“Are you nervous or something? Hey, you really don’t have to come if you don’t want to. I could just tell Blanca we… broke up, or something.” For some reason, the words clung to the back of Jaime’s throat as he said them.

“No, it’s crash! I want to come. I’ve just never been to something like this before. We didn’t have anything like this in my era. I don’t even really get what it is to be honest.” 

“It’s just a bunch of high school kids in an auditorium. Loud music and there’s supposed to be lots of dancing, but that’s really only if they play good music. Then dinner, after. I didn’t want to go, either, honestly. So I get it if you want to bail.” Jaime held his breath while he waited for Bart to answer. 

“Were you listening? I said I’ve never been to one of these, I want to go! That sounds so crash!” 

Jaime let out a sigh of relief.

“Thanks, ese. I owe you. I might have an old button up you can try on, so you don’t have to go buy a shirt for just one dance. You can wear the jeans you have on now.” Jaime rummaged through his closet for a minute, before pulling out a long sleeved dark blue button up.

“Here, try this on. It’s too small for me now, so if it fits, you can have it.”

“Crash!” The next instant, the shirt and Bart had both disappeared, presumably to the bathroom. He was gone for much longer than a speedster would need to change. The bathroom was attached to both Jaime’s, and his sister, Milagro’s rooms, so Jaime just called out to Bart through the other side of the door.

“You okay in there?” 

“Uh, yeah. Totally fine. Just one second.”

Bart wasn’t kidding, after one second, he reappeared in Jaime’s room wearing the blue shirt.

He wasn’t kidding about being ‘totally fine’ either, apparently.

The shirt was a nice fit on Bart, and Jaime had to admit that Bart looked great in blue (and no, it wasn’t just because blue was Jaime’s favorite color). Still, Bart couldn’t stop fidgeting and tugging at the sleeves. He looked at Jaime for approval, and Jaime couldn’t help but stare, because let’s face it- Bart looked really cute in Jaime’s shirt. He looked his friend up and down for a second before realizing what he was doing. 

“Jaime? Oh, god. Is it that bad?” Jaime must have taken a bit too long to answer. 

“No, Bart, you look.. really good.” They both blushed. “I mean- the shirt. The shirt looks really good, like, on you. Not that you don’t look... I mean...lo que quiero decir es que…” Jaime rubbed the back of his neck and tried to recover without making it weird.

“Um, I think the shirt looks nice on you.” Jaime mentally facepalmed, but Bart’s cheesy smile made him feel a little better. At least Bart wasn’t weirded out. Jaime turned to his closet to pick out his own shirt. 

After a moment of searching, Jaime pulled another shirt out of the closet. He took off the shirt he had been wearing to change into the nicer one. Bart immediately looked down to avoid involuntarily checking out his friend. By the time he looked back up, Jaime was wearing a white button up with red cuffs.

Bart silently wondered if it was an intentional or subconscious decision that Jaime had them wearing each other’s colors.

“So, do you think we should set some kind of ground rules for the night? I don’t want to piss off Khaji Da, or, like, make you feel weird or anything.” Bart was sitting on Jaime’s bed now. 

Jaime sat down next to Bart and thought about it.

“Órale pues, yeah, that’s a good idea. We should act like we’re, you know, together . But it’d be good to set some boundaries.”

“What are some together things couples do here?” Bart looked curious, like he really didn’t know.

“You know, like holding hands, hugging, kissing, just being all around more touchy than they are with other people. But you might not have to act any different with how touchy you always are.”

“Oh, sorry. I thought that was just something people did here? I like touching. People never really touch each other where I’m from. I mean... not like that, at least.” Jaime looked concerned at that last remark, so Bart continued before he could comment on it.  

“Anyways. All of that sounds crash, so I’m cool with any of it. What about you?”

Something fluttered in Jaime’s stomach as he thought about it. He was already used to the hugging, and Bart being overly touchy was just a part of life now, not that Jaime didn’t secretly love it. Holding hands, he could get used to. But Bart had just said he was cool with kissing, didn’t he? Jaime looked at Bart, who was patiently waiting for an answer like it was no big deal. His eyes flickered back and forth from Bart’s lips to his eyes.  

“I guess that’s… crash?”

Bart smiled, but cocked his head to the side. “It sounds funny when you say it, ed-man-oh.”

Jaime pushed Bart off his bed, causing him to faceplant on the ground. “If you get to butcher the Spanish language, I get to use your weird future lingo however I want.” Jaime smirked.

Bart rolled himself over and sat up on the floor, smiling. “Fine. Lo mío es tuyo.”

His accent could still use some work, but Jaime was impressed. He raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“What? I’ve been studying!”

 

 

 

“Ya están listos?” Jaime’s mom called out as soon as she got home from work.

Jaime was in the bathroom, so Bart ran out to the living room to greet her. At least, he ran as fast as he could without giving away that he was a speedster.

“Hi, Mrs. Reyes!” Bart said as he hugged her tightly.

“Que amable!” She laughed and called out to her son. “Jaime, why don’t you ever hug me like this?”

Jaime’s voice was slightly muffled behind the closed door. “Because I don’t want to crush you. Literally no one hugs like that except Bart.”

She smiled at Bart, “Well, I like it. Apurate, Jaime! You’ll miss the whole dance!”

Jaime came out to the living room, and his mom quickly pulled out her camera and snapped a few candid photos.

“Ay, que lindo mi niño!” 

Jaime shielded his eyes from the camera flash. “Mamá, it’s just Sadie Hawkins, it’s not like we’re going to prom or anything.”

“I just think you look too handsome for this not to be documented. You’ll thank me when you’re older. Now let’s get one with Bart!”

“Catch me, Jaime!” Bart threw an arm over Jaime’s shoulder and swung his legs up in the air for Jaime to catch. Not wanting to let Bart fall, Jaime let himself get suckered into catching his friend. He was really light though, and not at all hard to carry.

Jaime’s mom just laughed and continued snapping pictures.

Just then, the door to the garage opened, and Jaime’s dad walked inside.

“Hi, Mr. Re- oof!” Without warning, Jaime dropped Bart on the floor.

“We- we were just joking around.” Jaime stuttered.

His dad just stared at the two of them with an unreadable expression, then muttered something under his breath that only Jaime’s mom heard clearly. Jaime thought he heard his dad mutter the word ‘maricón’ somewhere in there, but he couldn’t be sure. 

“Alberto!” Jaime’s mom scolded and gave his dad a death glare. Then his dad grunted and threw up his hands in defeat, as if to say ‘whatever, I don’t care,’ then went off to his room.

“Sorry, Bart.” Jaime stretched out his hand for Bart, who was still on the floor. Bart took it and hopped up.

“It’s crash. I hope I didn’t get you in trouble.” Both boys wore more somber expressions now.

Then Jaime’s mom stepped forward and squeezed Jaime’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry about him. He’s probably just grumpy from work. I’ll talk to him, okay mijo? Let’s get you boys to that dance.”

 

...

 

“Thanks for the ride, Mrs. Reyes!”

“Bye, mom, te quiero mucho!”

She blew them both kisses. After she drove away, Jaime and Bart stood in the parking lot for a minute. Jaime noticed that Bart was lost in thought.

“You okay, Bart?”

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. What happened with your dad? I didn’t get you in trouble or anything, did I?”  

Jaime tensed a little, but only for a moment. “No. My dad is… kind of homophobic. But he won’t get like, outwardly mad about it. He just kind of acts weird like that and avoids talking about it.”

Bart stared at Jaime with a pensive expression, and Jaime could tell Bart didn’t understand at all, so he continued, “You know, like he thinks that boys should only date girls? Is that not a thing in the future?”

Bart shrugged. “I guess not. I honestly didn’t even know ‘dating’ was a thing until I came here.”

Jaime raised an eyebrow. “So you’ve never dated anyone?”

“Just you, papi chulo.” Then Bart winked and shot finger guns at Jaime.

Jaime snorted. “Okay, the finger guns? Not crash.”

“Whatever you say, mi novio.” Jaime was impressed, yet again. However bad his accent, Bart really had been working on his Spanish. Then Bart put his finger guns away in a pretend holster on either side of his hips.

“Okay, let’s do this!” Bart was practically jumping up and down with excitement.

Jaime took a deep breath and grabbed Bart by the hand before leading him inside.

This wasn’t so bad at all. He could do this.

 

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Translations-

Despacito- slowly

lo que quiero decir es que- what I mean to say is

Órale pues- has lots of diff meanings but in this context it’s kind of like ‘alright then’

Lo mío es tuyo- what’s mine is yours (in reference to Bart’s future lingo)

Ya están listos?- are you both ready?

Que amable- how nice

Apurate- hurry up

Ay, que lindo mi niño- wow, how cute my boy!

maricón- fag

Mijo- son

Te quiero mucho- I love you a lot

Papi chulo- kinda like calling someone ‘hot stuff’

Mi novio- my boyfriend

Chapter Text

 

Jaime took a deep breath and grabbed Bart by the hand before leading him inside.

This wasn’t so bad at all. He could do this.

 

...

 

The music was loud, and it already smelled like sweat. They got there late enough that it was pretty crowded by the time they walked in. Almost as soon as the doors opened, Jaime felt Bart squeeze his hand uncomfortably tight.

“You okay?” Jaime asked, as they made their way through the crowd. 

“Uh, yeah. I guess I’m a little claustrophobic. It’s crash, though.” 

Jaime squeezed Bart’s hand back to comfort him. Then they spotted Jaime’s friends in the corner. Luckily, there weren’t as many people in that area. Hopefully that would make Bart feel a little bit better. Jaime led Bart over to them, and immediately noticed that Blanca and Tye were also holding hands. It was good that she found another date, it would probably make things less awkward.

“Hey, everyone, this is Bart. My, uh, my boyfriend.” The words made his stomach twist, but not in a bad way. “Bart, this is Tye and Paco. You remember Brenda and Blanca right?” 

Bart nodded and smiled meekly, suddenly more shy than usual.

“Mucho gusto. I’m Paco.” Paco, a taller boy with short hair smiled and patted Bart on the shoulder.

“Well, that’s new. Tye.” Tye nodded in Bart’s direction, curious as to how he’d never heard of him before. “How do you two know each other?” 

Bart immediately perked up, whatever nerves he had about meeting Jaime’s friends completely disappeared. “Oh! It’s such a good story. Babe, can I tell it?” 

Jaime laughed and shrugged. If Bart wanted to save Jaime the trouble of making up a ridiculous story for how they met, more power to him. “Sure, cariño.” 

“Okay, so I was at the mall when I saw Jaime for the first time. I wanted to talk to him, because, well, I mean look at him. He’s a freaking angel, right?” Bart pulled his hand away from Jaime’s so he could use both his arms to gesture dramatically in his direction. Jaime blushed, and he could have sworn he saw Bart blush, too. But being a speedster and all, the blood rushed out of his cheeks as quickly as it rushed into them, so Jaime couldn’t really be sure.

“But anyways. Of course he didn’t notice me, because he was working, so-” 

“Hold on. Since when did you work at the mall, Jaime?” Tye interrupted, looking distrustfully at Bart.

Jaime froze up, not knowing how to answer. Luckily, Bart seemed to have the whole thing planned out, or maybe he was just a fast thinker. The latter would make sense, considering Bart’s speedy skillset.

“He doesn’t work at the mall. He was just working there that day. ” Bart started, and everyone gave puzzled looks.

“Wait, you don’t know? Of course you don’t know, Jaime, you’re way too modest...” 

“What don’t we know?” Brenda asked, giving Jaime a skeptical look. 

Jaime took that suspicious glance and sent it right back over to Bart, who smiled at Jaime way too big, then turned to everyone else.

“Jaime’s a supermodel! A good one, too. They were having a Calvin Klein runway thing that day, and let me tell you, he-” 

Bart was interrupted once again, this time with Jaime’s hand playfully shooting over his mouth.

“Oookay, that’s enough.” Really, Bart? “He’s joking. We, uh… we did meet at the mall, though.” Jaime took his hand off Bart’s mouth, and they both burst out laughing. After a moment of confusion, the rest of the group laughed with them.

“I like him. He’s funny.” Paco gestured towards Bart. “You had me there for a minute, Bart. First Jaime has a boyfriend, then he’s a supermodel! What else are you hiding from us, hermano?” Paco joked. 

Besides that we’re both superheroes? “What can I say, I’m a complicated guy.”

 

...

 

The group talked and joked around for a couple of songs. Bart liked them a lot, they were all so nice, and they seemed to like him, too.

Then the song changed and the auditorium fell still for a brief moment in anticipation. It seemed like none of them had paid any attention to the music until that moment. Bart seemed to be the only one in the entire auditorium who didn’t know the song. It started out slow enough, but people were running to the dance floor from all corners of the gym for some reason, including their group. Bart found himself being pulled with them to the middle of the dance floor. 

Jaime, Brenda, Blanca, and Paco all immediately started doing the moves in sync with each other. It looked easy enough, one foot stepping to the front, then to the back, then to the front and so on. Tye wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, but he did it anyways. The dance was contagious.

Jaime put a hand on Bart’s shoulder. “You know what a line dance is, right?”

Bart shook his head.

“This one’s called Payaso de Rodeo. Just follow my lead. This will be fun.” Jaime had a mischievous smirk on his lips, and that made Bart a little nervous. He followed the steps anyways. It was easy. Bart didn’t understand what the big deal was. They pretty much only moved the one foot.

Then the music slowed even more, a guitar signalled the start of a new beat, and… chaos. 

With no warning, the room collectively galloped sideways, almost knocking Bart over. They changed directions after only two gallops, and Bart almost fell again trying to figure out the steps. Luckily, Bart’s mind was just as fast as his body, so he figured out the pattern pretty quickly. Skip to the right, then left, forwards, backwards, then pivot and do it again. The group was doing it at a slight angle, which made the steps a little more confusing to pick up. 

Brenda added her own little steps with the skipping, quickly kicking her leading foot in and out before changing directions. She was basically a pro. Blanca and Tye both casually galloped along, like it was the easiest thing in the world. Tye did lose his footing a couple of times, but recovered quickly. Paco and Jaime both had one hand on their belt and the other in the air while they skipped along. Bart laughed joyfully at how much fun Jaime was obviously having. He thought they looked kind of like cowboys. Just when Bart started to get the hang of the steps, someone crashed into him. A whole group of kids were going in a different direction!

After recovering from the collision, they all kept skipping, trying to avoid bumping into the other dancers. It got even more wild as the song went on. Some people were taking wide strides, while others barely covered any ground. Plenty of people messed up the direction after a while. Knowing the steps and doing them were two completely different struggles. It was really confusing. The longer it went on, the less sure everyone seemed of which way they were supposed to be going in. That didn’t stop anyone from blindly skipping along, though. When one person messed up the direction, it started a ripple effect, and everyone started going in different directions, all sure they were doing it right.

It was a long song, too. Bart suspected the DJ might have had it on a loop. Exhaustion made plenty of people’s movements messier, which just made more people stumble over themselves or run into each other. The dance floor started to thin out as some dancers began to give up. Tye and Blanca were in one of the first waves to retire. Then an exhausted Paco eventually gave up, along with plenty of other wheezing dancers. They all went to the side to watch, still clapping along with the music. It almost started to feel like a competition. Who could last the longest? 

As superheroes, Jaime and Bart were both in excellent shape, so they weren’t as tired as everyone else. And apparently Brenda was some kind of professional line dancer, because she was still doing the extra little kicks and skipping along like it was nothing.

At one point, Bart crashed into Jaime. Apparently, Bart was going the wrong way. Jaime didn’t fall, though. He just grabbed Bart’s hand and pulled him along, guiding him back and forth with more grace than any galloping cowboy should have. With Jaime leading, the dance felt much easier. The two of them effortlessly weaved in and out, somehow avoiding all the stragglers who were colliding into each other around them.

When the song finally ended, those remaining on the floor cheered in victory. Jaime, Bart and Brenda all high fived each other. Paco, Tye and Blanca joined them back on the dance floor by the time the next song started playing.

The group formed their own little circle on the floor, and they kept dancing. Bart didn’t know the song, but everyone else did. There was apparently a dance to this song, too.

Now watch me whip

Watch me nay nay

For the next few songs, they all danced together. Jaime and his friends took the time to teach Bart any popular dances that he didn’t know. Bart learned the nay nay, the running man- both old school and new school versions,- the dougie, gangnam style, and the entire soulja boy dance. Bart was a fast learner (he was fast at everything), but he danced like a dork. He danced like a dork who didn’t have a care in the world, and Jaime loved it.

Soon enough, Bart and Jaime left the floor for some water. They leaned against a wall to drink and catch their breaths. Bart noticed a few couples grinding on each other.

“Hey, Jaime.” Bart pointed as nonchalantly as he could at a couple somewhat near them. One was backed up against the other and they were grinding their hips against each other like there was no tomorrow.

“Is that another one of those ‘couple’ things?” Bart asked quietly enough for only Jaime to hear, and Jaime’s ears got hot. Bart looked way too eager.

“Um. Yeah, some couples I guess…”

“Oh!” Bart jumped excitedly. “Jaime, let’s do that! Can I rub my butt on you, por favor?”

Jaime choked on his water at the blunt and somehow innocent way Bart had asked to grind on him . Then Bart attacked Jaime with his puppy eyes again, which Jaime had no defence for.

“I… um..” Jaime stumbled on his words. It wasn’t that he didn’t actually want Bart to ‘rub his butt on him.’ But he was sure neither of them would even know what to do. Well, not that Bart cared, but Jaime definitely didn’t know what to do.

Bart started laughing. “Es broh-ma! Sorry, I had to! Anyways, vamos! Let’s go bailar!

Jaime’s face flushed. Of course Bart was joking. Also, how the hell did he learn so much spanish so quick? Before Jaime could answer, Bart grabbed his arm and pulled him back to the dance floor. Jaime brushed the thought aside, and laughed as Bart continued to dance haphazardly as if no one could see him. Jaime admired his ‘boyfriend’ for a few moments before shrugging and joining in. Bart was the only person Jaime felt comfortable just being silly with, so he let loose, and the two of them danced like they were the only two people in the world. Their movements were messy and random and wild, but they moved together, and they moved free. It was the most fun Jaime had had since he could remember.

Then the vibe of the music changed, switching from upbeat dance music to a slower, more romantic song. They could see their friends from across the floor. Paco and Brenda took turns jokingly spinning each other around slowly like ballerinas and laughing. Tye and Blanca were pressed up against each other, and they swayed back and forth with the music, completely ignoring everyone else.

“Um. Is that another one of the couple things people do here?” Bart asked again, looking at Blanca and Tye, and then at all the other couples who were also slow dancing. There was a hopeful gleam in Bart’s eyes that he couldn’t hide from Jaime.

“Yeah, it is. That, we can do.” Jaime said softly, and another huge smile took over Bart’s entire face.

Jaime returned the smile, put his hands on Bart’s hips, and gently pulled him in closer.

Bart’s cheeks turned red again, and this time, they stayed that way. He looked up at Jaime and wrapped his arms around the taller boy’s neck, then leaned in even closer so their chests were touching, just like he saw some of the other couples doing. They leaned into each other and let the music move them back and forth a few times.

“I’m really glad you came, cariño.” Jaime knew Bart was the only one who could hear him, but for some reason, it just felt right to keep up the ‘act’ with the pet names. He was sure Bart didn’t know what it meant, anyways.

Bart blushed. Maybe he did know. Okay, seriously, how did he know so much spanish all of a sudden??

“Me too, Jaime. This is, like… incredibly crash. You have no idea.”

Jaime laughed sweetly. “I think I have a little bit of an idea, no?”

Bart looked up at Jaime again. There was something almost sad behind his eyes.

“I mean, yeah... but this is normal for you. I know this sounds super moded, but, this is probably the most fun I’ve had. Ever. Dancing is so crash. And music is so crash. And your friends are crash. And ‘dating’ is crash. And you. Especially you, Jaime…”

Had Bart really never danced before? Did they really not have music in the future?

Jaime had always had a hunch that Bart didn’t really come from some utopian future like he always said. He wanted to ask Bart about it, but he was sure it would ruin the moment, so he tabled the questions for later.

“Dating is pretty crash, huh?” Jaime smiled.

“Yeah. It is.”

Jaime could actually feel the breath of Bart’s words against his neck as he spoke them, that’s how close they were. Jaime found himself staring down at Bart’s lips for the second time that day. He reminded himself that they had both already agreed that kissing was okay. After taking  a moment to build up the courage, Jaime slowly moved one hand from Bart’s waist, gently brushing his fingertips along his back until his hand rested behind Bart’s neck. He could feel goosebumps rise and then settle on the back of Bart’s neck under Jaime’s fingers. Then he leaned his head down so that their foreheads were touching. The music started to fade.

“Bart? Can I… kiss-”

“Yes!” Bart interrupted, maybe a little too enthusiastically. Jaime realized then that no other songs were coming on. The dance was over. Already? Paco, Brenda, Blanca, and Tye were already heading over to them.

Jaime felt like all eyes were on them. Wasn’t that the point, though? The kissing was supposed to have just been for show anyways, right? Still, Jaime panicked, and he kissed Bart on the cheek instead of the lips. He braced himself for Bart’s big green puppy eyes begging for a real kiss, but Bart looked just as happy for a cheek kiss as he would be for any other. His face was red and he was smiling that cheesy smile that Jaime loved so much. Bart wasn’t at all trying to hide the fact that he was doting over Jaime. That only made Jaime want to kiss him more, but the moment had passed.

At least the night was young. They still had a whole dinner to spend as a fake couple, and Jaime was determined to make the most of it.

 

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Mucho gusto- nice to meet you

Cariño- darling

Por favor- please

Es broh-mah (es broma)- just kidding

Vamos- come on

Bailar- dance

Chapter Text

After the dance, Jaime and his friends all walked towards Paco’s car. Paco was the only one of them who had one, so they would all have to squeeze in order to fit. Tye and Paco sat in the front, while the rest of them filed into the backseat. Bart automatically crawled onto Jaime’s lap to give Brenda and Blanca more room to sit, and Jaime couldn’t say he minded having Bart in his personal space. 

“So, a dónde vamos?” Paco asked everyone while he started his car. 

“Somewhere cheap. I’m broke and really hungry.” Brenda commented. 

“Same.” Bart, Tye, and Blanca all said in sync. 

Jaime was relieved someone else said it. He knew he would probably end up paying for Bart, because that boy never had any money. And Bart could really eat.  

Bart played with Jaime’s fingers while everyone argued about where they should eat. Neither of them really paid much attention to the conversation after that. Bart had a playful smile on his face as he turned to whisper something to Jaime. He brought his lips to Jaime’s ear and paused almost teasingly before finally whispering something.

“Can I kiss you?” 

Jaime bit his lip and nodded, trying to conceal his excitement. He was really glad for another chance to kiss Bart, even if it was in the crowded back seat of a honda accord. Everyone was still arguing about where to eat, so it was likely no one would even notice if they did kiss. Bart didn’t lean in, though, he was still fidgeting with Jaime’s fingers.

Finally, Bart smiled again and took Jaime’s index finger, and pecked the tip of it with his lips, then kissed the rest of Jaime’s fingertips one by one. 

Jaime let out a breath of air from his nose that was something like a soft laugh. He figured this was what Bart must have felt like at the dance when Jaime kissed him on the cheek instead of the mouth. This must be Bart’s way of trying to get back at him. Still, that was…. super adorable.  

The group apparently decided on Denny’s, and the car backed out of their parking spot and onto the road.

 

 

They were all seated in a booth in the back of the restaurant. The booth was a little crowded, so Bart and Jaime once again happily sacrificed their own personal space for the greater good. Jaime sat in the edge of the booth, and Bart scooted halfway onto his lap, so that one of Bart’s legs was resting in between Jaime’s knees, and Bart slipped his fingers into Jaime’s hand under the table. Having someone’s leg in between his knees like this would usually make Jaime really nervous, but with Bart, it felt natural. If anything, the closeness made him feel more relaxed. 

Everyone seemed to already know what they wanted, so they ordered their food and drinks right after being seated. 

After ordering, Paco eyed Bart and Jaime thoughtfully.  

“Hey, hermano. Can I ask you something?” He was looking at Jaime.  

“Sure, ese. What’s up?” 

“So…” Paco fidgeted with his place settings. “How come you never told us you were gay? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for you. It makes no difference to me, but I just thought you would have said something.”  

Jaime looked at Brenda, who gave him a reassuring smile. She was the only one out of their group who knew.  

“I’m not gay.” Jaime said matter-of-factly. “I’m, uh, I’m bi, I think… I don’t know, man. I guess I just didn’t think it mattered.” Jaime hadn’t really realized how nervous he was to come out to his friends until he asked Bart to the dance. He figured, at least with Bart there, he wouldn’t have to be alone if his friends didn’t accept him.

“It doesn’t.” Paco reassured. 

Tye nodded in agreement. “Yeah, Jaime. Besides, it’s normal to not know. I’m straight, but at one point I questioned that for myself, too.”

“I thought I was straight until high school.” Brenda added. 

Jaime smiled. He really loved his friends, and he was relieved they weren't making a huge deal of it. Jaime hated having all the attention focused on him.

“What about you, Bart?” Brenda asked. Bart had been really quiet during this conversation. 

After a bit of a pause, Bart just shrugged. Jaime realized then that Bart probably had no idea what they were talking about. Bart didn’t know the first thing about dating, so modern sexuality lingo was probably not something he was familiar with. Jaime would have to tell Bart about it later. Everyone was still looking at Bart, thinking he would elaborate. Instead of answering the question, though, he perked up and shouted joyfully. 

“FOOD!” 

Just then, the server came to the table with their orders, and Bart apparently completely forgot that he’d been asked a question.  

Everyone else seemed to forget, too, as they all immediately dug into their food like starved animals. Bart got the endless pancakes, and was ready to refill his order in no time. Soon enough, the conversations started back up again, but Jaime had a hard time concentrating. Bart was resting his head on Jaime’s shoulder and trying to play footsie with him under the table. Jaime thought it was funny that they were doing ‘couples’ things in a way that no one could see. It almost defeated the purpose of the whole thing, but it somehow felt right. They were both fully committed to the cause.  

Everyone else was pretty deeply invested in a conversation about superheroes. They were all arguing about who their favorite was. They were stuck between Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and- funny enough- Blue Beetle. Paco was adamant that Blue Beetle was the best because he was from El Paso. Bart laughed quietly, and Jaime couldn’t help but blush at the praise. 

While the rest of the group was distracted with the argument, Bart lifted his head from Jaime’s shoulder and gave Jaime a few quick kisses along his jawline, which made Jaime’s stomach flutter. Before anyone noticed, Bart casually turned back to the conversation and interjected.

“Are we talking, like, our favorite superhero, or the most powerful?” 

“It’s not the same one?” Brenda asked.

“Nope.” 

“Most powerful.” Tye chimed in. 

“Blue Beetle, obviously.” Bart said before stuffing another pancake into his mouth. Paco and Bart high fived. 

Jaime almost spit out his water. He figured Bart was just trying to flatter him, but he definitely didn’t think he was that powerful compared to the majority of the heroes on the league and even the team.  

He wanted to argue against it, but before he got the chance, the server came back. Everyone had finished their food by then.

“Are we getting dessert tonight? Any ice cream or pie?” 

“Sorry, we gotta head out soon. My curfew is coming up and I need to get everyone home.” Paco said.  

The server nodded and left to print their checks.

“Jaime and I don’t need a ride.” Bart said to Paco. It was true, they both had faster alternative methods of transportation than a car. 

The server came back with their checks, and Jaime noticed that Bart was staring at the picture of ice cream on the wall longingly like it was his long lost lover. He decide then that he and Bart could stay a bit later.

“Actually, after you mentioned ice cream, I’m really craving it. Can we get a dessert menu?” Jaime asked the server. Bart lit up and kissed Jaime… on his shoulder. 

At first, Jaime thought Bart was sort of making fun of him in his own weird way for not being able to kiss Bart on the lips at the dance. He thought Bart was trying to get back at him or something. But now, Jaime wondered if Bart actually knew that couples usually kissed on the lips. Was it possible that he just didn’t know?

Paco, Tye, Brenda and Blanca all said their goodbyes and left Jaime and Bart alone in the booth.  

“So, now that they’re gone, do you... want me to move?” Bart’s leg was still hanging in between Jaime’s knees, and they were still holding hands under the table. 

Jaime looked down at Bart’s thigh in his lap, and nervously placed his free hand on Bart’s knee. “Well… I mean, they still haven’t left the parking lot. They could, uh, come back… right?”  

Bart looked out the window to see the group starting to get into the car. 

Jaime knew it was the worst excuse ever. Of course they weren’t going to come back. He knew Bart saw right through it. Still, Bart just smiled and scooted even closer to Jaime, so that his other leg pressed against the outside of Jaime’s thigh, and they were practically snuggling in the corner of the booth.  

“Right. They could come back.” Bart said with a knowing grin.

Jaime had to take a deep breath before speaking to make sure his voice wouldn't hitch. Now he was nervous.  

“So, what’s your favorite kind of ice cream?” Jaime asked Bart after a few moments of getting used to the newly isolated closeness. 

“Don’t know.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never had ice cream before?” Jaime was shocked. No dancing. No music. No ice cream? No wonder Bart decided to come to the past.

Bart just shrugged. “What’s your favorite ice cream?” 

“I like oreo. They don’t have oreo ice cream here, but they have an oreo milkshake. It’s basically the same thing. That’s my favorite.”

“Then I want to try that.”

 

 

Two oreo milkshakes were placed on the table in front of them. Bart finished his before Jaime could even get started. 

Sure enough, Bart’s face scrunched up like a baby who just took a bite out of a lemon for the first time, and his hand shot up to his forehead.  

“Ah! It hurts!”

Jaime couldn’t help but laugh. “Bart, you can’t drink milkshakes that fast. You’ll get a brain freeze!” Jaime couldn’t stop laughing until Bart’s face returned to a normal expression.  

“So my suffering is funny to you?” Bart puffed out his lower lip in an angry pout. 

“I’m sorry, you’re just so dramatic!” Jaime finally caught his breath from laughing and wiped a tear from his eye.

“It hurt!” Bart whined.

“Pobrecito.” Jaime cooed and dramatically pulled Bart into a hug, then rubbed soothing circles along his back. Bart hummed at the sensation like he’d never been held before, and Jaime couldn't tell if he was still kidding or not.  

[The Impulse’s major vital signs drastically change with this physical contact. Reason: unknown. Suggested tactic: strategic retreat.]

Jaime rolled his eyes at his scarab’s suggestion. 

“I'm not going anywhere.” He answered out loud, still rubbing circles into Bart’s back. Bart just hummed again and cuddled further into the embrace, then rested his head in Jaime’s chest and closed his eyes. 

Even though the hug started out sarcastically, something told Jaime that Bart really needed it, so he didn't let go.  

Jaime found himself worrying through the silence. Bart was so good at pretending to be fine, but there was clearly something plaguing him almost constantly.  

“Bart?” 

“Hmm?”

“I just… want you to know you can talk to me, okay? I know you don't think you can talk to anyone about the future, but you can trust me. You don’t have to tell me everything, or anything, if you don’t want to. Pero si me necesitas, I’m here for you. Do you know that?”

Bart finally pulled away from the hug and looked at Jaime. His eyes were glistening, and he looked like he was trying to make a decision.

“That means a lot, really. I just... can’t right now. Can we just talk about something else?” 

“Okay. That’s fine.” Jaime paused for a moment before attempting to lighten the mood.

“So... how the hell did you learn so much Spanish all of a sudden?” 

Bart laughed. “I bought an english to spanish dictionary. I can read pretty fast, you know.” 

“You’re unbelievable.” Jaime chuckled, then glanced down at his phone and frowned. “I have to head home soon. Curfew.”

“Okay. Can I walk you home?” It was almost a silly question. Jaime could fly home in minutes, and Bart could run and be there before Jaime. But Jaime nodded anyways.

 

...

 

They walked hand in hand all the way to Jaime’s house, which wasn't too far, and they talked about nothing and everything along the way. They walked slowly, subconsciously trying to stretch the amount of time they could spend together, even though they would be able to see each other whenever they wanted to after this. When they finally made it to Jaime’s door, they both stopped and stared at each other. Neither really wanted the night to be over yet.  

“I had fun today.”  

“Me too.”  

They awkwardly stared at each other for a minute, not knowing the proper way to say goodbye. There was no reason to keep pretending to be a couple, but neither of them wanted to stop. Finally, Bart threw his arms around Jaime in his usual uncomfortably tight hug, but this time,  Jaime held on just as tight. They breathed into the hug a few times before Bart pulled away, looked up at Jaime, and kissed him…

On the chin.

So close, Bart. 

Jaime laughed. He was sure now that Bart had no idea how kissing usually worked here.  

“Bart, I think you’re adorable, but I’m sorry, I feel like I need to tell you something.” Jaime almost didn't want to tell him. He actually adored Bart’s randomly placed kisses. Bart was way too cute, and Jaime felt like breaking the news to him would somehow betray his innocence. It’d be like telling a kid that Santa wasn’t real. 

Bart took a step back. “What? Oh god, I’m sorry. Iknowweweredoingthisforyourfriendsand they’renotevenhereanymorebutIjustthoughtmaybe-”

Bart stopped talking when Jaime grabbed the sides of his face with both hands, gently, but with an intensity that Bart didn’t understand. Bart instinctively lifted his own hands up as a defense reflex, but relaxed when he looked into Jaime’s soft brown eyes.  

“Tranquilo...” Jaime rubbed Bart’s cheeks softly with his thumbs. Instead of dropping his hands, Bart let them rest on Jaime, who was much closer now. One hand fell on Jaime’s chest and the other just above his navel. Bart stared up at Jaime with wide eyes, not knowing at all what to expect. 

“I just meant… people usually kiss differently here.” Jaime’s face was almost touching Bart’s, and his eyes thoughtfully trailed down to his lips again. Bart tilted his head.

“Can I show you?” Jaime whispered, still tenderly holding the sides of Bart’s face with both hands.  

Bart nodded.  

Jaime didn't waste any time. He pressed his lips against Bart’s, quickly and firmly, but it was still somehow soft. Bart let out a small startled noise before relaxing into the kiss. Jaime felt Bart’s baby hairs stand up again under his fingers. Bart’s wide eyes slowly closed, and his fingertips curled in, gently clutching onto Jaime’s shirt.  

Time stood still, and any tension either of them carried melted away beneath them until they were floating. Jaime could feel the corners of Bart’s soft lips turn upwards. Bart was smiling as he kissed back, and it was so cute that Jaime couldn’t help but smile, too.

Finally, Jaime delicately pulled away to look at Bart. His cheeks were redder than Jaime had ever seen, and his eyes fluttered open and stared back at Jaime in wonder. 

“Crash…” Bart whispered breathlessly. “That kind of kissing is… way better.” 

Jaime took one of Bart’s hands in his own and sweetly kissed a few of Bart’s finger tips.

“I like your kisses, too.” Then Jaime kissed Bart on the forehead. “Buenas noches, mi cariño.”  

Jaime started to turn towards the door.  

“Wait!” Bart didn’t let go of Jaime’s hand. “I… um… I think dating you is pretty crash… I know it was pretend, but can we… do you want to keep doing this?”  

Bart wasn’t intentionally using his puppy eyes, but he might as well have been. Those big emerald eyes were Jaime’s weakness, not that he needed any convincing.  

“I’d love that.” 

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A dónde vamos- where are we going

pobrecito- poor baby

Pero si me necesitas- but if you need me

Tranquilo- kind of like ‘calm down’ or ‘don’t worry’

Buenas noches, mi cariño- goodnight, my love