The Wayne-Grayson-Todd-Drake family unit prided themselves in being great detectives.
Yes, some were better than others, but every single member was a much better detective than the average person on planet Earth.
But being a great detective did not mean that nothing ever slipped by them…
Dick glanced up for the fourth time that morning.
Jason was still staring at him with a small frown, his eyebrows furrowed.
Finally, Dick put down his spoonful of Fruit Loops, and he raised his eyebrows at Jason. “Can I help you?” he asked.
Jason continued to frown at him from across the dining room table, like he was deep in thought rather than angry.
“You and Kori… you guys had a… thing,” Jason said slowly.
“Yes,” Dick said. “If by a thing you mean that we were dating. I mean, you know we nearly got married and all that.”
“Hm,” Jason hummed, resuming his frowning and saying nothing more.
Dick stared at him in confusion for a few more seconds. Then, he decided to just ignore Jason and go back to eating his cereal.
However, as Dick finished up his first bowl and reached for the box of Fruit Loops again, Jason spoke up once more.
“So you guys probably went on dates , right? How did that…” Jason made a vague gesture with his hand.
Dick blinked at him a couple times. “How did…?”
Jason opened and closed his mouth a couple more times. “How did it… work.”
Dick was dumbfounded for a second. Then, he burst out laughing. “What, dating?”
“You don’t know how dating works?” Dick asked, wiping at nonexistent tears as he laughed his ass off.
“No, I don’t,” Jason said flatly, now glaring at Dick. “I didn’t exactly have time to experiment, unlike you, Mr. Wink-and-Sink.”
“Oh god,” Dick groaned with another laugh. “Did Tim tell you about that nickname? But hey, it was quite effective. But it’s okay, Little Wing. You don’t have to be embarrassed. I’ll teach you about dating. Is there someone special?”
“No,” Jason said immediately. “I’m just curious.”
“If you say so,” Dick said in a sing-song voice. “Anyway, when I was with Kori, we’d go on dates every Friday night.”
“Where did you go for these dates?” Jason asked.
“Oh, anywhere,” Dick said. “I usually took her to places she wanted to see, or places I liked and wanted to share with her.”
“Like what?” Jason pressed, leaning in imperceptibly.
“Well, we went ice skating quite a few times,” Dick said after a moment’s consideration.
Jason’s face went back to the frown of contemplation. “Hm.”
A couple of nights later, it was Friday. Jason found Dick in the library, doing yoga. Jason always found it weirdly endearing that Dick did yoga in the strangest of places.
He stood at the doorway of the library for a whole ten minutes before Dick noticed him there. He probably noticed Jason standing there a while ago, but only decided to acknowledge him now.
“Hey, Jaybird,” Dick said, smiling at Jason from between his legs, which were folded all the way over his head. “Need something?”
Jason stood there, staring at him for a few more seconds.
“I don’t know how to ice skate,” he blurted out.
Dick blinked at him, uncomprehending for a second. Then, his eyes widened. “Oh,” he said. He burst into a grin. “It’s alright! I can teach you!”
“R-Really?” Jason asked in surprise, his face burning a little red.
“Yeah!” Dick said, unfolding himself. “See, I knew you had a special someone you wanted to impress. Don’t worry. By the time I’m done with you, you’ll be the best ice skater in Gotham. Aside from me, maybe,” he said with a wink.
Jason cleared his throat, and his eyes flitted away. “Um, yeah. So… tonight?”
“Oh, tonight!” Dick’s eyes lit up. “Yeah, I can do tonight!” He gasped. “Why don’t we see if Tim and Dami want to come too!”
Dick scrambled to his feet and brushed past Jason in a bustle of reignited energy, not at all like someone who just spent an hour calming himself with yoga. “I’ll go grab my ice skates, and I’ll call Tim and see if he can meet us! It’s a date, Jay!”
Jason frowned at Dick’s disappearing back. “Right,” he sighed.
Jason had not been lying when he said he did not know how to ice skate.
During his time on the streets as a kid, Jason watched many of Gotham’s kids rolling around the frozen ponds and lakes, laughing, slipping, and falling, as their breaths clouded their happiness in the air. Their thick coats and warm clothing kept them safe from frostbite and left no more than rosy cheeks to the harsh, biting cold.
Jason had always been jealous of them, scowling as he shivered and huddled in an alleyway with no more than a worn blanket and a shirt and pants too big for him. He never had the simple luxuries all the other kids took advantage of.
Still, Jason thought it looked simple enough. However, when he stepped out onto the rink in clunky ice skates balanced on a thin blade, Jason’s entire world started feeling unstable.
He clutched the edge of the rink with both hands, struggling to stay up.
Dick laughed. “It’s alright, Jason! Let go of the edge. You’ll be fine.”
Jason gritted his teeth and let one hand go free. His other hand gripped the cold ledge for dear life.
“Look at Dami and Tim,” Dick said, nodding at the two younger Robins, who had gone off without them.
Tim even had his tablet with him, skating while in a meeting with WE board members on the West Coast. He somehow managed to avoid hitting anyone. Damian on the other hand, was having some unspoken contest with a hockey player who had been practicing on the ice. The two of them did increasingly more dangerous tricks, all the while, never saying a word to each other.
“Damn brats,” Jason muttered.
“What’s that?” Dick asked, skating backwards on one leg like it was nothing.
“Nothing,” Jason sighed. He took a couple steps.
Dick laughed. “Oh my god, you’re like Bambi,” he said with a snort. “C’mere. Give me your hands.”
“What? No!” Jason said, glaring at Dick. “I’ll fall.”
“No, you won’t,” Dick promised gently. He took Jason’s free hand and then went to pry Jason’s other hand from the ledge.
Feeling Dick’s warm fingers touch his own frozen digits, Jason relented and let Dick wrest his hand away from the ledge of the rink.
His first step without the firm ledge of the rink made Jason tremble in his shoes. It was so stupid, this irrational fear he had of the slick ice. After all, what was the worst that could happen? Fall and make a fool of himself, like everyone else on the rink?
With that thought, Jason’s anxiety eased, and he relaxed and let Dick slowly start pulling him along the ice.
“See?” Dick murmured. “You’re getting it.”
“People are staring,” Jason grumbled, eyeing Tim as he zipped past them for the third time now.
“So what?” Dick asked. “Who wouldn’t stare at two good looking guys?”
Jason glared at Dick, but he blushed too. A few minutes later, Jason, ever the quick study, was able to slide on the ice on his own. They were moving at a quicker pace now, and technically, Dick could have let go of Jason’s hands, but he did not. He kept skating backwards, Jason’s hands held loosely in his.
And now that Jason did not need to concentrate excessively on keeping his balance, he was able to admire the way Dick moved on ice, the same way he moved through the air – with grace and fluidity of a performer.
“You’re doing great, Jay!” Dick said with a grin. “See, I knew you could do it!”
Jason managed a little smile, not meeting Dick’s eyes. He swallowed hard and licked his lips. “I had a pretty great teacher,” he said, glancing up shyly.
“Aww,” Dick said. “Thanks, Jaybird. That’s sweet of you.”
Just then, Dick skirted out of the way to avoid a very fast, incoming skater, who was going in the opposite direction of everyone else.
Dick narrowly avoided the collision, but Jason did not. The skater slammed into Jason, and Jason immediately tightened his grip on Dick’s hands as he went down, pulling Dick down on top of him and the much shorter skater.
“Ow!” Dick cried out as they all piled onto the ice.
Jason could barely breathe. Partially because there were two people lying on top of him, and partially because Dick’s face was inches from his own. Jason could practically feel Dick’s hot breath on his cheek.
“Get off of me, Grayson!”
Dick rolled off of them, and Jason turned his attention to the snarling teenager. Jason scowled at Damian.
“What the hell was that, you little punk?” he growled.
“You’re the one who should’ve gotten out of the way, you big oaf!” Damian spat.
“Hey, hey!” Dick said with a laugh. “Not in public, please. Get up, Dami, you’re fine, see?”
Damian climbed to his feet and brushed the ice off of himself. He scoffed at Jason one more time before skating away.
Jason on the other hand, spent a minute struggling to stand, even with Dick’s help. He nearly pulled Dick back down on top of him, but Dick stood his ground, and Jason got up.
“Oh, you’re covered in ice, Jay,” Dick said, skating up behind Jason and starting to brush the ice out of Jason’s hair and off his clothes. “There,” he said with a self-satisfied smile. “Good as new!”
“Thanks, Dickie,” Jason grunted.
“Of course, Little Wing! Oh, you wanna see some tricks? I haven’t tried them in years, but I think I can still manage.”
“Sure,” Jason said, gratefully taking the excuse to be able to just stand by and watch. Dick made his way to the center of the rink, and he started skating. Just simple jumps and turns at first, but it soon advancing to tight spins that made Jason feel dizzy just observing. He also noticed other skaters pausing to look at Dick move, and he understood their awe as well.
Dick Grayson was a spectacle on legs. Everywhere he went, jaws dropped and people showered him with attention. But Jason wanted to give him the special attention Dick deserved.
He just had to figure out how.
“How did you ask Barbara out on a date?”
Dick paused, his Nightwing suit halfway off his body as he cleaned a cut on his side. “Huh?” he asked, hissing softly.
Jason strode across the length of the Cave and took the first aid kit from Dick. He dipped the cloth into more alcohol and gently dabbed it into the wound. “How do you ask someone out on a date?”
“You just… ask them, I guess,” Dick said dubiously. “Wait, have you not asked this person you’re interested in out yet? I thought you took them ice skating.”
“I did,” Jason muttered.
“Oh, it didn’t quite work out?” Dick asked sympathetically.
“They didn’t get the hint,” Jason said dismissively. “I think I need a more direct approach.”
“Oh, direct isn’t always the best way to go,” Dick said. “Romancing someone is better through subtlety. Maybe try, ‘Hey, would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight? Maybe catch a movie together?’”
Jason threaded a needle and started stitching Dick back together. “You think they’ll get it that way?”
Dick laughed. “Only an idiot would not catch onto that.”
“Okay,” Jason said. “I’ll give it a try.”
A few days passed, and Dick got a text from Jason.
Jaybird: You like Italian food, right? A new Italian place opened up a couple blocks from my safe house on 2nd. Want to come try it with me? There’s also a movie theater across the street. We can catch a movie before, if you want.
“This is the best pizza I’ve ever had,” Dick moaned, taking another large bite of his personal pizza.
“I’m glad you like it,” Jason said with a small smile on his face as he swirled his glass of red wine.
“Why aren’t you eating?” Dick asked through an impolite mouthful of food.
“I am,” Jason said, making a point of eating his carbonara. “I’m just trying to savor it. Besides, save room for dessert.”
“Dessert?” Dick asked, swallowing hard. “Cereal?”
“Ha ha,” Jason said humorlessly. “No.”
Dick laughed. “I’m kidding,” he said. “Though I did spy tiramisu on the menu…”
Jason laughed genuinely this time. “Whatever you want, Dickie.”
And his heart did little flip flops when Dick smiled at him. He quickly changed the subject. “What did you think about the movie?”
“It was good,” Dick said through another mouthful of cheesy pizza. “Funny, but the plot was a bit predictable. Company was great though.”
“It’s a compliment, Jay,” Dick laughed. “No need to look so confused.”
“Thanks…” Jason said, blushing hard. He quickly took a sip of wine. At least he can pass his blushing off as being a bit tipsy that way. “You were… great company as well.”
“You know, I’m glad we can hang out like this, Jay,” Dick said. “Sometimes you seem so distant, and it just feels good to be able to bond with you.”
Jason’s smile becomes strained. “Yeah. You too, Dick. Great… bonding with you.”
The next question came a month later.
“How do you tell someone you love them?”
Dick looked up slowly from his book. Jason was serious, staring at Dick unwavering and with a slight hint of nervousness in the way he sat, slightly hunched.
Dick shifted his feet, which were propped up in Jason’s lap. Jason had been giving his legs a massage earlier after Dick pulled a muscle while working out a couple days ago. “Well,” he said slowly, setting his book down on his chest. “Depending on the person, you can just tell them whenever you feel the time is right. I mean, if you like them and they like you, I don’t really see what the problem is.”
“They don’t know I like them,” Jason said in a clipped voice.
Dick sputtered. “This doesn’t happen to be the same oblivious idiot you asked out on a date twice, right?”
“Same person,” Jason confirmed with a tired sigh.
“What?!” Dick exclaimed, furrowing his eyebrows. “I thought you guys were together already! In fact, I was expecting you to introduce me soon too!”
“Nope,” Jason said miserably. “I think they… what’s that term Tim used last week? Oh, friend zone. I think they friend zoned me... or something like that.”
Dick’s expression turned sympathetic. “Oh, Little Wing. They’re not worth it then. If someone can’t see how amazing of a person you are, they’re not worth your time.”
Jason sighed. “I’ve tried telling myself to get over it, but every time I see them, something just… makes me…” He waved his hands vaguely.
“Makes you what?” Dick asked gently, sitting up and gently touching Jason’s arm.
Jason looked at him straight in the eyes. For a few seconds, Dick was surprised by the raw emotion in them.
“Makes me fall in love with him more,” Jason whispered.
“Oh, Jaybird,” Dick said softly. “C’mere.” He opened up his arms for a hug. Jason stared at him for a few more seconds before slumping into the hug. Dick pulled him close, surprised to find how much larger Jason felt than the last time he had hugged Jason like this, which was… before Jason had died.
Now, the little boy he knew was much bulkier and heat radiated from him like the sun. It was comfortable and nice. Dick gave a little sigh of contentment before he pulled away reluctantly.
“How about patrol tonight?” he asked Jason. “Together, like we used to?”
Jason’s eyes searched his face for a second, looking for something he obviously did not find. His shoulders slumped, and he nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Patrol sounds good.”
Dick watched in confusion as Jason gently set Dick’s feet aside and left the den, his hands shoved into his pockets.
“Hey, I brought chilidogs,” Dick said, dropping down next to Jason.
He set the bag down on the ledge before sitting down. Jason was leaning against a gargoyle and was tapping an unlit cigarette against his thigh. Dick nudged the bag towards Jason.
“Not hungry, but thanks,” Jason grunted.
“Jaybird,” Dick sighed. “I’m sorry about whoever that dumbass is that broke your heart,” he said. “He’s a fucking idiot to not see how great you are.”
Jason laughed dryly and gave Dick a side glance. “You think?” he said wryly. “Thanks for the vote of confidence, ‘Wing.”
“Really!” Dick said. “I mean, what’s not to like about you? You’re big, strong, funny, handsome. You’ve got a wicked sharp tongue, gorgeous eyes, the softest hair I’ve ever felt in my life. You never fail to make life interesting, for me at least. Jason, there’s nothing unlikeable about you.”
“Really,” Jason said. He shifted so that he was angled towards Dick now. “You really think that, Dick?”
Jason gave a humorless chuckle. “So would you date me, Dick Grayson?”
“I- Yeah!” Dick said. “If you were interested me, I’d date you in a heartbeat, Jay! I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t-”
Jason shook his head and laughed.
Dick cut himself off. “What?”
“You’d date me if I were interested?”
“Yes, Jason, I just said that-”
“How would you know if I were interested or not?”
“I mean, if you were interested, I think I would know. You’re not the kind of person that likes being subtle, you know,” Dick said, getting a bit flustered and starting to blush.
“Really?” Jason’s smile unnerved Dick. It was a smirking sly smile, like Jason knew something Dick did not. “You would know for sure if I showed any ounce of interest in you.”
“Yeah,” Dick said. “I mean, I’m not Tim, but I’m pretty good at picking up hints-”
“You’re delusional, Dickiebird,” Jason whispered.
“I said,” Jason said louder. “You’re a fucking idiot, Dickhead. Subtlety might not be my specialty, but at least I don’t need to be smacked in the face for me to understand things.”
Dick cocked his head, his mouth twisting in a small pout. “I don’t…?”
“Dick Grayson, you utter moron, I am, for some unfathomable reason, in love with your dumb ass, and I would really appreciate it if you dated me,” Jason said loudly.
Dick went silent for three beats as Jason’s words sank in. “I’m that oblivious idiot you’ve been trying to date?!”
“I’ve literally been asking you for tips and using the same exact techniques against you!” Jason yelled. “You said you liked ice skating, so I said we should go ice skating, and not only did you invite the brats, but you didn’t even get that I was asking you out! Then you said I should be more bold and ask you out to a dinner and movies, so what did I do? I asked you to dinner and movies!”
“I didn’t- I was- I don’t-”
“You don’t what, Dick?” Jason demanded.
Dick opened and closed his mouth a few more times. He stared out over Gotham, silent and unmoving. Then, his shoulders started shaking. His silent laughter started growing until he had to hug the other gargoyle in case he laughed himself off the edge.
“You’re right,” he managed between his snorts and chuckles. “I’m an idiot.”
Jason huffed. “Yeah,” he said in annoyance. “You are.”
“Oh, Jaybird,” Dick said with a sigh. “I’m so sorry about putting you through that.” He snorted again. “I can’t believe I thought you were pursuing someone else.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jason asked, bristling.
“I know you had a crush on me back then,” Dick said, smiling at Jason. “Such a blushy little Robin.” He reached over to pinch Jason’s cheeks, but Jason swatted his hand away. “I should’ve known.”
Jason did not answer to that. So they sat in silence for a couple more minutes before Jason swallowed his pride and asked. “So were you serious?” he asked. “When you said you’d date me if I were interested?”
Dick smiled at him. “I was serious,” he said. He grabbed Jason’s gloved hand in his own, threading their fingers together. “Jason, everything I saw was true. I might not be able to see when someone is trying to romance me, but I am well aware when I am attracted to someone else.”
“And you’re- you’re attracted to me?” Jason asked.
“Yes, Jason,” Dick whispered. “I am. I’d have to be an idiot not to see how amazing you are, remember? Well, more of an idiot.”
Jason laughed softly, and Dick knew he was forgiven. “Unbelievable,” Jason said, shaking his head. “Just fucking unbelievable.”
Dick used his free hand and moved the bag of chilidogs to his other side, and he scooted over, closing the space between him and Jason.
Now pressed side to side, Dick cupped Jason’s cheek, caressing the edge of Jason’s mask with his thumb. Then, Dick grinned and slowly leaned in.
Jason met him in the middle, and if Dick may say so himself, it was a pretty great kiss.
So despite Dick considering himself one of the most brilliant detectives in the world (at least third place), even some things are lost to a great detective.
But in his case, everything ended up alright in the end.
Better than alright, in fact, as it turned out, Jason had much more talents than just kissing…
But since this is about the one thing our oblivious detective did not solve, and not about the time he tied his boyfriend up in a sex swing in their shared apartment, we will save that story for another occasion.