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Take A Load Off

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I hate assigned reading, you think bitterly to yourself as you stare at the words on the page which might as well be written in an incomprehensible language. You’ve been studying for hours, and none of the arguments in the paper you’re supposed to be reading make any sense. Logically, you know you’re probably just tired and overworked, but it doesn’t help the growing knot in your stomach that’s trying its hardest to make you think you’re stupid. You’re so caught up in it that you don’t even notice the window open as a black-and-blue-clad figure enters the room.

“Hey, gorgeous,” Dick says.

You give a distracted hum in response, blinking as the words swim in front of your eyes. He pulls off his domino mask and places it on the table before walking behind your seat and wrapping his arms round you in a loose hug. You let out a noise of protest as your head falls back against his abdomen.

“I need to finish this.”

“That’s the same thing you were reading when I left for patrol,” he points out gently, “And I know you started it this morning.”


“When did you last eat?” Dick presses.

You hesitate, and as if only now realising how long it’s been, your stomach twinges with hunger. “…Breakfast,” you admit.

He gives you one of his beautiful grins. “C’mon, I’ll order you a pizza.”

“I thought Jay said we’d been getting takeout too much recently,” you protest weakly. You’re not really against the idea, but a token effort will get you brownie points when Jason asks later.

“He’s not here right now, though, is he?” Dick laughs, reaching for his phone.

“You do know he’s back in…” You glance at the clock, grimacing at the reminder of how long you’ve been working non-stop. “Four hours, right?”

“We’ll just have to get rid of the evidence before then, then.”

Dick dials the number for the local pizza place from memory and orders your usual as well as his own, then hangs up and tosses his phone aside as he begins stripping out of his Nightwing suit. You sigh as you shut your laptop. There’s a guilty pit in your stomach at the idea of abandoning your work, the feeling of having too much left to do making you uncomfortable. Hearing the click of the laptop closing and your sigh, Dick turns to you, his chest bare, his numerous scars glinting silver against his skin. You give him an apologetic look.

“I’m sorry. I just… I feel so dumb. I should be done by now, and instead I’ve barely done anything.”

“We all have bad days,” he tells you, walking back over to you. He pulls up a chair to sit beside you, resting a hand on yours before leaning in for a soft kiss.

“Yeah, well, not all of us come from whole families of overachievers where 99% is what counts as a bad day,” you mumble. It’s not meant bitterly, but he winces a little anyway. “Shit. Sorry.”

“It’s because you’re overworked,” he tells you, “So stop apologising and come take a break with me. I’m going to shower, and then we’re going to sit on the sofa and wait for our pizza and then we’ll eat it together and watch bad movies and crash out while we wait for Jay.”

“Okay,” you agree, quietly.

He kisses you once more, then heads into the bathroom. You’ve just finished tidying up your workspace when he emerges again. He’s dressed in black sweatpants and a simple grey shirt, and, as usual, he looks stunning. How he manages it is beyond you; there’s clearly something special in the Grayson genes.

The two of you wordlessly move over to the couch, and he grabs the remote off the coffee table before moving his arm in a gesture which clearly invites you to snuggle up to his side. You take him up on the offer, curling into the warmth. Dick’s just flicked over to Netflix when there’s a knock on the door. You both let out slight groans, preparing to move, before you hear a familiar voice.

“Delivery, you lying fucks, you told me you wouldn’t get takeout this month.”

You and Dick both sag back into the sofa, identical grins on your faces. A key clicks in the lock and the door swings open to reveal Jason. He’s stood in the doorway holding two pizza boxes, but you can’t even bring yourself to feel guilty for ordering food.

“You’re early,” you say delightedly, reaching out a grabby gesture to get him to join you on the couch.

“Glad you noticed, sweetheart,” he replies, “But it seems like maybe I shouldn’t have gone in the first place, if you can’t go a week making your own food.” It’s clear from his tone that he isn’t really angry, though. He shuts the door behind him, then makes his way over to sit beside you, flopping down and leaning in to give you a kiss.

“Guess who’s been overworking?” Dick asks rhetorically.

“Tell-tale,” you mutter.

“If it helps,” Dick tells you, “You really earnt that pizza.”

“Well, I guess the damage is done. You ordered it, it’s here, may as well eat it,” Jason reasons, flashing you a spectacular smile, “So what are we watching?”

The three of you bicker playfully over the TV for a little while, eventually coming to a conclusion that satisfies everyone. Before long, your legs are thrown over Dick’s as you lie back on Jason, head turned sideways so that you can still see what’s playing. Jason’s fingers idly card through your hair, and you can feel the tension of the day drain out of you. By the time you turn off the TV, you can feel the exhaustion catching up to you. Once the three of you have piled into bed, you can barely keep your eyes open.

“Thanks for getting me away from work, Dick,” you mumble, “I needed the break, and I didn’t even realise.”

“Any time, gorgeous,” he whispers, pressing a kiss to your forehead from where he’s lying in front of you.

“And you,” you add, pressing your foot back into Jason where he’s spooning you, nudging his leg to make sure you have his attention, “I missed you. I’m glad you’re home.”

“Glad to be back, sweetheart.”

“Maybe next we’ll fix your sleep schedule,” Dick teases.

“Not a chance, Grayson. The two of you are practically nocturnal, I’d never see you if I slept better.”

“One thing at a time,” Jason says.

He wraps his arms around you and pulls you tight against his chest, and Dick shuffles a little closer. The last thing you’re aware of before sleep tugs you down is an overwhelming feeling of love and comfort.