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if wanting ever taught you anything

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Donna was out for the night.

Donna was out for the night, and there were no world-threatening emergencies, no assignments from Batman, no cases to hunt down clues for.

Well, said the part of Dick's brain that never stopped working, no, actually, there were all of those things—but none of them needed to be dealt with right now. In this exact moment, at this exact place in the universe, there was just him and Koriand’r, sitting on the sofa in Donna and Kory’s apartment, cross-legged facing each other.

Kory picked his hand up off his lap and wove her fingers through his. They made a pattern together, pale and gold, pale and gold, like braided bread.

“Do you want to go to my bedroom?” she said.

Dick swallowed. They’d been going further and further each time they were alone, lately, and last week, Kory had taken off her shirt and her bra and taken Dick’s hands just like this and put each one on one of her breasts, and then—

“We don’t have to,” Kory said.

“No,” Dick said. “I want to.”

Kory kept hold of his hand as she led him into the bedroom. They sat down on the bed, with its pinstriped sheets and purple quilt still in disarray from the morning; Kory only made her bed once every few days.

Dick stroked her face with his free hand, a gentle circle of his thumb across her cheekbone. It was still new to him, being able to touch Kory like this, being able to touch anyone like this, and he was kind of gorging himself on it. Not that the more intimate things he and Kory did weren’t amazing too, but there was something just as intimate about touching someone’s face, wasn’t there?

With a smile, Kory turned her face and kissed the palm of Dick’s hand. Dick ran his hand further back into her hair—Kory’s hair, predictably, felt amazing—and leaned forward, and they were kissing.

It took an embarrassingly short time for Dick to start getting hard. The first time he and Kory had made out, in the living room, on the couch, he’d jumped back when he’d realized what was happening.

Kory had laughed, but in a kind way. “It’s a good thing,” she’d said. “That’s the idea. I’m feeling it too.”

He trusted that she was feeling it now. Judging by the way her fingers had found the top button of his shirt, he thought she was. She undid the buttons one by one and pushed the shirt off his shoulders as fumblingly as it was possible for Kory to do anything, without breaking the kiss once.

Dick pulled back to take the shirt off fully and throw it aside, and Kory took the opportunity to pull off her own peasant blouse, leaving just a plain white bra underneath. She went to unclasp it, but Dick reached out.

“Let me.”

“You think you can?”

“I can pick 20 different types of locks, I think I can manage a bra.”

Kory grinned and swept her hair off her back. “Okay.”

He crawled around behind her and pulled at the band of her bra. It stretched, then snapped back.

“Sorry!” he said, then tried again, more carefully. One hook, then two, then the third—wait, the second hook had gotten stuck in the third loop, somehow. “Who makes these things, LexCorp?”

“Donna says they are ‘patriarchal tools of oppression, but they do wonders for your figure.’”

“Can’t argue with her there,” Dick muttered, as the last hook came free of its loop. “There.

Kory shook the bra off and turned around to face him, chest to bare chest. It was… really hard not to look at Kory’s breasts.


With effort, he looked up, and remembered that as mesmerizing as Kory’s breasts were, her eyes were just as much so.

“Remember what I said last time?” she said.

“You said a lot of things last time.”

It’s okay to look.

“Well, that’s good, ‘cause I’m looking.”

Kory laughed and put a hand on his chest. She drew it down, tracing the line of his pectorals, his sternum, his abdominals, following the path of her hand with her eye. It was a little bit uncomfortable, but a lot electrifying. Dick had touched Kory like this before, but she’d never touched him—nobody had touched him like this before. It was like being looked at, like being seen, like being praised.

She pressed her palm flat against his stomach, and Dick gasped.

Kory leaned in and let her forehead rest against Dick’s. Her hair fell like a curtain around his face, so that for a moment, the world was just soft, and red, and Kory.

“I think,” she whispered, “you should take off your pants now.”

“Okay,” Dick said.

A few moments later, his and Kory’s pants had joined their shirts on the floor. Dick, ignoring the new regions of skin that had just been opened up to them, cupped one of Kory’s breasts in his right hand. Last time, she’d directed him to circle the nipple, and he did that now, rubbing gently at the dark, reddish-brown skin with his thumb. His other hand, he put on her clavicle, and ran softly down the broad of her chest, her ribs, her side. He wanted Kory to feel like he had, before, when she touched him. He wanted her to feel—

“Yes,” Kory breathed. She picked up the hand on her side and moved it down, to the hem of her panties.

Dick paused with the tip of his fingers just inside the elastic. "Should I…"

"Yes," Kory said again. She pushed her hips into his hand. Dick slipped his fingers in up to the second knuckle.

He didn't entirely know what to expect. It was wet, which he supposed made sense, and there was hair, which tallied with what he knew of human anatomy, anyway. If Tamaraneans were anything like humans, there should be a clitoris, or something like it, but where it would be, he had no idea.

"Kory," he said, his face burning, "I don't know…"

“It’s okay. It’s okay. I’ll show you.” She slid her underwear off, and there she was, naked, in front of him, for the first time.

“Um, should I…?”

Kory smiled. “If you want.”

Dick thought, on the whole, he probably wanted, so his underwear joined Kory’s on the floor.

“Here,” Kory said. She picked up his hand and positioned it between her legs, put her fingers over his fingers and pressed in gently. “Like this.”

Dick kept his fingers pressed there, and as Kory began to rock against them, gained confidence, and started to move with her. Just a little, nothing harsh, nothing fast, just a back and forth of his fingers inside her.

Kory gripped his shoulder and threw her head back. There were little noises coming out of her mouth, pants and whimpers and he was making her make those noises.

At that, Dick made a noise of his own.

With a smile, Kory pulled away. Dick followed her with his hand, but she laced her fingers through his.

“Dick,” she said. “Do you want to…”

“Do I want to what?”

“I think you’d call it, ‘go all the way.'"

Dick's brain shorted out for a moment. He thought, vaguely, that he should maybe be more concerned about that.

"Do… do you? Want to?"

"That's why I asked." Kory grinned, then frowned. "But if you don't want to…"

"No!" Dick nearly jumped. "I want to."

The smile that broke across Kory's face glowed. Not literally, but metaphorically strongly enough that Dick's eyes flitted to get hair just to make sure she wasn't bringing her Starfire powers into the mix.

"We should, uh…" God, Dick was bad at talking about this stuff. "Get a, you know. A condom."

"A condom?"

Oh God, oh God. "You know, like a little… rubber… shield? To prevent pregnancy? And diseases?"

"Oh!" Kory's face clears. "We use herbs for that, on Tamaran. But I don't have any."

Dick's face heated up. "That's okay. I, uh. Have one."

He tripped over to his abandoned jeans and fumbled his wallet out of the pocket, and the condom out of the wallet. When he got back to the bed, Kory was smirking.

"So you were ready for this."

It didn't seem physically possible, but Dick blushed harder. "Well, you know," he says, regaining some composure, "I'm Robin. Ready for anything."

Kory was still laughing by the time he got the condom on.

Dick put a hand on her shoulder, and she laid down. For a moment, he stayed kneeling over her, just looking at her, her hair spread across the pillows, her skin bright against the sheets. His heart pounded.

And then he was lying over her, and he was inside her, and it felt amazing.

But something was wrong. Kory's lips were screwing up, her breath picked up, and maybe that was just what sex was like, but Dick didn't think so.


“Stop,” Kory said. “Just stop for a second.”

Dick was up and sitting beside her before she’d finished talking. “Are you okay?”

Kory sat up as well. “I’m fine. It just reminded me of…” she sighed. “The Citadel.”

Of course. Dick was an idiot. “Do you want to stop? We should stop.”

“No, I don’t want to stop.”


“Dick.” Kory cupped his face in her hand. “I want this.”

“But I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then let’s try something else.” She moved her hand from Dick’s face to his shoulder, mirroring what Dick had done a few minutes before. Dick let her guide him down to lie on his back.

Kory spent a moment figuring out the logistics of it all, and then he was inside her again, this time looking up at her. She looked majestic from any angle, but from below, with her chest bare and her hair wild around her, she was awe-inspiring.

He studied her face for any sign that she was unhappy, uncomfortable, in pain. Kory saw him looking, and met his eyes, and smiled.

She was amazing. Her warmth, her passion, her kindness. That she'd been through so much, and come out the other side of it so full of life, so ready to fight, so open to people. That she saw his awkward stiffness, and always found a way to ease it. God, Dick loved her. He loved her so much that he ached with it. He needed to tell her, needed to show her, needed to do something with all this love he was feeling.

He reached up, one hand in the air above him, and Kory threaded her fingers through his. He pulled her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles.

The noises Kory was making picked up, and she squeezed his hand, and then, in a rush, Dick was coming.

Kory rolled off of him. They laid side by side, not speaking, catching their breath.

"Did you…" Dick started to ask. Kory soon her head.

"Not yet."

"Oh." That was embarrassing.

Kory kissed his knuckles just like he'd done to her, then turned his face towards her and kissed him on the lips, hard.

"I have some ideas for how to fix that," she said. "If you're willing."

Dick must look stupid with how hard we was smiling, but he didn’t care. “I’m so willing.”


Donna was gone.

She and Terry had come by with little Robbie, showing him off to his pack of superpowered aunts and uncles, letting the Titans coo over his little fingers and fight over who got to hold him. And then they’d taken him back to their ranch, and Gar and the others had gone out to dinner, and Dick and Kory had gone back to their apartment. Dick had cooked dinner—twice-baked potatoes—and Kory had done the dishes, and now here they were, leaning against opposite walls of their cramped kitchenette, staring at each other’s shoulders.

Kory hated that. She wanted to meet Dick’s eyes. She loved his eyes, and he’d told her that he loved hers.

“Would you like to watch a movie?” she asked, trying unsuccessfully to catch his gaze. “Or do you have work?”

“Let’s go to bed,” Dick said.

“I’m not tired yet, but…”

“No.” Dick frowned. “I mean, let’s have sex.”

Kory tried not to let her eyes widen in surprise, but she’d never been very good at hiding her emotions. “Are you sure?”

“Do you not want to?”

“No, I do, but…”

“I’m clean.”

“I know you are.” He’d gotten the results of his tests last week. Kory and Dick hadn’t used condoms since she’d brought a large stash of prophylactic herbs back from her trips to Tamaran—but of course, Mirage hadn’t been taking any of those.

As always, the thought of Mirage sent a surge of anger through Kory’s veins. Her eyes flashed with it; she could tell because Dick glanced quickly at her face, then looked away again. As frustrating as Dick’s emotional walls could be, sometimes Kory wished that she had just a little of his skill at controlling his face.

“It’s okay,” Dick said, again to her shoulder. “We don’t have to.”

“I want to,” Kory said. “I’m not angry at you. I told you that, and I meant it. But I am worried about you.”

“Don’t be. I’m fine.”

“Then why won’t you look at me?”

Immediately, Dick met her eyes. “I look at you.”

Kory sighed. Maybe it was time to be more direct. “You know that it took me time to be comfortable with my body again, after the Citadel.”

Dick looked away again. “This isn’t like that.”

“It is like that. Why do you insist it isn’t?”

“You were violently assaulted, Kory! I just…”

“Yes, I know very well what happened to me,” Kory said, crossing her arms.

“Well I know what happened to me!” Dick exploded. His fists were clenched and his eyes were wild—but at least he was looking at her.

Dick’s intensity brought out a matching one in Kory, making her eyes flash again. “I don’t want to hurt you!”

“You won’t,” Dick said, suddenly quiet. He stepped toward her and put his hands on her shoulders, looking up into her eyes. “You would never hurt me, Kory. I trust you more than anyone.”

Kory put her hands over his. “Okay. If you’re sure, then okay.”

She let Dick lead her into the bedroom by the hand. She pulled off her sundress, and when her head emerged from the fabric, Dick had his shirt half unbuttoned. Kory helped him unbutton it the rest of the way.

Sitting on the neatly made bed in their underwear, they stared at each other’s shoulders. Kory remembered Donna telling her, years ago, that Dick was the stubbornest person she’d ever met. Sometimes Kory thought that was a good thing, sometimes a bad thing, but either way, she gained new appreciation for how right Donna was every day.

“Dick.” She took his hand. “I need you to tell me what you want.”

Dick’s brow furrowed, and Kory supposed she couldn’t blame him. Usually she was much more vocal than Dick during sex; he’d gotten used to asking when he did want something in particular, but he almost never directed the show, as Donna might say.

But not this time. If Dick trusted her that much, then Kory was going to be worthy of it. She wasn’t going to do anything that might hurt him.

For a second, Kory thought he was going to argue, but then he said, “I want you to kiss me.”

So she did.

It was an unremarkable kiss, indistinguishable from all the other times they’d kissed before sex. After a minute, Dick’s hands slipped from her arms to her back, and he started unhooking her bra. Kory smiled, remembering, as she always did at this point, Dick’s fumbling first attempt to take her bra off.

He was much quicker at it this time. She backed away, breaking the kiss. “Now, what do you want?”

“I want to touch your breasts.” Four years ago, he would’ve blushed saying that. As sweet as it had been, Kory was glad they were beyond that. She shook her hair out of the way and leaned back on her hands, offering up her chest to him.

Dick spent only a minute running his hands over her breasts, thumbing at her nipples, before he leaned in and brought his lips to her skin. He nipped gently across her chest, and she arched into him.

“What do you want?” she said again.

Instead of answering, he pulled her hand to his chest. She traced her fingers down his ribs, smoothed a palm across his pectorals, the way she knew he liked.

“What do you want?” she whispered into his ear.

He reached for the hem of her underwear. She lifted her hips to let him slide them down past her knees. He ran his fingers up her thighs, thumbed her legs apart; she spread them to give him better access.

As his head ducked down in between her legs, he looked up for a moment to meet her eyes. “Can I?” he asked.


He ducked back down. His tongue flicked at her clitoris, and Kory breathed in sharply. But she’d only just closed her eyes and settled in to enjoy it when he sat back up.

“I want you to tell me something only you would know,” he said.

Kory tried not to let the sadness show on her face, but she failed, of course. She knew Dick could see it, because suddenly all the emotion drained from his face. His eyes went cold and his mouth went flat.

“When we first started dating, on the way back from Tamaran,” she said, pulling from what she saw in front of her, “you told me that you weren’t raised to be open with your emotions. You asked me to be patient with you.”

“I told Donna about that conversation,” Dick said. His eyes stayed distant.

“You told me once you like me best in yellow.”

“I told Donna that too. And Wally.”

“Did you tell Donna that you brought a condom the first time we had sex, because Robin is always prepared?”

“No. Did you?”

“No. I never told anyone.”

And then, all at once, Dick’s face crumpled.

Kory sat up immediately. Dick wasn’t crying, just sitting there with his eyes squeezed shut and his breath fast and shallow.

She cupped his face in her hands. “Dick.”

“I trust you,” he said.

“I know that.”

“So why can’t I trust you?”

“Because she used your trust against you.”

Dick opened his eyes. He was back with her, his mouth set but determined, his eyes fierce. He looked exactly as stubborn as she and Donna had always said. “I want to fix it. How do I fix it?”

And oh, Kory loved him so much, this boy who had grown up and out and blossomed before her eyes. This man who never stopped fighting, fighting for his friends, fighting for himself, fighting to feel when his whole life he’d been taught not to. She took his hands and squeezed them tight in her own.

“Time,” she said. “I’ll be here as long as you want.”