Actions

Work Header

Temporary Bliss

Chapter Text

It wasn't supposed to happen this way. He'd been so close to catching this asshole, Nightwing had him on the run. But then...then Tim got involved.

Dick was whipping furiously through the air, swinging between the rooftops after the leather clad villain: Red Hood. It had taken him weeks to find a lead, and the moment Dick had tracked him down at a drug heist by the docks, the guy bolted. They'd been on the chase for a half hour now, and Nightwing was finally closing in fast, he could see the bastard just 3 roofs ahead of him. But then a blur of red, green and yellow leaped out from an alley, taking the Hood by surprise, kicking him roughly onto his back.

Robin had flanked them, Dick realized, and had cheered when he thought they'd achieved a surprise victory.

"Great work, Robin! Hell of a time for a assist. But weren't you supposed to be on the monitors tonight?" Nightwing scolded over the comm, quickly leaping to the next building to close the distance.

"Yeah, yeah, lecture me later. We've got a baddie to bag," came Tim's catty reply. He couldn't quite see from this far away, but he could swear he heard Tim grinning. Dick agreed, and smiled himself. He'd missed this; working with Robin. It was still early in Tim's career, and Dick had only worked with him once or twice before, but already he reminded him so much of the last one...Jason, his own late successor. Tim wasn't quite as cocky as Jason had been, thankfully, he was far more calculated and careful. But the pride he could see and hear from the boy now, just two rooftops away made him wistfully nostalgic.

"You know Batman probably wouldn't approve," Dick teased, pausing to make a show of slinking a hand humorously against his hip.

"We caught the Red Hood, Wing, I feel like he'll get over it," Robin replied, brushing the thought away. He'd made the same taunt to Jason before, many years ago. Only Jason had gasped in betrayal, and Dick had found it so endearing when he'd replied:

"You're not gonna tell him, are you?"

"Of course not, Little Wing. I'm just saying if he knew," Dick had winked.

"Fair enough, Robin. Chili dogs on me tonight?" he offered, staring as Tim shucked a zip tie out of his belt, preparing to bind Red Hood from where he lay motionless at his feet. Robin made a face and a rather disappointed yuck sound. Dick's heart sank.

"Not a fan," Robin explained apologetically at Dick's wounded silence.

"Hey, no worries. Name your prize and it's on me. You earned it, kiddo," Dick amended quickly.

"Really?" Tim brightened up. Dick was about to laugh and reply of course, when he caught sight of movement from under Tim's feet. Red Hood had stirred and turned his head, slowly and surreptitiously as he started to push himself up.

"Oh, I know! Can we go out for-"

"Robin, look out!" Nightwing screamed, immediately cursing himself as he bounded over the last roof separating them. But it was too late. Before Robin could even say "huh?" Red Hood had kicked his feet out from underneath him and struck the boy square in the face with a powerful blow.

"Robin!" Dick cried as he landed at last on their rooftop. Red Hood had hauled the boy up by his collar until his feet weren't even touching the ground, wrapping his arms powerful arms in a stranglehold around Tim's neck. The boy choked for air and desperately clawed, but to no avail. Red Hood chuckled sinisterly as Nightwing approached.

"Let him go," Dick flared his escrimas to life with a snarl. Red Hood laughed, actually laughed,  and it made Dick's bones go cold.

"Boy, you sound awfully upset." It shouldn't sound like a taunt in that robotic voice, but it sent chills down his very spine. Dick let his escrimas crackle in warning as he took a step closer.

"What gave you that impression, I wonder?" Nightwing affirmed angrily. Red Hood tutted at him and backed away, drawing a silver pistol from his holster. Dick froze, glaring in alarm at Red Hood's blank mask. He needed his wingdings, he knew. If he could somehow reach them, he could disarm him from here, but-... Tim gurgled a soft moan of pain as Hood jerked him up for emphasis. The message was clear: if Nightwing tried anything, Tim would pay for it.

"Hang on, Robin," Dick called out as if in a plea, and Red Hood snorted in disgust. He could call Batman, Dick thought...but he was on the West end, it would take him nearly ten minutes to get here, and Hood would be long gone if Dick radioed for help now.

"Don't even think about it," Red Hood snarled, aiming the gun at Dick as he moved to for a hidden panic button in his gauntlet. Dick cursed and froze again, finger hovering so painfully close above the button but not daring to move further.

Fuck. He couldn't make the call, he couldn't go for his wingdings, he had to do something. He glanced into Robin's domino mask as he stood down, pleading. Tim's brows arched imperceptibly as he struggled against Hood's hold. Tim had his own panic button, and he seemed to get Dick's silent message; in a seemingly desperate show of clawing at Red Hood's armor, he managed to wrench just enough to click it just before Hood jostled him back into submission. Dick could have cried in relief if he wasn't relying on a careful poker face right now. If he could just stall for a few minutes, back up would arrive. He needed to distract the villain, he needed to... 

Put on a show. Play his game.

Dick's breath was trembling as he dropped the escrimas and raised his hands in surrender. The barrel of the gun never moved from Nightwing's head.

"What do you want?" he asked softly. The air seemed to change around Red Hood as the man tutted with condescension.

"Short story? Just to destroy Batman and everything he stands for. I want that bastard to suffer," Hood answered, flexing his hold around Tim's neck. The boy gagged reflexively and Dick stiffened.

"Okay," Dick nodded; the motive was common enough, and this wasn't the first time a Robin had been snared in those exact hopes. He wouldn't let it happen again. He wouldn't let Jason die in vain, and he wasn't about to let Tim die at all. "Okay, I get that. Batman sucks. But T- the boy," Dick tripped over his words before catching himself. "Robin is innocent. Just...let him go, he doesn't deserve this," he reasoned desperately. The criminal's grip tightened around both his gun and Tim's windpipe. Uh oh.

"This Robin is innocent, huh?" Hood repeated his words. The gun trembled, and Dick had a feeling he struck a nerve he shouldn't have. "This," he  squeezed his strangle hold tighter, choking the boy in a display of sardonic power, "isn't a child; this is one of Batman's little soldiers," he spat. Something in Dick's gut twisted, and he grimaced. 

"Batman's lost soldiers before. If he didn't want them to keep dying, he would have let Robin stay dead with the last one," Hood growled, sending another chill up Dick's spine. How did he know about Jason? Red Hood audibly smirked at Dick's utter shock.

"Surprised, Dick?" Nightwing flinched now at the sound of his real name. "Or are you just now realizing this is the only fate of everyone who takes your name? Of anyone who follows Bruce?" There was no air in his lungs, and Dick was choking trying to breathe any in.

"Who... are you?" he asked helplessly. A moment of silence ensued, broken only by a gagged whimper from Tim.

"You really can't guess?" the Hood's mechanical voice was softer than it had any right to be. Dick shook his head reluctantly, only to be met with a sigh.

"Too bad. It's been good to see you again, Grayson," the man's voice was cryptic and condescending again, and Dick gasped as he finally moved the gun away from him in favor of aiming it at Tim's temple.

"Stop!" Nightwing screamed as the Red Hood pressed the barrel in hard. The Boy Wonder whimpered in a panic as Hood's heavy arm squeezed, cutting off his air completely.

"This one's mine, now," Hood's mechanical voice sneered, taunting him. Nightwing quickly darted his eyes between the unforgiving red mask and Robin's strained, pleading face. Hood took a step back, dragging Tim with him towards the edge of the roof.

"Wait, no! Take-...take me," Dick pleaded helplessly in a last ditch effort, reaching an arm out towards Tim in a wordless plea. Dick almost gasped with relief when Hood paused in clear interest. Dick dropped to his knees.

"Take me."

"You'd trade yourself for this little Pretender?" he asked, intrigued.

"Nightwing, n- no-" Tim managed to wheeze out before Hood quickly cut him back off. Dick chewed guiltily on his lip and dropped his eyes to the ground.

"I can't lose him, too," he pleaded numbly. Silence stretched long enough for Dick to snap his gaze back up to make sure the Red Hood was still there. He was, and Hood seemed to quietly debate the idea as Tim struggled in horror. Finally, Hood reached into the depths of his jacket and pulled out what appeared to be cold, steel manacles, and then threw them at Dick.

"Take your mask, gauntlets and boots, and drop them. Then put those on," he ordered sternly through the voice scrambler.

Fuck. He expected being forced to remove his gauntlets, since that's were most of his weapons were stored. And the mask wasn't too far of a stretch either, he already knew Dick's identity. But his boots? How did he know he had a homing device in the soles? This guy was extremely good...he seemed to know everything too well, too intimately, and it made Dick's skin crawl.

"You'll let Robin go in return?" Dick swallowed uncertainly.

"Fair's fair," Red Hood confirmed. Dick sighed and nodded, then did as he was told. He shivered as his feet touched the cold cement, but he was resigned to it.

"Nightwing, please-" Dick jerked his attention back to the ailing Robin just as he closed the shackles around his wrists.

"That's enough out of you, Pretender," Hood sneered, yanking the boy up by the throat and closing off his air supply for the final time.

"We had a deal!" Dick gasped in terror, stepping to his feet as Robin's body went limp. Red Hood snorted as he discarded the boy's body on the ground carelessly.

"He's still alive," the criminal informed coldly as he approached. Dick shrunk back as the man loomed threateningly over him.

"You could have killed him!" Dick snapped, straining against his shackles and wishing for nothing else but to punch through that fucking helmet.

"Yes, I could have. But I didn't, did I? Now relax, Big Wing," the voice tusked in amusement. Dick's brows shot up at the nickname; only one person had ever called him that. But he was dead, he was-...

"Jason?" Dick's jaw dropped, completely stunned.

"Sleep tight, now," the man said, not answering Dick's question. Instead, he was met with a whiff of smoke in the face from Hood's own gauntlets, making him gag and go dizzy with double vision. And then the world went dark, with his last sight being the glint of the red helmet as it bent over his limp body.

Chapter Text

A beam of sunlight bit at him through the foggy haze inside his brain. Dick moaned softly and tilted his head away, finding to his dismay that the movement made his head throb. Dick wanted to rub his fingers tenderly over his temples to soothe himself, but found his arms caught in cold restraints that chinked in front of him.

Oh. Right. With a flash of Red and a taunting voice whispering "Big Wing" burning in his mind, he remembered.

He struggled through the dizziness and only just managed to open his eyes, attempting to gage just exactly where he was. The sunlight was streaming in from a single, rectangular window high above on the sheet metal walls. There was solid concrete beneath him, and it was cold against his feet and forehead, causing him to shiver. He wiggled each finger and toe in turn, grateful that they were still there. He was also still in the grimy, skin tight body suit of his Nightwing uniform. Dirty as it was at this point, it was still some small comfort.

He managed to push himself upright to slouch heavily against the wall as he surveyed his restraints. Attached to the very same shackles he'd been forced to don in the night were a thick set of chains. They were heavy, and tinkled when he made a move. Dick noticed they had about a 6 foot stretch that led to a metal base bolted securely into the floor with thick, long screws. He wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, especially without his tools.

He sighed and closed his eyes, recalling the rooftop and Tim's terror stricken face. At least it wasn't him in this place. 

Dick was stirred out of his recollection when the single, metal door directly across from the wall he was using, suddenly creaked as someone pushed it open.

He was dressed the same as last night, complete with leather clad thighs and gun holsters, thick jacket and heavy looking kevlar body armor, and...of course, the ever present scarlet helmet. Dick drew his knees closer to his body as if to put some distance between them.

"Now, now, Dick," the Hood tutted in amusement as he entered the small room. With him, clutched in his hand as he dragged it along, was a small, metal fold-up chair. Dick watched him curiously as he set it up and closed the door behind him with a loud thud before taking his seat. Dick didn't miss how he'd carefully chosen to set up just out of the chains reach. Smart man.

Dick's heart was thudding heavily in his chest with anxiety, and if he hadn't spent the majority of his life training for this, he'd have been hyperventilating, too.

"What, don't you have any questions for me?" the Hood audibly smirked, playing with him. Dick thinned his lips in a grimace and turned his head away defiantly.

"Oh, Big Wing, I'm hurt," the mechanical voice whirred innocently. Dick's brow twitched and he drew his lips back in a snarl.

"Don't," Dick hissed through his teeth as his chest tightened.

"Don't what?" the man leaned back and crossed his arms.

"You're not him," Dick croaked weakly, hanging his head. A vision of Jason's young, round, beaming face flashed in his memory, and his throat tightened.

"I don't know how you know so much about him-...about all of us," Dick continued softly. "But Jason's dead. You know that, you've proved as much last night." Red Hood hummed with interest at the response, and Dick glared at him.

"Oh, Dick, you're still dense as ever," Hood sighed, reaching up to the air locked clasps around his Hood. Dick's eyes widened with uncertainty as the Helmet hissed and was pulled right over the criminal's head.

"Or maybe you just really like being in denial." The voice scrambler is gone, and a gruff, gravelly voice rang out in its stead, belonging to a blue eyed, square jawes, grim faced-

N-no," Dick choked, feeling his eyes burn as the helmet dropped to the ground beside the chair. He was older, and his hair was longer; there was no childish roundness left to his cheeks, and no bouyant smile either. The smile instead seemed cryptic, and angry...maybe even a little sad, if Dick used his imagination enough.

"Jason," he gasped through a mangled choke, as burning streams leaked down his cheeks.

"Now you believe me," he smirked, crossing his leg. Dick reached out involuntarily as something in his chest started to ache; could this be real? Could this really be Jason, warm and solid and alive? Jason's arms tightened across his chest at Dick's aching expression.

"How are you here?" Dick whispered, eyes wide. The chains creaked as he pushed himself onto his feet, and Jason narrowed his eyes dangerously in warning. If nothing else, it served to snap Dick out of his trance, even though it sent his heart to break and plummet straight into his bare, freezing feet. "Why are you doing this?"

"Don't take it personally," Jason stated evenly, carefully guarding his expression. "I told you, this is about Batman." Dick swallowed a heavy lump in his throat and hesitated.

"But-...why?" he spouted in confusion. "Jason, he tried to save you, he- he was a shell of himself for years," Dick's throat clenched painfully. "At least, that's what Tim told me, anyway..."

"Ha. That Pretender told you that Bruce felt bad about my death?" Jason sneered in disbelief. Dick widened his eyes and shook his head vehemently, taking a step forward. Jason tensed in his chair and pulled away. Dick stared, hurt.

"No. Not really, I mean- Bruce had gone off the deep end nearly killed every thug he touched; some are still permanently handicapped or brain damaged. Jason, hell, the man got in a fist fight with Superman because he thought Bruce was going to far. I- I was in Bludhaven for a while, and  hadn't spoken to Bruce in years-" hot tears began to prickle in Dick's eyes again at the memory. Bruce had purposefully pushed him away, and hadn't told him about Jason's death or funeral. By the time Dick had found the obituary, it had been months later, and the bruises from the resulting fight with Bruce had taken weeks to heal over.

"Tim had known who Bruce was since I was Robin," Dick continued softly at Jason's bitter silence. "He'd discovered it because he recognized me from my circus days. He begged me to come back, he was determined that 'Batman needs a Robin' or something like that. I told him no...that those days were over for me, and he decided to take the mantle upon himself to help Bruce out, and-... well, it worked," Dick pleaded. Jason glared at him, expressionless.

"Bruce was in hell for years grieving you, please... he's finally started to regain some fucking humanity, don't be angry at him, or- or Tim," he begged, finally cracking Jason's expression into a thin lipped grimace.

"If he was in hell, if he truly regretted what Joker did to me," Jason's voice was steady, but poisonous, and Dick flinched. "Then he would have put that son of a bitch down when he had the chance. And he wouldn't have let another child volunteer for the slaughter, he wouldn't have replaced me!" Jason was leaning forward in his chair now, hands on his knees and a disgusted sneer painted on his face. Every word bit into Dick like a knife, and he couldn't prevent the cold gasp that escaped his lips. So that's what this was about?

"It wasn't exactly Bruce's choice when Tim-"

"The hell it wasn't!" Jason hissed, causing Dick to flinch. "You're trying to tell me Bruce couldn't force that little Pretender to sit the fuck down? Or take the suit away from him? Because that's fucking bullshit, and you know it."

"Well what about the Joker?" Dick countered. "When you died, you took nearly all of Bruce's humanity with you, and he didn't have much to begin with; if he would have killed that bastard, he would have lost it completely! He was a different person, he was cold. Hell, the man didn't even tell me that you were gone," Dick trembled, nearly at the end of the chain's allowance. Dick fell to his knees two feet away from Jason, and something in the man's expression changed, softening even.

"He didn't?" Jason blinked, frowning. Dick shook his head miserably.

"How'd you find out?" Jason asked quietly, lacing his fingers together absently. Dick shrugged.

"Obituary," Dick mumbled. "I missed you like hell, and... I never got to see your face a-again." Jason swallowed thickly and then crawled over to meet him. He was about a foot away now, just out of reach of Dick's fingertips.

"I missed you, too," Jason admitted. Dick choked back a sob and reached out for him, only to be stopped by the drag of the chains.

"Please...please, let me touch you," he trembled, aching with longing to hold him and feel the warmth of his body, to know once and for all that this was really Jason.

Jason gazed down at him sadly and finally bent just close enough to press their foreheads together. Dick closed his eyes; he could almost feel the tip of Jason's nose against his, and Jason's breath was soft as it billowed against Dick's face. He managed to chuckle through the thick emotional daze.

"You're still smoking, Little Wing?" Dick teased as he opened his eyes back up to stare at Jason. Jason smirked, and for a moment, Dick could see the ghost of the happy boy Jason used to be.

"Old habits, you know," he shrugged. Dick chuckled and reached up to press his fingertips against Jason's cheek. Jason stilled and his breath choked off. He was alive

"Jason," Dick hummed with overwhelmed contentment. Jason closed his eyes and allowed himself to linger against Dick's touch, and Dick himself sighed as Jason leaned in close enough for Dick to cup his cheek. The second Dick stroked his thumb, however, Jason's eyes snapped open in jittery alarm and he pulled back. Dick protested and reached out, only to be stunted once again by the chains and Jason backed away.

"Sorry, Dick," Jason took a step back, ironing his expression carefully. "I won't let you escape that easily."

"What?" Dick frowned in upset confusion. "I wasn't trying to-"

"I'm not taking anymore chances," Jason retorted coldly, like a punch in Dick's very gut.

"Jay-" Dick pleaded, only to be cut off again as Jason stooped to pick his helmet back up.

"I have some things to take care of," he announced, stuffing the helmet back over his head and folding up the chair. "I'll send your love to Bruce while I'm out," he sneered, voice mechanical once again, hiding the remnants of Jason away completely.

And before Dick could say a word, the man was gone, and Dick was alone in the cold, blinking after him.

Chapter Text

Six nights... it's been six whole nights since Jason had brought him to this room. It's been a solid five since that day they'd actually spoken. Most of the time now, Jason will enter for only seconds once a day to wordlessly pass a tray of food or water before disappearing. Dick had pleaded each time, wailing and screaming for Jason to face him until he was hoarse. He'd even rattled the chains and beat his fists against the wall until his hands were raw and bloody, but Jason never came. He was either extremely good at ignoring Dick, or just never home. Either way, by the seventh night, Dick was exhausted and starved for both food and company.

He lay pathetically on the ground, shivering with cold as he drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his shackled wrists around them for warmth. His stomach gurgled and whined in pain, and he stared forlornly at the empty tray several feet away. He'd become accustomed to the one meal a day, that wasn't a problem. But Jason hadn't appeared that morning with food, and judging by the hours it had been since dusk, it was almost a day over due. 

His stomach groaned again, and Dick cringed and doubled over further. He had to get out of this stinking hell hole if he didn't wanna starve. Had Jason forgotten about him? Or did he just stop caring? he wandered sullenly. He'd been brisk ever since Dick had touched him, but.... but the way he'd leaned into it for just a few seconds, like he'd craved it-

Dick shook the thought away stubbornly and let his head thud against the concrete. It made his head throb, but at this point, it was hardly adding to his pain much. 

And the room really did, stink, too; Jason had been gracious enough to give him a pot to piss (and etc.) in, and after so many days, the odor was ghastly

He rubbed his cold, aching feet together to bring some life back to them, and let his vision glaze over dimly. He could feel the greasy strands of hair fall into his face, but he was too jaded to bother brushing it back. If Jason would ever show back up, maybe he could ask for a blanket, or at least some goddamn socks. A shower was probably too much to even consider.

And that's if he could even catch Jason's attention.

Honestly, he was half considering just ignoring the door when it inevitably creaked open. But... this was still Jason. He'd missed out on seeing those blue eyes for years, he couldn't just ignore it now, no matter how far the man had strayed. Maybe just the silent treatment, then. He could be brisk, too.

Idly, Dick started fingering the thick steel plate binding him to the concrete. It was only a few inches thick... maybe if he pulled on the chain hard enough, he could wiggle the plate loose. It was at least worth a shot since he hadn't tried to escape at all yet. With an angry whine from his stomach, he shifted up onto his arms, braced his feet against the wall and grabbed the chains. He grit his teeth and yanked with all his strength, grunting and straining as his muscles contracted before falling flat on his back.

"Fuck," he hissed, clamoring back to the wall. "Come on, Nightwing," he chided himself. He groaned warily as the chains creaked beneath his hands. He tugged again, and this time, one of the screws in the plate pried up by a single centimeter.

"Yes!" Dick cheered in disbelief. It was just one screw, but if he could twist it out, he may be able to pick the shackles. The screw was still mostly buried, though, so he probably needed to keep pulling for a bit. But hey, it was a start; and with any luck, he may be able to get the hell out of here and...just maybe, save Jason from himself.

Dick set his jaw, and with renewed motivation, he set to work again, voice strangling as he pulled against his restraining chains. He was at it for an hour by the time the large bolt was mostly exposed. Dick collapsed with exhaustion and picked and twisting at the bolt with his fingertips. The damn thing was just about to come loose, when suddenly he heard the sound he'd been dreading.

The door handle creaked and Dick moved to cover the damn bolts by quickly laying in front of them. He had half a mind to pretend to sleep, but with his heart beating this erratic and guiltily, it would give him away. Instead, he just chose to stare angrily as the door swung open.

 Dick gasped when he was met with a bloody sight; Jason was wheezing, slumped into the doorway with blood gushing down his arm.

"Jason!" Dick choked in alarm. Jason collapsed to the floor and dragged himself forward with a pained grunt. "Jason, what-"

"Dick, I need your help," he interrupted softly. Did Batman do this? How did he get back?!

"Black Mask sent the Fearsome Hand of Four after me. One of them managed a lucky shot," he hissed behind the pain as he dug inside his jacket.

"Shit, Jay, you're losing a lot of blood," Dick voiced in alarm.

"No shit, Dick," Jason huffed as he pulled out a small, silver key. Dick's eyes widened when Jason pushed passed him to get to Dick's chains. He paused when he saw the wrecked steel corner and shot Dick a nasty look.

"You tried to escape?!" he hissed in outrage.

"I was starving, asshole," Dick defended himself haughtily. Not to mention freezing and suffering from the stink of bodily waste, but he figured he wasn't about to push it right now. Not if he wanted Jason to actually let him help. To his surprise, Jason gave in with hardly more than an angry scoff. Unfortunately, however, it wasn't the shackles that he unlocked; it was the base plate where the chains attached. Once he had the chains in hand, he wrapped them twice around his forearm and snuck another set of shackles out of his coat, slapping one of the manacles on his own wrist around them.

"You try to make a move this time, and I'll know," he warned acidly, sticking the keys into his boot before swaying suddenly with dizziness.

"Fine," Dick agreed sourly. "Now take me to your med kit before you bleed out, will you?"  Jason eyed him suspiciously, but nodded and led him out the thick metal door. 

Dick blinked in the cold, fluorescent lights of the place; it was basically a machinery warehouse that Jason had stowed them away in. Makes sense, since Red Hood laid so low even Batman himself hadn't found them, yet. It also explained the cold; there wasn't heat in this place at all. He noticed a drying trail of blood from the direction that Jason had hobbled in from, but Jason had jerked him away down another corridor with the chain before he could locate an entrance anywhere. They stopped at the bottom of a metal stairway, and Jason groaned with pain before he could even take the first step.

"Here," Dick offered with only mild hesitation, sliding his shoulder underneath Jason's arm for support. His wrists were still cuffed together, so he couldn't support Jason's waist, but this would have to do. Jason leaned onto his shoulder reluctantly, and they braced the second step. With only marginal cursing, they made it up the rickety staircase, and managed to hobble to the only door present on the balcony. Jason forced it open, revealing a small loft that he'd arranged into a bedroom of sorts.

There was a full bed stuffed into the far corner by the cement walls, a metal desk with a small lamp to one side, a simple stool in front for its seat with two large duffel bags resting to the side. One seemed to be filled with a questionable amount of cash wads, and the other with-... 

"Jesus," Dick whispered, eyeing the sharp, black military grade firearms peeking out through the edge.

"Come on," Jason demanded, tugging him forward towards the tiny attached bathroom. He closed the bathroom door behind promptly before swaying again, and Dick used his shoulder to catch the brunt of the man's weight.

"Sit down," he instructed, helping Jason to the toilet, where he tiredly complied. "Tell me where to look."

"Medicine cabinet...above sink," Jason grumbled. The chains clinked beside him as he approached the detachable mirror and opened it wide. He quickly took stock of its contents: two razors (those might be useful for later), one can of shaving cream, a half opened box of bar soap, generic toothpaste and floss (the floss could be used, too, in the right circumstances), and finally a small white box with the signature red cross on the front. Before he could reach up, he felt a sharp yank on the chain, drawing his attention to Jason's dangerous glare.

"Just the kit," he warned. Dick bit his lip guiltily and nodded, grabbing the kit and eyeing the razors wistfully before closing the cabinet for good and heading back toward his wounded patient.

"I need you to take the jacket off, Jay, okay?" he tried to sound soothing as possible as he knelt down with kit in hand. Jason made a face and glanced down at his own shackled hand; he wouldn't just be able to slide it off, then.

"Fuck it; the bastards ruined it already anyway," he muttered.

"What?" But before Dick could realize it, Jason had shucked one side of the clothing off of his free arm, and brandished a hidded knife from inside the body armor underneath. Before Dick could object, Jason was slicing and tearing through the leather fabric of the other arm all the way down the seam until it practically disintegrated off him and tumbled into the bathtub behind them.

"What a waste of leather," Dick murmured unappreciatively, earning a smirk from Jason.

"I don't disagree. Shoulda thought that one through a bit more," he shrugged, before immediately wincing at his shoulder. Dick helped him unsnap his kevlar vest (thank god that one wasn't wasted), but there was nothing to be done about the white T-shirt he was sporting underneath. It was heavily blood stained away, so Jason didn't think twice about shredding that, too. Once Jason's torso was clear of debris, Dick spectated the damage to the back of Jason's shoulder closely.

"It doesn't look like a bullet wound," Dick frowned, popping the kit open. "You said they shot you."

"No, what I said was it was a lucky shot," Jason snapped back before hissing as Dick cleaned the wound with rubbing alcohol. "The bitch stabbed me with her blade."

"Ah, I see," Dick nodded, padding gauze against the wound to clear away some of the blood. The wound was a few inches deep, but not very long, at least.

"You sound like Alfred when you say that," Jason huffed a small laugh. Dick froze in surprise before melting into a smile. What he'd give to see the butler's grayed face... What he'd give to tell him that Jason was alive, to have him here helping patch the shoulder up like old times.

"How is he these days?" Jason followed up hesitantly with a soft voice as Dick prepped a suture. Dick's hands stuttered, especially since he didn't have a lot of room to maneuver his hands with these fucking shackles, but he kept moving this time as he considered his answer.

"He's good," Dick replied gently. "He helped me with a sprained knee just a couple weeks ago. In fact, I think it was after we chased-" he cut himself off guiltily when he remembered the explosion that Red Hood himself had set off before they'd fallen into the train station.

"Oh...Sorry about- fuck... that," Jason yelped through the forced apology as Dick stuck him with the first stitch. Dick snorted and shrugged.

"I feel like we're a little past that now," Dick rattled the chains for emphasis before continuing.

"You volunteered," Jason jabbed sourly. Dick poked him back with the needle a little harder than necessary for that one.

"You nearly killed or kidnapped Tim, I was kind of backed into a corner," Dick retorted icily. It was almost sad, how what had almost been a gentle, amicable moment had dissipated in an instant. Jason said nothing to defend himself, but rather snorted with disdain as Dick slowly finished closing the wound.

Once the last stitch was clipped, Dick patted it clean with an alcohol wipe again and then pressed a fresh gauze bandage over the wound, sealing it off. 

"There. Try not to pull them out, it should only take a week or two," Dick ordered sternly as he stooped to gather and discard the bloody tissue. Jason stopped him, however, by grabbing his forearm and squeezing intently. Dick glanced up at him curiously and was met with a hard, indecipherable glare of blue eyes that petrified him.

"I'm sorry for leaving you in that room to...starve," he swallowed thickly, surprising Dick. "I should have been back hours ago, but things... got out of hand." Dick's guts twisted inside him, and he had to force himself to look away from those pleading eyes. This was already hard enough with all his hot and cold psychosis, did he have to apologize so earnestly like this? Besides, that was only a fraction of the misery of the last week, and he shivered at the memory of the stench and the cold.

"Please don't make me go back there," he found himself pleading. His body trembled with fear as he finally regained the courage to look back up at Jason. Jason seemed stricken and conflicted, with his face twisted into an uncertain frown. Dick swallowed, and bent his head to press against the man's arms; they were so warm. Dick shivered again and huddled closer; he'd been frozen for so long, and Jason's skin was the only heat he'd felt in days. It was also the first real testament of Jason's existence since the first day, and it was almost a relief that he was here and, well...not alone, anymore. Jason's muscles stiffened beneath him as Dick started choking back a sob.

"Please, please, don't send me back to that hole," he trembled, squeezing his eyes shut to prevent tears.

"You've-...already compromised the restraining plate, anyway," Jason conceded softly, and this time, two hot tears streamed down either side of Dick's cheeks as a tidal wave of relief washed over him.

"You're going to need closer supervision." Dick glanced up with a frown as Jason suddenly stood to his feet, pulling Dick up along with him. "You're going to stay up here with me until this is over," he stated firmly with a determined frown. Dick actually smiled, because it reminded him so much of that stubborn Robin from years ago.

"Okay," he found himself agreeing; anything was better than that ungodly pit. Jason seemed confused at Dick's complacency, but something in his face definitely softened at Dick's word.

Once the bathroom was cleaned up of the bloody aftermath, and the shredded clothes left for later in the tub, Jason led him out of the small room back into the bedroom.

Now that Jason wasn't bleeding everywhere, this was the first time Dick had gotten a chance to really look at Jason. His torso was still naked, exposing dozens of scars that Dick didn't remember seeing on the younger Jason. His heart contorted in his chest as he wondered whether or not they were all from the Joker. What had that monster put him through?

His heart ached for the sweet boy who was now a full grown, twisted man. He wasn't unscathed, but he grew up strong, and it was obvious in the way Jason carried himself, even now when he was wounded. Dick found himself oggling the bulge of his arms, and the curve of his toned, naked back and glide of narrow hips. His thighs were huge and bulky, even in the cargo wear from his uniform it was easily discernible. Jason was beautiful and powerful, forged from fire, yet handsome like carved Grecian marble.

Jason turned towards him once they reached the bed, and Dick concluded that the front was just as defined and sharply toned as the front; his chest and shoulders were broad with muscle, and his abdomen was firm and trim right down into the V of his hips. Jason's expression shifted slightly, and jaw flexed when he caught Dick's gaze. Dick glanced away immediately, hiding a flush.

"Er...You can sleep here in the bed," Jason gestured toward the messy bed with an odd expression. Dick blinked in question, and Jason tugged the chains forward as if to convince him.

"It's bolted to the floor, so it's secure," he warned, bending down to his boot to fetch the key. He unshackled himself and unwrapped the chain in favor of slipping them in the same fashion around the front leg of the bed. Dick watched with a sinking gut. This was going to be harder to pull up that the plate in the hole. But on the upside, Dick noted gratefully, there was a blanket.

"Thank you," Dick murmured, and Jason chewed his cheek sheepishly.

"Don't," Jason replied dully. "Just rest up. I'll go get you some food, okay?" Dick's stomach wailed at the mention of food, and he curled in on himself before nodding gratefully.

"What happens if I need to go to the bathroom?" Dick questioned as Jason grabbed the duffel bags from off the desk, probably removing them from Dick's reach before he came up with any ideas. Jason paused to consider this for a moment a few feet from the door.

"Just let me know," he replied simply.

"Can I take a shower?" Dick piped up hopefully before Jason could take another step. Jason obviously hesitated, biting his cheek.

"We'll see. Don't try to escape again," he warned sternly, both as a threat, and promise. That was the terms for a shower? That...was simple enough. It was gonna be difficult to make another attempt anyway, with Jason literally watching him all the time, now.

"Deal," Dick nodded. And then Jason nodded, and exited the room promptly.

Chapter Text

 Three days had passed without much incident since that night. Jason had noticeably gotten nicer, or at least more considerate with every passing night. His meals had been upped to two, sometimes three a day, or at least as often as Jason himself ate. That was a huge relief, and Dick was beyond grateful that his stomach wasn't in constant pain. And the toilet was almost better; granted, Jason would never let Dick out of his sight, and held fast to his chains every time Dick needed to use the damn commode, but toilet paper and running water to wash his face and hands were a vast comfort. Not to mention there was no foul stench of urine and feces anymore.

But best of all, and Dick felt a tad guilty for considering this his favorite part, was the comfort of Jason almost constantly spending time with him. They slept in close quarters, obviously, but Dick was rarely awake when Jason got in and out of bed. Some morning's Dick would wake as Jason would step out for a few phone calls, or disappear for Hood business for a few hours. But Jason would always return, and always shed his helmet with a weary face. Usually once he saw Dick smiling with relief from the bed, however, he would always soften and offer a shy, crooked smile in return.

Sometimes, Jason would even bring a magazine, or crossword newspaper clipping for him to fill out to stave off the boredom. And on the latest puzzle, Jason had even done it with him.

"What's a six letter word for fairy king?" Dick had exclaimed in exasperation, nearly flinging the black marker that Jason had lent him.

"Oberon," Jason had replied instantly from his seat on the stool. He'd been pouring over a book -yes, a book. Dick hadn't quite caught the title, but it was a thick volume that Jason read in most of his spare time.

"Obie-what?" Dick blinked.

"Oberon. From A Midsummer Night's Dream... you know, Shakespeare," he'd flushed bashfully as Dick stared. And god damn it, the little bookworm part of him was just so endearing, and it warmed his chest.

"Oberon...." Dick scribbled in, balancing the paper to the best of his ability despite the shackles. "Perfect. Okay, what's a nine letter word for fond memories?" Jason frowned and tapped his chin at that one.

"Let me see what you've got," he sighed, dog earing his page and crawling into the bed beside him, taking the crossword with interest. "There's a G and an A already filled out, so I'm gonna say..." he stole the crayon playfully and marked down the letters as he went.

Nostalgia.

Dick had felt genuinely happy there with him for the first time in his captivity, which was... well, odd when he thought about it. But for a prison, he supposed it wasn't half bad. The only bump in the road was when Jason finally walked in on the fourth afternoon and stopped dead to gag. Dick tilted his head with a furrow of his brows in concern. Jason dropped his helmet and promptly disarmed as he usually did, far out of Dick's possible reach.

"Everything okay?" Dick called out, watching as Jason's body armor melted away.

"I can smell you from here, it's starting to become unbearable," Jason griped, and Dick rolled his eyes.

"I do recall asking for a shower at one point," Dick sing-songed lazily, settling back into the pillows. Jason groaned and made a frustrated little noise as he rubbed a hand over his face.

"I haven't tried to escape again," Dick piped up, hoping in some way to remind and convince him of their bargain.

"True," Jason admitted reluctantly. "Alright, you can use the shower," he conceded heavily, and Dick grinned buoyantly, nearly cheering with joy.

"I have a few conditions, though, so don't start celebrating yet," Jason interrupted quickly, redrawing Dick's attention.

"Sure, anything," Dick was quick to agree, simply eager to wash the grime of nearly two full weeks off. It'd be nice to shed the Nightwing body suit for once, too. But...ew, he'd have to put it right back on; he cringed at the thought.

"You're not showering alone, obviously," why did Jason sound so awkward saying it out loud? Dick had figured that would be the case, since he couldn't even shit in peace. "And you'll still have to wear the shackles-"

"Oh, come on," Dick complained suddenly, jutting out his lip in a clear pout. "These things have been scraping my arms raw, and they're all sweaty and gross. They probably stink as much as I do," Dick insisted. Jason made a face at Dick's description, and his heart pounded with possible hope that the restraints might actually come off.

"Besides," he added almost as an afterthought, "I don't want to have to cut my suit off. I'm kind of fond of it."

"Alright, alright," Jason rolled his eyes begrudgingly. "If you try anything, I swear to fucking christ I'll put you back in the Hole, though," Jason threatened, causing Dick to shrink with fear and anxiety. Theoretically, he could probably hold his own in a fight against Jason, but... he'd been out of commission for nearly two weeks, and Jason would be instantly ready and flawlessly reflexive if Dick did try anything. Memories of the cement room were enough to make him shiver and dissuade him of any temptation. Dick nodded in agreement and swallowed. Jason's shoulders eased a bit, and then he finally approached the bedside where Dick lay.

"I'm going to unlock these, now, okay?" He stated cautiously, drawing the key out of his pocket. Dick's heart fluttered spastically as he raised his hands up in obedience.

The shackles clicked and clacked open, falling to the sheets with a muted thud. Dick shivered, overwhelmed with awe as he massaged life into his pink, compressed wrists. Jay eyed them speculatively, and bit his lip. Dick nodded at him and followed as he led them back into the restroom. Dick faithfully closed the door behind them and stood stark still when Jason turned to face him.

"I'll get the water going. You go ahead and get ready... I'll follow you in," he spoke so low, it was almost a whisper. Dick nodded once and reached back to catch the hidden zipper. It made his arms ache a bit as he stretched out for the first time in ages, but he still found the clasp. It was like sweet heaven when the skin tight uniform started peeling off his body, letting his skin breathe at last. Dick sucked in a cleansing breath as he pulled his arms free, and then shucked the thing down his chest to his hips. There were dents in his skin where the seams had dug in, and Dick chewed his cheek as he ran his fingers tenderly over the sensitive flesh. 

The stream of water was heard  pattering against the tile, now, and Dick looked up to catch Jason watching him from his seat on the arm of the tub. Jason flushed and cleared his throat as he turned his gaze away, and Dick blinked in surprise. He chose to keep silent, for fear of embarrassing the man further, but something in his belly fluttered as he shucked the uniform the rest of the way down.

It was when Dick removed the jock strap that he flinched and moaned at the aching sensation of freedom. Jason seemed startled when he whipped his gaze back around just as Dick had dropped the damn thing to the floor. Good riddance, too.

"You've been wearing that for a week?" Jason gaped in horror. Dick blushed and shrugged, reaching up to scratch his itching hair for a distraction.

"You haven't actually given me anything else to wear, so..." Dick trailed off awkwardly. "I don't think I wanna put it back on though. I'll just have to suck it up and get back in the suit commando style," he sighed, resigned as he glared at his dirty outfit.

"Forget that, I'll find...something for you. Jesus, you should have mentioned to me, or something," Jason winced, shaking his head at the offending strap.

"Really?" Dick's eyes popped with soft surprise. "You'd do that?"

"I know you don't see it much, but I do own some sweatpants around here somewhere," Jason informed matter-of-factly. Dick shifted his weight to one foot with an amused hand on his hip as he laughed. Jason's eyes noticeably wandered down Dick's naked body before forcing himself to look away. Dick sucked in a soft breath and felt a jolt of...what, flattery? ...Pleasure? Dick cleared his throat before things got awkward, and Jason stood to his feet and pulled the shower curtain back.

"Here," he offered, letting Dick pass. Dick stepped into the water gratefully and moaned as the steaming heat rained down over him. He let it pelt his back and his shoulders eagerly, then tilted his head under the stream to soak his hair back with a grateful sigh. He could hear the shower curtain peel back again, and Dick smiled through this closed eyes and turned to where he could feel Jason step in.

"Jason, thank you," he whispered earnestly, wiping the water out of his face before opening his eyes. "You have no idea how much I-" but Dick's voice cut off in his throat as he got a good look at Jason's face. He was shy, meeting Dick's eyes, but from under his lashes, and shifting weight from each foot, clearly unsure of himself. Dick noticed that he was crossing his right arm to stroke his left for self comfort- a defense mechanism for anxiety. Dick appraised him gently before stretching out his hand and pressing his fingers lightly against Jason's hand. Jason sucked in a sharp breath, and Dick smiled reassuringly as he urged him closer to let the stream of water run over him. Dick's hand lingered against Jason's for a moment before stepping back and letting Jason have the water completely.

He seemed to relax under the steam, and Jason tilted his chin up gratefully as the droplets trickled down his face. This gave Dick an opportunity to truly appreciate Jason's physique, staring as the roll of muscle in his arms contracted as he smoothed his hair back. Jason's eyes were closed, and lips parted just slightly under the blissful spray, and he was tilting his head ever so slightly to either side, stretching his neck and exposing the sharp line of his jaw, too. His shoulders were still tense, but Dick had a feeling that's where Jason carried his stress, anyway. How would Jason react if Dick massaged the tension away? How would Dick even gather the courage? His eyes dropped lower to where Jason's hips were sculpted, and watched as the droplets slithered down to his legs. Oh, those legs; they were powerful and toned, curving beautifully from the jut of his ankles, to the bend of his knee, and then-

Dick felt a familiar burn inside himself as he admired the most intimate part of Jason's body. There was dark, groomed landscape of pelvis surrounding the soft flesh of his testicles and the thick, flaccid trunk of his shaft. It was beautiful and uncut, and easily one of the more appealing cocks Dick had ever blatantly stared at. He felt guilty for gazing so much, and carefully averted his attention away, just as Jason shook the water off his face and opened his eyes back up.

"Can you get the shampoo? It's on your side," Jason requested politely in a soft tone. Dick nodded and blinked as he stooped to grab the little gray bottle. He hadn't seen Jason like this before, it was beyond curious. He passed the bottle to Jason, who accepted it with a nod of gratitude before popping it open.

"Here," he offered, and Dick quickly (and with no small amount of shock) accepted the first bout.

"Thanks, Jaybird," Dick cooed earnestly. Jason made a strange expression at the old nickname, but Dick had closed his eyes as he massaged the suds into his hair with a contented "Ahhh." He enjoyed the sensation for several minutes and relished it even as the water soaked the suds out and washed them down his body. When he opened his eyes again, he was disappointed to find Jason's back to him as he scrubbed his own hair clean.

The soap bubbles trailed down Jason's skin alluringly, and with a silent curse, Dick had dubbed this the most tense, intimate experience of his life. He wondered if Jason felt the same, or if he'd ever done this before. Dick had, but none of the exes he'd showered with before ever stupified him just by standing there.

In fact, this was Jason. He'd never thought about Jason like this, as Robin or as his warden. But hell, now that they were here, and Jason was this close, this wet, this... attractive, it had Dick's head spinning with insane longing. Dick had to be losing his mind, that was the only rational explanation for getting hot and bothered over a recently undead, questionably sane little...Jason

But little Jason wasn't little anymore, and the yearning in Dick's belly was only for the man who stood in front of him now, washing the soap out of his hair and resting against the hot spray of the water. After a moment, Jason finally turned back around, and handed the bottle back to Dick to return to its designated spot.

"Where's the body soap?" Dick asked, hoping to get Jason to look at him again. Jason pointed to the shower basket right behind Dick's head under the shower head. A rag hung underneath it, and Dick grabbed them both, lathering the cloth under the stream until it was more soap than rag. His heart thundered in his chest at what he was about to do, and he dared to reach a hand out and touch the wet skin of Jason's shoulder. Jason stilled under Dick's hand and eyed him suspiciously. When Dick silently held the soapy rag up in question, however, Jason's expression changed immediately. His lips parted in surprise, and the edge of caution in his brow slacked once again into uncertainty.

Dick stepped forward, moving slowly and deliberately, making sure Jason could see every intended action as he pressed the warm rag against his broad chest. Jason shifted slightly on his feet, but otherwise remained completely still as Dick brushed the rag over to lather his shoulders. Jason gasped and moaned under the sudsy massage, tilting his head back with eyes shut tight in pleasure. Encouraged, Dick continued on, giving the same massaging caress to the muscles on the other side, washing each arm thoroughly in turn. Jason hummed softly stretched his neck and arms out in turn to give him easier access. Dick's heart leapt with encouragement.

Next, he washed down Jason's back, and circled around to his sides and his stomach, making sure to slather every inch with soap. Dick's breath shuddered as he knelt down in front to start on the man's hips and legs. Jason's hand twitched, and he could hear Jason swallow thickly from above, but still continued to let Dick keep going. Dick was patient and thorough with the outside of his leg, from thigh to ankle and everywhere in between. But going back up, Jason stuttered when Dick started massaging the inner thigh with the soap. Jason made a strangled noise, and he could see Jason's soft member twitch and harden slightly as he worked his way up. Then he started with the other leg, and Jason braced himself on the tile wall as Dick repeated the process. 

Jason was almost completely hard by the time Dick finished washing his limbs, and the expression on his face when Dick stood up was unmistakable: his eyes were dark and half lidded, cheeks flushed and breathing erratic. Jason, for what it was worth (and right now, it was a fucking lot), wanted him too.

"Now me?" Dick offered the rag to Jason with just a hint of a teasing smile. Jason was more sure of himself now as he accepted the rag, reaching for the bar of soap to lather it up more for the next round.

Jason decided to go in reverse, to Dick's surprise, kneeling down and starting from Dick's ankles rather than his shoulders. Dick never took his eyes off Jason's hands as they worked, massaging and squeezing each muscle and turning Dick slowly into putty, save for one part.

"Turn around," Jason instructed, and Dick obeyed eagerly, if not a little sad to lose sight of him. But Jason's hands returned to his body, deliciously caressing his hips and rubbing into his gluts none too subtly. Dick moaned, and Jason's fingers circled ever higher as they lathered his back. Dick was humming with pleasure as the muscles were soothed, and he could feel Jason drawing nearer as the water washed the suds away.

Jason was so close, he could feel the warmth of his torso against his back, and he could feel Jason's lips just millimeters away from his own skin as his breath tickled down Dick's neck. Dick arched his back, cock throbbing as he felt Jason's arm reach around and splayed heatedly across his belly. Dick moaned, and managed to wiggle back around to face the man. 

Dick couldn't tell you who finally kissed who first, but as soon as their lips touched, the rag dropped, and Dick's hands were all over Jason's body, exploring and arching into him wantonly. Jason pressed his back into the tiles and lifted Dick's legs to circle around his waist, and they were rutting into each other deliciously, ignoring the shower completely at his point.

Dick sucked a trail of kisses down Jason's neck and bit his ear tantalizingly, and Jason growled, earning Dick a rough bite to his collar. He whined and bucked up at the sensation, but Jason licked and nipped his way down, down, and fastened around one of Dick's pert nipples. Dick cried out and let his head roll back against the tiles as Jason teased him.

"Oh, god, Jay," Dick gasped, closing his eyes and surrendering to the man's wicked mouth.

"Fuck, Dick, I've wanted you for so long," Jason groaned, breaking away from his teasing and pressing a series of urgent kisses back up to Dick's shoulder. Dick moaned, and clutched Jason close.

"Really?" Dick whispered, wetting his lips and breathing heavily under the hot water.

"Since I was still in green pixie boots," Jason affirmed with a sharp huff of laughter. Dick's chest swelled at Jason's words, and then Jason was devouring him again, eliciting pleasured noises as they rutted against each other.

"Take me," he pleaded as his fingers tangled into Jason's wet hair, echoing his words from the night on the rooftop. Jason pulled back breathlessly to stare at the older man.

"Jason, please, take me," Dick begged again, pulling him forward and desperately kissing his temple.

Jason didn't hesitate again.

Chapter Text

Dick landed on the bed with an ungraceful oof, but Jason was on top of him again in seconds to distract from it. Dick keens as Jason steals a hungry kiss, lavishing at the feel of Jason's tongue and teeth nipping at the edge of his lips.

"Fuck, you're gorgeous," Jason praised, drifting a single hand feather light down Dick's torso. Dick's eyes fluttered shut with a hum as they kept drifting lower, and lower. Dick arched up wantonly as Jason massaged his fingers up and down his flushed cock, making him whine.

"Oh, yeah, look at you," Jason breathed, bending down to press a wet kiss to the tip. Dick cried out with pleasure, but Jason released him, leaving him cold and wanting.

"Wait-" Dick whined as Jason got up from the bed towards the desk.

"Shh, relax, blue bird," Jason cooed reassuringly as he pulled the drawer out and ruffled around. Dick watched with interest as Jason pulled a little foil packet and a small tube of lube out from its depths. He huffed out a soft, appreciative laugh as Jason returned to him with a lascivious smile.

"Open up for me, now," Jason purred, and Dick shivered as he spread his legs. Jason squirted the lubricant onto his fingers and made a show of lathering them. Dick was burning alive now as Jason pressed a single, teasing finger against his waiting entrance, and he was twitching with anticipation.

Jason kissed into Dick's inner thighs and mouthed lavishly against the soft underside of his balls. Dick gargled out a noise of pleasure, and then Jason slid the first digit in gently. Dick keened as Jason worked both his tongue and his finger for Dick's pleasure, making him arch up and pant for more.

Jason licked a thick stripe up Dick's shaft now, kissing wetly again at his tender head as another digit penetrated him below. Dick closed his eyes and gasped as Jason sucked him in, curling and stretching his fingers inside at the same time.

"Jay, please," Dick begged nonsensically as Jason bobbed up and down wetly. Jason obliged his lover by sliding in a third finger now, scissoring and and fucking him with them until Dick yelped out with sudden, sparking sensation. Jason teased at his prostate, milking it with his fingertips and making Dick leak into his mouth with barely contained need.

"Please, please, please," Dick was chanting, bucking his hips shallowly into the air as Jason pulled both his mouth and fingers away.

"I'm almost there, baby," Jason soothed, ripping open the foil packet and sliding the rubber on with eager fingers. He crawled back over to Dick and lined himself up, and at this point Dick was ready to sob.

"Tell me you want me," Jason asked, brushing his lips across Dick's, and Dick nuzzled into him heatedly.

"I want you," he trembled, whispering obediently. "God, Jay, I want you so badly, like I've never wanted anyone else." Jason groaned at his words, and finally, mercifully pushed past the tight ring of muscle waiting for him.

"Fuck, yes!" Dick choked, hiking his legs up and wrapping them around Jason intimately. Jason kissed him, snatching one of his hands and raising it up far above Dick's head as he began to thrust rhythmically inside him.

"So hot, so tight, so perfect," Jason praised as Dick bucked up to meet him with every stroke. Dick's head lolled back in utter bliss as Jason rode him into the fucking sunset. Dick coiled and whined, squeezing Jason's hand until his fingers were numb, and finally reaching to take himself in hand and jacking off until he was crying out with hot liquid spraying all over his chest. Jason was still burning and throbbing inside of him, but as Dick reached his climax, Jason lost control and pounded absolutely wantonly into Dick until he was gasping and jerking and riding out a climax of his own.

Jason pulled out sluggishly, tugging the condom off and tossing it, before collapsing over beside Dick in exhaustion. Both of them were utterly boneless with post coital bliss, and gazing at each other, not quite sure if this was really real. Dick was humming with satisfaction, and Jason yanked him close, kissing his temple. Dick curled into Jason's warmth and nuzzled into the thick muscles of his chest. They didn't say anything to break the silence, but Jason's grip around Dick was firm, and he wasn't letting go anytime soon. Dick figured that spoke volumes by itself.

Their breathing slowed, and Jason's heartbeat, strong and ever-present, eventually lulled him into a deep, contented sleep. Jason shimmied the covers up and draped it over them. For once, he found himself drifting off and following suit.

............................

Dick awoke to a dark ceiling staring down at him, and a soft, rhythmic snoring ebbing and waning beside him. Dick blinked groggily and turned his head to find Jason, with his back turned towards him and facing the wall, but undoubtedly asleep. Dick stretched languidly, smiling 1. as he remembered the feel of Jason's lips, and touches from earlier on, and 2. when he realized that his and Jason's legs were entangled together in the sheets.

Jason's shoulders were peaking out just above the blanket, and rising and falling with every soft breath. Dick curled in closer and pressed a feathery kiss right between the shoulder blades. He didn't stir, and Dick was so pleased with himself, he had half a mind to sneak an arm around him for a cuddle when he realized something else. The biting confines of the shackles were still gone; his hands were still free, and there were no chains. He would have gasped if he hadn't caught himself. Jason had actually forgotten

Or...trusted him, a nagging voice in the back of Dick's brain whispered. Dick mentally shook that thought away; Jason doesn't trust him, he'd threatened to throw him back in the Hole yesterday because he was so paranoid. But for this much of an oversight? It was the first time Dick had woken up without the damn things, and it was a cold kind of thrill.

He sat himself up on his elbows slowly, peeking toward the door to the little loft. If he tried, if he was quiet...he might be able to walk out and just...leave. He could see the sky again, he could find Bruce, and Tim. An ache in his chest panged as soon as he remembered the terrified last look he'd seen on the Robin's face, choked out by the very man lying in bed next to him.

But when he turned back to look at Jason, he could just see the calm peace that graced the sleeping man's face. He could see the beginning of bruises, hickies, that he'd left. He could recall the softness of Jason's expression as they washed each other in the shower, and the way Jason had confessed how long he'd wanted Dick. A conflicted grimace painted across Dick's face and he put his head in hands.

He could leave and choose freedom, for fuck's sake! But if he left... Dick chewed on his lip as he turned his gaze back on his lover.

If he left, he would tear down all the progress he'd made with Jason; He'd rip Jason's heart out. If he stayed right now, he could try reaching out further and pulling Jason back from the brink. He could find out what Jason's planning, he could talk him out of it.

But then, he wasn't likely to get another opportunity like this, he realized, sitting up fully and reaching his legs out to stand up. His legs twitched, yet he hesitated; if he left the bed, Jason might wake up and catch him. Not only would Dick lose Jason forever, but he'd be thrown back in that hell Hole to die. And honestly, even if he did make it out without alerting Jason, would it be worth losing him? Dick had a real chance here to help him heal.

Dick sighed as soft snoring at his side emphasized that last thought. He squeezed his eyes shut and cursed himself as the memory of Jason's smile held him firmly in place. Dick cast one last, longing glance at the door and his shoulders sank when he decided against his one chance at freedom.

He laid back down and snuggled once again into the crook of Jason's back and nuzzled into it's warmth. This time, he really did choose to wrap an arm around Jason's waist. What the hell, at this point. His skin was warm and provided him a significant form of comfort after a difficult and draining mental struggle. Jason's snoring quieted at Dick's embrace, and then stopped abruptly. Dick held his breath, and then he felt the man's fingers slowly lace through his own. Dick hesitated, wondering if Jason had woken by Dick's touch and feeling maybe a tad guilty if that were the case. A few moments of silence passed, and Dick was almost convinced that Jason was still peacefully asleep when finally he spoke.

"You stayed," he croaked hoarsely, and Dick gasped. Jason had been awake the whole time. Probably from the moment Dick had originally stirred; he was a light sleeper, after all, Dick reminded himself with a silent D'oh! He should also be thanking his lucky stars he made the right fucking choice; this was a much happier ending than the Hole was.

"Of course," Dick whispered, pressing soft kisses into Jason's shoulders. Jason moved their intertwined hands and cradled Dick's palm over his heart. Dick felt his own heart break in his chest; he'd almost left. He almost left Jason alone, and Jason would've known it right from the start.

"Thank you." It was barely audible, and Dick almost thought he'd imagined it. But Jason reached out to twine their legs together again, and Dick hummed comfortably.

Dick knew then and there, he was holding the most important mission in his life right in his very arms; Jason needed him, plain and simple. He was going to do his damnedest to show Jason that he was cared for and get him help to heal. Dick had only scratched the surface with Jason, and the end of the tunnel was still a long way down, but he'd already come this far. From this point on, he was placing himself undercover with Jason until he figured something out. Batman probably wouldn't approve, but- heh... if it brought Jason home, then Bruce could get over it.

"Goodnight, Jason," Dick nuzzled into Jason's back, and moments later, the soft snoring resumed.

Chapter Text

"So how come I woke up with shackles again this morning?" Dick shot sourly the moment Red Hood opened the door. Jason paused, helmet in hand and expression froze into an uncomfortable grimace. Dick crossed his arms as he leaned back against the pillows propped against the headboard expectantly for an answer.

When Dick had woken up the second time, the sun had already risen, and Jason had been nowhere in sight; not an uncommon thing to wake up to, but the moment he'd stretched out, he'd heard the clink of chains and felt the scrape of metal around his right ankle. In a moment of horror, Dick had peeled back the blanket to reveal a single shackle bolting him back to the floor. It was a nice change for his arms, but god damn it, he was bitterly disappointed that after that affectionate display of trust yesterday, that Jason still didn't trust him.

Jason heaved a sigh as he routinely disarmed and and removed his body armor, and Dick's stare was icy as he waited.

"Look, just because we fucked doesn't mean I can just let you run around and do what the hell ever while I'm gone. This isn't a democracy," Jason finally retorted sharply as he approached. Dick recoiled at the words.

"It's not just because we-" Dick objected, taken aback. "It's because I proved to you that I can stay. That I want to stay!" It came out as more of a plea than a reprimand, but by the flicker of doubt in Jason's eyes, at least the point got across.

"You're right... you stayed," Jason granted slowly rolling his cheek between his teeth. "But you still wanted to leave, I felt you set you move your legs to the floor," he accused, and Dick flushed guiltily.

"What would you do if I left you untied, huh? You might pretend to stick around, but what's preventing you from sneaking back to Batman and the Pretender during the day and giving me away?" he barked. Dick flinched and cast his eyes down guiltily.

"I wouldn't," Dick mumbled, fidgeting with the seams of the blanket. He could hear Jason scoff at him.

"I don't know that for sure," Jason shook his head wearily and settled himself onto the stool.

"What would I even tell them anyway, Jason?!" Dick griped. "That you've been keeping me somewhere in the warehouse district? I'm sure you have other safe houses somewhere in the city, don't you? And what else, that- that you're still alive in the first place and murdering mobsters? If Batman hasn't figured that out already, then I'd be downright fucking shocked," Dick growled, earned a quirk of amusement from Jason's brows.

"He figured it out a few days ago," Jason confirmed softly. "Or at least had his suspicions. Remember when you fixed this?" he rolled his shoulder gently for emphasis. Dick nodded tersely, and Jason continued on, "Well, he was there that night and he asked me what happened to me. I told him he'd find out soon enough." There was a bitter edge to the promise, even when he was just rehashing it to Dick.

"You should have let him help you," Dick snarked, pulling his knees up to his chest and circling his arms around them for comfort.

"And what, let him take me in? You would have starved that night, remember?" Jason taunted, curling his lip into a sneer that made Dick's guts twist. "You know what? He didn't even ask about you, either," Jason added, throwing salt to an ever growing wound in Dick's chest just to prove his stupid point. He wanted to cringe, but instead held strong and snarled silently up at him.

"Not once since I took you, before or after he figured my identity out," he punctuated emphatically. "But Boy fucking Wonder has." Dick snapped his head up in alarm.

"Oh, yeah, he tracked down an arms deal I was taking over and tried to beat me over with a cute little bo staff until I gave you up," he glowered, and Dick's heart ached as he imagined Tim's frantic, angry face yelling in vain at the Red Hood.

"Is he okay?" Dick breath constricted in his chest, fearing the worst. Had Jason actually killed Tim this time? If he had...if he did, then Dick couldn't forgive him.

"Batman came to my rescue and ordered the little pup to stand down," Jason recalled. "So yes, to answer your question. He's fine, but he wasn't too happy with Batman."

"Just like somebody else I know," Dick spit. Jason smirked silently at the barb, and Dick glared down at the bed just to avoid looking at him.

"If Batman hasn't bothered to ask about me, yet," Dick questioned after a long moment of silence, "then why are you still keeping me here, anyway? What use am I to you besides another mouth to feed and a good fuck?" It was Jason's turn to recoil at the acidity and objectivity of Dick's implications. He was silent for a moment, and Dick wasn't sure he'd respond at all.

"Is that what you think you are, or are you just trying to be difficult?" Jason finally reacted, completely dodging the real part of the question.

"You tell me," Dick seethed,resting his chin on his knees. Jason sighed, and he let his hand thud against the metal desk top in exasperation.

"This is not how I wanted this day to go," he sighed, raking his fingers back through his hair. Dick snorted sardonically from the bed.

"Look," Jason's voice lessened its edge, and Dick glared suspiciously at him. "The shackles are only a temporary safety measure. Since you were...good yesterday," he hesitated in selecting the adjective, but forced himself forward. "You don't have to wear them when I'm around. Just when I leave," he explained. Dick's heart felt dull and heavy in his chest, and he didn't respond. He almost wanted to scream back that he was just a captive anyway, so why not treat him that way full time? Why not just throw him back into the Hole?!

But...of course, the thought made him bite himself back. It was counter-intuitive, and he wasn't doing himself any favours right now by throwing a fit anyway. If he wanted to get close to Jason and not be a glorified concubine prisoner, he had to keep his tongue in control. He'd already pushed enough today, and he felt emotionally drained.

When Dick didn't respond, Jason sighed and shook his head wearily.

"Do you want me to unlock you or not?" he snapped irritably, even fishing the key out of his pocket as if to tempt Dick. Dick refused to glance at it and remained motionless as he ignored Jason's offer. Jason snarled after a few seconds of this behavior and threw the key far across the room by the door, making Dick cringe as it hit the wall with a loud chink.

"Fine," Jason sneered, standing to his feet and storming over to snatch his helmet. Dick's eyes widened and life seemed to return to his limbs as Jason shoved it back on and started to don his kevlar once again.

"Jason-" Dick called out dryly, lifting his head. Jason ignored him as he strapped his pistol to his leg and angrily slid his arms into the black leather jacket.

"Jason, wait," Dick pleaded leaping over the bed side and padding over the floor until the chain inevitably held him fast two feet away from the man.

"I'm done. Have a pity party by yourself," the mechanical voice snapped before storming out of the door and slamming it behind him. Even though the door was a little less than a yard away, Dick felt as though it had been slammed right in front of his face. He choked and sank to the floor, crawling to curl up at the bottom of the foot board of the bed. He couldn't bear to lay atop the thing, and smell Jason there on the pillows where they'd curled up together just this morning.

This had been a disaster; why did he have to go and complicate things by sleeping with Jason? Why couldn't he just play along with the roll he'd given himself and placated Jason more? Dick Grayson was an absolute idiot. Maybe he should stop acting like Dick Grayson with Jason Todd. Maybe he needed to keep this strictly Nightwing and Red Hood; that's how it started, after all. And there was no guarantee that Jason saw it any other way at this point.

Still, he couldn't help the burning salt water that welled in his eyes and trickled down into the floorboards. Jason was gone, and seemed farther away from him than ever. Batman hadn't asked about him, and maybe wasn't even looking. He couldn't blame him, not if Bruce was focusing on Jason.

"Locate the target, and you'll locate the victims, too." He could almost hear Bruce's voice instructing sternly in his head. He wasn't going to waste time by berating Hood about his location and well-being; he trained Dick for this exact situation, anyway, so it shouldn't sting as badly as it did.

But didn't Bruce realize how thorough Jason was? An ally-turned-enemy was the most dangerous kind of enemy, and Jason would know how to fight, evade, and exploit every weakness.

Whatever game Jason was playing, Dick just wanted it to end. He wanted Jason to know he wasn't alone... and Dick desperately wanted to feel less alone, himself. But as he silently shivered and wept on the floor, this was the loneliest he'd felt since the whole thing began.

Chapter Text

Dick startled awake when the door creaked open and heavy footsteps thudded across the floorboards. He lifted his head up with a wince -some of his skin had stuck to the damn boards, leaving a red imprint on his skin- and glanced sheepishly up at Red Hood. He was still clad in full armor and helmet, but he held a large white bag of something that smelled fried and completely mouthwatering. Dick swallowed and lost his nerve, unable to meet the white lenses that were the man's eyes. Both of them were silent, and Dick was just about to curl back in on himself on the floor when a mechanical sigh could be heard through the Hood. He heard the trademark hiss of the airlock clasps being released, and finally managed a peak when the helmet clattered to the floor.

Jason's face was grim with tired eyes gazing down at him, but his expression was unexpectedly soft when he knelt down and took a seat right beside Dick, pressing his back against the foot board and mirroring Dick's own pose. The aroma of the food wafted up, and Dick's stomach growled hungrily.

"You slept on the floor?" he asked gently, and Dick shrugged.

"What time is it?" he mumbled groggily, rubbing under his heavy eyes.

"Almost 2," Jason informed in a low, gravelly voice.

"2 am?" Dick's brows shot up in surprise. Jason nodded; he'd spent most of the morning out and about, and then after their little...disagreement, all of the evening, too.

"I'm sorry," Jason offered as the lines of his brow hardened into a frown. Dick blinked in surprise; it wasn't like Jason to apologize for anything, but... it touched him inside just to hear it.

"In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have ignored you like I did," Dick admitted guiltily. That had definitely been the catalyst to Jason's tantrum, and Dick had regretted it almost immediately.

"You're a prisoner," Jason stated. It wasn't a taunt, or even meant to be unkind, it was just a dull fact that Jason seemed to regurgitate with a distasteful twitch of his lip. "You've been trapped and miserable for weeks, it makes sense you'd crave some form of comfort." Dick furrowed his brows together cautiously at Jason's teetering tone; where was this going, exactly?

 

"The toilet and shower, the bed, the crosswords, hell even the sex," he barked gruffly, eyes wandering to the ceiling for guidance as he spoke, "I can live with giving all of that to you to make you more comfortable. I'm trying my best," he exclaimed, dragging his hand down his face as if this were costing him what marginal sanity he was privy to.

"That's what you think I slept with you for? Because I wanted comfort?" Dick interrupted in scandalized shock. Jason let his head thud back against the bed board with a thunk and cursed.

"Didn't you? I mean, I'm not gonna lie, I told you before that I've thought about fucking you. I'm a selfish man, Dick, so I wasn't about to turn you down. But think about it; if I made you wear those restraints into the shower like I'd originally planned, you wouldn't have gotten all euphoric and handsy," he accused sharply, making Dick's blood curdle in his veins. Jason couldn't be right, Dick still had control over his own emotions, he was still in charge of his sexual desire no matter what situation. The relief and happiness that the shower had allowed didn't...directly influence him...did it? No, no. Jason was getting into Dick's head, he was playing on logic and twisting it around. He had to turn this back and prove he wasn't just drunk on the need for comfort.

"Even if I was a little euphoric and...handsy," Dick repeated slowly and hissed at the offending words. "I wouldn't have bothered trying to have sex with you if I hadn't been at least a little interested before hand," he countered, drawing himself up and squaring his shoulders.

"I'm not a whore who wants to get fucked every time I get kidnapped and get shown a teensy bit of leniency. God forbid I missed you like hell, and maybe thought you're attractive, and just wanted to have sex with you!" Dick shouted, head beginning to pound with the beginnings of a headache. "But don't worry, Mr. I'm-too-selfish-to-deny-you-comfort-sex, you'll never see me make that mistake again," he snapped viciously, and Jason actually had to back away since Dick had been leaning dangerously close to In Your Face levels.

"Jesus, I forgot about your temper," Jason chuckled softly, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.

"Really? Really? I just give you the bitch-out of your life, and that's all you can- You... just-" Dick's brain was beginning to blank out, he was so exasperated.

"Calm down, alright? I get your point, I'm a complete jack ass and you're a strong, independent vigilante who don't need no man," Jason raised his hands in a white flag gesture, and Dick blinked in disbelief.

"You made a joke?" he stated tonelessly. "A stupid, cheesy joke, at a time like this," he continued, flabbergasted. Jason's smile turned strenuous with worry until Dick collapsed back against the bed board and laughed with exhaustion.

"I learned it from you, Blue, don't blame me," Jason smirked with relief as Dick's anger finally waned and fizzled out.

"Fair enough," Dick murmured, gazing his eyes skyward to stare at the ceiling.

"You're right, though," Jason offered hesitantly, shifting to a more comfortable position. "I was out of line for suggesting that about you. I don't really have an excuse for it, so I'm not going to try, but..." he chewed his lip in contemplation before he finished his sentence, and Dick turned his head over to fully look at him as he said it. "I wasn't sure where it left us after we, y'know, had sex?" It wasn't really a question, but the uncertainty was there, and Jason adopted a lost expression that reminded him of the little boy he used to be.

"And when you got upset this morning, I didn't know what to do. I mean, I felt guilty as hell and thought maybe I crossed the line and gave you false hope," he admitted, making Dick frown.

"False hope for what?"

"That... I'd let you go," Jason sighed, and Dick's heart sank in his chest. "You know I can't. Not yet, anyway." It wasn't cruel, nor was it meant to allow any false pretenses. Dick nodded in understanding, not exactly embracing it, but not exactly surprised, either.

"But understand that I'm not a monster, Dick," Jason turned on his hip urgently to look him in the eye. "I don't know where we're at right now with the whole...sleeping together issue, and you've made it pretty clear it won't happen again-" was that a hint of regret tinging his voice? "-but at this point, it's complicated enough to establish you're more than just a prisoner." Dick's pulse raced in his chest and he felt his heart wedge high in his throat.

"So what do we do?" Dick managed to strangle out and cleared his throat anxiously.

"What do you want, Dick?" Jason asked, and Dick hesitated, unable to answer. Jason nodded at the silence after a minute, and turned his head away.

"Well until we figure it out, let's just...try to keep the status quo going," Jason proffered tonelessly. Dick's shoulders dropped, but there wasn't really another solution, yet.

"I still have to wear the shackle, don't I?" Dick sank his chin dully until he was resting it on his forearms.

"Only around your ankle," Jason affirmed. "I...kind of like your arms being free. I figured it was mutually beneficial." Dick snorted softly at that as he remembered the way he cradled Jason in the night, and how he'd held Dick's hand over his heart. Was that supposed to be part of the status quo? he wondered. Before he could get around to asking, Jason had picked the bag of food back up and offered it to Dick. It had lost some of its warmth, obviously, but when Dick peaked inside, he could see the Chinese food collection still steaming and he groaned with hungry appreciation.

"This beats turkey sandwiches any day," Dick chuckled, pulling out a stir-fry of mixed veggies and a box of lo-mein.

Jason smirked as he pulled out the chicken and rice for himself. "Fair enough. Pass the soy, will you?"

 

Chapter Text

"Oh, god," Dick shuddered as Jason's lips lips fastened to his neck with a gentle sucking sensation. His hands were rough and callously massaging the splay of Dick's hips underneath him, and Dick mewled as the feeling of Jason's cock moved inside of him with every thrust. He was face down into the pillows, and he arched himself, lifting his ass higher both as an offering and as a plea, punctuated by a high pitched whine.

"Fuck, yeah, just like that," Jason praised in his ear, skin clapping roughly as Dick pushed back against him thrust for thrust. Dick braced himself against the headboard and bit into the pillow with a moan of pleasure as he spread his legs further for better access. And then Dick was nearly blinded when Jason rammed into his prostate, making Dick gasp and shudder with sensation.

"That feel good, baby?" Jason whispered, and Dick whimpered as he nodded.

"Again, please," Dick begged, knuckles turning white as he gripped the bed for dear life. Jason nipped at his jaw and obliged, making Dick moan wantonly, and cant his hips in desperation.

"Jason, faster," he pleaded, and it was Jason's turn to groan with pleasure as the brush against Dick's prostate made him tighten around his cock. The wet slap of skin quickened roughly, and Dick was screaming and pleading nonsensically. Jason, in a bold moment, released one of his hips and slithered his hands up until his fingers tangled into the hair on the back of Dick's head and pulled possessively. Dick shrieked in shock, and then his muscles tightened, cock throbbing with heat as he came hard.

"Jason," he cried out, voice mangled against the pillow. And then Jason was cumming, too, grunting as his hips stuttered twice and slammed against Dick's ass one last time as a string of curses left his lips.

Dick was still shuddering with aftershocks when Jason tenderly pulled out, and he whined at the loss. Jason shushed him gently before shucking and discarding the condom carelessly. Then Dick found himself being tugged closer, away from his own mess and into the warmth of Jason's chest, where he lolled boneless in an embrace as they caught their breaths.

"What happened to not making that mistake again?" Jason teased, breath tickling into Dick's ear. Dick grimaced and groaned wordlessly as his senses struggled to return to him.

"Shut up," he managed brilliantly, which made Jason laugh lightly. In a smooth display of desire, Jason stroked his hand down Dick's torso and pressed it gingerly against his still sensitive cock. Dick whined, and Jason cupped and stroked him lavishly with a wet kiss on the back of his neck for good measure.

"I'll never say no to you, Dick, but you should really make up your mind," he whispered, tone surprisingly earnest. Dick closed his eyes with a grumble and curled Jason's arms around him tighter.

"Sweet dreams, then, Dickie."

.................

It was sometime into the third week, or maybe the beginning of the fourth when Dick found himself waking up for the first time in strong, warm arms. He opened his eyes, and there was Jason peering down at him with amused blue eyes that made him flush.

"I was drooling, wasn't I?" Dick cringed, reaching up immediately to wipe his mouth self consciously. Jason snorted and shook his head as Dick found his mouth completely dry.

"No such luck, but that would have been gold," he joked, arm still wrapped haphazardly around Dick's waist.

"Can I ask why you were staring at me, then?" Dick quipped, arching a curious brow.

"I'm a creep?" Jason offered helpfully, to which Dick scoffed.

"Fine, then," he pouted back, shuffling out of bed and stretching his arms up with a delicious yawn. He heard Jason hum at the sight, and he back glanced to find him eyeing down the contours of Dick's back. He smiled sensually and winked, before standing to his feet and letting the sheets fall down to expose his bare flesh.

"Bathroom, please," Dick requested sweetly, and Jason quirked his lips with a good humor about him that made Dick's chest swell. "Well?"

Instead of answering, Jason crawled forward on his hands with a predatory smirk that made Dick giggle. Before he could step away, Jason was slinking his arms around Dick's waist and pressing tantalizing kisses into the small of his back and working his way up to Dick's neck. Dick's body responded instantaneously, and he buzzed with the sensation as Jason nuzzled just behind Dick's ear.

"What if I don't want you to go?" he murmured. Dick grinned and placed his own hands on top of Jason's twined ones that held him fast.

"Don't you ever get tired of following me to piss?" Dick joked buoyantly. Jason hummed and shrugged.

"Not if it means I can get you in  the shower again," he purred, brushing his lips across Dick's skin. Dick gasped lightly and swallowed, trying to regain himself.

"I'm a big boy, Jaybird, I can shower all by myself," came Dick's cheeky response.

"But isn't it so much more fun with a partner?" Jason countered, nipping at Dick's shoulder. Dick shivered and felt his eyes flutter as Jason's hand sneaked up his chest.

"Like the time before," Jason continued, reaching his goal and tweaking Dick's nipple gently. Dick's breathing stuttered softly, and his head lolled back against Jason's chest. "And the time before that," he circled the skin teasingly before flicking it and sending a spasm into Dick's belly. "And the time before that, and so on." Dick was panting by the time Jason paused in his ministrations, and Dick gulped a bout of fresh air into his lungs.

"I seem to recall that most of those ended on the bed or bent over the desk," Dick insinuated with flushed amusement.

"And I seem to remember you begging for more, and moaning my name every time," Jason pressed a fierce kiss onto his back, and Dick blushed.

"Not every time, surely," Dick complained. He felt Jason's lips pull into a smile against his back.

"Most of them," he conceded. "I bet I can make you do it again." Dick shuddered, already half hard at the suggestion, and knew that it wouldn't be a wise bet to take. Before he could come up with any sort of witty report, though, Red Hood's phone rang from across the room where his suit lay discarded. Both men stiffened, making Jason's arms around him tighten almost uncomfortably before Jason moved to take it with a sigh. Dick jutted his lip out when he was left with the cold of Jason's absence, and he collapsed onto the bed in a pout. But he still got a nice view, he decided, craning his neck as Jason collected the phone in all his toned, naked glory.

"Hood," he answered in a flat tone, going quiet as one of his henchmen spoke on the other end. Dick watched curiously and blinked as Jason nodded along.

"Did they? That's cute," His voice sounded sarcastic and mildly amused.

"No, don't retaliate, it's not worth the manpower. I'll take care of Black Mask myself," his voice was tinged with dark promise as his expression twisted into something that made Dick squirm uncomfortably.

"Back to work. Nothing's changed," Jason snapped, before ending the call and dropping his hand down to his side with a wild eyed gleam.

"Everything...okay?" Dick dared to ask, snapping Jason's attention back to him. The dark countenance dissipated as Jason blinked at him, and he dropped the phone without a thought as he padded back toward Dick.

"Actually, everything's perfect," Jason grinned with a fierce triumph. Dick arched a brow in question as Jason sat back down gingerly beside him. "Black Mask attacked one of my clubs," he explained, and Dick's eyes popped in alarm and he bolted up straight.

"Relax, relax," Jason hushed before Dick could say anything. "This is good. I've been waiting for him to make a move; he's finally getting desperate, which mean's he'll break any day now."

"That's..." Dick flicked his eyes anxiously around, searching for something to say. "Good?" 

"Yes."

"But what are you waiting for? Isn't an outright attack enough for you?" Dick blurted out in obvious confusion.

"I'm paying him a visit tonight at his penthouse to egg him on," Jason grinned, serving only to send Dick's head spinning further.

"Why?"

Jason paused, weighing the pros and cons of answering Dick's qualms very carefully, and Dick knew he'd stumbled into something huge. This was end game, huge.

"He's going to break the Joker out to kill me, that's why," Jason finally answered in a quiet concession. Dick froze, and a chill crept up his spine involuntarily. The Joker? A flash of a white, cackling face invaded his mind, and he shook the memory away vehemently.

"No, Jason, you can't," Dick interjected urgently. Jason frowned cautiously and tilted his head.

"Why not?" he asked with a hint of poison tinging the question.

"He's locked up. Way up. He hasn't seen sunlight since-" a mangled purple suit and the smell of blood flashed again, and Dick started to panic. "After he was apprehended for...killing you. Even if you exploited Black Mask's connections, you're risking dozens...hundreds of lives just to kill him."

"Isn't that why he'd be better off dead?" Jason retorted coldly, and Dick grimaced as his jaw opened and closed wordlessly. "He's filled thousands of graves, including my own. He's destroyed countless lives, and hurt everyone he's ever come in contact with. That filth should have been dead a long time ago, that's not up for debate," Jason's growl was hard. Dick couldn't argue even if he wanted to; he knew Jason had a point, he knew the injustice Joker had dealt, and the thought of the pain Jason had bore, and still suffered from to this day was enough to choke back any counter reasoning. But the thing is... Jason was a slave to his own pain, and Dick knew by all too well that if he tried to carry this out, he'd lose his what was left of his humanity.

"Please," Dick whispered, staring up at Jason, wounded. "You don't understand-"

"Don't fucking tell me I'm the one who doesn't understand!" he snarled, lifting off the bed in a storm of movement. "We're done talking about this, Dick. Go take a shower!" Dick recoiled, stung at the words and gulped back a thick lump forming in his throat. The ankle restraint was unlocked hastily and yanked away as Jason turned his back on Dick unforgivingly.

"Jason-"

"Go," he snapped, pointing toward the bathroom acidly. Dick obeyed without another word.

Jason had gone from sweet lover to...to rabid so fast, Dick's head was spinning with each sluggish, reluctant step. He closed the bathroom door carefully behind him and -though Red Hood could kick it down if he really wanted- he quickly clicked the small lock on the handle. He sank to the tile floor and hugged his knees sullenly, and it was a long time before he convinced himself to get up, shuck the borrowed sweatpants off, and turn on the water.

He had to have been in there for an hour or more, motionless under the hot stream and barely paying attention as he mindlessly scrubbed his body. Jason was going to kill the Joker, or...or do something, anyway. What did Jason have in mind? What was Batman's part going to be in this? 

...What was Dick's?

This was going to get bad. Really bad, and Dick couldn't stop it.

What if Jason got hurt again?

What if Bruce got hurt, or killed...by Jason?

His heart was racing as he finally turned the water off, letting the droplets race idly down his legs as he stood there. What was he supposed to do?

He stepped out of the shower numbly and toweled off, redressing slowly as the inevitability of opening the door and facing Jason again loomed nearer. He brushed his teeth with Jason's toothbrush to stall further, and even flossed for once in his life. When there was nothing possible left to do for his hygiene, Dick clenched his teeth with all the courage he had and finally unlocked the door.

Jason was hunched over the desk quietly, fully dressed in body armor sans helmet, fiddling with something that tinked and clinked every couple of seconds; he was cleaning his pistols. He didn't turn around when Dick emerged, and Jason's broad back served as the wall dividing them into seperate lands. Dick's shoulders sagged as he hesitated, glancing between him and the bed as his stomach twisted into knots. He glanced quickly in the other direction where the door stood not even a foot away from his left hand. It was almost tempting; no chains to hold him back, a decent 5 seconds head start, and then he'd have just a few seconds to warn Bruce about Jason's plan from a phone booth. But he'd almost certainly get caught again before any real help could come for him, and well... Dick knew where he'd end up if that happened. But Jason's phone, on the other hand, was still discarded a few feet away, and if he were quick enough, he could send a text to Bruce's number. He'd memorized it long ago, so all he'd have to do was hold Jason off for 20 seconds, and he could send a code purple.

He'd still probably end up back in the Hole, but... one glance towards Jason silent frame and Dick decided that saving him from making this mistake might just be worth it. He took a single, silent step forward and immediately stooped down to grab the phone and bring it to life with a click of the power button. He swiped hastily to unlock it, and that was when he heard the startled scrape of the stool. He panicked as he clicked on the Compose Message icon, and had to dodge away when Jason launched at him.

"Dick, what the hell are you doing?!" Jason roared, tackling him successfully this time. Dick twisted and kicked him back desperately as he punched in the number and struggled to swipe out the message. He'd just barely finished spamming the last letter as Jason wrenched his legs apart painfully and twisted the limb with a snarl. Dick cried out in pain as his knee spasmed and cracked, and Jason quickly snatched the phone just before he could hit send. Dick whimpered and clutched his knee as tears pricked the corners of his eyes; he'd failed.

"What the hell is Code P?" Jason growled, yanking him up by the napes of hair on the back of his neck. Dick gasped in pain and squeezed his eyes shut tight to block it out.

"P-purple. Joker...," Dick seered out through clenched teeth. Jason released him with a huff, and Dick fell to the floor in a heap. Jason grunted in fury as he stepped over Dick and rifled into one of his duffel bags. Dick choked when he pulled out the shackles, and tried to inch away helplessly until Jason clenched a fist around his injured leg and yanked him back. Dick panicked and lashed out as Jason tried to snag one of his wrists.

"No, no," Dick pleaded, fighting and pushing Jason away listlessly. Jason hissed as Dick managed to land a solid smack on his cheek, and Dick was so surprised that Jason caught him and shackled the first wrist.

"Jason, please," Dick cried, holding his free arm out away from Jason in a fruitless attempt.

"Give me your arm, Dick, or so help me you'll go back into the Hole," Jason seethed, jerking him forward and catching his wrist as Dick choked.

"You're not-...aren't you sending me back there, anyway?" Dick hiccoughed roughly as Jason dragged him to the bed, rather than towards the door.

"Is that what you want?" The words were sharp and cut him like a blade and Jason glared down at him.

"No."

Jason tossed him onto the bed and bolted him down with the chains, same as the first night in the loft. Dick sniffled as the tears flowed down his cheeks unchecked, and Jason turned away from him with a heaving pant.

"Dick, you idiot, you almost ruined everything," Jason pinched the bridge of his nose angrily.

"I was trying to save you," Dick mustered up with a whisper. Jason stared at him, unimpressed and bleak for several seconds.

"It's too late for that."

Chapter Text

Jason had disappeared that night to pay a visit to Black Mask, like he'd promised. Dick had watched him go motionless and silently, limbs heavy with failure and surrender. He'd stared at the ceiling blankly for hours, and didn't even bother to acknowledge it when he started shivering, or aching with hunger.

Tonight was the night Jason pushed Black Mask over the edge. This game he was playing was coming to a close, and Jason was going win, but... lose everything. Maybe he should have told Jay that it had already been done...that he'd felt the clown's throat close and choke off under his own two hands. That he'd beaten and strangled the damn Joker until his heart stopped beating and the last laugh died on his scarlet lips.

He should have mentioned that the moment Dick realized what he'd done, he'd been ripped apart. This was on Jason's behalf, and it nearly cost Dick his soul, if Batman hadn't resuscitated Joker just in time. A full body cast still couldn't make up for the crime's Joker committed, but death at Nightwing's hands had cost him hundreds of sleepless, nightmare ridden nights and flashbacks for months every time he even closed his eyes. If Jason himself killed the clown, and destroyed Batman like he promised the night he'd taken Dick, then he'd lose everything that made him Jason, and he'd become someone else...someone dark.

But the idiot was determined to make it happen, anyway, and Dick had tried to stop him.

Dick tormented himself for hours imagining the shell of a being that Jason would become, and despaired at the loss of that cheeky smile and those gentle eyes. He was going to lose Jason all over again, whether he succeeded or not, and it would only hurt worse.

Jason returned hours later standing tall and proud, letting Dick know that he'd completed his task in scaring the shit out of the Black Mask. Dick's heart plummeted; this would go down sooner rather than later. Dick sighed softly and turned towards the wall, avoiding the sight of Jason's grin as he tore off his helmet.

"Mazel Tov!" Jason's voice rang out, but the joy did nothing to reach Dick at all. "I brought pasta to celebrate the win," he offered, rustling a brown bag of take out. It may as well have fallen on deaf ears. "Come on, Dick, at least when this is over, you can go home and never have to worry about that clown again." Dick huffed, and it would have sounded angry if he'd put any energy into it.

"Awesome," Dick mumbled flatly to the gray walls. "Now all I have to do is worry about you murdering Bruce, or getting thrown into Arkham at the end of the day." Jason fell silent at Dick's dry response, and Dick remained heavy and still.

"Dick, the plan was never to kill Bruce," Jason interrupted the silence with a strange tone.

"Just to destroy everything he stands for, right?" Dick quoted, finally letting a touch of bitterness out with his words. "Isn't that what you're using me for?"

"Dick," Jason sounded surprised. He heard the bag and the helmet slide to the floor, and tried not to cringe as the sound of heavy boots padded over.

"Don't," he warned as Jason's fingers brushed against his arm. Jason flinched his hand away, choosing instead to sink down onto the mattress a few inches away from him.

"Honestly," Jason admitted reluctantly, "I originally took you to piss Bruce off. It was supposed to be like, a two day thing, with Pretend- Robin," he amended quickly as Dick threw a glare back at him. "To get under his skin a little and to send a little hint. But...when you begged for his life, and told me you couldn't bear to lose him like you lost me-" this is when Jason actually choked uncomfortably, and Dick turned around to gauge if Jason was really telling the truth. By the way Jason grimaced when Dick stared at him, and reached to stroke his own arm as a defense mechanism, it was true.

"I-...I didn't know it was you at the time," Dick swallowed, recounting the memory for himself.

"But that's still what you meant, right?" Jason implored, searching as he met Dick's eyes again. Dick nodded honestly after a beat.

"I mentioned before that I'd...had a thing for you for a while, right?" Jason's cheeks were turning a light pink, and Dick frowned slightly, nodding as he remembered.

"When you said you you couldn't go through it again, it...killed me to see how much pain you were in, and all I wanted to do was tell you the truth. I knew that meant keeping you away from Batman, but it was the first sign that anyone had actually missed me in this god forsaken town, and I just...couldn't resist. It was you," he explained, chewing on his cheek and chipping at his nails nervously.

"Jason," Dick voiced, blinking in quiet astonishment. The younger man shrugged and couldn't quite meet his gaze.

"You seemed awfully closed off and downright mean when you put me in that hellhole," Dick accused, causing Jason to wince. Dick crossed his arms unapologetically.

"I was...worried you'd just say what I wanted to hear, just to escape and run home to daddy Bats and join his 'You Need Help, Jason' crusade," Jason replied, shrugging awkwardly. "I wanted you to understand. I still do," Jason admitted further, and Dick closed his lips in contemplation.

"I was never angry about my death; I died fighting and protecting what I loved," Jason's jaw clenched determinedly. "I made a mistake, and it cost me. That was never the issue; he doesn't understand that I'm so angry at him because he let that bastard get away with it. I was his partner, and he just let me die in vain," Jason's brows were furrowed hard, and his fists were balled. Dick's breath hitched in his throat.

"And then he replaced me...like I was nothing. What's the point of being a martyr if he's just going to keep making the same mistake?! He's gotta learn at some point-"

"Jason," Dick reached out and placed a soothing hand on the man's arm. Jason grimaced angrily, but calmed his breathing enough to uncoil his muscles and return Dick's touch.

"Please don't try to say that what he did was okay, or try to make it up for him. I know how badly he suffered," Jason muttered quietly. "He never got over the last time someone died in his arms, why would he this time? But he never corrected it, to make sure nothing like that ever happened again," Jason mused, clearly growing more upset again with every word.

"People can learn from their mistakes, Jason,"  Dick offered in turn, stroking the man's hand softly. Jason sneered silently, but at the thought rather than at Dick; he was returning Dick's affection absently and meeting Dick's fingers with his own. "He watches over Tim and gives him strict rules that he never gave us; Tim never gets to see a lot of the main fights, he does most of the background work, and low level street fighting only."

"He chased down the Red Hood twice, clearly Bruce isn't keeping that much of an eye on him," Jason retorted sourly. Dick rolled his eyes.

"First of all, how many times did you give Batman the slip and disobey orders just for giggles? Or me? That's hardly a fair observation. And second...You know, he doesn't weasel around Bruce's rules nearly as often as we did, but he follows his instincts when he feels his help is needed, and he's so smart, Jason. Smarter than either of us were," he smiled, remembering the clever little boy's tale and pictures to boot about how he'd figured them out.

"He'd been tailing Batman since I was in my final years as Robin; he'd snapped photos of you and Bruce busting a street gang and chasing a bank robber, and thousands of others. He was heartbroken when you died, because he knew what happened when Bruce announced your 'car crash' and Robin stopped showing up. He's the reason Bruce is still sane right now...mostly," Dick continued passionately. "I can't make excuses for Bruce, you're absolutely right he's made some...a lot of mistakes," Jason glanced up with pleasant awe that Dick was agreeing with him. "But Tim wasn't one of them. Neither was holding on to his humanity, but that's debatable, obviously."

"Let's just agree to disagree on that last part," Jason nodded carefully. "But as for the kid? If he's really that clever and bull headed, maybe he was gonna end up a vigilante, anyway."

"You know, Bruce used to think the same about you," Dick chimed, crawling closer. Jason snorted.

"He thought I'd use my ass kicking powers for evil," Jason rolled his eyes.

"But he saw potential, right? And here you are, back from the dead because you're so stubborn and strong willed, fighting for justice." Dick chuckled, brushing his hand through Jay's hair. That was probably a stretch, since this was self serving justice, but justice none the less. "Tim has a potential to be the best one of us, because he brings out the best in all of us. Give him the benefit of the doubt."

"Fine," Jason consented warily. "The kid's not a bad Robin. But Batman still needs to learn a lesson."

"And how are you going to do that?" Dick asked, frowning in concern. Jason contemplated in silence for a minute, then pecked a small kiss against Dick's lips.

"I'm going to force him to correct his mistake," he replied simply.

"You're going...to make him kill the Joker?" Dick repeated in astonished horror.

"Or make him choose to watch as I kill him and live with it," Jason nodded firmly. Dick's expression shifted to grief.

"Oh, Jason," he choked. This had already happened... Joker had been dead on the ground, and Batman had watched in horror as Dick committed the murder. History was just going to repeat itself again... Batman wasn't going to let that happen, he'd already proved that.

"I-...I need to tell you something," he strangled out as Joker's last, gasping breath replayed in his mind.

"What is it, Big Wing?"

Dick closed his eyes and sucked in a shallow breath.

"The Joker...the Joker was killed a few months after your death. Beaten and strangled...by my own hand, after I found out about what he did to you," Dick trembled, fighting to keep control of his breathing as his chest burned hollowly at the memory.

"What the hell- no, no. You're bull shitting, how is he still alive then?!" Jason gaped, bug eyed in horror. "Please don't tell me-"

"Bruce did it," Dick confirmed, gulping down his guilt. Jason nearly fell back in disbelief, and choked on his own emotions. "Bruce gave him CPR and revived him just in time. He was in a full body suit for over six months...because of me. I nearly- I did, I murdered him," Dick's voice broke, and he shoved his face into his hands to hide the tears. "It destroyed me, J-Jason. He's an evil pile of filth, but when I took his life, it scarred me forever," he sniffled. "I was in therapy for over a year because I couldn't stop seeing those dead, beady, demonic eyes, and Bruce banished me from Gotham for almost three because of what I did." Dick rubbed the tears away hastily and managed to sneak a look up at Jason, who hadn't moved from his frozen state.

"You can't do that to Bruce," Dick whispered hoarsely. "Don't make him cross that line. He couldn't even do it when I'd already done it for him. And frankly, I wouldn't wish that kind of trauma on Bruce or... anyone. Even...even if it is on someone like the Joker."

"That's- you're not-" Jason stuttered, blinking furiously, trying not to believe Dick's story. Dick hung his head miserably, and Jason fell silent again.

"You really-" he forced out finally, unable to even finish the sentence.

"Yes."

"Then...why," Jason scrambled, wracking his brains and mussing his hair with both his hands frantically. "Why did Bruce bring him back?!" he shrieked, and Dick's heart ached at the pain and confusion written all over his face. Dick sniffed, and reached out for him pleadingly.

"Because he saw what it had done to me. I'm sorry, I- I couldn't take it," Dick was crying now, and Jason's jaw was slacked in shock. To his surprise, though, Jason didn't recoil in disgust, or scoff, or get angry about Dick's weakness, or even Batman. Instead, he felt Jason's hands stroke Dick's arms soothingly before embracing around his back and crushing him against the mesh of his body armor that he'd forgotten to remove. Dick choked out a whimper, wriggling from the discomfort of the shackles biting into his arms, then let himself start to sob as the memory replayed and rewinded over and over full force.

"It's alright," Jason soothed, smoothing through Dick's hair comfortingly. Dick gasped for breath through each painful sob, and clutched Jason's chest, and Jason held him fast.

"It's not," Dick shook his head miserably. "I should've been able to just let him go, it could've ended right there. Then maybe when you came back, it wouldn't have h-hurt you so much, but I- I..."

"Shhh," Jason breathed, and Dick just wept.

Chapter Text

Dick had cried himself to sleep that night in Jason's arms. Jason hadn't said a word, save the small moments of comforting mumbles he whispered into Dick's ear. Jason had even done away with the restraints, shedding them away, as well as the Red Hood garb so he could hold Dick more closely in his arms. His dreams were plagued with nightmares of blood on his hands, and cackling laughter from mangled corpses, but Jason was always there each time he woke up to soothe him back to sleep.

When morning came, Dick and Jason both sported dark circles under their eyes, and neither of them spoke for the first hour of consciousness. But it was nice to feel Jason's warmth and solid weight at his back, calming and protecting him.

"Good morning," Dick rasped finally, breaking the thick silence.

"Morning," Jason murmured in turn, thumb stroking a small circle into Dick's ribs. "Are you hungry?" Dick nodded tersely and swallowed as his stomach waned and constricted for emphasis. He hadn't eaten yesterday, after all.

"I still have the pasta somewhere over there, if you want," Jason offered.

"Cold pasta for breakfast?" Dick quirked his lips up tiredly. "You must be one of the cold pizza advocates, too."

"Don't knock it," Jason smirked playfully. This was nice, Dick decided; simple and easy. He could work with this.

"Alright, I could go for some pasta," Dick conceded, dragging himself into an upright position. "But if it's too disgusting, I'm sending you on a donut run," he warned, and Jason snorted. 

The salads were limp and wasted, but the breadsticks were pliable enough, and the pasta itself was surprisingly good; it had been sealed in a bowl, so the alfredo sauce was still moist, and the grilled chicken tasted fantastic, cold or not. Dick finished with a satisfied hum, and leaned back into the pillows quietly.

"So do you still need those donuts?" Jason asked after swallowing a mouthful of bread stick.

"Raincheck, for now," Dick replied softly with a smile. Jason nodded and continued scarfing his food, and honestly, that was kind of cute.

"Are you going out today?" Dick wandered aloud against all hope. Jason paused his chewing and swallowed in contemplation.

"I can afford a day in. I'm expecting a call, though," Jason warned, making Dick's heart sink ever so slightly.

"The call?" Dick winced, asking for clarification of course. Jason nodded, and Dick sunk his head down in disappointment and worry; Jason was still going through with the Joker thing, then.

"Let's not...dwell on it, okay?" Jason pleaded gently, lifting Dick's head up by tilting his chin. "Let's spend the day together. I could rent a few movies?" he offered. Dick bit his lip reluctantly, but conceded to Jason's hopeful eyes.

"You'd have to rent a TV, too," Dick pointed out, the ghost of humor slowly returning to him.

"Done," Jason grinned, gesturing to the large duffel by the door filled with cash. Oh, yeah, Dick chided himself. Red Hood was loaded, a TV and a few movies weren't gonna be any trouble.

"Okay, Mr. Cocky-Richman. I expect chili dogs, popcorn, sour gummy worms and a proper soda; none of this bottled water nonsense," Dick grinned mischievously. Jason groaned at him, shaking his head.

"You're giving me a cavity just talking about all that sugar. I'm totally down for the dogs, though," Jason brightened up with glee.

"Your favorites, right?" Dick nudged him playfully.

"Always," Jason chuckled.

...........

Dick and Jason collapsed beside each other on the bed in a heap as they panted, riding through the aftershocks of their orgasms. They'd missed half of their fourth movie by now, ignoring it anyway as it continued to play on the abandoned laptop Jason had bought.

It was the third time that evening that they'd gotten heated and indulged each other, and Dick was left panting and groaning languidly as he nuzzled into Jason's arm.

"You're insatiable," Jason gasped softly, bending down to kiss Dick's sweaty forehead. Dick hummed tiredly with a smile and snaked his arms tightly around Jason's waist.

"I want this to last," Dick admitted, kissing Jason's pectoral tenderly. "I... don't know if we'll ever get this again, and I don't want it to go away."

"I don't see why we can't be like this later," Jason frowned, stroking Dick's shoulder.

"What if something happens to you?" Dick countered. "What if something goes wrong, and you get killed? Or if Batman stops you and drags you away from me in handcuffs?" Jason's face fell, and his eyes hardened at the ceiling.

"Have faith in me, will you?" Jason muttered, and Dick bit himself back guiltily.

"I'm...trying, it's just that what you're doing is-" Dick squirmed uncomfortably, and Jason swatted his ass, making him yelp.

"Don't worry about it. I know what it did to you, and I'm not gonna let it happen to you again. I'm strong enough to take this on, I can make Bruce see, I can end this," Jason promised. "And then when it's over, you and I can leave; go wherever, kick some ass...make some love," he cooed, brushing his lips across Dick's jaw. Dick hummed and flushed at the thought, just him and Jason, free to roam under the sky and choose an apartment somewhere and furniture...hold hands, make out and have each other like a real couple.

You said the L word," Dick teased, nipping at Jason's lips. Jason snatched the opportunity and silenced him with a deep kiss. Dick's body responded like fireworks and lightning underneath Jason's touch, and he moaned into his, curling his legs around Jason's hips.

"Again?" Jason arched his brows in surprise.

"If you're up for it one more time," Dick grinned. Jason smirked, and met his lips with vigor, always up for that challenge.

..................

Dick was pleasantly drowzy and sore as the final movie came to a close. His eyes were drooping and his blinked himself firmly awake every time he caught himself dozing off. This had been the sweetest day with Jason in his life; he got to see him laugh at the dumb action sequences in the films, fed each other messy chili dogs that fell apart at the seams, talked with him for hours and hours about anything and everything from city's to look into to if Dick should cut his hair. Not to mention their several rounds of carnality they enjoyed with each other.

Their hands were laced together lazily, now, and Dick kept losing himself in the soft, stroking touches across his back. He never wanted this night to end, but...

The phone inevitably rang out over the credits, and Dick stiffened, wide awake and alert now as Jason tried to sit up.

"I have to get that," Jason nudged gently, though Dick tightened his arms reluctantly. Jason sighed and forced his way out of Dick's arms, crushing Dick then and there as he stalked over to pick up the phone.

"Hood." Dick let his head fall against the mattress dully as he only barely listened; he already knew what this was.

"Good. I'm on my way," Jason affirmed before closing the call and turning back towards Dick.

"Joker was lifted last night. He's making a scene on Gotham Bridge... I have to go," Jason stated firmly, no room for bargain. Dick stared at him in silence as he dressed, armoring up quickly in poorly hidden excitement; this is what Jason had been waiting for. He finished at last with his trademark leather jacket and his footsteps thudded and echoed as he made his way back to where Dick lay on the bed. He knelt down, and Dick frowned at him.

"Don't look at me like that, Dick," Jason's jaw clenched in an expression that almost resembled remorse. "After tonight, it'll all be over. I promise." Dick chewed on his lip uncertainly, and Jason's eyes saddened.

"Will you at least give me one last kiss?" he begged, reaching out for Dick's hand, and Dick relented. He pushed himself up carefully and crawled over, reaching around Jason's abdomen tightly and embracing him as he pressed their lips together in a wet, open kiss.

The cold clink of metal clasped around his ankle sooner than he expected, and he pulled back in hurt shock as the chain rattled.

"Jason-" the name sounded like an accusation, and Jason stood up with a grim, sad countenance.

"I'm sorry, Dick. I'll be back later, and you'll never have to see those damn things again," Jason promised, casting a lingering gaze over Dick's betrayed face before steeling himself and turning towards the door.

"Jason, no," Dick called out as Jason donned his Red Hood.

"Goodnight, Dick," the metallic voice wished before Jason whisked out the door and closed it behind him, leaving Dick alone.

He didn't cry this time as the sound of Jason's footsteps faded down the metal staircase outside. But he waited an extra three minutes for good measure before opening his hand and staring at the small, silver key he'd lifted from Jason's pocket. It almost made his head spin how easily he'd been able to do it; Jason had been so caught up kissing and sneaking the shackle in that it hadn't even been a challenge. He'd expected this, and planned for it; now he could just unlock himself and follow after the man.

He took a shaky breath as the restraint tinked open at the beckoning of the key, and gasped in victory as he stood to his feet.

He had to find his Nightwing suit, and maybe borrow some boots and other necessities from Jason's duffel. If he was quick, he might be able to stop Jason from apprehending the Joker altogether and stop the whole thing before it got out of hand.

"I'm coming, Jason," he promised, breaking for the door.

 

Chapter Text

Jason's heart thundered in his chest as he dragged the clown out of the river by his collar. It had been a nasty fall from where they started at the bridge, but thanks to his body armor, all he got was the wind knocked out of him. The Joker, however, was unconscious from the fall, making this next part a little easier. Jason hauled the maniac to the waiting car, binding him up and throwing him into the trunk none too gently. He tapped a gadget in his arm and brought it up to his helmet with a sneer.

"I have him, Batman. If you want him, meet me in crime alley." The transmission ended before he let Bruce have a chance to reply, and then he ignited the engine to life and sped away toward the abandoned complex where he'd set everything up.

Joker awoke the moment Hood threw him into an old, moth eaten apartment floor and he choked on weak laughter.

"Well, well, looks like we're having a sleepover, huh?" Jason snarled at the clown as he pulled his mask off and tossed it to the side. "What's next? Pizza? Charades? A little truth or dare? I pick truth, Hoodsie."

"Quiet down," Jason barked, kicking the clown roughly as he unzipped a waiting duffel bag, grabbing the cold metal rod in his hands with an iron grip. He'd remember how brutal and merciless the bite of this fucker was; he remembered every crack of shattered bone, every spray of blood as the gashes split on his face and the fire as his lung punctured in his chest.

"What'cha got in the bag? Goodies?" he giggled as Jason pulled the crowbar out in full view. He was going to hurt this animal and make him fucking pay.

"Oh," Joker blinked with beady, curious eyes. "You mentioned that we'd met before... And you do seem...awfully familiar. Did we maybe blow up a school bus together?" he cooed in his aggravating innocent chatter.

"Try again," Jason grit his teeth as he loomed slowly closer, watching as the clown's eyes widened in fear.

"Come on tell me, more kid," he giggled. "Who are you?" Jason sneered and struck him three times with the brunt of the crowbar, relishing Joker's gasps as the force of it bit into him.

"I'm just someone you helped make," Jason offered his reply, kneeling down and yanking the clown forward by his ugly green tie.

"That's pretty cryptic," Joker grinned through a wheeze of air. Jason narrowed his eyes. "But interesting. Tell me more."

Jason shoved the bastard back onto his back and whipped him again angrily.

"Sure. Listen up," he sneered coldly. "What hurts worse? Forehand-" the crowbar thwacked against the clown's cheek, "-or backhand?" After shrieking in pain, the Joker shuddered and laughed when he finally realized.

"Oh, you know...only hurts when I laugh. But more importantly, heh...Jason? Is that you?" he hummed giddily. "I thought I killed you. Yeesh, guess I didn't hit you hard enou-" Jason cut him off with a heavy whack to the chest.

"Oh, you did, you should be proud," Jason retorted, hitting him once, twice, three times again. Joker moaned weakly, already bleeding and purpling in some places and Jason paused to admire his handiwork.

"I just came back to make sure to repay every blow."

Joker shrieked as Jason struck him until the clown lost consciousness once more. Jason was heaving with furious adrenaline as he dropped the bar, which clanged against the floor loudly.

It was almost time for the finale, Batman would show in the alley any minute, now. He hurried and tied the maniac to a chair, hiding him hastily away into the closet before pulling the helmet roughly back on. He smiled as he heard the rumble of a familiar engine, and glared down the window below to see Batman stepping out and surveying the area around him.

It was time, he decided, propping the glass open and leaping out, sliding surreptitiously down into the alley behind Batman.

"Reminiscing about the good ole' times?" Jason called out, startling Batman as he whipped around into a defensive crouch. Batman frowned, and Jason smirked through his helmet.

"Ah, memories, right?" he taunted, taking a daunting step forward.

"This ends tonight, Jason," Batman barked angrily. Jason scoffed, reaching into his jacket for a few blast bombs.

"No one knows that better than me."

.......................

Dick was launching himself wildly through the sky, searching frantically for any sign of Jason. He'd disappeared after falling from the bridge, and Dick was terrified when he couldn't find a trace of him anywhere after that. But he did see the Batplane searching and circling around. He paused to watch it and see if the vehicle picked anything up, but rather than zoom off further down the river, the plane paused, slowing down and idling which made Dick frown. Bruce must have caught on to something. In an instant, the plane had turned about face and took off racing towards the inner city.

Jason was alive, Dick choked in relief. If he'd been dead, Bruce would have collected the body and gone back to the mansion, and if he were still missing, the plane would have gone downstream to keep searching. Jason must have sent a transmission for a rendezvous. Dick wasted no time in setting off after them.

 He followed quickly, falling behind some as he chased the plane, but catching back up as Batman opted to call the Batmobile once the buildings started looming too close for comfort. Dick cursed silently, wishing like hell he had his grappling hook, but making do with pushing himself faster across the roofs as he trailed after the car.

It finally pulled to a stop in crime alley, and after an eerie moment of still silence, Dick was just a few buildings away when he heard the blasts and an ungodly metal screech ring out from the alley.

"No!" Dick cursed, flying fast and arriving up top just in time to view them swiping at each other and grappling higher away from the other in a steady climb. Dick's eyes trailed after them as Red Hood goaded Bruce on.

Finally, Bruce had Jason by the lapels of his jacket, and after an exchange of heated words, suddenly a bursting blaze erupted on the leather, and Dick screamed. Jason quickly shucked the jacket and let it whirl down the stories below without a second glance as he leapt away and into an open, waiting window on the opposite building. Batman followed quickly, and so did Dick.

He was flipping over the edge of the roof onto the fire escape, then scaling down the wall and leaping to grab the terrace of the apartment building. He grunted in pain as his torso slammed against the bricks, but pulled himself up and scaled over to the shattered window, hoping he could interrupt them before they killed each other.

The bathroom that he'd entered was an absolute wreck: the sink was shattered, and so was the mirror that used to rest above it, the toilet was fractured in two, and there was a nasty looking, human sized hole in the side of the tub that he hoped hadn't been from Jason's body. His heart started hammering when he noticed the fractured remains of Jason's helmet lying on the floor, and he swallowed painfully, silently begging the gods that Jason wasn't too hurt. The most noticeable damage, however, was the blatant chunk of wall that was missing as it spilled out into the hallway. He could hear their voices clearly now, and Dick slowly, quietly made his way to the hall, stepping carefully over the mess of carnage.

" Ignoring what he's done in the past. Blindly, stupidly disregarding the entire graveyards he's filled, the thousands who have suffered, the friends he's crippled. You know, I thought... I thought I'd be the last person you'd ever let him hurt. If it had been you that he beat to a bloody pulp, if he had taken you from this world, I would've done nothing but search the planet for this pathetic pile of evil, death-worshiping garbage and then send him off to hell!" It was Jason's voice, and he sounded wounded and angry. Dick's heart panged for the man, and he peered stealthily around the wall to catch a peak. All he could see was Jason's back, with a familiar purple coat visible between his legs where Joker was wheezing on the floor.

"You don't understand. I don't think you've ever understood," Bruce's voice was broken and soft, and Dick craned his neck trying to peek at the man's face from under Jason's shoulder.

"What? What, your moral code just won't allow for that? It's too hard to cross that line?" Dick cringed at the words and wanted to whine; he'd explained this to Jason, already, why didn't he understand?

"No! God Almighty," Bruce cursed loudly, piercing the air and making Dick flinch reflexively. "It'd be too damned easy! All I've ever wanted to do is kill him. A day doesn't go by when I don't think about subjecting him to every horrendous torture he's dealt out to others and then... end him."

"Then why...didn't you?" Jason's voice was hoarse now, and Dick squirmed. Should he make his move, yet? Or should he let them keep talking until the last second?

"I know you revived him, Bruce," Jason snarled with rage, making the clown suddenly giggle.

"You heard about that, huh? Old Nightwing shoving a middle finger in Batsy's face and throttling me with his bare hands until I was good and dead? Oh, you should have seen the look on Daddy Bats face when he gave me the kiss of life," he cackled, and Dick felt sick. Jason stomped on the psychopath, making him yelp as he knelt down and put the gun against his temple threateningly.

"You're gonna be quiet as possible...or I'm putting one in your lap first," he warned dangerously.

"Party pooper," Joker mumbled. "No cake for you."

"I didn't have a choice, Jason. I could have let him go, I'd have gladly let him die if Nightwing weren't at stake. I would have let myself burn, but when I looked at him, I saw...I saw myself, where I would go and I couldn't," Bruce's voice was raw, and it brought tears burning into Dick's eyes. Bruce...

"If I crossed that line, I'd be a murderer. I'd become the monster I've been fighting for 20 years, and I wouldn't be able to come back. I couldn't allow Nightwing to go through that."

"Bullshit," Jason growled in outrage, standing back to his feet. "Don't suddenly act like this is about him, like you care. This is about you. You could have intervened and done it yourself! And it's not-... I'm not asking that you kill every thug and criminal you meet; this isn't Penguin, or-or Dent," he pleaded urgently now. "Just him," Jason kicked the clown for emphasis, earning a soft moan of pain. "Because he- he took me away from you. Isn't that enough? Isn't that worth his one, worthless garbage life?" Dick and Bruce both winced at Jason's words before Jason suddenly threw something at Bruce -his spare gun, Dick realized with a quiet gasp- and broke the chair that was restraining the Joker, yanking the clown up by the throat. "But I'm not giving you a choice anymore. I'm going to blow his deranged brains out. And if you wanna stop me, you're gonna have to shoot me. Right in my face!" Jason roared, and Dick's jaw dropped in horror. No, no, Jason what the hell are you doing?

"You know I won't-" Bruce was cut off by the Joker's enthused giggles.

"Oh, boy, this is turning out better than I thought. Great job, Jayja-rrgh!" Jason choked the clown off before Joker could finish his sentence.

"Choose, Bruce... right now!"

"Jason, stop!" Dick cried out, bolting out from his hiding spot and reaching out his arm. Jason jerked in surprise and pulled away to the side with the clown still carefully in tow.

"Nightwing," Bruce's voice was hoarse with shock. Dick nodded, but otherwise ignored the Bat in favor of turning his attention strictly to Jason.

"Jay... let him go," Dick pleaded softly, but Jason's eyes were glaring at him hard.

"You took the key," he realized. "And you're wearing my boots...and my domino," Jason remarked coolly in observation.

"I borrowed your spare gauntlets, too, but I'll give them back," Dick nodded, keeping him distracted and trying hard not to look at the gleeful, beady eyes of the clown's face as he watched the developments. "You have to stop, now, okay? Just let Batman take him. We can end this and go home." Jason's face softened imperceptibly, but he pressed his lips together in a thin line.

"You know I can't," Jason shook his head, pressing the barrel into Joker's temple hard enough to leave a mark. "Not until he makes his choice," he jerked his head toward Batman's motionless frame, who glared back at him stiffly.

"No." Bruce was cold as he shook his head and dropped the gun to the floor. The four men stared at the glittering metal as it clattered, and Jason glared back up at Batman in rage.

"What?" Jason snarled. "No, pick it up!" he demanded, but Bruce just turned away from it and shook his head. "You have to choose! It's him or me, Batman!"

"You, then!" Dick interrupted with an outcry, drawing the attention of all 6 eyes. "Who cares what he chooses? I'm choosing you," Dick begged, taking a step forward, only to have Jason hiss and cock his weapon. Dick froze and stared at his lover pleadingly. "If you want him dead that badly, then I'll do it, okay?" he trembled, reaching out his hand in a silent request for Jason's gun.

"Nightwing, stand down," Bruce barked, and Dick shivered as he shook his head defiantly.

"Nightwing, look at you, stepping up to bat like a big boy," Joker taunted and laughed. "Never thought you'd have it in you. Ready to try crushing my windpipe again? I'm down for the asphyxiation, I find it erotic," he sneered humorously. Dick recoiled in disgust as the clown burst into a fit of giddiness.

"But then your boyfriend here might get a little jealous. You know,actually, why not? I'd love a threesome," he taunted viciously with a cackle before Jason choked him again.

"Don't you speak to him, you filth," Jason growled wildly, jerking Joker up by the neck.

"Wait so you really are fucking the Golden Boy?" Joker wheezed out like he'd struck gold, and Dick cringed as Batman turned on him with his jaw dropped in shock. "Good for you, tiger. Have you let him fuck you yet? Or was that just for m-glrgh!" he gargled out painfully as Jason whipped his head with the butt of his gun.

"Shut UP!" Jason roared, as Dick and Bruce both choked in horror.

"Jay, no- tell me he didn't," Nightwing pleaded, shaking his head in denial. Jason was huffing with strained effort, and he swallowed visibly.

"You never autopsied me, so you never knew, did you?" Jason jabbed sharply at Bruce, who flinched.

"Jason, I'm so... I'm sorry-"

"Don't!" he snapped, interrupting. "You still think this rapist piece of shit deserves to live? Just because you're afraid of who you might become?! You wanna know what I became after he took everything from me?! Nothing! I was nothing! He destroyed me, Batman! And he'd do it again," Jason choked back, and Dick was covering his mouth as he tried to bite back sobs. 

"You're asking me to give up everything; you're taking everything from me! What makes you any better than him if you just turn me into you? I may be afraid, but damn it Jason, its for good reason. You're a killer. And I won't let you turn me into one just because you want to feel validated." Jason dropped his jaw in shock, and Dick gasped. That was so close to what Jason had accused of Dick several days ago. God, didn't they realize...just how similar they were? It almost made Dick want to laugh.

"Bastard," Jason hissed, turning the gun on Bruce just as Bruce turned his back to walk away.

"Jason, no!" Dick screamed, bolting forward to push Bruce out of the way. Bruce heard the gunshot and turned back in alarm just in time for Dick to shove him out of the way and gasp out as a blinding, seeing pain erupted into his back, just below his ribs.

"Fuck!" Dick cried out, collapsing to the ground and doubling over instinctively. That was a mistake, because his shaky vision blurred only further as his back spasmed and gushed something warm.

Immediately, am uproar of sound burst to life, sending Dick's head spinning.

"Nightwing!-"

"Dick, are you-?!"

"Oh, yes, yes, you've done it now, Hoodsie! Hee-heee-"

Dick choked and desperately tried to push himself up to gauge the situation, only for a black gauntlet to press him back down firmly with a familiar grunt.

"Don't try to move," Bruce instructed as heavy, thudding footsteps signaled Jason's hurried approach. "You stay back," Bruce barked threateningly.

"Fuck that," Jason retorted dryly, dropping to his knees hastily and bending over him with a thick, worried grimace. "Dick, I'm so sorry, are you-" wait, wait... If Bruce and Batman were right here...then.... Fuck-...it was so hard to think through the haze. Where was... Joker?

"Dick, baby, you gotta speak to me-"

"Nightwing, hang on-"

"Purgh-" Dick strangled out as Batman tried to shush and soothe him.

"Let him speak, damn it!" Jason snapped, batting Bruce's hands away and attempting to lift Dick's head. Batman shoved Jason's arm back, and Jason outright shoved him back. Dick groaned as Bruce and Jason struck each other, nearly outright coming to blows over Dick. But behind Jason, rising slowly as the ropes around his body slid loose, was the Joker. He was grinning wildly, and pressing a single finger against his scarlet lips in a "Shhhh," gesture as Dick started helplessly.

No, no, no, why weren't Bruce is Jason paying attention? He was going for Jason's discarded gun! Joker offered a silent snicker as he tip toed dramatically closer and closer towards the pistol Jason had dropped behind himself.

"P-" Dick strangled, just as Jason had grabbed Bruce by the collar and almost decked him.

"Purple!" Dick cried out with a soft gasp of pain. All at once, Bruce and Jason froze, and Joker made a sour expression at Nightwing.

"Spoil sport. Too late though," he grinned savagely, waving the gun giddily as Bruce and Jason whipped around. In a flurry of movement,  two batarangs  through the air and struck the clown's wrist.

Joker shrieked out as the blades pierced him. Instead of dropping the pistol, however,Joker squeezed the trigger reflexively and fired an aimless shot in recoil. Thankfully, it struck the drywall and no one was hurt, but Jason launched himself immediately into action afterward.

Dick didn't see much, but he could hear hard thudding of limbs and one nasty sounding crack that signaled something broke.

"Jason, don't-!" Bruce yelled gruffly, lifting up and moving immediately to intervene. Dick was alone now, panting erratically as he stained to see.

There was so much blood. Was that all...from him?? Dick whimpered as he rolled over, probably smearing blood all over his suit, but he couldn't worry about that now.

Jason, Bruce, and the Joker were all tangled in a furious scuffle. The Joker was howling with laughter as Jason and Bruce struck each other almost as much as they hit the clown. And Joker still carefully clutched the gun, too. Fuck.

Dick looked around frantically for something to throw, or distract, but found nothing available except-

Except the gun Batman had forsaken right in front of him. He didn't hesitate, but god damn it, it still burned like fire as he stretched to grab it. He clenched his teeth in angry determination before shuddering and collapsing limply.

Come on, come on, Grayson. With a hefty sigh, Dick lifted his arms and clenched his fingers tightly around the cold metal, but it still shook. If the two vigilantes would just stop moving, he could get a clear shot at the purple waist coat. 

Come on, come on...

Batman finally shoved Jason to the ground, and there was Joker, clear as day. Dick's head pounded as he cocked the gun....and fired.

Joker didn't even have time to make a quip before emitting a guttural gasp of air. The last thing Dick saw before collapsing into darkness was Batman's mouth falling open in shock, and Jason staring, frozen.

At least it was over, Dick sighed, letting  unconsciousness finally soothe him into oblivion.


 

 

Chapter Text

Light returned to Dick sometime later in the form of bright, florescent bulbs shining over head. His head felt thick, and limbs heavy as he tried to move, but the blinding pain in his back was thankfully contained to a dull ache.

He recognized the Cave, and realized he was tubed up and blanketed on one of the medical gourneys. Bruce must have brought him here and had Alfred remove the bullet. And whatever medicine they were dripping into his IV was good. It made him buzz comfortably, and he almost let himself lull back into hazy sleep when he heard a voice.

"Dick?" His eyes shot open, and there was Tim curled in a chair on the left in sweatpants and a ruffled T. How long had be been here? He perked up instantly when Dick hummed in response.

"Hey, kiddo," he croaked weakly. Tim hopped out of the seat with a relieved smile spreading across his face.

"God, I'm so glad you're back!" Tim planted himself at his side, and threw his arms around Dick's shoulders. Dick winced mildly, but returned the embrace with one arm. 

"What-... What happened?" Dick blinked. "Where's Bruce? Is Jason okay?!" He panicked. Tim's face fell into a frown with a sigh.

"After you shot Joker, Batman had to do some emergency care for the both of you. He kept you from bleeding out with...Jason's help, of course. Once Arkham picked up Joker, Bruce rushed you back and Alfred patched you up," Tim explained.

"Joker's alive?" Dick sucked in a surprised breath and releasing it with shaky, conflicted relief.

"You only shot him in the shoulder, he'll be fine," Tim nodded reassuringly.

"Where's Jason?" Dick insisted, leaning to sit up to his full height. Tim raised his hand hesitantly to help in case Dick wobbled, but Dick held fast.

"Relax... He's in one of the holding cells. Batman's arranging the transfer now," Tim replied softly with some reluctance.

"What?! Transfer?" Dick shot up, ignoring the pain in his back as he struggled to kick the blanket off.

"Dick, stop. He's going to Arkham, they're going to treat him," Tim placed a hand on Dick in what may have meant to be comforting, but Dick knew it was meant to restrain of necessary.

"He's not insane, Tim, we can't send him there, or he will go crazy. You might as well sign Joker as his roommate while you're at it," Dick snapped sourly. Tim flinched in turn.

"We're only trying to help him," Tim offered sadly. "He murdered dozens of people, Dick. He-...he kidnapped you, and endangered the entire city. Batman is making a case pleading insanity due to PTSD. If that doesn't work, he'll have to go to Blackgate, and that'll be worse."

Dick sputtered angrily and felt tears spring hotly into his eyes.

"He's being abandoned either way, in what universe is that okay?!' He swallowed thickly, and Tim was silent.

"He really did a number on you," Tim commented quietly after a moment.

"What did you say?"

"Dick, I understand you care for him, okay? But your feelings...the things he made you feel don't excuse what he's done," Tim reasoned carefully, and Dick yanked his arm out of Tim's hand.

"I don't have Stockholm Syndrome, Tim! Why doesn't anyone believe me?!" Dick was close to shrieking now, and Tim backed away.

"We never said-... Look, all we're saying is that maybe your...relationship-" Tim curled his lip back as if the word left a rancid taste in his mouth, "-may have complicated your ability to see clearly." Dick felt cold and utterly betrayed as Tim plead. But Tim's face was earnest; he didn't mean any harm, he was just being cautious. God, he was just like Bruce.

"Bruce told me you saved his life," Tim ejected, changing the subject before Dick could dwell. " That's twice now. You've made self sacrifice a habit," Tim smiled sadly, and Dick bit his lip in a meek display. "You're the best of us, Dick; you're a hero." Dick's angry resolve broke, and he slumped with a weary sigh.

"I'm just glad you're both okay," Dick admitted, opening his arms for another hug. Tim's face brightened up as he accepted the invitation, and they embraced.

"We may disagree on...you know, a few things, but I'm still happy to see you again. I was so worried," he heard Tim choke. Dick patted his back softly.

"I'm fine, man. This bullet isn't anything, don't worry," he reassured with his winning grin. Tim couldn't hide a smile of relief. "It's just a little tiring, is all."

"Do you want more sleep?" Tim asked. Dick nodded thankfully, and Tim stood to his feet.

"Should I get Alfred?" Tim offered finally, and Dick shook his head. "Nah. You should get some rest yourself," Dick suggested, and Tim shrugged.

"I'll stay here with you," Tim shook his head. Dick let out an exasperated stream of air. Bruce had probably told the boy to watch him... Tim was a good kid.

"That's fine," Dick conceded. "Just don't make noise, okay?" Tim nodded happily before returning to his chair and curling up once more. Dick closed his eyes and started to count.

...............

It took over an hour, almost two before the quiet boredom made Tim's eyes start to droop. Dick heard him jerk himself back awake several times before finally succumbing to snores at the 1 hour 45 minute mark. Dick opened his eyes carefully.

Tim was slumped in the chair, head lolling at an awkward angle that would undoubtedly give him a stiff neck when he woke up. It was adorable, though, the way his face looked so young and smooth while he rested. Dick smiled guiltily as he pulled the covers off his legs; Tim would be upset when he woke up, but Dick was in a hurry. Batman could show up at any minute, and they needed as much of a head start as possible. He gently removed the IV tube, wincing both as his back twinged at the movement, as well as when the blood spurted in the absence of the tube. He pressed his hand down for pressure and hissed quietly when he realized the gauze was on the Batcomputer desk by Tim. He'd have to go without, but that meant sacrificing another minute more than he could afford.

He had to bite back a whine when he lifted himself to his feet as his back twinged, but thankfully Tim didn't stir. He'd be limping for a bit, and it'd be a real bitch when the medicine wore off; Dick had to hurry.

He hurried forward as quickly and quietly as his limp would allow toward the small corridor of holding cells and scanned frantically. Jason was housed in the second to last one with his back squared against the glass, unaware of Dick's presence. Dick hobbled forward and pressed his hand against the cell. Jason lifted his head up in aggravation before morphing into surprise when he spotted Dick,

"Hey," Dick smiled tightly as Jason pulled himself to his feet. He'd been stripped of his weapons and domino, and his wrists were bound in specialty, high tech cuffs, preventing him from moving his fingers.

"Dick," Jason's voice was awestruck and muffled through the glass. "Are you okay? You shouldn't be walking around," he added anxiously.

"It's nice to see you tied up for a change," Dick giggled, blinking humorously. Jason frowned in exasperation and scoffed fondly.

"Seriously, you look pale and I'm worried you'll fall over," Jason insisted, furrowing his brows.

"I might've pulled a stitch when I sat up," Dick shrugged non-chalantly, managing to hold back a grimace as his back throbbed angrily. "Can you fix it if we get our hands on a med kit?"

"What? What do you mean-" Jason's brows furrowed before Dick stumbled over to the combination pad and squinted, wracking his hazy brain trying to recall the correct number. He slowly punched in the code, pausing momentarily after every second or third number, until eventually the hatch released with a hiss. Jason's eyes were wide with both disbelief and fierce pride as Dick grinned. He held his arms out and Dick re-entered the sequence into the cuffs quickly as his fumbling fingers were capable, smiling watching as the restraints clattered to the ground.

"I can't drive right now, so you're gonna have to take the lead from here," Dick shuddered weakly as the dull ache started to spread higher on his back.

"You're still high as a kite, aren't you?" Jason smirked, stepping forward, twitching to crush Dick into a hug, but holding himself back as not to hurt the man.

"Maybe," Dick mumbled. "But not for much longer, the medicine's wearing off. We need to go, now, before we're caught." 

Jason nodded urgently and made a move to sling Dick's arm carefully over his shoulders for support. Dick groaned appreciatively through the pain.

The pace was rather slow going, but steady enough; they reached the main hangar in seconds, but were met with a complication.

"Tim," Dick grimaced. The boy had been tearing around the med bay frantically in search for him, and when Dick called out to him, Tim turned and froze, hurt.

"Dick, how could you?" he fired in a raw voice. Jason's hands tightened around Dick's waist, but Dick placed a soothing hand against his ribs.

"Tim, I'm not asking you to understand," Dick admitted softly. "But I'm not going to apologize. He needs my help," Dick stared firmly, tightening his arms around Jason's waist. Jason gazed down at him in awe, and Dick took it as encouragement.

"Dick, we need you," Tim pleaded, shoulders sinking as he stalked forward. "I need you. Why are you choosing him over us?" he accused, confused and upset as he approached the stand where his bo staff rested. Oh, no...

"I don't want to fight you," Dick's eyes widened as Tim brandished the weapon. Jason stiffened defensively, and Dick held him back.

"You're not giving me a choice," Tim retorted, pained as he flipped down over the rails to challenge them. "I can't let him leave."

"Well he is gonna kick your ass if you don't move it, pipsqueak," Jason snapped, releasing Dick despite his noises of protest.

"Tim, you're a smart kid," Dick barged in desperately. "You know you can't win against the both of us, and I know you don't want to hurt me," he reasoned, watching as Tim's face contorted with agonized conflict. "Even if you could, I'd never stop going after him. I don't care what hole you try to throw him in, or how much you and Bruce try to stop me, I'll never abandon Jason. I'd do the same for Bruce, and for you," Dick pleaded, watching as the staff trembled in the boy's hand.

"Please...just trust me on this," Dick breathed, twitching as his back started seering and making him sway. Tim lowered his staff helplessly, expression lost.

"B's gonna fire me for this," he muttered wistfully. Dick and Jason exchanged understanding look, and Dick's heart panged in sympathy. "Make it look good will you?" 

Dick arched a brow and Jason smirked beside him.

"Just-" Tim twitched hesitantly, backing away as Jason stalked forward. "Come back one day, okay? I'm trusting you," Tim swallowed, and Dick had never felt more fond of the Robin in his life. Dick nodded firmly. 

"Thank you."

Reassured, Tim resumed defensive position, and Jason attacked. Robin was knocked out in seconds, and Dick stared down at his unconscious body guiltily.

"He'll be fine; he'll just have a headache when he wakes up," Jason rubbed circled into his back comfortingly. Dick nodded blankly and turned to stalk towards the vehicles with Jason's assistance.

"We'll have to use my bike; it's the only one not tagged. Once we get to Bludhaven we'll ditch it and disappear," Dick reasoned.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Jason halted, grabbing Dick by the arm and surprising him with an anxious expression. "We're going to become fugitives, Dick. It's a difficult life."

Dick stared up at his nervous face and cupped Jason's cheek gingerly.

"Are you trying to leave without me?" Dick joked, making Jason frown at him. Dick grimaced apologetically and leaned up to press a reassuring kiss against him. Jason squeezed his elbows fondly, and Dick pulled back determinedly. "I'm going with you, Jason. I want to be with you," he insisted sternly. "I'd be happy with you no matter how far we have to run. In fact, I'd love to see the world with you." Jason stared back, clearly touched if the look in his eyes was anything to go by. He brushed Dick's hair back, smile renewed on his face.

"Good... But it's gonna be awfully cold in that medical gown," Jason smirked suddenly, and an embarrassed groan escaped Dick's lips.

"I can grab a pair of old sweats from the lockers, but then we have to move," Dick flushed. Jason pulled him forward gently and pecked a quick kiss against his lips, which Dick gratefully drank in. Jason stroked his cheek tenderly again as if touching Dick's skin gave him the will to live, and pulled back with a fond smile.

"I'll grab them. You just figure out where you wanna go," Jason insisted. Dick's face split into a sweet smile.

"I hear Europe is pretty nice this time of year," Dick suggested.

"Europe's a big place, Dick," Jason snorted.

"Isn't that a good thing?" Dick lilted teasingly.

"Europe it is, then."

"No more shackles though, right?" Dick quizzed, teasing. Jason threw him an amused expression and shook his head.

"Not unless you ask for them," he winked. Dick smirked, and shook his head with laughter.