When Dick made up his mind to pack up and leave the Manor for good, it was a rather spontaneous decision.
He grabbed a week’s worth of clothes, some of his personal treasures, left a terse good-bye to Alfred, and barely a glance at Bruce, he breezed out the door, feeling like a free man at last.
But Dick had not quite thought it through on what he would do after he left.
He got lucky the first night and was taken in by a kind-hearted old lady, who really should not take in strangers from the streets of Gotham in the middle of the night.
However, they both survived the night unharmed, and that built a little bit of trust between them.
Dick and Grandma Betty, as she insisted on being called, talked over breakfast, and Dick told her how he had just left home without much thought.
“You know, dear boy,” Grandma Betty said, “My grandson has a bakery just outside the city. Perhaps he needs a hand. I’ll give him a call.”
Despite Dick’s protests that it was too much for Grandma Betty to do for him, a mere stranger, she brushed him off and went to call her grandson. Grandma Betty came back five minutes later and excitedly told Dick how she had gotten him a job.
Dick could not help but be more than grateful for her, even though he would only be cleaning tables and working the register. He had a job. His first official job, and he was going to cherish it.
On top of it all, Grandma Betty mentioned that she had an old house, a family house, near the bakery. She apologized about it being a twenty-some minute walk, but she wanted Dick to stay there until he found his own place.
Dick was speechless. He was at a loss of words. After thanking Grandma Betty a thousand times over, Dick left with an old key, and caught a cab to Grandma Betty’s family home.
It was at the very edge of town, on a quiet street of old Victorian houses. The house that belonged to Grandma Betty was very dreary looking. The front yard had not been kept and the paint on the house was peeling. The porch squeaked with each step, and the front door had great difficulty opening.
Still, it was better than nothing.
Dick stepped into the dark house and immediately, he was met with the smell of stale air. Dusty white sheets covered the furniture, and heavy curtains covered the windows.
The thing that stuck out most in the house was the statue of the gargoyle above the fireplace in the living room, directly at the end of the entrance hall. Where some people may frame a painting, mount a TV, or even put a moose’s head, there was a life-sized stone statue of a gargoyle crouched on a little pedestal. But it was not one of those monstrous gargoyles that was commonly found on the historical buildings of Gotham, but a naked human man with huge folded bat wings and two horns.
Dick tilted his head to the side as he considered the gargoyle. It almost seemed like the protector of the house, looming above everything else and glaring at whoever walked into the front door. It was almost comforting, if the gaze of the gargoyle was not so piercing and so realistic. Whoever carved the statue was very talented.
Dick continued exploring the rest of the house, taking in the sights. Overall, the house seemed to be in livable condition. There were way more rooms than Dick needed to use, so he chose a bedroom, cleaned it up a bit, and set his suitcase there.
Then, Dick opened up the curtains in the house, removed the sheets from the furniture, and did his best settling in. When all was said and done, night had fallen, and Dick was satisfied with his quick cleaning job. He ordered in pizza, and when it arrived, Dick went to the front door to pay the delivery man. When Dick turned back around with his pizza, he stopped as a chill ran over him. Immediately, Dick’s eyes shot up to the gargoyle, who was glaring down at him just like before.
But this time, Dick felt like the gargoyle was really watching him. Dick shivered and quickly moved into the kitchen to eat his pizza and avoid the gargoyle’s gaze. All night, Dick kept his eyes down when moving through the front hallway. It was dumb and silly, he knew that, but Dick could not shake the feeling that he was being watched.
That night, after slipping into bed and pulling the covers all the way up to his chin, Dick finally felt safe and the uneasy feeling faded. He let himself drift off to sleep.
“Who are you?”
Dick turned around, searching for the source of the voice. “What?” he asked, unable to keep out the tremor.
“Who are you? This isn’t your house. Are you an intruder?” the voice asked again, sharper.
“N-No,” he said. “I- Grandma Betty said I could- I could stay here temporarily.”
“Betty,” the voice mused. “I remember Betty.”
“Yes!” Dick said, still unable to find where the voice was coming from. He moved down the dark stairway, holding a flashlight in front of him like a weapon. The light was dim and unreliable. “Yes, Betty let me stay here.”
“What is your name?”
“Dick. Dick Grayson.”
“Dick Grayson,” the voice said slowly, testing out his name. “Very well. You may stay.”
There was a moment of heavy silence as Dick started down the hallway, shining his light into each room he passed. “Can I ask… who are you?” he asked cautiously.
“I watch over the house,” the voice answered simply.
“Are you a ghost?” Dick asked.
“No,” the voice said. “There are no ghosts in this house. Just me.”
“Um, do you have a name?” Dick asked slowly, glancing around the kitchen with his flashlight. Nothing.
There was a pause. “Jason,” the voice finally said. “I’m Jason.”
Dick stepped foot into the living room, his light shining around the dark room. The covered furniture made scary shadows and shapes, and Dick tried to quench that unreasonable fear. Finally, his light landed on the gargoyle that perched above the fireplace.
For a second, Dick thought it was a person. Then, he laughed to himself at how stupid he was being. He must be dreaming. There is no one else in the house aside from him and the stupid gargoyle.
Then, the gargoyle blinked.
Dick awoke with a sharp gasp, and his eyes snapped open. Sunlight streamed in through the windows of the living room.
Dick groaned and sat up, rubbing his eyes. He looked around, confused as to how he got to the living room. Dick was almost certain he fell asleep in the room upstairs last night. Still, he thought nothing more of it and got up, heading back upstairs to get a change of clothes and get ready for the day, his first day of work.
Grandma Betty’s son was named Timothy, a young man a few years younger than Dick, who was actually quite kind and understanding of Dick’s situation. He showed Dick the ropes, how to work the register and what to say to customers.
Dick found the job very easy, and he had a feeling he would be bored. Thankfully, Tim was a good conversationalist.
“So you’re staying at Gran’s old place, right?” Tim asked during their lunch break.
Dick nodded. “Old Victorian house. Really nice, actually.”
Tim snorted. “It’s creepy.”
“Did you ever live there?” Dick asked curiously.
“No,” Tim said. “I’ve visited a couple times growing up, but Gran moved out when I was about seven. Hey, is that huge naked gargoyle still in the living room?”
Dick laughed. “Yeah, he is.”
Tim smirked. “Yeah, that thing was kinda weird. I mean, who wants a life-sized sculpture of a man with bat wings in their house? In an earthquake, that thing could crush a man’s skull! You know, Gran said it had a name. Her mother’s mother named him or something. Jack…? Jacob…”
“Jason?” Dick asked, a chill running down his spine again.
“Yes!” Tim said. “Wow, how’d you know?”
“Lucky guess,” Dick said with a swallow. He stared at his coffee for the rest of break.
“Dick. Dick. Dick Grayson.”
Dick found himself sitting at the table in the kitchen. “Huh?” he asked, looking around. “What…?”
Dick recognized the voice from last night. “You’re- You’re the gargoyle!” he said. “Tim told me that-”
“Ah, young Timothy. Last time I saw him was so, so many years ago,” the gargoyle’s voice said. “How is he?”
“He’s… well,” Dick said with a touch of confusion. He stood up and slowly made his way to the living room. He looked at the gargoyle, which was still staring straight ahead, like it was not just talking to Dick. “Hello?”
Suddenly, the stone moved. It moved with fluidity and grace of a living being, not of a statue. “Yes?” it said, its lips not moving.
“Holy shit,” Dick rasped, taking a step back. “I’m dreaming. Because I'm not crazy, so I must be dreaming.”
The gargoyle tilted its head to the side. “Perhaps. Whatever you want to believe.”
“But I can’t be awake right now,” Dick said, hyperventilating a bit. “You’re- You’re made of rock, and here you are talking! And moving! That’s not possible in real life!”
“Not usually,” the gargoyle said. Then, it jumped down from its little pedestal, landing on the ground without a sound.
“Oh my god,” Dick said, getting a very good eyeful of the gargoyle’s fully naked body. It was a very nice eyeful though. “I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming. I have to be dreaming,” he repeated, squeezing his eyes shut and backing himself into the wall.
When he opened his eyes again, the gargoyle was still walking towards him, a small smirk on its face.
Dick shut his eyes quickly again and resumed muttering his mantra.
Suddenly, he felt a warm breath by his ear. “Hey,” said the gargoyle in a soft voice.
Dick felt a blush zoom up his body. He opened his eyes slowly and saw that the gargoyle was standing right in front of him, leaning over him actually. It had one arm propped up against the wall, smirking down at Dick.
“Why so scared?” the gargoyle asked. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“You’re- You’re a stone statue!” Dick squeaked. “You’re not supposed to- to move and talk!”
“I guess not,” it said, moving its other hand to brush some of Dick’s hair out of his face. “You just have to accept that I do.”
“I’m dreaming,” Dick whispered again.
“Baby,” the gargoyle's voice said again in his ear. “If this is a dream, then wake up.”
“Hey, you look like shit,” Tim said when Dick walked in that morning.
“Thanks,” Dick grumbled. “Didn’t sleep well.”
“Oh,” Tim said sympathetically. “Adjusting to the huge house and everything?”
“Sure,” Dick said, deciding not to mention that the stupid gargoyle was haunting his dreams.
Tim gave him another worried look, but said nothing more.
That night, Dick sat in the living room to eat his dinner, glaring up at the stone gargoyle, which sat motionless on its perch, glaring at the front door as usual.
Dick slowly ate his ramen, taking in the details of the gargoyle. It really was so life-like that if it were not a slate gray color, Dick would have thought it was real. Finally, after glowering up at the stone statue for two hours, Dick finally decided that he was just being paranoid and stupid.
Still, he could not shake the uneasy feeling he had been having since coming into the house.
Finally, Dick decided that he was going to prove him logical mind correct and show his imagination that the gargoyle was just that – a gargoyle.
Dick dragged a chair from the dining room into the living room and set it right under the gargoyle’s perch. He got up on the chair. It shook underneath him, the legs not quite strong enough to be supporting him. Still, Dick managed to stand, and he reached up hesitantly.
An inch before touching the gargoyle’s muscular leg, Dick paused. Then, he snorted and shook his head. He put his palm on statue’s thigh.
Dick gave a choked gasp when he found the stone was warm. In his shock, Dick stumbled back, and at the same time, the chair gave out underneath him. Dick fell with a cry. He squeezed his eyes shut and braced for impact on the ground, but he never got to that point in his life.
“Wow, you’re a handful, aren’t you?”
Dick’s eyes snapped back open to find that he was being set on the couch gently, and right above him hovered the smirk of the gargoyle that haunted his dreams the past couple nights.
“Holy shit!” Dick yelped. “You’re- You’re-”
“Baby,” the gargoyle sighed. “We’ve been through this. Yes, I’m real. Yes, I can talk and move.”
Dick stared at him wide-eyed. “But- But that was a dream-”
“I said you could believe it was a dream. I didn’t say it was a dream, Dickie.” The gargoyle flashed him another smirk. “But aren’t you glad I really am real? That could have been one nasty concussion.”
“You- You saved me...”
“Something like that.”
Dick went quiet for a few seconds, and the gargoyle stared at him intently. Dick could not meet its gaze.
“Is your name really Jason?” Dick asked.
The gargoyle chuckled. “Yeah,” it said. “It is.”
“I just- I just thought it was crazy that the gargoyle of my dreams had such a… normal name. I’ve just been calling you ‘the gargoyle’.”
Jason laughed. “The gargoyle of your dreams, huh? I’m flattered, Dickie.”
Dick blushed furiously. “I didn’t mean it that way!”
“You sure? I wouldn’t mind, y’know.”
“Wh-What?” Dick stammered, still red in the face.
Jason waved a hand. “Nothing, nothing,” he said. He smiled at Dick until Dick was starting to feel uneasy under his gaze. It was just so intense. Then, Jason stood and stepped back. “You should get to bed,” he said casually. “You’ve got work tomorrow, right?”
“Y-Yeah,” Dick said, blinking a few times, still not quite believing everything that was happening. Perhaps he really did hit his head. “I’m… yeah.”
Jason laughed. “Go to sleep, Grayson. I’ll just be down here all night. Or in your dreams.” He winked, and Dick felt himself blush anew. With a flap of his large wings, Jason went back up to his pedestal and settled into a relaxed form of his usual stance, giving Dick a very complete view of his uncovered groin.
Dick quickly looked away from Jason and coughed nervously. After a few awkward seconds, he stood and backed out of the living room, aware that Jason was still watching him. When Dick got to the stairs and was about to turn back out of sight, he looked back at Jason, who waved.
“Good night!” Jason called.
“Good... night…” Dick said back in slight confusion.
Dick did not get much sleep that night either, tossing restlessly, and only managing short bursts of sleep. And even those moments were filled with a smirking face and the teasing voice of a relentless stone gargoyle.
“You look even worse than yesterday,” Tim commented. “Have you tried chamomile? Maybe a couple pills would help?”
“It’s your damn gargoyle,” Dick grumbled.
“Jason? Ah, he unnerves you? You’ll get used to him. Gran always said he was a darling. But Gran’s a bit weird,” Tim laughed.
Dick stared at him for a long time. “Huh,” he finally said.
After work that day, instead of heading back to the house, he went to Grandma Betty’s apartment in the city. It was his first time officially back in the city part of Gotham since he left earlier that week.
“Oh, Dick!” Grandma Betty greeted him with a hug when she saw him. “Come in, come in, dear! Tea?”
“Ah, that’d be nice,” Dick said. “Can I talk to you about something?”
“Sure, dear boy!”
When Dick got back to the house late that night, he was a little bit furious. He threw his coat onto the couch and dragged the chair back in front of Jason’s pedestal.
“Hey!” Dick said, snapping his fingers in the line of Jason’s gaze. “What the fuck are you up to?”
Jason slowly looked down at him, a smile growing on his face. “Hm? What are you talking about?”
“I talked to Grand- to Betty today. She looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if you’d ever talked to her before.”
Jason laughed loudly. “You did what?”
“I asked her if you’d ever come alive and talked to her!” Dick said. “And she recommended me to do meditation before bed to calm my mind!”
Jason climbed off of the pedestal and dropped down in front of Dick. Dick stepped off the chair and continued to glare at Jason.
“So tell me what you’re up to right now!” he said, jabbing his finger at Jason’s chest.
Jason gently grabbed his wrist and brought it back down. Then, he started walking forward, backing Dick up until his knees hit the back of the couch, and Dick found himself sitting down. Now Jason loomed over him with his huge wings and his handsome smirking face.
Dick also fought to keep his gaze above Jason’s waist and keep the blush down.
“Okay, so you’re the first person I’ve talked to, but so what? I got bored. I thought you were an intruder and wanted to scare you off.”
“Well, you found out I wasn’t an intruder. So why did you keep talking to me?” Dick asked.
“Well,” Jason said, grinning wider. “I found you interesting.”
“Interesting? What does that mean?” he demanded.
“It means,” Jason said, licking his lips seductively. Dick found it hard to be angry and not be distracted. “It means that you intrigue me. Something about me brought me to life more than I was before.”
Dick’s mouth went dry. “So- So you couldn’t move before?”
“Nope,” Jason said. “But hey, I like the freedom, so thanks, darling.”
“Wh-Why?” Dick asked. “Why me?”
“Dunno. I’m not complaining, though,” Jason said.
“There- There has to be a reason!” Dick said loudly. He stood up, pushing Jason back a step. “And you know the reason! What’s up with this?” He gestured between them.
Jason suddenly hooked an arm around Dick’s waist, pulling him flush to Jason’s waist. Dick’s face bloomed red.
“What are you doing?” Dick asked.
Jason stared at him, no longer smirking or smiling. Just staring intently, eyebrows furrowed the slightest bit. He leaned in a bit.
“Jason?” Dick whispered.
“What is it like, being human?” Jason asked, suddenly quiet.
“Huh? It’s- It’s… I don’t know. What’s it like being a gargoyle?” Dick responded in confusion.
“Boring,” Jason said. “Being sat in the same position for a hundred some years. It’s terrible. You watch people you’re fond of grow up, grow old, die, and start the cycle again.”
“Oh,” Dick said, swallowing hard. “Sorry.”
Jason shook his head. “I thought about it, y’know? What being human is like? I think it’s about the freedom. The choices you get to make. I was only allowed to watch and watch and watch. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak. And now I can,” Jason said, eyebrows furrowing a bit more. “I can be human.”
“Umm,” Dick said, still hyper-aware of their closeness. “Well, not really,” he said. “You’ve got these huge wings… and horns… and you still look like stone.” He almost mentioned the rock-hard cock, but he did not know if now was the best time for a pun.
“Right,” Jason said with a touch of bitterness. He started to let go of Dick’s waist.
“But I think you’re right,” Dick said quickly. “You might not look human, but I think you can be human.”
“Yeah,” Dick said, offering Jason a little smile. “Looks don’t define humans.”
With that, Dick did something crazy. He had been doing crazy things since he moved upped and left the Manor, but this has to top that. Dick let his eyes flutter shut, and he closed the rest of the distance between him and Jason.
He honestly expected Jason’s lips to be stone cold and hard and rough, but they were not. They just felt like… lips.
Jason’s arm around Dick’s waist suddenly got a bit tighter, and Dick put a hand on Jason’s shoulder. He angled his head to kiss Jason a little deeper. With his eyes closed, Dick could easily imagine that he was not kissing a hundred-fifty-year old stone statue, but a human body of flesh and blood. It was exhilarating.
A few more seconds of light kissing passed, and then Dick pulled away. With his eyes still closed, he whispered, “How was that?”
“Good,” Jason breathed back. “Nice. Really nice.”
Dick smiled and opened his eyes. Then, his eyes widened further, and he stumbled backwards further.
“Jason-” he said urgently.
Jason’s eyes opened, confusion flooding his suddenly blue eyes, then noticing that his hands and arms and legs were no longer the color of cold stone, but a pale, flesh color, and some places covered in strange little dots.
“Oh my god,” Dick said in wonder. “You’re- You’re human!” he laughed.
“What?” Jason asked. “That’s not fucking possible, I-”
Jason turned in a circle, suddenly aware of the fact that he did not have wings anymore. “I lost my wings,” he said mournfully. Suddenly, there was a strange pressure in his back that grew and grew and grew. It felt like something was coming out of his back.
Dick blinked several times rapidly, then laughed. “Actually, maybe not,” he said.
Jason felt the familiar weight of his wings back on his back. He reached out with his human hands and touched his leathery wings.
“Wow,” he whispered. He focused again, and a second later, the wings had been sucked back into wherever they appeared from. He let out a small laugh. “Wow,” he said again. "I- fuck, I guess I am kinda human."
"Indeed,” Dick grinned breathlessly.
“Hey, Grandma Betty! I brought a friend today,” Dick said.
“Oh, do come in, dear boy!” Grandma Betty said from the kitchen. “I’m just putting on the tea.”
Dick grinned, taking Jason’s hand and leading him into the house. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “Don’t be so nervous.”
Jason shot him a half-hearted glare and followed reluctantly.
“Take a seat, take a seat,” Grandma Betty said with her back to them. “Just grabbing some cookies and-” She turned around and froze, her eyes wide as she looked at Jason, who shifted uncomfortably under her gaze. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven,” she whispered.
“Gran,” Dick said with a soft smile. “This… This is Jason. I don’t think you guys have properly met?”