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To See Through You

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It’s not that Tim can’t handle four grown men on his own. Any other night he’d be able to do it easily. It’s just that right now he is super intoxicated in the back alley of some seedy bar on the most dangerous side of Gotham and can barely stand on his own two feet.

He just wanted a night to himself. He wanted to be able to come to some grimy bar and get shitfaced without any interruptions. But when he paid his tab and walked out the side door, he immediately noticed the men that appeared to be following him. The men that were currently backing him up against a chain link fence.

He doesn’t have his staff. He’s in his street clothes, after all. He doesn’t even have his real I.D. on him right now. But this is just his luck. He just wants a peaceful, solitary night off and this is what he gets.

The men are average height, slightly athletic build. Nothing like the muscle headed henchmen he fights on a regular basis as Red Robin, but the point is that there are four of them, and only one- very inebriated- him.

He crouches into his fighting stance, holding up his fists, but he can feel himself swaying on his feet. The men notice, too, because they’re chuckling at him. He knows it’s too late to call for help, so he steps forward with his left foot and throws a punch with his right fist. He misses wildly. He doesn’t even have the chance to correct the swing before something makes contact with his jaw and his vision goes black.

Jason is watching all of this from above. He’s actually finding it all very amusing. The kid went down from one punch.

"So much for all that training." He thinks.

He hadn’t even known the kid was in his part of town. He was just doing his regular rounds when he stumbled across the scene. He wasn’t planning on interfering when they followed the Pretender out of the bar, even though he knew the kid was drunk. He could see the flush on Tim’s face and the stumbling of his feet from three stories up. If he was dumb enough to get so drunk that he would let himself get beat up, then he deserved it. He would deserve it even if he was sober, really. Tim Drake was his replacement after all.

He wasn’t even planning on interfering once they’d knocked the kid out. But now they’re stripping the Pretender of his jacket and undoing his pants. One takes a knife and cuts Tim’s shirt from collar to hem, exposing his well- defined torso.

Rage boils and pistons in Jason’s stomach and pumps through his veins. He wonders for the slightest moment if this is how it feels for Bane every time he’s pumped full of venom, and he wishes he could spit fire and burn down this entire fucking city the way the bile burns in his throat and chest. He knows exactly what these deranged pricks have in mind and he can’t let that fly.

He drops in on the backs of two of the men kneeling over his replacement’s limp form, and hears the crack of spines snapping. They’re not dead, but they’ll probably wish they were once they wake up. Jason kicks one of the others in the face, his boot smacking satisfyingly along the entirety of it. The man’s face is a mask of blood when he falls limp to the ground.

The fourth man rises to his feet and holds his knife out at Jason like he might actually have a shot at fighting off the vigilante. Except Jason is the Red Hood, and someone who was a pretty skilled knife fighter even before he was taken in by the Batman.

Jason smirks, even though the guy can’t see it with Jason’s helmet on. He’s really going to enjoy making this guy piss himself.

He pulls the gun from the holster on his thigh and shoots the man in the forearm. He screams, immediately dropping the knife and falling to his knees as he clutches at the profusely bleeding wound.

Jason stomps forward, grabbing the man’s collar to hold him still and backhands him as hard as he can across the face.

“Listen up! You stay the hell away from him and every other kid in this city! Got it?! If I find you running these streets again, I promise you, I will kill you. Now beat it!”

When Jason releases him, he’s on his feet and hobbling down the alleyway at an impressive pace for someone who’s just been shot. Jason notices he heads in the direction of the nearest hospital. He didn’t piss himself, but Jason still feels a sense of accomplishment. He got to beat people up and shoot someone, and the best part is no one can lecture him since he didn’t kill anyone.

Then he remembers why he’d had to shoot someone in the first place and turns around to find his replacement still unconscious and surrounded by equally comatose assholes.

*Stupid, disgusting pieces of shit. They don’t even look much older than me.*

He rolls his eyes and makes his way over, nudging the other bodies a few feet out of the way with his boots. He stoops and hauls the smaller vigilante up and over his shoulder before walking out of the alley.

Tim is compact, and as such, is very light. Jason could probably easily carry him the thirty something blocks home, but he spots Tim’s car parked down the street and digs the key out of Tim’s pocket. It’s much faster and far less tiresome to just drive.

There’s always traffic in Gotham, though, and it takes nearly as long to drive as it would’ve taken to walk. He parks the illegally on the street as his own little satisfying way at getting back at his replacement for making him do all this. It probably won’t be towed, but at least he’ll have a hefty ticket to pay.

The kid is smart enough to install a thumbprint lock on the door, and it’s a little challenging to maneuver him so that Jason can open the door, but he manages. He dumps the kid in his bed, stripping off what’s left of his tattered clothes. He feels a little bit weird after what almost happened in the alley, and tries not to stare too much at the replacement’s flawless legs. The kid starts to stir and cracks his bleary eyes open and smiles at Jason like the idiot he is.

“It’s you.” He says with a voice sleep scratchy and whiskey thick.

Jason is bent over him doing his best to roll Tim over onto his stomach. He’s trying to remain calm as the younger boy fights him and reaches out a hand to grab Jason’s shirt and pull him closer. The smell of alcohol is overwhelming on his breath, but it’s nothing Jason hasn’t dealt with before.

“Know what?” The replacement asks him with a stupid smile on his face.

Jason doesn’t answer. He’s not in the mood and the kid is really starting to piss him off. He isn’t interested in humoring the smaller vigilante whatsoever.

Apparently Tim didn’t need an answer, though, because he pulls Jason closer and stares at Jason’s lips while he speaks.

“You’re really pretty. Like, I think you might be even prettier than Dick. But don’t tell him I said that.” The kid giggles. Honestly giggles. He looks so much younger like this and with the alcohol warming his cheeks. “I wish you didn’t hate me.”

And then he kisses Jason. Fucking kisses him in a messy, gross, alcohol soaked pressing of lips and tongue even though Jason isn’t bothering to open his mouth for him. He doesn’t do anything about it, just lets the kid take what he wants until moments later his head hits the pillow and he’s sound asleep.

Jason’s brain is begging him to really think about what just happened and what the kid had said, but he’s not having it. He distracts himself by studying the way the kid’s briefs hang low on his hips for quite a few seconds before he quickly pulls the blanket up over the kid’s body, turns him on his stomach, and places a trashcan next to the bed. He also leaves the kid’s phone, a glass of water, and a bottle of pain reliever on the nightstand.  

He could leave a note. Make the Pretender feel guilty and give him shit about this for months. He could probably even blackmail the little shit into getting him some cool new gadgets. Instead he decides it might be better to let this one go. He locks up and leaves through the window, shutting it firmly behind him.

---

Tim wakes the next morning in his own bed in his apartment with no recollection of how he’s managed to get here. He looks around, but there’s no note or any sign of anyone else having been there. He picks up his phone and the clock reads noon. He never sleeps this late. Thankfully he has no missed calls or messages. His mouth tastes and feels like concrete and he gulps down the glass of water and has to go refill his glass before he notices the pain reliever sitting there. He takes four and goes to make himself breakfast.

He sends a text to Dick, thanking him for his assistance with getting him home the night before and then heads to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. When he returns, he finds a message from Dick.

-wht do u mean Timmy. I was n the Haven last night-

Tim’s stomach drops and he feels a chill run over him. If Dick hadn’t helped him last night, then who got him home? There are only so many people that know where he lives. He’s absolutely sure it wasn’t Bruce or Alfred, or he would’ve been awoken hours earlier by a phone call from a stern Alfred and an absolutely livid Bruce.

He then sends a text to Babs quickly, asking if she’d helped him.

-I had a meeting with Dinah and Stephanie. How could you be so irresponsible that you don’t even remember how you got home?! I’m very disappointed in you, Tim!-

Cass is in China, so there’s no logical way it could’ve been her. The Titans are currently on a mission, so it couldn’t have been any of them either. Then Tim realizes the only other person it could’ve possibly been.

“Dammit.”

Tim waits until nightfall so that he can at least thank Jason with the armor of his uniform and mask as a defense and shield against the older vigilante.

Jason’s home. Tim sees him through the window from his perch on the fire escape. He waits for the older boy to get up and leave the room before sliding open the window and slinking inside. Jason’s apartment is a wreck, as per usual, but he’s in no place to be criticizing Jason right now.

“What do you want, Replacement?” Jason calls from the other room. He walks back out into his living room and is now in uniform, strapping his holster to his thigh and sliding in the gun in in what Tim guesses is supposed to be the gesture of an unspoken threat.

“How’d you know it was me?”

“Grayson can never keep his mouth shut long enough to be that stealthy. And usually he just waltzes in anyway. I also have security cameras on the fire escape, dumbass. Next time, try not to be such a creep. You can even use my door instead of watching me through the window for twenty minutes. I know voyeurism is a hard habit to break, but next time you may get an eyeful of something you don’t want to see. You’re just lucky I got my rocks off before you got here.”

Tim’s face flushes as Jason pulls out a pair of underwear from behind a cushion and shoots them across the room like a rubber band. He isn't sure if Jason is being crudely blunt, or if he's trying to make Tim uncomfortable. Either is a safe bet with Jason.

Tim coughs, trying to hide his embarrassment.

“I know it was you that helped me the other night, and I just… I just came to say-“

Jason’s entire demeanor changes. His body becomes one ridged line and all pretense of joking gone and replaced by anger and malice.

“Don’t. Don’t thank me. I didn’t do it for you. I shouldn’t have done it at all after you went and decided to be a fucking idiot. But Bruce would’ve had my ass if I’d let his precious little Red Robin get thrown in the back of a van and taken to god knows where with a bunch of disgusting bastards that would’ve made you the main star of their homemade, fucked up porno.”

Tim cocks his head.

“Jesus, were you really that wasted that you don’t remember?”

“I remember just fine. I was going to fight them and probably lose-”

“You did lose. Went down in one punch, you worthless Bat- brat.” Jason interjects.

Tim ignores the goading.

“But how could you have known that they were going to take me somewhere and do something?”

Jason laughs humorlessly.

“I used to work corners, dipshit, and I was on the streets long enough to know how sick fucks like them look at a piece of meat. Not to mention the fact that they were literally ripping off your fucking clothes. Didn’t you even wonder why your entire outfit just disappeared?”

Tim feels a cold weight settle in his stomach at hearing that and he swallows back the urge to be sick. He hadn’t remembered that part of the night at all, and had never thought about the clothes since he never saw them after he’d woken up. He had guessed that he’d just thrown them somewhere due to his state of drunkenness. 

Jason sighs and shakes his head. “Fuck, what the hell were you even thinking, kid? Were you wanting to get the shit beat out of you? You had no weapons, hadn’t called for backup, and couldn’t even stand properly. Do you have any idea what could’ve happened if I hadn’t found you?”

That irks Tim. Who the hell is Jason Todd to be lecturing him right now about anything?

“It’s not like I asked you to save me, Jason. I would’ve been fine.”

“My ass. You’re supposed to be smart, kid. So wise the hell up and do it fast. Before you do end up as somebody’s plaything.”

“Stop calling me kid! I’m only three years younger than you! And you have no right to lecture me about anything! You don’t even know me!”

“I know enough. And if you pull that shit again, I know you’re gonna get killed.”

Tim is furious and reacts before he has time to think about it. He grabs the nearest object and hurls it at Jason. It’s heavy, and Jason has plenty of time to move out of the way. It shatters and explodes to pieces against the wall.

Tim’s face blanches and his hand shoots to his mouth.

“Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I did that. It was incredibly juvenile. I swear I don’t normally behave like a crazy person. I promise I’ll replace it.”

Jason gives him a strange look and smirks at him like he’s impressed or something.

“Don’t worry about it. It was an old housewarming gift from Talia. I hated the thing. It was just some stupid vase from the Ming Dynasty.”

“Oh my god. I just destroyed a seven hundred year old artifact. Jason, I’m so, so sorry. I have an original Van Gogh in my apartment. You can have it and I’ll pay for the difference! I swear I didn’t-”

“I said don’t worry about it. I was never a fan of it.”

Tim’s face is exceptionally red now and he’s embarrassed and frustrated and Jason must notice. Even in his mask and uniform, Tim feels incredibly exposed at the moment.

“Not that I care or anything, but are you alright? You kind of look like you’re gonna pass out and I don’t need any other Bats snooping around my apartment and finding you unconscious on the floor. They’re gonna think I did something to you and then I’ll be getting lectures left and right and Dick’ll try to fight me and it’ll end badly for everyone.”

Tim sways the slightest bit.

“I’m fine. Just… may I have some water please?”

Jason goes to grab him a water bottle and is back within seconds.

“Would you just sit down before you keel over? Jesus, you look like shit.”

Tim gulps down most of the water bottle and then thanks Jason.

“So, you gonna tell me what’s up?”

Tim’s head snaps up to look at him.

“What do you mean?”

“Why you got blackout drunk and then decided it was a good idea to try and walk home by yourself on Gotham’s east side? Or maybe why you just showed up and started wrecking my shit?”

Panic crosses Tim’s face again.

“I can replace it. I swear.”

“I’m just giving you shit, Replacement. Calm down. But I do want an explanation. I think you at least owe me that since I saved your ass.”

Tim goes quiet and sits back in the chair, drawing himself in and looking like he shrunk by half his size.

“It was the anniversary… of my father’s death.” He says and swallows hard against the lump in his throat.

“Oh,” is all Jason says.

“Yeah. Normally I’d never be so irresponsible about it. It’s just that… it still hasn’t gotten any easier, you know? It’s already been two years and it still hurts.”

Jason nods.

“So, why’d you come to this side of town just to drink?”

“I wanted to be left alone. And I knew no one would think to look for me here. No one would find me.”

“Except me, apparently.”

Tim hums.

“Except you.”

They’re both quiet for a few minutes before Jason breaks the silence.

“You wanna… I don’t know, talk about it or something?”

“Not really.” Tim responds almost immediately.

“Well, listen, kid, I know I’m probably the last person you want to hear this from, but I know a little bit about losing people. You always feel that sting of losing them. It never goes away. But it does get easier. You learn how to manage it and channel it into something productive. And trust me when I say this because I know from experience: death is not the end.”

Tim can’t help the tears that roll down his cheeks. He isn’t even aware that they’d been threatening to spill until he feels the wetness on his face. He wipes them away, but it does no good. They just keep coming. They pour from under his mask and make his skin feel sticky and uncomfortable until he finally has to rip back the cowl.

The tears are falling in full force now and Jason is staring at him in shock and Tim wants to say something, but he’s afraid of what might come out if he opens his mouth right now. Thankfully, Jason saves him from having to do so.

“Why don’t you lay down on the couch? I’ll get you a blanket. You can just crash here tonight. I’ll let Nightwing know you’re here and he can come get you when he gets done with patrol.”

Tim turns his huge, deep blue eyes to him.

“No! Please don’t say anything. I don’t want to be around anyone else right now.”

Jason isn’t sure why that makes him blush the slightest bit.

“Alright. Alright, I won’t say anything. But I gotta go on patrol. Just hang out and try to get some sleep. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

Tim nods and lays down. Jason covers him with the blanket before making his way to the window. He puts on his helmet and is climbing out when he suddenly pauses and turns back to Tim.

“Drake.”

Tim looks at him through bleary eyes.

“I better find you here when I get back and not in another grimy fucking alley way. Understand?”

Tim nods again and then closes his eyes. He’s not sure how long he’s asleep, but it had to have been a few hours at least, because he’s awoken by Jason’s fingers brushing his hair off his forehead. He pretends he’s still asleep, leaning into the touch the slightest bit. The touch doesn’t last much longer and he keeps his eyes shut until he hears Jason’s bedroom door shut.

He and Jason have never gotten along, and he didn’t expect they ever would, but maybe things are different now. They have to be. Everything that happened between them tonight is entirely unusual for both of them and Tim never would’ve thought that things between him and Jason would or could be like they have been over the past twenty four hours. He never could’ve anticipated Jason to touch him with such gentleness as he just did. Or come to his aide when he really needed it. It had to mean things would be different. Or at least he can hope. 

Tim wakes up early to find a clean pair of sweats and a t-shirt on the table next to a cup of fresh brewed coffee and pastries. Jason is nowhere to be found, but there is a note in his handwriting lying on top of the clothes.

Replacement,

Thanks for ruining my safe house. Now I gotta blow this one up. Eat up. There’ll be a cab here in twenty minutes. Get clear after that.

J.T.

---

Its months before Tim hears anything from Jason after that. He’s not too upset about it. Their last interaction, while not completely unpleasant, makes Tim somewhat uncomfortable to think back on. He doesn’t like showing his vulnerabilities, and the Red Hood is the last person he should’ve shown his to. So he’s glad that that time has given them some distance, but he’s also not expecting their next interaction to go the way it is. 

Tim can tell something isn’t right as soon as he walks into his apartment. He’d just gone down the street to the gas station to stock up on energy bars and tea. It’s his night off, so he has no idea what has been going on in the world of masked vigilantism. The last thing he’s expecting is to find a heaping pile of Jason Todd on his floor when he flips the lights on.

Tim’s first instinct is to be incredibly irritated. He doesn’t have time, nor is he in the mood to humor Jason tonight by playing one of his annoying mind games. For a moment he’s honestly thinking that this is some weird form of revenge on Jason’s part after the older boy rescued him all those months back. It isn’t until he sees the puddle of blood on the floor surrounding Jason that he realizes Jason actually has a reason for being here.

Tim’s heart skips a beat. That isn’t an exaggeration. He’s been training long enough by now to catch and catalogue any irregularity with his body. It skips exactly one beat, and then Tim is in action.

He drops his bags on the floor, not terribly concerned with the condition of their contents, before making his way to Jason. The older boy is incredibly still; His chest not even moving with the- should-be motion of his breathing.

He kneels down beside Jason, not able to hear the tinny sound of his breathing inside the mask.

“Oh, God, please don’t be dead.”

Tim flounders for a minute, fingers and hands fluttering over Jason in debate. Obviously he has to do something to help, but Tim is unfamiliar with Jason’s suit and the traps that he undoubtedly built into it.

Carefully and hesitantly, Tim feels over Jason’s uniform, simultaneous looking for visible injuries as well as traps and the catches of his suit.

There is a bullet wound in Jason’s leg, abdomen, and shoulder. And thankfully none of the traps are currently active on Jason’s uniform, but he can’t know the full extent of Jason’s injuries until he gets the helmet off. He knows the mask is built like the cowl, meant to shock anyone with a few thousand volts that tries to take it off without disabling the traps and pressing the releases. Tim has to do something soon, though. He can tell judging by the amount of blood surrounding Jason that he’s been lying here for a while, and has already lost a significant amount of blood.

“Dammit. Jason! Jason, can you hear me?! Listen, I have to make sure you’re alright. I have to see how you’re doing under there, okay?”

Tim feels almost like he’s talking to an injured civilian, which terrifies him even more because this is Jason after all.

“Jason, I have to take your helmet off. If there’s any traps and I get electrocuted and killed I’m going to be so pissed at you and I swear I will come back and murder your ass.”

Tim takes a deep breath before finding the release on the helmet and pushing it. It hisses open, and with it Tim breathes out a sigh of relief. Removing the helmet, he leans over, getting his ear close to Jason’s mouth to listen for the intake of breath. It’s a slow, and gargled sound, meaning Jason has blood in his throat, or worse, his chest. Tim just hopes that Jason hasn’t seriously injured a lung. Another shaky breath. Jason’s breathing isn’t nearly fast enough.

Finally, Tim sits back and takes a moment to take stock of Jason’s condition. His domino is almost completely decimated. His left eye is swollen shut and caked with blood. Scratches litter his face, and a split across the bridge of his nose tells Tim it’s broken. Jason coughs weakly and blood spills from his swollen and cut up mouth. Tim is terrified about what is lying beneath the uniform.

“Oh, Jason. Jesus. Jason, open your eyes. Come on! I need you to look at me! Christ, open your eyes and look at me! You have to hang on, Jason! Don’t you dare give up! You are not going to die on my watch!”

“Shhh. I’ve already got a headache, Little Red. Don’t need you making it worse.” Jason croaks out the sentence and the mangled, gravelly tone of his voice completely horrifies Tim. He turns his head to spit out the blood pooling in his mouth.

“Oh my god, you’re alright.” Tim laughs out on a shaky breath. Jason is alive and that’s all that matters.

“No- no one can know I’m here.”

Tim is confused.

“What do you mean? I have to tell Bruce. And I’ll probably need helping fixing you up. How did you even manage to make it here on your own?”

“Focus, Little Red. No one can know.”

“Jason, I have to tell Bruce.”

“I came to you for a reason, Drake. I’m asking you to return the favor. Promise me. You can’t tell anyone.”

Tim remembers back to a few months ago when Jason had come to his rescue. He owed Jason for that. And even more so for Jason’s discretion about the matter. He would return the favor because he’s nothing if not fair.

“Fine, I promise. Listen, I need to move you onto the couch so I can check out your injuries. Think you can make it?”

Jason gives a humorless laugh and pulls himself into a sitting position with great effort and only the slightest grunt of pain. Tim can’t imagine the amount of excruciating pain Jason is actually in, but Jason hides it exceptionally well.

Tim helps Jason hobble to the couch, supporting most of his weight with the arm around Jason’s waist. The moment Jason’s back hits the cushions he seizes up, his body curling in on itself. It sounds almost as if he whispers Tim’s name, then he’s unconscious.

“Shit. Jason? Jason!”

Tim feels Jason’s pulse at his neck. Still weak and very slow, but it’s there. He has to fix Jason up now.

It takes some time to strip Jason of his uniform. There’s multiple different pieces and he has to be careful not to further agitate the wounds. Jason is quite a bit larger than him, so lifting him up as he removes the clothing is a task in and of itself. After several minutes of careful work, he’s managed to strip Jason down to his underwear. The moment Jason’s entire being is revealed to him, Tim’s hand shoots to his mouth. The horrifying condition of Jason’s body is worse than Tim had expected.

He’s littered in bruises, and everywhere that isn’t bruised is bloody. He rushes to his closet to get his medical kit and grabs two bags of blood from the back of his fridge.

He gets the blood and an IV drip set up before anything else. Jason is probably far too low and he desperately needs more right now. He administers a pre-measured shot of morphine before tending to some of the smaller wounds.

The break in Jason’s nose is an easy fix, and he sets it back into place without so much as a flinch from the larger boy’s still frame. He sprays solvent onto the mask and removes it carefully. He cleans Jason’s face gently with an anti- bacterial wipe, lightly clearing his eye and the rest of his face of dried blood. His eye is still swollen shut, but he can now see that the scratches are mostly superficial.

Then he wipes down Jason’s entire body before he tends to the bullet wounds and it suddenly makes sense why Jason has lost so much blood. The bullets are still lodged in his skin and the holes are rather large, meaning that Jason was shot with some type of assault rifle. Tim isn’t trained to care for this caliber of an injury, but he does his best.

The entire process is horrifying. The bullets take some time to remove. Tim has to locate them before he can dig them out. Jason will have three new large scars adorning his body for sure. Luckily the shots missed all major organs and arteries. The entry wounds bleed profusely as he stitches them up, and Tim knows he’ll have to go shopping for a new couch at some point within the next few weeks.

Tim bandages the stitches and cleans the smaller cuts on Jason’s torso and legs. Jason is also sporting some serious bruising along his ribs, and if he had to guess, he’d say that’s why Jason’s breathing was so weak. His chest and hip are also severely bruised, but there’s nothing Tim can do about that. There’s a thin trickle of blood seeping from Jason’s mouth again that he wipes up. It’s probably just from biting his cheek or his lip during whatever had happened to him.

Once he’s finished, Tim takes a step back to really study Jason. He doesn’t know what he was expecting, but Jason doesn’t look much better than before. Sure, he’s not bleeding as heavily, but now the black and purple discolorations of his skin are exposed, and it’s still slightly red from the stain of his blood after only being wiped down. At least Tim’s stitches look passable.

Tim wants to get him showered and off of the couch that must now surely reek of the salty iron of blood and the chemicals that Tim had used to clean him, but it’s out of the question. Jason is far too injured to be moved and he won’t know the extent of internal damage until Jason is able to wake up and tell him.

Tim doesn’t sleep at all. He sits in a chair across from Jason and reads throughout the night. He’s on his fifth cup of coffee by the time the sun comes up and he calls Lucius around six to tell him he won’t be coming into work today. He brews a fresh pot of coffee and eats a few pieces of toast before going to shower. Jason hasn’t moved at all and Tim checks his breathing. It’s steadier now and Jason has gone through both blood bags. He administers another shot of morphine before reviewing some case files Bruce had asked him to look at on his computer.

He’s gone through another pot of coffee by noon and decides to switch to tea. He doesn’t do much more than skim the files, his mind far too distracted and he gives up after zoning out for at least the twelfth time. He eats half a grilled cheese for lunch and drinks more tea and tries to read the files again. He checks on Jason a few more times, changes his IV drip and flips through every channel on his television twice before shutting it off.

Its dark by nine o’clock and Tim should be getting ready for patrol, but he can’t leave Jason like this. Calling off of patrol is not something that he does. Ever. Given that he has no real other choice, though, he does it anyway. Bruce sounds concerned, but he doesn’t ask questions. And Tim knows Dick will just do it for him later.

His night goes much the same way as his day has. Jason stirs around two in the morning and is cognizant enough that Tim can get him to drink two bottles of water. Jason passes out again almost immediately after, but Tim feels at least somewhat relieved enough that he can disconnect Jason’s IV.

Tim sleeps for a few hours, wakes up and showers and eats some cereal. He’s able to focus enough to look over the files and discovers some information that he’ll pass onto Bruce. He reads an entire book and eats another bowl of cereal by the time nightfall rolls around. He still isn’t comfortable with the idea of leaving Jason on his own, but he can’t miss patrol again. He gets ready, leaves some water and a sandwich on the coffee table and then heads out for the night.

When Tim returns from patrol the next morning, Jason is gone. Tim is panicking, to say the least. After only three days, Jason wasn’t nearly recovered enough to have left on his own, and he never told Tim a single thing about his mission or what caused him to end up at Tim’s doorstep. Tim is a little bit worried that someone may have even followed Jason back to Tim’s apartment and waited until he was gone to grab Jason. Under normal circumstances, he knows he wouldn’t have to fear for Jason’s safety, but Jason is in no condition to fight off anyone in his state.

Tim checks every one of Jason’s safe houses that he knows of, and even asks Oracle to dig up any information she can find on him, which leads him to searching another four safe houses Tim didn’t know about. By the next night Tim has checked in over a dozen should- be condemned buildings and there’s no sign of Jason’s inhabitance in any of them.

Tim is on edge for the next week. He doesn’t hear from Jason or see him at all. After another few days, Tim comes home from Wayne Enterprises and sees a bottle of whiskey and a note with a stack of hundreds laying on it that were not there when he’d left for work. They’re both from Jason.

Little Red,

Not sure if you like whiskey, not even sure if you’re old enough to drink, but here. Got this in Ireland a few years back. It’s eighty- years- old. You’d better fucking enjoy it. And get a new couch.

J.T.

A bottle of whiskey. Jason comes to his apartment on the brink of death, stays for a few days, then disappears for over a week, and after all that Jason’s idea of an explanation is a five sentence note and a bottle of whiskey. He’s half tempted to throw the bottle out the window and into the street. Then he thinks he better of it and thinks he should probably give it to Alfred instead of doing something so rash. He finally decides on setting it in the cabinet above his fridge where he keeps his expensive mixer he never uses. At least Jason hadn’t called him Replacement in the note.

Chapter Text

The Batman catches whiff of some Black Mask gang activity a couple weeks later. Word on the street is that it’ll get big and could potentially carry over into Red Hood’s territory. Jason gets a call one night from Nightwing to meet him on a roof down by the docks.

When Tim first sees Jason, he’s concerned. It can’t have been longer than three weeks and there’s no way Jason is at a hundred percent right now. He shouldn’t be out on patrol at all after being in the condition he came to Tim in. He should be taking more time off. But then Tim remembers how angry he is at Jason for disappearing on him without a word and is secretly hoping that Jason is still sporting bruises beneath the Kevlar.

“Well, if it isn’t the Red Hood. To what do we owe the pleasure?” Tim drawls in a sarcasm soaked voice. He crosses his arms over his chest and steps closer to Dick’s side.

“Don’t be such a smartass, kid. Remember, you’re on my side of town.”

“And remember, Red Hood, that this is Batman’s case.” Nightwing cuts in.

Jason honestly sticks his tongue out at Nightwing in response, but Dick can’t see it since Jason is still wearing his helmet, so he flips Dick off for good measure. Tim wants to hit him.

“So then what is he doing here? It’s not like you and I couldn’t handle this on our own.” Tim says bitchily.

“Batman wanted me to inform Red Hood of the situation so that in case things crossed into his side of town, he would know it was our case and could potentially be of help.”

Tim snorts. “Red Hood? Helping? And Batman actually thought that was a good idea?”

“Red Robin.” Dick says in a warning tone.

Jason smirks and takes a step toward Tim.

“It’s alright, Nightwing. Bird Boy didn’t mean it, did ya? Little Red here is still just pissed at me for skippin’ out on him before the sun came up.”

“Fuck off, Jason.” Tim spits back as if it were reflex.

He glares at Jason and can’t stop the blush that rises to his cheeks as Dick’s gaze whips to him and then Jason, his mouth dropping open briefly before he quickly shuts it and pointedly looks anywhere but at Tim.

Tim is beyond embarrassed and he doesn’t know what else to do, but his first reaction is to pull out a shuriken and throw it at Jason’s head. He’s not really wanting to hurt Jason. He didn’t even want it to hit him. He’s just angry and flustered and Jason is a jerk. And apparently he just induces Tim’s urge to throw things.

Of course the shuriken gets nowhere near Jason. The older boy draws his gun and hits the small weapon easily. There’s a metal clink and a spark as the bullet hits and sends the blade flying through the air, landing somewhere a few feet away on the roof.

Jason holsters his gun and Tim can hear the smirk in his voice when he speaks.

“Don’t be mad, sweetheart. Next time I’ll make sure to bring you donuts again before I run off.”

And Jason shoots a line and is gone. Tim is fuming, and he can feel Dick’s eyes on him now before the eldest even opens his mouth.

“Uh, Red Robin?”

“Let’s get to work, Nightwing. Stupid Jason. I should’ve cut his line.” Tim mumbles the last part under his breath.

There isn’t much activity that night. Tim supposes that maybe the tip was fake to throw them off the scent, while the real activity is probably going on elsewhere right under their noses. Either way, Batman calls it an early night and Tim goes to seek out Red Hood. He finds Jason just a few blocks over from the rooftop he’d been scouting from himself and lands silently on the roof behind him.

“You could’ve left me a note.”

“I did. And also a very nice bottle of whiskey, in case you forgot. I really hope you didn’t waste it.” Jason responds without missing a beat. Tim knows that Jason was probably expecting him.

“I meant before you left! Jesus, Jason. I had no idea what had happened to you. I was worried sick! It’s not like you had to call me at my office and leave a message with my secretary that you were leaving, but a little warning would’ve been nice. I searched for you for almost two weeks and couldn't find anything! I thought someone had shown up at my apartment and nabbed you!”

Jason removes his helmet, but still isn’t looking at him as he packs up his things.

“Well, I appreciate that vote of confidence, Little Red, but even in that condition, they wouldn’t have been able to get the drop on me.”

“That’s not the point! You show up at my house- severely injured- crash for a few days, and then decide it’s okay to disappear for that long without contact?!”

Jason finally turns around and is just kind of staring at him. If Tim had to guess, he’d say Jason is giving him a look from behind his domino that says just how stupid he thinks Tim is.

“Well, yeah. Lone wolf who disappears into the night is kind of my thing, kid. I learned it from the best. You should know that.”

Tim really wants to hit him now.

“Fuck you, Jason. The next time you get hurt you’d better run to Dick or Bruce, because I’m done with you.”

That rubs Jason the wrong way.

“No need to get your feathers in a twist, Little Red, I won’t ask for shit from you ever again. The only reason I even came to you was because it was either that or death. You think I’d willingly ask for help from my mediocre replacement?!"

Tim swings, but Jason must have been expecting it because he steps back clear of the path of Tim’s fist. Tim draws his staff and advances, but Jason’s already in a fighting crouch, ready and waiting.

For a few minutes they alternate attacking and then blocking; taking turns trying to trade blows, neither of them getting anywhere. Then Tim gets in a lucky shot, and clocks Jason right in the mouth. His lips splits on impact. Tim watches, slightly fearful, as Jason licks the blood, smirks, and then pulls his knife.

He charges at Tim, who is having to do tuck after flip after tuck to avoid the blade. He can’t best Jason in hand to hand combat, he knows that, but he can evade him. He’s faster than Jason, and just maybe he can tire him out if he keeps this up.

During a flip he manages to kick the knife out of Jason’s hand, but Jason grabs his arm once Tim lands on his feet. He finally manages to get Tim pinned face first against the wall, the barrel of his pistol to the back of Tim’s head.

“You don’t want to do this, Jason. Come on. Let me go.” Tim says on a shaky breath.

“Are you hungry?”

Tim doesn’t think he hit his head in their skirmish, so he must’ve just heard that wrong.

“What?”

“I want breakfast. Are you hungry? I’ll buy. I’m craving waffles. There’s a diner a few blocks from here that’s pretty good. We can beat the early bird crowd if we go now.”

He’s almost a hundred percent sure he hadn’t hit his head, but then Jason had to have hit his own head to be asking such a ridiculous question at a time like this. Right?

“What the hell are you even talking about? Did I somehow knock another screw loose? You’re asking me to breakfast while your gun is pressed against the back of my head?!” Tim nearly shouts, utterly incredulous.

“Yeah. Do you want food or not?”

“Can you at least drop the damn gun first?”

Jason complies.Tim turns and eyes warily, resting back against the wall.

“I really don’t get you. Why the hell are you even asking me to go?”

Jason shrugs. “I’m hungry. I thought you might be too. Is that really such a big mystery?”

“Will you tell me where you went if I agree to breakfast?”

“Maybe.”

Tim contemplates for a minute, giving him a skeptical look, but he’ll play Jason’s game for now.

“Fine. Let’s go. But I’m getting strawberries on my waffles and I better not hear a word from you about it.”

“Sure thing, princess.”

They’re not in uniform anymore, but for some reason Tim finds it surprisingly easy to be sitting in the booth across from Jason right now. It's not as uncomfortable as he thought it would be to have no barriers between them. And once they're seated across from each other, Tim finds himself being grateful for the chance to study Jason's face up close. The older boy's face is clear of any bruises or contusions, and Tim feels an inexplicable rush of relief that Jason appears to be mostly healed. 

“You got strawberry sauce, whipped cream, and now you’re putting syrup on top? Do you want to go into cardiac arrest?”

Jason makes a face at Tim as he continues to pour syrup over his food.

“I said not a word. And besides, that’s highly unlikely given the amount of physical activity we do on a daily basis.” Tim’s quiet for a moment as he chews then swallows. “So…”

Tim is staring at him and it’s making him a little twitchy.

“So…?” Jason parrots, confused.

“So, you promised you’d tell me what happened.”

“I never actually agreed to anything.”

Tim stabs his fork into his waffle and grips the handle hard.

“Jason.” He snarls.

Jason glares back at him.

“Alright! I was getting a little…restless. I’m not used to having someone hoverin’ over me all the time. I had to get out and get myself a new safe house again. Get some space.”

Tim cocks his head and gives him a confused look.

“Why didn’t you just tell me?”

“I didn’t wanna be rude? I don’t know, man, because I don’t like telling you guys shit. You all go all ‘mother hen’ and it just makes me wanna jump ship. Besides, it wouldn’t have been much of a secret hideout if I’d told you where I was going.”

The look Tim gives him now is stern and almost offended looking.

“I never would’ve made you stay. I just wanted to be sure you were alright. You could’ve left anytime. I was just hoping you would’ve told me beforehand.” Tim says softly, an edge to his voice that isn’t quite defensive yet.

Jason sighs. Somehow his stupid replacement is making him feel guilty.

“I’m sorry, okay? I’m still getting used to being part of a team again.”

“It’s okay. But next time you up and leave, I’ll tell Dick you’ve been missing his hugs.”

They talk plenty throughout breakfast about many different topics: Bruce’s never ending psychological issues. Dick’s horrible taste in films. Damian’s baffling love of animals. Even their favorite dishes of Alfred’s. But every time Tim asks about the case, Jason changes the subject. It’s not until Jason’s paid and they’re outside on the sidewalk while Jason smokes that Tim decides to try his luck one last time.

“Why won’t you just tell me about the case?” Tim asks, getting more and more frustrated.

“Because it has nothing to do with you.” Jason responds, just as frustrated and twice as irritated.

“Dammit, Jason, I’m just trying to help. Why is it so hard for you to accept other’s assistance?”

“Why is it so hard for you to stop bitching at me all the time?!”

“Because you always make things so difficult!”

Jason doesn’t want to have to hurt the kid. Not really. But Tim is pushing his buttons and Jason is trying very hard to tamp down the urge to resort to very hurtful and potentially lethal violence.

I make things difficult?! You’re the one always sticking your nose in my business! If you don’t like it, then feel free to fuck off at any time!” Jason shouts.

“God forbid I try to keep your ass alive! Someone has to try and do it! Otherwise you’d be doing something even more stupid and reckless than normal!” Tim is also shouting now.

Jason ignores the way this feels like an actual fight. Not like the normal ones he has with his replacement. No. They’re using words this time. And it’s really not a fight at all. It’s an argument. It’s civilized, and not violent, and so out of the norm for them and it could almost seem as though they’re arguing and not fighting because they care about each other. But that can’t be. He hates Tim just as much as Tim hates him.

“Well, you’re one to talk! Let’s remember who saved who first! And it’s not like I asked you to watch out for me!” Jason spits out.

“No, you didn’t. But we’re family! That’s what family does!”

“I’m a big boy, Replacement, I can take care of myself. And family? What the hell do you Bats know about family? You’ve all been left for dead at some point or other! Me, included!”

“That’s not fair. The mission-“

That one word makes Jason see red and want to explode every time he hears it, and he fists his hands until his joints hurt so that he can’t reach for his gun tucked into his waistband.

“There you go with that bullshit again! Like that’s some kind of fucking excuse. Get it through your head. The mission is psychotic and unrealistic. Just like your supposed ‘family’. We aren’t family, Pretender. All we are to each other is backup. Reliable, dependable, but nothing more. You can lie to yourself all you want to, but I know the truth. You would give your life for Bruce, for Dick, maybe even Damian, but they wouldn’t do the same.”

“Dick is-,” Tim starts with a meek, shaky voice, but Jason doesn’t give him the chance to finish.

“Dick is Bruce’s pet. He’s not your friend. He’s not your brother. When are you gonna wake up, Drake? They don’t give a shit about you, and they certainly don’t give a shit about me. You’ve been on your own, you just haven’t realized it yet. You’re just like me. Just another fucking loner. Just another fucking orphan. Another fucking reject.”

Tim feels the sting of Jason’s words as if they were a physical attack.

“Well, you should be proud, Jason. This time you’ve managed to wound me without even drawing a weapon.”

And Tim takes off just like that. Jason’s glad he’s gone. He doesn’t want to see that stupid jacket that Drake was wearing anymore. He doesn’t want to see the way Drake’s eyebrows move and the way his eyes get all wide and expressive anymore. And he especially doesn’t want to see Drake’s pouty little face anymore. He doesn’t want to see Drake anymore. And he definitely doesn’t feel bad about anything he said. At all. Except, maybe he does. A little.

He goes home and goes to sleep as the sun comes up and tries not think about the time that Tim Drake drunkenly kissed him. Except it’s all he can think about and it’s pissing him off. When he goes out on patrol that night he’s exceptionally angry and violent. But none of it has anything to do with Tim Drake. Absolutely not.

---

It’s another few months before Jason and Tim have any contact. Tim is by himself in the narrows trying to stop a robbery. He’s not in the least bit worried. Sure, he’s surrounded by at least a dozen of the Joker’s goons. Sure, they’re only too willing to douse him in Joker toxin. Sure, it probably won’t be the simplest fight he’s ever had to take on. But he’s Red Robin. Armed to the teeth. Just as Batman had taught him. He expects things like this. What he doesn’t expect is the fact that trouble has literally just dropped in on him, or in front of him, in the form of the Red Hood.

“Looks like you need some help, Red. I overheard your call to O and thought I’d step in as your backup, seeing as how the Bat and the Bigbird are busy elsewhere.” Jason’s voice drifts back to Tim.

“As much as I appreciate your willingness to help, Red, I’ve got this covered.”

“Joker didn’t tell us to kill you, but we’d be more than happy to.” One of the goons says.

Jason actually laughs at that and it’s bitter and terrifying and makes Tim’s stomach drop.

“I’m sure you would. He’s tried before. It tends not to stick too well with me. You're welcome to try. But if he couldn’t do it, what makes you think you could?”

 Tim can hear the smirk in Jason’s voice before he sees him draw the gun, and then Jason fires two shots into the man that spoke's leg.

“Hood! Don’t!”

Jason draws the other gun and fires off each at least half a dozen times, hitting every man once before putting his guns back into their holsters and letting out a single harsh laugh at the fallen men. It’s only then that he turns to Tim.

It always scares Tim how closely the expression on the mask mirrors Jason’s expressions. Mostly because they look cold and insincere. Just like Jason when he’s angry or trying to remain distant. Tim hates that constant wall he puts up.

“Hood! What the hell was that?! Batman said no guns! You can’t just do whatever you want anymore! There are rules you have to follow out here if you want to be part of the operation!”

Jason swipes at some nonexistent dirt on his sleeve and yells over the groaning and shouting of the wounded men.

“Ha! Little Bird, you and me might not be all that close, but you should know better than to expect me to follow anyone’s rules.”

“Hood! Dammit!”

Tim yells, his anger flaring as he watches Jason shoot a line above his head and retract up to the roof. Tim quickly follows suit.

Tim truly hates when Bruce is out of town. Damian still refuses to work with anyone but Dick. And since Tim has no interest in working with the little creep anyway, Jason is the closest thing to a partner he can get at times like these.

Jason is swinging non- stop from roof to roof and Tim is having some trouble keeping up in his state of rage. They go ten blocks before Jason finally lands. Tim is grateful, he’s nearly out of breath. He let himself get distracted and forgot to focus on his breathing.

 Tim lands, slightly less gracefully than he’d intended- due to the fact that his anger is making him sloppy- and stomps across the roof to where Jason is standing, gazing down at the streets below them.

“Jason, I need you to at least attempt to cooperate with me. Believe me, you are not my first choice in partners, either.”

“Ouch, that hurt, Replacement. You’re always my first choice.”

Even the stupid smirk on Jason’s mask is pissing him off right now. But Tim wants to at least try to be the adult here. He swallows down the snarky remark that would’ve been only too easy to make and exhales deeply before responding.

“Listen Jason, we don’t have to like each other, but we can at least try to be civil. I don’t think these scumbags deserve mercy any more than you do. But you do know the rules, and you can’t use guns.”

“Give me a break, Little Red. I hardly even hurt them. They were just flesh wounds. If I wanted them dead, they would be dead. So stop bitching.”

When Jason uses that nickname it makes Tim’s blood boil with anger and embarrassment simultaneously. Luckily, he’s learned to control his body functions and can mostly prevent the rush of color that would have risen to his cheeks.

“Besides,” Jason continues, “it’s only fair that I get to have fun too every once in a while. It gets boring when you only get to break a few bones or knock some teeth out.”

At that, Jason pulls off the Red Hood helmet with a hiss and tucks it under his arm, leaving him with only his domino and his trademark smirk as his barrier between him and Tim. He takes out a cigarette and lights it, puffing on it once and exhaling the smoke through his nose.

Tim has to bite back the irritated growl rising in his chest.

“I don’t get you, Jason. You’re always so damn cocky. We’re just trying to help you. Instead of actually letting us, you just keep pushing us away with your arrogance. Me, Dick, Bruce. Even Alfred. Well, this isn’t a game. You’re putting everyone you’re around in danger when you pull stuff like that.”

Jason gives him a knowing look, but Tim isn’t really sure what it is Jason think he’s found out.

“You can’t tell me you don’t like just making it out of shitty situations by the skin of your teeth, kid. Oh no. I’ve watched you. You love the danger. More than me and Dick ever have.”

Jason starts to take slow, deliberate steps toward him, but Tim doesn’t budge. He doesn’t want Jason to think he’s intimidated. Not that he is or anything. Mostly he’s just curious as to just what Jason’s intent is right now.

“In fact, I think you get off on it. I remember exactly how it felt after getting back from a mission. How it still feels. Adrenaline pumping, heart racing, sweating like crazy. How many nights do you have to jerk off in the shower before you can fall asleep? Huh, Little Bird? I can’t even tell you how many times I rubbed myself raw because I just wasn’t able to get it out of my system. I needed that release, but sometimes I’d spend hours chasing it when it was just out of my reach. Needed to grab onto it and chase it over the edge just once before I’d explode.”

The fact that Tim is not expecting Jason to utter those words is definitely an understatement. He feels his skin tingle and sweat prickle up on his hairline. He’s feeling anxious now; off balance and confused. Jason’s demeanor is something he isn’t prepared for and he’s feeling out of his element, but he’d be lying if he said hearing Jason say those things isn't causing a twist of pure, hot arousal in his gut.

He can completely understand where Jason’s coming from because Jason's right. And right now he can so easily picture Jason in the same situation he’s found himself in over and over after adrenaline filled nights on patrol. But his words also terrify Tim.

He jumps when he comes back to himself, and realizes Jason is now standing in front of him, lenses flipped up, cool blue eyes blazing with mischief. He rests his hand on Tim’s cheek for a moment and Tim feels a little like he might start hyperventilating as he shivers.

Before he can utter a word to object, Jason yanks the cowl back from Tim’s face, leaving Tim a little breathless and quite shocked. His eyes widen briefly and he feels at a loss of what to do. He’s suddenly very aware of the feel of his sweat cooling in the brisk night air and knows the product in his hair has probably been mostly sweated out, making his hair stick up in some places and stick to his face in others.

Jason lifts the cigarette that’s still burning in his free hand to his mouth, inhales, and lets it fall to the ground. Jason is crowding Tim, forcing him to take rapid step backwards so that their faces are never too close. It doesn’t really help, though. He’s consuming Tim’s space with his presence.

Jason places a hand on Tim’s hip, squeezes, and slowly guides him back the few remaining feet until his back hits the brick wall that shelters the staircase leading into the building below. Finally, he exhales his smoke and it’s right into Tim’s face.

“I know you love the danger. And I know you love the pain. You’re just like me. I think you and I were meant to meet eventually. Even if you’d never become Robin, we would’ve met one way or another. And now that you’re Red Robin and I’m Red Hood, all that’s left for us to do is fuck each other up over and over until our days of doing this come to an end. Because we get it. We don’t try to pretend we don’t love it. We’re exactly the same. We both fucking need it.”

Jason looks almost feral at the moment. His teeth glistening and his eyes dancing and Tim doesn’t know if he’s succeeding at all in hiding the way his body is shaking. The knots in his stomach making it worse. He swallows hard and hopes his eyes aren’t giving away the fact that he’s genuinely scared.

“Jesus, Jason. I’m not a masochist. And I’m nothing like you.” Tim rasps out.

“You really fucking are, kid.” And Jason grips Tim’s jaw and squeezes hard, making him whimper. “See? Just. Like. Me.”

Tim backs away the one available step only to bump into the wall, and roughly pulls his cowl back into place in an attempt to hide his agitated expression and aroused flush from Jason. Jason laughs a full, satisfied laugh and takes a step back as well, giving Tim some space.

“We should work together more often. You’re much more fun than ‘Wing and the Bat.”

Some of Tim’s tension eases. It’s like a sudden switch is flipped and Jason is back to his normal self. Tim knows this. Tim can handle this.

“Listen, Jason, I like you, really. Okay, maybe I don’t like you, but I don’t mind you. And I have no problem with us working together out here, but you can’t keep doing what you did tonight. Seriously, no more guns.”

Jason rolls his eyes.

“Are we back to this? I don’t listen to the big guy, so why would I listen to you?”

Tim feels like rolling his eyes himself.

“You need to listen to him, Jason. He knows what he’s doing. He needs us to be a team.”

“You really would follow him to the grave, wouldn’t you?”

“He just wants what’s best for everyone.”

“HA! No, he just wants to do what he thinks is best.”

“Most of the time he’s right. He knows what he’s doing, Jason. He’s looking out for everyone’s best interests.”

Tim can hear the way Jason’s gloves creak as he fists his hands.

“He looks out for his own interests, Drake. That’s it. I used to be like you are. I used to believe he could do no wrong, and look where that got me. I did follow him to the grave! You really shouldn’t trust him as much as you do. Take my word for it, it’s nothing but trouble. No, I’m gonna do what I want because that’s the only way to survive. You can’t trust anybody, kid.” Jason says and then flips down his lenses.

Tim is stunned silent for a moment before he’s finally able to collect his thoughts and speak.

“Bruce would be disappointed in you, Jason.”

Jason whirls around and begins to advance on him, throwing his helmet carelessly to the ground as he does and slamming Tim back up against the wall. Tim tries to struggle, tries to get away, but it’s useless. Jason has his forearm against Tim’s throat and draws his kris. Tim watches it glisten in the roof’s security light as Jason raises it above his head. He gasps as the blade comes down quickly, but Jason only sheathes it roughly in the cement next to Tim’s head.

“Don’t you ever lecture me about Bruce! Not about Babs, or Dick, or Alfie, but especially not about Bruce! You have no idea what goes on between me and Bruce! You only know what you’re told, replacement! I don’t bow down to anyone anymore! I do what I want because I’m the only one that looks out for me! You really expect me to believe that Bruce gives a shit about you!? Or Dick? Or me for that matter?! I know you guys are just trying to keep a close eye on me. That's the only reason you're still here. It’s strategy. You all like to keep a handle on any potential threat. That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it always will be with you Bats.” Jason tries to spit as much venom into his last statement as possible.

“Jason, of course I care about you.”

“Ha! Don’t make me laugh, Drake. Just because you and I get along occasionally, doesn’t mean we’re best friends.”

They’re not close, Tim knows that, but it hurts to think that Jason cares so little about their relationship. They’re family.

“If you’d just talk to us. We could just… we can talk about anything-”

Tim shivers and his eyes widen behind his cowl as Jason pulls the kris from the wall. There is a moment where cold fear shoots through Tim’s veins and settles in his stomach at the thought that Jason might actually kill him. He can’t see Jason’s eyes behind the mask now, but he’s almost positive that they’re huge and blazing with fury and hatred and about a dozen other hardly suppressed emotions.

Tim winces and shrinks back as Jason drops his arm and holds the knife firmly to his throat now, and in nearly the same spot he had the first time when they’d met years ago. Maybe Jason really was going to kill him.

He trembles at the feel of pressure against his throat, the blade attempting to cut through the Kevlar and nomex of his collar. He can hear a tear, but feels no actual pain, just the wind cooling the sweat on the side of his face and neck.  He slowly and gingerly reaches his fingers up to find that Jason only cut the side of his cowl from his cape and is now flapping uselessly in the wind. Somehow Jason managed not to really harm him at all.

“No. You don’t know anything, Replacement.” Jason sheathes the knife and steps away, releasing his hold on Tim. He moves to the edge of the roof and stares down below him again, as if whatever he was watching in the street earlier has just resumed and is still just as fascinating. 

Tim can hardly stay on his feet after Jason releases him. Relief and oxygen suddenly flooding his body, he leans his head back against the sturdy brick as he tries to will the shaking of his body to stop and steady his breathing. After focusing on regulating his intake of air for a few moments, suddenly he feels a wash of emotion. Pity, anger, fear, relief, sadness, and a deep wanting to help Jason to understand.

On slightly shaking legs, he follows Jason to where he’s now perched on the edge of the roof. He knows better than to reach out and touch Jason, but he wants to all the same.

“Jason, just let us help you. Let us in. Let me in.”

Jason turns and gives a sad smile that makes him look about ten years older and nearly makes Tim’s chest seize up. He cups Tim’s neck gently, running his thumb over the exposed scar he’d left there what felt like a lifetime ago. Tim swallows as he feels goosebumps prickle over his skin. Then Jason ruffles Tim’s exposed hair and speaks in an uncharacteristically soft voice.

“Thanks, but no thanks, Little Red. I can handle this just fine. Run back home to Daddy and big brother. I just can’t do this anymore. I have to get away from all this shit for a while. Maybe once I get outta here I’ll stop trying to kill ya. God knows I’ve hurt you enough already. Who knows, maybe we’ll even be friends eventually. Trust me, it’s better for you this way. I’ll see ya.”

Tim doesn’t understand what's happening, but he gets what Jason is implying and he doesn’t want the older boy to go.

“Jason! Wait!”

Jason leaps from the roof and Tim doesn’t bother to try and chase after him. He’s not that stupid. Moments later he can hear the sound of Jason’s bike. Listening for a few seconds, Tim determines that Jason is heading away from downtown Gotham- probably towards one of his safe houses- before the sound of the engine fades into the distance.

“You really are a fool, Jason. You’ve been one of the most important people in my life since the first time I saw you in the cape. Nothing will change that.”

Tim speaks into the dark emptiness of the night before grabbing Jason’s helmet and returning to where he’d stashed his own bike and preparing for his drive back to the manor.

Chapter Text

It’s been almost four months since Jason and Tim have talked on that roof, which ended in a pretty nasty fight that had hurt Tim to his core. Jason was truly an expert at avoiding him, and from what he’d heard, at avoiding Bruce and Dick, too.

Tim had eventually convinced Bruce that it was finally time to bring Jason into their operation full time and resolve their issues as a family. Which really meant that Tim had convinced Dick and Dick had convinced Bruce on Tim’s behalf. Bruce had flat out rejected the idea, knowing Jason’s attitude and how stubborn he was and his resistance to any type of help. But eventually Bruce had had to concede and agreed that it was probably for the best that they all speak to one another. Even if they had to bring Jason using force. They all needed to talk things out and clear the air. They could not just keep running from their collective problems. A family conference was necessary and Tim knew that Jason was not struggling alone and he’d have to make Jason see that. Tim could see that it hurt Bruce and Dick just as much as it hurt himself that Jason didn’t want to be a part of their family.

But for four months Jason is nowhere to be found. No reports of him shooting criminals in alley ways, no sightings of the menacing vigilante, not the tiniest blip on any vigilante radar. Not even Babs could find any trace of him. Tim thought it possible that he’d made good on his promise to leave town for good, until he sees Jason’s bike weaving in and out of traffic through a window one afternoon while he’s getting coffee on his lunch break. If Jason had left Gotham, he’s back now.

So he might’ve followed Jason to the Chinese place where he was getting take out, and for the next few days after that, too. And he might’ve bugged Jason’s bike, but Tim had to find out where Jason was staying and he had to talk to him. They couldn’t keep avoiding their issues, and Tim had to make certain that Jason heard what he had to say.

Five nights later he’s sneaking in through the window of Jason’s new crappy apartment, hoping to talk some sense into the older boy. He can’t help noticing how this apartment is even crappier than the last one and hopes that it’s not rigged to blow. The lights flip on before Tim’s feet are even on the battered wood floors.

“You think you’re pretty clever, huh? Did you really expect me not to find that tracer, Bird Boy? I’m back in Gotham for less than a week, and already you guys are going big brother on me?”

Tim decides on a straight forward approach.

“We need to talk, Jason.”

Jason’s face hardens into a deadly scowl, the fond, amused look that had been there just seconds before instantly melting away to something harsh and cold.

“No, we don’t. There’s a reason I left town to begin with, and if that’s all you’re here for then you can get the hell out!” Jason shouts.

Tim cocks his head. “Why did you come back?”

“Why do you ask so many fucking questions?” Jason snarls at him.

“If my knowledge of grammar still stands, technically I’ve only asked one.”

Jason shoots him a glare and picks up the half full carton of cigarettes on the dilapidated coffee table. He slides one between his lips and pulls the lighter from his pocket, flipping it up and lighting it. It illuminates his face and Tim is temporarily stunned by the older boy’s beauty.

It’s only then Tim realizes the warmth in his chest at seeing Jason’s face. He won’t admit it, but he’s thrilled that Jason’s back.

“You know, I’ve been following you for almost a week, and I never once saw you smoking until now.” He remarks when he manages to stop focusing on Jason’s cobalt blue eyes and well defined jaw.

“So you have been following me? Glad we’ve confirmed that.”

Tim gives him an expectant look. Jason should’ve realized he’d honestly expected an answer. That’s just typical of Tim Drake.

Jason rolls his eyes and begrudgingly answers Tim.

“It’s a nervous habit. I try to only do it when I’m stressed out.”

Tim raises an eyebrow at that and cocks his head again. Jason does not in any way find it kind of cute.

“I’m stressing you out?”

Jason gives a single incredulous and humorless laugh.

“Again with the fucking questions. Yeah, you. Your whole damn family stresses me out.”

“They’re your family too, Jason. Which, as I’m sure you could guess, is why I’m here.”

Jason can begin to feel his temper flaring, a parasite gnawing on his brain just begging for confrontation.

“That’s why you’ve been following me and why you broke into my apartment? Jesus, Drake. You really don’t fucking get it, do you? When are you gonna give up on this? I thought I made it clear on that roof top that we are not talking about this anymore. I want nothing to do with your family. And this is the last time I ever want to have this conversation with you.”

Jason’s blood is nearly boiling now beneath his skin, a crackle of electricity that leaves his fingers twitching and itching to hit something.

“I know you care about them, and they care about you far more than you’ll ever realize. You’re so stubborn that sometimes you make me want to kick your teeth in!” Tim finishes in an exasperated tone that is nearing a shout.

He pauses to shoot Jason a dirty look when he hears the older boy chuckle.

“I’d be impressed if you could, Replacement.”

There is light mocking in Jason’s voice and now it’s really grating on Tim’s nerves. He grinds his teeth and decides to tell Jason just what he needs to hear.

“It’s time you got over yourself, Jason. Stop acting like a child and face whatever bullshit issues it is you’re dealing with! You have to talk to them! They need you!”

“Why can’t you just let this go?! What the hell does it matter to you anyway, Replacement?!”

Tim really hates when Jason calls him that. It hurts that that might be the only thing Jason still sees him as, but he knows Jason is doing it because he’s deflecting. Wants Tim to get mad so that he’ll walk away. Tim won’t give in, though. He is not going to let Jason get away with his pent up angst crap.

“Because I fucking care about you, you idiot! That’s why! You’re my brother and my friend! I hate that you’re being so stupid when you’re clearly hurting! And what’s worse is that you refuse to let me help!”

Tim can feel the heat rise to his face as Jason’s eyes widen. It’s a moment before Tim can regain his self control and make himself speak again.

“You might not like me, Jason, but you’re my family. You’re more than that. As sad is it is to say, you’re the closest thing to a real best friend I’ve ever had. You’re my brother and I would honestly gladly take a bullet for you. You have been the most important thing in my life since I was nine. All I ever wanted was for us to be close. So I’m begging you, come back. Talk to Dick, talk to Bruce, and let them help. Do it for yourself and do it for them.

“You don’t have to trust me, and I would never ask you to. I would never ask anything of you if I could help it. I know how you feel about me. But I know you’re hurting, and I can’t stand to think that you’re suffering when I can help you. I can’t keep standing by and watch you be miserable. It… it hurts. Don’t let your hatred for me keep you from fixing your relationships with them.”

Jason shakes his head, a sad smile playing at his lips.

“You really think that if I really did hate you at all that I would’ve stayed on that roof and talked to you? Or let you sneak in here unscathed? Or took you to get waffles? I thought you were the smart one.”

Tim’s pulse jumps as Jason makes his way to stand in front of him and grips his shoulder, wrapping the other arm around Tim’s waist, pulling him close against Jason's body.

“Drake, I know I say and do a lot of things that hurt you, and that sometimes I’m an ass that kind of treats you like shit, but I would never actually want to see anything bad happen to you. At least not something I didn’t inflict on you myself. You’ve been more of a family to me than anyone has in a very long time.

“I’m sorry I’ve been so terrible towards you. It’s just been tough, ya know? Accepting everything that changed while I was dead. And for a long time I did want to hurt you. I would’ve liked nothing better than cutting you to shreds and watching you bleed, as fucked up as that is. But even then I wouldn’t have wanted you dead. It would’ve destroyed Bruce, and I would’ve probably hated myself for it later. I was just angry. And there are still times when I really want to knock you on your ass when you go all Boy Wonder. And then I realize that Bruce could not have picked anyone better to replace me.”

And Tim has to swallow back the emotions that are threatening to flow from him.

“I could never replace you, Jason. Not even close. I realized a long time ago that there was never even any point in trying. I could see it in Bruce’s eyes. I could see it in my own when I looked in the mirror. I would never be as good as you. You were different; special. Something more than just Robin. After a certain point I had to stop trying to measure up to you.”

Tim jumps and absolutely does not make a squeaking noise when Jason smashes their mouths together. It’s not at all what Tim is expecting and he’s just as confused as he is thrilled. It’s just like every other kiss he’s had, except how it isn’t at all because this is Jason Todd kissing him. It’s aggressive, but Jason is putting so much into it, making it good for Tim. There’s care in the kiss.

Jason himself isn’t even sure why he kisses Tim. Maybe to return the favor from before. Even though Tim doesn’t even seem to remember it. It’s not like it means anything. It couldn’t. He just wanted the kid to feel better. Sometimes he just kisses people when he feels like it, and sometimes those people happen to be his adopted brother. He doesn’t enjoy it or anything. Even if Tim’s lips are soft and pouty and he makes cute squeaking noises. But he doesn't enjoy it.

Jason doesn’t let it go on too long. He pulls away before he’s too tempted to slip his tongue between Tim’s lips and see what the kid tastes like. He stares down at Tim and waits for him to open his eyes before speaking again, enjoying the view of the faint flush on Tim’s pale cheeks while he can.

“You are way too hard on yourself, kid. You are just as good as I ever was. Maybe even better. Sure, you’re not me, but that’s what’s good about you. And Bruce… Bruce had a hard time dealing with losing me. I'm not sure the guy had ever failed at anything in his life before that. But he knows as well as I do that there couldn’t have been anyone more perfect to fill my spot. So stop beating yourself up, Drake. You may not see it, but you do good work. And … I… Well, you… you’re… you’re kind of awesome at your job. And maybe… maybe I… don’t hate you as much as I thought I did.”

And Tim can hear everything Jason can’t bring himself to say in that statement. His and Jason’s relationship is beyond fucked up, but it now seems possible, maybe even plausible, that Jason really does care about him. Regardless of how he treats Tim sometimes.

Jason steps back and releases Tim in favor of ruffling his hair.

“Don’t let this go to your head, Bird Boy. I still think you’re a little freak and a huge pain in my ass, you fuckin’ creep. In fact-“

Tim isn’t sure where it even comes from, but he manages to silence Jason with a tight hug to his midsection.

“So, you’ll talk to them?” Tim asks, eyes wide and hopeful as they stare up at Jason when he pulls away.

“Drake, this doesn’t change-“

“For me, Jason. Please.”

It makes Jason’s skin crawl, makes his head spin that he might just be willing to do it for Tim. He reminds himself that this is still his replacement, and seeing him smile isn’t worth hashing things out with Dick and Bruce.

“Just because you and I have fixed things for the time being, doesn’t mean I’m going to run back home to daddy and beg for his forgiveness. And Dick, well, he’s a dick, so why should I try to fix things with him?”

That sad, hopeless look is back on Tim’s face, and Jason isn’t sure whether to feel sorry for the kid, or sock him in the jaw. Or maybe just kiss him again.

“They’re your family, Jason. Please.” Tim is actually pleading now.

“You’re killing me with this shit. I am done talking about this so just stop fucking pushing!”

Jason’s temper flares again. He didn’t meant to yell at the kid. He knows the kid is just trying to help. But he can’t just return to the Manor with his tail tucked between his legs as if he’s done something wrong. He knows it isn’t fair to take his frustration out on Tim, and he can tell by the wounded look on his face and the way he’d kind of shrunken in on himself that he’s really hurt the kid’s feelings.

Jason gently grips Tim’s shoulders and looks at him softly.

“I’m sorry. Look, I promise you I’ll think about it, alright? But it’s just not that simple. Can we drop this? Just for a little while? I’m actually kind of tired of arguing with you, believe it or not.”

Jason can see the corner of Tim’s lips twitch at the hint of a smile, even though he knows Tim is doing his damnedest to hide it.

“So…you wanna watch a movie and pretend all this never happened?”

Tim smiles and nods.

They sit on the couch and watch some terrible action movie that annoys Tim to no end, so he’s not really paying attention. He can’t get past the fact that the characters keep referring to gun magazines as clips. Freakin’ Hollywood.

His mind is elsewhere anyway. Too preoccupied thinking about his and Jason’s conversation earlier. Jason had opened up to him, shown a softer side and had been honest. He was not beyond saving and Tim just knew that deep down Jason wanted to be a part of their family again.

But more than that, Tim thought of the way Jason kissed him. He had been afraid to ask why. It’s not like he was complaining or anything. He just didn’t know what it meant. Tim had always had feelings for Jason. Since he found out the mantle of Robin had been taken up by the older boy. But did Jason have feelings for Tim as well? Was he really wanting to pretend that things between the two of them weren’t going to be different? And they were going to be different. Weren’t they?

Tim can’t keep quiet much longer, and he’s had just about enough of the terrible movie. He turns his head to look over at Jason, studying for a moment. Jason isn’t watching the movie either. He’s watching Tim out of his peripherals and Tim wonders if he’s been doing that the whole time.

“Jason, please talk to them.” Tim says, breaking the silence and dropping his front that he was ever paying attention to the screen.

Jason lets out a long sigh. He shuts his eyes and grips the bridge of his nose before opening his eyes again to look at Tim.

“Alright. Alright, Little Bird, I’ll talk to them. But don’t go getting your hopes up, okay?”

Tim’s smile kind of makes Jason’s heart race for some unknown reason.

“They want you back as much as I do, Jason. Believe me. We’ve missed you.”

And Jason isn't really all that surprised when the shadows shift and Nightwing adn the Bat himself emerge through one of the open windows in his living room. Tim looks only half stunned. Jason just tries to hide his smirk. He’s not really sure just how long they've been there, but he’s impressed that Dick managed to keep quiet for so long.

“He’s right, Jaybird. We really have missed you.” Dick says merrily and there’s a bright trademark Dick Grayson grin plastered on his face.

"I wholeheartedly agree, Jason. I think it's time for you to come back." Bruce says. And his face is as stoic as ever, but Bruce might as well have just said "I love you."

---

Tim and Jason start hanging out pretty regularly after that. Going to see movies, working together, getting food. They even take turns hosting the other at their respective place of housing. (Jason has a new dump of a safe house nearly every week.) They get along alright. Most times they can even manage to cordially share the same airspace without a crappy movie playing as a way to take the edge off their situation. Tim likes it. It lets him know that things really have changed.

Right now they’re at Jason’s. Neither of them had made any real plans before Jason had invited him over, so Tim is currently sitting in an old arm chair as he watches Jason sharpen his knives.

Tim is used to silence on Jason's end, but sometimes he wonders if the older boy isn't just waiting for him to say something so they can have an actual conversation. Occasionally Tim tries for small talk, mostly getting shut down, but every now and then he gets something from Jason. And he’ll take what he can get.

“Why do you think Bruce has so much faith in Damian? I mean, the kid was raised by Ra’s and Talia. That doesn’t bode well for any of us if you’re reading the signs.”

His eyes shoot up to gauge Jason’s reaction, but Jason doesn’t look up from sharpening his knife.

“Dunno. The little psycho is his son, though. You know how Big Bat is about family. Just look at how hard it was for him to let Dick go off with the Titans all those years ago. Flesh and blood or not.”

Finally, something Jason is willing to talk about.

“I guess. I think that was because he was already in love with Dick. But what about you and I? He didn’t put up much of a fight when I left. And even after you were stable for a while, he’d given up on trying to bring you back in to work with us regularly until Dick and I talked some sense into him.”

There’s a brief pause where neither of them speak, the whetstone and metal go still and silent before Jason returns to sharpening his blade again.

“That’s because we were never his sons, Pretender. Dick was the brother- well, I guess I should say lover- he’d always wanted. And Damian was the start of the family he’d always wanted. I was just supposed to be Dick’s replacement, and you were just the replacement of the replacement.”

He’s not looking at Tim, but out of the corner of his eye he sees the way Tim flinches at his words. He’s not sure why he still calls Tim that after all this time. Maybe it’s because it keeps the kid from getting too close. Or maybe Jason is trying to warn the kid. Trying to remind the kid that while he is part of the Batfamily again, he’s still also the Red Hood.

Jason carries on with his sharpening, but he notices Tim is oddly silent. When he finally looks up, he sees Tim staring intently at a spot on the couch and the way his hands are trembling almost imperceptibly. Jason sets down the whetstone, but fists the handle of the blade tighter in order to ground himself.

“Shit, I’m sorry, Drake. That was stupid of me. I shouldn’t have said that. I know what he…what this family means to you. I wasn’t trying to…I just…” Jason has to pause, lets out a deep sigh. He can’t believe he’s about to have this discussion with fucking Tim Drake. When did his head decide it was okay to let this kid in? “I don’t know, kid. I never really felt like I was actually a part of all this, ya know? Dick left a shadow so big that it made it hard for me to feel like I ever belonged by Bruce’s side. As much as I wanted to. And I could always see in Bruce’s eyes when he would look at me…how badly he wanted me to be Dick. I’m sure I’m wrong about it all. I know how much he loves you. My feelings about the whole thing are still a little bit…raw. Things are just hard for him now that the little brat’s in the picture. He’s still figuring shit out. Just give him some time. You know how he is. Bruce puts all of his energy into wanting things to be perfect that he forgets there’s an entire fucking world existing around him. I can’t believe I’m the one saying this, but just cut him some slack.”

Tim is still silent for some time after Jason finishes talking. Jason’s a little bit worried, honestly. Most of the time the kid doesn’t shut up.

“Little Red, I really am sorry. I wasn’t saying it to… to hurt you. I just…”

“That must be quite a new revelation for you.” Tim quips, giving Jason that stupidly cute smirk of his.

Jason shoots him a smirk of his own right back.

“Just because I enjoy being an asshole, doesn’t mean it’s my only setting. Here.”

He hurls the knife at Tim, watching unworried as the younger boy catches the shiny blade effortlessly between his fingers just centimeters from his face. Jason can’t lie, there’s something about seeing what innocent little Timothy Drake- Wayne is really capable of that makes something akin to desire bubble low in his gut.

“Weight’s still a little off. Unless you prefer your weapons to veer more towards your right. Maybe if you used a sharpening tool from this century?”

Tim tosses it back, he’s shorter and his aim has the blade flying right at Jason’s lips. Jason has always liked living more dangerously, it's who he is, and he doesn’t move to catch the blade until he knows the tip will poke right into the middle of his bottom lip. It does, and he likes the way Tim’s eyes widen when he sees the blood spring up like a vibrant little gem. He watches Tim's eyes follow his tongue as it trails out and laps up the droplet, leaving his lip and tongue coppery red.

“Nah. In case you haven’t noticed, Drake, I like living by my own rules.”

Tim swallows hard and Jason’s smirk widens.

“Believe me, Jason, I’ve noticed.”

Jason hums and then continues to sharpen his knife.

“Do you ever worry? About consequences?” Tim asks him hesitantly.

Jason stops again and meets his eyes.

“What? The Bat?”

“No, more like…afterlife?”

“Don’t tell me you believe in some higher power. After all the shit we’ve seen?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. It’s just something to think about when all this is done.”

“Drake, let me tell you something; I don’t remember much about being dead. I thought I was in hell at first, but it was just the flames from the bomb detonation. Then I can only remember clawing my way out of that coffin and thinking about Bruce. Sometimes I dream about when I was dead, but it’s all gone so fast that I hardly catch enough of it to know if it was real or not. But it’s hard to remember anything before the Lazarus pit.

“We’ve all got shit to atone for, and when my clock gets punched again, then I’ll worry about it. But for now I’m going to do my part to keep scumbags off the street. Even if it sends me straight down to hell.”

Tim’s hands are shaking again, but this time Jason doesn’t understand why.

“You shouldn’t talk about your death so carelessly like that.” Tim says softly, mournfully.

Jason halts his sharpening again and gives Tim a perplexed look.

“Why not?” A little bit irritated that Tim is telling him what to do.

Tim doesn’t really have an answer, other than the fact that it bothers him and he doesn’t want to think about Jason’s mortality. Especially when it wasn’t even that long ago that Tim’s heart had been ripped to pieces when he’d found out the second Wayne son and Robin had been murdered.

“You just shouldn’t, Jason. At least not in front of me. Okay?”

Jason cocks his head and gives him a confused look, but he doesn’t say anything else.

That’s the last conversation they have where Jason calls him his replacement or anything of the sort. He doesn’t use Tim’s name very often, but the loss of what is intended to be a derogatory nickname is a huge step for them.

It’s so strange to Tim how quickly hanging out with Jason starts to feel normal. They spend most days together doing something or other. He’s not sure what caused the change of heart on the older boy’s part. Maybe he was just lonely? But Tim is thankful either way.

Apparently they’re even close enough now that Jason comes to hang out with Tim even while on patrol.

“Hey.” Jason says from behind him.

“Red Hood. What are you doing here?”

“I’m finished with my patrol and I’m bored. You about done?”

“Essentially. Why?” Tim isn’t looking at him, still scoping the streets with some new binoculars he’s testing. He hears Jason cross the roof and stop just behind him.

“Jesus, Drake, a little more trust might be nice. I thought maybe we’d grab something to eat.”

Tim drops the binoculars and turns around.

“You know you’re kind of making hanging out with me a habit. Are you okay with that?”

“Are you always such a bitch?”

“Yes. And food sounds good. You buying?”

Jason gives him an annoyed look.

“Shouldn’t you be the one buying, rich boy? Pretty sure it’s your turn anyway.”

Tim fixes him with a look that he knows Jason can read despite the presence of the mask.

“Yes, I’m buying.” Jason says with a sigh.

“Good. I want takeout.”

“Yes, princess.” Jason mocks.

They take their bikes and Jason makes Tim wait outside while he goes in to pay for the food. He goes in in full uniform and nearly gives the man at the counter a heart attack. He thinks it’s hilarious. Tim gives him a stern look, but he also finds it really amusing. They make it back to Jason’s and change into sweats before eating. Jason lets Tim keep a spare pair of clothes at his place now, but they're all dirty so he wears some of Jason’s sweats that are far too big and hang off of him. He’s not sure if any of that means anything, but Tim is the only one who’s allowed to keep spare clothes at Jason’s. So maybe that's something.

“Shit, kid, don’t they ever feed you? You’d think you haven’t eaten in a week.” Jason remarks as Tim shoves noodles into his mouth.

“I have a fast metabolism. But I do rather like Thai food.”

Jason reaches a hand over and tries to stab a bite of Tim’s sweet and sour chicken with his fork. He’s stopped by Tim’s slender hand, his grip surprisingly strong.

“Unless you want a broken wrist, you won’t do that.”

Jason laughs and pulls his fork back, licking the sauce off the tip of the prongs.

“You just keep surprising me, Little Bird.”

Tim falls asleep on Jason’s couch. Jason thinks about waking him up and making him go home, but instead he covers Tim with a blanket and ruffles his hair. When he wakes up the next morning, Tim has made coffee and cleaned everything but Jason’s room.

“Good morning.” Tim says over his mug from where he’s sitting in Jason’s armchair.

“Morning. Did you-“

“This place was a mess and it was starting to drive me crazy. Thought I’d tidy up for you.”

Jason doesn’t know whether to say thank you or intentionally go around and messy everything up again. Who does Timothy Drake think he was?

Tim sits there awkwardly. Jason still hasn’t said anything and he’s starting to think maybe it was a bad idea to touch Jason's stuff without his permission.

“I can put it back the way it was if you’d prefer…”

Jason looks at Tim who is sitting there looking like a kicked puppy. He should probably be grateful instead of fantasizing about smacking the kid.

“No. This is just… fine. Uh… thanks.”

“Jason, I’m sorry if I made you angry. I know it isn’t my place, I just thought that maybe I should-“

“I said it’s fine, Drake. Thank you. You didn’t have to do it, but thanks.”

Tim gives a small smile and nods.

They stand there awkwardly again for a few seconds until Jason coughs.

“So… food?”

“Sure. I’ll buy this time.”

They go to the same diner as always. Jason finds it funny how he’s got Tim kind of hooked on the place. Jason orders the chili and a sandwich and Tim orders the deluxe burger. He watches with a gross fascination as Tim devours the thing.

“Jesus, Drake, didn’t Bruce or Alfie ever let you eat junk food?”

“I like the burger. So sue me. And I have a first name you know, Todd. Feel free to use it some time.”

They finish and step outside, Jason pulling his pack of cigarettes from his pocket and lighting one. Tim watches with fascination at the way Jason manages to even make smoking look beautiful. The set of his mouth, the curve of his fingers, the way the smoke drifts past his eyes.

“Something I can help you with, kid?” Jason says on an exhale, his gaze still fixed on the building across the street.

“Thought you only did that when you were nervous?”

Jason glares at him out of the corner of his eye and takes another drag.

“You shouldn’t smoke, you know. I’m sure in middle school you were at least told of the health risks, so I won’t even bother.”

“But it makes me look cool.” Jason jokes.

“Be that as it may, I would really prefer not to be the one to say I told you so if you’re ever diagnosed with something. At least try to quit. For your own health.”

Jason turns to him finally, staring right at Tim as he inhales and then blows the smoke into his face. He takes another few drags before dropping what’s left onto the pavement and grinding it out with the toe of his boot.

“Well, this has been a lot of fun, Little Bird, but I have better things to do than listen to you lecture me.”

Tim goes back to his own apartment after that. Lately it feels too big and too quiet. But Jason clearly is wanting some space, and Tim will suffer through the anxiousness to give Jason what he wants.

---

It’s only a few days before the two of them are reunited again. Tim is wrapping up his patrol when he decides it may not be seen as completely out of the ordinary if he were to slip into Jason’s part of town and “accidentally” bump into him while the older boy finishes his own rounds for the night.

Tim finds him lounging on a faded and rather grotesque looking couch sitting atop the roof of one of the clubs in crime alley. He tries not to think too hard about all of the bacteria that’s spreading its way across Jason’s clothes.

“Hey.” Tim says, trying to make it sound easy and casual.

“Hey.” Jason responds. Tim notes the way Jason sounds much more genuinely casual than himself.

“Slow night for you, too?”

“Yep.”

Tim watches as he lies there, tossing a single bullet in the air and catching it in his hand, repeating the motion over and over. The otherwise full magazine and his gun are lying in two separate pieces on Jason’s abdomen.

Currently, Tim is working on multiple different ways in his head to ask Jason to come hang out at his place. The problem is that all of them sound idiotic and he can’t seem to make his mouth speak any of them.

Tim clears his throat. “So…,” he starts. Jason doesn’t respond at all. Just keeps tossing the lone bullet into the air.

“Jason?” He tries again, his voice subdued and shaky.

“Yeah?” He doesn’t stop tossing the bullet, or even look in Tim’s direction.

“I was wondering if-“

And of course, of course right at this moment there’s the sound of a trashcan being knocked over and loud voices coming from below.

Jason freezes and sits up. Tim walks to the opposite end of the roof and looks over to locate the source of the ruckus.

He can see a man and a woman standing the two stories below him. The man is a large, older fellow with a huge glistening gold chain around his neck and a shirt with the ugliest pattern on it that Tim’s ever seen. The woman is hardly dressed. She’s wearing one little strip of black cloth that just barely covers her chest and a short gold skirt. She’s only wearing one shoe, the other in her hand and being clutched to her chest.

“I told you this was gonna be your last shot, Carmen. Every john this week has complained about you and you’re costing me money. You’re done.”

“No, Charlie, please. I’ll be better. He just got a little rough and I didn’t know what else to do. I'm sorry.”

Suddenly it all makes sense to Tim. They’re on top of a brothel and the couple below aren’t a couple at all. The woman is a prostitute, and the man is her pimp.

“He paid for it rough! You don’t get to decide what’s too much and what isn’t! He does! Now if you wanna stay, then you get your ass back inside and do your goddamn job!”

“I can’t, Charlie. He’s crazy. You saw the fucking bite mark he left on me! It’s just too much.”

“I’ll show you too much.”

Tim’s blood goes cold and he flinches as the man backhands the woman, making her cry out and sending her stumbling face first against the wall. He grabs a handful of her long, dark hair and smashes her face into the bricks once. She crumbles to the ground, crying and clutching her face.

Tim jumps when he hears the clack of a magazine being slid into the stock of a gun right beside him.

“Jason, wait!” Tim says in an eager whisper.

Jason is already dropping to the ground, landing just a few feet from the man as if he were the living embodiment of hatred and outrage.

Both the man and the woman look up; the man looking annoyed more than anything, and the woman looking fearful.

“Go. Now. There’s a hospital four blocks over. Ask for Leslie Thompkins.” Tim hears Jason grind out. “Go!”

She stands on unsteady legs and walks toward the end of the alleyway, leaving her shoe behind. She gives Jason a wide berth as she walks past him and mutters a “thank you” through her blood soaked hands. Jason’s gaze never turns away from the man.

“Hey, buddy, who the hell do you think you are? That’s my property you just let walk away and she cost me two hundred bucks!”

Jason doesn’t say a thing and is rushing toward the man before he’s even able to consider who he's up against.

Jason slams the man’s face into the bricks, just as the man had done to the woman a few moments before. Tim stays in his perch, only watching for now, but fully prepared to assist.

The man doesn’t fall to the ground like the woman had, but he has to use one hand to balance himself against the wall as blood trickles out from a gash on his head.

“Alright, you fucking prick,” He says as he swipes at his forehead, “you’re gonna pay for this!”

He lurches at Jason, but falls to the ground, landing hard on his knees as Jason’s fist hits his face. Jason punches again. And again. And again. And the man begins to sway so Jason holds him upright as he continues to punch him. And now Tim has to interfere.

Tim leaps down and isn’t quiet about it. His cape rustling loudly, an unspoken sign to warn Jason that he is there. Jason doesn’t stop hitting the man, though, and Tim can already see the damage Jason is doing to his face.

“Red Hood! You have to stop!”

And Jason does, but only to pull the gun he’d stuffed in his holster when he leaped to the ground. His arm is perfectly steady as he presses the gun squarely between the man’s eyes.

Tim hears Jason cock the weapon and the man’s resulting whimper, and Tim can’t afford cautious warnings anymore. He runs to Jason’s side, grabbing Jason’s arm and pulling, yanking with all his strength. It doesn’t do more than make Jason stumble a bit, pulling the gun away from the pimp’s forehead, but still aimed at him.

“Red Hood, that’s enough!”

Tim tugs at him again, finally forcing Jason to drop his arm in order to dislodge Tim. Jason whips around, and even through the domino Tim knows Jason is glaring at him. Tim is somewhat frightened by the steely set of Jason’s mouth and the anger radiating off of him. Jason is absolutely furious, and now he’s also furious with Tim.

“Let go of me right fucking now or I’ll break your fucking arm.”

Tim does as he’s told, but he can’t let Jason kill this person, deserving or not. He has to do something and the only thing that comes to his mind is absolutely ludicrous, but it’s more than likely to get the job done.

As Jason begins to walk the few steps back toward the man, Tim grips his arm and pulls him again. Jason turns, ready for a fight, but it doesn’t come. He pulls himself up to his full height in hopes of scaring the kid away, but instead he feels Drake’s lips against his. It’s not really a kiss since Jason isn’t kissing him back, but he knows it’s still the same concept. He’s surprised, but only a little. Tim Drake is the weirdest person he’s ever met in his life and will go to any lengths to stick to his moral code. But Jason is just too angry at the moment to process anything other than his own fury.

Jason doesn’t drop his arm even while Tim’s mouth is still on his. It remains outstretched at his side, gun in his hand and still pointed right at the man’s head. Tim knows that even like this, Jason wouldn’t miss the shot, but he presses his lips harder against Jason’s anyway. He doesn’t care what reaction this may draw from Jason, so long as this man is able to walk out of this alley tonight.

Jason shoves him away and shoots his grappling gun, retreating to the roof above without a word.

“Thank you. Thank you, sweet boy.” The man mumbles, a swaying bloody mess. “How can I repay you? I’ll do any-”

Tim doesn’t want to hear this disgusting human being’s groveling, so he punches him and knocks him out, zip tying him and leaving him face down on his stomach- the cops patrol this street enough that they should find him within the next half hour- and then follows Jason’s lead to the roof.

He didn’t expect Jason to hang around, but Jason is standing in the middle of the roof waiting for him. He's perfectly still and staring in Tim's direction; his face giving no indication of what he's feeling. Tim does his best to make his stride look casual as he makes his way over to Jason, but he’s honestly terrified. He still can’t read Jason’s expression and his body language is giving away nothing. He can’t even begin to predict what Jason is thinking right now. He forces his feet forward, though, and doesn’t stop until he’s within arm’s reach of Jason.

“Jason, I’m-“

There’s gravel against his back suddenly, and Jason’s boot is on his chest. Tim can’t believe that Jason just put him on his ass before he was even able to react. He twists and jerks, trying his best to worm his way out from under Jason’s boot, but he freezes when a pistol is suddenly being shoved into his mouth.

“If you ever pull something that fucking stupid again in front of a perp, I’ll fucking kill you.” Jason growls as he hunches over Tim.

There’s no emotion in Jason’s voice. No hint of a smile on his face. His shoulders and steady arm tell Tim that Jason is in no way joking.

He nods once in understanding, his teeth clacking against metal, and Jason holsters his gun and removes his boot. Tim slowly rises to his feet, not wanting to make any sudden movements that would further anger Jason, and backs away slowly. He’s more than a little shaken up, to be honest. Jason hasn’t threatened him, hasn’t been at all violent with him for some time now. And this is more aggressive than Jason has been with him in years. Tim doesn’t understand where it’s coming from. He wants to say something. To try to apologize again, smooth things over, but the steady shake of his hands make him realize that if he opened his mouth, his voice would be doing the same. And the taste of steel in his mouth is too vibrant for him to feel anything other than terror.

He tries to hold his ground for just a little bit longer, but Tim can’t shake the image of staring up past the end of Jason’s gun at Jason’s hardened and vacant face.

It’s then that Jason comes back to himself. He feels exhausted now and the red haze in his mind has relinquished its enraged and oppressive grip on him. He's slowly remembering portions of what has just happened in the past three minutes. From his spoiled execution of the man in the alley, to the kiss, to him laying Tim out and threatening to actually kill him while he had his goddamn pistol in Tim's mouth.

Of course he hadn’t meant it. Never in million years would he do that to Tim. He couldn’t. Not now, not ever. He doesn't want to hurt Tim anymore. What he just did, what he just said; he isn't responsible for that. Not really. But the bubbling, wraith like anger inside him has its claws deep within Jason and he’s never able to fight it off for very long.

He can see Tim trembling as Tim stands there in front of him looking so small and fragile and utterly terrified, and he gingerly steps forward.

“Tim-“

Tim is fleeing from the roof before Jason can even get another word out. He doesn’t blame the kid. All the cruel and crazy people in this city that try to kill Batman and his associates, and now Jason is no better than the rest of them. How could he blame Tim for being afraid of him? He’s nearly killed Tim in the past and has hurt him so many times. How could he expect the boy to understand that the threat was made when he wasn’t even in his right mind? That he hadn’t even meant it? How can he expect Tim to trust him when he can hardly trust himself?

Chapter Text

Jason still feels bad about the way things went down with Tim. He hasn’t even seen the kid in almost a week, and he knows it’s not because Tim isn’t on patrol. The little freak lives for it and would cut off his own limbs before intentionally missing one. Jason knows Tim is absent from his part of town because he’s actively avoiding Jason.

Honestly, Jason has actually been kind of lonely on his patrols the past few nights. He almost got used to having someone at his back. The silence of early morning roof tops is too loud now, and even the life blood of Gotham isn’t loud enough to drown it out. But it can’t keep him from his patrol. He has a job to do and everything else just has to wait.

Things don’t go well, though. Jason is constantly off his game lately. When he isn’t thinking about Tim’s horrified and frightened expression, he’s thinking about Tim’s kiss. The second kiss the younger boy has given him. Why had he done it? Sure, Jason had kissed him, but it’s not like he’d really wanted to. The kid had just looked like he was about to crack at the time. Jason was only keeping him from falling apart. Just being a good teammate. Tim is a very skilled and well equipped fighter, and Jason is sure that he could’ve disarmed him some other way that didn't require trying to swap spit. So why, of all things, had Tim decided to kiss him?

His pervading thoughts cost him. He has a mishap with a sizable biker gang he’s currently fighting and ends up getting whacked in the back of the helmet with a metal pipe. Thankfully it doesn’t do much more than rattle him, but he knows that if Tim were with him, the guy never would’ve gotten close enough to even take a swing.

He takes them all out eventually, albeit much slower than it normally takes him. Once they’re all laid out on the ground and zip tied, he decides that the right thing to do in this situation is apologize to Tim, and he needs to do it soon, or risk another potential, and more serious accident.

The next night he gets ready early for patrol. Earlier than the rest of his colleagues would even be considering to go out. The sun went down only a half hour ago. He dresses in his uniform, but he doesn’t bother with his weapons. He’s not really interested in patrolling tonight at all. His objective is to find Tim and hope he can find the words to make Tim forgive him.

Jason only has to make one stop in order to find Tim, and that’s Tim’s apartment.

Jason can’t see inside even the slightest bit from his perch on the building roof across the street from Tim's place. All of Tim’s blinds are drawn and there is no movement, but he knows Tim’s there. He has no hopes of breaking in. He knows that. The kid is far too good at everything and too smart to have not set up a million traps that could fry Jason in a second. So he takes a leap of faith.

“Red Robin, this is Red Hood. Come in.”

There’s nothing but silence over the line. Jason gives it a few minutes in case Tim didn’t have his comm in the first time before he tries again.

“Little Red, I’d like to talk. Can I come in?”

Complete silence again. Not even a crackle as a response. Jason drops his voice, as low and soft and nonthreatening as possible.

“Come on, Tim. I need to talk to you. For real. Just you and me. Face to face. I’ll even take off my helmet. Just five minutes. Please.” He knows he’s breaking the rules by using names while in his uniform, but he's desperate. He needs to fix things with Tim and he'll do whatever he has to to get through to him.

There isn’t a reply over his comm, but he sees a light flick on in one of Tim’s windows and he takes it as a signal of Tim’s reluctant consent.

There isn’t really an ideal way for him to get into Tim’s window. It might be an apartment, but it was once a theater, after all. He swings over and lands on the roof above the marquee and walks toward the window that has the light shining through. Jason takes a breath before sliding the window up and is relieved when he isn’t blown to bits. He climbs in quickly and closes the window behind him.

Tim is nowhere in sight. Jason searches the entirety of the apartment and finds nothing. He feels ridiculous, but he even checks in a few cabinets. Still, he finds nothing. He’s getting ready to leave when he hears the telltale whoosh of an automatic door sliding open. He walks back through the hallway to find a room that was hidden within the walls that is covered from floor to ceiling with monitors and computer screens. Tim is sitting in a chair in front of one cluster of screens with his back to Jason.

“What do you want?” Tim asks without turning around.

Jason feels stupid, but he’s elated that Tim is actually speaking to him.

“Did you build all this?”

“Yes. I’m rather skilled when it comes to technology and research. Was that what you came to talk about, or did you actually need something?”

Jason suddenly has no idea what he’s doing here. Every word he had wanted to say to Tim suddenly slips from his mind and he reverts back to instinct. Distant, cold, deflective.

“So, is this where you’ve been hiding the past week?”

Turn turns in his chair, and the look he gives Jason through his glasses is one of disgust.

“I haven’t been hiding. I actually live here, Jason. And I completed every patrol I was assigned to this week. I just stayed in my part of town. Tonight is my night off, so I’m doing my own recon on a few things.”

So Tim was avoiding him. The admission stings a little, but fuck if Jason is going to let him see that.

“You’re working on your night off? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? And since when do you wear glasses? Are you trying to be the next Oracle or something?”

“Did you want something?” Tim asks deadpan, ignoring the banter.

Jason takes a single step further into the room.

“Tim, I-“

“Stop. You promised to take off the helmet, so remove it. Now.”

Jason does as he’s told and then tries to speak again. He feels so bare without both his domino and his helmet, but he had promised.

“Tim-“

“Put your weapons on the ground. All of them.”

Jason tries to hide the flinch at Tim’s words and harsh tone. He didn’t think Tim being so distrusting of him would affect him this much, but it really, really is.

“I don’t… I didn’t bring any. I’m completely unarmed. I just came to talk. Honest. You can search me if you want.” Jason raises his arms out at his sides, hoping the comment and the gesture will make Tim laugh, or at least smile, but it only makes Tim slide his chair back further away from Jason.

Tim removes his glasses and stands from his chair after a moment, but he keeps his distance. He crosses his arms and Jason knows it’s in an attempt to look annoyed and put out, but he knows Tim is using it as a kind of barrier to keep between them.

“Tim, I’m sorry about before. I really am. I feel really bad about it. I didn’t mean what I said at all. Or my actions. I wasn’t… me when I said those things and did that to you, or when I was down in that alley.”

Tim cocks his head and furrows his brows, a tiny wrinkle appearing on his otherwise flawless forehead. Jason’s confused by his urge to lick at it and fights off a smirk as he buries the thought.

“What do you mean you weren’t you?” Tim asks skeptically.

Jason already feels exhausted.

“I was so angry that I didn’t even realize what I was doing. What I was saying. It’s all kind of a blur. I vaguely remember what I did, and I’m sorry, but it’s like I wasn’t there in the moments it was happening. I wasn’t in control. It was like I was watching it through someone else’s eyes. I don’t know if I’m making any sense.”

“Kind of. Continue.”

Jason feels the slightest rush of hope course through his system and he keeps talking.

“I won’t lie; If you hadn’t’ve been there, I probably would’ve killed that guy. He would’ve deserved it, too. I was furious and my rage just took over. I’m not used to working with people anymore and I ended up taking my anger out on you. I don’t really remember everything that happened, so I’m sorry if I hurt you or injured you at all that night. All I really remember is the echo of those words coming out of my mouth. And again, I’m sorry. I really am.”

Tim doesn’t move. Doesn’t give an inch. Jason knows he heard every word and has replayed it and analyzed every bit of it at least twice in his head now, but Tim stays quiet.

“Tim, you have to believe me, it was all just bullshit. Yeah, I was pissed, but I’d never do anything to really hurt you. I didn’t mean it. I was seeing red and that threat didn’t mean anything. I’m not sayin’ it was okay, but don’t believe any of it. You can trust me. I swear to you. I know you don’t understand, but I wouldn’t do anything. I can’t promise that I won’t do something stupid again, but I swear I’ll never give you another reason to be afraid of me. I’m sorry.”

Tim drops his gaze and turns away. Jason feels ashamed. All that and the kid still can’t stand to even look at him. He shouldn’t be surprised. He deserves it, after all.

“Okay. I mean, I completely understand you not wanting to trust me. It is me, so I get it. I'm still just the crazy son that rose from the dead. We haven’t had great history and I’ve never given you reason not to be afraid. So, I’ll leave now. But you gotta know how terrible I feel about what happened.”

Jason places his helmet back over his head and turns to leave.

“Red Hood.”

Jason freezes and whips back around.

“If you’re going on patrol tomorrow night then wait for me before you head out. I caught that fight you were in last night, and I really think you could use some backup. It was a little pathetic the way you got your ass kicked out there by a couple of bikers. Probably best that you don’t go out alone. We don’t need any more repeats of that.”

Jason smiles inside his helmet and quickly reforms it into a smirk when he realizes just how genuine his smile is. Not that it really matters. Tim can’t see it anyway. So he gives Tim a two fingered salute and an “aye aye, captain” before he walks out of the room. And something about this interaction on his own end makes Jason uneasy. Makes him feel off, so he walks back into Tim’s makeshift security hub.

“By the way, that kiss of yours? If that’s your best, then you need some more practice, kid.” Jason jokes, because they just wouldn’t be Jason and Tim if he didn’t constantly try to get under the kid’s skin.

He watches the blood rise to Tim’s cheeks and hears the sputtering as he walks out laughing.

He gets a good night sleep for the first time in a week and might even be excited while suiting up for patrol the next night.

---

Things don’t immediately go back to how they felt before. Of course they don’t. Jason was absurd to have ever thought otherwise. He did threaten to kill Tim, so it’s somewhat wrong for him to have hoped the kid would instantly forgive him and be as easy going around Jason as he had been before.

So maybe he’s trying to make it up to Tim in not-so-subtle ways; buying Tim coffee before they meet up on patrol, buying him a new part he needed for his computer that he’d mentioned in passing, even having lunch delivered to Tim while he works in his office at WE.

Tim thanks Jason every time; blushes as he thanks him and assures him that all of the gifts are unnecessary. Tim is still cautious around him, but he can’t just make himself stop staring at Jason out of the corner of his eye while they lurk on rooftops together. The older vigilante has been his idol for nearly ten years. And while he doesn’t completely understand that violent darkness that lies within Jason- even if he wants to- he does still trust Jason. He’s proved himself to Tim time and time again. Having his back in fights, giving him advice from an ulterior perspective, and inviting Tim over to his place, which Tim assumes are attempts to put him at ease once again around Jason.

He’s not mad anymore. Truthfully, he never really was. Just afraid, and hurt and confused. And after Jason had explained himself, Tim understood a little bit more and was so appreciative to have a little bit more insight into the puzzle that was Jason Todd’s mind. He understands the need Jason feels to make it up to him, but it’s entirely unnecessary. And then Jason takes it a step even further, and one night during their dinner of Tim's favorite Thai food, he asks Tim to stay and get ready for patrol with him. And Tim agrees.

Patrol together is one thing, and hanging out after as well, but getting ready for patrol together means something else entirely. That brief time when all the walls come down and they’re entirely focused on the mission ahead. A conflicting and warring sense of calm and adrenaline. Sharing the same head-space with someone when you’re stripping yourself down to nothing more than instinct and reaction. It’s intimate in a way that some things can never even hope to be.

Tim watches as Jason strips out of his hoodie and t-shirt, his back to Tim, and all of his scarred skin is revealed. His back is toned and firm, but Tim just can’t stop staring at Jason’s scars. He knows what Jason’s been through, or at least a good part of it. He knows what this life demands of each of them and that getting hurt is a part of the job. But he’s never seen this many scars on anyone before. Maybe not even Bruce.

Jason’s skin is still smooth and golden, but white dashes streak and score his entire back. They range from long and thin, to short and wide and everything in between. There’s more circular ones from bullet wounds, and an incredibly long one that stretches from one shoulder blade to the opposite hip that is mesmerizing Tim. He clasps his hands together behind his back so that he doesn't reach out and touch. And of course he's curious, but he doesn’t dare ask how Jason got it. It's just an unspoken rule among all of them.

And then the stunning sight is obscured as Jason pulls his insulated and skintight undershirt on. It also accentuates Jason’s spectacular body, but Jason’s scars are truly a thing of beauty. Tim isn’t sure if that means he has a fucked up idea of what’s beautiful and what’s not, but he appreciates and even enjoys the sight. Perhaps it’s because he's beginning to understand. It tells Jason’s story and what he’s been through. It tells of his strength, courage and determination, as well as the lengths he’s willing to go to in order to get what he wants. He finds Jason far more fascinating than is probably healthy.

Jason quickly pulls on his body armor and his leather jacket and turns to find Tim staring at him. He fights back the blush, but it doesn’t matter. Tim looks like he’s a thousand miles away anyway. Eyes unfocused and seeing further than Jason’s form that’s simply standing in front of him. Seeing something that Jason himself can't see, but desperately wants to.

“What?”

And he’s right. Tim wasn’t really looking at him at all, because the kid jumps and shakes his head like he’s trying to clear the Milky Way out of his skull or something. Jason isn’t sure why it’s a little disappointing that Tim hadn't just sneaking a peek at him.

“Nothing.”

But then the kid goes bright red and starts to fidget the slightest bit and maybe he was staring at Jason. At least a little.

“Aw, what’s a matter, kid? I catch ya thinkin’ somethin’ dirty? You look like a virgin who just walked into his first orgy.”

Tim gives him an utterly dumbfounded look.

“You know that’s not something that people just say, right? Like, that’s not a thing.”

Jason just shrugs.

Things aren’t nearly as tense between them after that, but he doesn’t hear from Jason for a few days. Doesn’t see him on patrol at all, so neither of them is able to extend an invitation to hang out. He wonders a few times if maybe Jason is intentionally avoiding him. And while Tim does have Jason’s phone number, he’s just not sure that he’s ready to cross into that territory yet. Truthfully, he wouldn’t know what to do once he got there.

It’s not until a week later while they’re all working on the Black Mask case together again that he sees Jason. They’re partnered for a stake out, which may or may not have been at Tim’s personal request.

“Well, this is fun.” Jason says after the third hour of sitting on a roof watching traffic go by.

“Calm down, Jason. You knew this wasn’t going to be a high action stake out. We’re just trying to keep an eye out in case something helpful happened to come across us. or in case anything goes wrong”

“In case something goes wrong where? Nothing is happening! Can’t we go to down to the docks or something? People are always gettin’ up to shit there. Come on. I haven’t punched anyone in days.”

Tim tries to fight off a smile and shakes his head.

They sit for another hour before something even remotely suspicious draws Tim’s attention.

A man is running at full speed down the sidewalk. From what Tim can see, he isn’t being followed, and there is no sound of sirens. He’s dressed fairly well and looks clean, too, so Tim can’t imagine what’s got him in such a hurry. He uses his binoculars to get a closer look and recognizes the face from somewhere. It takes Tim a moment, but he manages to place the man all the same. Tim recognizes the man from the file of a case they worked a few months back. Some mid- level drug pusher that had seemingly disappeared for some time.

Tim flings out a hand and whacks Jason in the arm, drawing his attention away from his phone where he’s playing some game.

"Ow. What? You just made me kill myself." He chides sharply.

“Jason, do you recognize that guy?”

“No. Why?” He's looking back down at his phone, the obnoxious theme song beeping and booping.

Tim remembers that the case had been one he, Batman and Nightwing had been working on before they’d brought Jason back in. Of course Jason wouldn't know what Tim is talking about.

“He’s a dealer for a drug ring that works out of a few blocks near the narrows.”

“Oh yeah. Kurt Heyman, or something like that?”

Tim is surprised. There’s no reason for Jason to know that since it wasn’t his case. The surprise must show on his face because Jason snorts.

“I have a lot of guns, I know, but I do know how to work a computer. I do my research on the scumbags in this city, too. I was watching him and his crew a while back. I thought he’d cut out, though. Nobody had heard anything from him for a while.”

Tim looks back down toward the street and sees that the man has since slowed to a casual stroll.

“Well, wherever he was, he’s back now.” Tim keeps watching and sees him enter a nightclub a few buildings down from them. “Looks like he’s headed into the club.”

“I hope you brought a change of clothes, Red, because we’re about to crash this party.” Jason says cheerfully before leaping down to the alley below.

They pull out their spare clothes and fake IDs and make their way down the street. Jason really doesn’t need to use his fake, but Tim knows he’s paranoid. Tim, on the other hand, is an eighteen year old who is small for his age and appears three years younger than he is and absolutely needs his fake ID. It says he’s only twenty two, and it’s very convincing- Bruce wouldn't have made anything less- but every time he gets carded, it takes him a good two minutes of persuading people that it is in fact his ID.

The doorman's inspection of it goes much quicker this time, though, when Jason glares sternly at the man and grits out an inarguable “he’s with me” as he places a hand on the small of Tim’s back and pushes him in the door ahead of himself.

They both give the whole club a once over, Tim feeling more nervous and overwhelmed by the second. It's loud, and big, and there are people everywhere. Jason’s eyes find the bar, and a cute bartender with red lips and a pretty smile.

“I’m gonna get a drink. You want something? I think we need drinks.”

“I’m only eighteen, Jason.”

Jason looks at him like he’s an idiot.

“Did you not just use your fake ID ten seconds ago?”

“Well, yeah, of course, but I don’t drink.”

He doesn’t know why he likes the way Jason’s eyebrows furrow in confusion.

“You don’t drink? Then why the hell did I pick you up in that alley all those months back?”

It’s dark, but Jason can still see Tim’s flush on his creamy white skin. He likes how often he can make that happen.

“I don’t drink under normal circumstances.”

“Then I want that bottle of whiskey back. Now come on. We’re going to have a drink.”

Tim gives him a panicked look.

“But we’re on duty.”

“I know. So that means we have to blend in. I’ll get you something fruity.”

“Jason!”

“Hey.” A handsome blond says, sidling up beside Tim after Jason has walked away.

“Oh. Hi.” Tim says slowly, caught off guard.

“You don’t have a drink. Can I get you something?”

“Oh, um, that’s okay. I don’t-“

“Anyone ever tell you you’re really cute?”

“Um, I…”

“I’m Chris.” He says, extending his hand.

Finally, Tim has a moment where he can catch his breath and process this situation. He can handle some average joe. He can. He can blend in and be normal

“Uh, Al.” He shakes Chris’ hand. He sticks to the name printed on his ID.

Jason watches from the bar as he flirts with the cute brunette bartender.

“Way to go, kiddo.” He says under his breath before asking the bartender her name. He might be feeling something akin to jealousy tugging at his chest, but he can ignore it, and he will.

Tim is only half paying attention as Chris talks. He’s keeping his eyes on Jason as he talks to a pretty bartender, while also watching for their guy.

“So, you wanna dance or something?” The guy asks, stepping in front of Tim so that their eyes actually meet.

“Oh, thank you. But I’m actually here with my friend. He’s just getting us drinks.”

“That’s okay. I have a few friends that can keep him company. Brett, Kurt!” The guy calls behind him and waves over two people that are standing a few seats down from them at the bar.

A well dressed and very handsome dark skinned guy walks up with another familiar man: their perp that ran in earlier. Tim tries to play it cool and casually get Jason’s attention, but he’s unsuccessful. Unfortunately, he’s too occupied with the bartender still.

“Who’s your friend, Chris?” The black man asks in a too friendly tone.

“He’s cute. Good job.” Their perp chimes in. He’s leering at Tim in a way that makes Tim want to punch him in the throat. Twice.

“Guys, this is Al. Al, this is Kurt and Brett.” Chris gestures to the suspect first and then his other friend.

Tim gives them a small smile and an unenthusiastic wave.

“This place is getting kind of crowded. Guys, why don’t we see what we can do about getting a VIP room with Al?”

“But my friend-“

“You can catch up with him later.” Chris says, putting his hand on Tim’s lower back and ushering him forward.

Tim spins and grabs his wrist.

“Don’t. Please don’t touch me.”

“Whoa. Calm down. We’re just trying to show you a good time.”

“That’s right. And I've got something here that’ll make you have a great time.” The perp says.

They all three start ushering Tim toward the back. He can’t attack them out in the open, so he’ll have to wait until they’re in the VIP room before he knocks them out and takes whatever it is the perp has. He really didn’t want to get in a fight while at the bar. And stupid Jason-

“Hey!”

Tim hears, and one of the three hands is suddenly ripped off of him.

Jason had just been about to ask the bartender for her number and happened to look over to check on Tim just as the man Tim had been talking to and two others, including their suspect, were trying to push Tim toward a room in the back. He quickly forgets the bartender in order to make his way over to Tim. He’s pissed as he continues to watch them usher him away, and he isn’t sure why, but he can’t really stop himself from getting up and marching toward them with every intention of hitting one of the assholes who put their hands on Tim.

“What the hell are you doing with him?”

Tim’s unable to turn around with Chris and Kurt still holding him, but he knows Jason’s voice and can tell he’s pissed.

The other two men drop their hands now, too, and Tim turns to see Jason standing there. He glares at the older boy, but Jason isn’t paying attention.

“We were just trying to show him a good time.”

“The fuck you were. I know exactly what douche bags like you do to show someone a good time.”

“Who the hell are you, anyway?” Chris asks defensively.

“I’m his boyfriend.”

Tim’s face flares red. They had never decided on that as a cover.

“That’s funny. He just said you were a friend.”

Jason finally meets Tim’s eyes and glares back at him.

“He’s just shy about it. But we were just leaving.”

“Well, maybe Al wants to stay. Why don’t you run back to the bartender and mind your own business.” Chris says, slinging an arm around Tim.

“Take. Your arm. Off him.” Jason growls.

“Jay, it’s okay. Don’t make a scene.” Tim has no idea where that nickname came from. He’s never called Jason that before.

“No, it isn’t. I heavily suggest that you three get lost before I make you regret trying to pick up my boyfriend.”

All three of them laugh like moronic hyenas when they should be worrying about their safety. Tim wants to interject, but he’s too preoccupied worrying about what Jason’s next move will be.

“You’re funny, man. Come on, Al. Let’s head to our VIP room.” Chris turns, pulling Tim with him, his arm sliding down to wrap around Tim’s waist.

Tim grips Chris’ fingers tightly, nearly crushing them and peeling them away as he steps out from Chris' grip.

“I think I’m gonna pass. But thanks.” Tim says, releasing Chris’ fingers and shoving him away. He takes a few steps back so that he’s standing at Jason’s side.

Jason wraps an arm around Tim, mimicking what Chris had been doing earlier. He smirks at the three men and then turns, herding Tim with him towards the front door of the club.

“I could’ve handled that on my own, you know.”

“I know. But that guy was still an asshole who needed to learn some manners.”

Tim gives Jason a look that he doesn’t really know how to classify. He’ll think about that later when he’s got Tim far away from these guys.

“Well, now we don’t have a sample of the drug he’s pushing.”

“I’ll come back later and kick his ass and get it.”

“Is that your approach to everything?” Tim teases.

Jason smirks at him. “It’s effective.”

Tim wants to give Jason an annoyed look, but a laugh escapes his lips before he can. It makes Jason smile and Tim is glad for his slip up.

They’re both aware of the fact that Jason’s arm is still slung around Tim's shoulder, but neither of them says anything. They walk out into the cool night air. They can’t use their grappling guns now that they’re in civilian clothes and out in the open, and it’s a little late for them to go back on patrol, so they continue walking in the general direction of Jason’s safe house. They walk in comfortable silence, Tim even feeling kind of soothed under the warm weight of Jason’s arm.

They’ve only gotten a block away from the bar when someone grabs Tim’s arm and yanks him backward into a chest and out from under Jason's embrace. It’s Chris and his friends again. Jason whips around when he feels Tim pulled away from him and his eyes become cold and hard as he realizes what’s happening.

“Let him go.” He says in a low, dangerous tone.

Chris shoves Tim aside into the hands of his two friends. They’re both gripping Tim’s biceps uncomfortably tight, but Tim isn’t even the slightest bit worried. He can handle both of them without breaking a sweat.

“You shouldn’t stick your nose into other people’s business. You interrupted our night, so I’m going to interrupt yours.”

Tim rolls his eyes, but he catches when Jason reaches behind his own back. The movement grabbing Tim's full attention. He knows Jason’s going to pull the gun out of his waistband and Tim has to do something quick.

“Jay! Don’t. Please.” Tim pleads with big, bright eyes.

Jason hesitates and then finally shoves the gun back into his waistband, the assholes none the wiser about what he’d been about to do.

“You ready, Tim?” Jason asks, nodding to Tim.

Tim nods back.

“Ready for what?” Chris asks angrily.

It’s the last thing he manages to say before Jason throws his fist into Chris’ face, knocking him unconscious on impact. Tim steps back and out of the grip of the other two men, Jason being enough of a distraction for him to get free.

Tim kicks Brett in the back of the knee and then slams his head into the wall of the building beside them. Jason and Tim both turn to Kurt, their perp, then. He freezes, eyes wide as saucers, and then turns and runs down an alley a few feet away.

Tim and Jason smirk at each other.

“Why do these jackasses always think they’ll get away?”  Jason asks.

Tim shrugs and watches as Jason walks to the entrance of the alleyway, shoots his grappling line to a fire escape, and then swings overhead, landing in front of Kurt.

Kurt pauses and turns around, but he doesn’t bother to try to run off again when he sees Tim standing in the entrance of the alley with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face.

“You’re lucky you caught me on a good night. If he weren’t here, then I probably just woulda shot you. You should thank my sweet little friend there that the worst I’m going to do to you now is kick you in the nuts and then knock you out.” And true to his word, that is exactly what Jason does. He is nothing if not a man of his word.

“Don’t forget the drug sample. He has a bag in his pocket.” Tim calls to him.

“Always tellin’ me what to do, Princess.” Jason groans as he reaches down and pulls the bag from the unconscious form of Kurt.

He walks back to Tim and hands him the bag containing the drug Kurt had been carrying on him.

“Thank you for not shooting them, Jay.” Tim says with a sincere smile, gazing almost adoringly up at Jason.

Jason actually catches the nickname this time, and if Tim ever asks then he’ll deny that it has any effect on him at all.

“Oh, you know me. Always trying to help, Baby Bird.”

Apparently, it’s a night of firsts for both of them; Tim doesn’t hate the nickname, but he hates the way it makes him blush.

Chapter Text

A few nights later, Batman calls them both in to help more with the Black Mask case.

Batman briefs them when they’re all gathered together on a rooftop just after midnight. Nightwing making his entrance not long after them.

“An informant has told me that Black Mask will be moving his cargo tonight, but was unaware of where it would be happening. Nightwing and I will handle the south side of town.”

“Yeah, I bet you will.” Jason mumbles under his breath.

“Jason!” Tim chides and elbows him meanly in the ribs.

Jason smirks at him and bumps his arm companionably.

“Red Robin, you and Red Hood will take the East side. Report back if you see anything.” Batman carries on, unperturbed by Jason’s comment.

“Fine by me. Hope you don’t mind riding bitch, Baby Bird.” Jason taunts as he holds up the key to his bike.

“Only if you promise you won’t use your guns.” Tim responds without missing a beat.

Jason rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

“Fine. I promise.”

Jason pulls all four of his firearms from his person and thrusts them into Dick’s unprepared arms.

“Happy?” Jason snips at Tim, but Tim is giving him one of those smiles that makes Jason’s head fuzzy, and suddenly he doesn’t mind not having the cold steel in various places around his body.

They aren’t really sure where to begin their stakeout. Batman’s informant hadn’t given him much, and Batman gave them even less. They decide the best course of action would be to stake out above Main Street in East Gotham.

It’s boring for a long time. Nothing much happening. Just gruff and angry people living slightly above the poverty line that are going on about their mostly honest business. Tim and Jason keep themselves entertained with games. Tim forcing Jason to play I spy, and Jason forcing Tim into a rock throwing contest until Tim misses the roof across the street, causing his rock to hit a stray cat on the scaffolding out front of the building.

Tim whispers out a useless apology to the cat when it wails, but Jason can’t stop laughing.

“It’s not funny, Jay. I could’ve really hurt the little guy.”

“What do you mean?! That was hilarious!”

Tim might find it only the slightest bit funny, but mostly he’s just enjoying being able to watch Jason laugh since he’d decided not to wear his helmet tonight. He hasn’t been wearing it at all around Tim lately.

He punches Jason once in the arm for good measure and then goes back to watching the street.

They’re mid game of blue car, red car when Jason straightens and scurries to pick up Tim’s binoculars.

“There. That black car. You see it?”

Jason hands Tim the binoculars and points at a car second in line at a red light.

“Yeah. Packed pretty full.”

“I recognize the driver. One of Black Mask’s guys. Which means they all are.”

“Looks like we’re on the move, Hood.”

They wait until the car is two stoplights down before jumping on Jason’s bike and following from a safe distance.

They follow until the car stops two blocks ahead of them in front of a warehouse onn the abandoned side of the textile district.

“Here? I thought these were Black Mask’s men?” Jason wonders aloud, his question mostly rhetorical.

“They are.” Tim responds anyway.

“So what the hell are they doing in one of Scarecrow’s warehouses?”

“Good question.”

For two hours they’re silent, watching attentively for any sign of activity within the warehouse. The windows are boarded, and they might find a way in through the roof, but they can’t risk it. They’re unfamiliar with the turf and don’t want to go barging in only to be confronted by dozens of armed men.

In a matter of seconds, the stillness of the night is disturbed when two of the loading bay doors are flying open and two identical black cars come barreling out. They drive in different directions, both full of passengers, and both firing off guns with manic laughter.

Their heads whip to each other, gazes meeting instantly.

“Maybe we should split up. We’ll have more of a chance that way. You go after the car on the right and I’ll go after the one on the left.”

Jason shakes his head

“You heard the big guy; we use the buddy system.”

“And since when do you listen to him? I’ll be fine, Hood.” Tim says annoyed.

“You know I can’t let you go off on your own, Tim.”

“Fine! Let’s go then!”

Jason revs his bike back to life and they speed down the street after the car.

“Batman, this is Red Hood. We’ve got some activity. Black car in East Gotham’s abandoned textile district. We’re pursuing the car on bike. They’re heading towards the river. Red Robin and I will apprehend and meet you at the rendezvous point.”

“Hood! Look out!”

Jason’s focus is fully drawn back to the speeding car in front of them and the fact that two of the passengers in the backseat are now leaning out the back windows, a rather worryingly large gun in both of their hands and aimed right at them.

“Serpentine!” Tim shouts, but it’s already too late for that.

Most of the first rounds miss, going just wide of them. Except for one shot.

He feels Tim slump against his back the slightest bit, one arm falling from around his waist and the other tightening that much more.

“Hood, I’m hit! It’s lodged in my forearm!”

“Just hang in there, Little Bird!”

“This is Red Robin, requesting backup in pursuit. Batman, do you copy?”

The men get their next rounds loaded and begin to fire wildly in their direction again. Jason swerves, trying his best to avoid the gunfire and not jostle the bike too much, but his mind is focusing on the fact that Tim is bleeding on the back of his bike and is now an arm down. The kid is ambidextrous, surely, but two arms are always better than one.

The guns are going off again, and Jason grunts as he’s shot in the thigh and then again in the shoulder, just above where his body armor is covering him.

“Jason! You’re hit!”

And it’s possible that Tim’s arm goes even tighter around him.

“I’m alright, Tim. I’m fine.”

“We have to get out of here. We need to find Batman and regroup. We need medical attention!”

“No! We gotta catch these guys! We will.”

Jason knows it’s a bad idea. He does. They’re under prepared, unarmed, and injured. His vision is starting to blur the slightest bit from blood loss and he’s seriously hoping that the bullets didn’t hit an artery.

“Jay, turn!”

He isn’t sure if Tim had told him before just now to turn, but by the time it gets through, the damage is done. His front tire is shot out and the bike wobbles, wrenching itself back and forth and out of Jason’s control.

“Tim, lean!”

They both tilt all of their weight and fall on their sides, rolling as the bike goes down and slides down the middle of the street and away from them. Jason can’t get his leg clear in time, though, and the handle bars smash into his injured leg. He can’t clamp down on the scream in time, but thankfully there’s too much noise for Tim to hear it.

The gunfire ceases and they can hear the men laughing.

“Jay! You okay?” Tim asks as he grips Jason’s uninjured arm and hauls him to his feet.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m good. You?”

“Fine.”

They study each other for a few seconds. Of course they’re both hurting like hell, and no, neither of them are fine, but they won’t admit it. Not ever. And especially not during a mission. Tim places a hand over the wound like he hopes that keeping it hidden will just make Jason forget about it.

Their heads both shoot up at the sound of screeching tires and more gunfire. The car is turning around and heading straight for them.

“Into the alley. Go!” Jason commands.

Tim goes ahead, Jason following at a slow hobble. His leg is killing him now and Tim is also moving rather slowly. They get most of the way down the alley only to discover that their escape route is a dead end, blocked off by the entire back wall of another brick building.

“Shit! Red Robin, you gotta go. Get up that fire escape and get Batman. I’ll hold them off.” Jason’s eyes are on the entrance to the alley where the car has come to a stop and five men with guns get out of the car and approach them.

“No! I’m not just gonna leave you!” Tim apparently isn’t concerned with the men at all as he glares up at Jason. If Jason weren't in so much pain, he'd bitch Tim out for making the rookie mistake of taking his eyes off of their attackers.

“Dammit, Tim, go!” Jason hisses in a whisper.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t our lucky night. Looks like we caught ourselves no just one, but two of the Bat’s snot nosed little birds.”

They’re all wearing full face masks now, but Jason and Tim can both tell the man walking in the front of the group was the one that was speaking. Of course the masks are unnecessary, Jason and Tim know who each one of them is, but the men don’t know that.

The men keep walking toward the, approaching slowly in an attempt to be menacing. And of course Jason’s leg chooses then to give out and he drops to one knee.

“Red Hood!” Tim nearly yelps as he steps forward and grips Jason’s shoulder, feeling the slightest bit guilty for getting blood on the tan leather. What worries him more is the fact that he can see blood dripping from the sleeve of Jason's jacket onto the pavement. Jason's losing blood quickly, and rather a lot of it from both his arm and leg.

“I’m okay. But I never should've let you talk me out of bringing guns.” Jason grunts under his breath.

“What’s this then? Little bird broke a wing?”

Jason cannot even put into words how tired he is of all of the bird puns after all these years.

“Guess it’ll be even easier to snuff ‘em then. I bet the boss’ll be real grateful for a coupla stuffed Robins above his mantle.” A different voice says.

All five men raise their guns and take aim. Jason’s heart skips a beat. He slowly and painfully forces himself to his feet and moves in front of Tim, holding an arm out to completely shield the smaller boy and keep him behind his own body. His body is running on pure adrenaline now.

“Go, Tim. Now!” He’s whispering urgently over his shoulder, hoping desperately that Tim will follow the order.

“I’m not leaving you.” Tim says firmly, squeezing Jason’s bicep where his hand had slid to as Jason rose to his feet. He’s terrified and not letting go of Jason’s arm. He won't abandon Jason.

“Boss is going to be real happy about this one, boys. It’s gonna be steak for dinner from now on!” The man in front speaks again.

Neither Tim nor Jason have felt relief like they feel as the telltale sound of a very familiar engine starts rumbling from what sounds like only a few blocks away.

“Shit! It’s the Bat!” One of the men in back shouts.

“How do you know?”

“Idiot. Don’t you hear that? It’s the Batmobile!”

“Let’s get outta here!”

All five of the men turn and run, filing back into the car as quickly as possible and peeling out down the street in a screech of tires and cloud of smoke from the burning rubber.

Jason doesn’t move or drop his arm as the Batmobile pauses for no more than a few seconds in front of the alley, and then speeds off to pursue the men, revealing Nightwing standing alone in the street. He runs toward them and Tim and Jason know Dick well enough to see his panicked expression even behind his mask.

“Red Robin! Red Hood! Are you two alright?”

“We’re alive, but you cut it a little close there, dipshit.” Jason says snidely and finally drops his arm.

Tim rushes forward, throwing his arms around Dick and squeezing. Dick hugs back without hesitation.

“Thank you, Nightwing. You saved our asses.” Tim gushes.

“Batman went after the shooters. Who were they anyway?”

“Black Mask’s thugs. We were following the car and they started shooting. I think it was a decoy. There was a second car that went in the opposite direction that was probably carrying the real cargo.”

“We followed them before and they led us to one of Scarecrow’s warehouses.” Tim chimes in.

“Scarecrow and Black Mask? They’ve gotta be working on a new drug compound then.”

“Would make sense. You and B have any luck? I mean, with the case. I’m sure you both got lucky tonight. You’ve just got that look about you right now, Dickiebird. Like that after sex glow.” Jason teases with a devilish smirk.

“No. And that is none of your business, little brother.” Dick bites out at him, almost without blushing.

Jason can see Tim slap his palm against his face out of the corner of his eye.

“Really, Jason?”

“Come on. Let’s just get you two home.” Dick says with mild irritation.

They wait until Bruce comes back in the Batmobile. It isn’t long. He’d managed to call the GCPD and get some cops that were nearby to set up a blockade a few streets over. He'd shot out the car's back tires and quickly disarmed the men, leaving them and the legal side of things to be handled by the officers. It all takes no more than ten minutes.

Dick had helped both of them give their wounds attention, sufficiently addressing them until they could get somewhere with more appropriate supplies.

They all load up into the Batmobile and debrief Bruce. He doesn’t seem all that surprised when they retell the events of the night, but they shouldn’t be surprised that he isn't surprised.

“Thank you. Now, let’s get you two home and get you some medical attention. And you are both now on forced medical leave. Tim for the next three weeks. Jason for the next six.”

“Come on, Bruce. Don't you think three weeks is excessive? I can assure you that that amount of time is unnecessary.” Tim says in a panic before Bruce can finish his sentence.

“You were shot, Timmy. You should know better than to rush an injury. We can handle things for three weeks until you’re ready to be back in the field.” Dick tries to soothe him.

“I’m going back to my place, Bruce. If I have to be on leave for the next six weeks then you are not keeping me cooped up in the Manor.”

“Jason, you cannot stay there alone while you’re injured.” Bruce says in his ‘you should know that, you idiot’ voice.

“I’ll stay with him.” Tim says without hesitation, but his cheeks flare red when three sets of eyes find him.

“You’re injured as well, Tim. That’s highly irresponsible and unwise. Not to mention-“

“Its fine, Bruce,” Dick interrupts, his smile soft and voice even softer. “I’ll pack up a bag for Tim with whatever he has lying around the manor and drive them both back to Jason’s in one of the cars after Alfred tends to them.” He finishes with a hand on Bruce’s thigh.

It’s not weird for any of them. Not anymore. Dick and Bruce went through hell and back together, fell apart, and then helped stitch each other back up seam by seam for years. They love each other and nothing about that could ever really be that strange.

“Would you be able to get some of my things from my place tomorrow, Dick? I might need a bit more if I’ll be staying with Jason for the next six weeks.”

“Who said you’re staying all six weeks?” Jason says just to be an ass.

“Sure thing, Timmy.” Dick smiles at Tim.

They get back to the Manor and Alfred removes the bullets and stitches them up without much of a fuss. Mostly just throwing passive aggressive insults in here and there per his usual self. He piles leftovers into their arms as Dick packs up the car to take them back to Jason’s.

Dick helps them up the four flights of stairs and makes sure they’re settled and comfortable in Jason's apartment before he makes his exit.

“Call if you need anything. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” Dick gives Tim a look as he slides out the door that leaves Tim even more confused than his usual interactions with his eldest brother normally do.

The apartment is dead silent once Dick leaves. Tim and Jason sitting one cushion apart on the couch and hardly moving, as if they’re scared the other is made of glass. Tim can hardly stand it.

“It was my fault you got shot. I was a distraction for you being on the back of the bike. I’m the reason you got hurt. I’m so sorry, Jay.” The words tumble from his mouth in an inelegant jumble.

Jason gives him a shocked and confused look.

“It wasn’t your fault at all, Baby Bird. Shit happens. It’s always a hazard in our line of work. Don’t blame yourself, Tim. Don’t you do that. My injuries are on me. And so are yours, truthfully. My fault. And I'm sorry.”

“If I don’t get to blame myself, then neither do you. Like you said, shit happens.” Tim smiles at him and Jason smiles back.

They order pizza and watch tv on the couch until they both fall asleep on their respective sides.

They both wake up sore and aching, Jason especially. He moves about gingerly, but refuses Tim’s help any time he offers. Tim makes them breakfast with the few things Jason has in the house, and for lunch they eat Alfred’s leftovers.

All trace of awkwardness from the night before is gone and they exist in the closed quarters together comfortably.

They watch movies until Jason is horrendously bored, bouncing his leg up and down on the edge of his coffee table.

“Alright. Time to switch things up.”

Jason shoots up off the couch surprisingly fast and goes to grab a box off of his bookshelf, which is mostly just a rectangle of wood that has a few pieces of plywood in it to hold the books up. He sits down on the floor in front of the coffee table, leaning against his well used couch as he removes the contents of the box. Tim sits down beside him and immediately recognizes the greenish-brown leafy substance inside.

“I didn’t see you as the stoner type.”

“That’s because I’m not. Sometimes I just have to do it to take the edge off. Besides, it’s better than taking ‘scripts to help with the pain.”

“I suppose that’s true. Don’t you worry about it impacting your abilities on the streets?”

“It’s not like I’m getting high before I go on patrol. Christ, I’m not that much of an idiot. I only do it when I know I’ll have some down time. And it’s not like I gotta worry about drug tests or anything. It’s not a habit. You’re not gonna wake up tomorrow to find out I OD’d on heroin, so calm down, Drake. I’ve never touched the hard shit and I don’t plan on ever starting.”

Tim suddenly remembers what Jason’s file had said about how his mother had died.

Jason slides the joint between his lips and lights it. Tim watches, fascinated as Jason inhales slow and deep. He holds it for a ten count before exhaling lazily. The smoke plumes up around Jason’s face, and while Tim isn’t fond of the smell, Jason looks otherworldly with the white haze surrounding his face. Jason catches him staring.

“You wanna try?” Jason asks as he turns to face Tim, holding out the joint.

Tim’s eyes widen and he shakes his head. “That’s alright.”

“Come on, Drake. I bet you’ve never tried anything like this in your pathetically boring life.”

“It might not be a controlled substance, but it impacts the mind. I don’t like not having total control and clarity.”

“Wow. You really are the world’s biggest control freak.” Jason teases. “Live a little, Tim. It won’t kill ya.”

“Neither will my bullet wound.”

“Look, you and I are on forced medical leave for the next few weeks, so you might as well make the most of it.”

Tim takes the joint gingerly between his fingers. He’s never even smoked a cigarette before, so he’s pretty sure he looks like an idiot right now. Jason lights the end for him and he can’t even entirely inhale all the way before he’s coughing and sputtering.

“Dude, you’ve gotta be the biggest pussy I’ve ever met in my life.”

“Shut up. It burned. And it tastes terrible.”

“Well, yeah. Alright, we’ll try another way.”

Jason takes the joint back and reaches out a hand to grab at the back of Tim’s head, pulling him closer. Tim resists immediately, blushing and looking absolutely affronted as he tries to pull his head away. Jason chuckles at him.

“Calm down, will ya? I ain’t gonna bite ya. ‘Least not right now.”

Tim blushes furiously, but relaxes a little, and it’s still a struggle for Jason to pull his head close again. He rests the joint between his lips, getting Tim’s mouth close enough that his tactic will hopefully be effective.

Jason removes the joint for a moment, clutching it lightly between his pointer finger and thumb.

“Okay, now open your mouth.”

Tim does as he’s told and Jason is laughing again.

“Jesus, try not to look so much like a dead fish. Keep it open, but give it some shape.”

Tim focuses completely on setting his jaw just the right way and watches as Jason puts the joint back in his mouth. He goes much easier this time when Jason tugs at his head, and his own mouth hovers just centimeters away from the glowing end of the white paper tube.

He keeps his eyes closed as Jason exhales, forcing the smoke out and into Tim’s mouth instead of inhaling it into his own. Jason stops blowing after a few seconds and tells Tim to shut his mouth.

“Now swallow and hold. Try for a five count.”

Tim manages, but just barely, coughing again.

“Pretty good. You okay?”

“Yeah,” Tim answers as he looks up at Jason through watery eyes. “Yeah, I’m good.”

Jason gives him a smile that is so blinding, Tim can feel the sweat prickle up on the nape of his neck.

“You ready to try again?”

Tim nods and they repeat their actions from a moment before. Tim is suddenly very aware of the feeling of the smoke against his lips, the weight of his tongue in his mouth, and Jason’s proximity to him.

He does better this time. Holding the smoke in without coughing at all.

“Good. You feel alright?”

“Yep. Fine.”

Jason looks at him with something akin to a smirk, but it’s full of so much more mischief than a smirk ever could hope to achieve.

“Alright. Now let’s try this.”

Tim watches in amazement as Jason inhales the smoke into his mouth like his body is dependent on it. The capacity of smoke his lungs must be holding in is slightly worrisome.

“Don’t freak out,” Jason says and Tim is trying not to laugh at how goofy Jason sounds as he holds his breath and tries his best not to let too much smoke escape.

He goes easily this time when Jason’s hand nudges his head, only this time there is no joint between Jason’s lips. It’s sitting between his fingers of the hand resting on his knee.

Jason is getting closer and closer to his mouth and it feels like time has sped up and slowed down simultaneously. He’s so nervous that he jumps when he realizes just how close Jason’s mouth is to his own and he ends up pressing their bottom lips together. Jason doesn’t react at all, just slowly exhales the smoke into Tim’s gaping mouth. He’s forgotten what they were doing and most of the smoke ends up floating away and dissipating.

“Come on, kid. You can’t be that far gone yet. Let’s try one more time.”

Tim nods, and this time he watches Jason the entire time, making sure to keep his jaw set.

The smoke is warm against his face, but Jason’s breath is warmer. One of them must’ve shifted, because he can feel the feather light touch of both of Jason’s lips on his. Not a real kiss, or anything like one, but the very tip of Tim’s suddenly very dry tongue flicks out to gently brush Jason’s bottom lip all the same. He isn’t sure when his eyes managed to slip closed, but Jason is staring at him, amused and intense when he opens them again.

Tim’s eyelids suddenly feel heavy, along with the rest of his body, and he feels way too hot all over.

“You still with me, Baby Bird?” Jason's voice is low and thick from the smoke.

Tim feels his head move sluggishly and hopes that Jason knows that he’s trying to nod.

“Try it yourself this time.”

And Tim’s hand is grabbing the joint before he can even tell himself to move it. He manages to inhale and exhale this time without so much as a sputter and hands the joint back to Jason.

“Good boy.” Jason says with sly smile and runs his hand through Tim’s hair and Tim’s entire body is wracked with a shiver.

After two or three more hits each- and Tim is too far gone now to know if it was two or three- Jason decides it’s a good idea to bust out the bottle of whiskey that he’d stolen back from Tim.

A very fuzzy hour later finds them comfortable and incredibly buzzed, still sitting on Jason’s floor.

“What the hell do you mean you’ve never been to a club?! Like, not a bar, a club club. Dancing and all that shit?” Jason is yelling for no reason at all.

“I’ve been to clubs and bars.” Tim’s words are a little slow and slurred. His cheeks feel hot and he knows he’s smiling stupidly, but the rest of him is loose and relaxed.

Jason is wondering somewhere in the back of his head how much Tim is going to be analyzing his under the influence self’s actions tomorrow.

“But only on missions! That doesn’t count!”

“I am only eighteen, Jason. Legally I can’t even get in.”

“Oh, don’t even give me that. How old does your Alvin Draper ID say you are?”

Tim looks away shyly. He’s not even sure how Jason knows his alias’ name.

“Exactly. You could easily get in. Sure, you look way too sweet and innocent for anyone to believe you’re older than eighteen, but you’d get in if you batted those fucking eyelashes. Believe me.”

“I do not look that sweet and innocent.” Tim argues cutely, a slight pout on his face.

“You definitely do, Baby Bird.”

“Whatever, I don’t even like clubs. They’re too loud, everyone smokes, and there’s always someone obnoxious or some creepy person that tries to hit on you the whole time. Just look at what happened the last time I was in a bar.” Tim says, pout still firmly in place. He'd like to be more defensive, but his brain is moving too slow and he feels too good.

“Fair point, but I’m not going to let you miss out on the overall experience.”

Jason gets up and walks to his ancient looking stereo, turning it on some random station that apparently happens to play the same shitty, repetitive music that every club plays.

“Jason, I am not nearly high enough for this.”

“That’s too bad. Now get up, Drake. We’re gonna dance.”

“How do you even dance to this? It’s just bass and synthesizer!” He complains as he halfheartedly resists Jason pulling him to his feet.

“God, do you even know how to be a normal teenager?”

“If you give me a little while then I could figure it out.”

“You’re hopeless, Timothy. We’re going to dance and you’re going to like it. I know you’ve probably never danced to anything that wasn’t a waltz, but just follow my lead.”

He holds it out his hand and Tim grabs it hesitantly. Jason spins him around so that Tim is facing away from him and he gently grabs Tim’s hips so he doesn’t spook the smaller boy. Tim jumps anyway the moment he feels Jason’s hands on his hips.

“Jay?”

“Just trust me, Tim.”

He’s guiding Tim’s hips, using the slightest pressure to direct him.

“That’s right. Just sway your hips a little. In a club it feels less awkward. You’re moving your whole body along with your hips and you can even throw your arms into it. And everyone around you is doing the same thing, so you wouldn’t feel as aware or self- conscious of it.”

Jason’s eyes follow the rapid flutter of Tim's eyelashes against his baby smooth cheek as he peers over Tim's shoulder. His saturated brain is coming up with all types of interesting images of Tim’s hips, but he’s trying his best to behave.

“You’re a natural.” Jason says as he presses his lips close to Tim’s ear.

Tim giggles, the alcohol and the weed both really hitting them both now that they're standing. And Jason is really not expecting it when Tim takes a step back and presses his ass right against Jason’s crotch.

“Tim.” Jason warns.

“You don’t like my dancing, Jay?”

“Trust me, darlin’, that ain’t the problem.”

Tim does it again, entirely intentional and making Jason groan and grip Tim’s hips tighter. And now Tim won't stop grinding back against him and Jason's fingers have got to be pressing bruises into that creamy skin. His mouth is still somewhere by Tim’s ear, so he drops it and bites Tim’s neck just below it. Tim lets out something like a whimper that ghosts into a sigh, and Jason can feel himself getting hard.

“What’re we doing, Tim?” Jason asks with his mouth still pressed to Tim’s neck.

“Whatever you want.” Tim nearly whispers. He’s still grinding his ass back against Jason’s front.

And Jason doesn’t even try to stop his body trembling at that. He needs to be the responsible one. To take back some control here. But how can he be expected to make good choices with Tim saying shit like that?

“Tim, that’s not a good idea. I think we need to set some kind of boundaries or-“

Please. Please, Jay.”

And fuck being responsible right now, because Tim Drake pleading like that is without a doubt the most erotic thing Jason has ever heard.

He spins Tim around, crashing their mouths together. His brain is moving too slowly to get them maneuvered down to the floor, but not too slowly that he can’t walk Tim backwards until he’s crushed between the nearest wall and Jason’s body, their mouths staying glued to one another's. He manages to find Tim’s hands, links their fingers together, and pins them up near his head. He’s not really being careful of Tim’s injury, but if he can’t feel his own, he doubts Tim feels his.

He slides a thigh between Tim’s legs and draws out a knee weakening whimper into his mouth and he has to pull his mouth away for a minute just so he can get some fucking air into his body. 

He buries his face in Tim’s neck, breathing and kissing and biting with the slightest bit of pressure.

“Tell me, Tim. Tell me what you want.”

He keeps his grip firm when he feels Tim’s legs go shaky.

“You. I want you, Jay.”

His mouth is back on Tim’s and he’s pulling Tim away from the wall in favor of pushing him towards the bedroom. It’s not a long walk, and Tim is collapsing backward onto the bed before Jason is aware that they’d reached it.

Tim reaches up desperately for Jason, throwing his arms around Jason’s neck as he pulls him back down for another kiss. Tim’s mouth is so wet and eager that this is really too filthy to be considered a kiss. There’s not a lot of technique, but Jason will take what he can get. He pushes Tim away gently, but sternly, forcing the younger boy to let go so that he can strip himself of his shirt. He watches Tim do the same, unable to tear his eyes away from the slender, but oh-so- muscular body. Tim is flawless, and Jason’s mouth nearly waters as he stares.

Jay,” Tim whines because Jason is not moving and he’s too far away for Tim to grab.

Jason smirks at him and plasters their mouths back together. He grips Tim’s head gently, urging him onto his back on the mattress and follows him down. Tim is tugging off his sweatpants, but Jason is having to actually undo the jeans Tim decided to put on today for whatever reason. Neither of them hesitate to tug down underwear, and socks aren’t an issue since both of them have had bare feet all day.

Jason pulls away, pecking Tim on the lips one final time before sitting back to admire him again.

“Jesus, Tim, I think you might be even prettier than Grayson. Just look at you.” Jason coos at him as he slides his palms down Tim’s ribs.

Tim is flushed a pretty pink everywhere, panting and glistening. He’s not full on sweating yet, but it’ll happen. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to catch his breath. Probably in part because Jason is standing completely naked in front of him.

Everything feels surreal. Almost as if there’s a shimmering haze surrounding them, transplanting them somewhere else, somewhere better.

And Tim absolutely loses it at the feel of Jason’s lips against his collarbone, down his chest, his ribs, his hip bones. Tim can’t help it as his hips cant up into the air of their own volition. He’s desperate for more, for anything.

“Jason!” He wails. He needs Jason’s body back on top of him, his mouth back on him. Jesus, he just needs him.

Jason shushes him as he pets Tim’s hip with a thumb.

“I gotcha, Tim.”

He kisses Tim’s hip again and then takes Tim’s entire cock into his mouth in one go.

Tim isn’t big, he knows that, but he’s a solid five inches when he’s fully hard, and Jason is taking him with no problems. He’s experienced, clearly, and the thought makes him equal parts hot and jealous. But he can’t think about that for long when Jason lets him slip down his throat and starts swallowing around him. It’s hot and tight and so wet and Tim’s body is far too sensitive right now and he tugs at Jason’s hair.

“Jason, ah! I'll come if you keep doing that.”

Hearing that come out of Tim’s mouth is doing crazy things to Jason, and suddenly he needs to make Tim come.

He makes his mouth a vacuum, alternating between sucking and swallowing and now both of Tim’s hands are in his hair and he’s crying out consistently. He has to use both hands to pin Tim’s hips, not because he can’t take it, but because he’s trying to torture Tim that much more.

“Jason, Jason, Jason, Jason!”

Tim’s hips jerk one final time and then he’s shooting down Jason’s throat.

Jason swallows every bit of him down before kissing his way back up to Tim’s mouth. Tim’s brain isn’t connecting with his body, so he can’t do much more than lie there while Jason plunders his mouth. He can taste himself on Jason’s tongue; somewhat bitter and kind of salty, a strange taste. But underneath that he can taste Jason.

It’s getting harder for Jason to kiss him now due to the fact that he has a hand wrapped around his own cock and is jerking himself furiously. He drops his head and bites down on Tim’s shoulder as he comes. Tim feels the hot, wet splash of it on his stomach and his dick jerks painfully at that.

They’re both breathing heavily, Jason a comforting weight on top of him. Tim slips toward sleep, his mind still fuzzy and his body buzzing. He feels Jason roll off of him, but feels the heat of his arm against his own.

And slowly but surely, Jason’s upstairs brain is coming back online now. He’s just sucked Tim off. And not just that, he jerked off and came all over him. Worry and panic slowly start to bubble and rise in his gut that maybe this wasn’t the best idea. It’s too late now, obviously, but he still feels a strong sense of guilt as he stares at Tim’s peacefully sleeping face beside him.

He waits a bit longer to sober up before sneaking out.

Chapter Text

Tim wakes up feeling groggy. He’s not hungover, but he definitely feels out of it. He should’ve known better than to let Jason get him high and then break out that bottle of whiskey. But that’s the least of his worries. In addition to their little impromptu party last night, they’d had sex. It wasn’t intercourse, but Jason had had his mouth on Tim’s cock and had jerked himself off on Tim’s abs. There would be no way around talking about this one.

Except that Jason has somehow found a way, because when Tim goes out into the living room, he finds that Jason isn’t around. He’s not in the bathroom or kitchen either. There’s no coffee this time. No pastries. There isn’t even a note.

Tim sits around all day waiting. Not that he really has a choice as he can’t physically move much without getting winded, and he knows better than to risk leaving the apartment. He falls asleep on the couch that night, but wakes up in the bed the next morning. He doesn’t sleep walk, and he would’ve remembered waking up and going to bed. It has to mean that Jason came back and put Tim to bed.

Tim goes into the living room again to look for Jason, and once again he isn’t there. He calls Jason’s phone only to find out it’s been disconnected. He’s panicking and calls Dick immediately.

“Hey. Have you heard from Jason lately?”

“No. Sorry, Timmy. I haven’t heard anything from him since I dropped you guys off a few days ago. What’s up? Alright you alright?”

“I’m fine. It’s nothing.”

“I’m sure.” And Tim can hear the playful mocking in his tone. “I’m sorry I didn’t bring your stuff by yesterday. Things have been crazy at the station. I can bring it by tomorrow if you want.”

Tim couldn’t give two shits about his stuff right now. All he can think about is Jason and where he’s gone.

“No rush. Just whenever you have time.”

“Alright. It’ll probably be a few days then.

“Thanks, Dick. I’ll talk to you later.”

Jason comes back the next day, but he’s quiet. Doesn’t even acknowledge that Tim is occupying the same space as him. It’s the most uncomfortable and awkward situation he’s ever had the misfortune to experience.

It goes on for days that way. Jason stays in the bathroom or kitchen when Tim is in the living room or bedroom. Or he’ll stay in the living room when Tim is in the bedroom. Jason never stays in the bedroom, though. Tim doesn’t know why.

Jason is more injured than himself, so he doesn’t really go anywhere aside from the market down the street. Yet, somehow he always manages to make a trip for eggs and milk turn into a three hour excursion.

Tim isn’t sure what to do. Tim had asked Dick to bring him his things here so they could stay together while they recuperated, but now Tim feels so unwelcome. Jason has surrendered his bedroom to Tim and is now occupying the cot, and somehow that just makes everything more uncomfortable. He isn’t sure if it would be worse to stay or leave or at this point. And every time Tim tries to start a conversation, Jason goes out onto the balcony to smoke, shutting the window behind him.

He thinks about apologizing. About packing up and leaving. Having Alfred come get him and sending Jason some type of thank you gift for letting him stay there.

A week goes by with Jason continuing to move around silent and angry like a wraith. There’s moments when things feel so tense that Tim thinks about calling Dick to ask him for advice on what to do in this situation, but Jason would be furious if he found out.

For days it carries on and Tim’s had enough. He’s been sitting in the bedroom reading for most of the day while Jason’s been watching television. He walks out into the living room and stands there in anticipation. He’s fuming, and still Jason says nothing, just continues to lie on the couch and watch t.v. as if Tim doesn’t exist. He has no reaction at all until Tim is standing in front of him, blocking his view of the screen.

“Can you move? I’m trying to watch this.”

Tim grabs the remote from his hand, shuts off the tv, and hurls the remote behind him, sending it flying out the open window.

“What the fuck, Tim?! Those things don’t just appear, you know?! Now you’re gonna buy me a new one!”

“Fine! I’ll buy you a whole new damn television! Now, what the hell is going on with you, Jason?! Where were you?! Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?”

Jason crosses his arms behind his head in a makeshift pillow and shuts his eyes.

“Because you’re not my parent. And stop trying to be Bruce. It’s pissing me off.”

“I don’t care! You just up and disappeared again while you were injured without telling me! I couldn’t even be sure you were okay because you shut off your phone! Jesus, can’t you just send an email or something?!”

Jason sits up and glares daggers at Tim.

“I’m an adult who can do what I want, where I want, when I choose to do it! I don’t need to run anything by you!”

Tim flinches visibly.

“I was just worried, Jason. I didn’t know if something had happened to you. Why don’t you ever tell me anything?”

Jason gets up and starts to walk toward the bedroom, he can’t deal with this right now, but Tim grabs his arm and pulls him back. Jason rips his arm away violently and just barely suppresses the urge to strike Tim for grabbing at him. It really hadn’t bothered him, it’s just an innate reaction. Tim takes several steps back anyway and clutches his hands to his chest, trying to make himself as least threatening as possible in case Jason is considering hitting him.

Tim can handle himself. Maybe he can’t beat Jason in combat, but he can keep up. Tim is threatening, lethal even, he just chooses not to be with Jason because he trusts Jason. And that makes Jason’s chest and head hurt in equal measures.

“I’m sorry! For whatever it is that I did! I promise I won’t do it again! I didn’t mean to upset you!” Tim stares up at him with bright, wide eyes.

Jason is shocked and confused and genuinely feels bad for causing this reaction from Tim. He fists his hands to keep himself from reaching out and touching him.

“You didn’t do anything, Tim.” He says softly.

“Then why did you leave?! Why have you been ignoring me?! Should I go?”

Jason can’t tell him the truth. He can’t tell Tim that he ran off to stay with Roy because he felt guilty about taking advantage of the kid who is legally his goddamn brother. Can’t tell him that he can hardly look him in the eye without remembering the way Tim’s face looked when Jason sucked him off. Can’t tell him that he was trying to create distance so that he wouldn’t get any closer to the kid. And Jason absolutely cannot tell him that he might have… feelings for the kid and it scares the shit out of him. He’s let himself develop feelings for his replacement and that is a very serious detriment. Jason will tell him anything but the truth.

“I can go…” Tim swallows hard. He really doesn’t want to leave. “If you need me to.” he says it so softly it’s nearly a whisper. Like he’s hoping Jason won’t hear it so that he can’t answer.

Jason won’t tell him the whole truth, but he’ll tell him enough to ease the kid’s conscience.

“It’s not you, alright? You didn’t do anything. I just… fuck, I don’t know. I felt weird and guilty about the whole thing. I got you fucked up and then took advantage of you!”

Tim just blinks at him.

“You think I didn’t want it? Jay, I haven’t had a whole lot of blow jobs in my life, but yours was by far the best.”

Jason slaps his palm against his face. He wants to laugh, but everything about this is just too fucking weird.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea, you know?”

Tim’s eyes turn sad.

“Well, why not?”

“What is Bruce gonna say if he ever finds out, hm? Or Dick? Or your friends? They’re gonna be disappointed in you, and they’re gonna hate me! It’s just not a good idea.”

“Since when do you care what they think?”

Jason’s hands find his own hair and pull at it before scrubbing down over his face.

“I don’t… it’s just… you know this won’t work, right? You and me? Not that I don’t appreciate getting the chance to have you in bed, but. I mean, come on.”

Tim walks forward slowly and rests a hand on Jason’s stomach.

“We won’t know until we try.”

Jason isn’t saying anything and Tim is worried he is going to tell him to leave after all.

“Alright. Alright, we’ll give it a shot. And you don’t have to leave.”

Tim rises to his tiptoes and hesitantly leans in to kiss Jason. Jason allows it, and it’s innocent at first, but it quickly picks up in intensity and Tim’s hand is sliding from Jason’s stomach to the front of his jeans, his fingers going working at the button and zipper. Jason steps back and out of Tim’s reach.

“Slow, Tim. At least let me think I’m trying to do the right thing here. Believe me, I want this, just… slow.”

Tim nods shyly and bites his lip, his cheeks going pink. He’s not trying to be seductive, and yet all Jason wants to do his throw him down, rip off his clothes, and ravage him.

---

Dick finally comes by the next day with an expertly packed duffle bag full of Tim’s things. Mostly clothes, some files from WE, and his computer. Tim had texted Dick on his way over and he’d also been nice enough to stop and get them some groceries. Tim felt bad just mooching off of Jason and agreed to cook and clean in exchange for Jason’s hospitality. Jason had told him it was unnecessary, but Tim had insisted.

“Here you go, Timmy.” Dick says as he hands Tim half of the groceries. He sets down the bag of Tim’s things and looks around, a somewhat guilty smile on his face. “So… you two? Just stay in here? All day? You don’t get into any trouble, do you? No attempts to kill the other?”

“No. And who else were you even expecting to be here?” Jason doesn’t bother to hide the annoyance in his tone.

“I don’t know. I’m just kind of surprised. It seems like you two are getting along pretty well and I just wanted to know if-“

Jason is pretty sure he has no interest in getting into the workings of his and Tim’s relationship with Dick, but he is a master of diversion tactics and changing the subject.

“Soup? Really?” He complains, interrupting Dick mid -sentence as he pulls a styrofoam bowl out of a to-go bag from his and Tim’s favorite diner. He hands the other bowl and a plastic spoon to Tim.

“Don’t complain, Jason. Dick was trying to be nice.” Tim tells him sternly.

“Yeah, but I got shot two times and had my bike land on me. You really thought soup would fix it?”

“Jay, don’t be such an ass. And now we can eat that chili I made for dinner instead of having it for both lunch and dinner.”

“Don’t forget, you promised me chili dogs.”

“I didn’t forget your chili dogs. Don’t worry, Jay. But if you want onions then you’re cutting them up yourself.” Tim says with a laugh when Jason sticks out his tongue.

Dick’s gaze flits between the two of them and he gives them a look they’re not paying attention to. He smiles secretly to himself as something clicks into place in his brain. And then he’s remembering that he’s offended by Jason’s rudeness and that he needs to respond in kind.

“Sorry, your highness. I guess next time I bring you lunch I should bring you lobster tails and champagne.”

Jason shrugs. “I wouldn’t have complained about that.”

“I know you don’t have any manners, Jaybird, but it is customary to bring someone soup if they are not feeling well.” Dick can feel his eyebrow raising along with the current level of his irritation.

“What would you know about customs? You’re not even from here.”

“For the last time, Jay, I’m Romany. I was not born in Romania! I was even born at Gotham General!”

“Romany, Romania. Same shit, Dickiebird. You’re still a gymnast.” Jason shrugs again.

“I was an acrobat! You know what? I’m not having this argument with you again. Enjoy your soup, brat. I’ll see you later, Tim.”

Tim gives him a grateful smile and a parting hug.

“Thank you, Dick. I’ll see you.”

Even when Dick isn’t around, things aren’t much different now that Tim and Jason are… actually, Tim isn’t sure what they are. Or if they’re anything at all, for that matter.

Jason still mostly keeps to himself. Not to say he’s uncomfortable around Tim, and things are mostly the same as they had been before that night when they had hooked up. Jason still teases him, and calls him names, and steals Tim’s food when he isn’t looking. And Tim still lectures him, and still insults him with words that Jason has to look up later, and lets Jason steal his food when he pretends he isn’t looking.

Jason doesn’t mind having Tim around. Sure, it’s different for him, but it’s kind of nice to not have silence all the time. Even if he does drown Tim out by turning up his music when the kid doesn’t shut up.

Jason isn’t good with people. He hadn’t been even before he died. Dick had tried to get close to him, and they did okay after a while. But there was just too much bad blood between Dick and Bruce at the time for it to be anything other than always slightly uncomfortable at best for both him and Dick.

And then Jason had teamed up with Roy. Roy is great. Roy is a lot of fun. He is a good guy and Jason is glad he decided to keep him around. But Roy is an idiot and Jason can only take so much. He’s not the guy to ever tell a secret to unless you want everyone and their mother’s hearing about it. Now, Jason would trust Roy with his life, easy, but he wouldn’t trust Roy with his credit card, or making dinner, or even watering his plants.

The closest thing Jason has to a friend is Kori. She’s a sweet girl, and she’s tough as hell, but she isn’t an Earthling. She just doesn’t understand the subtle nuances of Earth culture, and as much as Jason wants her to understand things sometimes, she just doesn’t.

Somehow, though, he’s managed to find a friend in Tim. His replacement. The boy he tried to kill. The third Robin and the third Wayne son.

Tim doesn’t get him, not really. But he understands well enough, and he never stops trying to understand. It’s enough for Jason.

The two of them are similar, Jason will admit to that. They’re similar about plenty of things, including, but not limited to their daddy issues and their fucking psychotic upbringing.

Tim is a good kid. He’s smart, and kind, and a pretty good cook. If Jason were asked, he would deny it, but he does like the kid. More than he’s even comfortable with. He listens to Jason and helps him and does sweet things that he doesn’t think Jason notices. He knows he’ll fuck this up somehow, whatever it is that’s going on between them. Except he really doesn’t want to this time. He’s already done irreparable damage to their friendship by practically forcing his mouth on the kid’s dick. And then there’s the matter of Jason coming all over him. Of course Jason had enjoyed all of it, but he can’t risk losing the one good thing in his life to some stupid desire to make Tim scream his name. He’d like the sex, but he doesn’t need it.

And Tim doesn’t push the issue. He’d love a repeat of that night. He’d love to have the courage to simply waltz up to Jason, fist his shirt in both hands, and shove his tongue in Jason’s mouth. Pull them both to the floor and try things he hadn’t even thought about until recently. But the truth is that Tim has no idea what he’s doing. He never does when it comes to Jason. And if Jason won’t initiate, then Tim doesn’t think it would be fair to pressure him into anything.

Jason doesn’t offer up the idea to drink together again. Or smoke together. Tim supposes it’s alright. He’s perfectly happy with the way things are. He does catch Jason pulling a few swigs from the whiskey bottle here and there before he goes to sleep, but that’s a different conversation entirely.

They still keep their space when they’re close to each other, always leaving at least a foot of room between them as they coexist, but they’re never too far apart that Jason can’t reach out to play with the hair on the back of Tim’s neck as they watch television. Jason is pretty fond of the new remote that Tim bought for him.

The arrangement is alright. Tim isn’t crazy about the apartment, personally, but he likes living in a place that’s completely different from how he’s ever lived. Everything felt so artificial when he lived with his parents. Like he could never be himself, and if he had, they may not have noticed anyway. And when he began to live with Bruce his real life was put on pause for a long time. Everything became about their work, even if it was just having a morning cup of tea. There was never a time when Tim felt like he wasn’t thinking about the mission. And as big as the Manor is, living there tended to feel like suffocating for Tim.

And when he’d finally got his own place it was amazing. He’d purchased it from the money he’d made at his mentor’s company. Money he’d made honestly based on his own merits and intelligence and not just because he was a “Wayne.” Or ever a "Drake", for that matter. He’d bought the place because it was part of who he was, part of his family, part of history. If not for the Monarch, there would be no Batman. He bought it in honor of his mentor, his friend, his father. He bought it to make Bruce proud.

But the apartment was lonely, and the neighborhood still had a lot of work to be done to clean it up. So Tim spent his first few months in the building creating his security hub. After that he would spend most of the time there reading. And then when the silence became too much he started spending almost as much time at the Manor as he had when he’d actually been living there.

Living with Jason, he never feels alone. There is always some type of sound, or music, or distraction. Living with Jason makes him feel like he's comfortable. Home. Like he's happy. Like he's alive. Sure, Tim sleeps on a mostly flat medical cot in the living room- not that he’d want Jason’s bed anyway with how soft his mattress is- and Jason keeps it way colder in the apartment than Tim would prefer, and his floor boards creak incessantly, but Tim loves all of that.

Tim isn’t taking care of Jason. Not really. Or at least not in any way that he thinks Jason will notice. He does what he can to make little, every day things easier on Jason. His shoulder seems mostly okay, but his leg is dealing with some serious bruising after having a five hundred pound bike fall on it. Not to mention his bullet wound. He still struggles with some things, and maybe he realizes that Tim is secretly trying to help, but he never says anything.

Nothing is perfect, though. Of course Jason bothers him sometimes. And he is one hundred percent sure that he’s bothered Jason on more accounts than he can imagine. But Jason is letting him stay. Smiles at him with jelly covering his chin as he eats the toast that Tim makes for him in the mornings. He laughs at Tim’s nerdy jokes about dinosaurs and outer space. He even watches a movie marathon of Die Hard with Tim, even though Jason has said he isn’t a fan on more than one occasion.

He isn’t territorial of his belongings or space, or defensive of Tim’s actions or presence. He isn’t really even angry that often, the way Tim imagined he would be. He’s constantly at least semi- grumpy or more, but Tim doesn’t even mind. He just lets Tim do his own thing and Tim deeply appreciates that. He gives Tim space and doesn’t try to pretend like he does things for Tim’s best interests.

Or at least he doesn’t until their police scanner blares to life one night, multiple officers radioing in heavy gunfire. Apparently there’s some sort of standoff unfurling between Black Mask and his goons and the GCPD in midtown. And then things go from bad to worse when they hear another officer radio in a Killer Croc sighting.

Their eyes meet almost instantly once the call comes in and they both know what the other is thinking. Jason speaks first, though.

“Tim, I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not happening.”

“I have to go back out, Jason. I have to help them finish this case.”

Jason takes a quick step forward, not giving Tim the time to react or step away, leaving very little distance between the two of them. He wouldn’t have anyway. He knows Jason’s upset, but he doesn’t need to be afraid of Jason. Not anymore.

“You’re still injured, Baby Bird. Maybe that’s not the best idea. It hasn’t even been a full two weeks yet.”

“I’m alright. It was just a few scrapes and bruises.”

“And a bullet wound. Or did you forget that?”

“It hit me in the forearm and I was treated for it almost immediately. I’ve been taking care of myself and I know my body. I’ll be fine, Jason. I’ll call if I need help.”

Tim is in full uniform within seconds. He’s nearly made it to the window when Jason’s much larger frame blocks him.

“Tim, you call me if you need backup. Understand? And tell B that you’re out there. Don’t try to take this on on your own.”

“I know, Jay. I’ll be fine. I promise.”

Jason moves aside and watches as Tim climbs through the window and up the fire escape to the roof.

“Batman, this is Red Robin. Send me your coordinates. I’m coming to you,” and then Tim shoots his grappling gun and is on his way.

Jason watches from the window until Tim’s form disappears into the night. He doesn’t feel right about letting Tim go, even if he isn’t totally sure as to why. So he does the only thing he can do and grabs his computer and borrows some of Tim’s gadgets from his duffle and plants himself anxiously on the couch, popping in his ear piece.

Jason isn't completely technologically challenged. He’s nowhere near Tim’s level of knowledge, but he'd at least managed to figure out how to tap all the Bat's comm lines when he'd come back from the dead for surveillance. It took a little bit of time, but it had paid off. Now he’s even more grateful. He may not be able to keep Tim safe by having his back out there, but he can sure as hell try from inside his apartment.

It takes him about forty minutes to finally bypass Batman’s updated security software, but he manages all the same.

“This is Batman, I’m in pursuit of Two Face. Nightwing, come in.” Bruce is saying.

“Fuck. Two Face, too? What the hell is going on out there?” Jason says to himself. He’s tense and uneasy and he can’t stop the perpetual nervous shaking of his leg. It makes things even harder that he has no knowledge or patience right now to try to tap into the video feed in anyone’s mask. He could try contacting Babs for help, but there isn’t time, and he knows she’s busy on a mission with the Birds of Prey. Tim had told him.

“Nightwing here.” Dick finally responds a minute later.

“Come down fifth and head him off.”

“Roger that.”

“Red Robin, what’s your status?”

He’s tapped in to all of Bruce’s lines, and Bruce is currently talking to Dick and Tim on two separate ones. It makes no sense and is a huge risk. Information gets misheard and jumbled, things get forgotten and left out, and it’s a huge hassle to have to relay facts twice. So Jason doesn’t understand why Bruce hasn’t patched all their links yet. He can only imagine the chaos that’s erupted and how it often makes it hard to remember the simplest things when you’re fighting for your life. But Bruce’s simple mistake has knots twisting in his gut.

“I’m still down in the sewers. Croc is chasing me.” Tim’s voice comes through clear. He sounds worried and panicked. It’s unlike Tim.

His breathing is labored, and the quality of their microphones are so good that Jason can easily hear Croc’s roaring in the background. He also hears the sounds of splashing water, claws dragging on what is probably stone, and the rush of air as Tim continues to move.

“Oh shit. Jesus, Tim, please be careful.” Jason mutters, his own breath starting to come quicker and heavier now. His teeth have managed to find his nails and he bites and chews as if he needs their nutrients.

“Batman, any word from Red Robin?”

He hears Dick ask through the first secure line to Bruce. Bruce toggles back over to him.

“Red Robin is wrapping things up and will rendezvous shortly, Nightwing. Batman out.”

“Batman, please copy. I’m still in the sewers with Croc and I may need back-,” That’s Tim again, calling through his comm line to Bruce.

“Sedate Croc and get out of there, Red Robin. Meet us on eighth. Batman out.”

“Wait, Batman!”

But the line is closed then and it goes dead.

Jason’s blood is boiling and his chest is tightening up and the world is trying to drop out from beneath his feet. Batman and Nightwing have now abandoned Tim and have left him to fight Croc on his own.

“Dammit!” Jason yells. His fists come down hard on his coffee table.

He should’ve known better than to let Tim go. He just knew that something like this would happen. And the guilty thoughts are playing over and over in his head until he suddenly hears a crackle and then Tim panting in his ear.

“Red… Red Hood?”

“Red Robin! Is that you? Are you there? This is Red Hood. Are you out of the sewers yet?”

“I’m…trying. My arm…”

“Dammit, this is why I told you not to go! You should’ve waited until you were done healing, you idiot!”

“No. Croc…he got me pretty good, Red. Nearly chomped it right off. But I’m out now. Above ground. Not totally sure where, though. Suffering blood loss and multiple contusions. Definitely some head trauma. Red Hood…I’m so tired.”

Jason can hear when Tim’s breathing changes, is coming easier. It sounds like Tim’s lying on his back now, which means the kid really is fucked up pretty bad if he has to lay down to take a goddamn breather. But that also means he’s out of the sewer, and Jason can breathe a little easier.

“Where are you? I’ll come get you.” Jason urges.

“Not…sure. My GPS is on. I’m not- AH!”

“Red Robin!”

Then Jason hears a roar and the metal thunk and clang of a sewer hatch hitting the pavement, and then the sound of flesh smacks into something hard. And that flesh is Tim’s body.

“Shit! Drake! Are you alright?!”

He hears Tim’s voice come over all the comm lines, but no one is responding.

“This…this is Red Robin requesting backup! Croc is- unf!”

Jason continues to only hear static from the other lines. Dick and Bruce still have their comms muted. Through his line with Tim, he hears another smack as Tim’s body hits what must be the wall again. Jason is seriously worried. Tim is tough as nails, but this is Killer Croc and Tim is small. Small enough that Croc could probably literally swallow him in one go if he wanted. And right now he could easily do Tim some serious harm, if he hasn’t already. Not to mention that Jason knows how little armor and padding Tim’s Red Robin suit has, and he knows Tim’s feeling every slam of his petite body against the concrete and bricks as he’s slammed into some hard surface again.

“Drake! Answer me, dammit!” Jason is shouting at Tim.

“Red Hood! Croc is going to tear me apart! I can’t fight him off! I need help!”

“I’m coming, Baby Bird!”

“AHHH!”

There’s another smacking sound. Jason feels his heart drop into his stomach.

“I’m getting the lock on your location. I’ll be there in five minutes.”

Tim doesn’t answer right away.

“I won’t…I won’t make it that long. I can’t get a line off. And I’m… I can’t stand up. I can taze him, but it won’t keep him down for longer than a few seconds. I lost my sedatives in the sewer.”

Jason is already in uniform and on Tim’s bike and is racing towards the coordinates that Tim’s suit is sending out. He isn’t cautious or careful; running stoplights and stop signs and weaving in and out of traffic. He uses the sidewalk when he has to and doesn’t bother warning pedestrians to steer clear. None of those things matter. All that matters is that Tim is hurt and needs him and Jason needs to get to him now. Before he’s killed.

“You do whatever you have to do for the next three minutes, okay?! You promised me you’d be fine! So you’d better fucking hold on until I get there!”

“GAHHHH!”

“Goddammit, Tim, don’t you dare give up on me! I’m coming for you, so you fucking hold on! Do you hear me?! Tim?!”

Jason is driving faster than he ever has in his life. Hardly waiting for people to clear out of his before he revs the throttle as far as it will go and hitting the bike’s max speed. He knows he shouldn’t risk it. He can’t get to Tim if he kills himself, and still it doesn’t matter.

His shoulder and leg are on fire, but he couldn’t give two shits right now. His heart is hammering in his chest as he drives at full speed. All that matters is that he gets to the replacement, to Drake, to Tim, before Croc does.

There’s another shout through the comm and then a shredding sound, followed by a wet gurgled sound. Jason’s stomach drops and he wants to throw up. He’s just a few blocks now. If Tim can just hold on…

“Jason…please… please help me.” Tim’s voice comes weakly over the line.

Hold on, Tim!” He screams.

Tim can’t think. He can hardly even breathe. He can’t defend himself. Croc has slammed him into every nearby surface and he can feel the blood actively seeping out of a crack on the back of his head, and the deep lacerations on his chest where Croc’s claws ripped open both his uniform and skin. He knows his arm is broken and probably about six of his ribs. Not to mention the fractures and scrapes he’ll be feeling for the next few days. If he makes it that long.

He sees Croc’s form advancing on him again as he begins fading into the deep and endless obsidian of unconsciousness. Right before he’s sucked under, he can hear an engine whining, the sound of guns being fired, and the inhuman shriek that comes from Croc.

“Jason…” Tim isn’t even sure if he actually calls out the name before everything goes dark.

Jason doesn’t hold back, shooting off Croc’s tail after firing round after round into the man- beast. The first few shots don’t do much more than piss Croc off, but Jason doesn’t care. He’s livid and relentless. He switches from his pistols to an automatic, and eventually the rounds pierce Croc’s nearly impenetrable skin.  There’s blood and scales everywhere by the time Jason finally manages to get him to retreat back into the sewers.

He doesn’t feel satisfied. He doesn’t feel relieved. He wants to tear Croc apart for what he did to Tim. And he’s furious because he fucking should’ve never let Bruce talk him into handing over his RPGs. He wants to find Croc and make him suffer, but there’s no time for that now.

He makes his way over to Tim after sliding his weapons back into their respective holsters. The sight nearly makes him want to puke again. Tim is barely recognizable through the blood and swelling. The first thought in his head as that Tim scarily resembles roadkill.

He falls to his knees beside Tim, his hands hovering nervously over Tim’s limp form.

“Oh, fuck, Tim. I’m sorry. I should’ve gotten here sooner. Just…just hang on.” Jason has to repeatedly swallow around the chunks rising in his throat.

He reaches into his armor and pulls out a syringe of morphine, injecting Tim with it, and he knows by looking at Tim how much he’ll be needing the drug for the foreseeable future.

Under normal circumstances, he doesn’t think he’d be able to safely drive an unconscious, but otherwise unscathed Tim the fifty blocks back to his safe house. Especially with his bum arm and leg, but right now all that matters is getting Tim home and treating his injuries.

“Christ, Tim, I’m gonna get you home and we…” Jason has to pause to swallow back his hysteria. “We’re gonna get you patched up. Just hang on.”

He tries to be as careful as he can as he lifts Tim into his arms, cradling him. He maneuvers them around on the bike so that Tim can sit with his legs hanging over one side, safely nestled between Jason and the handlebars. He supports Tim’s head in the crook of his elbow and uses his good arm to drive. Tim’s head falls limply to the side, his face resting against Jason’s stomach. The setup is precarious to say the least, but Jason is desperate.

The trek back takes longer than it should, but Jason is being exceptionally cautious, driving much slower than he had been on the way over and actually stopping at red lights every few blocks to check Tim’s breathing. He’s fading fast.

“Hold on, Tim! Please! Just hang in there!” He cries down at Tim’s unmoving body when their apartment comes into view just a short ways ahead.

Chapter Text

Jason doesn’t sleep for the four days that Tim is out. He sticks to what could possibly be considered a deadly combination of caffeine pills and coffee to keep himself up. He knows he wouldn’t have slept long anyway, if he were even able to fall asleep. He can only imagine the intensity of the nightmares he’d be having after seeing Tim like this.

When he’s not staring at Tim and willing him to wake up, he’s constantly checking Tim’s breathing, changing his bandages, giving him the occasional shot of morphine. Jason even set him up multiple IV drips so that Tim doesn’t get dehydrated.

He’s in worse shape than Jason had anticipated. Multiple broken ribs, broken wrist and ulna, fractured cheek bone, fractured tibia, fractured frontal bone, lacerations to the chest, arms, torso, and head. There had been minor damage to his organs, Leslie had said just some bruising when she’d come over to look. And he’s absolutely covered in bruises and scrapes in an array of colors. Jason can’t even think about if there actually is any possible serious internal damage to Tim’s organs right now on top of everything else.

When Tim finally wakes, Jason is nearly in tears.

“Jason?” Tim’s voice is scratchy and weak. Just the sound of it hurts Jason’s own throat, but he couldn’t be happier to hear it.

“Thank christ, you’re finally awake! Holy hell, you scared the shit outta me, kid. I thought maybe… You alright?”

“Stupid question.”

Jason can’t help the hysterical laugh that bubbles up out of his throat.

“Yeah, I guess it was. Fuck, Tim, don’t ever do that again. Don’t you ever do that to me again. Do you hear me? If you’d… if I hadn’t… if…” But the words won’t come. Jason can’t speak anymore for fear of crying.

Tim’s fingers shakily reach out what little they can to nudge Jason’s hand.

“I’m sorry.” Tim’s words come out broken, and Jason wants to wrap him up into a hug, but he’s too afraid to touch Tim.

“No, Tim. Don’t be. You were doing what you thought was right. This is on me. I shouldn’t have let you go out. I knew better. I should’ve stopped you. I know you and I knew what would happen and I should’ve done everything I could’ve to keep you safe here.” The last bit slips out before Jason can stop himself. He’s kind of hoping Tim is still too doped up to catch it. “And it wasn’t your fault. Fucking Bruce shouldn’t have closed his comm line. He knew you were out there going up against Croc. And Dick-“

“Dick didn’t know I was fighting Croc.”

“I know, but still!”

Tim makes a sound that Jason thinks is a laugh.

“You hacked into our lines.”

“Well, yeah. I had to keep tabs on you, Baby Bird. Good thing I did. Look at the shit you managed to get yourself into.”

“Thank you.”

And Jason doesn’t even have time to respond because Tim is out again for another thirty six hours.

---

Over the next few days Tim is pretty touch and go, but Jason is at least able to drastically reduce the amount of morphine he’s giving Tim, and the smaller bruises and scrapes have healed. Tim still looks like hell, though. Mostly swollen bruises and stitches. He swears to Jason he feels no real pain in any of his major organs, but Jason makes him swear that he’ll say something if he starts pissing blood.

He manages solid food after the first ten days, but Jason has to help him with damn near everything. He can’t even get out of the bed on his own. Jason doesn’t mind, though.

Jason is scared to leave him alone for any amount of time, so he stays in the bedroom with Tim unless he’s showering- at Tim’s request- or making them food.

Tim is still on enough morphine that he doesn’t notice when Jason starts sleeping with in the bed with him. It’s easily big enough for the two of them, but Jason keeps himself confined to one very small section. He’s careful to never touch Tim, but he needs to be close enough to hear just in case the kid stops breathing or something.

By the time almost three weeks passes Tim is up and can move around some. He naps here and there, but he’s up for most of the day. The cuts on his body have healed, and the fracture beneath his eye. He’s covered in plenty of new scars, and Jason isn’t sure if that bothers Tim or not, but Jason is just happy he’s alive.

It’s obvious that Tim is incredibly irritated about the fact that he has to wear a cast not only on one of his arms, but one of his legs as well. Even if he hadn’t been injured as severely as he is, Jason wouldn’t let him out of the house yet anyway.

Distracting Tim from his cabin fever doesn’t prove to be too difficult. Tim is easy going enough. They play cards sometimes. Jason reads to him. They watch movies when Tim feels like it. But Jason sees something in his eyes that tells him his efforts just aren’t enough. Tim is longing for something. Jason isn’t sure what, but his heart breaks a little bit every time Tim looks at him with wide, hopeful eyes. He pretends not to see it, though, and then Tim will get suspiciously quiet.

Now that Tim can sleep on his own, Jason has moved out to the couch in the living room. He’s having a hard time getting comfortable on the worn down old thing. It’s not terribly comfortable for extended periods of time, and the fluff has been worn down so that Jason is feeling mostly spring. But he’ll deal. Tim needs the bed so Jason can suck it up on the couch for one night. They’d had to throw out the cot after Tim’s blood had seeped into it. He’ll just grab an air mattress at some point tomorrow.

As he’s wiggling around trying to get comfortable again, he hears the near silent patter of a bare foot followed by the heavy clunk of Tim’s cast on the hardwood that stop a few feet from the couch.

“Jason?” Tim calls hesitantly.

He pretends to be asleep, but Tim doesn’t leave.

“What is it, Drake?” Jason says grumpily, his eyes staying closed.

“There’s more than enough room for the both of us in the bed. And… and I didn’t mind… when you were staying in there before. Actually…it helps me sleeps better.”

He should’ve known that even in a near comatose state that Tim Drake would be aware of everything going on around him.

He tells himself he keeps sleeping in bed with Tim because Tim asked him to. Then he tells himself it’s because he needs to continue monitoring Tim’s vitals. He has half a dozen excuses at the ready. He doesn’t ever admit that it’s just because he wants to and because he likes being by Tim’s side.

Jason adapts surprisingly well to sharing a bed with a conscious Tim. It’s nice to lay next to a warm body at night. Especially one he is familiar with that gives instead of just taking, and Tim just seems so happy to give. He really likes having someone who curls up against the warm firmness of his chest. Someone who he’s able to bury his nose in their hair and kiss their temple when they fall into a deep slumber. Someone who wakes up in the morning and watches him when they think he’s sleeping. Someone who will kiss him first thing, bad breath and all.

Things start to feel different between them. More open, like secrets are being revealed little by little. Jason holds Tim while he sleeps, doesn’t pretend like Tim being happy isn’t important to him, and now he kisses Tim any time he asks for it. It makes his heart race just a little each time. Tim gets this cute pout on his face and will tilt his head back and Jason knows exactly what he wants. Then he’ll rest his head on Jason’s chest and just stay there. Some nights it just isn’t enough, though.

Tim can’t do much while he’s stuck in his casts. And he’s still a teenage boy after all. And sometimes Jason doesn’t become aware soon enough that he’s grinding against Tim as they kiss.

“Jay.” Tim cries out softly.

Jason knows Tim’s hard. He can feel it. And while part of him still feels guilty about lusting after Tim, he knows the kid needs it right now and that he can’t do much on his own.

“It’s alright, Tim. I’ll take care of you.” He whispers softly against Tim’s lips, kissing him again as he tugs down Tim’s pajama bottoms.

The moment Jason gets his hand on him, Tim sees fireworks behind his eyelids. He forgets about the casts, about the soreness of his body and just feels.

“Oh, Jay.”

Jason is jerking him slowly, gentle, almost teasing pulls of Tim’s cock. That doesn’t seem to matter to Tim’s dick at all, though, because he’s still getting wet.

“Jay. More?”

Jason doesn’t want to hurt him. Tim still looks like a fucking wreck with all of his bandages and scars, but he’ll help Tim. Tim needs this, and maybe part of Jason does, too. A bigger part than he can even admit to himself.

He speeds up his hand, but is still careful not to be too rough with him. The kid’s pretty pent up. It’s been at least three weeks since he was last able to jerk off. Jason knows it won’t take him long to get off if the way his hand keeps fisting in the sheet is any indication.

It’s all making Jason’s mouth water. Making lust pool like liquid heat in his stomach. He can practically taste Tim on his tongue.

He runs his hand over Tim’s dick again, and Tim is so pretty as his eyelids flutter and his face flushes. He’s got the sweetest little prick that Jason has ever seen and he is so, so wet.

Tim’s pre-cum slicks his hand along as he rubs, arches his hand over the head of Tim’s dick and then pauses to dig the tip of his thumb into Tim’s slit. Tim’s hips buck up the slightest bit and then he’s coming.

“Jason!”

Jason kisses him sweetly, a barely there touch of lips over and over as he brings Tim back to the present. Tim whines and shakes and falls asleep against Jason’s chest. Jason can ignore the hardness in his own points for the sake of Tim sleeping well through the night.

It’s strange. In fact, it’s beyond strange. Jason has never done this before. Ever. He doesn’t do relationships. Everything about it is new to him and he’s learning as he goes. And what makes all of this more terrifying is the fact that it’s Tim Drake. His replacement, the boy he’s threatened to kill, the boy he’s actively tried to kill in the past, his little brother by law. They’re keeping this from their friends, from their family, even from Alfred. But most times Jason just doesn’t care. He’s actually happy and he’ll be selfish if he wants.

But Jason’s sense of peace is rather short lived where his nightmares are concerned. There’s plenty of nights where Tim has to shake him awake, and a few where he even has to slap him awake. Jason never tells Tim what his dreams are about, but he doesn’t need to. Of course Tim would never actually ask, but he knows enough about psychological scarring to be able to guess they’re probably related to the Joker.

Jason knows that Tim is smart enough to know some of what the nightmares are about, but he doesn’t know all of it. They start with the Joker, just as they always do. And then he dreams of all of the times he’s left Tim bloody and unconscious, and the way he’d found Tim after his fight with Croc. And then the nightmares bleed together like ink. He starts dreaming of the Joker beating Tim. Torturing Tim. And then killing Tim, all while he’s strung up and forced to watch.

He tells himself the nightmares are manageable. That they can’t possibly be any worse than when he used to sleep alone. Until they are.

And one night they’re absolutely horrible. Jason is once again dreaming about being tied up and forced to watch as Tim is tortured and he isn’t waking no matter what Tim tries. The usual methods aren’t working. Tim’s even half tempted to run to the bathroom to get a glass of cold water to splash over the older boy, but he doesn’t want to leave him alone that long. Doesn’t want to run the risk of Jason hurting himself. So he goes with plan B, which is to simply hold Jason’s hand until it ends.

It doesn’t go on much longer, just another few minutes or so. It kills Tim to watch him suffer, but then Jason is waking up and Tim is reaching out a hand to brush the sweat from his forehead when something sharp and hot sticks him in the lower abdomen.

Jason is only partially awake, and the edges of his dream still cling to his consciousness as he tries to catch his breath. He feels a touch on his forehead and his body is responding before his mind can process what’s happening. He’d forgotten about the knife he’d hidden under his mattress. He removed his other weapons from the bedroom a long time ago at Tim’s request, with the exception of this one small forgotten knife that is currently thrust into Tim’s abdomen.

It’s not deep. The blade is small, hardly an inch at its widest, and only three inches long, and Tim’s reflexes are fast enough that he manages to move back far enough, so he thankfully doesn’t have the whole blade lodged into him. But it’s just sitting there. Surrounded by Tim’s flesh and muscle and dripping Tim’s blood onto their worn sheets.

“TIM! FUCK!”

Tears sting at Jason’s eyes and his hands hover near the knife, trembling in the air, not wanting to touch it. He can hear Tim hissing in air between his teeth. His eyes are shut tight and his hands shake as he removes the knife and lets it clatter to the floor, covering the wound with his palm. 

“Oh my god. No, no, no. I’m sorry, Tim! I’m so, so sorry! Godfuckingdammit. What have I done?! I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry! Are you alright?!”

Tim opens his eyes and looks at Jason. He’s smiling softly, but his eyes are filled with tears.

“It’s okay. I’m alright. Thing was small, so it didn’t go too deep. Was just sharp.”

Jason gently grips Tim’s wrist and peels his palm away, his own fingers once again not daring to touch. It’s a clean stab wound. Not very deep and it didn’t lacerate anything important. There’s enough blood that it’s still seeping, but Tim won’t lose much. There’s no nasty edges to the puncture itself. Thankfully Jason keeps his weapons sharp.

“Oh god. Fuck, Tim, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Jason’s voice is shaky as tears run down his face. He swallows down the chunks that rise in his throat.

Tim covers the wound again with his already bloodied hand, using his clean one to cup Jason’s face. The cast scratches at Jason’s face, but he doesn’t flinch. A single tear runs over and down Tim’s cheek. Jason knows he’s in pain, he can see it in Tim’s eyes.

“I’m alright, Jay. I’m fine. But I need your help stitching this up. You have to calm down for me, though. You can’t stitch this with shaky hands.”

Jason feels that his mouth is moving, but he can’t hear any words coming out. He can’t drag his eyes away from Tim’s bloody hand.

Tim slides his hand to Jason’s jaw, forcing the older boy’s eyes to meet his and then he kisses Jason. He feels Jason calm after a few seconds and pulls away, their eyes meeting again.

“I need your help. Can you do this for me?”

Jason nods his head.

“Good. Get your first aid kit and the bottle of whiskey.”

Jason does both in record time. His entire body feels numb, though, like he’s moving on autopilot. He cleans the wound with an antiseptic as Tim takes a few shots straight from the whiskey bottle. Tim has to talk to him the entire time he’s stitching so that he doesn’t go into a panic again.

He does a decent job. It’s not the prettiest, and Tim will definitely have a scar, but the wound is closed and Jason cleans it again and bandages it.

He strips their sheets and cleans up before Tim drags him back into bed, forcing him to lie on his back with Tim curled up against his side. He kisses Jason’s shoulder and chest over and over, telling Jason he’s fine and that he knows it was just an accident, but Jason still feels like puking.

Jason waits for Tim to fall asleep before he slips away. He doesn’t really know where he plans to go, but he has to get away. He has to get far away so that he doesn’t hurt Tim anymore.

---

Tim wakes up to find the apartment empty. He really wishes Jason would leave him notes and not constantly disappear. Tim calls his phone, but it’s sitting on the nightstand where he’d left it. He makes himself breakfast- with a good deal of difficulty- and waits patiently for an hour before he gets anxious. He flips on the t.v. and channel surfs through the same hundred channels four times before turning it off and putting in a movie. He watches three all the way through and Jason still isn’t home. He finishes a book he was reading and reviews WE’s stock portfolio in their pharmaceuticals and real estate departments and Jason still isn’t home. He waits until eleven o’clock to eat dinner and Jason still isn’t home. When he falls asleep at five the next morning, Jason has yet to come back.

Tim wakes up the morning after that and the apartment is still empty. He’s officially panicking now. He knew Jason would need his space, but he wasn’t expecting him to just bail. Tim isn’t sure what to do. He doesn’t know where Jason could be so he doesn’t know how to contact him. He doesn’t have any close friends aside from Roy Harper and Koriand’r, but Tim doesn’t know how to contact them either. He can’t even ask Bruce or Dick for help right now because he’s avoiding them. And he really doesn’t feel like explaining his complicated relationship with Jason to Steph or Babs or any of the Titans, so he can’t ask for their help.

He can’t make his panic subside, but he realizes Jason will probably come to his senses in a few days and that Tim should just give him his space in the meantime. It isn’t easy, especially with him being injured, but he tries his best to keep himself busy as best as he can.

By the third day he’s going crazy and his anxiety is through the roof. There hasn’t been a single word or sign from Jason and Tim can’t even trace him because he wasn’t in his suit and didn’t take his helmet. He has to come back soon, though. He just has to.

And then three weeks go by and Tim still hasn’t heard anything. Jason has never been gone this long and Tim is lonely and empty and hurt and doesn’t get off the couch except to make himself some tea or soup most days, or clean his bandages. He hasn’t even changed out of his current pajamas or showered in three days.

Tim waits and waits without hearing anything. He hopes, deep down, that Jason still might come back, despite what his instincts are telling him. So he keeps waiting and tries not to think about how Jason hasn’t tried to contact him once and how running just seems to be in Jason’s nature. All he can do is hope.

After more than a month goes by, Tim leaves, bringing only his computer and his key with him. He can’t take the solitude of their apartment anymore and it doesn’t seem as though Jason is coming back. He can’t stand to look around and be reminded of Jason, or sleep on sheets that smell so strongly of him. Tim just can’t stand the crushing weight of the hole that the infuriating vigilante left in his life.

Jason had obviously never really cared about Tim. At least not enough to stay and try to make things work. Tim was stupid to believe that maybe he had cared. Maybe it would’ve been better for them both if Jason had left long ago. The thought cuts him to his core, but it is Jason after all. Sooner or later he would’ve run. Tim should’ve known better. Jason is gone and that’s probably how things were always going to go. It still breaks his heart nonetheless.

Jason has been gone so long now that both of Tim's casts have come off. It’ll take him a few months of physical therapy to get back to where he was, but it’s not like he has anything else to do now. Now that he's alone.

Driving back to his own apartment on a weak leg makes Tim realize it may not have been the best idea, but he manages. He hobbles up the three stories and into his apartment, makes it to his bed and then collapses, curling into a ball and sobbing. He doesn’t move for two days, much of that time spent running his fingers idly over the scar on his stomach.

He wakes up the next morning and forces himself to eat and shower. Being back at his own apartment is not any better. He’s aware of how open it is and all of the empty spaces within it. Yet somehow, his walls feel like they’re closing in on him. It’s stifling and oppressive and he feels trapped within his own home. Except it doesn’t smell like home anymore. Doesn't smell like coffee and soap. Doesn’t feel like it’s filled with the memories of laughter and insincere insults. It’s not a place Tim even wants to be.

He decides to go back to bed and ends up sleeping for more than twelve hours, resentfully waking up the next morning.

Overall, he still feels like shit, heartbroken shit, but he decides he needs to get himself together long enough to go back for his belongings. He takes the bus this time and spends the ride thinking about the top priority items he needs to bring home. He doesn’t want to be at that apartment any longer than necessary.

The bus drops him three blocks away, and it takes him almost twenty minutes to shuffle himself there. Tim unlocks the door and walks in to find Jason drinking coffee in his pajama bottoms, wet hair dripping water onto his bare chest. He’s just standing there, staring at Tim.

“Hi. I... uh... I was just about to come see you. You know. After I... got dressed.”

Tim doesn’t mean to start crying. He’s just really overwhelmed. He’s so angry and relieved and happy and confused that it’s the only thing that makes sense.

“You… you came back?”

“Yeah.”

His knees give out from under him suddenly and he’s on the floor, sobbing. Jason is by his side in seconds.

“Tim! Are you okay? You walked here, didn’t you? You shouldn’t have done that, you idiot. You’re still healing!”

Tim wants so badly to fall into Jason’s chest and be wrapped in his warm arms and the clean scent of his soap for the next twenty four hours, but he can’t. He won’t. At least not without one hell of an apology.

“Why are you back?” His voice is weak and broken, but he thinks Jason heard him.

“I was always coming back. I just… needed a little longer to clear my head.”

Tim doesn’t understand.

“What do you… where were you?”

“Uh, on the island. And a few other places.”

So he could’ve contacted Tim, he just chose not to.

“You… why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?! Why didn’t you tell me where you were?! Why do you keep fucking disappearing?! You just vanish like it’s this normal thing to do! You fall off the face of the earth and shut down and don’t ever tell me! I can’t do this anymore, Jason!”

It’s the first time he’s said the name out loud in over a month and it makes his chest tighten.

“I know. I know you can’t, Babybird, and that’s alright. I was being a selfish prick and I’m so sorry. I didn’t expect you to understand.”

Tim smacks him before he can stop himself. Jason looks partially stunned, but he doesn’t retaliate. Just sits there with Tim’s bright red handprint across his cheek.

“Fuck you, Jason. I don’t understand because you never tell me anything! You want me to sit here and wait, but not be worried or upset when you disappear?! You really expect me to be okay with you being gone for weeks at a time without explanation and then not be confused or hurt by it?! That’s not the way things work! You can’t just keep running!”

“Well, what would you suggest I do, Tim?!”

He’s tempted to smack Jason again for having the nerve to be angry with him right now.

Talk to me! Tell me the truth! Put in some effort! Stop disappearing and shutting me out and actually try to do something for once in your life! Fight for something that means something to you! I can’t keep waiting for you to grow up, Jay, but I want you in my life! You have to face whatever it is you keep running from!”

Tim is suddenly exhausted. He can feel himself swaying and is half tempted to pass out right on the floor, but Jason suddenly has him wrapped up in a hug. Tim wants to shove him away, but it feels so good to be held after all this time. Its grounding. So much so that it makes his head spin.

“I’m sorry, Tim. I’m sorry. I promise, never again.”

Tim finally does manage to find the strength and pushes him away.

“Why did you leave?” He demands to know.

“I didn’t want to hurt you anymore. God, Tim, when I stabbed you that night… I was half tempted to put a bullet in my head right then and there.”

Fresh tears well up in Tim’s eyes and he wraps Jason in a squeezing hug. Jason hugs him back just as tightly.

“I don’t know how much longer I can hold the demons at bay. I don’t want to become what I was when I was pulled out of that pit. I don’t want to hurt anymore innocent people. I’ll do whatever it takes before I let that side overtake me again. But the nightmares…”

“We can fix them.”

Jason holds him tighter.

“No, we can’t, Tim. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I thought that the time away would clear my head. That maybe the lack of stress that this city put on me would improve things, but it didn’t. I still had nightmares. And they just made me angrier and angrier and more depressed. I was lonely and I missed you and I was afraid. But I didn’t want to be away from you any longer, and I realized that staying away might’ve been hurting you more than me actually being here.”

“It did.”

He feels Jason place a gentle kiss on the top of his head.

“I know. And I’m so sorry. I really missed you. I swear to you that I won’t run anymore. But I can’t promise anything beyond that. One day I might end up really hurting you, or worse. This anger inside of me isn’t something that just goes away. No matter how much I talk about it.”

“I don’t care. All I’m asking is that you try to work at it.”

Jason pulls away and Tim loosens his arms so he can look up at him.

“I don’t know what to do, Tim. Running is the only way I know how to protect the people close to me. I don’t know if I can keep you safe anymore. All I know is that I needed you and I had to come back. But it could be so much worse the next time. You should get as far away from me as possible. What if it is worse the next time? What if I…”

“It’ll be fine, Jay.”

“You don’t know that! I want you to start sleeping with a gun next to you. That way if things get bad again-“

“Stop! Don’t you dare ask that of me! Fuck, Jason! How could you ask me to do that?!” Tim glowers at him with a defiant gaze. He’s livid and he wants to punch Jason in the face and doesn’t know if there’s a look angry enough that he could give to convey that to Jason.

Jason stares back at him sternly. His eyes dark and his jaw set hard.

“Tim, come on. We have to be smart about this. You have to protect yourself. I can’t risk a repeat of what happened. It could’ve been so much worse.”

“I can protect myself just fine! But how dare you suggest something so absurd! Don’t you ever, ever say something like that again!”

Jason wraps Tim back up in his arms again. His hand resting gently on the back of Tim’s head, holding it against his chest.

“Alright. Alright, I’m sorry. You’re right. That’s not fair of me. But then you do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe, no matter what it is that you have to do. Don’t hold back just because it’s me. I’ll never forgive myself if something happens to you because of me. I won’t hurt you again. I won’t.”

Jason goes back to his old ways after that. He insists that Tim continue to sleep in the bed while he sleeps on the couch in the living room again. He doesn’t touch Tim anymore, or kiss him at all. And although he doesn’t hide from Tim like he had before, he makes sure to put much more distance between them than is necessary.

---

Tim begins work on his physical therapy. It’s slow and painful, but he stays patient and Jason helps him through it. It’s hard, though. All he wants at the end of the day is for Jason to kiss him, wrap an arm around him and tell him things will be okay as they fall asleep together. He’s grateful, of course, that Jason is with him through all of this, but it doesn’t make him want it any less. If anything he wants Jason more now because of it.

They get each other. Or at least Tim likes to think they do. Jason knows him well enough by now to read him. And he thinks he does alright with Jason when it comes to most things. And Tim is grateful for that, too, because he isn’t sure he’d be able to handle much on his own these days. He’s more appreciative for Jason’s comprehension of his state of mind than he could ever say.

And the appreciation grows even more when one night, as they’re sitting on the couch watching a movie, Tim’s communicator beeps, indicating an incoming call. Tim knows without answering who it is. His body goes still, eyes widening and looking at Jason for guidance. Jason is already looking back at him and both of their gazes shoot up to the ceiling when an intentionally audible noise comes from the roof.

“Jason?” Tim’s voice is mostly air.

It hurts Jason to see the look on Tim’s face and the trembling of his body.

“It’s okay, Little Bird. What do you want me to do?”

“I can’t go with him, Jason. I can’t face him. Not yet.” Tim’s voice quivers, his eyes now down cast.

“That’s alright, Tim. I’ll handle this.”

Jason goes to the bedroom to retrieve his helmet and slide his leather jacket on over his t-shirt. He packs a gun into the waistband of his jeans. He knows he won’t use it on Bruce. Never again. But it’s just for reassurance. He climbs to the roof.

Tim waits until Jason is climbing up the ladder before climbing out the window as well. He can’t go up there. He can’t bear to look at Bruce yet. But he can sit on the fire escape and listen.

“You need to leave, Bruce. Now.” Jason bellows. He may not be the terrifying criminal he once was, but he can damn sure act like it.

“Jason-“

“How could you just leave him?! How does your conscience allow you to keep doing this shit to the people you supposedly love?! And then you don’t even show up to check on him for weeks?! It’s been almost three goddamn months, Bruce!”

Jason ignores the voice in his head that is screaming at him for being a hypocrite. But he had come back, and he won’t leave Tim. Not again.

“Jason, you have to understand, the mission-“

“SHUT UP! I don’t wanna hear that bullshit about how the mission always comes first! You can’t fucking carry out the mission if you don’t have a goddamn team, Bruce! We should be your number one priority! You left him for dead. On the fucking sidewalk! You left him just like you left me! Do you realize what could’ve happened to him if I hadn’t saved him?! Do you?!”

Bruce is silent and Tim is listening closely from his spot on the balcony below them. He’s shivering even though it’s rather warm out tonight.

“Do you even care about us? Or is nothing as important to you as the mission?”

Bruce doesn’t answer immediately, but when he opens his mouth to do so, Jason doesn’t want to hear whatever it is he has to say.

“We’re done here. Leave. Stay away from my apartment and don’t come back around here again.”

“Jason, I need to see him.”

“NO! Get the fuck out of here and don’t you dare come back or I’ll blow you sky high before you even figure out where to land up here!”

Jason turns and doesn’t wait for Bruce to actually leave before climbing back into the apartment and slamming the window. There isn’t another sound after that, but Jason has been around Bruce long enough to be able to sense his presence, and he can feel that the man isn’t on his roof anymore.

He finds Tim sitting on the bed in their room with his head down.

“Tim,” Jason calls softly to him and the smaller boy lifts his head to stare out from under his bangs and meets Jason’s eyes. He smiles sadly at Jason.

“I’m sorry I made you do that.”

“You didn’t. I offered.”

Tim nods his head, sad smile still firmly in place and gaze dropping to the floor once again.

“Thanks,” he says to the floorboards.

Jason shrugs. “Don’t mention it.”

Jason sleeps in bed with Tim that night.

Its only two days later when Dick shows up at the apartment. He’s in his full Nightwing uniform and Jason is less than surprised to see him, but it pisses him off all the same.

Jason has him on the floor with a knife to his throat before he can get a word out.

“What the hell are you doing here, Dick? I thought I made it very clear that all of you needed to stay away. And you can tell the two Bat-Broads that Babs has taken under her wing that I’ll kick their asses too if they’re stupid enough to bring ‘em around here.”

Jason hears a shuffling and can feel Tim watching him from the bedroom doorway.

“Jason, stop. It’s okay.”

He looks to Tim for confirmation. Tim looks weak and fragile and tired, and Jason just wants to wrap him up and put him back to bed, but he sheathes his knife and lets Dick up.

Tim walks out of the bedroom and stands at Jason’s side.

“Why are you here, Dick?” Tim’s voice sounds small, hallow and completely devoid of emotion. It hurts Jason more than he could’ve ever thought.

“I wanted to talk. Just you and I.” Dick doesn’t look at Jason at all, but Jason knows what he’s trying to say.

Tim turns to him and nods. “It’s okay. Just give us a minute.”

Dick finally meets Jason’s eyes, and Jason kind of wishes that looks could kill, because right now he’d be a goddamn AK-47. All the same, he goes back into the bedroom and slams the door. It’s useless pretending he’s not listening through the thin wood, so he doesn’t bother to feel guilty when he presses his ear against it.

“I’m not going back, Dick.” He hears Tim say.

“Tim, this is crazy. You can’t just ignore Bruce. And you staying here with Jason? I’m… not so sure it’s a good idea. You should come home with me. Back to the manor.”

Tim gives him a stern and disappointed look.

“Is that you or Bruce talking? You know as well as I do that Jason would never do anything to hurt me. I’ve been here for months and he hasn’t done anything. If he wanted to hurt me, then he would’ve done it already.”

Jason feels the guilt in his stomach like a lead brick.

“It doesn’t mean that this is a good idea, Tim. I’m just trying to be sure you’re being properly looked after. You need to come back. Besides, we need you.”

We?” Tim’s voice takes on an icy edge to it.

“Yes, we. You know Bruce is sorry. And so am I.”

Tim just stares and shakes his head.

“I’m not going back, Dick. I can’t. I’m not ready to forgive him yet. I don’t blame you. Am I disappointed? Sure, but I know how he is, and I never would expect you to stand up to him.”

“Tim, I-“

“I get it. The mission comes first. You were just following orders. You didn’t know what I was up against. If I were in your position, I know I would’ve probably done the same thing. I’m not angry with you. Really. But I need some time. I can’t go back. Not yet. I can still fight crime when the time comes. Right now I just need to do things on my own.”

Dick nods solemnly. “Alright. I get it. But at least come stay with me. Somewhere a little nicer. You know I’ll take care of you, little brother.”

Jason’s pissed, and his hands curl into fists against the door because who the fuck does Grayson think he is?

Tim gives him a smile. It’s small, but it’s real.

“Thanks, but I’m alright here. You can come visit whenever you’d like, though. I’m sure I can work out some type of visitor schedule for you with Jason. It’s been good. For both me and him. He’s taking good care of me. And Jay… he’s… well, he’s…”

Tim blushes when he realizes he’s used his own personal nickname for Jason in a way that’s far too intimate, and it doesn’t escape Dick’s attention. Nor does the fact that he’s inadvertently admitting his feelings.

Dick tries to hide the realization on his face. Tim sees it anyway, but Dick doesn’t say anything and Tim is grateful. Jason’s face is flushed as well as he listens from the other side of the door.

“You really are okay here, huh?” He smiles his knowing smile at Tim and reaches out to gingerly rest a hand atop Tim’s head.

Tim smiles and nods.

“Okay. Well, let me know if you need anything. You know I can be here for you in a flash.”

“Thanks, Dick.”

“And I’m sorry it took me so long to come see you. It was just that after hearing everything from Bruce about what happened. How we’d just left you out there. And the case. I just couldn’t…”

“It’s okay. Really, Dick.”

Dick gives him a sad smile and a nod.

“And Bruce has the case files. If you’d like to see them. That night was a huge cluster fuck which was apparently what Scarecrow had wanted. Croc and Black Mask were the distraction while Scarecrow moved the drugs. We caught them all, of course. And everyone is back in their respective cells in either Arkham or Black Gate. Although, I heard they shipped Croc off back to Belle Reve. You can come to the cave and see for yourself any time. You know we’re always happy to have you back home.” He finishes with a ruffle of Tim’s hair.

Then Dick is gone just like that.

Tim doesn’t hear the door open, but he feels when Jason is standing behind him.

“You okay?”

Tim swallows, “I’m good,” he answers without turning around to look at Jason. He doesn’t need someone else to call him out on his lie.

Chapter Text

Tim is starting to develop serious cabin fever, and by the next day he’s about ready to pull his hair out. He tells Jason that he’s going to the park to get some fresh air, but Jason absolutely refuses to let him go on his own.

They’re walking in silence down one of the paths when he feels Jason drape his jacket over his shoulders. It’s fairly cooler out today, and he knows Jason has to be chilly now without his jacket, but he doesn’t show it, just shoves his hands in his pockets and keeps moving like nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

“So,” he begins in typical Jason fashion.

Tim’s adjusting to it. He recognizes this. When it’s a serious conversation about something that isn’t vigilantism, then Jason has a hard time getting to the point.

“So?” Tim urges.

“You don’t have to answer. I don’t care one way or another. I’m just curious why you didn’t leave with Dick yesterday.”

Tim pauses mid step and stares up at him. Jason stops too, but he isn’t looking at Tim.

“Like I said, you don’t have to answer. I was just curious. You won’t hurt my feelings or whatever.”

Tim shrugs. “I don’t know. I like our- your…. your place. And I guess I don’t totally hate having you around to keep me company. It’s been nice to have someone else around. Someone to talk to. Even when I was living at the manor it felt like just me there most of the time. Bruce was never around. Not really. His mind was always somewhere else. Dick was already in Bludhaven. And Alfred, well, Alfred always seemed to be occupied with other things. It’s been nice to know someone is really there for me.”

Jason does look at him then, and he resists the urge to wrap an arm around the kid and pull him close.

He takes Tim home, but not before stopping to buy them both ice cream. He graciously accepts when Tim offers a spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough. He even laughs when Tim intentionally smears it all over his lips and chin. And his pulse might be going ninety to nothing when Tim leans over and cranes his neck up to lick it off before kissing Jason softly. Jason allows it. He missed this so much.

The kiss is nice. Tim tastes sweet, as he’s sure he does as well. He also can’t help the thought of licking ice cream off Tim, just as Tim had with him a moment before. His fantasies drift off to far more inappropriate images than he should be having right now, so he shakes them from his head and suggests to Tim that they head home.

Tim does his best to hide his disappointment at the shift in Jason’s demeanor, but Jason still sleeps with him that night and even gives him a goodnight kiss.

It’s another two long days after that that Tim is feeling claustrophobic in their apartment once again.

“This is killing me. I can’t stand to sit around like this for much longer. I’ll go crazy.” The admission is blunt, but true. Jason doesn’t even seem surprised as he continues to make himself a sandwich.

“Calm down, Timothy. You only have a few more weeks of recovery and then you’ll be back out there busting heads in no time. And besides, Lucius just had all those files couriered over to you so that you still get to work on WE stuff every day.”

The look Jason gets is one of pure annoyance.

“Do you have any idea what that’s doing to my sanity right now?”

“Okay, point made. Just relax, alright? We’ll play a game or something. Get your mind off things.”

Tim snorts a laugh. “And just what exactly did you have in mind?”

“Fuck if I know. Checkers? Truth or dare?”

“Jason, don’t be a child.”

“Fine. How about twenty questions? You’re such a secretive little freak. Might be a good way for me to pry some shit outta you.”

“You’re great at giving compliments, you know that?” Tim ponders for a moment. “Alright. But nothing crude or overtly inappropriate.”

“Yeah right. That’s half the reason I’m playing! So just shut up and answer the questions.”

Tim knows. He knows this is a bad idea, but Jason is trying to help him in his own way, and Tim can’t ever turn him away.

“Fine.”

A sly smile breaks out over Jason’s face.

“We’ll start small. What’s your favorite animal?”

It’s almost funny for Jason to watch the surprise that overcomes Tim’s face at such a simple question.

“Oh, well, I don’t really think I have one. I don’t favor any particular animal.”

“Okay, favorite food?”

“I enjoy almost all types of cuisines I’ve ever sampled.”

“Favorite pet growing up?”

“I had a goldfish once. But it wasn’t all that fun.”

“For fuck’s sake, kid, you can’t even play this right!”

Tim ducks his head and an embarrassed look comes over his face. Jason huffs a sigh.

“Alright. We’ll start even smaller. You still a virgin?”

“Really? Jason, I just said-“

“Answer the question.”

“Yes.”

Jason leans back. He’s standing upright in front of the counter, opposite of Tim who is seated on a bar stool and looking increasingly uncomfortable by the second.

“Huh. Really? I thought you and Spoiler-“

“Steph and I were just friends when I first met her. She was already running around as Spoiler and I was just trying to keep her safe. When I became interested, she’d found out she was pregnant. We’d started to date after she’d had time to recover from the grief of giving up her daughter. But we were never… intimate. At least, not that way.”

Jason takes a bite of his sandwich, chews thoughtfully, and swallows. He has no idea why that calms him some. He tries not to think about it too much.

“Oh. I see. Well, it’ll happen for ya one day, kiddo.”

Tim tilts his head, “Not helping, Jay.”

“Sorry.”

“So… your first time?” Tim knows he’s blushing even as he asks. Right now he’s just more concerned with putting a lid on the intense nagging feeling of dread and resentment in his chest. But it was the polite thing to do to ask Jason the question in return.

“It was okay. I was still alive. Don’t even remember the girl’s name, honestly. I was a sophomore at Gotham high. She was a senior. There were a few more before I died. Not many. And there’s been a few since. The flight attendant, she didn’t last long, but it’s kind of hard finding the time when you’re in our line of work.”

Tim wants to get to know everything about Jason, but he doesn’t really want to talk about Jason’s ex partners. At all. He knows that the heavy feeling roiling around in his stomach is jealousy, and he forces it back as he continues to ask more generic questions about the subject.

“I still imagine it’s always… nice?”

“Yeah. It’s better when you actually care about the person. Probably.”

Tim isn’t surprised by the relief he feels at hearing that, but he is surprised by the sadness he feels and Jason’s detachment from the memories.

“You never cared that way for any of them?”

Jason stares, unwavering.

“Sure, I cared, but I never, you know, loved them or anything. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m not the easiest person to get close to.”

Tim doesn’t say anything.

“So, you got a favorite color?” Jason asks, quickly changing the subject.

Tim knows Jason’s deflecting, but he won’t push. He lifts his head and stares into Jason’s eyes, fully prepared to answer, but he gets lost in the steely blue- green irises. His gaze goes on longer than he means it to, until Jason starts to twitch nervously.

“I like blue.” Tim blurts out and both of them are silent again. “But of course I’m partial to red as well.” He gives Jason a cheeky smile when he manages to recover.

“Yeah, I noticed.” Jason says with a chuckle as he plucks the sleeve of Tim’s red hoodie. “And actually, I wanted to ask you about that-“

“My turn. What’s your favorite weapon?”

Jason smirks at him.

“Good one. I’d probably have to go with my kris. It’s slender, beautiful and so deadly. I love it. It almost feels like an extension of me sometimes.” He answers, eyes never falling away from Tim’s.

Tim ducks his head again. He can only take the intensity of Jason’s gaze for so long.

He coughs. “Your turn.”

“What’s your middle name, anyway?”

Tim squares his shoulders before answering, “Jackson.”

“Oh. After your-“

“My father, yes. Next question.”

“Tim… I’m sorry that… I didn’t mean to…”

Tim sighs. “It’s alright. You know, there was a time when I used to hate it. I already had his last name. How was the son of Jack Drake ever supposed to make a name for himself when he was living in his father’s shadow? After he was killed, I became very proud of the fact that I had his name. There was even a short time when I was introducing myself using my full name. Silly, right?”

“No. Not at all.”

There’s no condescension in Jason’s tone, and Tim gives him a small, but appreciative smile.

“My turn. What’s your favorite candy?”

“You’re not going to ask me about my middle name?”

“Jason Peter Todd, what is your favorite candy?”

Jason’s eyes widen, but he answers the question. “Uh, it’s licorice.”

Tim smiles and nods. Jason’s eyes narrow.

“Fine. When’s your birthday?”

Tim cocks his head and looks at Jason like he’s an idiot.

“July nineteenth.”

Jason looks a little surprised. His sandwich now lies forgotten on the counter.

“That’s, like, a month before mine.”

“I know.” Tim responds.

“How?”

Tim looks away this time.

“I know everything about you, Jason.”

“You do not know-“

“Your favorite color is red. Your favorite drink is whiskey. You tend to prefer Irish distilled over Scottish. Your favorite snack is pb&j. You favor most Mediterranean cuisines, but you don’t particularly like onions. You have no food or medicinal allergies. You’re scared of bees. You prefer to use pistols as opposed to large guns because you like less recoil; bad scar tissue in your right shoulder. You speak over half a dozen languages fluently. You sleep on the left side of the bed, your birthday is August sixteenth, you take your coffee black, and I already knew your favorite candy was licorice. Did you think it was just coincidence that you had a pack of them in your pantry?” Tim finishes with a smirk.

Jason is silent for a few long seconds.

Tim watches him and giggles, a shy smile pulling at his lips. “Any other questions?”

“Why… how do you even know all that?”

“I was your replacement, remember? I wanted to know everything I could about you. You were my idol that I’d never had the chance to meet. Robin was my whole world. And then when you came back I…studied you for a long time. From a distance.”

“You mean stalked. Again.”

Tim looks away again. His cheeks flushed pink.

“I needed to know if you were still the same person you had been before you died. I realized I had a new opportunity to learn more about you. The real, living you. Six year old files were only able to tell me so much.”

Jason quirks a brow.

“Why not just ask me?”

“The first time we met you tried to kill me. I figured after that it would be best to keep my distance. So I just…observed for a while.”

Jason nods his head. He’s trying really hard to process all of this. And then he asks the one question he’s needed to know the answer to for a long time.

“Why did you decide to pick up the mantle of Red Robin?”

Tim cocks his head.

“Is this part of the game?”

Jason narrows his eyes and fixes him with a stern look.

“Yes. No. Just answer the question.”

“I wasn’t ready to give up my time as Robin. But you’d had to do it. You had been Red Robin once, too. And you were already The Red Hood. It made sense. And… I…”

Jason’s palms are sweating the slightest bit and his breathing has picked up significantly.

“You what, Tim?”

“It… it made me feel like I was closer to you. Like it was a torch you’d maybe passed down to me.”

“Why me?”

Tim doesn’t answer right away, and Jason watches as he swallows twice before opening his mouth to speak.

“It couldn’t really have not been you. It’s been you since I was nine.”

“But why me?”

Tim blushes again and looks away, swallows again.

“I think… I think you know why.”

Silence falls between them. Deafening. Heart pounding. And Jason suddenly feels like he can’t breathe.

“…I gotta go.”

Tim’s head snaps up at that.

“What? Jason-“

“Everything’s fine. I just gotta go. I’ll be back in a few hours. I swear. I just… I need… air.”

Tim remains in his seat long after Jason leaves. His breathing is slow and his eyes are trained on Jason’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich still sitting on the counter. He doesn’t want to move. Doesn’t know if he can move. All that keeps going through his head is that Jason left. He tells himself that it won’t be like the last time. That Jason will come back. But he honestly doesn’t know if Jason will, so he’s having a hard time convincing himself.

---

Roy isn’t welcome in most cities where there is an established vigilante scene. As far as Jason knows, Ollie has forbidden him from coming back to Star City, and Roy isn’t dumb enough to tempt his fate by staying in Gotham or Metropolis. New York is neutral ground, though, and that is where Jason knows he’ll be.

Roy’s place is a normal apartment where he actually resides now while not on missions. Kori stays on occasion. It’s in a nice enough area that Roy doesn’t even have to lock his door and so Jason barges right in.

“Harper! We need to talk.”

Roy looks up from his kitchen table where he’s fooling around with some wiring on one of his arrows.

“Good to see you too, Jaybird. What’s up?”

“It’s Ti… It’s Drake.”

“Your brother? Again? What’s the problem this time?”

Jason rolls his eyes and yanks a chair out across the table from Roy. He seats himself with a heavy thud and glares at Roy.

“Jesus Christ, Roy. How many times do we have to fucking go over this? Despite the fact that we all have blue goddamn eyes and were raised by the same man, none of us are actually related! The kid isn’t actually my fucking brother!”

“That’s probably for the best.”

Roy likes to think he knows Jason pretty well. They’ve been friends for a while and have been put in countless life and death situations together at this point. He knows how Jason gets flustered and short tempered when it comes to his family. He’s used to it. But what he’s been witnessing lately is something different. It isn’t his normal family bullshit plaguing him, which can only mean that it’s something that’s really bothering Jason. Something that’s worrying him. Something that’s getting to him. Maybe even something good, if Roy is reading the signs correctly. And he’s ninety nine percent certain that he is.

“Are you going to make stupid jokes all night, or can I fucking talk?” Jason grumbles.

“Alright. Geez. Don’t have a cow. So? What’s the problem?”

“Jesus, I mean, he’s always around and he’s so…ugh! He drives me insane!”

Roy’s eyebrows shoot up in a way that says he is absolutely not buying a word of what Jason says.

“Ha! Seems like it.”

Jason narrows his eyes and scowls.

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

Roy shakes his head and chuckles to himself. Suddenly it’s making sense why Jason might be so flustered.

“Nothin. You are so full of it, man.”

“You don’t get it. He’s fucking obsessed with me, Roy!”

Roy wants to smack him. He’s heard plenty of stories about Tim Drake from both Jason and Dick. If he knows anything about the kid, it’s that he loves being a part of the Bat family. Which means he loves his Bat- brothers. One in particular perhaps more than the other, if the stories that Dick used to tell him about all the time Tim used to spend researching Jason are anything to go by.

“Well, duh, Jaybird. He has been since before you’d died. I bet he even still has all those pictures of you somewhere.”

“Yeah, which is fine, but there was always the unspoken rule between us to never talk about that shit! Then he just spouts off all this crap like he really knows me.”

It’s Roy’s turn to roll his eyes, but Jason just keeps rattling off to him about everything that’d happened.

“So do you see my problem? Just because we’ve spent all this time together, doesn’t mean he suddenly knows me.”

“He kind of does, Jason. You guys have been living together for the past few months.”

Jason goes still and looks at him as if he’s pleading for him to see something.

“It’s not like that.”

“But it is. At least for him. Just because you won’t admit it, doesn’t mean that’s not the way it is. By the way, is your favorite candy really licorice?”

The look Jason gives him is skeptical.

“Yes. Why?”

Roy chuckles again and shakes his head.

“Nothin’. That’s just gross.”

“I’m not talking about the black kind that tastes like ass. I like the fruit flavored kind.”

“Whatever. The point is he does know you that well. You don’t have to like it, but facts are facts. I wouldn’t be surprised if the kid even knows how often you like to jerk it.”

Jason leans back in his chair and crosses his arms angrily over his chest. He’s fighting back a blush.

“Oh, fuck off, Roy. Don’t even start.”

“I’m just sayin’. He’s around you twenty four, seven. What the hell do you think he’s doing with that time? He studies you. Because he digs you, man. He’s a detective. It’s what he does. You know that I didn’t even know when your birthday was?”

“He’s got files.”

Roy shrugs. “Those files also say what side of the bed you like to sleep on? ‘Cause I sure as hell didn’t know that either.”

“You’re pissing me off, Harper.”

This time when Roy laughs it’s full and loud and he doesn’t even bother to pretend like he isn’t finding this hilarious.

“Look, Jaybird, I’m sorry if this isn’t what you want to hear, but he’s one of us. One of you. He’s smart and you know you can trust him. He ain’t bad lookin’ either, that’s for sure. I’m not saying you have to fall in love with the kid, but would it be so bad to give him a chance?”

“Well, it’s too late now anyway.”

Roy goes quiet and studies him for a moment, cocking his head and giving Jason a questioning glance.

“Too late for what, man?”

It’s quiet enough between them now that he can hear Jason swallow.

“…I think… I think I’m already in love with him.”

---

When Jason gets home, he finds Tim asleep on the couch. He shakes the smaller boy’s shoulder until Tim rouses.

“Tim? Why aren’t you in bed?”

Tim’s eyes widen and he looks almost as if Jason was the last person he was expecting to see.

“Figured you wouldn’t want me in there tonight. If you came back. I’m alright out here.” He says quietly, his voice scratchy from sleep.

Jason gives him a confused look.

“Don’t be stupid, Drake. You’re still injured. Get your ass in there.”

Jason turns to walk toward the bedroom, but stops when Tim grips his sleeve and tugs. He turns to see Tim staring up at him with glimmering, sleepy eyes.

“I’m sorry, Jay. About before. I didn’t mean to-“

“No. I’m sorry, kid. I shouldn’t have just bailed like that again. It’s just… It was a lot to take in, you know?”

“I know. It was never my intention to scare you off. It was just… the truth. And I…respect you. That will never change. It’s just that I’ve always wanted to… to mean something to you. It seemed as though I would never be able to get close to you, so I did what I could to be close to you in my own way. I wanted to know who you were.”

Jason swallows and drops onto a knee in front of where Tim is seated on the couch, their gazes meeting and unwavering. He sweeps a stray piece of hair behind Tim’s ear.

“And? Do you like what you’ve found out so far?”

Tim reaches up a hand and cups Jason’s cheek. He smiles when Jason closes his eyes and leans into the touch.

“There’s never going to be anything I won’t like about you, Jason.”

Jason swallows again, kisses the heel of Tim’s hand and then finally opens his eyes. They’re huge and desperate and so intense and Tim can hardly think straight.

“I’m not… I’m not him, alright? That boy that you looked up to isn’t who I am anymore, Tim. The kid in the cape that just wanted to please the Batman is dead. This is who I am now. I’m not… good anymore.”

“You’re you, Jason. That’s all you ever needed to be. I wanted you, no matter who you were. And I want you just as you are now. You are still that kid, and you are the Red Hood, and you’re also just Jason. That’s all a part of you. That’s what makes you good.”

Jason bites his lip and nods as if he’s understanding, when really he’s just forcing back tears that he hasn’t shed in a long time and refuses to shed now. He can’t. He can’t let one kid break down all of his walls that he’s spent so long building and holding up. He just can’t. And it’s better for Tim this way anyway.

It hurts, though, because he doesn’t believe in Tim’s words. Not really. He wants to so badly, but he doesn’t even deserve them. He can’t be anything other than the murdering, angry soul he is now. Not when he’s got so much blood on his hands. But Tim is good, and Tim believes in him, and Jason’s heart is simultaneously breaking apart and repairing itself.

“I need you to promise me something, Tim.” Jason says with finality in his tone.

Tim’s eyes get even wider and he maneuvers so that he’s sitting up straighter on the couch. He can’t ever stop himself from fearing that Jason will ask him to leave.

“What?”

And Jason is staring right into his eyes and even deeper still. The Bat way of saying that everything he’s about to say is important and honest and that he needs Tim to really listen.

“Really promise. Not bottle it up like you do.”

Tim’s gaze remains just as steady as Jason’s, intent and focused, so that he can make Jason understand that he is listening. He always has been.

“Anything. Anything, Jay. Just what?”

“If this… if this gets to be too much, or you don’t feel right about it, you have to tell me to back off. We’ll put an end to things and that’ll be it. Alright?”

Tim nods, but he knows it’s not enough. Jason will need a vocal confirmation that Tim is as willing of a participant in this as he is. He needs to be completely sure that Tim is okay with this.

“Alright. I promise.”

Jason doesn’t waste another moment. Surging forward, he captures Tim’s lips in a rough kiss. It catches Tim by surprise, drawing out an adorable sound from him.

Tim’s wanted this. He always wants this. But he’s afraid. He doesn’t want Jason to give this to him only to take it away once again. He doesn’t think he could handle that even once more. It would crush him. But right now he doesn’t focus on that. He can’t. His brain isn’t working enough to focus on anything other than the fact that Jason is kissing him and climbing onto him. Jason’s hands are everywhere, finger tips digging in every now and then in a gesture of possessiveness. Tim shivers and whimpers into Jason’s mouth.

He’s going crazy with the touch and his nerves are singing, lighting up all over his body each time Jason’s fingers press into his skin. He wants the bruises, the marks. He wants everything Jason gives him.

They both break apart and sit up to rip clothes off. Their pants and underwear are a bit of a struggle since neither one of them wants to separate that much, but they manage. Jason uses his strength to push Tim into the worn down cushions of the couch. He pins Tim below him with his weight and Tim sighs as Jason kisses down his body and then back up to his lips.

The feeling of hot skin against hot skin is exquisite and Tim nearly shouts when Jason’s bare cock rubs against his own. Jason isn’t even really moving. Just lying there kissing Tim as Tim lets his hands roam over Jason’s shoulders and back. Jason is still kissing him, his tongue plundering Tim’s mouth and Tim is shaking and falling apart beneath him.

 Jason breaks the kiss and bites along Tim’s jaw, sucks kisses against Tim’s throat.

“Let me make you come. Wanna see that pretty face you make when you get off. Will you show it to me, Baby Bird? Will you let me get you off?” Jason husks against the soft patch of skin just below Tim’s ear.

Tim can’t answer. He can’t even nod his head, so he whimpers and wriggles around, trying to get Jason to follow through on his promise. Jason sits up and smiles at him, kissing him on the very tip of his nose, and Tim is suddenly absolutely certain that this is what love feels like. Not that he really knows, but it just has to be. He doesn’t know what else it could be making him feel like the sun is radiating from within his own body.

He can feel how wet he is. Feel the way his cock is twitching with need and how it spits out just a little bit of pre-cum every time. Jason shifts his hips and Tim moans as their cocks brush against each other. Jason is blood hot and steel hard against him. He’s wet now, too. Not nearly as wet as Tim, but the slide is so good that Tim is trembling.

“Jesus Christ, Tim. You always get so wet. You feel so good.” Jason sighs, dropping his head onto Tim’s shoulder and going back to sucking marks into Tim’s neck.

Jason pumps his hips, sliding against Tim’s hip and dragging their cocks together. Tim is shivering, trying his best to hold back the unmistakable cresting waves of his orgasm. He wants this to last, but between Jason’s mouth and his body, he’s not going to last much longer. And Jason’s hips are speeding up, and Tim knows he’s getting desperate now, too.

And one of them must shift again then, because somehow Jason’s dick has slipped into the tight, nearly nonexistent gap between Tim’s thighs.

“Oh fuck! God, Tim! Stay… stay just like this for me, baby. Stay just like this. That’s right. So fucking good.” He rubs his face back and forth against Tim’s chest, then mouths on Tim’s collarbone, lips clamping down to suck.

Jason glides between Tim’s legs, and it’s almost like he’s fucking Tim. So close to being like he’s really fucking Tim, but so hard to forget that he isn’t. Because the tip of Jason’s cock just barely nudges between his cheeks and his hole flutters with anticipation, and Christ, he just wants to feel Jason inside him so badly. Wants to feel the stretch and push as Jason presses into him. He needs it.

“Jason!” Tim shouts and comes against both his and Jason’s abs when Jason’s prick gently nudges the rim of his hole.

Jason’s hips jerk and his thighs shake as he thrusts between Tim’s legs once more, biting down on the edge of Tim’s collarbone hard enough that Tim shrieks and arches against him, and Jason is coming, coating the soft and supple inside of Tim’s thighs.

Tim hadn’t even realized he’d passed out, but he comes to at the feel of Jason’s lips and tongue affectionately nursing at his stinging collarbone.

“Sorry about that.” He hears Jason grumble hoarsely against his skin.

Tim hums and lets his fingers glide through Jason’s sweat damp hair.

They fall asleep on the couch just like that. Drunk on sex and sticky with cum. Tim takes a shower as soon as he gets up in the morning and stares at his completely bare form in the mirror. He watches as particular drop of water runs from his hairline, down his jaw and then over his throat and chest.

Tim’s eyes pause on his the bruise at his neck as the water droplet continues to run down his body. His fingers ghost over it. It’s dark, and Tim would be a fool to think he could pass it off as anything other than what it is. His eyes drop a little further down, following in the path of the water, and then find the bruise at his collarbone. He presses the tip of an index finger into it and shivers. He doesn’t mind being covered in Jason’s bruises. He almost wishes Jason had given him more.

It’s then that he looks up in the mirror and sees Jason watching him from the doorway with a smirk on his face. His cheeks go red and he’s suddenly rooted to his spot.

Jason slowly stalks toward him; a predator advancing to claim his prey. He stands behind Tim, places a hand on Tim’s bare hip as he continues to watch him in the mirror. Tim feels Jason’s boxer covered crotch press against his bare ass, and another wave of heat floods his face. A different type of heat flooding his lower stomach as Jason’s fingers squeeze his hip and kiss the side of his neck. Tim’s cock jumps.

“This is a good look for you, Baby Bird. You should consider making it permanent.” Jason squeezes his hip once more before heading back out into the bedroom.

Tim lets out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding and goes to get dressed, ignoring the dull ache in his groin. He wants breakfast and more sex. But breakfast first.

Chapter Text

**please read Author's notes!**

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been months now since Jason has fully recovered from his injuries. Tim knows he hasn’t been going on patrols the entire time, and that it’s because Jason still worries about leaving him on his own. Tim relishes the idea of a protective Jason, but he feels a bit guilty. And while Jason is still hesitant about leaving Tim alone, Tim assures him that he’s perfectly fine and capable of taking care of himself while Jason goes out on patrol for a few hours. Tim finally ends up nearly forcing him to go, and Jason tells him he can be back within a matter of minutes if Tim needs anything, but he promises Jason again that he’ll be okay.

Tim himself is chomping at the bit to get back out on the streets, so he can only imagine how Jason feels. He knows Jason needs this just to clear his head sometimes. Work though all the rage and the demons. But Tim will always worry at least a little when Jason is out there on his own, even though he knows Jason will be okay.

“I’ll stay on this side of town. Close by and as far away from the Bat as possible.”

The smile Tim gives him is fighting for sincerity, but he knows the sadness is peaking through.

“You don’t have to avoid him for my sake, Jason. I don’t want to be the cause of any more tension between you and Bruce.”

“You aren’t, Baby Bird. This is all on him.”

The press of Jason’s lips to his isn’t unexpected, yet, it makes his head swim all the same. He never gets tired of kissing Jason.

Jason heads out and it’s the first time Tim has been left alone with only his thoughts for a few days. This isn’t like before, though, when Jason ran off. He knows for a fact that Jason is coming back at the end of the night. He’s not even really being left alone. He feels more as though he’s being left behind. Stuck on the sidelines as Jason goes out there and tries to fight Tim’s battles for him. Deep down it makes Tim’s stomach flutter that Jason is willing to stand up to the fucking Batman for him. Makes him feel things in places he doesn't want to think about too much. More than anything, it just makes Tim feel more alone.

Jason has been by Tim’s side almost this entire time. But Bruce… he’s never really been on Tim’s side. He hadn’t wanted Tim to be Robin. Hadn’t stopped Tim when he went off to join the Titans. Hadn’t even stopped him when he’d moved out and gave up the title of Robin to Damian. He thought he’d been part of a family. Thought he finally found somewhere he belonged. Turns out that Jason had been right before. Bruce doesn’t care about them. And Tim is just another fucking orphan.

---

Jason returns home from patrol fairly early. It was a mostly quiet night and he just isn’t comfortable leaving Tim on his own for very long. Not to mention he was trying to avoid any possible run- ins with Bruce or Dick.

Concern and uneasiness overcome him as he finds that the apartment is completely dark when he gets back. He slides the window open to the living room, but Tim isn’t there waiting for him like he usually is. Then he hears a steady thumping sound coming from the bathroom, so he follows it, slowly making his way through the apartment.

He opens the door to find Tim on his knees, punching the tiled bathroom wall. He must’ve been at it for a while, because Tim has almost punched clear through the drywall, wood, and concrete to the other side and into Jason’s bedroom. There’s a nearly empty bottle of whiskey on the floor next to him and suddenly things all makes sense.

Jason rushes in and grabs Tim’s wrist mid punch, halting his attack on the wall. Tim jumps and his tear filled eyes widen as he looks at Jason. Jason guesses Tim must not have been expecting him for a while and didn’t hear him come in.

His knuckles are raw and bloody, the skin almost completely stripped. Tears continue to stream down Tim’s face as he stares at Jason. He’s wasted and Jason isn’t really sure what to say, but he keeps his grip firm and reassuring on Tim’s wrist, looking at him with tenderness and sympathy. Tim falls forward, resting his head against Jason’s chest as sobs wrack his body.

Tim doesn’t cry. In the years that Jason’s known him, he’s only seen Tim cry a hand full of times. The one that mostly comes to mind is the night they’d talked about Tim’s dad, which now seems like so long ago. The kid had hardly even made a sound when Jason had fucking stabbed him. Tim is the strongest person he knows, and he’s not usually the type to have a breakdown of this magnitude. He’s always been very distant and aloof about his feelings unless he really wants someone to know something. It’s just how Tim is. So seeing Tim like this is breaking his heart.

“You were right, Jay. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t care about any of us. What did I do to make him so angry with me? Why doesn’t he care?”

He’s clinging to Jason’s jacket and Jason releases his wrist, wrapping his arm around him and placing his other hand on Tim’s head, holding it against his chest as he hauls Tim into his lap. He understands now what this is about, and curses himself in his head for the stupid shit that comes out of his mouth when he isn’t thinking.

“You didn’t do anything, Tim. It’s not you. I was wrong. I was so wrong. Don’t you listen to me. What I said was not okay. It wasn’t right. I didn’t mean it. I was just talking shit. Bruce loves us, he just doesn’t always know how to show it. You know that.”

“Why did he leave me out there on my own? Why didn’t he send backup? How could he have left me all alone?”

Jason begins to rock him gently.

“You know how he is, Tim. When he’s working he’s blind to everything except the mission. Bruce loves you. Don’t ever question that.”

“I can’t do it anymore, Jay. I can’t work under him and believe in what he’s doing if he’s willing to sacrifice his family. I just can’t.”

He kisses Tim’s head and wraps his arms tighter around the smaller boy.

“Then don’t. You don’t need him. You don't need any of them. Take a break for a while. You do just fine on your own, anyway. Fuck the Bat, and when you’re healed you can come work with me again. You don’t owe him, Tim. You’ve done everything you were supposed to. Just take a step back for a while and figure out what it is you need.”

Tim presses his entire face into Jason’s chest. He just needs to feel grounded. Needs the shaking to stop. He needs Jason.

“What am I supposed to do? This is all I know, Jay.”

“Then I’ll show you that there can be more. You’ve always been too good for him. Just stay here with me and I’ll take care of you, okay?”

Jason lifts him gently, pulling at one of Tim’s legs until Tim gets the message and wraps his legs around Jason’s torso. He stands and walks them to the bedroom, laying Tim gingerly on the bed. He rights himself and is going to get Tim a glass of water when he feels arms around his neck, and then Tim is hauling him down on top of himself.

“Please, Jason. I want you.”

“You’re drunk, Baby Bird. We shouldn’t do this right now.”

“I need it, Jay. Please.”

“Alright, Tim. Alright. I’ll make everything better. Just lay back now, okay? You gotta relax.”

Jason doesn’t like doing anything sexual with Tim when he’s not in his right mind. Even if Tim is the one asking for it, Jason still feels a bit guilty.

He decides it’s not really okay, but maybe slightly better if he isn’t actually touching Tim, and finds the shape of his cock through his pajama pants, rubbing his hand over it as Tim hardens beneath his touch. Tim is so warm and he’s already wet in his pants, creating a damp spot that Jason can feel.

“Jay!” Tim whines the plea, because Jason is only hardly moving his hand.

He gets an idea. Something that is a sure fire way to get Tim off so that he can get to sleep and Jason can hate himself a little bit more in the luxury of solitude.

He stretches and kisses Tim on the mouth, just once. A reassurance that he’s not going anywhere, but he’s about to switch things up a bit. Then he slides down Tim’s body and kisses his cock once through his pants before he starts suckling.

The feel of the fabric in his mouth grosses him out the slightest bit, especially once he’s got it sopping with his saliva. But it has Tim writhing and shouting and bucking against Jason’s mouth. He grips Tim’s hips and really sucks, pulling a wad of fabric along with Tim’s dick into his mouth as he determinedly licks, his tongue a tool of rough pressure. Tim thrusts up once more and wails. Jason can feel Tim’s cock jerk in his mouth and the unmistakable flood of heat against his tongue. Tim hiccups a sob and Jason crawls back up his body to kiss him quiet. He kisses Tim softly, sweetly until the smaller boy is drifting off towards a dreamless sleep. Jason slides off Tim’s pants, cautiously changing him into a fresh pair.

When he finishes he goes to the bathroom. He picks up the bottle of whiskey that Tim had left on the floor and takes a pull. He doesn’t swallow it, just lets it settle on his tongue and tries to appreciate all the flavors.

He catches his reflection in the mirror out of the corner of his eye and turns to face it, studying himself. He looks like hell. He always looks like hell, but right now it’s worse with the guilt of what he’s just done sitting heavier in his stomach than an entire bottle of whiskey would. His skin looks ashen, his eyes dull. He’s starting to develop wrinkles at the corner of his eyes from constantly being stressed, or angry, or both. His hair is disheveled from running around on rooftops all night and it’s not nearly as shiny as it has been in the past.

What could Tim possibly see in him? He’s got a crooked smile and a stupid nose. He supposes he could be considered handsome. In a roguish sort of way. Not like Dick, though. Not pretty with great hair and warm eyes. And Tim… Tim is beautiful. All hard edges and soft eyes. Warm, lean muscles and an absolutely killer smile that makes Jason’s heart constrict just a little every time Tim turns it on him.

Suddenly he feels undeserving. Like a complete and utter moron who takes for granted the fact that he has Tim, even though it makes not a single bit of goddamn sense. Someone like Tim deserves better than a reformed murderous psychopath who molests him while he’s inebriated.

He spits the whiskey out at the mirror, distorting his reflection, and then doesn’t bother to clean it up. He chugs what’s left of the bottle in three huge gulps and goes back to the bedroom. Tim is still sound asleep, and Jason crawls in behind him and covers them up.

He’s not good enough for Tim, and he knows that, but he made a promise. Even though he knows that Tim could do far better, Jason will not leave him. Never again. He’ll keep his word.

--- 

Jason is quiet the next day. Not angry, just distant. Tim remembers what they did the night before and quickly comes to the realization that that’s the reason for Jason’s change in behavior.

Tim knows about Jason’s whole thing where he feels like he’s taking advantage of Tim when he’s not able to make an entirely conscientious decision. It’s stupid, and Jason has done nothing of the sort, but Tim can’t do anything now to appease Jason’s conscience. He does feel a bit guilty, himself. He is responsible for Jason’s mood, after all, but he’d felt so lonely last night, so needy. Still, he really should’ve known better by now.

And now Jason isn’t really speaking much, and he’s been very reserved all day. Tim knows to give him his space. Not to push the issue. Jason has to sort through it on his own, and maybe one day Tim will actually be able to convince Jason that it’s okay, because Tim does want him. All. The. Time.

So when Jason goes out on patrol early that night, Tim knows it’s because he’s eager to get into the cool night air and clear his head. He gets it. Patrols are second nature. Like working on autopilot. A chance to think about everything and nothing all at once.

“Jason?” He calls out to the older vigilante as Jason is about to leave for the night.

Tim walks over to him, resting a hand gently on Jason’s chest as he stands up on tip toes to kiss him.

“Be careful,” and it’s a whisper against Jason’s lips.

Ever since Tim realized that he’s in love with Jason he’s wanted to tell him so badly, but he won’t risk chasing Jason away. He couldn’t bear that. So this is as close as he can get to saying it and hoping that Jason understands.

Jason doesn’t really kiss him back, and when Tim pulls away he doesn’t say anything, just nods and leaves to go about his night.

Tim doesn’t like that. It makes him nervous when Jason isn’t in the right mindset to be out on the streets. Something always inevitably goes wrong.

And just as Tim had predicted, Jason returns not two hours later. He’s moving slow, and bleeding through his jacket. He was shot. Again. Between his shoulder blades and so close to his spine that Tim nearly bursts into tears upon the sight of it.

Jason gives him a dopey smile, “You mind helping me out.”

Tim is furious, but he can’t leave Jason like this. He stomps off to get a bottle of whiskey and the medical kit. He sits Jason down on the edge of the coffee table and pulls up a chair to sit behind him.

Jason tells him a little about what happened. Spares most of the details. Apparently Jason had had a run in with some gang bangers, they were all packing, and one got a lucky shot off before Jason could subdue him.

“I cannot believe this shit. I must be getting rusty or something, because this makes ten gunshot wounds just this year. When did I start sucking so bad at my job?”

Tim is not in the mood for humor. They’ve had too many close calls lately for Tim to feel anything right now other than panic and agitation.

“This just missed your spine, you know.” His voice is sharp as he unpacks the necessary medical supplies. Jason will be fine once Tim gets him stitched up, but he’ll be sore as hell for a couple of weeks.

He hears Jason hiss through his teeth as he sticks the needle into Jason’s skin and begins to suture it up none too gently.

“Kinda really feels like it fucking hit it.”

Tim is quiet for a few minutes. He finishes up Jason’s stitches, gets him cleaned and bandaged, and then packs up the medical supplies.

“You can’t afford to keep making stupid mistakes and expect to be alright every time. You’re not some kind of super soldier, Jason,” Tim chastises once he finishes cleaning up.

“Yeah right. I’m way cooler than that guy. He’s such a dork. I hear his friend is a badass, though. I’d definitely be more like that guy. And did you know he has a metal-“

“Don’t change the subject, Jason! That was irresponsible and reckless of you. Why didn’t you call for backup?”

Jason stands with a groan and hobbles to the kitchen to get himself a glass of water. He gulps down one glass and refills it before answering Tim.

“I thought I could handle it.”

“That’s what drives me absolutely insane about you! You never think you need help! Why can’t you just swallow your pride and ask for something when you need it?!”

Jason sets down his glass and leans back against the counter, crossing his arms and ankles and giving Tim an annoyed look.

“You really think I wanted Grayson’s help? Or the Bat’s? You think I want anything from them right now? I wouldn’t take a fucking piece of bread from them even if I were starving right now.”

Tim crosses his arms now, too, looking just as annoyed and somewhat offended.

“Well, what about me?”

“What about you?” Jason snaps at him.

“You didn’t ask for my help.”

Jason shrugs, “Yeah. Because you’re injured.”

“I’ve healed enough. Would’ve been better than nothing, Jason.”

“Tim, you can’t even run for more than ten minutes at a time without exhausting yourself. Did you really think I would’ve called you for backup?”

“I could’ve done something! What if you’d been hurt worse?! I wouldn’t have been able to get to you in time! You could’ve been killed, Jay!” Just saying it aloud makes Tim’s chest seize up.

Jason shrugs again. “Been there, done that. Not a fan.”

“DON’T MAKE THIS A FUCKING JOKE!” Tim’s arms fling out at his sides and he balls them into fists, his bitten down nails digging into his palm as he fights back tears.

Jason is shocked by Tim’s outburst, his arms falling limp and defeated at his sides. His voice and his gaze soften.

“Tim-,” But Tim interrupts him.

“You always think you’ll be just fine, but you’re not invincible, Jason! You’re not on your own anymore, so you can’t just run out there half- cocked and expect me not to worry about you! Next time just call me!”

“No,” Jason says flatly, as if he’s stating a fact. His face is calm and blank.

“No? What the hell do you mean ‘no’?”

“I mean no. End of discussion.”

He can feel the anger clawing at him again and he turns his back to Tim and grips the edge of the counter top like it’s a lifeline. He focuses on his breathing, trying to tamp down on the rage boiling within him.

“No, it isn’t! I can make my own goddamn choices, Jason. I am my own person, and if you’d just-“

“I will not put you in danger.”

“I know what I’m doing, Jay. If you would just stop being so stubborn all the time-“

“I said no, Tim.”

“Jason, just listen-“

“I WILL NOT LET YOU GET HURT AGAIN!” Jason shouts and slams his fist onto the counter.

“Jason?” Tim’s voice is small and timid. He doesn’t want to set Jason off again.

Jason hears the shake in his voice and turns around, fixing his gaze until he settles on something less threatening, more pleading. Frightening Tim is the last thing he wants.

“Fuck, Tim, you’re not even completely healed yet! Just give it some more time! For my sake if not your own. Do you honestly think I would want to bring you out in the field when I know how vulnerable you are right now?!”

“I’m not some damsel in distress, Jay. I was Robin once, too.” Tim takes a step toward him, keeping his voice low and calm.

“Jesus, I fucking know that! But I already almost lost you, Tim! I won’t be able to take it if something happens to you!”

Tim keeps moving forward, his eyes soft and empathetic as he places a hand on Jason’s cheek.

“I know my limits. I was trained by him, too. I wouldn’t have put myself in harm’s way, but I can still be useful. I just would’ve rather been there just in case. Do you have any idea how I would feel if I lost you? I can’t do much right now, but I can try to help keep you safe. So next time just call me. Please.”

Jason wraps both arms around Tim and pulls him bodily against himself.

“I won’t let you get hurt.”

“I know, Jay. I know you won’t. We’ll figure something out.”

Jason kisses him with all of the passion and concern he possibly can, stealing Tim’s breath from his very lungs. He takes Tim to bed and strips him immediately before stripping himself. He’s on Tim in a matter of seconds, covering the entirety of Tim’s slender body with his own.

Tim loves every second of it. Loves how much bigger Jason is than him. Loves that Jason’s muscles are so much thicker and more developed than his own. And Jason’s skin, even with all his scars, is so smooth. He’s essentially hairless, which Tim rather enjoys, with the exception of the thick, dark patch of hair that’s been neatly trimmed around the base of his dick. He’s absolutely beautiful.

Jason grinds himself against Tim once, his hard, hot shaft rubbing against Tim’s stomach and just slightly up against the side of Tim’s cock.

“Fuck, Jason, please?” Tim has no shame when it comes to begging Jason for this. He always ends up feeling so complete and sated afterwards that he can’t bring himself to feel guilty for it.

He kisses Tim and it’s really mostly just him using Tim’s mouth, coaxing his tongue into doing this and that and biting at Tim’s lips like he wants to devour him whole. Tim isn’t even attempting to fight for control. Jason’s mouth dips every few seconds to bite at Tim’s chin, his jaw, and then his tongue is back in Tim’s mouth and his teeth are nibbling Tim’s lips.

It’s distracting enough that Tim jerks when he feels Jason’s hand around him. His hands are huge and warm and calloused and feel absolutely perfect against Tim’s prick. He tries to display some self- restraint by not bucking his hips. Jason isn’t even really jerking him yet. And then his hand is gone just as suddenly as it had touched Tim. Jason’s mouth is on his neck now, biting and sucking and nuzzling in a way that has Tim going out of his mind.

“Jay, come on. Need more.”

But Jason’s got a plan, and his Little Bird will just have to be patient.

He continues kissing Tim’s neck, and then he slyly begins to grind their bare cocks against each other. Tim’s head lolls to the side and Jason is grateful because now he has more of that beautiful neck to kiss.

The feel of Tim’s body against him is almost too much, and it’s so tempting to just grind against him until they both get off, but that isn’t Jason’s plan. So he finally decides to spare Tim and reaches down, shifting his hips so that he can wrap a hand around both of them to jerk them at the same time.

“Jason!” Tim shouts.

Tim is small, and Jason can easily fit both of them in his hands. And he gets so fucking wet every time, it creates the most exquisite slide as his pre- come slicks both of them.

Jason’s technique is simple and nothing like Tim’s own, this thumb glancing their slits on the up stride and smearing around Tim’s slick, getting them wetter and wetter. Tim isn’t sure if this is how Jason jerks himself off when he’s alone, but just the thought of it has the heat at the base of Tim’s spine feeling more urgent.

“Jason,” he’s panting, barely able to choke the words out. “Jason, I’m gonna come.”

But Jason beats him to it, shooting all over Tim’s cock and it makes Tim’s eyes roll back in his head and his thighs shake as he comes right after. It’s amazing, and Tim is somewhere else entirely right now. His mind drifting in a sea of white. The fuzzy haze of clouds weaving in and out of his head. He can hear Jason calling him, but it’s so hard to focus.

“Where are you at, Tim? Come on. Come back to me. There you are. You were drifting on me. Went away for a minute, huh? You okay?”

Tim blinks up at him, his mouth hanging open as he nods his head. His vision is slowly clearing and now he can see how gorgeous Jason is up close and personal after sex. He’s not sure how long he was out, but Jason is smiling at him like he wants to eat him alive.

“Fuck, Tim. That was so fuckin’ hot. Never seen you come so pretty before. Wanna lick you clean and do it all over again.”

And Tim whines at that because not only does it sound really amazing right now, it also sounds like a lot of work and he is utterly spent.

Jason laughs, “I know, I know. Don’t worry, I won’t actually do it. But don’t think I don’t want to. Fuck. Let’s just get some sleep before you make me change my mind. You look so unbelievably sexy after I make you come.”

There’s not enough of Tim’s brain online right now to blush at that, so he simply curls into Jason’s side and falls asleep on his chest.

---

Jason gets a call a few days later as he and Tim are watching a movie. It’s Kori, and she sounds absolutely frantic. Tim can hear her perfectly as he sits next to Jason, his head resting against Jason’s shoulder. The princess' normally calming and mellow voice is now a high pitched shrieking, and part of him knows Roy Harper should currently be fearing for his life.

“Okay, Kori, Okay. Just stay calm. I’ll be there soon. Yes, I know Roy’s a dumbass. Yes, I’ll bring you those chocolate dumpling things you like.”

He rolls his eyes and hangs up, kissing the top of Tim’s head, and goes into their bedroom to pack some things. Tim follows him, watching as he leans against the doorjamb.

“I’ll only be gone two days. If you need anything, you can call me. And I have cameras set up, Little Bird, so don’t think I won’t find out if you leave. Stay here and try to stay out of trouble.”

“What are you going to be doing anyway?”

“I just gotta go back to the island and take care of some stuff with Kori.”

“Alright.” He concedes, walking Jason to the front door.

Tim leans in and kisses him. Jason had thought it was just going to be an innocent kiss goodbye until Tim shoves his tongue in Jason’s mouth and pushes him back against the door. He’s pushing his hands up under Jason’s shirt and making these delicious little noises, his hands fooling around with Jason’s belt when Jason finally finds the will to push him away.

“Fuck, Tim. Don’t do this to me right now. I gotta get going.”

“You sure about that, Jay?”

Tim gives him his most sultry smirk and hopes that it’s doing its job.

“Oh no. I know exactly what you’re doing. You’re just trying to get in my pants so that I won’t leave.”

“I don’t really appreciate your oversimplification of my plan, but yes. Yes, I am.”

“Oh, Timothy, you know how hot it makes me when you use words with more than five syllables.” Jason teases.

Tim laughs and smacks Jason’s chest, kissing him briefly one final time.

“Fine. Just get going. I’m going to be bored out of my mind while you’re gone, so the sooner you leave, the sooner you get back.”

Once Jason leaves, Tim searches the apartment for the cameras. He knew somewhere in the back of his head that Jason had them, although he isn’t sure how often Jason actually uses them. He finds the one in the bedroom and smirks conspiratorially. He’s got plans for that one later.

He hears a tiny beeping noise as he walks back out into the living room. It’s Jason’s comm. He must have forgotten it on the coffee table when he’d left. At least he’d remembered his cell phone, though.

Tim picks it up and pops it in his ear.

“Jason?”

“Uh, no. It’s Red Robin. Sorry, Roy. Jason is on the island with Starfire.”

“Oh! Hey, Timbo! How’s it goin’?!”

“Uh, alright, I guess. How are things with you?” Tim sits back down on the couch, fiddling with the handle of Jason’s coffee mug that he’d left sitting on the table as well.

“Pretty good. Other than the fact that my crazy alien girlfriend tried to kill me yesterday. But I’m fine now. The burns have all healed. I found a special salve after our first night together. But that's a story for another time.”

Tim doesn’t really know how to respond to that, but now it makes perfect sense to him why Roy Harper is one of Jason’s closest friends.

“Well, I’m glad to hear that. Um… did you need something? I can call Jay and tell him you’re looking for him? Or maybe I could help with whatever you need.”

That’s what people who like each other do, right? Try to become friends with the other’s friends? Although, Tim can’t see any scenario where he could get Jason to become friends with Conner or Beast Boy. Or even Cass, for that matter.

“Nah, it’s cool. I was actually just calling to see if he could talk to Kori for me, but I guess he’s already got that covered.”

“He was very much concerned about her and left this morning.”

“Cool. So how are you two doing?”

Tim’s whole face heats up.

“Fine. I mean, he doesn’t seem to hate my existence anymore. So I'd say it’s a vast improvement.”

“Tim, you know he and I have talked about this, right? Whatever it is that’s going on between you two.”

Tim’s mouth suddenly feels very dry and he swallows.

“You have?”

“Of course! He’s my best friend. Listen, I know Jaybird can be hard headed and downright impossible sometimes. And other times he's just a plain asshole, but just be patient with him. He really does love you.”

This time Tim can’t manage to get his throat to work at all so that he can swallow. He just chokes a little and has to cough to clear his throat.

“Jason… loves me?”

“Yeah, man! You know, I noticed when he was over here a few days ago that he was really stressed, which isn’t necessarily unusual for him, but the fact that he was stressed and didn’t have a cigarette in his mouth was unusual. I’m guessing that’s because you asked him to stop smoking?”

“I… yeah, maybe.”

“And he didn’t have his guns. Guessing that’s also your doing? Come on, man. Think about it. When have you ever known our Jaybird to do what he’s asked? The guy never listens to anyone. He loves you, Tim, and he might not be able to tell you yet, but he’s showing you in his own ways.”

Tim feels as if the sun itself is trying to burst its way out of his chest.

“I… thank you, Roy.”

“No problemo! Anyway, I’ll talk to you later, Drake!”

Tim sits there in stunned silence. The smallest bit of hope blooming in his chest.

Roy Harper is Jason’s best friend. He sees and hears different sides of Jason that Tim will never get to. He knows Jason better than almost anyone. So he would know better if Jason were in love with anyone, right? He has no reason to lie about this to Tim, does he?

Tim can’t think about speculations right now. He has plans and he needs to get to it. He tucks his thoughts away for another time when he can further analyze, but for now it’s just best that he leaves it alone.

There’s no need to get dressed up for the activities he has in mind. Especially since his clothes are coming off anyway. He does change, though, because he knows how Jason looks at him when he’s wearing the larger boy’s clothes. He slips on his own boxer briefs, the snuggest pair that he owns, and then tugs on a pair of Jason’s sweats that drag on the floor as he walks. They’re a few sizes too big as well as too long, and barely stay up on Tim’s hips. He tops off his “look”, if it can be called that, with the ratty t-shirt that Jason had on just before he’d left. It still smells like him, enough so that it makes Tim’s skin feel as if it were tingling and makes his cock twitch the slightest bit in his too small briefs.

The room suddenly feels a lot smaller and warmer as Tim stands in front of where the camera is hidden on the lamp on the desk across from their bed. It’s tiny, but Tim knows that it’s on, a nearly microscopic red light flashing at the back of it telling Tim that it’s recording.

“I don’t know if you get a live stream of your feeds, or if you watch them back later, but you’d better enjoy this, Jay.” Tim’s voice shakes as he stares at the camera.

He shuffles backward towards their bed, sitting on the edge and spreading his legs. He smirks to himself as he barely lifts his hips from the mattress and slides off Jason’s sweats.

“I hope this makes you a little more hesitant to leave me next time.”

Tim’s hands reach down to grip the hem of Jason’s shirt. It’s not until this moment that he feels self- conscious. His cheeks feel like they’re on fire and he bites his lip as he’s debating with himself. But it’s too late now. Jason is either already seeing this, or will be soon. He closes his eyes and pulls the soft, worn fabric over his head. He knows without looking how flushed his chest is. His blush painting his fair skin into a sunset pink. He doesn’t worry about his hair. He’s almost sure it’s a mess, and even it isn’t, it will be at the end of all this.

“You know I miss you every time you’re not here. Even if you’re only at the grocery store for twenty minutes. I much prefer having you close to me. Pressed right up against me so I can feel your warmth.” Tim hesitates again. This isn’t like him. Or it wasn’t. Until he met Jason. Still, Jason has never seen this side of him. He always comments on how sweet and innocent he always thinks Tim is, and Tim is hoping that Jason won’t think any less of him after this. “Like it even better when you’re cock is pressed against me. Getting me slick with you. Making me smell like you.”

Tim leans back on his elbows, keeping his arms tucked at his sides so that he can slide his thumbs into his waist band, tug his underwear down just the slightest bit in a tease.

“I never thought I’d enjoy having someone’s cum on me, but jesus, Jay, yours gets me so hot every time.” Tim doesn’t even know where this is coming from. It’s just spilling out. Not to say it isn’t true, but he’s never thought about these things in depth. Not until now. “You know, I’d probably walk around like that if I could. Smelling like you all the time. Would you like that? Me smelling like you?” He asks with a roll of his hips. It tugs his underwear down even lower.

He bites his lip again muttering “It’s now or never” in his head and then tugs the underwear down. He maneuvers around, pulling himself up to his knees and then completely sliding the underwear off.

Jason has seen him naked before, but this is different. Tim feels exposed in ways that he can’t describe.

“God, I wish you were here, Jay. Want you to touch me so bad.” Tim has his own hand on his cock now and he’s grinding into his grip. “I’ll just have to do the next best thing.”

Tim twists backwards, grabbing Jason’s pillow and setting it in front of him. He shuffles forward on his knees so that he’s straddling it. He can smell Jason’s scent without even pressing his nose into the material.

He starts grinding against it, slowly at first, a lazy rolling of hips. It’s still just a tease. It doesn’t last long, though. The friction is too good and Jason’s smell is driving him crazy.

“Oh! God, Jay! I need you so bad!”

Tim’s hands fly out, palms pressing flat against the pillow to hold himself steady. He’s riding the pillow in earnest and can feel the sweat at his temple and down his spine. His breathing is erratic and he’s panting so loud that there’s no way the microphones on Jason’s cameras wouldn’t pick it up.

“Jay! I wanna come!” He shouts.

One of his hands slides back, grips his ass and squeezes once, twice. A finger slides between his cheeks, just grazing his hole, not putting any pressure. A feather light touch that makes him jerk and whine. He lets his finger run over himself again and then he’s coming, shouting Jason’s name and shooting all over the pillow.

Tim collapses and wraps his arms around the pillow, pulling it against his chest and pressing his face into the clean side. He’s too spent to clean up now, and he curls up, still clutching Jason’s cum covered pillow. He grabs his phone off the night stand, tapping out a message with one hand and then tossing it aside.

“Goodnight, Jason,” He sighs and then falls asleep.

---

Jason leaves Kori significantly calmer in the den with a cup of tea. He’s exhausted from talking her down. He’d missed most of what had happened the first time with Kori switching back and forth between English and Tamaranian. And the second time wasn't much better. Apparently Roy had made the mistake of bringing up marriage, and Kori has never been particularly fond of the Earthling institution.

He collapses on his bed and has just shut his eyes when he hears a beeping noise coming from his phone. He picks it up and the notification informs him that he has a message. It’s from Tim.

Check your security cam footage.

Jason pulls his tablet out of his bag and taps the file that holds his security camera feeds. He flips through them, until he finds the one of their bedroom. And there’s Tim, standing in front of the camera and looking absolutely edible in Jason’s clothes. He flips on the sound and then watches in awe as Tim strips. It’s more Tim’s words than his actions that are leaving Jason feeling faint from the speed in which his blood has rushed south. His Baby Bird has always been vocal in bed, but he truly has a fucking filthy mouth, and Jason had no idea. He vows to make Tim speak like this the next time they're together.

Then Tim is stark naked, his sleek and hairless body writhing against Jason’s pillow. He’s beautiful and so fucking sexy. His eyes are glassy and dazed and the glisten of his sweat highlights the adorable flush on his body. His muscles tensing and relaxing as he rides the pillow to get himself off. Tim’s coming in a matter of minutes, and Jason is barely able to get a hand on himself before he’s shouting and coming as well.

Chapter Text

Tim calls Jason the next morning, a little nervous after his escapades last night. He’s changed the sheets, but he can still smell himself in their room.

“Hey, you.” And Tim can hear the grin in his voice.

“Hey.”

“I appreciated that little show you gave me last night, Baby Bird. And who knew you had such a filthy mouth?”

Tim blushes.

“Yeah. That. I just… thought I’d do something nice for you since I know you’re dealing with a lot there.”

Jason chuckles. “You definitely did do something nice, didn’t you? Christ, Tim, I yelled so loud when I came that Kori blasted my door down. I should kick your ass for that.”

Tim laughs. It seems ridiculous after all they’ve been through, but he’s feeling a little shy right now. 

“So how’s the trip going so far?”

“It’s alright. Kori’s a little manic right now, but I’ve got it under control.”

“That’s good.”

“Yeah. It’s beautiful here, man. I’ll have to bring you sometime.”

“Really? You would do that?”

“Sure. When you’re all healed up. You’d love it. You can just lay on the beach all day and do nothing. Sometimes it makes it so hard to leave.”

“You promised me you’d only stay for two days.” There’s panic creeping into Tim’s voice. He doesn’t like being away from Jason anymore. The thought of Jason staying any longer than two days makes him feel antsy.

Jason chuckles. “I know, I know. Don’t worry. I’ll be back on time.”

“Good. Because it’s lonely here. And quiet. Honestly I… I kind of miss you.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, maybe I miss you a little bit, too, you little freak.”

Tim hums at that.

“You know, Roy called yesterday.”

Jason doesn’t say anything for a moment as a chilling panic overtakes him.

“Oh yeah? What’d you guys talk about?”

“You.”

Goddammit, Harper.” Jason mutters under his breath and goes on the defensive. “And? What about me?”

Tim giggles. “Nothing. We were just saying how you don’t seem as grumpy lately.”

He can feel himself relax and can’t help but smile.

“Well, thanks for that, Timothy. Just for that I’m not going to bring you back a souvenir.”

“Aw, please, Jay?” Tim begs in a false whiny voice.

“Alright, fine. I’ll still bring you back something. It’s not like I can say no to you anyway. You’re kinda my weakness.” Jason says carelessly.

They’re both silent after that. Jason hadn’t meant to say it at all, but it makes Tim feel like his chest is expanding and about to burst again. Like there’s something radiating from within him. He remembers what Roy had said to him earlier. Finally Jason breaks the silence.

“Listen, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later.”

Tim smiles to himself.

“Alright. Call me tomorrow when you leave. Bye.”

Jason hangs up and immediately dials Roy’s number. He answers on the third ring.

“What’s up, Jaybird?!”

“You fucking told him, didn’t you?”

Roy laughs. “No. I would never.” He says in a sarcastic drawl.

“Roy!” Jason barks in warning.

“Relax, Jason. I didn’t even really say anything. But you should tell him. He’s perfect for you, man. And you should do it quick, before someone comes along and snatches him from right under your nose.”

Jason growls. “That won’t happen. I’ll make damn sure of that.”

“Like the clone. He and Tim are close, right?” Roy continues, “Or I might even try my luck with him. The kid is pretty hot.”

“Watch it, Harper. Don’t think I won’t shoot you just because you’re my friend.”

Roy laughs again. “Wow, Jaybird. You never call me that. This kid really has made an impact on you.”

“Is that so bad?”

“I think it’s great! But tell him, Jason. He deserves to know.”

“Whatever.” Jason says and hangs up.

It’s not that he doesn’t want to tell Tim about how he feels. It’s just that it’s a really, really bad idea. Tim is smart, and kind, and beautiful. He’s just infatuated with Jason right now because he’s something different. Someone much more uninhibited compared to the rest of the Batfamily, who all have sticks up their asses. He can’t tell Tim. It’ll make Tim feel obligated to stay with him, and Jason cares about him too much to keep him away from where he belongs. Because Tim will go back to Bruce eventually. And he’ll be better off that way.

---

“Hey.” Jason says when Tim picks up the phone the next morning.

“Hey! You on your way back?”

“That I am, princess. I should be back pretty early tonight.”

“Good. I can’t wait!”

Tim can hear Jason chuckle through the line.

“Oh yeah? You miss me? Or is just my dick you’ve been thinkin’ about?”

“I didn’t mean like that, jerk. I just meant because I’ve been bored. But I did miss both. Maybe your genitalia a bit more.”

“Really, Tim? We’ve seen each other naked how many times now, and you can’t just call it a dick?”

Tim’s face feels hot and he’s glad Jason can’t see him to embarrass him further.

“Shut up. And don’t even pretend like you don’t miss mine.”

“Oh, I’ve missed your pretty little cock plenty, Baby Bird. I even watched that video that you sent me again. Jerked off twice and came all over myself. All I could think about was getting my mouth on you.”

“Nnhh, Jason,” Tim moans. “Please…please don’t tease me.”

“Aw, but I love teasin’ ya, Baby Bird. You always sound so sweet when I do. So desperate. Like you need me.”

“I do, Jason. Please.”

“Touch yourself, Tim. Wanna hear you make yourself come.”

“Fuck, Jason!”

Tim really doesn’t think he’s capable of not obeying Jason’s order right now. He gets his hand on himself, gathering the wetness at the tip of his cock and spreading it over himself so his hand simply glides. It’s good. It’s really good. Not as good as Jason’s hand, but just fine with Jason in his ear. His breathing becoming instantly erratic.

“J-Jay. Talk to me. Please?” He’s impressed with himself for being able to get even that out.

“Yeah? You wanna hear me as you get yourself off? You sure as hell didn’t need my help the other night, did you? Didn’t need my voice at all. Just needed to be able to smell me, right? Don’t think I didn’t notice the way you curled up with my pillow. ‘S it really that easy for you? I get you that hot?”

“Yes! Yes, Jason, please!”

Jason switches the plane to autopilot and his hands in his pants so fast that he nearly rips the button off of them.

“Please what? I’m not even there. You can get yourself off any time you want, Tim.” Jason teases.

Tim might be out of his mind with pleasure right now, but he doesn’t miss the way Jason’s breath his picked up.

“Wanna… wanna cum… with you.”

“Jesus Christ, Baby Bird, you’re playin’ dirty and that ain’t fair. Alright. Come on. Let me hear you. Come on, Tim. You’re so good. Good at everything. Good at this, too. You can come now, Pretty Bird. Wanna hear you lose it.”

“Oh! Jason!” Tim shouts as he comes all over his hand. He’s faintly aware in the back of his mind of Jason’s own shouts, and knows that Jason has just come as well.

“Tim?” Jason asks after a few moments, and Tim can hear how hard he’s panting.

"Wasn't that... kind of dangerous? Can you even... fly a plane… while masturbating?” Tim asks between sucking in breaths. He makes a face at his hand and goes to the bathroom to wash the cum off.

“Roy installed the auto pilot a while back. No worries, Baby Bird.” Jason is still short of breath, but he’s more in control of his headspace than Tim is.

“I’d ask you to use the hyper drive that I’m sure Roy installed, but with you being within Earth’s atmosphere, I wouldn’t want you to tear a hole in time just so you can get back to me quicker.”

“You wouldn’t? ‘Cause I’ll sure as hell do it if it’ll get you to let me put my hands on you.”

And Tim was regaining the ability to think, but when Jason talks like that it makes things a little hard. In more ways than one.

“It’ll be hard for you to touch me if we’re both dead.”

“Hm. I guess that’s a good point. Alright. You win. So I guess I’ll just see you in a few hours?”

“Yes. But no more masturbating while you’re flying.”

Jason laughs, “It’s a deal. I’ll see you soon.”

Tim feels like an idiot that he’s still smiling after hanging up with Jason. He’s just so excited that the older boy is coming home. He missed Jason more than he could’ve thought possible. Especially since he was only gone for two days. He wonders briefly if he should do something special for Jason’s return. Make dinner, or something. But suddenly a much better more tempting idea comes to mind, and he goes to take a shower instead.

---

Tim can’t help but hug Jason once he’s finally back. He was only gone two and a half days, but it had felt like forever and Tim was so lonely. Sure, he got to talk to Jason plenty while he was away, but it wasn’t the same. He’s gotten so used to the older boy’s constant presence that anything less just feels strange.

With Tim’s nose pressed right into Jason’s chest, he notices that Jason smells strange and…very distinct. Like passion fruit and flowers and just slightly of ash. It suddenly clicks into place for Tim along with why exactly Jason needed to go back to the island. He lets Jason go immediately, taking a step back and staring up at him. He fixes his face into a mask of neutrality. He will not crack in front of Jason.

“I’m glad you’re back,” is all he says before turning away and going to their room, closing the door, and locking it behind him.

Tim feels like an idiot. It’s really not worth the tears. He can’t force Jason to love him, so he bites his lip until the urge to cry finally disappears.

Jason stares at the closed door in confusion.

“What a little weirdo.” he says to himself under his breath.

He sits down on the couch and begins to unpack his things from his room on the island. He didn’t have much. The trip to get there and back took almost as long as the time he’d actually spent there.

He’s running on empty right now. He’d had to explain to Kori his whole current situation with Tim and his family and that had been a discussion he’d have preferred not to have. A then he’d had try to talk her down since she’d apparently had some big blowout with Roy.

He cleans all of his weapons, makes himself something to eat, and watches an entire movie. Tim has still not emerged from the bedroom. He’s starting to worry.

He knocks on the bedroom door, but gets no answer. The knob is at least unlocked now, so Jason opens it slowly and walks in. Tim has three books open on the bed and is doing something on his computer. He doesn’t look up.

“Hey, Little Bird. You want me to make you something to eat? You’ve gotta be hungry.”

Tim sets down his computer, draws himself upright and faces Jason.

“Do you want me to leave? I’ve been here for weeks, and I’m sorry I’ve been encroaching on your personal space, so if you want me to go, all you have to do is say so.” Tim states, trying to keep all emotion out of his voice.

It’s not at all what Jason had expected and he’s entirely taken aback.

“What? You’re not even done healing yet. And all your shit is already here. What are you talking about? Where is this even coming from?”

“You’ve been taking care of me this whole time when I didn’t even ask you to. Why?”

“I don’t know. I was returning the favor?”

Jason doesn’t miss the way Tim’s shoulders fall.

“Oh. I see. So then that’s it? That’s all this has been? You’re just…returning the favor?”

“Well… yeah. I guess.”

“You guess?”

Jason holds his arms out at his sides in surrender.

“Listen, Tim, I don’t know what you want from me here. It’s not like I was trying to keep you here as my prisoner or something. I didn’t think I had to spell that out for you. You can leave any time you want. I won’t stop you if you really wanna go.”

That truly hurts Tim. He thought maybe Jason would be a little more upset. Would fight to keep him from going. Maybe this relationship means more to him than it does to Jason after all.

“I called Dick. He said I can stay with him.”

Jason is shocked and honestly more than just a little crushed. His arms fall heavily at his sides.

“So, that’s it? You’re just leaving?”

Tim can’t look at Jason any longer and his gaze drops to the sheets.

“I’ve intruded enough. You have other…obligations, and I’m keeping you from them. I didn’t mean to take up so much of your time and energy. I’m sorry.”

“What the hell are you even talking about, Drake? If you want to say something, then say it.”

Tim is kind of amazed by how fluidly Jason goes back to using his last name. Like he hasn’t been calling him Tim, or Little Bird, or Baby Bird for the past few weeks.

“You.”

“What about me?”

“And I.” Tim mumbles as he picks at a loose thread on the sheets.

“They told me you were a genius. I’m starting to think they lied. Spit it out, kid.”

And “kid” might be even worse than “Drake.”

“This whole situation with us has been… murky to say the least from the very beginning, Jason. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“I think I’m still missing something here. Can you just say whatever it is you’re trying to say already?”

“I… I thought you liked me. I suppose that was naïve of me, though. Seeing as how things have been very unclear, apparently. I shouldn’t have made the assumption. It was foolish and I apologize for that.” And now Tim is blushing so fiercely that it feels like he might burn up from the inside out.

“I do like you, Little Bird. Unfortunately for me. As it turns out, you’re not as big of a shithead as I originally thought.”

Tim fists the sheets tightly in his hands. He wants to burrow into them and hide out until things magically fix themselves, but he knows he can’t. This is real life, and things never work out the way they should. He has to face up to that sooner or later.

“No, Jason. I thought you had… feelings for me. Now I can see that it was only an idea I’d created in my head. You were just taking care of me and I suppose I just let my fantasies get the better of me. I’m sorry I made you do everything you did. I really am.”

“Tim, what in the hell are you talking about?!”

“Every time you’ve kissed me. All of the things you’ve done for me. The sex. It was just because you were taking care of me, not because you felt something deeper than companionship for me.”

And suddenly Tim isn’t sure if he can do this. Things were going so well and he was happy. He wants to be able to leave well enough alone, but it’s not in his nature. He needs Jason to be completely and utterly honest with him. To tell Tim that he doesn’t feel that way about him and let him move on with his life, or that maybe, just maybe, Jason actually wants him and that Tim was maybe right all along. He needs to know the truth one way or another. But he’s absolutely terrified. He needs Jason, but he’ll fall apart if Jason doesn’t need him.

“Well, I mean-“

Oh. Somehow that’s telling enough for Tim to know that things are about to go south for him. He can’t let Jason finish. He can’t handle this kind of rejection. If he can end things, then maybe it won’t feel so bad. Maybe he and Jason can still be friends after this.

“You don’t care for me that way, Jason, and that’s fine. You don’t have to force yourself. I’m just sorry I kept you from what you really wanted this whole time. And while I won’t judge you, I do think it would be in your best interest to tell Roy that you are seeing his ex.”

“Okay, clearly we are not on the same page here, because I still have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Jason cannot be this dumb. He’s infuriating, and frustrating, and a jerk, but he’s not this dumb. And Tim had thought he wasn’t a liar. Now he guesses he thought wrong.

He throws the sheets off of himself and crawls on his knees to the edge of the bed, staring up at Jason.

“Starfire! I could smell her all over you when you first came home!”

“Well, yeah. Because she hugged me before I left. Do you know how hard it is to get ‘Kori smell’ off? I don’t mind so much anymore, but it’s like wearing a perfume that refuses to fucking wash away. She has a very strong scent. I’m used to it now, though. It’s her Tamaranian DNA. It’s kinda crazy, right?”

All of the anger and irritation suddenly drains out of Tim and he sits back on his heels, stunned and a little embarrassed.

“You mean… you mean you didn’t sleep with her?”

“What? No! Of course not. She’s one of my closest friends. That’d just be fucking weird. And she’s dating my other closest friend. I might be an asshole, but I’m not that big of a dick. Besides, I don’t look at Kori like that.”

“But… but you like girls. Don’t you?”

Tim suddenly very vividly remembers the game of twenty questions he and Jason played not all that long ago. Jason had said he’d slept with quite a few girls. Spoken as if it were something he was still interested in doing. He’d also never once said he had any interest in guys, and it makes Tim a little bit sick to think that Jason has been forcing himself to do all of the things he’s done for him.

“Sure, but Kori’s just…Kori. I mean, she’s kissed me a few times, but those were just a misunderstanding. Just her trying to be nice. And Dick and Roy would both probably kill me if she and I ever got together. Regardless of the fact that it’s me. Kori is almost like a sister.”

“But you don’t like… I mean… you’re not gay?”

“No. At least, not entirely. I mean, I don’t really have a gender preference one way or another, I guess. I’m not exclusively into one gender. Guess I should’ve mentioned that before. Why? Are you not okay with that?” Jason doesn’t ask like he’s offended. He’s not defensive at all, more like he’s concerned that he’ll be shunned for his admission.

Tim thinks about it for a second. It makes him feel a little better that Jason does actually have an interest in cock. He’s been worried for quite some time that Jason would leave him at any time for a beautiful, incredible girl that he cared about more than Tim. Now he may also have to worry about losing Jason to some beautiful, incredible man, too, and that really doesn’t make him feel any better anymore.

“I don’t know. I’d never really thought about it before now.” Tim answers him honestly.

“Well, don’t you swing both ways? You dated Spoiler and Wonder Girl, right? And didn’t you and Superdork have a thing? And I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but you seemed pretty into the stuff we were doing, too. Which also kind of means that you’re at least somewhat bisexual.”

“Not really. At least not anymore. My crush on Conner is what made me realize I was attracted to men. Since him, I’ve only been attracted to men. I think Steph and Cassie were just a fluke. Before… well, before this,” Tim gestures between them, “I had been somewhat trying to pursue Luke Fox to an extent, but I don’t think he’s particularly drawn to the male persuasion.”

Tim notices the way Jason prickles at that. It makes him feel oddly optimistic, but he’s still cautious.

“You…don’t still have feelings for him, do you? Or… Super Boy?”

Tim hides a smile and shakes his head.

“No. Not even a little bit. I’ve been really interested in some other guy lately. You might know him. Pretty handsome, kind of an ass.”

Jason ignores the jab. He needs clarification. He needs to be absolutely sure.

“So then you just see yourself as gay?”

Tim just shrugs. “I suppose.”

“Well, I’m not with any girls right now, if that’s what you were trying to get at. Or any other guys. And I don’t really want to be. I’m pretty okay with what I’ve got right now.”

Tim’s eyes widen and his heartbeat picks up significantly.

“So, you do? Like me? That way?”

“Don’t make this weird, Tim. You’re lucky I’m even having an actual discussion with you about this.”

Tim drops his head and bites his lip, hiding a smile. He looks cautiously up at Jason through his lashes when he can compel the smile away.

“I’m sorry. I just… is it so strange that I’m finding this a little hard to process? You don’t talk to me. And every time I try to get you to let me in… you just block me out and shut down. I never know what to think.”

“I know I’m not good at this, but it’s hard for me. I don’t do this and I’m kind of just figuring it out as I go. I’m not… I’m not used to this. But I’m trying.”

Tim reaches out a reassuring hand and clutches Jason’s forearm.

“You don’t have to force yourself for me, Jay. Really. I’d rather you be honest than try to spare my feelings. I know I’m no prize, but-“

“Stop it! Don’t you ever talk about yourself that way, got it?!”

Tim jumps and draws his hand back, gives Jason a hurt and confused look.

“But… but if you don’t want me…”

“The hell I don’t! You keep saying that, but what the fuck ever made you think I didn’t want you?! I mean, I’ve had your dick in my mouth more than once. And I know I was horrible to you at one point-“

“I thought you hated me. That you wanted me dead.”

Jason’s hands fly to his hair where they dig into his scalp and apply the slightest amount of pressure to his head. He understands completely why Tim was confused about everything. Still, things aren’t like that between them anymore.

“Fuck, I just… I did hate you back then, alright? But that was then, and I realized a while back that I don’t know what I’d do without you!”

Tim’s chest feels like its swelling. Like he can’t breathe and he can feel his face heat up, but in a good way. It’s starting to make it kind of hard to hold back the tears that prick at his eyes.

“I wanted… I wanted so desperately to let myself believe that you wanted me. You’ve taken care of me, and saved me, and stood up for me. You’ve stayed by my side when you could’ve left a long time ago. But then I would remember those times when I would be lying on the ground looking up at you and seeing my blood on your hands. On your uniform.”

Jason squeezes his eyes shut and turns his head away. He remembers those moments vividly as well. Has nightmares about them still that make him wake up wanting to retch all over their bedroom floor.

“God, I’m so sorry, Baby Bird. I never want to be that person again. Not with you. I do want you. Bad. Like, you have no idea how much I fucking want you.”

“I’d just thought it was ridiculous to even entertain the notion that you might have feelings for me.”

Jason opens his eyes and turns back to Tim, giving him a knowing smile.

“You are so not ridiculous, Tim.”

Tim makes himself stay perfectly still, instead of propelling himself into Jason’s arms and mashing their mouths together like he wants to. Thankfully, Jason is speaking again and breaks him of the trance.

“So, you wanted to leave because you thought I was having pity sex with you? That I was just waiting for you to get better so that I could whore around with some random chick?”

Jason smirks and crosses his arms. Tim shrugs and gives him a shy smile in return.

“It…hadn’t occurred to me that you might actually be interested in both genders. That you weren’t just…doing me a favor?”

“Drake, you’re a real fucking idiot sometimes, you know that?”

“It would seem you’re right.”

“So…are you really leaving? Because I’ve kind of gotten used to having you around. And… I would probably miss you. But even if you do leave, I won’t start hooking up with anyone else. I don’t…I don’t want anyone else.”

Tim is stunned silent.

“But if you want to go with Dick, then I won’t stop you. I know things around here are far from glamorous, and I’m not the easiest person to get along with…but… if you stayed…I’d… I’d really like that. And I’d work on making things better. I’ll get a new place that’s nicer with a second bedroom so you can have your own space. And I’ll get a nicer mattress. I’ll even let you help me pick out a new couch. Maybe I’ll even let you get a pet since you’ve never had one. But not a cat. I fucking hate cats, man. But you probably already knew that, right, stalker boy?”

Jason gives him a playful smile and Tim smiles back genuinely this time.

“Jay, you’re not obligated to take care of me. You know that, right?”

Jason’s smile softens into something familiar and kind. The kind that makes Tim’s heartrate skyrocket.

“I know. But I’m choosing to. Because I want to. And besides, I don’t really wanna share you with Dick. I don’t wanna share you with anyone.” He says, taking a step forward to close that last little bit of distance he’d been keeping between them so he didn’t spook Tim. He slides his arms around Tim’s back and squeezes Tim’s ass in both hands. “So tell Super Boy to keep away from you or I’ll kick his ass.”

“Good grief. I should’ve known you’d be the jealous type.”

“Oh, I’m not jealous. But you’re mine and it will still that way. Okay?”

“Great. Jealous and possessive.”

“Don’t act like it doesn’t make you hot, Baby Bird.”

“Never said it didn’t.”

Tim gives him a genuine smile that honestly takes Jason’s breath away and makes him a little lightheaded. What on earth did he do right to deserve someone like Tim Drake?

“In all seriousness, Tim, if you ever need me to just back off, just say something. I never want you to be afraid to tell me if things get to be too much.”

But Tim reaches out and grabs Jason’s hands and puts them on his hips, guiding his hands so that he’s making Jason’s slide his sweatpants down and revealing Tim’s completely bare lower body as he does.

Jason swallows hard and forces himself to keep eye contact with Tim.

“Are you sure this is…” Jason coughs, clears his throat. “Is this okay?”

“God, yes. Please, Jason.”

Tim grips Jason’s biceps and pulls him down onto the bed and on top of himself. Jason easily covers Tim’s whole body with his own and then some. He loves how much bigger Jason is than himself. He never feels unsafe when he’s by Jason’s side.

Jason stares down at him, his eyes analyzing Tim’s face.

“You planned this?”

Tim blushes and looks away for the briefest moment before meeting Jason’s eyes again.

“Well, not the argument, but the sex, yes.”

And Jason is just so perfect as he lies atop him. He’s broad, like Bruce, but not quite as thick or as tall. He’s solid muscle and smooth skin and scars. His chest is absolutely amazing, and the way his waist tapers in does things to Tim he’ll think about later when Jason isn’t on top of him. His biceps and thighs are thick, but not imposingly so. More just in a way that Tim would enjoy riding them and rubbing off on them until he spills over onto Jason’s skin. And Jason’s eyes will forever mesmerize Tim. A blue- green, like when the aqua of the Caribbean waters meet the stormy blue of the deep sea. God, if Jason were any more perfect then Tim doesn’t even know what he’d do.

Jason switches his weight around on his hands so that he can slide his pants down. They reveal the sinuous cut of his beautiful hips and his hardening cock. Tim stares and swallows. Jason can feel the slight tremor that wracks Tim’s body.

“You… you’re big.” Obviously Tim has seen it before, but it never mattered. Not the way it does now. Not with the specific intentions he has in mind.

Jason smiles shyly, blushing the slightest bit as his hand goes up to rub nervously at the short hair on the back of his head.

“I guess.”

“I want it… I want you in me. For real this time, Jason. I want it to be you.”

And Jason knows exactly what he means by that.

“Tim… are you sure? Your first time should be with someone you feel special about. Someone you actually want.”

“Can’t think of anyone I’ve ever wanted more than you, Jay.”

He lowers his head and kisses Tim, sliding his hands down to rub up and down Tim’s slender waist and pushing his shirt off over his head before taking off his own.

“We don’t… we don’t have to do this yet, Tim.”

“You don’t want to?” Tim looks up at him with sad and panicked eyes.

“Fuck, of course I do, baby. You have no idea how badly I want it. But we won’t do this if you’re not ready. I promise I won’t hurt you. I’ll be gentle and make it so good for you. You can take the lead on things. But don’t do this for me, Tim. I want you to want this, too. I can wait if I have to. But don’t do it because you think it’s something I have to have. This is all about you.”

Tim shivers.

“I want this. Please.”

Jason nods and rubs at the back of his head again. His eyes stay locked on Tim’s, but the bold flush is back on his cheeks in full force.

"Do you wanna... should we maybe... um... condom?" Jason finally settles for that. He’s nearly shaking he’s so turned on right now and he doesn’t know how else to ask.

Tim shakes his head. “Not necessary. You’re clean?”

Jason swallows, nods his head again.

“I was pretty sure. You’ve been celibate for months in that regard. At least, I’m almost sure. And I wanna feel all of you. Just you.”

Jason swallows again, “Lube?” Because he’s now been reduced to one syllable words.

“Probably. This is my first time, after all. I’m guessing it’ll be necessary,” Tim says on a shaky laugh and Jason tries to keep his knees from buckling.

“’S the bed okay?”

Tim nods, “Yes. Just fine.”

Tim watches as Jason stretches over him to grab a bottle of lube from weathered nightstand’s drawer. He watches the way Jason’s muscles pull and flex in different places and his mouth is nearly watering with the desire to lick Jason’s entire torso.

Jason pauses suddenly, lube in hand as he goes stock still and stares down at Tim. Then he sets the lube gently next to his leg.

“Turn over.” His voice is rough and broken with want and nerves.

While Tim has watched plenty of porn, experiencing this first hand is quite different, and his body trembles as he lays there.

“W- why?” It comes out broken and shaky.

“I want to do something first.” And Jason doesn’t mean for it to come out sounding so stiff, but he’s so turned on right now and he’s trying his best not to project that to Tim. He doesn’t want to rush this. He’ll be damned if he ruins this for Tim.

But it does come out like a bit of a command, and Tim’s eyes widen and his face is hesitant. So Jason gives him a small smile and bends over to kiss Tim softly.

“I promise I won’t hurt you, Tim. Not right now. I’d rather die first. Just trust me. Okay?”

“I’ll always trust you, Jason.” Tim whispers and smiles back, rolling over awkwardly with Jason still hovering over him.

He’s still shaking, and like this he feels even more vulnerable. He can’t really see Jason in this position. He does trust Jason. That isn’t a lie, but he’s terrified right now. He flinches and tenses, shutting his eyes tightly when he feels the soft touch of Jason’s hand on his hip.

Jason’s lips press against the back of his neck and hover with a feather light touch as he whispers against Tim’s skin.

“I swear I won’t hurt you. I’ll make you feel so good, Tim. I’ll show you just how good this can be.”

Jason kisses his way down Tim’s spine and Tim shivers for an entirely different reason than fear as a soft sigh escapes from his mouth.

Tim has never looked at Jason like anything other than the wonderful person he is. And he doesn’t care about all the wrongs that Jason has committed, but he never would’ve guessed that a man that’s capable of such violence at times could have such a gentle touch.

He makes his way down to Tim’s hips, kissing from one side to the other along Tim’s lower back. And then Tim is aware of the feel of Jason’s thumbs pressing into his flesh along the crease of his ass.

“Jason,” he sighs out.

Jason’s fingers continue to tease.

“It’s alright, Tim. I’ll take care of you. Just tell me if you need me to stop.”

There’s a moist breath ghosting across Tim’s hole and then Jason’s tongue flicks across it, and suddenly he’s very aware of every nerve ending in every part of his body. He cringes away at the foreign feel of it, but Jason holds his hips gently and leans in for another hesitant swipe of tongue.

“Jason,” Tim calls to him again.

Jason doesn’t stop, though, and he uses one hand to soothingly rub up and down Tim’s hip and ribs, the other holding Tim firmly in place. Tim tastes clean, like soap and skin and just the slightest hint of salt from his sweat. Jason keeps licking until Tim’s hole relaxes enough for him to dip his tongue inside.

“Jason!” Tim curls up and shies away from the wet, invading muscle.

He does stop this time, pulling away to calm Tim.

“Shh. It’s okay, Tim. I’m sorry. I know it’s a strange feeling. I should’ve warned you before I did that. I’m sorry.” He kisses Tim’s hip in apology. “I’m going to do it again now. Is that okay?”

Tim nods his head, his eyes remaining closed so he isn’t sure if Jason sees it or not. But then Jason’s tongue is back in his hole, just barely delving inside. It is strange. Not unpleasant, just unusual. He isn’t sure if he should be doing something to assist Jason in their activities at the moment, so he remains still and allows Jason access to the most intimate parts of himself.

He licks Tim until he’s feeling sloppy and so exposed. Sure, Tim has fingered himself on numerous occasions in the shower, but it never felt anything like this. The unrelenting pressure and slickness of Jason’s tongue inside him is so new that Tim isn’t sure it’s something he could ever get used to.

Tim is so caught up in just feeling the motion of Jason’s tongue that he almost misses the click as the bottle of lube is popped open, and then Jason’s tongue is pulling out of his hole.

“I have to lube you up now, alright? It’ll be a little cold, but I’ll try to warm it up as fast as I can. I’m going to use my fingers now, though. Is that okay?”

Tim nods his head again.

“Tim, talk to me, baby. Please. Let me know what’s going on in that head of yours. I can’t do this if you don’t tell me that you’re okay with it. Do you want me to stop?”

This time Tim shakes his head.

“Please, Tim. I need to hear you say it.”

It takes Tim multiple attempts, and he has to swallow half a dozen times before he’s finally able to answer.

“I’m okay. I’m fine. Please just… keep going?”

He twitches when the cold lube touches his skin, and he feels so extraordinarily filthy as it glides down between his cheeks and over his already sloppy hole.

“Oh,” it comes out as an exhale.

“I’m going to slide a finger in now.” Jason warns him.

He uses just the tip of a finger to massage the lube around the hole first, softening the ring of muscle so that it’s pliant and yielding. He scoops up the extra lube sliding down the insides of Tim’s thighs and then slips the tip of the same finger inside.

“You don’t… you don’t have to be so careful. I’ve done this before. Even did it before you got home.”

Jason’s finger remains in him as he leans up again to kiss Tim’s lower back. He can feel as Jason hums against the skin.

“You really did plan this. My clever, needy Little Bird. Okay. I’ll move this along. But I’m not gonna hurt ya, so you tell me if it’s too much.”

The pop of the bottle cap sounds so loud now that Tim’s aware of it in the otherwise quiet room. Jason coats three of his fingers, making sure every inch is slicked up before he closes the lube again and presses two fingers into Tim.

Tim hisses at the feel of it, but it doesn’t really hurt. Not even close.

“Jason. Oh. That’s… that’s so good.” Jason’s fingers are thick and long, and they’re stretching him in a way he’s never felt before, and the sensation is disturbingly welcome. He bites back the whimpers that so desperately want to escape.

It isn’t easy, but Tim is trying to focus on Jason’s fingers themselves, and not the absolute pleasure they’re bringing him as they thrust in and out of him, twisting and curving in all the right ways. Tim blushes at the squelching sounds his hole is making, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering Jason one bit.

Jason finally adds the third finger, and Tim takes it so well. They haven’t really talked much about Tim’s sex life, other than the fact the Tim is a virgin. And now Jason is finding out firsthand for a fact that Tim has indeed fingered himself before. But he has no idea how much training Tim has done with his own body, and how much he’s able to take. He wants Tim so badly, but he won’t take more than he’s being given right now. Still, his fingers glide in and out of Tim’s hole easily, and it isn’t long before the skin around it is slick and pink, begging for further attention.

He keeps his fingers inside Tim as he sits up on his knees so he can stretch himself along Tim’s body.

“I think you’re ready. Turn over for me, baby. I think it’s time I got inside you now, and I wanna see you while I make you feel good.” Jason finishes with a kiss to the back of Tim’s neck again as he slides his fingers out of Tim’s hole.

He helps Tim turn over onto his back and moans at the sight of him. He looks utterly debauched. His pupils dark and dilated in a way that Jason’s never seen; brimming with unadulterated desire. His cheeks are a sweet pink, and Jason wants to lick them. And his mouth is red and puffy, like his poor Little Bird must’ve been biting the hell out of it. Jason’s entire body is alight with want, and he needs to be in Tim very, very soon.

He couldn’t stop himself from kissing Tim right this moment even if he wanted, and attaches their mouths intently, entirely focused on driving Tim crazy in every way that he can. He feels ramped up in a way he’s never felt before, almost animalistic. And he’d be hard pressed to find a single reason, life threatening or otherwise, to leave this room at the moment.

Tim pulls back from the kiss and Jason opens his eyes to meet Tim’s.

“I wanna suck you, Jason. Can I?”

And he doesn’t miss the way a dark shimmer passes over Jason’s eyes just the slightest bit at that.

“Tim, I… you don’t have to do that. This isn’t about me, it’s about you.”

Tim kisses him quickly.

“No. This is about us. And I want to give you back even a fraction of the pleasure that you’ve given me over and over again if I can. So can I?”

Jason swallows and nods his head fervently, his eyebrows knitting together like he can’t quite comprehend what he’s just agreed to. He lets Tim pull him forward and he shuffles awkwardly on his knees until his cock is sitting right in front of Tim’s face.

Tim stretches forward timidly and laps at Jason once, his hands are laying awkwardly at his sides, fisted up in the sheets. He seals his lips over the head and flicks his tongue against it. Then he lets Jason slide into his mouth a little at a time. He isn’t able to take much, but it’s not going to stop him from trying.

He’s never done this before, and Tim has no idea of what he’s doing, but he does know he’s supposed to suck, so he does. There’s a tug on his head and Jason’s fingers are in his hair. He still isn’t sure if he’s doing any of this right, but he continues. He tries to take Jason further into his mouth, sliding his mouth forward. Jason’s fingers are still twisted lightly in his hair. He isn’t able to fit much more in and ends up choking when he forces himself, pulling away to cough as his eyes fill with wetness.

“It’s okay, Tim. You don’t gotta take the whole thing.”

Tim goes back to what he’s comfortable with, which is only about half of Jason’s dick in his mouth, and he sucks and licks in measured increments, trying to piece together the best formula for an effective blowjob.

Jason can see sparks behind his eyelids as Tim sucks him methodically. It’s extremely obvious that Tim doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. There’s no finesse to this whatsoever, but it’s that, coupled with the fact that he’s trying so hard that’s making Jason so hot for it right now. Tim just wants to please him, and his mouth is wet and warm, and it would probably be enough on its own to get Jason off if he weren’t holding out for something better. He does have to finally pull Tim off when he starts fantasizing about tying Tim up and keeping him on his knees as a pretty little cock warmer.

“Jason?” Tim asks with wide eyes as he stares up at Jason.

“You were fine, Tim. It was good. I just can’t take much more if you’re still interested in the main event.”

“Yeah. Yes. Please.”

Jason picks up the lube again, coating himself and then using his clean hand to gently guide Tim back down onto the bed and smearing what’s leftover on his hand on Tim’s already well prepped hole.

“You know, this’ll be less painful on your hands and knees.”

“I know. But I wanna see you.” He needs to see Jason. This is a significant moment for the both of them and Tim already feels like he’s losing it. He couldn’t handle this if he couldn’t see Jason.

Jason nods and leans down to kiss him. It’s sensual and deliberate, and Jason is busting out all of his best techniques in order to distract him as he slides into Tim’s body. Tim’s hole pulses and clenches around him before he clamps down on Jason like a vice. Jason is watching his face closely, but Tim is skillfully keeping his face neutral, his eyes closed tightly.

“Do you need me to stop?” Jason asks through labored breaths. The hold Tim’s body has on him is so good that it’s almost painful.

“N-no.”

“Tell me if you need to stop.”

Tim nods his assent.

Jason’s hands are trembling, his body’s need to thrust becoming undeniable. He fists them in the sheets next to Tim’s head. He’s already so close to the edge, his orgasm rushing upon him like a rogue wave.

“Holy shit, Tim. Never…never felt anything like this before,” Jason drops his head to rest against Tim’s collarbone. “So fucking tight. Gonna squeeze the cum right outta me.” And because he can’t help it anymore, Jason has to thrust just once, experimentally. “Fuck, you’re so warm inside. Jesus, Tim, if you want me to stop then tell me now.”

And then one more thrust because he has to. It’s just too good. Then he hears Tim gasp.

“Wait!” Tim’s voice comes out more startled than he means it to.

Jason halts, his eyes going wide and his heart hammering in fear. He pulls back to assess Tim and the younger boy is staring at him with big, lust clouded eyes. Even through the desire, Jason can see the fear, and suddenly his body flushes with panic.

“Shit, Tim, I’m sorry. I should’ve been more patient. Are you hurt? Let’s just stop.”

“NO! Please. It’s just… are you absolutely sure you want this, Jay? That you want me?”

Jason smiles warmly, rolls his hips, slow and languidly, wanting Tim to feel everything.

“Oh,” Tim sighs. A dazed look coming over his face.

“Do you feel that, baby? Feel me inside you?” And then Jason grabs Tim’s hand and places it against his chest so that Tim can feel the surprisingly fast beat of his heart beneath the skin. “Do you feel this? This is you. You do this to me, Tim. Only you.”

All of Tim’s doubts evaporate then and there. He forces himself to relax and gives himself over to Jason completely. He wants this. He wants Jason, and Jason has made this everything that Tim had hoped it would be and more. Tim loves this man, and even if he doesn’t have the guts to tell Jason, he can show him.

He wraps his arms around Jason’s midsection and wraps his legs around Jason’s hips, sensually rolling his own along with Jason’s, meeting him thrust for thrust. He is Jason’s and now it’s official. He will give himself to Jason over and over if it means he gets to keep him, too.

“A- ah! Jason!”

“Oh, pretty bird, you’re being so good for me. So perfect.” It’s throaty and rough and Jason feels absolutely wrecked already, his impending orgasm a steady build in his guts.

He wants to consume Tim’s body, his being, his soul. Every part of him until Tim is well and truly his. Jason is drunk off him and he knows now that he’ll never be able to let Tim go. Tim belongs with him.

Jason keeps his tempo. It’s absolutely incredible with Tim giving back just as good as he’s getting. The smaller boy looks wanton and depraved, his mouth hanging open and panting. His eyes still so full of hunger and awe. It’s all driving Jason absolutely insane.

He digs his fingertips into one of Tim’s thigh, tightening the grip Tim’s leg has on him. He wants to leave bruises. He wants Tim thoroughly marked and claimed so that no one will dare lay a hand on him again after tonight.

“Jesus Christ, Tim. You’re fucking amazing. God, you feel so good. Never letting you go, Baby Bird. You’re mine now. Only I get to have you. My Pretty Bird. Fuck, you’re so fucking perfect.”

“Oh god, Jason! Jason!”

His mouth finds its way to Tim’s, then his jaw, his neck, biting and sucking along the way until Tim’s skin is sporting bright pink marks every few inches. He latches onto the junction of Tim’s neck and shoulder and sucks a bruise that will be permanent for the next few days, and keeps sucking so that there is no debate on whether or not it will fade any time soon.

His hips are picking up speed and losing tact. He needs to come. His skin is sweaty and sticking to Tim where he’s still plastered against the smaller boy’s chest. He can’t get his arms to work to hold himself up, but that’s just fine because Tim’s fingers are digging into his back and holding him in place as he moans constantly into Jason’s ear.

“Nngh! Jason, more! Please!”

Tim’s cock is drooling puddles of pre-cum onto his own stomach, the muscles beneath the skin quivering in pleasure as the fluid gets smeared between their bodies as he writhes beneath Jason. He’s babbling incoherently, but it seems to just cause a surge in Jason’s lust. It’s all so overwhelming in the best way. The feeling of Jason inside him is absolutely unparalleled. It’s intoxicating and Tim feels like his body is singing, radiating warmth from the sun and the stars and maybe a fucking atom bomb. He never wants this to end. Doesn’t want to release Jason from within his body. Doesn’t ever want to have to be without Jason again.

And then Jason’s dick strikes something inside him and the back of Tim’s mind helpfully supplies the word prostate.

“Jason! Fuck, I need to… I’m gonna come!”

Tim’s cock jerks so forcefully that he can feel it. And then his orgasm is washing over him like a fucking tidal wave, making him seize up and hold Jason firmly in place with his thighs and arms as his hips arch up and his head tilts back. He can feel every twitch and spasm as his cock spits out glob after glob of cum between them.

It’s the hottest thing Jason has ever seen in his life and his orgasm tears through him, quick and unrelenting as he empties himself inside Tim’s body. Tim must be able to feel it, because his hole tightens around Jason again and Jason’s cock jerks and gushes more cum into Tim’s supple body.

When he finally finishes, Jason feels boneless and satiated. He can feel all of the fluid between them, but he just can’t bring himself to care at the moment. He waits until both he and Tim have caught their breath before he carefully slips out of Tim’s body and collapses on the bed next to him.

Never in his life has Jason felt something so intense. He’s positively spent. His orgasm leaving his brain incapacitated, but somehow his lips still find Tim, their mouths drawn to each other’s as if gravity itself is pulling them together.

Jason pulls away when he can no longer breathe and folds Tim against himself, kissing his head and rubbing comforting circles into Tim’s back.

“Don’t leave anymore. Please. Please just stay with me. Don’t leave me.”

And Tim whispers it so quiet and tenderly that Jason isn’t sure he’s supposed to respond to it at all.

“I’m not leaving anymore, Tim. I promise.”

“Please don’t leave me.”

“I’m right here, baby. I’m not goin’ anywhere. Never again.”

They lay together a bit longer, trying to recover before Jason finally makes them get up and take a shower. They go at it again while washing up. Jason fucking Tim up against the shower wall, and Jason tries to take things slow, but Tim’s enthusiasm makes it rather difficult.

Jason towels him off when they finish nearly a half hour later after Jason’s hot water heater is empty. He’s mindful of Tim’s sore and exhausted body. He puts on some sweats and gives Tim one of his shirts to wear, but Tim slides on his own pair of boxers. Tim crawls into bed and pulls Jason under the covers with him, curling up against Jason’s bare chest and sighing contentedly.

The room smells like sweat and sex. It smells like them and it makes Jason dizzy with want. He’s never thought he would have this. Never thought he would want to just lie in bed after having sex with someone. Never thought he would even have sex with someone he… liked very much. They’ve come so far, and he owes Tim some honesty now for a change.

He kisses Tim’s still wet forehead tentatively and then grabs Tim’s hand, pulling the knuckles to his lips and kissing them softly. Tim stretches to kiss Jason’s neck and Jason tries not to shudder. They settle back into a comfortable silence and Tim is not expecting what comes out of Jason’s mouth when he speaks.

“I didn’t want to live anymore.” Jason says into the stretching silence.

Tim shoots up in bed and stares down at Jason with a hurt and horrified expression.

“I couldn’t remember anything when I finally dug myself out of that coffin. Just darkness and blood and pain. I didn’t know where I was and I wandered for miles and miles before someone finally found me. I don’t really remember any of it clearly. Just fleeting glimpses and sensations. I remember the lights of the emergency room. I remember hearing myself call for Bruce, but wondering who he was and even who I was. I remember being cold and hungry while living on the streets. I remember how my knuckles always seemed to be bloody, but never remembering how the blood ever got there.”

Tim wants to reach out a hand and touch Jason. To comfort him and tell him he doesn’t have to talk about this, but he’s afraid that if he does, Jason will shut down like he always does and never do this again. He knows how hard this is for Jason and what it must mean that he’s telling Tim all of this. The strength it’s taking for him to talk about it. So he remains still and lets Jason continue. They both need this right now. It’s cathartic to say the least.

“Then Talia found me. I think she really may have been trying to help, but her way of helping could probably be considered counterproductive for most normal human beings. She told me she tried helping me to regain my memory for months. Would have me fight her assassins, because if I’d managed to remember my training, then eventually I’d be able to remember why I’d been trained and who had trained me. But it never worked. And if I had remembered, I guess I never said anything. Apparently I’d gone months without saying a single word. She told me during all that time that she’d never seen anyone with eyes as empty as mine. Not even her father’s.”

Tim does touch him then, not even realizing he’s doing it. Jason chuckles and grips Tim’s hips, hauling him up and settling him on his own hips so that Tim is straddling his torso. Jason keeps talking, though, his hands staying on Tim’s hips and his thumbs rubbing soothing circles.

“I don’t know how much damage the pit really caused. Sure, it made me a little crazy at first, but I think that anger and thirst for blood and chaos were always there. The pit just amplified that thirst. Even if I’d survived and stayed with Bruce, I think I just would’ve ended up like this anyway.”

Tim reaches one hand out to cup Jason’s cheek, brushing a thumb along his cheekbone. Jason turns his head and ghosts his lips along the inside of Tim’s wrist before kissing it once.

“I didn’t get my memory back all at once. It was slow and painful and it came while I continued to train. And once they all did come back, I was so, so angry. Angry at Bruce. Angry at Dick. Angry at my old life and angry at the world. I didn’t want to do anything but train so that when I decided to go back to Gotham I could kill Bruce and anyone that had been a part of my death. I trained for almost two years. And then Talia came to me one day with a warning and a file. A file about you.”

Tim closes his eyes and lets his head droop, but Jason just cups his jaw and lifts it so that Tim opens his eyes and looks at him again.

“I wanted to die when I found out I’d been replaced. When I realized that he had loved me so little that he’d replaced me within months.”

Tears pour softly down Tim’s cheeks now as he begins to cry, and shifts slightly as if making to climb off of Jason, but Jason keeps his grip firm and forces Tim to stay put.

“I was going to end it. Put a bullet in my head and be done with it all for good. And then Talia gave me that helmet and told me that revenge was more important. She saved my life, in a sense. Gave me a new purpose. So I focused all of my energy on ways to kill Bruce. I made plans and alliances and had set everything up perfectly. Then the moment came and I hadn’t expected you to be there. It completely threw me. When I saw you there I wasn’t really sure of what to do. I wasn’t planning on meeting you so soon. And fuck, it tore me apart to see you standing in that cemetery in my uniform.”

“Jason, I’m so sorry. I never meant-” Tim is saying through the tears.

“The thing is,” Jason interrupts him, a whimsical smile on his face, “I really did want to hurt you. I wanted to hurt you so badly. Yeah, I wanted you to suffer, but I never wanted you dead. That urge and need for me to take your life wasn’t there. My mind was trying to tell me something about you that I hadn’t even realized or thought about until just a while back.

“I was undoubtedly angry, and bitter, and heartbroken. I wanted to kill Bruce and make you suffer endlessly for ever having the guts to put on what had been my suit. But I never would have been able to kill you. Something inside me wouldn’t let me and I hated it, but I just couldn’t have done it. It was one more thing that made me resent you. I didn’t even know you, but for some reason I cared about you already.”

Tim’s tears aren’t slowing, so Jason lifts his thumb and swipes a few away, even though it makes not a bit of difference.

“I was angry with you for a long time, but I always kept tabs on you. I hated you, but I wanted you safe. Wanted to make sure that nothing seriously bad would happen to you. I wanted to protect you from all the true evil out there. Then I just flat out wanted you and I didn’t know how to handle that. I didn’t even know how it had happened, and I felt as if I’d betrayed myself. I wanted the person who had stolen everything from me and I didn’t know why. You fucking took my heart captive before I had even realized it and I couldn’t stop it. And all the while, you had no idea what you were doing to me.”

Jason’s face is wet with Tim’s tears as the smaller boy leans down and presses their mouths together urgently. It’s far too late to apologize to Jason, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try to express his remorse in his own way. He needs Jason to know that he never wanted to hurt him. He just wanted to make him proud.

Tim’s tears are beginning to dry as he continues to kiss the older boy, twining his fingers into Jason’s short, dark locks. Jason wraps his arms around him and pulls Tim bodily on top of himself as he tries to kiss Tim back with as much fervor.

There’s something different about the way Tim is kissing him, though. Different from the hot kisses they shared just a short time ago while Jason was deep inside him. This kiss is still desperate, but it’s not asking or demanding, it’s pleading. Pleading for Jason to understand and forgive him, even though there’s nothing to forgive anymore. That time of anger and darkness is gone, replaced by their care for each other, and the only thing that matters to Jason right now is that Tim stays with him, just like this, forever.

His embrace tightens and Tim is pressing his whole weight into Jason, trying to kiss him hard enough so that maybe he can become a part of Jason’s body, or maybe just absorb some of Jason’s anger and pain. He settles instead on grinding his hips against Jason’s thigh. He can feel when Jason chuckles against his mouth. The older boy bites his lip and tugs before pulling away completely.

“Uh-uh. Not tonight, baby. That's enough for now. It’s late and we’re both exhausted. It’s time to sleep.”

Tim pouts, but acquiesces. 

"Fine. G'night, Jay." He stretches to kiss Jason good night.

"Night, Tim."

Chapter Text

Everything feels different the next morning. There is no more heaviness in Tim’s body. The underlying and nearly invisible tension that had filled the apartment before has dissipated. All of the anguish and regrets that hung over both Jason and Tim like a pregnant storm cloud are gone. The echoes of pain no longer haunt him like a ghost.

Tim feels happy. He feels thankful. He feels as though he could take on the whole world and come out the other side feeling just as good. And not for the first time, Tim thinks that this is what it must feel like to be in love.

“Good morning.” Tim says as he walks into the living room, scratching the top his head nervously.

“Morning, babe.” Jason says, casual as ever. He walks over to hand Tim a cup of coffee and kisses him sweetly.

Tim flushes and sips nervously at his coffee. Babe. He likes it.

“So, you should get ready. We’re meeting some friends soon at the café around the street.”

“Friends? Who?”

Jason kisses him again.

“Just get dressed.”

Tim is walking toward the bathroom to start getting ready when he notices something unfamiliar on the coffee table.

“Jason, where did that stone come from?”

It’s as big as Tim’s fist. Beautifully jagged and mostly clear with just a tint of yellow.

“Oh, that’s your souvenir.” Jason says as if it’s clearly the only explanation.

“You mean you really-“

“You asked me to bring you something. And I thought you’d like it. They’re all over the island. Inside the rocks. Not really sure what kind of stone it is. But you’re pretty geeky, so I knew you could probably figure it out.”

Tim rushes forward and kisses him. Jason allows it for a moment before angling his body away, only letting their lips touch.

“Not that I don’t love kissing you, Tim, but we both know what direction this will head if we don’t stop now, and we have to get going.” Jason says against Tim’s lips.

---

They walk into the café a half hour later. Tim looks around and spots Stephanie and Roy sitting at a table together, making what he guesses is friendly conversation, if their smiles are anything to go by. They both look over and smile and wave. Tim turns to stare up at Jason in awe.

“I know how much you like talking to Roy. And I figured that if you’re going to start hanging out with Roy, then I should at least try talking to your friends. I hate Black Bat the least, but she hung up on me and threatened to kill me if I ever called her again. I think she and I could be good friends.”

“Jason… I can’t believe you did this.”

Jason gives him a shy smile and a blush might just cross his face.

“It’s not a big deal. This isn’t a big thing. Don’t make it a thing.”

“It’s a huge thing. Thank you.”

Tim stands on his tiptoes and kisses Jason quickly. He hears Roy catcalling from across the room and blushes like crazy.

They make their way to the table, Jason moving quite a bit slower. Tim falls back and grabs Jason’s hand, giving him a soft smile.

“We don’t have to do this, Jay. This isn’t about them. It’s about us.”

“I know. That’s why I’m doing this.”

Tim keeps his grip on Jason’s hand and guides them to the table.

“So, how did you lure my best friend into your world of blood and slime? Was it just your looks? Or are you blackmailing him? Did you guys have sex yet?”

Jason’s whole face turns bright red and for the first time since Tim’s known him, he’s utterly silent.

“Jesus, Steph. We just got here. Can you at least wait until after we order to give Jason the third degree?”

“Fine. Harper, come help me order.”

Steph gets up and Roy follows, whispering to Tim and Jason “I like her,” as he walks by.

“I’m sorry about her. She thinks she’s smarter than she is. She’s just trying to help, though. She means well.”

“I know. Don’t worry about me, Little Bird. I knew what I was getting into. I can handle Blondie.”

“Thank you again for doing this. And you don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to.”

“Don’t worry, Tim. I’m fine.”

Steph and Roy get back to the table with their coffee and some pastries. Roy sits next to Tim and they chat about some new robot or something that Roy is working on. Meanwhile, Steph won’t stop grilling Jason about his and Tim’s sex life and what his intentions with Tim are. He ignores most of the questions, answering the few that he deems appropriate. After nearly an hour he has to get away.

“I’m gonna go get some fresh air.”

Tim’s head snaps up and he’s giving Jason a worried look.

“I’m fine, Tim. I’ll be right back. And before you start panicking, I promise I’m not going to smoke.”

Tim gives him a soft smile and nods. Jason bends and gives him a brief, gentle kiss as he walks past. Tim can feel his face heat up, but he just doesn’t care right now.

“I’m gonna go, too.” Steph says, shooting out of her chair and following Jason.

“Steph! Please be nice.” Tim says, giving her a stern look.

She waves him off and walks outside.

Jason is leaning against the wall of the building, eyes closed and focusing on taking deep breaths and trying not to miss the feel of a cigarette between his fingers. He knows Stephanie is there before she even speaks.

“You know he’s too good for you.”

Jason doesn’t bother to open his eyes.

“Did you just come out here to scold me, mom?”

“No. I came to warn you. If you hurt him, then Cass, Dick and I will all kick your ass.”

Jason laughs and opens his eyes, turning to her. She’s standing there with her arms crossed and glaring at him. He wants to put his fist in her face.

“Blondie, I could kick Dickie’s ass with my eyes closed any day of the week. And you? Don’t make me laugh. The only credible threat in that scenario is Cain, and a bullet could put even her down.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea. Kill your boyfriend’s friends. That’ll win his heart.”

“I never said kill. A shot to the shoulder never killed anybody.”

“You don’t belong with him. He’s one of us, and you’re…you. Let’s just take a second to think about that. Tim is brilliant and sweet and a Bat. He belongs with us. He’s part of something good. A family. You should do him the courtesy of disappearing before you ruin him.

“You’re an assassin who only cares about himself. You have nothing to offer him other than heartbreak and misery. Tim is too good for you, so take whatever it is that you want from him and get lost so we can pick up the pieces that your worthless ass will no doubt leave behind.”

Jason was expecting a lecture, plenty of threats, but he was definitely not expecting this. He’s stunned by her words. He doesn’t even have some smartass response available. He’d like nothing more than to kick her ass right now and leave her face down on the concrete. He knows she can take it, but Tim would be furious. His head is swimming and his chest hurts and he isn’t saying anything, so Steph turns and walks back toward the door.

“Think about what I said, scumbag. If you love Tim, then let him go. He doesn’t belong with someone like you. You'll never be good enough for him.” She says over her shoulder before opening the door. He watches as she plasters a smile on her face and then walks back inside.

Jason can’t move. He can hardly breathe. He’s not sure how long he’s out there, but it must be a while because the next thing he knows, Roy is leaning against the wall beside him.

“You okay, Jaybird?”

“No. And I need a goddamn cigarette.” Is how Jason responds.

Roy quirks an eyebrow.

“I thought you promised Tim you weren’t going to smoke anymore.”

“Fuck!” Jason shouts, turning and punching the wall, chipping one of the bricks with his fist.

“Jesus, Jason. What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Nothing. I’m going back inside.”

Roy follows on his heels, but he doesn’t say anything else. Jason walks in and immediately meets Tim’s eyes. Tim gives him a stunning smile and Jason can’t stop himself from just staring for a moment. Tim is beautiful and so full of good. Jason knows he could do far better. Deserves far better than himself. But he’d chosen Jason. That has to mean something, right?

He thought he was smiling back at Tim, but it must’ve been only in his head because he watches the way Tim’s smile falls and feels terrible that he wasn’t able to keep it there.

He slowly walks back to the table and hopes he can keep it together long enough to get Tim and get the hell out of here.

“Hey. You ready to go?” He asks, deliberately ignoring Stephanie’s presence all together.

“Sure. Steph has to get to class soon anyway. You okay, Jay?”

“Just fine, Little Bird.”

He hears Stephanie make some kind of disgusted noise and looks up to see her roll her eyes.

Tim stands up and moves to Jason’s side, hardly an inch of space between them. Jason wants to put his arm around him, pull him in for reassurance, but he fights the urge.

“We’re heading out, Roy.”

“Alright, Jaybird. Well, Tim, you’ve got my number if you need any more help. And I’ll try out the software you recommended and let you know how it works out. This was fun, guys. We should do this again some time.”

Jason snorts and gives a half ass wave goodbye to Stephanie and then flips her off behind Tim’s back.

Once they’re back at the apartment Tim doesn’t waste any time in questioning Jason.

“Alright, what happened?”

Jason walks into the kitchen, keeping his back to Tim.

“What do you mean?”

He grabs a beer and downs half of it. When he turns around Tim is standing right there staring at him with arms crossed.

“I know she said something to you, Jay. I could see it on your face. Whatever it was, she’s wrong.”

Jason thinks for a moment. Was she wrong? Jason knows exactly who he is, and he’s nothing like the rest of the Bats. He’s a murderer. An outsider. An outlaw. And Tim is… Tim is good. He’s smart and sweet and perfect. He belongs with Bruce. With Dick. In that lifestyle. He’s a Bat, through and through. 

“Tim, listen, maybe she was right. She said a lot of stuff that made sense, and I think-“

“No, Jay. Don’t even start. I want to be here. With you. I know she thinks you’re going to ruin me or some stupid shit like that, and I’m sure she said that to you, but she’s wrong. I know you, Jay. The real you. You’re not a bad person. You’re different than us, but you’ve got a good heart. And I… I think you’re amazing just as you are.”

Jason grabs Tim’s head and pulls him in for a rough kiss. When he pulls away he rests his forehead against Tim’s.

“This is why you’re my favorite Bat.”

Tim gives him a shy smile and hums in content amusement.

---

Jason is cleaning his guns later and overhears Tim yelling at someone on the phone. He sets his guns down and listens closely to what he’s saying.

“I don’t care what you think! You’re supposed to be my best friend, Steph. That means you support me no matter what!”

Tim goes quiet for a minute. He must be listening to whatever Steph is saying. Then he’s screaming again.

“You don’t even know him! And I don’t care what you say! You’re wrong about him!” Quiet on Tim’s end again. “Well, if you’re not going to give him a chance, then I guess we’re done! He doesn’t deserve you treating him like he doesn’t matter! He matters to me! He’s done nothing wrong here and he’s a great guy! So I’m not just going to stand by while you constantly give him shit for being himself! He’s too good of a person for that, and I thought you were too!”

Tim wrenches the door open and Jason is staring at him.

“What?” Tim barks at him.

“C’mere.” Jason says softly.

Tim rolls his eyes and stays where he is.

“Jason, I’m really not-“

“Come. Here.”

Jason grabs Tim’s hand and pulls him down onto the couch, covering him with the entirety of his body.

“You didn’t have to do that.” Jason says softly.

“Yes, I did.”

Jason kisses him and kisses him and keeps on kissing him, because he doesn’t ever not want Tim with him, and beside him, and under him. Tim is perfect in so many ways, and how could Jason resist being inside him every chance he gets.

Jason sits up onto his knees to give Tim some space. Tim’s eyes fly open and he’s giving Jason a worried look. Jason just runs his fingers through Tim's hair and gives him a soft smile.

“Take your clothes off for me, baby.”

Tim strips in record time. Now that he’s felt what it’s like to have Jason inside him, he’s not sure it’s something he’ll ever be able to get enough of. And he's so eager for it right now.

“Wanna see you, too, Jay.” Tim says as he runs fingers under Jason's shirt and up his stomach.

Jason had been so distracted watching Tim strip himself that he’d forgotten to get himself undressed in the meantime.

He gives Tim a smirk that makes Tim shiver. It’s sharp and menacing like his Kris, and it sends a thrill of rust lust up Tim’s spine.

He strips himself nearly just as quickly as Tim had and then his mouth is all over Tim. He loves how unforgiving Tim’s body is, and scrapes his teeth and tongue, biting and licking over his sharp collarbones, his smooth, tight pecs, and his severe little hip bones. He can hear Tim’s harsh intake of breath and buries his smile in Tim’s hip.

Tim shivers hard, and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that he’s totally bare right now.

“I want you inside me, Jay. Need to feel you.”

Jason’s dick throbs at hearing those words out of Tim’s mouth, an insistent flare going off low in his belly, unexpectedly searing his gut.

“Whatever you want, baby.”

Tim’s eyes instantly go hazy, and he mewls as Jason slips two fingers between his lips. He doesn’t hesitate. He knows exactly what Jason wants and he laps at Jason’s finger tips before sucking on them, laving his tongue between the digits. He sucks like he’s hungry for them. Hungry for Jason. Which he is. He needs Jason now.

Things need to start moving along before Tim embarrassingly comes all over himself. He's so hard just from having Jason’s fingers in his mouth. So he whimpers and bites gently on Jason's fingers, hoping Jason will get the message.

“Okay, okay. I'll hurry up. But I’m gonna need my fingers back now, Little Bird. I gotta prep ya.”

Tim knows it’s necessary. He’s done enough research on pre- sex preparation to know how important it is, and how uncomfortable sex can be, but he needs Jason so bad that he almost passes on the suggestion to prep him.

He jerks and trembles when Jason’s wet fingers slide over his hole.

“Jason- nnh- please… please don’t tease me.”

“What’s a matter, baby? You that close already?”

Tim nods his head, his mouth dropping open in a silent moan as Jason slides a finger into him. And he’s nowhere near prepared when Jason’s second finger slides into him, but he loves it all the same. As it turns out, he may be a little bit of a masochist after all.

“Oh! Jay!”

He’s really trying to be patient. He knows how big Jason is and that he needs to be properly stretched. But they had sex not even twenty four hours ago and Tim is pretty sure he can fit Jason without too much struggle if he puts his mind to it.

“Jason, please. I want you right now. I need it!”

“Damn, I love you like this. Comin’ apart just from my fingers. Fuck, you’re hot.  And I’m the only one that gets to see you like this. You look so goddamn good, baby. Want you like this forever.”

“Jay, oh god, that feels amazing, but get in me.”

“Love when you get all bitchy and demanding. ‘S fuckin’ hot. Tell me how you want it, baby.”

“Want everything, Jay. Want you.”

It’s all too much for him. One time having sex with Jason has apparently turned him into a fiend for it and he can’t get enough. He wants Jason inside him as often as he can get. He wants every dirty fantasy he’s ever had, and even the ones that he’s stopped himself from thinking about.

Jason’s mouth is on his neck, kissing over his carotid, and then licking up to his ear and pulling the lobe between his teeth.

“You want me to fuck you hard?” He whispers against the hinge of Tim’s jaw before biting his neck. He can hear the clicking noise Tim’s throat makes as he tries to swallow around the dryness.

“Mm hm.” Tim is no longer capable of forming words.

“You open enough for me, Pretty Bird? You gonna be wet enough for me to slide right in?”

“Nnnh, Jay!”

“Alright, alright. I’ll quit teasin’ ya. Even though you look so good when I do. Spread your legs wider for me, Tim. There you go. Fuck, look at you, baby. Goddamn, you’re gorgeous. You ready for me?”

Tim nods his head, his mouth hanging open as if he’s trying to say words, but nothing is coming out.

Jason spits into his own hand before coating himself. He's already probably sufficiently wet with pre-cum, but he won't take that risk with Tim.

Tim’s thighs tremble as he watches Jason prepare himself. And then Jason slides into him, steel hard and blood warm and it’s like Tim is whole again.

Jason bites into his lip and tries not to fall apart. He glides into Tim in one long, easy slide. He forces his eyes open and sees a look of pure bliss on Tim’s face.

“Tim, I gotta… I gotta move, Little Bird. Can I? Please say I can move, baby.”

“Yes, Jay. Yes, yes, please!”

Jason grabs his boy slender hips, his grip bruising and unforgiving. He knows Tim won’t mind. Tim is his anyway. Always. Only Jason’s. And he doesn’t even realize he’s said that out loud until Tim answers him.

“Yes, only yours, Jay.”

And Tim keeps moaning so sweet. Constant cries of “ah!” and “uh!” and “Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, please!” right up against Jason’s mouth. Full, swollen lips so hot and kiss red and plump. Jason bites them because he can’t not, and then sweeps his tongue into Tim’s mouth and tastes him.

“Jason, I need to come. Please? Please let me come.”

There’s only the slightest sliver of blue in Tim’s eyes when they lock on Jason’s again, and his moans are breathless and desperate. Tim's orgasm is racing up on him fast, sizzling and skittering along the surface of his skin and urging him for release.

“God, Jason, please! I wanna come so bad!”

“Oh, sweetheart. You don’t need my permission. You come whenever you need to, baby. Come on, Tim. Show me. That's it. Get yourself all messy for me.” Jason hardly recognizes his own voice. It’s so gravelly and thick with desire that it might just belong to someone else entirely.

He slams into Tim over and over, his hands still crushing Tim’s hips down into the couch. He can feel one of Tim’s legs sliding up over his calf, like a half ass attempt to get Jason deeper inside him.

“Oh! Fuck, Jay! Come inside me! Please! I wanna feel it in me!”

“Goddamn, baby. Fuck yeah. Whatever you want.”

Tim goes off all over Jason’s stomach and he goes limp for a moment. Jason’s orgasm comes upon him so fast that he feels like his spine is liquefying and shooting out of his cock.

He collapses on top of Tim. They’re sticky with cum and sweat and there’s a lazy smile on Tim’s face that Jason kisses away.

“You think maybe we should’ve done this on the bed?” Tim asks in rapid panting breaths.

“Too late now.” He kisses Tim and bites his jaw, making Tim yelp cutely. “Fuck, you’re hot. Now get your ass up. We need to shower, and I’ve got patrol.”

---

Jason goes out on patrol later that night, but it’s not his objective. He has a different priority. He spends most of his time hunting down Spoiler and finally finds her on a roof in Robin’s territory.

“Did you come to tell me you’re finally done trying to ruin my best friend’s life?”

Jason spins around, swinging his leg out and lands a kick straight to Stephanie’s midsection. She goes flying back and lands heavily on her ass.

“What the fuck, asshole?!”

“I’m done taking shit from you, Blondie. I was trying to be civil because you’re important to Tim, but I’m done playing nice. You overstepped your boundaries and took advantage of the fact that I have a soft spot for him. That won’t happen again. And it would be a mistake for you to take me so lightly. So now I’m telling you: stay away from me and Tim and butt out of our relationship. Or next time we meet, I won’t be such a gentleman.”

Jason actually does do some of his patrol. He’s distracted, though. He hadn’t really hurt the girl, but she is Tim’s friend, and he doesn’t want Tim to be upset with him. He was careful not to let his anger get that better of him, and showed massive amounts of restraint by walking away when he did. Still, he hopes Tim won’t be too mad at him.

Thankfully Tim is asleep when he gets home, and he doesn’t need to be awoken for this particular conversation. He’ll worry about it in the morning.

---

He wakes feeling a little anxious. It grows in magnitude once Tim walks into the kitchen while he’s bent over the counter scarfing down a bowl of cereal.

“I heard from Steph earlier.”

Jason chews for longer than necessary, stalling, and finally swallows.

“Oh yeah? What did Blondie have to say?”

“That she has a boot shaped bruise on her torso that she got from a guy in a red mask.”

“That’s weird. I didn’t know there were other guys running around Gotham in red masks. Guess she should be more thoughtful about where she spends her time.”

Tim giggles.

“You shouldn’t have stooped to her level, but thank you for not hurting her any worse. I know you would’ve loved to do more.”

And just like that, Tim alleviates all of his concerns from earlier.

“You might be mad at her right now, but I know you still love her. You’d be crushed if she got hurt. And I would never do anything that would hurt you.”

Don’t get him wrong, Jason is so relieved that Tim isn’t upset with him, but things with Stephanie hadn’t gone at all the way he’d wanted. He wants to do more for Tim. Prove his point that he really does care about the younger boy and that he wants to do nice things for him.

He gets an idea. It’ll be one last attempt at showing Tim that he is important to Jason.

---

He calls Roy when Tim runs to the store for a few minutes to grab some groceries, because he’s almost certain Roy can work this one out for him.

“Roy.”

“Yeah?”

“I need your help. Think you can hack a satellite frequency for me?”

“Sure, Jaybird. But your boyfriend could probably do that in about half the time that I could. Doesn't he have direct access to the Wayne Enterprises satellite?”

“He’s not my… Look, I don’t want him to know.”

“Oh, shit. You’re not doing something that’ll piss him off, right? Please don’t sabotage this for yourself, man. Don’t be stupid.”

“What? I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Would you just shut up and do it?!”

“Alright. Where’re you tryin’ to reach?”

“Hong Kong.”

Cassandra Cain is Tim’s closest friend besides Stephanie Brown, and Jason has shockingly discovered recently that the friend trained by her assassin mother might be the more level headed one. He wants to show Tim he cares somehow. And he certainly will not be making an effort to call the friend that Tim had fooled around with. He never liked Super Boy anyway. And he knows he would punch the little green kid in the face at least once if he had to sit in a room with him for more than five minutes.

“This is Black Bat.” Jason can hear Cass say through her comm.

Roy isn’t saying anything on his end of the line, but Jason still knows exactly what he’s thinking.

“Black Bat, this is Red Hood.”

She’s quiet for the span of a few heartbeats.

“What do you want? I’m pretty sure I told you not to contact me again.” She states curtly.

“Please. I just need a second. This is important. I tried to talk to Spoiler about this, but it didn’t go well. You’re one of his best friends and I’m trying to do this right, so I just wanted to let you know that I’m… involved… romantically with Red Robin.”

“Okay.”

“That’s it? Just ‘okay?’”

“Red Robin is one of the best people I’ve ever met. He gave me more of a chance than I deserved when we met and stood up for me when he probably shouldn’t have. Believed I could do good things when nobody trusted me. He’s very kind. If he’s giving you a chance, then you must be worthy of it.”

“So… so, you’re not pissed? Not gonna lecture me? Threaten me?”

“If you hurt him, then I’ll kill you. Make no mistake about that. And it will be slow and painful. But Red Robin is the smartest person I know. He knows very well who you are and what he’s gotten himself into. He’s a big boy. He’s perfectly capable of making his own decisions and taking care of himself.”

“Uh. Okay. Thanks.”

“I hope you don’t think that this means that we will be spending time together any time soon. Just because you’re dating my best friend, doesn’t mean that we’ll be going on double dates or anything of the sort.”

“You read my mind, girly.”

Neither of them say anything else before the line is disconnected. Jason realizes then that Roy is still obnoxiously silent and he’s tempted to just to hang up.

“What?” He asks gruffly.

“Nothing. Just wondering when you’re gonna tell Tim that you love him since you have no problem letting everybody else know.”

“Shut it, Harper.” Jason says and hangs up.

Chapter Text

Jason goes out early the next morning, leaving a note for Tim saying he has errands to run. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about how he wants to do more for Tim, and he’d had an idea last night while lying in bed next to him, while his Little Bird was sound asleep.

He calls Kori, asks her to meet him in downtown Gotham around noon. She promises to be there, says she owes him for the other day. And she does, but Jason wouldn’t have ever actually cashed in on it.

They go all over the city, making plenty of stops. Jason really wants this to work out. He needs it to. He’s doing it for Tim, after all.

He finishes everything late in the evening feeling worn out. They’d been busy all day, visiting multiple different stores and making more stops than Jason cares to think about. He didn’t even know that shopping could be so exhausting.

“So, you think he’ll like it, right, Kori?”

The Tamaranian smiles at him.

“I think he will love it, Jason. I cannot imagine a more beautiful gesture. Timothy sounds like he has grown into a sweet boy. I always liked him and I am so happy for the both of you.”

Jason promises that he and Tim will have her over for dinner sometime soon and then he bids a farewell to the alien princess with a heartfelt hug. He heads straight home, teeming with excitement, but trying his best to disguise it for now.

---

“Roy? What the hell are you doing here?” Jason’s eyes narrow as he walks into their apartment and immediately spots the red head.

“Timbo invited me over for dinner. He’s making some fancy shit. This kid’s a keeper, Jaybird.”

“It’s just lemon chicken, Roy. That’s hardly fancy. Did you get everything taken care of that you needed to today?” Tim says with a smile.

“Where were ya, Jaybird?” Roy asks just as cheerfully as ever.

“I was just with Kori, actually.”

“Oh yeah? How is my totally hot alien princess of a girlfriend?”

Jason fights back a smile and rolls his eyes.

“She’s fine. Says you’re still an idiot. I’m guessing you two made up?”

“Sure did. I’m supposed to meet up with her later, but I couldn’t refuse a dinner invitation from the adorable, yet savage little Timothy Drake.”

Jason is a selfish bastard. He’ll be the first to admit it. And Tim is his Little Bird. It isn’t that he doesn’t trust Roy. Of course he trusts him. But something about the thought of him being alone with Tim doesn’t sit right with Jason. The thought of Tim being alone with anyone who isn’t himself doesn’t sit right with him, honestly.

Jason walks up to Tim, pressing himself bodily against Tim and wrapping an arm around his lower back. Their hips grind together in the best sort of tease. He’s so used to this now, the feel of Tim’s body against his, that it doesn’t even occur to him that maybe he should be embarrassed for doing it in front of Roy. Modesty has never been a strong suit of Jason’s. Especially where Tim is involved, apparently.

“Tim, you didn’t have to cook for this asshole. And you shouldn’t be straining yourself. Your arm is still healing.”

“I’m fine, Jay. Really. My arm has been nearly back to normal for weeks. You helping me with my physical therapy has been incredibly beneficial.”

Tim stands on his tip toes to press a kiss to the corner of Jason’s mouth. Jason turns and catches Tim in a real kiss and hums. He heatedly slides his mouth over to press his lips to the skin below Tim’s ear.

“Didn’t I tell you that I didn’t want to share you with anyone else? That includes Roy. I don’t trust anyone around you. No more inviting guys over when I’m not around. You are mine. Got it?” He whispers hotly against the skin, only loud enough for Tim to hear and then he bites down. He grins wolfishly at the shiver it elicits from his smaller lover.

Roy grimaces, feeling rather uncomfortable.

“You two are so cute, you’re gonna make me puke before we even eat. Come on, at least wait until I’m out of the room before you start doing that shit. Jesus.”

Jason growls and gives him a dirty look, but Tim just giggles and goes back to seasoning the chicken.

They chat through dinner, carrying on easy and friendly conversation. Tim feeds Jason bites of his own chicken occasionally, and Roy does his best to ignore it. He’s happy beyond elated for the both of them, but the sweetness of it makes him want to punch both Bat-boys in the face. So, in true Roy fashion, he decides to push buttons.

“That chicken was amazing, Tim. I’m telling you, Jay, if you don’t stake your claim on this kid then I’m going to take a shot at him myself.”

“Roy.” Jason warns.

Tim looks up at Jason and sees the way the muscle in his jaw is ticking, clenching and unclenching.

“I mean, I’m not so bad. You could be happy with me, Tim. I can get you all the coolest alien gadgets. What do you think? Would you like that, cutie?”

“Roy. Stop fucking hitting on him, or I’m going to make you regret it!” Jason bares his teeth and a deep growl erupts from his chest, but Tim leans his head against his arm and squeezes his hand and Jason calms immediately.

Tim finds it kind of adorable that Jason is like a big, overprotective puppy.

“I’m sorry our guest is such a moron, Tim. You can leave any time, Roy.” Jason hisses, glaring daggers at the older man.

“Not a chance, Jaybird. Timmy made dessert, too, and there’s no way I’m missing out on that.”

Roy leaves after scarfing down two huge helpings of tiramisu that Tim made from scratch; a recipe he’d learned from Alfred. As soon as Roy’s out the door, Tim is shoving Jason onto the couch and climbing on top of him. Jason’s fingers instinctively curl around Tim’s hips.

“What’s got you all worked up, babe?”

“You.”

“Ha! Well, I figured.”

“You’re absolutely amazing, Jay. You know that, right?”

“What are you talking about, Little Bird? You’re the one that’s apparently the part time gourmet chef.”

Tim bends over to kiss him before straightening himself to upright position again.

“Roy told me what you did. And Cass confirmed it for me.”

Jason has to fight off an embarrassed blush. Somehow he thought he'd get away with his little plan without Tim finding out. He should've known better. He's been caught red handed and there's no use in denying anything now.

“Fucking Harper and his fat fucking mouth. I just… I just wanted you to know that I… I care about you, you know?”

“I know. And that’s why you mean so much to me.”

A looks comes over Jason’s face and his eyes get dark and hazy.

“Do I mean enough for you to let me fuck you right now? Because I really wanna be inside you, like, yesterday, Baby Bird.”

Tim shivers and then tries to play it off by rolling his eyes.

“You’re so romantic, Jay.”

“Would you like me if I was any different?”

“Probably. I’ve told you before; there’s never going to be anything I won’t like about you.”

“Jesus, talk about knowin’ how to make a guy blush. And listen, I know I’m a little bit over bearing. I’m normally not this kind of guy, so if you need me to take it easy-”

“It’s alright, Jay. I kind of… I kind of like it. Being someone’s. Being yours. And I know you are very much aware that I am still my own person. A person who is more than capable of kicking your ass six ways to Sunday, I might add. And if you really start getting fresh with me then I’ll just have to smack you around a bit so that you don’t forget just what I’m able to do.”

Jason laughs. It’s the real thing, head thrown back and everything. Tim loves it.

“You are damn near perfect, Tim Drake.”

“I know.” Tim jokes, giving him a roguish smile. “Now I want you in me. Please.”

“Oh, and I wanna be inside you, baby. So bad.”

“Now, please?”

“So fucking polite. Alright, sweetheart.”

Jason pulls Tim’s shirt off for him, deftly thumbing his nipples which draws a raspy and broken moan out of the smaller boy. Tim screws his hips down into Jason’s, and Jason lets loose a broken moan of his own.

“Fuck, baby, at least wait until we get our pants off before you start doing that shit.”

“I wanna ride you, Jay.” Tim says boldly.

“Yeah. Yeah, okay.” And Jason will deny to the end of his days that his voice quavers when he speaks.

He works at getting Tim’s pants undone, but Tim bats his hand away, so instead he rids himself of his own shirt. Tim has to stand to get his pants off, giving Jason the opportunity to awkwardly shuffle his hips until he can get his pants and underwear off.

Tim slides back down and straddles Jason’s hips again. He can feel the solid bulge of Jason against the seam of his body, and he can’t even try to fight off the shiver of anticipation that ripples through him.

“Come on, Tim. Stop teasing. Let me inside you. God, I wanna feel you. I want it so bad, baby.” Jason whispers, his fingers tightening on Tim’s hips.

Tim trembles and rests a palm flat against Jason’s stomach as he uses the other hand to line Jason up with his entrance. He slides down Jason’s shaft in slow increments, acclimating himself once again with Jason’s girth.

“Fuck, baby. You’re already so wet inside. So smooth and slick. Oh, Tim. Jesus, you’re fucking perfect.” Jason coos.

“Been…mmm, been stretched since before Roy got here.”

“You’re gonna kill me, Little Bird. Swear to god.”

Jason forces himself not to move. This is what Tim wants. It’s about him and Jason will let him do this his own way. Even if he wants nothing more than to fuck into Tim with unrepentant thrusts until he has his Baby Bird begging for more.

He watches enraptured as Tim circles and twists his hips atop him, his body glistening with the sheen of sweat covering him.

“That’s it, Tim. That’s it. So sweet. So good.”

Jason wants nothing more than to flip them, fuck into Tim and nip kisses into that beautiful neck. But Tim is riding him so amazingly, doe eyes locked on him, huge and crystalline in the fog of Tim’s longing.

“Fuck, look at you, Tim. God, you’re gorgeous. It’s unbelievable. You feel so good around me. Goddamn, I can't ever get enough of you."

Tim is fully immersed in his actions. His brow furrowed in concentration as he rides Jason with more conviction than anything else he’s ever done in his life. And then his efforts pay off when he angles his hips just right and Jason hits that sweet spot inside him. His face goes slack, mouth falling open and head tilting back. He’s gasping and gasping, can barely suck in enough air to think.

“Jason!”

Tim is desperate for his release and the thrusts of his hips become sharp and almost vicious, coaxing Jason’s length even deeper into himself until he's constantly bombarding his joyous bundle of nerves. He feels his orgasm building. A crescendo of pure pleasure and delight.

Jason’s resolve slips and shatters. He no longer has it in him to be gentle with Tim and doesn’t stop the mean snap of his own hips up into Tim’s body. His normal proclivity to be somewhat tender with his smaller lover slipping away. Tim just feels so mind numbingly good.

Tim has been reduced to a string of moans.

“Fuck. Oh, Jason, goddamn it! Please! Fuck me harder!”

And nothing gets Jason as hot as when his pretty little boy begs him with that filthy mouth of his.

He slides a hand up Tim’s chest, his throat, his chin, and then slips his index finger into Tim’s mouth. Tim moans and sucks as if it’s actually a dick, one he’s desperate to get as deep into his throat as he can.

“That’s right, baby. Show me how you would suck me if that was my cock in your pretty little mouth.”

That’s exactly what Tim does. Keeping one hand on Jason’s chest so that he can still hold his balance as he slides himself up and down, the other hand grips Jason’s wrist and holds it tight as if he’s afraid of ever letting Jason go.  

“I can’t believe I get to have you like this. I can’t believe how bad you want it. How eager you are to give it up to me. I’ll never let anyone else have you like this. You know you’re mine don’t you? Say you’re mine. I wanna hear it.”

He knows Tim can’t say anything of discernible with Jason’s finger fucking into his mouth. Still, he likes to push. Gets off on teasing his Little Bird.

“Tell me, Tim. Say it.”

Tim only whimpers, but it’s loud and needy and Jason’s prick jumps hard.

He slides his finger out of Tim’s mouth, his other hand holding onto Tim’s hip even more securely so he can really pound into Tim, pummeling the smaller boy’s prostate.

Tim is shouting, whining and pleading for Jason to drive him to his completion. Adrenaline is thrumming through his veins, making his body quiver. His skin feels too tight and too hot. His nails dig into Jason’s ribs and he needs to come now.

Jason knows just how close he is and takes his still slightly wet finger and nudges at Tim’s hole, the slightest warning before he’s pressing it inside of Tim, right up alongside his own cock.

Tim’s back arches. It’s a stretch he wasn’t prepared for and it’s so, so good.

“Fuck! Jason!”

He comes almost immediately. Shooting wet ropes of warm seed all over Jason’s stomach and chest and even his chin and bottom lip. He knows he must’ve tightened up, his muscles clamping down around Jason in response to his orgasm, because he hears Jason cry out familiarly, indicating the older boy's climax.

Jason’s hips shoot up off the couch, thighs straining as he holds himself up so that he can stay fully sheathed inside of Tim as he pumps his sticky load into Tim. His orgasm feels never ending with Tim squeezing down on him so sweetly. And then his legs give out and he’s falling back into the soft and comforting embrace of the worn couch cushions.

Tim collapses on top of him; docile and submissive and exhausted. So sweet and good for Jason. He laps up the cooling cum from his mouth and as soon as his mouth is in reach, Jason is attacking it, sliding his tongue in along Tim’s in a glide of heat and silk. He pushes the cum around in Tim's mouth and Tim moans, filthy and raw. If it were possible right now, Jason knows his dick would be rock hard at that.

"Fucking christ, Tim. You're the hottest fucking thing I've ever seen in my life." Jason breathes against Tim's lips.

Jason smooths a hand down the silky skin of his back until Tim pulls away and catches his breath enough to speak.

“So, are you going to tell me where you were this morning?”

Jason stays silent and he can see the exact moment Tim gets pissed off, the expression all over his face.

“Dammit, Jason, I thought we got past this. You can’t keep things from me. This won’t work if you’re not honest. Please just tell me. Whatever it is I can handle it. I can even help you if you’d let me. But this is not worth a fight.”

Jason swallows.

“I… I can’t, Tim.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this again. You want me to trust you, Jay, but you refuse to tell me things.”

“I will tell you. I promise, Tim. I swear to you. I just can’t. Yet. But I will. Please believe me. I need you to trust me on this.”

Tim’s eyes are analyzing. His expression just as beautiful and dangerous as when he’s in the Red Robin suit. And then his face softens just as suddenly as it had hardened and he smiles wryly at Jason.

“Alright, Jay. I trust you. As long as you promise me you’ll tell me. Whenever the time comes.”

“When the time comes. I promise. It’s nothing bad. So you won’t be mad at me. I swear. I just can’t tell you yet. It's kind of like... a surprise, I guess.” It probably shouldn't, but the admission leaves a strange taste in his mouth. Since when does he, Jason Todd, bother with planning surprises for people? What has the incredible boy on top of him even done to him?

Tim's eyes gleam with a fond look and he nuzzles in under Jason's chin and sighs.

“Okay, Jay. Just keep yourself safe. Whatever it is, don’t put yourself at risk. Alright? I don't want to see you get hurt again.”

“Alright.”

“Jason, promise me!” Tim pleads with a sharp bite to Jason's chin.

Jason reaches down and grips Tim's chin tilting it up and then cupping Tim’s face in his hands as he kisses him sweetly for a brief moment before pulling away to catch Tim’s eye.

“I promise, Tim. Really. I promise.”

Jason is always a man of his word.

Chapter Text

They never go out. Tim doesn’t mind. Really, he doesn’t. He has no qualms whatsoever about spending every minute with Jason, just the two of them holed up together. There are just times when Tim goes a little stir crazy. He doesn’t like to ask Jason very often, knows the older boy tends to feel paranoid and anxious when he’s out in public. That he feels too exposed without a mask or an armored chest plate. But every now and then Jason concedes, and Tim is happy to be able to partake in society like a normal human being.

So Jason treats him to dinner. Nowhere too fancy. More upscale than their usual place at the diner. They can both get away with button ups and jeans just fine.

“Aren’t you happy to be out of the house for a little while?” Tim asks with a teasing smirk.

“What do you mean? We leave the house.”

“Going to the grocery store doesn’t count, Jay.”

“Hey, we go to the park, too. Whatever. What are you getting?” Jason hides his face behind his menu, knowing he has no real argument.

“I’m not sure yet.”

“Well, I’m getting a beer. You want a drink?”

Their waitress comes over then, introducing herself as Lily. She’s pretty. Blonde curly hair, big brown eyes, and breasts that makes even Tim do a double take.

She’s friendly. Of course she is. It’s her job. She smiles softly at Tim, but when she looks at Jason, it’s a different kind of smile entirely.

“So, what can I get for you, handsome?”

Tim catalogues her blue painted nails, her bright pink lips, and her fake eyelashes. And who even wears fake eyelashes to go to work as a waitress?

“Whatever you think I’d like, darlin’. I’ll try anything once.”

The waitress is blushing, but only just barely, like she forced it there in mock innocence.

Tim nearly gets whiplash he turns his head so fast. He’s staring at Jason, but Jason doesn’t notice. Tim’s mind flashes all the way back to the night that he and Jason had hooked up for the very first time. A faint memory that’s cloudy from the saturation of weed and liquor. He remembers Jason calling him “darlin’” and he can feel his jealousy clawing its way up his chest and making its best effort to crawl out of Tim’s mouth in the form of hateful and nasty words. Tim bites down on his tongue to keep those words from escaping.

And what’s worse is that if Tim is being honest, he doesn’t really have any right to be jealous. He and Jason aren’t together. Not officially. Not in any way that really counts, apparently. Jason can do whatever he wants, and Tim knows that Jason cares about him deeply, but it’s still not quite the same thing as a relationship, despite Jason’s sweet words during moments of intimacy.

“I will definitely be keeping that in mind.” She gives Jason a sly smile. “Well, we’ve got a few things on tap,” and Tim tunes out as she rattles off the beer list and then the drink list. He wonders if she or Jason is going to remember any time soon that he’s still sitting there. “And for you,” she finally asks Tim once Jason orders. She looks rather disinterested.

“I’ll just stick with water.” Tim fights back a sneer.

She scribbles on her notepad, smiling at Jason again before turning away.

“You’re not drinking?”

Tim doesn’t look up from his menu. He’s been reading about the same chicken dish for the past two minutes.

“Not really in the mood.” His voice is colder than he means for it to be.

Lily comes back with their drinks a minute later. She flirts and jokes with Jason for another five minutes before she even asks Tim for his dinner order. He gets the chicken dish. He doesn’t even know what else is on the menu and it’s not like he has the appetite now to eat it anyway.

She checks in on them more frequently than is necessary for any server. Jason answers her questions every time. Tim finds the state of his food particularly interesting every time she stands at the table. The sixth time she comes back she comes with another of the craft beer that Jason had ordered. Tim bites his tongue so hard this time that he can taste blood in his mouth.

“This one’s on the house,” she says and pushes the glass into Jason’s hand, her fingers lingering on his for far too long.

Tim excuses himself to the bathroom without a word. He goes into the first stall, locking it and resting his head back against the door. He isn’t sure if Jason is actually into the girl, or if he’s just being polite. Or maybe he’s just trying to make Tim jealous. Although, Tim can’t produce a plausible explanation as to why he would. And how would Jason react if he were in Tim’s position? He says he doesn’t want Tim around other people who might be interested in him, but that hardly seems like a fair request while he’s chatting up some girl.

He knows it’s a mistake to dwell on the matter, so he holds his breath, counts to sixty and then exhales in one huge gust of air and goes to wash his hands. He studies himself in the mirror for a moment. The circles under his eyes have gotten darker. He’s not getting enough sun. He could probably use a haircut, too, at some point.

He looks closely at his torso and the way he fits in his shirt. The shirt used to be rather fitted on him, accentuating his slender and athletic body quite well. Now it’s a bit baggy. He’s still unable to work out like he used to, and he’s lost some muscle tone in the handful of months that he’s been out of commission. But he’s still good looking, and he knows this to some degree. He’s not ‘Dick’ good looking; pretty and graceful with a charming smile. And he’s certainly not ‘Jason’ good looking; still pretty, but in a rugged way with a more gruff air about him, but an equally as enchanting demeanor about him.

Tim is cute. That’s the word everyone has used to describe him time and time again. Steph, Tam Fox, M’gann. They’d all said he was “cute”. Not gorgeous, like Dick. Not sexy, like Jason. Just cute. Like a goddamn puppy dog. Sure, he wishes he were better looking. Someone that could confidently walk down the street by Jason’s side and not have people stare at him and wonder what Jason was even doing with the likes of him. But he knows there’s nothing he can do about it, so he dries his hands and heads back out to rejoin Jason.

Tim halts mid-step when he sees that the waitress is still fucking at their table flirting it up with Jason. Tim all but stomps over. He pulls his chair out, scraping it against the tile as obnoxiously as he can and plunking himself down into his seat.

“So, listen, if you’re not busy with your brother later…”

And she can’t be serious. He’s sitting right here and she’s asking Jason out. Regardless of if Tim is Jason’s brother or… something else, she has no right to be asking that in front of him. Tim has a brief moment where he isn’t even sure that she notices he’s come back to the table. Nonetheless, he’s pissed.

“He’s not my brother.” Jason states.

A smug smirk makes its way onto Tim’s face as he waits for Jason to tell her exactly what they are.

“Oh.” The confusion is clear in her voice, along with the slightest bit of disappointment that she might’ve been reading the whole situation wrong.

“He’s just a friend.”

Just a friend. It echoes in Tim’s brain. Over and over and over again, bouncing around while his chest feels like it’s crumbling, splintering into pieces. Suddenly he’s feeling queasy and exhausted. They are just friends. And while they might be having sex, and while Jason might really care about him, he has never indicated that he wanted something more serious with Tim. He’d even said so before, “Not that I don’t appreciate getting you in bed, but...”

“Oh!” And she immediately perks up again at that. “Well, I’d like to give you my number. I’m not off until eleven tonight, but I’d love to maybe grab a drink if you’re still up.”

Jason smiles warmly at her and then finally his eyes find Tim again.

Tim is under the impression that he’s capable of controlling his features enough by now to hide his emotions when he needs to, but apparently he is mistaken, because Jason must see something on his face.

“Are you alright, Tim?” There’s concern in his voice and his eyes fill with worry.

The waitress turns to him as well then.

“You don’t look so great, sweetie.”

Sweetie. And now Tim really does want to throw up.

“I’m fine. Just not feeling well.”

“I can bring you some seltzer water, if you’d like. Or maybe some of our homemade chicken soup?”

And now Tim can’t even be mad at her because she’s actually trying to be helpful, even if it might be for selfish purposes.

“Uh, that’s okay. We should probably get going anyway. Why don’t you just bring us the check? Please, if you wouldn’t mind.” Jason’s suggests, and his gaze flicks up to her for the briefest moment to give her a polite smile.

Tim can see out of the corner of his eye that she looks disappointed. He doesn’t really care. She and Jason hadn’t spared his feelings for the past half hour, why should hers be spared?

Once she’s gone, Jason checks in with him again.

“Tim, really, are you okay?” He asks quietly.

Tim plasters on a smile that he knows even Jason will know is fake.

“Yep! I’m just fine, Jason!” His voice is disgustingly cheerful. And now there is no way that Jason won’t know that he’s upset.

She comes back with the check, sliding it down in front of Jason. Tim sees the piece of scrap paper with her number written on it.

“Call me anytime.” She gives him a ridiculous wink and then walks away.

Tim hardly waits for Jason to set the cash down before he’s getting up and walking out of the restaurant. He doesn’t know if Jason grabbed the piece of paper with the waitress’ number on it, and he doesn’t really want to.

The entire way back home he’s walking a few yards in front of Jason, his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He gets back to the apartment just seconds before Jason and uses his own key to quickly unlock the front door so that he can slam it shut it in Jason’s face.

“What the hell’s up your ass? If you got a problem, Baby Bird, then let’s hear it. Now what’s wrong?” Jason demands when he wrenches the front door open and then slams it back shut, questioning Tim with a little too much edge to his voice.

“Nothing.”

“I’m sure. Now you wanna actually tell me instead of wasting both of our time?”

“I said it’s nothing, Jason! Just drop it!”

Tim starts as Jason kicks his boots off halfway across the room and then hurls his jacket to the floor.

“Fine. I didn’t even really care anyway.”

Tim knows that Jason doesn’t mean it. And that he especially doesn’t mean it in the way Tim immediately believes. It doesn’t hurt any less, though.

They avoid each other for the remainder of the night. Jason camped out in the bedroom for once as Tim reads on the couch.

“Aren’t you coming to bed?” Jason comes out to ask him around two in the morning.

“Um, I don’t think so. I’m fine out here.”

Jason looks hurt, but he immediately hides it behind a mask of anger.

“Fine.” He slams the bedroom door.

The couch is lonely and uncomfortable, and even under three blankets, Tim still feels cold.

The entire next day is incredibly awkward. They don’t speak to each other at all. And while they don’t hide out in separate parts of the apartment like they used to when they would argue, it’s clear that neither of them want to be around each other.

So Jason is only too eager to head out for patrol that night, even though there isn’t really a need for it. Part of him still feels bad for leaving Tim, especially while they’re fighting. He feels like he’s going crazy, though. Tim won’t talk to him and he doesn’t even know why. Every time it seems like he understands what the hell’s going through Tim’s head, the kid does a one eighty on him. It makes his head hurt. And he and Tim had been doing so well lately. Almost like they were a real…

Jason is suddenly sweating as he grabs his helmet. He’s all but ready to leave when he catches the glimmer of something out of the corner of his eye. He may not be using his guns, but he certainly isn’t neglecting them. Cleaning them as frequently as he normally would if he were using them. He happened to have left one out earlier after he finished with it. He debates with himself for a moment, then straps it to his ankle and slips out the bedroom window. He can’t bring himself to go out the living room window like he would any other night. He can’t be around Tim with the feel of cold metal weighing down his ankle.

Tim, sitting at home, not even realizing that Jason had been planning to go out on patrol, slips in his comm the second Jason is gone. The older boy tends to be a loose cannon when he lets his emotions get the better of him and then goes out on patrol. Tim knows Jason doesn’t want him in his ear, so he finds a backdoor that enables him to listen in on Jason without him knowing. He’ll probably be pissed if he finds out, but Tim needs to keep an eye on him. He needs to keep Jason safe.

Unfortunately, the lowly streets of Gotham are relatively quiet tonight. Not enough bad guys for Jason to take out his frustrations on. Every crime he’s stopped has been petty and the perps have given themselves up so fast that he hasn’t even been able to hit anyone.

It’s sick of him in a way, he knows this, that he’s practically scouring every alley of his territory of Gotham for something that requires a little more brute force. Eventually he finds it.

He stops for only the briefest of moments, just to readjust the strap above his foot that feels itchy and somewhat foreign after all this time.

He hears a door open, metal creaking loudly to reveal it’s age and condition. Then there’s the clicking of heels on pavement, the door closing. And then there’s a shuffling sound and the owner of the heels shouts in surprise.

“Be quiet now, lady. You make a move and I’ll kill ya.”

“Please don’t hurt me! You can have all of my money and take my phone. Just please don’t hurt me!”

Jason is waiting until the man is good and distracted before he makes his heroic entrance. But then he hears something that makes his guts feel like they’re pumping out toxic sludge.

“I don’t want your money, sweetie. Clothes off. All of them. Now.”

Anger takes over in Jason’s mind, and he knows he could easily beat the shit out of this guy and be completely satisfied without ever touching his gun, but he doesn’t want to. Fuck his promise. Tim doesn’t control him. He raises the gun and shoots, firing off one shot that hits the man clean in the bicep. He drops to his knees.

Jason can’t remember actually pulling the trigger. It’s as if his body was going off of muscle memory. He’s aware of the cold of the metal from the gun seeping through his gloves, the echo of the shot ringing in his ears. He thinks he can hear screaming and the clicking of heels again. The sound of a plea registers somewhere in his brain, but he ignores it. Sirens are suddenly blaring and as a cop car stops at the end of the alley, the lights shine on the man down below that Jason shot. He’s wounded, but alive. Jason doesn’t think he’d care if he’d actually killed the man, but apparently his subconscious does.

There isn’t time to linger on it one way or another. He isn’t afraid of the police. It’d be a miracle if they ever actually caught him. His worry is Tim, and how he knows the teenager will find out about this eventually. He knows it’s unrealistic to think he can avoid talking to Tim about it, but he can at least pretend for a short time.

Of course, there’s no way for him to know that Tim heard the whole thing himself.

--

Tim doesn’t acknowledge the other boy when he gets home. Doesn’t point out that he knows Jason is only taking his second shower of the day so that he can wash off the smell of gun powder. He doesn’t let on that he knows a single thing until Jason is stashing his uniform.

 “You promised. You promised me you’d stop using your guns. Did you forget?”

Jason sighs. He should’ve known Tim was listening in. His Little Bird is a hacker, after all.

“The guy was a dirt bag. He was going to rape that girl. He deserved what he got. And I didn’t even kill him.”

“That’s not the point, Jay! You promised me and I trusted you to keep that promise!”

Tim watches him sling his jacket over the desk chair and toss his pants into a growing pile of laundry.

“Tim, you’re blowing this way out of proportion.”

“No I’m not! Do you even think about how that makes me feel? I’ve asked you to keep two promises; don’t use your guns, and don’t smoke. Nothing else. I don’t think those are unreasonable requests by any stretch. Why would you go back on your word?”

The nagging feeling is scratching at the base of Jason’s skull again. The one that whispers to him that he’s once again becoming the brat that his mentor raised. He got involved with a Bat. What did he expect? He cares about Tim. He does. But he’s not a Bat. Not anymore. That lifestyle caged him. Killed him. He doesn’t live by those, or anyone’s rules anymore. He’s learned his lesson.

Why would I go back on my word? Don’t you know me? Because that’s just who I am!”

Guilt twists in Jason’s gut at seeing the look on Tim’s face.

“That’s just who you are? Are you fucking kidding me with that shit right now?! So you’re saying you were never going to keep those promises to me? That you didn’t give enough of a shit about me to make the effort?”

Jason swipes his helmet off the floor and shakes it at Tim.

“I did! I kept it for months! I tried to be what you wanted. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

“I never asked you to promise me that you wouldn’t hook up with other people, even though we’re not… even though you could’ve. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

He is not about to be this person. He swore to himself that he would never make Jason feel bad about the status of their current relationship. Not when they’ve come so far and overcome so many obstacles. He’s just hurt about what happened last night. But why can’t Jason just say he that he really wants to be with him? What the fuck is he so afraid of?

“What the fuck are you talking about, kid? Wait, is this about the thing with that waitress last night? That’s why you’ve been so pissed off?”

Tim is seething.

“Stop fucking calling me a kid! I’m only three years younger than you and it makes me feel like some shitty teenager when you call me that!”

“Fine! What the fuck are you talking about, Timothy?!”

Tim huffs and balls his fists.

“You can’t even keep a promise as simple as not using your guns! But I’m supposed to trust you not to run off and hook up with some girl, or some guy, when I never even made you promise not to?! But apparently it wouldn’t have mattered even if I had made you promise since you so easily break the ones you make!

“So fess up, Jay! Come on! I can handle it! Did you take her number after all? Did you call her yet? Did you guys already set up a date?!” 

Jason makes a noise like he’s just been shot and his helmet drops from his hand in his astonishment before the look of betrayal quickly dissolves into something much more sinister. Tim can’t even remember the last time he saw Jason look so angry.

“Fuck you, Tim! I can’t even fucking believe you right now! How can you say that shit to me?! You really think that I’m that type of person?! That I’m capable of doing that shit?! You know I didn’t give a shit about that waitress! You know all that flirting didn’t mean a goddamn thing! So tell me, what the fuck have I ever done to make you think I would go behind your back and hook up with anyone else?! Especially after I told you how much I wanted you! Jesus, I know I was a whore once, but give me some fucking credit, man!”

Tim feels sick suddenly. He hadn’t meant it like that. Nothing could ever make him think any less of Jason. Including the fact that he’d had to sleep with people for money as a child just to survive. Tim knows better than to think that Jason would ever sneak around behind his back. He knows Jason would never do that to him. Sometimes he just gets so worried because he finally got the person he’s… cared about so much for so long and he’s just afraid of losing Jason.

“I never meant it like that, Jay. I’m so sorry.” Tim’s voice is soft and full of remorse.

“Yeah? Well, you fucking should be!”

Tim can’t even look at Jason in the eye. He’s absolutely disgusted with himself right now. Tears are springing to his eyes and he feels like such an idiot.

“I didn’t mean what I said. I am so very sorry. It’s just that… I like you so much and you’re just this really amazing person and sometimes I get so insecure.”

Jason snorts. “Yeah right. Timothy Drake-Wayne does not get insecure.”

Tim is looking at him with wide, glassy eyes that are so open and vulnerable that they make Jason’s chest seize up.

“I know you’d never do anything to really hurt me. I just get so caught up in the nonsense in my head and sometimes I think there’s no way that you could possibly care about me like I care about you. After all that time and all the foolishness we had to go through, I just keep imagining that you’ll want to leave me for someone better.

“I still don’t understand how I managed to get so lucky. I keep expecting to wake up and find out that it’s all a horrible trick. And I see how people always look at us like they can’t figure out what a person like me could possibly be doing with someone like you. I just want to be enough.”

“Tim-“

“I’m sorry that I’m like this. I just don’t want you to see my weaknesses and my insecurities, because I worry that one day you’ll realize you can do so much better than me. But I can’t lose you, Jay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I forced you to make that promise. I’m sorry for everything.”

Jason rushes forward and kisses Tim’s pouty lips rapidly about five times before wrapping the smaller boy up in a hug.

“Jesus, Tim, how could you ever think that I could do better than you? You know, most days I wake up thinking the same thing? That this is just some fucked up joke, because there’s no other way I could’ve landed you. And people don’t stare at us, baby, they stare at you. Because you’re fuckin’ hot. So if anybody doesn’t deserve someone in this relationship, it’s me that doesn’t deserve you. You’re absolutely incredible, Baby Bird.

“And I know this is about more than what you’re actually willing to say out loud, and since you’re too fucking polite to actually talk about it, I will. I might still like women, but there isn’t a person on this planet or in this galaxy, man or woman, that compares to you. You don’t have anything to worry about. I told you before, Tim, I don’t want anybody else. Just you. You think I would’ve gone through all this shit if I didn’t?”

“I’m sorry.” Tim whispers against his chest.

“I’m sorry, too. I knew I broke a promise. The thought popped into my head immediately when I drew my gun, but keeping that promise, I don’t know, to me it meant, well, more. Like it represented some monumental commitment or something permanent and it just scared me. It scares me sometimes to think about how much I need you. About what I would do for you. I thought that maybe if I broke the promise it would…”

“Push me away?”

Jason nods. “Yeah. I’m a fucking master at self-sabotage. Or so Roy keeps telling me. But I told you that I’m no good for you, Tim. You should be with someone else who treats you far better than I do.” It hurts, but it’s the truth.

“Stop it, Jason. Stop it now. You’re not a bad person and there is nothing wrong with you! You’ve got to stop doing this. Firstly, it’s not going to work with me no matter what you do. You’re stuck with me now, so deal with it. And second, you deserve to be happy. So just let yourself be happy without constantly overthinking everything and trying to screw things up.”

He can feel Jason’s body shake with laughter against his own. Tim must’ve missed something and he feels a little stung by the outburst.

“What?” It’s petulant and irritated.

“Nothing. We’re just really bad at communicating. We should really work on that. It always takes a stupid fucking fight in order for us to actually talk about shit.”

“At least you’re not trying to kill me anymore.”

He feels Jason tense just the slightest bit before relaxing.

“Yeah. That’s true. Fuck, we’re a mess.”

“Think we’ll ever get any better at this?”

“Doubt it.”

Tim loosens his arms around Jason’s waist. He forces himself to meet Jason’s eyes, tilting his head back and looking up at the man that has become his whole world.

“Jay, you know… if you want to be with someone else… I’d eventually learn to be okay with it. I can accept it if it would make you happy. You can-“

Jason silences him with a kiss.

“Didn’t we just go over this? You’re it for me, Baby Bird. Only you. You are all I want. I’m yours. And you’re mine.”

Tim smiles at him and he’s about ninety- nine percent sure that his entire being is going to combust.

“Fuck, Tim, what are you doing to me? I mean, look at me. Fucking talking about my feelings and shit. You’re making me a big fucking sap. I used to be a feared criminal. And you. Jesus. Don’t know if I would’ve even tried to hook up with you if I’d known you were going to be this much of a pain in the ass. Always lecturing me and having heart to hearts and shit.”

“Thanks for that, Jay. I should be just as angry with you, too. I think you broke me. I never used to cry. Now look at me. You turned me into a giant wreck, you jerk.”

His arms tighten again around Jason and he presses his cheek as hard as he can into Jason’s soft t-shirt, inhaling his comforting scent.

“Feeling’s mutual, baby. You got any idea what you do to me? Fuck. I got a few ways in mind right now of just how good I could wreck you, and I’d be more than happy to, if you’d like.” Jason hunches and noses along Tim’s neck. “I’ll fucking destroy you if you let me, baby. Take you apart and then I can put you all back together again when I’m done.”

“Fuck, Jason. Yes, please?”

“Hm. Always so sweet, doll. What do you think Bruce or Dickiebird would say if they could hear you like this, huh? Desperate and needy for my cock to be so deep inside you.”

“Uhn! Jason, please don’t. Stop teasing. Just make love to me. Please.”

It’s the first time Tim has asked him that. He knows it means something for them. Something huge, probably. But he’ll think about it later. Right now his Little Bird needs him.

“Always, baby.”

Jason undresses him painstakingly slowly. He pushes Tim’s shirt up inch by inch, kissing each rib on one side as he goes. Once his nipples are revealed Jason flicks his tongue over one, sucking it into his mouth until it’s red and raw, too sensitive even to Jason’s gentle licks. And then he repeats himself on Tim’s other nipple.

“Fuck. You always taste so good. My sweet Little Bird.”

Tim’s body quakes as Jason kisses his way back down his smooth stomach. He pops the button of Tim’s jeans first and then pulls down the zipper leisurely. Tim’s hardness is quite evident, but Jason goes on about his business.

Just like with his shirt, Jason pulls off Tim’s jeans slowly, kissing the creamy thighs as he goes. He’s waking every nerve ending in Tim’s body.

“Jason.” Tim sighs.

Jason’s eyes flicker upward to look at Tim, and Jesus, they should erect statues in honor of the beauty that is Timothy Drake. His eyes are locked on Jason, huge and lust addled, the pupils darkening to shroud the blue of his irises. There’s color high on his cheeks, and his lip is bitten swollen. Jason just can’t get enough of him.

Tim has to force himself not to cringe with pleasure as Jason places his foot on his shoulder and kisses his ankle and then back up Tim’s leg. He’s shaking with the effort of keeping his hips still.

After an excruciatingly too long moment, Jason finally rids him of his briefs, leaning over to kiss Tim’s mouth just once and then slinks down his body to place a single kiss on the head of Tim’s heavily leaking cock. Tim’s patience falters then, and he very purposefully spreads his legs.

“Nnnh, ah! Jason, don’t make me wait any longer. Please. I need you so badly. Just wanna feel you, Jay.”

That’s all the incentive Jason needs to get moving.

“Anything you want, baby.”

Tim watches as Jason quickly tugs off his pajamas, and the prowess with which he moves to loom over Tim does all sorts of crazy things to Tim’s insides. He knows when Jason slides the bedside drawer open that he’s digging for the lube and attempts to wait as patiently as he can as Jason lubes up a finger.

“Two fingers. Oh, Jay. More, please.”

Jason obeys, slicking up two fingers and smearing some around Tim’s hole before slipping both digits inside. Tim’s body goes taut, back arching up in a sinful curve. Tim doesn’t even have time to catch his breath before Jason is slipping in a third finger dry.

It’s painful in the most pleasurable way, but Tim doesn’t want just this. Doesn’t want the tease of Jason inside him. He wants the real deal.

He reaches a hand out to Jason, curving it around his neck to pull his predecessor in for a hot and filthy kiss.

“Please. I need to feel you inside me.” Tim whispers against Jason’s lips.

Jason groans and can only imagine the hungry look that comes over his face as his determination crumples. He lubes himself up hastily and slides right into Tim without hardly any resistance. Tim knows what to expect now and how to relax himself to take Jason.

“Yeah? You want me in you?”

A needy whine makes its way out of Tim’s throat.

“Oh, baby. You’re so good to me. Jesus, what did I ever do to deserve you? My perfect Baby Bird.”

Tim feels the blood heating up his cheeks and tries to hide it in the pillow.

“C’mon. Don’t do that. Please don’t hide from me. You don’t you ever need to be embarrassed about anything with me. Look at me. Please. Let me see those beautiful baby blues.”

Tim shyly turns his head to meets Jason’s eyes, face still painted with color and eyes swimming with emotion. 

“There you are, doll. So pretty for me. You’re so good, sweetheart. You have any idea how beautiful you are?”

Jason grips Tim’s calves, spreading his legs and then pushing them back up against Tim’s chest, opening him even wider. It gets him a better angle, and he can feel the way his dick rubs up against the warm, wet walls of Tim’s channel.

He’s moving slow; the thrust of his hips fluid and adept, making Tim whimper. He doesn’t want to go fast. He wants Tim to remember all of this. The feel of Jason deep inside him, filling him up. This isn’t fucking. This isn’t just sex. Tim had asked Jason to make love to him, and that’s what he’s doing.

He isn’t sure what he’s managed to do right, but the look that suddenly takes over Tim’s face is making him want to blow right now. He looks blissed out and fucked out and it suddenly makes sense when Tim starts crying out.

“Oh! Fuck, Jay! I can… I can fucking feel you moving inside me!”

Jason drops his gaze from Tim’s face, but doesn’t stop thrusting. That’s when he notices. It’s a small movement, that’s hard to catch without him slowing down more and he refuses to do that, but Tim’s stomach rises just the slightest bit below his belly button each time he thrusts in. He can see his cock moving inside of Tim. Jason fights off the urge to cum at the sight, or pass out, or both.

He reaches a gentle hand out and rubs at the bulge, both he and Tim jumping and moaning when his fingers glide over it.

“Fucking christ, that’s so fucking hot, baby. Told you that you were mine. See how well your body takes me? It’s like you’re meant for me. Meant for only me. I’m never letting you go now.”

“Oh! Oh, Jay! Yes, yes, yes!”

“What do you need, Pretty Bird?”

Because this right now is all about Tim. Never mind the fact that Jason wants to watch as his cock jerks inside Tim. Wants to thrust into Tim until he can see his entire cock moving inside him. Or how badly he wants to spill inside Tim, fill him up and make Tim keep his cum inside forever so that no one ever dares touch him. He belongs to Jason.

“Harder. Fill me up. Make me come, Jay.”

Jason doesn’t hold back. His hips smack against the flesh of Tim’s ass, legs aching with exertion. His thrusts are aggressive, unwavering and sure, but not violent or painful. His thrusts just as deep and determined every time, holding himself still when he hits Tim’s prostate and grinding his hips before pulling out and doing it all over again. He has a steady rhythm going, but it won’t last long the way Tim keeps squeezing around him every time Jason is fully seated inside him. Both of their pleasure intensifying with every heady gyration of their hips.

Tim jerks and twitches from the onslaught against his sweet spot. He keens, crying out Jason’s name like a benediction.

“Jason! Oh god! Please! Want you to come with me!”

Jason is entranced by his Little Bird.

“Alright, baby. Just tell me when.”

“Now! Need to now! Oh! I’m gonna come, Jay! Fuck, oh, Jay, Jay, Jay!”

And he does, Jason following with his own orgasm that rattles his very bones.

His vision goes white at the edges. He has never come so hard in his life and he’s pretty sure a piece of his soul just gushed out of his dick.

When he can move, he rolls onto his back, pulling Tim’s shivering body on top of him. Tim is small and warm between his legs, sticky with cum. The musk of his scent making Jason’s mouth water, but he’s too spent to do anything about that.

Tim trembles against his predecessor, feeling Jason’s combat callused hands soothingly rubbing every inch of battle marred skin on his body that they can reach. Tim wants to comfort Jason as well, but he’s completely depleted. At the moment, he’s only capable of lying on Jason’s chest and breathing out hot, moist puffs of air against Jason’s throat.

“You alright, baby?” He hears Jason ask him, his chest rumbling beneath Tim’s ear.

Tim nods tremulously, and it’s a miracle he manages that.

“Fuck. Can you speak, doll?”

He shakes his head. He honestly can’t remember how words work at the moment.

“Christ. I’m sorry, baby. I should’ve been more careful with you. Let me get you some water.”

Both of his hands firmly fasten themselves to Jason’s biceps, clutching at him like an anchor.

“Okay. Got it. I won’t move. I’ll just stay right here with you. But I gotta take care of you.”

Tim makes a noise that Jason likens to a wounded kitten. It makes him wrap Tim up tighter and he cranes his neck to kiss Tim’s temple.

“Fine. You tell me when you’re ready to move and we’ll get you taken care of. Alright, baby?”

Jason shivers when Tim kisses the hollow of his throat.

“Fuck. Can’t even believe you’re real, Pretty Bird.”

If Tim could speak, he’d be saying the same thing aloud right now. But within the safety of his mind, he’s screaming out how much he fucking loves Jason Todd.

Chapter Text

Jason tries to make up for the past few days by taking Tim out again the next night. This time he goes all out. Books a reservation at a five star joint. Does the whole suit and tie thing. Even holds the car door for Tim as he gets in and out of the car.

“Jason, you didn’t have to do all this. Really. And it’s a little excessive.” Even as Tim says it, he has a huge smile on his face.

“I want to do this. I want you to know that I want the best for you. That I want you even when I’m being an asshole. And even though we have our issues still, I care about you, Timmy. I wanna give you everything I can.”

He kisses Jason and then walks into the restaurant as Jason holds the door open for him.

The first thing Jason notices when they walk in is the hostess. She’s young. Younger than him. Probably around Tim’s age. She’s pretty, in a sleazy kind of way. Too much blush, lip liner is too dark, and she needs to limit the amount of mascara she uses, but not bad looking. All of that is irrelevant, though. The issue is that she’s got eyes for his boy, looking at Tim like she's trying to undress him with sheer will of mind, and that does not sit well with Jason at all.

She gives Tim a once over and then licks her lips and plasters on a smile. It’s all teeth and she reminds Jason of an alley cat. He’s not fond of cats. Her eyes sparkle in a way that says she’s already fantasizing about Tim’s mouth, not that Jason can fault her on that one. But she’s not subtle, or a very good flirt. And she’s made the mistake of thinking she can make any sort of move on Tim in Jason’s presence.

Jason never knows if people constantly stare at Tim because he’s beautiful, or if it’s because they recognize him and want their shot at an encounter with a Wayne. Either way, it pisses Jason off. It’s one of the reasons he’s reluctant to take Tim out more often. He’s a bit more protective of Tim than he cares to admit.

Tim gets to the hostess stand a few steps before him and the unappealing expression is still glued onto her face.

“Hi!” Her voice is too high pitched and cheery. “Just the two of you?”

Jason walks up behind Tim and wraps an arm possessively around his waist, pulling Tim against his side. His huge, warm hand rests on Tim’s hip.

“That’s right. Just us two.” He growls.

Her face immediately falls and she grabs them two menus.

“Right this way.” There’s much less vigor in her voice as she leads them to their table.

She seats them and stalks off without another word.

“What was all that about?”

“What?” Jason plays dumb.

Tim gives Jason a knowing look and then flicks his eyes towards the hostess stand where they both catch the girl still staring at Tim. Jason glares at her and she blushes, turning around and ducking her head.

“There are probably more subtle ways of telling her to back off, Jason.”

Jason looks back to Tim to find him smirking. He shifts in his seat and then picks up his menu.

“Yeah, well, people need to learn to back off what’s mine.”

Tim fights off a shiver and rolls his eyes instead.

“Now you know how it feels. But I reiterate, there’s probably a more subtle way to do so.”

Jason lays his menu flat and hunches over the table toward Tim, giving him a lecherous, predatory smile and purrs, “You want me to leave my marks all over you, baby? That what you want? Suck a pretty bruise into every inch of that gorgeous skin so that everyone can see that you’re mine? Or maybe you wanna walk around smelling like me. My cum all over you. Inside of you. That’s what you said, wasn’t it?”

Tim squirms in his seat and bites the inside of his cheek so he doesn’t make a noise. Now he’s half hard in public and wants Jason to take him to the bathroom and keep his promise. He doesn't care which one. Although, when he’d been thinking of Jason staking a claim on him, he’d been thinking more along the lines of… and no. He is not going down that road. It’s too sappy even for him. Not to mention way too early in his life and in this relationship to even be considering… that. Besides, that doesn’t happen for people like them. Unless you’re Black Canary and Green Arrow.

“Hi, I’m Cameron, I’ll be your waiter tonight. Can I get you guys some drinks?”

Jason winks at Tim and then sits back and smiles up at their waiter, his face now the mask of some cultured rich boy. He goes back and forth with the waiter as if he wasn’t just talking about devouring Tim’s body. In a matter of seconds he has become the epitome of calm and charm.

Tim’s face is still beet red and he doesn’t make eye contact as he orders a glass of white wine. He’s still semi hard in his pants.

The rest of their dinner is fairly uneventful. They laugh and enjoy themselves over pasta and Jason orders Tim a slice of chocolate cake when he isn’t paying attention and smiles at Tim the entire time he watches him eat it, refusing a bite when Tim offers. Their date isn’t particularly spectacular, but Tim knows he’ll never forget this night. It’s rare for him to feel this happy and content and he’s so grateful. He considers once again seizing the opportunity to tell Jason that he loves him, but doesn’t want to ruin the night by putting that pressure on him.

They’re driving home when Jason reaches over and grabs Tim’s hand. He’s not doing anything more than holding it, but Tim can feel the way his own heart is thrumming inside of him.

“Thank you for all of this, Jason. Tonight has been amazing.”

He lifts their joined hands to his face, rubbing Jason’s against his face and then kissing it. Jason coughs. Tim knows he’s embarrassed, but he loves the way blood rushes to Jason’s cheeks. The way he tries to pretend like he isn’t watching Tim out of the corner of his eye. He loves Jason. So, so much.

“Tim,” Jason starts, his voice weak and scratchy. He clears his throat and tries again. “Tim… I hope I’ve been able to make you happy over these past few months, because you deserve the best. I just… well, you know I’d do… you know I’d do anything for you, right?”

Tim nods. Mostly because his head is swirling with emotion and he can’t find the words to tell Jason he understands. He hopes Jason knows. He really does.

This time Jason lifts their hands and kisses Tim’s.

When they get home Jason notices Tim has been exceptionally quiet for a while now.

“What’s wrong?” He asks as he walks up behind Tim and wraps arms around his waist.

“Huh? Oh. N-nothing.”

Jason rolls his eyes, because Tim must think Jason’s the biggest idiot in the world if Tim really expects him to buy that. He turns Tim around to face him.

“Bullshit. Talk to me, Tim.”

Tim’s face is as red as Jason’s ever seen it. It’s adorable, but it’s making him a little nervous to be honest. After everything they’ve been through, what could Tim possibly have to say that would make him blush like that?

“It’s just…”

“Come on, baby. You can be honest with me. Just tell me.”

“It’s been such a great night. I don’t want to ruin it.”

Tim lowers his eyes and sinks his teeth into his bottom lip, licks it. Jason’s eyes are immediately drawn to it and now he knows what this is about. He smirks and wraps his arms tighter around Tim.

“This is about sex, isn’t it? You always blush so pretty when I catch you thinkin’ about it. You’re wanting to try something different, huh? My fucking filthy boy.”

Tim tries to hide an embarrassed smile and turns away.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, Jay. You’re wonderful in bed, and I love the way you feel inside me. You’re plenty big- perhaps this is just me being greedy- but I want… more.”

“More?” Jason asks with wide, incredulous eyes. This is Tim Drake. The most amazing person he’s ever met, and the same boy who’d been embarrassed to kiss him in public at the grocery store a month ago.

“I want you inside me, and… and more. I want to feel absolutely… um, full.”

Jason isn’t really aware he’s done it, but his arms have dropped from around Tim and he’s fisting his hands at his sides. His eyes narrowing as he takes in Tim.

“I told you I wouldn’t share you with anyone else. If you even think about inviting Super Boy into our bed, I’ll shove ten pounds of kryptonite up his ass and leave him at the bottom of the goddamn river. Same goes for Bart, or any other fucker you might’ve had in mind.”

Tim shivers at the possessiveness of it. It’s affectionate, for all the aggression behind it. But Tim is absolutely mortified. How could Jason ever think Tim would need anyone else but him?

“No, Jay. I would never ask that and I absolutely respect that it’s just you and I. I wouldn’t want anything different for our relationship. I only want you. Just us. And I assure you that violence won’t be necessary. I was thinking more along the lines of you… and… a toy?”

Jason’s mouth goes dry and he fights to keep his knees from giving out from under him as all of his blood suddenly rushes to his groin like liquid fire. His mind is getting sludgy with lust and it’s coiling down his spine, billowing through him like a cloud of shimmering golden smoke. He can feel it in his veins and spreading out from his fingertips to his toes.

“You-,” His voice comes out rough and broken, so he clears his throat and tries again. “You want me to fuck you… and use a toy? At the same time?”

Tim bites his lip again and nods sheepishly.

“Fuck, you’re incredible, Baby Bird. You don’t ever have to be shy or embarrassed about what you want with me. I’ll always give you anything you ask for. Whenever you want it. We can try anything. You just have to tell me and I’ll be happy to give it to you.”

“Are you sure, Jay? If you’re not okay with it then that’s fine. I’ll understand. I know it’s a rather… unorthodox request.”

“Are you kidding, baby? This is so fucking hot. Jesus, could you be any more perfect? I’m up for any kind of experimenting you want to do. Just gimme a few days to find the perfect toy for you and then we can try this as many times as you want.”

Tim once again looks down at the ground, bashfully nibbling at his full lower lip again.

“Well, I… I might’ve already found one. And purchased it?”

Jason is rock hard in his pants now.

“You… you did what?”

“Oh, um, it’s just that I didn’t know anything about plugs or toys, so I went to a… a shop, and the woman was incredibly helpful and she recommended it and I bought it and some more lube, but I’ve only used it on my own once, so I thought you might want to try-“

“Tim!” Jason shouts, interrupting the onslaught of words.  He wraps an arm around Tim again and grips his chin, lifting it and pressing their mouths together. “I’m glad you found one you liked. When did you even sneak out to do that?”

And Tim’s fucking lip bite is going to be the death of Jason.

“I may have gone that day we had Roy over. It was the first time I’d used it. I cleaned and sanitized it, of course, and then used it to stretch myself. With plenty of lube.”

“Jesus Christ, that’s fucking hot. You’re killing me, Pretty Bird.”

Tim ducks his head, smiling up at Jason through his bangs.

“So, you gonna show it to me?”

Tim nods, sliding out of Jason’s grip. He grasps Jason’s hands and walks backward, guiding the older boy toward their bedroom. He sits Jason down on the bed before going to his sock drawer and pulling out the toy. It’s not as long as Jason, and is about half his girth. Slender and pretty.

Just like my Little Bird, Jason thinks.

“So?”

It’s only now that Jason realizes he’s been sitting on the bed silently, staring at Tim’s dildo and fantasizing about the smaller boy while Tim is standing there awkwardly, holding the toy as if it were about to catch fire.

“It’s cute, baby. Like you. You were smart about it. What am I saying, of course you’d be smart about it. Knew not to go too big or get too crazy. Well, we should probably test it out now. Make sure this thing can satisfy you the way I can.”

Suddenly Tim looks embarrassed, like he regrets even bringing this entire scenario up.

“Jay, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I won’t be upset. You’re more than enough. And it’s not like you have to compete with this thing. It could never measure up to you. Oh my god, did I really just say that? Why did I say that? It was weird, wasn’t it? I need to stop talking. God, I’m so stupid.”

Strong, capable hands grip Tim’s hip, squeezing hard and pulling Tim forward so that he’s nestled between Jason’s powerful thighs. Tim sucks in a choked breath. The touch is simultaneously soothing and owning, sending a noticeable frisson of excitement and anticipation pulsing through Tim’s body. It renders him silent.

He meets Jason’s eyes head on and endless cerulean orbs reflect the same wanting that Tim knows are in his own eyes.

Tim moves like silk as Jason hoists him up onto his lap, and tries not to whimper at the barely caged hunger radiating from Jason. His lips brush Tim’s, then kiss him sweetly, quickly, before Tim can react. It’s a teasing touch that drives Tim deeper into madness and further out the indulgent, shimmering stream of dreamy, celestial space.

“I want you to strip, and then I’m going to watch you while you open yourself up with your new little toy. And when I decide you’re good and ready, I’m going to fuck you while it’s inside you.” He says in hushed tones against Tim’s lips.

His voice is smoky, threading around Tim in shivering tendrils of pure aching need. He emphatically climbs off Jason’s lap, stripping down inelegantly with little to no dignity. He’s back on Jason’s lap in seconds, feeling uncoordinated and fuzzy. His head feels weighted down, and he can hardly think past the thought of getting either the toy or Jason inside of him.

Jason picks up the toy, lifts Tim the slightest bit off his hips, and taps the tip of the dildo against Tim’s pink little hole as he whispers against Tim’s lips, “Put it inside you and let me see how you fuck yourself with it, baby.”

Tim’s hips stutter before he immediately sinks down onto the toy. It slides in easy. He has no idea how he missed the fact that Jason lubed the toy, but apparently he did.

Jason is still holding the toy as Tim fucks himself on it. He isn’t even bothering to pretend as if he isn’t staring eagerly as he is. He can’t actually see the toy slipping in and out of Tim’s beautiful body, but it isn’t hard to imagine.

Tim’s cock is an angry red, shiny and slick with pre- cum and Jason’s mouth waters at the sight and undiluted smell of him. He can see from the look on Tim’s face that he’s on an entirely different plane right now, his ecstasy taking him somewhere that Jason himself can’t reach, but somewhere he can help put Tim. The jolt of need he feels at the thought of it makes him lightheaded.

Tim is unforgiving as he fucks himself, so it’s up to Jason to be the responsible one here. He grips Tim’s hip adamantly, immediately causing Tim to stop his motions. He tugs at Tim until the smaller boy gets the hint and holds himself up on his knees, still straddling Jason. Jason swivels his wrist, changing the position of his hand so that he can now control the pace of the dildo inside of Tim. He keeps his grip solid on Tim’s hip, communicating to Tim that he doesn’t want him to move.

His pace is slow, too slow, teasingly pressing the toy into Tim. If it were actually him inside Tim right now, he would never have the restraint to keep this pace. But Tim loves it, and Jason is taking him higher and higher. This is how the game works, and while his own dick is enraged with him right now, Tim comes first. Literally.

Unadulterated lust spirals persistently down to Jason’s cock, reinforced with every throaty moan that escapes Tim’s mouth. He didn’t think it was possible to be jealous of an inanimate object. He was wrong, because that stupid thing is inside of Tim right now and he isn’t. Tim’s ass belongs to Jason, and Jason alone. He’s the only one to ever be inside Tim. He’s carved Tim out, painted Tim’s insides with his cum, and marked Tim as his own. He. Is. Jason’s.

“Tim,” Jason is impressed that he’s actually able to find his voice and remember how it works. “Wanna get in you, baby. Wanna fucking wreck you. Gonna get you all messy, fucking filthy with my cum and make you mine over and over until I ruin you for anyone else. Take you apart and put you back together until you feel me inside you every time you breathe.”

“Jason! Want that. Want you in me! Please! Just wanna feel you!” Tim shouts. He’s delirious with pleasure, reveling in every moment of it.

Jason rips out the vibrator and Tim wails. He lays Tim gently on his back. His pretty boy is so out of it and it’s so compelling to just fuck Tim further into oblivion right the fuck now, but he’s set boundaries for himself when it comes to Tim and he won’t cross those. The safety of his Little Bird comes first.

He lubes himself up, sloppy and clumsily. He’s beyond rational thought. And as he slides into Tim, every thought aside from the friction and slick heat of Tim’s insides has fucking left the building.

“Oh, fuck, Tim.”

“Jay…” It’s a plea, albeit a discrete one, but Jason is now a fucking expert in the semantics of Tim Drake.

Jason can’t immediately slide the toy into Tim, the thing is small, but it’d still be a hell of a stretch. He lubes a finger, pressing it against Tim’s rim. There’s not a lot of give, but he knows his Little Bird can handle it.

“Oh, Jay.”

It takes patience and a bit more lube, but his finger goes in. They’ve done this before, and Tim is trained well enough to control his body to open up to accommodate Jason’s dick and his finger, but Tim is too far gone right now, so the whole ordeal takes a bit longer.

The angle Jason’s hand is in is awkward as hell, but Jason will make it work. He lubes a second finger and slides the first back in before beginning the task of trying to fit in the second finger. Eventually, it goes in as well.

Tim’s head whips back and forth on the bed. His eyes feel wet and his whole body feels alight, warm and hypersensitive. He’s teetering, drifting toward euphoria; his pleasure feeling as glittery and expansive as the sun warmed ocean.

“You’re almost there, baby. Doing so good for me. So perfect. Gonna put another finger in now. Then we’ll try your toy. You tell me if three fingers are too much. You got that, sweetheart?” He doesn’t get a response. “Tim.” His voice is firm and commanding this time.

“Yes. Uhn, yes, Jay.”

Tim forces himself to focus, opens himself up to fit all three of Jason’s fingers so he can get the stupid fucking toy inside of him already. Jason will be in for a pleasant surprise.

“So good, baby. I’m gonna give you what you want now.”

The dildo is sitting expectantly next to Jason’s leg, so he swipes it up, lubes it thoroughly, and nudges it against the outer ring of muscle of Tim’s greedy hole.

“Alright, baby, you ready for your toy?”

Tim nods. He couldn’t actually say what it was that Jason just asked him, but he knows the answer is yes.

Jason goes slow, pushing the dildo inside him a hairsbreadth at a time and it’s slowly killing Tim, his breathing becoming tight and choked. His legs spread wide in a slutty imitation of some of the stretches he does as the toy continues to be pushed inside him. It’s a pleasure bordering on pain, and it’s so, so good.

“Jason.” And it’s also a plea. A profession. An absolution. Holy fucking shit, he loves Jason Todd.

"Oh my god, Tim. You look fucking incredible. Should see yourself. It’s downright sinful the way you open up. You’re fucking amazing.”

It becomes harder with each thrust for Jason to remember that he also has to move the dildo. The tightness and slickness of Tim’s body coalescing to form the perfect home for Jason’s cock for the rest of his life.

“Jay.” It’s a statement; informative in some important way. Jason can tell. But Tim doesn’t elaborate any further. Not that Jason really expected him to be able to.

With one hard thrust Jason’s hand slips down to bottom of the dildo, changing his grip for leverage and finding a button waiting there that he hadn’t noticed before.

“Tim-“ But he doesn’t get anything else out, because he’s pushed the button and now he knows that it’s not just a dildo, it’s a goddamn vibrator, pressed up against his dick and pressing inside of Tim and vibrating against both of them, and holy shit. He doesn’t know how long either of them can take this.

He tries to remember how to move his hips and his hand in tandem. The pleasure is too much. Tim is screaming expletives interspersed with Jason’s name, and Jason knows he’s feeling just as good, if not better.

Jason thrusts once as he simultaneously pushes the vibrator in alongside him and it feels like heaven and he must’ve hit Tim’s prostate with the damn thing, because then Tim is shouting “Oh, fuck, Jason!” and then he clamps down what little bit more around Jason and the vibrator that he’s able to as he comes. And Jason follows, coming harder than he’s ever come in his life.

He didn’t know it was possible to actually pass out from an orgasm, but he wakes up to find Tim asleep, breathing deep and even, still beneath him. He knows he wasn’t out for long; he and the vibrator are still nestled deep within Tim’s body and he’s still sweaty and overheated. He doesn’t remember, but he must’ve had the sense to turn the thing off and slides the toy out first, then slowly pulls out. He’s overly sensitive like he’s never been before and the drag of Tim’s rim around him as he slides out makes him hiss. He groans as his dick twitches pathetically at the sight of his still warm cum sliding out of Tim’s body.

Tim is still asleep and covered in his own cum. Jason is turned on as well as impressed as he takes in the sight. It probably was the most intense orgasm of Tim’s life, too, if the fact that he’d managed to shoot cum all the way up his torso, chest and neck are any indication. God, he’s beautiful.

“Tim.” Jason whispers, licking the cum from Tim’s throat and under his jaw and then nudging at Tim’s cheek with his nose. He whispers it again before placing a kiss on the same cheek and brushes Tim’s sweaty hair away from his forehead.

Tim stirs and finally opens his eyes after some convincing.

“Hey, Jay.” His throat sounds raw and he’s struggling to think past the haze of sleep.

“Hey, baby. You okay?”

He nods, fighting against the pull of slumber. His head feels heavy and his body feels light. He isn’t entirely sure that’s possible, but it’s hard to think past the warm marshmallow feeling in his brain.

“Good. I’m glad I made you feel good. You did so well, baby. But we gotta get cleaned up. You gonna let me give you a shower? Gonna let me take care of you?”

Tim would love to be indignant right now. Throw educated insults at the older boy for even insinuating that he can’t care for himself. But he still feels like sunlight and stardust, and Jason Todd is inexorable when it comes to getting his way.

“Yes, Jay.”

They take a thorough, but quick shower. Going for efficiency over luxury. Cleaning up every trace of lube and cum.

Tim dresses quickly. He can’t wait to crawl into bed and feel Jason’s body heat pressed against his back.

"Jay?” He calls softly, warily once they’re all settled in.

And there’s that nervous tone again that tugs at Jason’s heartstrings every time.

“Yeah, Tim?”

“I… I was just wondering if you could take tomorrow off? I know it’s a lot to ask, and terribly unfair of me, but I would like to spend the whole day with you. And tomorrow night. Even though the time we spend together during the day should be plenty of time on its own, I just want to be around you, and I couldn’t stop myself from asking. I’m sorry for my selfishness.”

It all comes out a bit rushed, but Jason catches it easily enough.

“Aw, baby. Of course I’ll stay home. How could I ever say no to a request like that? C’mere. Sweetheart, anytime you want me, all you gotta do is say so.”

Jason wraps Tim up in his arms and pulls him tight against his chest, kissing the back of his head.

Tim loves this man.

Chapter Text

They sleep until noon the next day and it’s amazing. No obligations or responsibilities for one whole day. Jason wakes up first, making pancakes that are lumpier than any pancake should be. Tim wakes up shortly after Jason gets started and thankfully comes to his rescue after a heated good morning/ good afternoon kiss that leaves one lumpy pancake burnt.

They get through half a movie and then Tim is between his legs, giving him an absolutely amazing blowjob.

“You’ve been practicing,” Jason remarks as Tim cradles and massages his balls, licking at his cock in the most delicious way.

Tim pulls off of him looking obscene, a strand of saliva and pre- cum stretching from his lips to Jason’s cock.

“I may have also purchased a very helpful dvd on fellatio from the shop when I bought the vibrator.”

Jason comes down his throat, Tim swallowing every last drop. They take a shower, Jason giving Tim a hand job that makes his knees collapse. They get cleaned up quickly before the warm water runs out and then get dressed, ending up back on the couch in time to catch the last ten minutes of their movie.

There’s a sudden knock at the door and the two of them exchange looks before Jason gets up to answer it.

“Dick? What the hell are you doing here?” Jason says loudly.

Tim sits upright on the couch, inspecting himself quickly to make sure there’s nothing incriminating about his appearance.

Dick walks in, a huge smile on his face like always.

“What? A guy can’t visit his little brother? Or brothers, I see. Hey, Timmy. How are you?”

“Hi, Dick.” Tim greets him, standing to give him a cursory hug.

Dick releases him, standing there for a moment regarding the two younger boys precariously. His thinly veiled curiosity is getting the better of him.

“Are you still staying here, Tim?”

“I… uh…”

“I invited Tim over for a movie, which you’ve so rudely interrupted. You know they invented these crazy things so that you can give people a heads up before you just show up at their house. It’s called a phone. Learn how to fucking use one.” Jason cuts in. He knows Tim is embarrassed and wants to divert Dick's attention to himself instead. It’s been a while since they’ve even had to contemplate the thought of telling their family the truth.

“Sorry, Jaybird. I didn’t mean to burden you with one visit every few weeks!” Dick snaps at him.

“All I’m saying is that it wouldn’t kill you to call!” Jason snaps back.

“You are such a brat, you know that? One of these days you’re going to push me too far and you’re gonna regret it!”

“Dickie, you haven’t been able to kick my ass in seven years, so LET IT GO ALREADY!”

“That’s it, Jason! You-“

Tim steps between his older brothers.

“It’s okay, Dick. Just ignore Jason.”

“Tim!” Jason nearly shrieks, indignant.

“It’s good to see you, Dick. How are you?”

“Pretty good, Timmy. I won’t stay long, but I’m sorry if this was a bad time. Alfred sent me with some goodies and I haven’t seen you guys in a while, so I wanted to take full advantage of being the delivery boy. I’ll get out of your hair, I just wanted to drop off the stew and muffins he made.”

Tim’s mouth is already watering. He’s a decent cook himself, but Alfred is a genius when it comes to culinary arts. With the exception of waffles.

“Thanks, Dick. Let me walk you out to your car. Jason will not be accompanying us on our little trek.”

“Tim, you traitor!”

Tim waves him off and follows Dick out the front door. He knows Jason’s annoyed, but he’ll make it up to him later.

“Sometimes I really can’t stand him.” Dick says, still rather irate.

“I know he can be a pain, but he loves you, Dick. He really does.”

“I know.” Dick’s tone is penitent. “He can be such a little shithead sometimes. I shouldn’t let him rile me up like that. I know he only does it to annoy me. Little brothers are so annoying.” He tousles Tim’s hair, leaving it askew and gives Tim a mirth filled grin.

Tim bats his hand away but smiles back.

“So, you and Jason get along really well now. You gonna tell me about that?”

Tim’s phone chirps in his pocket and he checks it to find a message from Cass. He may have to thank her later for her impeccable timing.

“Sorry, Dick. Maybe we can not have this discussion another time. Cass is in town and I’d like to visit with her.”

Dick gives him another hug, holding onto Tim until he can clearly feel that the younger boy is uncomfortable.

“Alright, Timmy. Take care of yourself. And take care of Jason. That brat needs all the help he can get.”

“Bye, Dick. We’ll see you soon.”

Tim watches as he drives off and then heads inside to tell Jason about his invitation from Cass to hang out. Their day alone together is quickly becoming a much busier day with more social interaction.

Cass is back in Gotham for a few days. She’d come to visit Steph and pass along some useful information to Bruce, but she had managed to find the time for a quick visit with Tim and convinced him to take a few hours and get coffee with her.

Jason drives them downtown on his bike, after some convincing from Tim. He’d gotten it repaired some time ago, but has been fearful about getting back on it with Tim. He parks outside the coffee shop and kisses Tim goodbye.

“You sure you don’t wanna stay and have coffee with us, Jay?”

“I’m sure, babe. Besides, you never get to see her and I don’t want to intrude. You have fun. I have some loose ends to tie up.”

“Where do you keep sneaking off to, anyway?”

Jason gives him a knowing look.

“Yeah, yeah. I know. All in good time.” Tim teases.

Tim walks in and his eyes immediately find Cass. She can’t be missed. Something about her confidence and assured nature gives her a presence unlike anything Tim has ever felt. Except maybe Jason. Not to mention she also seems like the type of person that could frighten a tiger into submission with just a look. Now he understands why Jason thinks the two of them would get along so well.

They hug briskly, Cass never all that comfortable with being affectionate.

“You look good, Tim. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen you this happy.” She comments as they sit. There’s two black coffees sitting on the table and Tim shyly adds cream and sugar to his own.

“Thanks, Cass. I am happy.”

“This is because of Red Hood?” She asks, no condescension or judgement in sight. Just pure curiosity.

Tim knows his cheeks are painted pink.

“It is. He’s amazing. So beautiful and kind and loving. I’ve never felt this way before. He’s just so incredible. He's one of the nicest people I've ever known, but he's really shy about it, and I just want to spend every moment with him. It's like he's turned my whole world upside down and I can't get enough. And sometimes it's so hard just to not be with him, and it sounds ridiculous, but he's everything to me and I don't know what I'd do without him.” Tim grimaces when he can stop the words flying out of his mouth, blushes fiercely when he realizes he sounds like a ridiculous schoolboy. “Well, I mean, yeah, I guess. He's nice, and... it’s just-“

“It’s okay, Tim. You don’t have to hide your feelings in front of me. While I don’t know Red Hood very well, I can see that he makes you happy. I don’t know that I can say that I trust him, but I do trust you. I know that you know what you’re doing, and I can only hope that he takes care of you. But I am happy for you both. It doesn’t matter who brings you joy, so long as you have it in your life.”

“Wow. Thank you, Cass. I… I love him, you know.”

She smiles softly at him.

“Believe me, Tim. I know. Anyone with eyes can see how you feel about him.”

“And you? Still no one?”

Cass is very private, but she trusts Tim enough with some things here and there.

“No. Only me.”

“I may still have Lynx’s number, if you’re interested. But I’m not sure how she feels about women.”

“That’s okay. But thank you, Tim. I couldn’t be with just anyone.”

A sad and knowing look overtakes Tim’s face.

“Do you think you’ll ever tell Steph how you feel about her?”

Cassandra blushes and ducks her head, letting her dark and sleek hair fall in front of her face.

“I don’t think so. Stephanie struggled for a long time to get over you. And now that she has, I still don’t see her finding happiness with me. Perhaps she and I will both find our true loves one day. I’m only sad to say that I don’t think it’ll be with each other.”

Tim thinks of Babs, and how long it’s been since she’s been with someone, but knows that it’s a lost cause before he opens his mouth. Barbara Gordon is, unfortunately, very straight and probably isn’t likely to change her sexuality any time soon. Even though there isn’t a man alive worthy of her, in Tim’s opinion. And Kate has surprisingly found someone as angry as her, and Tim is happy for her.

“I’m so sorry, Cass.”

“Don’t worry about me. Anyway, what are you going to do when Dick finds out about the two of you?”

Tim watches as she lifts the plain white mug up to her lips for a sip of coffee. There’s so much power and control in just the simple movement that Tim finds it hard to believe that there aren’t more people who fear crossing the path of Black Bat.

“I think he may already know. He stopped by earlier. And the real problem is Bruce.” Tim admits, and once again the fear of actually talking to Bruce again creeps into the depths of his stomach.

“Isn’t it always?” She says derisively.

“I’m serious, Cass. How do you tell your mentor, your former partner, your father, that you’ve been hiding your relationship with your older brother?!”

“You’re forgetting that you’re all adopted and that Jason is not actually your older brother.”

“Do you really think that makes a difference? How do you think Bruce is going to react? We’re all his sons. He raised us. How could he ever be okay with this?”

“You have to tell him, Tim. He’ll be more upset if you keep this from him. And he’s with Dick. Surely he’ll be reasonable about this.”

Tim stares sulkily at his coffee cup. Talking to Bruce has never been easy unless it’s about crime fighting or gadgets. He doesn’t always understand that everyone doesn’t think exactly as he does. Tim loves him regardless, and has the utmost respect for the man. And even though Bruce saying that he cares is a rarity, Tim knows the older man loves them all deeply. Still, the scenario in which Bruce is accepting of relationship between his sons- one of which was a former crime boss- is not just improbable, but downright ridiculous.

Jason picks him back up a while later after he and Cass have said their goodbyes.

"You have fun?" He queries.

“Yeah. I miss Cass. I wish she were around more.” Tim tries to hide the sullen tone of his voice, but his demeanor is rather wan now.

“I know, baby. I’m sure it’s hard.” Jason kisses him softly. “Oh, hey, I got this for you. Maybe it’ll cheer you up some.”

Tim opens his hand and the expensive microchip he’s had his eye on for weeks is placed in his palm.

“Jason, did you…?”

“I saw you looking at it on your computer a few days ago. Thought I’d grab it for you while I was out.”

“Thank you, Jay!”

“Yeah, yeah. You’re such a geek. But I’m glad you like it.”

---

“You’re crazy. Being a vampire is not a superpower.” Tim states flatly.

“Says who?! Look, you have mind control, immortality, and you have super speed and super strength. How is that not a superpower?”

They’d been trying to pop in a movie when somehow the discussion came up. Tim is entirely amused by Jason’s childlike nature about the whole subject. They’re sitting not even a foot apart on the couch, and yet Jason is screaming as if Tim’s response is belittling of all life forms.

“No way, Jay. That’s like saying being brought back from the dead is a superpower.” Tim teases.

“You’re such a brat. Okay, now if you answer this one wrong, we’re through and I’m kicking you out.”

Tim rolls his eyes. “Okay. Lay it on me.”

“Chocolate or vanilla?” Jason asks.

Tim shrugs. “No preference.”

“What?! Okay, get out of here.”

“Jay!”

“Chocolate all day! That’s what you should’ve said! You can’t even tell me that you actually enjoy eating vanilla flavored things!”

“They’re both fine.”

“That’s it…”

Jason tackles him, laying him flat out on his back on the couch. Tim yelps in indignation and then gives a satisfied hum when Jason settles on top of him and kisses him.

“We’re watching the third one.”

“Jason! I hate the third one! Can’t we watch the fifth instead?” Tim whines.

“Sorry, babe. Can’t hear you. Too busy watching creepy evil things be vanquished by a deer made of light.”

Tim, of course, has read the books and points out all the flaws in the movie as Jason rolls his eyes and flicks popcorn at him, calling him a nerd.

They end up napping through most of the movie, Tim’s head resting in Jason’s lap. When Tim wakes, he heats up Alfred’s stew. He kisses Jason awake and serves him a bowl and they eat in relative silence, Tim laughing to himself every few minutes when he feels Jason watching him. He wishes they could always have days like this.

But Tim has been training. Been working out and practicing with his staff again, and it’ll be any day now before Tim is back out on the streets in uniform once more as Red Robin. And Jason is still the Red Hood, and there is no happy ending for people like them. No off days. Not really. Still, he revels in moments like these, in solitude and peace with the love of his life. He wishes he could tell Jason his thoughts, and hopes that one day he’ll find the courage to.

After dinner, Tim attempts to teach Jason how to make homemade cookies, which obviously was a disastrous idea. Jason has flour all over his face and one of the bowls’ entire contents is now on the floor. He curses up a blue streak about the chocolate chips going to waste and Tim laughs and kisses him and makes the next batch himself. He does let Jason roll the dough into balls and place them on the cooking sheet, watching him reverently all the while.

Jason slides the sheet in the oven, picks up Tim and sets him on the counter, stepping between Tim’s legs and then they proceed to make out until the timer goes off for the first batch. Jason’s oven is old and terrible, so the cookies are too gooey on the inside, but they eat the entire first batch anyway.

Jason had promised Tim he’d stay home the entire day, including during the standard patrol hours, but the police scanner goes off informing them of a robbery that has escalated to a standoff between the criminals and the police. Tim agrees to let him go, in light of the situation, and kisses him goodbye as he leaves to take care of his duty.

It isn’t until Jason has been gone for ten minutes that Tim realizes he’s still smiling. He feels light. Content. Exhilarated. He feels so happy and he never wants to give it up. He has managed to create his own little slice of heaven with Jason Todd and he doesn’t think he’ll ever need anything more for the rest of his life.

---

Tim is in bed when Jason returns. He’s nearly asleep, spread out on his stomach when he feels the familiar heat and weight of Jason’s body pressed against his back.

“Mmm. Jay, is that your gun, or are you just happy to see me?”

“Heh. You got dirty jokes now? You know that’s all me, baby. Every last inch of me wants you.”

“I take it- nnh,” Tim cuts himself off to moan as Jason curls his apparently already lubed finger just right inside him. “I take it everything went well?”

“Yep. Got the drop on those idiots and took them all out. Even got ‘em all tied up for the cops. Practically doing their job for them these days.”

Tim’s back arches, ass lifting up into the air to urge Jason to put another finger inside him.

“Oh! You-,” Tim gasps, “You’re so amazing, Jay.”

A tremor wracks Tim’s body as Jason kisses down along his spine. He slides off Tim’s boxers- which are actually Jason’s- and slides another already slick finger along the crease of Tim’s ass, and then slipping it into Tim’s winking hole.

His heart is beating wildly in his chest, little palpitations ticking out the seconds while the lust in the room becomes thick, almost tangible.

“You look so fucking good, baby. Stay just like this for me, gorgeous,” Jason whispers against the shell of his ear.

He opens Tim up, going for efficiency. The sight of Tim, naked from the waist up and only in Jason’s boxers as he entered their bedroom, has him rock hard already and needing to be inside his Baby Bird.

Jason grabs Tim’s hips, pulling him up to his hands and knees. Jason isn’t particularly fond of this position. He doesn’t like when he can’t see his partner’s face. Especially since this partner is Tim, who makes the sexiest expressions when Jason is buried deep inside him. But he’s too turned on to care, so he slides into the smaller boy in one smooth, languorous slide.

It’s hot and tight inside Tim. It always is, no matter how many times Jason takes him. He’s gripping the jut of Tim’s hips meanly, leaving bruises on his Little Bird. Marking him up so pretty. He’s in love with Tim and Tim’s body. Loves how slender and muscular Tim is. Loves how there’s clear etches of muscle within every ridge of Tim’s body. Loves how small he is and how’s there’s no excess on Tim in the slightest. Just bone, and sinew, and smooth, rich skin that tastes like honey and sweat.

Tim is a whimpering mess, meeting Jason thrust for thrust and then humping against the empty air like he needs more. God, Jason loves his greedy Little Bird.

“Touch me. Oh, fuck. Touch me, Jason, please!”

The request most certainly does not go unheard, and he wraps his arm around Tim and hauls him up to his knees. Tim goes with it, moving like molten syrup; liquid and succulent. He gets his free hand around Tim’s length and finds that the boy is already dripping. Weeping cock a dribbling mess as it oozes out pre-cum, coating the entirety of Tim’s length. Tim’s hands fly back to his upper thighs, nails digging in mercilessly.

Fuck, baby, you’re killing me. You got no goddamn idea what you do to me, Tim. What I wanna do to you.”

“Jay, Jay! Ohn, please! Please, Jay!” And Tim is so far gone that his voice sounds distant and far away even to his own ears.

Jason slides the hand wrapped around Tim’s waist up his chest, grips Tim’s chin, and turns his head for a hot, sloppy kiss. It’s a strain on Tim, and while they kiss Jason isn’t able to thrust as deep, so he relinquishes the hold on Tim’s and goes back to fucking into his sweet boy with brutal ferocity.

“Jason, more. More, please!”

It’s unfair, really, the direct connection Tim Drake has on his cock. The way the littlest things get Jason hot and bothered. His voice, his body. The way he knows how to beg so pretty for Jason. He wants to give Tim everything when he pleads like that.

His free hand once again slides up Tim’s chest, this time pausing at his throat to wrap fingers gently around it, possessive and domineering. He squeezes with the slightest bit of pressure, and Tim shivers and lets loose a guttural moan.

Jason keeps his grip on Tim’s throat fairly relaxed, making sure Tim can still breathe as he continues to pound into Tim’s yielding and pliant little hole. Jason’s choked enough people in his life to know what he’s doing.

“You’re fucking beautiful, Tim. The fucking sexiest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen. Gonna stay inside you forever, baby. Want you to hold me just like this. Fuck, I need you. You want that, sweetheart? Wanna keep me inside you? All snug and hot in your sweet little body? You’re so perfect, baby.”

“Jay.” Tim is lost and turned on that Jason’s name comes out sounding like the dirty fucking lovechild of a moan and a whimper. “More, Jay. I want it.”

He pulls one hand off of Jason’s thigh and slides it up his own body, brushing over a nipple on the trek and making himself shiver. Then his fingers find their destination atop Jason’s hand, still resting over his throat. He presses against Jason’s hand, making Jason clamp down harder on his throat until it’s a struggle to get air through.

Tim’s head is swimming, fucking drowning in endorphins and dopamine. Jason is thrusting so hard inside of him, and he’s thrusting so roughly into Jason’s assisting hand that’s touching his cock and massaging his balls, spreading his own slickness everywhere. Jason’s hand tightens again and now Tim can’t breathe at all, and Jason bites down on his neck just below his ear, and Tim is coming all over the sheets, all over Jason’s hand, and all over his torso.

“Tim!” Jason shouts, as Tim’s body locks up, hole seizing around Jason’s dick and milking his orgasm from him. It feels like it goes on forever.

Tim stirs after a while. He has no idea how much Tim has passed, but his cum is cooling where it’s pressed between the sheets and his body. He can feel as Jason shifts on top of him, pulling out and leaving Tim’s hole a sticky mess.

He rolls onto his back beside Jason. He isn’t capable of intelligent thoughts yet, and his body still feels a bit apathetic, but he grabs at Jason, insisting on his attention until Jason receives the message and wraps an arm around Tim.

Jason finally opens his eyes and is met with the most beautiful sight of a well fucked Tim Drake.

He rolls over, resting his upper body against Tim’s and kisses him. Tim’s mouth is relaxed and allows Jason to kiss him just the way he wants. He’s pliable and docile. Perfect and beautiful, and Jason can’t ever get enough.

Jason abandons Tim’s lips after a moment, pressing a wet thumb against Tim’s lips instead. Tim opens for him, letting the digit slip inside as Jason fucks his mouth with it. He moans around the finger and the salty- sweet taste of his own cooled cum. He licks until it’s clean and watches, completely infatuated as Jason sucks the rest of his own fingers clean.

Tim moans again, hips grinding up into the air as he feels Jason’s dick twitch against his leg.

“Baby, as much as I’d like to, I just don’t think I can go another round right now. You fucking pulled the cum right outta me. Let’s just go take a shower.”

They’re clean and dressed after their second shower of the day, lying in bed and facing each other, eyes closed and foreheads pressed together. They’re simply enjoying the sound of each other’s breathing and the warmth of the other's body heat.

“I wanna talk about you.” Jason says, his voice just scantly above a whisper.

Jason opens his eyes to see that Tim looks truly taken aback.

“What about me?”

Jason pulls back some so that he’s able to look at Tim properly.

“Come on, Tim. You know everything about me, but I never get to hear anything about you.”

The look on Tim’s face is something akin to confusion but not quite it.

“What’s there to know? You watched me for long enough through the years. Kept tabs on me. You must know enough.”

“I’m no you, Little Bird. I didn't 'study' you the way you did with me. And besides, that’s not the same. I want you to want to tell me things. Anything. About your childhood. About your dreams. About your plans for the future. Just anything. I only know what I see and what you’ve volunteered to share with me, but I want to know more. I want to know everything. If I can. Please.”

Tim nibbles at his lip. There’s a latent tension hanging between them now. He wants to share everything with Jason. He doesn’t ever want anything to be off limits between them. But how much can he tell? He wants to give Jason this, because Jason never asks for anything. He just isn’t sure if Jason can handle all of him. He knows how much Jason cares about him, but he still keeps so much of himself hidden. If everything is out in the open will Jason still want him? Can he even be honest with Jason without telling him how extremely in love with him he is? Will Jason still want to stay with him the day he finds out how Tim feels?

He decides he’ll start small and ease into it. If he can test the waters, maybe he can skirt around most of the truth, and evade other truths entirely.

“Well, you know how I became Bruce’s son and partner. And how Dick was the catalyst for me and my life as a vigilante. You know about my relationship with the Titans. You know about my parents. What else would you like me to tell you?”

“Anything you want. You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to. But I don’t ever want you to think I don’t want to hear it, or that I don’t care. I just want to know more.”

Tim twists the sheets in his hand contemplatively. He’s kept so many secrets for so long that he isn’t sure how to tell the whole truth anymore. But this is Jason, and he’s asking Tim to talk about himself and how could Tim possibly refuse that.

“I used to talk to you. When I first became Robin. Well, I would talk to your uniform. I would ask for advice, complain about my parents, tell you about the missions. You were the best friend I ever had and you weren’t even around. But that didn’t matter. Sometimes I would just sit in front of that glass case for hours and imagine what it would be like if you’d still been alive. I wanted to be your little brother. Your best friend. Your whole world. I wanted to be there for you. Because you were still there for me.”

The assertion feels like a weight lifted off his chest. Like he’s just been laid bare. Like a scar that aches, but is soothed with tender lips.

“You know, it might sound kind of pathetic, but I don’t think my life meant much before I found Batman and Robin. I wasn’t unhappy, just lonely. And then Dick came along and changed everything. Made me feel like I had a friend. I never really had that growing up. I think that finding out that he was Robin was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. And then you came along, and you were so unlike the Robin that Dick had been. Unapologetic and strong, and yet equally as incredible. Absolutely mesmerizing as Robin. Replacing you had never been my plan. Batman needed a Robin, and it didn’t even have to be me, but it kind of worked out that way.

“Bruce was still a mess, though. Sometimes it was so hard to be around him. You could tell he was constantly suffering and sometimes it hurt just to be near him. For a while it had felt like before. Like being alone again. Dick wasn’t around enough to help and Alfred was hurting just as much as Bruce was. I was mostly on my own, until I realized I really wasn’t.  You were everything to me, even though you were gone. I could still have you in my own secret way.

“You were everything I wanted to be. You were close to Bruce. You were close to Dick. You were Robin. And I wanted to know you, even if I never actually could. I wasn’t alone with you. Sometimes it would even feel like you were really there. Listening to me ramble on about nonsense until Alfred would force me into a part of the Manor where sunlight could actually reach.

“Sometimes I still feel like I did when I was kid. Lonely and unsure. Second guessing my every move. The Titans help with it sometimes. But that fear seems to always lurk in the back of my mind. And then I think about you, and I don’t feel like that anymore. I don’t feel anxious or unwanted. I don’t feel strange, or like an outcast. I feel like I belong somewhere.”

Tim’s skin starts to feel tight as Jason sits there and stares at him in silence.

“I promise I’m not as creepy as I make myself sound.”

Jason’s eyebrows knit together, and his mouth turns down into something like a grimace.

“Oh, baby, no. It’s not that. It’s just… why didn’t you tell me sooner? About how you felt? About… about all of it?” His voice sounds so meager and small, it shakes Tim to hear Jason’s voice so unlike the strong tenor it normally is.

“I’m alright now, Jay. Really. I’ve felt… really okay- no, better than okay. I’ve felt amazing ever since you and I…” Tim trails off. Because what are they? He still doesn’t even know. He changes the subject quickly. “Anyway, I don’t know about the future. Do I want marriage, kids and a white picket fence? Maybe. But it’s unrealistic. And there are other things I’d rather have. Perhaps one day, though. For now I’m just so happy. I don’t think about the future much, or retiring. I’d rather just enjoy this moment. Right here. Where I'm with you.”

Jason has never felt so confused and overwhelmed and in love in his life.  

He wraps his arms around Tim, pulling him to his chest and holds him that way until they both fall asleep.

---

Dick took a few days off from the BPD and is currently staying at the Manor, lying in his and Bruce’s bed, freshly showered and watching Bruce brush his teeth in the bathroom. Bruce has nothing but a towel around his waist, also being fresh out of the shower. He and Dick having just had sex before they got cleaned up together. There were touches here and there, but mostly they were genuinely trying to get clean.

He watches Bruce slip on some pajama bottoms, gazing adoringly at the large man’s body. Then Bruce turns out the lights and crawls into bed beside Dick.

“Bruce?” Dick calls softly to him.

Bruce makes a noncommittal noise in response. He’s lying with his back to Dick, but he isn’t anywhere close to sleep. They only got home from patrol an hour ago.

“I’ve been wanting to… talk to you about something. It’s about Tim and Jason.”

Bruce doesn’t move, but Dick can feel the tension in his body without even touching him.

“I think… something may be going on between them.”

He finally rolls over to face Dick at that.

“You mean…”

“I don’t know for sure. It’s just a suspicion. But… I think it might be a good thing. They’re a natural fit. Like you and I. Opposites. They mesh well together.”

Dick isn’t really sure why Bruce bristles when he says it.

“I disagree, Dick. Tim is still somewhat emotionally unstable after the events of the past two years. And Jason has been mentally unstable for a significant period of time. I think it would be a mistake to let that relationship continue.”

“Bruce, you can’t be serious.”

“I wouldn’t joke about this, Dick. It’s dangerous for the both of them, as well as our operation. And now that you’ve informed me, I will put a stop it. Immediately.”

“You can’t do that, Bruce. You can’t do that to them. And I can’t let you. How do you think I’d react if someone tried to take you away from me? How would you react if someone tried to take me away from you?”

Bruce hums and rolls himself over so that he’s covering Dick’s body with his own. He kisses him once, long and sweet, before he pulls away to look into Dick’s eyes.

“I would never let that happen, my love. Never.”

“Oh, Bruce. Fuck me, please?”

“Such vulgarity. But I am always happy to oblige such tempting requests.”

Dick throws his arms around Bruce’s neck and kisses him back. It isn’t long before they’re both hard and needy for it. Bruce satisfies him over and over until he has to get up to start his day.

Chapter Text

Its Tim’s first patrol since he got injured and it really feels like it’s been forever. The night feels charged with a whole different kind of energy. Electric and crackling. Heavy and thick like the smog of the Gotham air.

Jason’s worried about Tim. Tim is his whole world and he doesn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. It’s been months and he’s nervous.

He knows it’s pointless to be concerned. Tim did everything right. The physical therapy. The weight training. He’s ready. He’s trained better than Jason was and Tim was a Robin and he will be fine. Jason will make sure of that.

“You nervous?” Jason asks as he walks up behind Tim and wraps his arms around Tim’s bare waist.

Tim shakes his head. “No. At least, not really. Just excited. I’ve been ready to get back out there for so long and I just can’t wait to show everyone that Red Robin is back.”

Jason laughs and kisses Tim’s exposed smooth shoulder. He feels the shudder of Tim’s body under his lips. Jason laughs again, a sort of rumble deep in his chest. It’s small, but it’s real. Then his smile falters.

“Just… be careful, Tim. If you need to stop or take breaks, please, tell me. Don’t overdo it. I don’t want to see you get hurt out there, baby.”

“I know, Jay. I’ll be fine. Now let’s go to work.”

---

They stumble across a robbery at a local pawn shop about an hour into their patrol. It’s a local gang of small scale criminals; not particularly important in the grand scheme of things in Gotham city. It’s a good opportunity for Tim to get back into the swing of things. He hardly waits for Jason to nod his assent to him before he swings across the street, landing on the sidewalk outside the broken front window of the store.

Tim dives in with admirable swiftness and ferocity. Jason catches up a second later, but he only knocks one guy out and then takes a step back to let Tim do his own thing.

Jason very much appreciates many things about Tim. How well he fits into Jason’s arms. His thin, and athletic body. How he’s small enough that Jason can pick him up and toss him around while they’re fucking. He’ll be honest; the kid is downright small. And Jason loves it. But sometimes it just feeds Jason’s urge to protect him and keep him safe from the evils in the world that much more. It also makes him forget that Tim was once a Boy Wonder, too. That he was trained just as well, if not better than Jason and Dick were. That he’s the smartest of all of them. Likely even smarter than Bruce, and maybe Babs too. He’s dangerous and strong and so powerful.

It’s so easy to forget all of that when he gazes at Tim’s meek stature. Until times like these when he’s watching Tim in his uniform. Because he’s someone different when he puts on the mask and cape. He is Red Robin. He’s still beautiful and incredible, there is no mistake about it, but he’s also lethal. Jason’s not sure why it makes him hard in his cup as he hangs back and watches the smaller boy easily handle six grown men on his own. His bo- staff is a blur as it whips from one direction to the other, making contact with bodies that make their owners cry out in pain.

When Tim finishes he turns to Jason with a heaving chest. There’s the slightest bit of sweat creating a shine on his skin and a wicked smile is plastered on his face. He can only imagine how big and blown Tim’s eyes are under the mask right now. Jason continues to stare, cock twitching when Tim licks his teeth.

“That’s my boy. You good, beautiful?”

Tim nods and collapses his staff. He looks like fucking jailbait and danger and sin.

“Good. I think we should call it a night. Take things easy on your first night back out in the field. Let’s go home, baby. I wanna blow you and then I wanna take you to a movie.”

Tim surges forward in a rush and crashes his mouth to Jason’s. It’s not gentle or anything close to it. Actually, it kind of feels like Tim’s trying to eat him alive the way he keeps shoving his tongue into Jason’s mouth and biting at his lip. Tim’s sharp little teeth come down hard and Jason jumps when he feels Tim puncture his lip. Tim keeps kissing and sucking and Jason has to physically push him away so he can breathe.

He can taste blood everywhere in his mouth and see it all over Tim’s lips. His chest is still heaving and he looks like the dirtiest angel in the fucking world and Jason wants to wreck him right fucking now.

“Fuck it. I’m just gonna blow you right now and then we’ll go to the movie.”

Jason is always a man of his word.

He sucks Tim until the smaller boy is coming straight down the back of his throat. He swallows every bit of it, lapping at Tim’s slit and humming around him. He honestly loves the taste of Tim; salty, creamy, with just the slightest hint of something spicy, almost like cinnamon.

Jason is squeezing his hip, pinning him back against the alley wall in case Tim isn’t able to hold himself up.

Tim is up on tiptoes, fingers still laced in Jason’s hair and pushing his head away gently.

“Jason!” He whines, overly sensitive now to the point that it’s equally as painful as it is good.

Jason lets Tim’s cock fall from his mouth, wiping his lips on the back of his hand and then tucking Tim back into his tights. He keeps his hand on Tim’s hip to keep him upright. He knows his Little Bird is probably still a bit shaky on his legs. He’s still breathing pretty heavily.

“Jay, do you need me to-“

“I’m good, baby. Got off while I was sucking you. You were just too pretty for me to keep it together.”

Tim kisses him hard, licking into Jason’s mouth to get a taste of himself. Jason pulls away and gives him a smile.

“Alright, let’s get going. We don’t wanna miss the movie.”

---

Jason purchases their tickets; Tim’s still feeling just a bit lightheaded after his orgasm. He clings to Jason’s arm as they walk inside.

“I’ll be right back. Just gonna run to the bathroom real quick.” Jason says with a kiss to Tim’s forehead.

“Okay. I’ll wait here.” Tim smiles and settles back against the wall outside of their theater. He’s staring down at the ground and looks up when he sees an unfamiliar pair of shoes standing next to him.

“Hey. I don’t mean to be rude, but I noticed you were standing here alone and wanted to know if you’d like to sit with me during the show. I’m here with some other friends, but I’m the fifth wheel, so I’d love it if you’d join me. Someone as cute as you shouldn’t have to see movies alone.”

Tim blushes.

“Oh, well, thank you. I appreciate the invitation, but I’m actually here with someone. Him.” Tim nods at Jason just as he’s exiting the bathroom, wiping his hands on his jeans. He’s dressed casually, and his hair is still a bit windblown, but he’s absolutely beautiful. Just as he always is.

“Oh! I’m so sorry. I should’ve known someone like you wouldn’t be single. I didn’t mean-“

“It’s okay. Thanks again, though. That was really thoughtful of you.”

The guy stares as Jason walks toward them, and Tim can tell by the way his shoulders hunch and the look in his eyes that Jason’s pissed by the stranger’s presence.

“Well, it was nice talking to you anyway. And way to go, man. You should really hang on to that one because he’s totally gorgeous.”

Tim laughs.

“Yeah. Thanks. I will.”

The guy gives Tim a polite smile and nods before walking into the theater.

Jason stops in front of Tim, but he’s not looking at him. Instead glaring at the guy’s back as he walks into the theater.

“What the hell was that about? Did you know him? Was he bothering you?” Jason asks curtly.

“No, I’m fine, Jay. He thought I was here alone. Invited me to sit with him and his friends.”

Jason rolls his eyes and curls one hand into a fist.

“Jesus Christ, man, can’t leave you alone for two minutes without someone fucking hitting on you.”

Tim gives him a sweet little smile.

“He was just being nice. And he said you were gorgeous, so you shouldn’t be too angry with him.”

“Hm. Gorgeous. Really?”

Tim tags him in the ribs when Jason’s stupid, cocky smirk makes its way onto his lips.

“Ow! Hey!”

Tim grabs his shirt and pulls him in for a kiss.

“Don’t even act like you don’t know how beautiful you are. Besides, I tell you all the time.”

“Not enough.”

Tim rolls his eyes.

“That’s just because I don’t want you getting an even fatter head. Your ego is already way out of control.”

“Don’t act like you don’t love it, Timmy.”

“I never said that.”

Jason kisses him and backs him against the wall. It’s deep and passionate and far too inappropriate for such a public setting.

“You sure you still wanna see this movie? I could just take you home and blow you again instead.” Jason teases when Tim pushes him away with a warning growl, deep and low in his chest.

Tim seriously considers it for a moment.

“No. I really want to see this movie. Now let’s go. People are staring.”

Jason slings an arm around Tim’s shoulder and leads them into the theater.

“I think they were just jealous because you get to kiss a gorgeous guy like me.”

“Oh brother,” Tim groans. “See what I meant about you getting a fatter head?”

Jason laughs and it sounds a little maniacal and Tim loves it.

They find a seat and Tim catches the eye of the guy from earlier a few rows up. The guy smiles at them and Tim winks and smiles back. Jason pretends he doesn’t notice, but Tim knows better because Jason’s hands are curling tight on Tim’s hips and he’s pressed right up against Tim’s back as they shuffle past people on their way to an available seat. Tim just smiles to himself.

Jason starts trying to rub him off through his pants midway through the movie, and Tim has to physically drag his hand away.

“Patience is a virtue, Jay.” Tim whispers.

Jason leans over to whisper directly in Tim’s ear, “And what would you know about virtue, baby, when I was just taking yours in an alley a few hours ago.”

Tim is grateful it’s dark inside the theater, especially when Jason grabs his wrist and shoves Tim’s hand between his legs so he can feel just how hard Jason is.

Jason! We’re in public!”

“Come on, Timmy. Please?” Jason whispers and grinds against the wonderful pressure of Tim’s palm.

Tim can feel the sweat prickle up on his back and wrenches his arm away quickly.

“No! Just wait until we get home!” It barely passes as hushed tones, but Tim can’t be faulted for his mishaps while he’s dealing with Jason Todd.

---

They walk out of the movie theater with Tim hanging off Jason’s arm and jabbering away about how smart the plot of the movie really was and some deep message that Jason hadn’t gotten out of it at all. But Tim’s happy and smiling and Jason is trying his best to listen, but he can’t stop smiling at the way Tim is talking a mile a minute. Plus, his Baby Bird still owes him from before. But then Tim is yelping and seizing up and Jason looks around is putting two and two together.

Some asshat and his friend are staring at Tim and laughing with some of the most disgusting and lecherous looks on their faces that Jason’s ever seen.

“Look at this, man. Don’t these two make a cute couple?”

“They sure do. But that little one. Oh, man. He’s real cute. Nice ass, too. Damn, I’d like to slide right into that.”

Jason is charging toward them before he even realizes it. He can feel the rage clawing up inside him as they laugh. It’s not until he feels Tim’s hands on his chest, pushing him back that he’s even aware of his actions.

“Its fine, Jay. I got this.”

And Jason’s always going to want to protect him. But he doesn’t have to, because Tim does have this, and Jason knows it better than anyone. Witnessed it first hand just a few hours ago.

He stands down, smirking at Tim and crossing his arms as he nods to the smaller vigilante. Tim smiles and nods back, turning to face his harassers. He saunters forward and the two men practically drool at the way Tim sways his hips. He stops directly in front of them, smiling, but not saying a thing. Then he cocks his arms back and throws two punches, his arms crossing as they extend and hitting both men in the face with each of his fists and knocking them flat on their asses.

“My eye! Jesus! I can’t even open it!” One of the men cries as he clutches at his face, the other rolling around on the concrete and making little whimpering noises.

Jason is glowing with pride and amusement. He’s impressed, but not because it’s Tim, because he can’t even throw two punches at once that look that good. He probably shouldn’t be surprised at all. Tim is a perfectionist.

Tim sidles up beside Jason and links their arms the way he had before.

“In case it wasn’t clear, the little one isn’t interested.” Tim turns and pulls Jason along with him down the sidewalk. “And you should learn to be more respectful! Primitive scumbags!” Tim shouts back over his shoulder.

“Enjoy your night, gentlemen!” Jason yells through hysterical laughter.

Jason is staring down at Tim with awestruck eyes and a huge smile on his face. He’s so besotted with his little spitfire, his boy, his pretty little bird.

Tim must sense Jason’s desire because he tilts his head back and looks up at Jason from under his thick lashes.

“I’m want you to fuck me when we get home.” Jason rasps flagrantly.

Tim freezes, nearly chokes on his tongue and is no longer capable of moving his legs. Jason stops too when he realizes Tim isn’t moving and walks back to his side.

“You okay?”

Tim’s eyes are so huge when they look up at him, his pupils blown in a way Jason’s never seen before.

“You… you want me to…”

“That’s right.” He smiles predatorily.

Tim’s face lights up then, his smile is beautiful and blinding and it makes Jason’s heart squeeze in his chest.

“Sounds good.” And his lets his eyes rake over Jason in a type of sordid way that says he’s fully up to the challenge.

---

They head straight for the bedroom the moment they arrive home. Tim is being kissed like Jason means business. He might be letting Tim top tonight, but Jason will always be the dominant one.

Jason guides him to the bedroom, lowering him to their worn down mattress and kissing him all the while. It’s good, it’s so good that Tim doesn’t notice that Jason has flipped them so that he’s now lying on top until he opens his eyes and realizes he’s staring down at Jason’s face. He experimentally grinds his hips down into Jason’s, finding that the bulkier boy is getting harder in his jeans by the second.

Tim kisses him more aggressively. Wet, open mouthed kisses that ring out with lewd, pornographic sounds. He’s working on divesting Jason of his shirt, his hands seemingly moving of their own accord as Jason’s fingers work at removing his pants. Tim sits up so Jason can pull his shirt off, and then assists Jason with removing his own pants. It’s not until they both have their socks and underwear off that the silence between them is broken.

“Just… just take it slow, alright? I’m still kind of new to this.”

Tim sits back on his heels and feels like water has been splashed over him.

“Jay… Jason, are you telling me you’re a virgin?!”

“Well, if the dick fits. Or doesn’t fit. Jesus, that was terrible. Sorry. It’s kind of hard to think when I know I’m about to get fucked.”

Tim knows he shouldn’t ask. Knows he doesn’t have the right. That it’s poor bedroom etiquette to talk about former partners, and knows that he just shouldn’t push the subject because it’s Jason, and yet….

“But you… you were… you never? I mean, before?”

“You mean when I was on the streets? Nah. Hand jobs and blow jobs only. Why do you think I’m so good at sucking your dick, baby?”

A crude, unattractive noise escapes Tim’s throat. He’d just assumed after hearing all the stories. He doesn’t even know what to say right now.

“I don’t understand.” He finally says.

“Well, I was just a kid, and I was terrified by the thought of actual sex for money. And I was not about to trust some scumbag like that. Johns paid for my mouth or my hand only. Sure, I didn’t make much. And by the time I got desperate, Bruce plucked my skinny ass off the streets. So thankfully the need was never required. So technically I’m still a virgin. Er, well, you know what I mean. Nothin’ bigger has been inside me than a couple of my own fingers.”

Which means Tim will be Jason’s first. Just like Jason was his. And while the thought is sweet and a little incomprehensible, it’s also a little alarming and daunting. Tim has never had sex with anyone aside from Jason. Has never “topped” anything. He knows Jason would never guilt him if his performance was underwhelming, but he wants to make this incredible now for Jay.

“Jay, are you sure you want to? With me? You know I don’t know how to do this, and I just want this to be good for you.”

“Of course I’m sure. I only want it with you. Baby, I wouldn’t’ve asked if I wasn’t sure. Please. I want it.”

Tim nibbles his lip and runs a hand through his hair.

“Is this… I mean, do you want to do this? Right now?”

Jason glides his hands down Tim’s sides.

“Tim, there is nothing I want more than to feel you inside of me right now.” His voice is low and filled with all the filthy promises of the night to come.

Tim has to swallow three times before he can make his throat work again.

“Okay. Okay, but I’ll need you to guide me through it.”

Jason puts a hand on the back of his head to pull him down for a kiss, whispers against his lips, “Get the lube out of the drawer, baby. You’re gonna open me up nice and slow.”

Tim does as he’s told, completely coating the length of his index finger until it’s practically dripping. He’s completely focused on his task, but he hears Jason laugh somewhere in the back of his mind, his gaze rocketing up to meet Jason’s.

Jason grabs the wrist of his lubed hand, he hadn’t even noticed he’d been shaking. He’s pulled forward until Jason’s lips can meet his.

“Just relax, baby. You’ll be fine. You can do this.”

“Oh, uh… shouldn’t I be saying that to you?”

That gets him another laugh, and suddenly Tim doesn’t feel quite so nervous. Jason still has the grip on his wrist and pulls him in for another kiss. His mouth parts for Jason’s tongue, and Jason uses the grip on his wrist to guide Tim’s hand between his legs, slicked finger circling his hole once before slipping inside.

Tim lets out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, his mouth slipping from Jason’s to glide over cheek, jaw, throat, and then burying his face in Jason’s neck. He can feel the way Jason’s chest rumbles with another laugh.

“You alright, baby?”

“Jay, fuck, I’m inside you. I’m actually inside you.”

“Yeah, baby, you are. You gonna make me feel good?”

Tim’s brain is half mush already, so he nods his head and crooks a finger, testing out the feel of being inside Jason’s body for the first time.

“Tim,” Jason says on a sigh.

It’s unreal, the way that Jason looks right now. His eyes closed, body relaxed, a faint flush on his cheeks. He’s the embodiment of sex. Tim is hypnotized by the flexing of Jason’s abdominal muscles as he sucks in steadying breaths. It doesn’t escape his attention, though, that Jason his hands fisted in the sheets so tightly that his knuckles are solid white.

“Jay?” Tim rubs a hand along Jason’s thigh. He wants to kiss him, but he just can’t reach Jason’s mouth. He starts to slide his finger out but Jason objects.

“Lube up another. Come on. Wanna feel you in me.”

And Tim is not going to last long enough to even get inside Jason at this point. He slicks up his finger again, along with another two. If he has to keep taking breaks then it’ll be all night before he can actually get inside Jason.

“You ready for two fingers, Jay?”

Jason nods, tongue sneaking out to lick at his full bottom lip.

Tim slips in two fingers, and Jason recoils briefly before letting himself sink onto the digits.

“Holy shit, Tim. Can’t believe how perfect you are. Come on, third finger. Hurry up.”

A third finger slides inside Jason alongside his other two, and the moan that Jason elicits is unlike all of his others that Tim has ever heard before. He has to use his free hand to close around the base of his dick for fear of coming too soon.

“Jesus, Jay. You’re stunning.”

Jason gives a breathy laugh. “Oh, shut up. Quit sweet talkin’ me an’ get inside me already.”

If Tim had to guess, he’d say his own dick is probably a third smaller than Jason’s in size and length. He’s proportionate, so he’s never been jealous of Jason’s size. Especially when Jason fills him up so well. But now he's rather grateful for his more modest stature, because hurting Jason is the last thing he wants.

He lubes himself quickly and thoroughly, getting himself comfortable between Jason’s knees before stretching up to briefly peck Jason on the lips.

“You ready, Jay?”

“Been sayin’ I was ready all night, Baby Bird. Let’s get this show on the road already.”

And yes, Tim has a slender, pretty little dick, but it fits just right inside Jason. It feels different, having something inside him that isn’t his own fingers. But it’s good. It’s so good, because it’s Tim, and he’s just the right size to not do any real damage, but to sure as hell make sure Jason feels this. He’s touching parts of Jason that he could never reach with his own fingers. Brushing slick insides, and gliding along smooth walls. Jason doesn’t think he’s quite long enough to be able to reach his prostate, but it still feels so good.

“Jason.” It’s the only word left in Tim’s mind. He slides into Jason easily enough, and the pressure and heat are so exquisite that Tim’s eyes slam shut, and he’s biting his lip hard enough to puncture it. He thinks of training. Of stretching and proper fighting stances to keep from coming. He’s already so close just from being inside the dazzling heat and maddening slickness that is Jason’s body.

"Goddamn, baby. You look so beautiful while you're inside me. You like this, baby? Like being buried inside me?”

“Jay!”

It’s amazing, the way Tim is fucking him, but it just isn’t enough. Isn’t touching deep enough, hitting hard enough. He needs more. He needs something else. Something to slide his own dick into. Something to fuck. He needs to be inside his Little Bird.

“You fuck me so good, Tim. Fucking amazing. Jesus, I ever tell you how sexy you are? All these scars and pretty pale skin. Tight little abs, and a pretty little cock. So fucking beautiful. Could watch you do this forever. Love the way you feel inside me.”

“Oh, fuck, Jay, please!”

“It’s okay, baby. You can come if you need to. I know you like when I run my mouth. Sure, I’d like this to last a little longer, but I really just want to feel your warm, sticky load filling me up so good…”

Jason slides his hand down Tim’s spine, slipping one finger down Tim’s crack and pressing insistently against his hole.

“Jason!” Tim shouts.

And there it is. Jason can feel the way Tim’s cock twitches inside him. Can feel the way the hot fluid pulses into him and seeps deep into his insides.

“That’s my good boy. You good, baby?”

Tim nods his head against where he collapsed on Jason’s chest. His head barely reaches Jason’s collarbones when they’re standing, and like this, lying on top of him, Tim hardly covers half of Jason’s body. It’s fucking hot, Jason thinks, all of the power and potential danger held inside such a small body. His Little Bird just fucked him. Could’ve broken Jason’s arm in an instant if he’d wanted, and he can’t even weight more than a hundred and fifty pounds. And the thought makes Jason harder still as his cock twitches beside Tim’s spent one, nestled warm and wetly in the crook of Tim’s thigh and pelvis.

“You gotta let me up, baby. I gotta go get myself clean. And when I come back, it’s my turn.”

Jason can feel the shiver that passes through Tim as he helps him roll over onto his back on the bed.

Truth be told, he doesn’t hate the feeling of cum inside him as much as he thought. Maybe because it’s Tim’s. Either way, he makes quick work of cleaning himself up before heading back out to the bedroom. Tim has his vibrator inserted into his hole and is sliding it in and out when Jason steps back out of the bathroom. His Baby Bird is so perfect that he’s practically reading Jason’s mind now.

“Jesus, baby. You’re so greedy. Fucking me wasn’t enough for you, now you want to feel me inside you, too?”

Tim is already beyond words. Barely able to understand what Jason’s saying as the vibrator grazes all the right spots inside him.

“You want me to come already? Get that fucking thing out so I can get inside you. Sneaky little shit, starting without me.”

“Just… just needed to feel something in me. Need you, Jay. Need you now. Please. Fuck me.”

There’s that dirty fucking mouth that Jason loves so much.

“Guess you don’t need me to stretch ya. You already slicked up, too?”

Tim nods. Fuck, he’s beautiful. An insatiable little bird, purely for Jason to do what he pleases with. Timothy Drake and Jason fucking Todd. He wouldn’t have called it in a million years.

He isn’t gentle with Tim in the slightest. Pinning him down with fingertips that will surely leave bruises on delicate hips. Cock only slicked with pre-cum ramming in and out of an already abused and puffy hole. Teeth biting love marks into ribs, collarbones, shoulders and throat. Jason is feeling hungry. Jason is feeling possessive. Jason is in love.

Tim is his and only his forever, and he must’ve said as much aloud because Tim is shouting his agreement.

His toes curl, his nails glide down Jason’s back, hips cant up the little they can in Jason’s grasp to try to meet his thrusts. He’s whining, begging for everything Jason will give him. He’s overheated, and on the brink of seeing stars. And then Jason’s lips are on his again, and his tongue is slipping inside Tim’s mouth, teeth pulling at his already swollen lip playfully and Tim comes again, shouting Jason’s name.

He doesn’t recall when Jason came, but knows he did. Can feel the warmth of fluid inside him, and the weight of Jason on top of him. His hair tickles Tim’s nose from where his head is lying against Tim’s chest. Tim runs his fingers through the dark mop, stretching his neck so he can kiss the top of Jason’s head.

The sex was messy, and somewhat clumsy, but for Tim, it’s still perfect, or just short of it.

Chapter Text

They’ve gotten back into a routine now that Tim is back out in the field. They go out at the same time, finish at the same time, and Tim covers all of his old territory. He won’t actually say it, but Jason sees it in his face when he talks after he comes home every night; the pure excitement and thrill of striking fear into the hearts of scumbags all over Gotham City. He’s even heard whispers from lowlifes in his own neck of the woods. The word is out: Red Robin is back on the scene and as terrifying as ever. Jason could not be more proud of his Baby Bird.

"You're not going out tonight?” Tim asks as he loads smoke pellets in one of the compartments of his utility belt. He’s about to go on patrol. He’s been back at it for a little over a week now, and yet the excitement is still there, just as it was his first night back.

“Nah. Got some shit I wanna take care of.”

Tim freezes and his gaze slowly lifts to Jason.

“Is this the same thing that you’re still not telling me about? Jason Peter, don’t you dare do anything stupid or suicidally reckless. Please. That isn’t fair to me! If you’re doing something dangerous or illegal then tell me. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to you. I can help with whatever this is if you need me to.”

“Jesus Christ, Timothy Jackson, ease up a little, would ya? It’s not anything like that, okay? Just trust me. You’ll know everything soon.”

And Tim gives him a smile because he does trust Jason. With his whole heart.

“Alright. Just stay out of trouble.”

He leans over to kiss Jason as he straps on his harness.

“Not likely. You should know me better than that by now. You be careful out there by yourself, baby, alright? Call me if you need backup.”

Tim nods, his mouth unconsciously set in a little pout. Of course Jason notices.

“What’s wrong, baby?”

“Nothing. I just… I wish I still knew that I had more backup. If I needed it. Right now I don’t think Steph ever wants to talk to me again.”

Jason is quick to kiss him, trying his best to reassure Tim with his own affection.

“Don’t worry about her, Tim. She’ll come around. You know she will. You guys have been friends for too long. And I don’t want you thinking about that when you’re about to go beat the shit out of human garbage. So cut that shit out and stay focused.”

Tim physically shakes his head as if he’s clearing out cobwebs or something.

“You’re right. Okay. Okay, I’m good. I’m going now. One of us has to take care of this city.” He teases, pulling up his cowl and kissing Jason one last time before slipping off into the night.

“Tim!” Jason calls.

The younger boy is quick and is back inside the apartment in a matter of seconds.

“Yeah, Jay?”

“You look hot as fuck in your uniform. Go kick some ass, baby.” It’s not a joke, or even anything like one. Watching Tim’s body move as he fights in his skin tight uniform gets Jason’s dick hard at a concerning rate.

Tim’s cowl is covering his cheeks, but Jason knows he’s blushing all the same. He ducks back out the window and is gone just like that.

“Fuck.” Jason mutters. He hadn’t actually been planning on going out tonight. He needs to finish up his surprise for Tim, but it looks like his plans have changed.

---

“You’ve got some nerve showing up here to talk to me. Who the hell do you think you are?!” Spoiler shouts, pulling out a staff and using it to keep Red Hood at bay. Jason almost laughs at the idea.

“Just hear me out, alright, Blondie? I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot, and I’m very much aware that you don’t trust me with Tim. You have every right to feel the way you do, given our history. But don’t take this out on Tim. He’s lonely and he misses you. He’s got so few people that he’s close to and he can’t afford to lose one. Please, please, just fix things with him.”

Steph tilts her head and purses her lips, her voice tense when she speaks.

“Why do you even care about our friendship? I thought you hated me.”

“I do. Mostly. But I care about him more than anything. I don’t want to see him feel alone. I can’t handle that.”

She cocks a hip and crosses her arms. If Jason could see her the upper part of her face, he would bet that she’s raising on of her stupid eyebrows.

“There’s something else you’re not telling me.”

Jason sighs, the sound echoing inside his helmet.

“Please don’t make me say it to you. You know exactly why I’m doing this, so I’m not gonna fucking say it.”

Her entire demeanor changes, softens, arms falling to her side and posture becoming relaxed and open.

“You really do love him, don’t you?”

It irritates Jason the way she says it. Like it’s some big revelation that he hasn’t been trying to tell her this whole fucking time. Why did he even come talk to her again?

“Fucking christ, you know I do, you fuckin’ idiot! Now can we stop talking about it?! Look, I’m not saying that I want this to change things between you and I, because I really couldn’t give two fucks about if we’re ever friends or not, but… but I can’t stand for Tim to be hurting. So please.”

This feels so wrong. He doesn’t even like the girl, and now he’s being forced to confess his feelings about her best friend to her. Jason’s hates everything about this. His skin feels like it’s tightening against his bones and he suddenly feels the desire to take a shower. He really dislikes this broad.

“Of course I’ll fix things with him, fuckface. I’ve missed him, too. He’s still my best friend. But don’t forget, I still hate you.”

“Ditto. Now I’m going to leave and we’re never going to speak of this again. And stay the hell away from me for the rest of your sad and pathetic teenage girl life.”

“God, why does he even put up with you?!”

“Because I’m great in bed.”

“Ugh! Seriously?!”

“You wanted to know, remember?” Jason shouts as he fires off his grappling hook, swinging away.

---

His meeting with Spoiler had put him behind schedule, but he managed to finish everything and make it back to the apartment before Tim got home last night. The conversation had exhausted him, and he’d fallen asleep before he could even make sure that Tim got home safe.

He wakes up to find the smaller boy sleeping peacefully beside him, like always, and gets up to make a pot of coffee. Tim joins him shortly.

"Hey, babe. You look happy this morning.”

“Yeah, kind of.” He stops to kiss Jason good morning on his way to get a cup of coffee. “Steph texted me earlier to apologize about everything. Said she wanted to catch up with me this week. She also said that the apology extends to you as well.”

Jason had not been expecting that one.

“Oh, um, that was… nice of her.”

“Yeah.” Tim agrees, smiling over the edge of his coffee cup. “But don’t worry. I won’t force you two to hang out again. Ever. So, what are we doing today? Shopping? Working out? Fighting crime? Bit of everything?”

“None of the above. Thought we’d just hang out. Just you and me. Take the day off. Have some alone time.”

“Sounds good to me. I’m actually kind of sore after the last two days.”

“From the sex or the fighting?”

Tim fails at hiding a smile and puts his hands on his hips, giving Jason a look that's far less stern than he intends.

“The fighting, Jay. And I should be asking how you feel after the other night. I hadn’t even thought to ask until now. I’m so sorry. Are you? Sore, that is. At all?”

Jason shakes his head.

“I’m good, baby. You did a really good job of stretching me. And you took real good care of me the whole time.”

Tim blushes, looks at the ground as he speaks.

“Was it good for you? I mean, did I do okay?”

“You were perfect, baby. I might even be willing to give it another go some time.”

Tim perks up immediately, lifting his head, hope ablaze in his eyes. He walks over to where Jason is leaning against the counter, a graceful saunter in his step.

“Yeah?”

Jason kisses him.

“Yeah. You like topping?”

“Sure, but I like feeling you in me even more.” Tim says with a cheeky grin.

“Fuck, Tim,” Jason growls.

They have sex right there in the kitchen. Tim laying back against their small counter with Jason kneeling as well as he can between his legs.

They shower and nap, waking up to eat a late lunch that Tim whipped together. Tim settles into the couch to get some work done on the Wayne stock portfolio as Jason tends to his unused guns that have been sitting idle for far too long. When the sun goes down Jason finally changes out of sweats into something that the public would deem suitable. Tim is still sitting on the couch, pouring over a file with graphs and numbers that make Jason’s head hurt just to look at.

He stands behind the couch, bending over to slide the papers from Tim’s hand while kissing him on the cheek.

"Put some clothes on, doll. We’re going out.”

“What? I thought you said we didn’t have any plans for today?”

“Changed my mind. You don’t gotta dress too fancy. It’s just a small thing. Jeans’ll be fine. And wear a sweater. It’s a little chilly out right now, so I don’t want you gettin’ cold. And you always look sexy as hell in them.”

Tim blushes, but laughs out a “yes, Jay.”

---

Jason gets Tim into his car. It’s one Tim knows about, but has never actually gotten the chance to ride in. An old Chevrolet Impala that Jason had fixed up himself. Sixty seven, if Tim had to guess the year.

The drive takes a little while since they’re heading into the heart of downtown Gotham. The ever present traffic makes it nearly impossible to get anywhere in a timely fashion.

The air in the car is nice and warm, filling the cab with the smell of comfort and Jason. It’s quiet between them. The evening air giving off a relaxed atmosphere as Tim stares out the window. The buildings get taller the closer to the center of the city they get. And Jason was right, it is starting to get cold out. Soon the holidays will be coming around again. Tim hadn’t even celebrated them last year. Was too busy burying himself in work and patrol, and fixing up his apartment. He wonders for a moment if Jason had bothered to celebrate, and his heart breaks a little at the thought of Jason alone in his apartment on Christmas.

And then he remembers that the anniversary of his father’s death is in just a few short weeks. He’s hardly thought about it in months. Hardly thought about anything that used to bring him such dire pain in months. Tim probably wouldn’t have made it through another year with all the heartache. But now he won’t have to worry about any of that. Because now he has Jason.

Tim thinks back to where he was at this time last year. He was alone. Not with the Titans at the time and not with Bruce either. Living in his newly purchased apartment by himself. Sad and afraid and suffering. He and Jason hadn’t really been on good terms yet. They hadn’t really been on any terms at all. They would see each other occasionally and speak to each other only when necessary. It’s already almost been a year since things between them started to change after Jason saved him in that alley. They’ve come so far and Tim is the happiest he’s ever been in his life. He would go through all the pain and suffering in his life all over again if it meant he got to have this, now, with Jason.

It’s not that Tim hasn’t known how in love with Jason he is, it’s that he’s just now realizing how true and deep it goes. Jason has filled every need in Tim’s life. Has healed all the aching emptiness inside of Tim that plagued him for so long. There is no more emptiness. There is no more ache in his chest. There is no more feeling like he’s missing something crucial. There is no more pain. For the very first time in his life, Tim feels whole.

He’s so lost in thought that he doesn’t realize when they pulled into a parking garage, but when he comes back to himself Jason is getting out of the car. Fluorescents glare overhead and shine off of the many other cars surrounding theirs. They all are nice, and are rather pricey, Tim notes. He’s still attempting to put the pieces together as to what’s going on.

“What are we doing here, Jay?” Tim says as he shuts the car door.

Jason smiles.

“You’ll see. Just come on.”

Jason slings an arm around Tim’s waist and leads them through a door and into an elevator. It’s only a two floor trip up, and the doors open to reveal the beautiful lobby of the building they must be parked beneath. There’s a man sitting behind a large desk that smiles at them.

“Good evening, Mr. Todd. This must be the lovely Mr. Drake that I’ve heard so much about.”

“Hey, Chip. Yeah, this is Tim. Isn’t he just as beautiful as I said he was?”

The man’s smile only grows wider, while Tim blushes quite fantastically.

“A pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Drake. I hope you’ll be happy here.”

Tim smiles awkwardly and waves, feeling like he’s missing something very important. Jason still has an arm around Tim and has been leading him toward a different elevator during the short conversation.

“Well, have a good one, Chip. I’m gonna go show Tim around. We’ll see ya.”

“Thank you, sir. Enjoy the rest of your evening as well.”

They step into the elevator and Jason pushes a button and then begins to nose along Tim’s throat below his ear.

“Oh, we’re planning on it.” He murmurs, kissing Tim’s neck and making him gasp as the doors close.

Tim notices that there’s only one other button for the only other floor above the one they’re headed to.

“Wow. Forty- first floor? Heck of a trip.”

“Yep. Now close your eyes.”

“What? Why?”

“Just do it. Please?”

Tim does. He tries to hide his nerves as the seconds tick by during the elevator’s ascent. Once the doors open he’s escorted out of the elevator for all of ten steps- of course Tim is counting- before Jason halts them. His eyes remaining closed as they come to a stop. Still, Tim is all too familiar enough with the sound of a key entering a lock and the clicking of turning tumblers, and recognizes it as soon as he hears it before he’s being ushered forward again. He hears the door shut and lock behind them and then feels Jason’s lips at his ear.

“Okay, now you can look.” Jason whispers.

Tim opens his eyes slowly, taking in the new environment. He’s stunned and confused.

“What is this?” He asks as he tilts his head back to admire the exposed beams and the impressively high ceilings of the room he’s now standing in.

“This is our new apartment. Kori helped me pick it.”

Tim’s head snaps back down to meet Jason’s eyes, and he knows he’s staring at Jason in complete and utter disbelief.

“Our… wait, what? You did all this? This is the secret that you’ve been keeping from me?”

“Um, yeah. I know you’ve still got your place, and I doubt you’d want to completely move out. And that’s totally fine. I’ll probably still keep my other place, too. I just wanted us to have somewhere where you’d feel more at home. A space that’s yours too. Neutral territory. That way you wouldn’t ever feel unwelcome, or like I would kick you out, or somethin’. This is our space. Our place. Together.”

Tim feels as if he might melt right where he’s standing.

Our place. Together,” he repeats whimsically, testing out the phrase while he continues to wrap his mind around what’s happening. It’s amazing and all so overwhelming. He feels like he’s currently in a dream. He would pinch himself if he didn’t know for a fact that Jason would laugh at him. He’s only barely holding back elated tears for the same reason.

“I know… I know this is a lot. And we don’t even have to stay here… I just thought… oh, god, forget it. It was stupid. Forget all of this. Please. I’m an idiot. What the fuck was I thinking? An apartment, Jason? Really? It hasn’t even been a year yet! And why the hell didn’t I swing for the actual penthouse?!”

“No! Please! It’s… it’s amazing, Jay. It’s beautiful. I love…,” Tim pauses, swallows, “it. I love it. I love all of it! So much. It’s incredible!”

Tim turns to Jason with a goddamn glorious smile on his face and it’s like Jason is getting to witness his own personal sunrise. His panic diffuses just like that.

Jason is smiling back at him now. It’s radiant and so sincere, and he’s looking so happy, and god, Tim wants nothing more than to kiss him senseless right now.

“Good. I know you like the view of downtown. You always look that direction when we’re on patrol. I hope we’re up high enough for you to see everything. But it’ll at least be easy to sneak out for patrols. And Roy helped me pick out the sheets and the bed. And Kori helped with… well, everything else, to be honest. She actually has really great taste. Except she’s incredibly fond of anything that’s purple. And unfortunately I still couldn’t get you your dog. Figured it’d be kind of hard to find time for the little guy right now. And I’d hate to dump another animal on poor old Al. But we can pick one out whenever you’re ready. Just tell me when.”

Tim turns to him, a soft but serious look on his face.

“Jay… you know it’s never been about any of this. I don’t need some fancy house with a great view. I have no problem with where we live now. All I care about is being with you.”

“I know. But I wanted to do this. For you.”

Jason gives him a tour and it truly is beautiful. It’s at least eight times the size of Jason’s other place, and nearly triple the size of his own apartment. Brand new hardwood floors, marble counter tops, stainless steel appliances, the works. Tim is in love with the gourmet kitchen.

There’s a small room that’s an in home gym, already stocked with machines and weights, and three additional bedrooms. Jason tells him he can do whatever he wants with the other two, and that he’ll take Tim shopping for whatever he needs. There’s also two bathrooms, all equally stunning. The guest bath even includes an incredible shower that he and Jason will definitely be breaking in at a later date.

The living room has an entire wall of windows with the best view of Gotham that Tim can imagine. It’s facing east, but there are huge, thick, billowing curtains on both sides that Jason assures him will block out even the tiniest sliver of sunlight. The couch is a succulent burgundy, some sort of velvet or suede, and there’s armchairs next to an already lit fireplace made of a deep brown, supple leather. On either side of the fire place are two huge bookshelves, already partly filled with Tim’s favorites. There’s rugs and paintings spread out everywhere. Sculptures by some of Tim’s favorite artists and incredible lighting fixtures. Even a huge dining room table made of a rich, dark wood. Tim can’t help but hope that one day they can actually have their whole family over for a meal at it.

As it turns out, Jason’s bank account is pretty hefty. It isn’t quite as bottomless as Bruce’s, but it’s still rather substantial. He fesses up about the source of the money the moment Tim asks. Apparently he’d emptied a couple dozen crime bosses’ bank accounts during his first few years as Red Hood, and had wired all the money to himself. He has enough money now for a hundred high rise apartments. Or even a couple of high rise buildings.

Jason shows him their bedroom last. It’s much less extravagant than the rest of the apartment. Simple, more of Jason’s taste, with distinct elements of Tim’s style thrown in here and there. Tim loves it. And then his eyes fall to the bed. It’s a real bed, with a frame, headboard, footboard, and even railings. The comforter- and yes, there’s a comforter- is a deep red, and Tim can see the hint of black sheets at the head. He smirks to himself. There’s no frilly throw pillows or blankets, but they would be pointless anyway. Tim suspects the bed will be unmade more often than not.

Tim turns and stares at Jason, a mischievous little smirk firmly in place, salacious and teasing. Jason is looking at him with wide, anticipatory eyes and he swallows.

Tim begins to undress, eyes staying locked on Jason’s as he strips himself. Once he’s only down to his boxer briefs he crooks his finger at Jason, indicating for him to follow. Jason begins to strip himself in a much less dignified manner than he normally does, tripping over his pants as he tries to follow after him. Tim chuckles, walks into the bathroom. It’s spacious and beautiful. Sleek and modern, with a large stone shower with three different shower heads and is surrounded by a wall of glass. He gets the shower going, turning the water to as warm as he can stand before stepping in with his briefs still on.

He shuts his eyes and lets the warm water and the steam run over his body. He’s facing away from the glass door, and his eyes are still closed, but he can feel the exact moment Jason walks into the bathroom. There’s a sudden rush of cool air as the door is opened, and then warm arms encircle him, a chest pressing hotly against his back and a mouth pressing hotly to his ear.

“Looks like you forgot somethin’, baby.”

Tim shakes his head, “Left those for you to take off.”

He tilts his head back against Jason’s shoulder as Jason kisses his neck and slides down his now soaking wet briefs. They fall to the floor with a wet smack and Tim toes them into a corner of the shower where they’ll stay out of the way.

Tim seeks out Jason’s mouth and is met with warm breath and then wet lips. If Tim wasn’t melting before from being under the calming spray of the shower heads, he certainly is now at the way Jason is sweeping his tongue into his mouth and kissing him like this’ll be the last time they ever get to do this. Or maybe like it’s the first time.

He jumps, letting out a lewd moan into Jason’s mouth when he slips a finger inside him. His hole’s already soft and malleable from the warm water, and it’s a matter of seconds before Jason’s able to slip in a second finger. He stretches a hand back, seeking Jason’s head and gripping a handful of wet hair as their kiss turns filthy and messy. Jason slides the free hand that was gripping Tim’s waist to his cock instead, gripping it loosely and stroking languidly.

Jason smiles into the kiss, crowding Tim right up against the glass as he slips a third finger in. Tim squeezes his eyes shut and pulls away from Jason’s mouth, resting his forehead on the door and trying to catch his breath. He doesn’t know what else to do, already pushed into that sweet, fuzzy headspace, so he wraps his available hand around Jason’s as it continues to stroke him.

“Jason.” Tim breathes out, further fogging up the glass.

“What, baby? Tell me what you want.”

“You. Want you, Jay. Just you. Everything. Anything you’ll give me.”

Jason’s smile contorts into something devilish and playful, and he nips along Tim’s neck, his jaw, and then kisses his cheek.

“You want me inside you?” Jason whispers against the corner of his mouth, lips sliding against the wet skin.

“Yes. Please, Jason.”

Jason is quick and zealous as he turns Tim around and hikes one of his legs over his hip, sheathing himself inside Tim in one swift motion. He begins thrusting immediately, but his feet are slipping and he knocks Tim back into the wall. He presses Tim more firmly against it, using the stationary surface to his advantage, and pulls Tim’s leg further up his side as he tries to get a rhythm going. The angle is awkward and not quite enough for Jason, but this is about Tim, so he keeps thrusting to the best of his ability.

Tim mewls, arms wrapping around Jason’s neck to hold him closer, get him deeper. And it’s becoming rather frustrating. The walls are so slick, as is their skin, and it’s hard to find purchase anywhere. Their feet keep slipping from the wet floor and Jason just isn’t able to fuck him hard enough for fear of one of them wiping out.

“Jay!” Tim doesn’t mean for it to come out so needy and whiny, but it does. He has to have more of Jason this very fucking minute.

“I know, baby. I gotcha. I gotcha, doll.”

Jason shuts off the water- and Tim will say that he is especially grateful for this amazing new shower and their seemingly never ending supply of warm water- and pulls Tim’s other leg around his hips, hauling him up so that he can carry Tim to the bedroom. He steps out of the shower, moving slow and careful so as not to slip on the wet tile floor with Tim cradled in his arms. He doesn’t even bother tearing back their beautiful red comforter, just sets Tim down on his back which leaves a large wet spot where he’s now laying. He doesn’t once slip out of Tim, his cock nestled hotly inside the smaller boy the whole time.

It’s warm and comfortable in the bedroom. Tim can’t even feel the slight draft with Jason’s large and still wet body lying on top of him. The moment Jason is settled inside him again, Tim pulls him down for a kiss. It isn’t any neater than when they were being drenched in the shower, but Tim doesn’t need neatness or elegance, he just needs Jason.

They’re still soaked, and their bodies glide and rub against each other with the most delectable friction. Tim’s nipples catching against Jason’s pecs as he utilizes his entire body to fuck harder into Tim. He isn’t expecting it when Jason grabs one of his hands and pins his arm above his head, holding himself up with his other arm as he plunders into Tim ruthlessly.

“Oh! Oh, fuck, Jason!”

He grabs onto Jason’s forearm with the hand that isn’t pinned, feeling the way the muscles flex and tense as Jason thrusts forward, trying his best to keep from collapsing on top of him. Tim turns his head and kisses it but Jason growls, and Tim understands what he means and turns back to kiss his lips instead. And then Jason moves just right inside him and hits that little cluster of nerves. Tim gasps into Jason’s mouth, but the sound is swallowed down greedily. His grip tightens on Jason’s forearm, digging in little crescent shaped marks where his nails bite into Jason’s skin.

The room is awash in the sounds of wet skin colliding, the slight creak of the bed, and Tim’s constant moans. It all makes Jason’s head spin as Tim’s hot channel tightens around him. He can smell the soap and sweat of their bodies mingling in the crisp night air. Hear Tim’s moans as they get drowned out in his mouth. Feel the way they reverberate through his entire body. Jason can hardly stand it. Worries he’s going to lose his fucking mind if this goes on much longer. But his Little Bird is just so fucking perfect that he practically reads Jason’s mind, and his hips come up to meet Jason’s mid thrust, jamming Jason’s cock right up against his prostate unforgivingly, and they both come in tandem.

“Jason! Jason! Jason!” Tim screams, forced to break the kiss so that he can gulp down a breath.

“Fuck, Tim!” Jason shouts, biting down on Tim’s shoulder as his hips give aborted, meager thrusts, pumping the last of his seed into Tim’s willing little body.

They don’t move, sucking in oxygen as the air around them quickly chills the sweat on their bodies. Tim can’t budge. Still can’t hardly breathe, especially with Jason still lying on top of him. He likes the weight, though. Reminds him once again that he is Jason’s and Jason is his.

Minutes pass and Jason still can’t make himself move, but he knows Tim has to be getting uncomfortable. He’s pretty sure he just collapsed on the kid, after all. He lifts his head lethargically, spotting the bruise he left on Tim’s shoulder. He laps at it a few times in apology and kisses his way to Tim’s neck, nuzzling it a little and then kissing Tim’s cheek, making the smaller boy giggle the slightest bit.

Jason forces himself up with a large amount of difficulty, scooting toward the head of the bed and crawling beneath the covers. He holds them up and waits for Tim to join him, curling himself around the younger boy and kissing Tim just once, chaste and gentle.

“I hope this place comes with a good washing machine, because we are going to have a hell of a time getting the stains out of this comforter.” Tim jokes and his eyes light up as he watches Jason laugh.

“Don’t worry, Baby Bird. I got only the best for ya.”

Tim kisses him again before burrowing deeper into the covers.

“So, are you ever going to tell me what brought you to my apartment, bloody and nearly unconscious all those months ago?”

Jason blushes an angry red. His gaze flicks away from Tim as his hand rubs nervously at the back of his head.

“It’s kinda stupid. I uh… I went looking for those guys. The ones that followed you into the alley that night? I asked around. Got some leads. Turns out all the tips were fake. They’d set a trap for me. Some of Maroni’s guys. Whole bar full of them. Low level guys. I'm still not really sure what their beef was with me. Guess they were trying to climb their way up as fast as possible. Thought if they could bring me back to their boss then they’d get a fat Christmas bonus or somethin’, I guess.”

“Oh my god, Jay. You could’ve been killed!”

“Nah. Nothing an AK and a few grenades couldn’t fix. But they ambushed me. So then I had to take care of them. While being shot at. I just probably shouldn’t have thrown the grenades while I was still mostly in the building.”

Tim feels sick. Jason could’ve been killed. Jason could’ve been killed because of him. All those guns, and the grenades… Tim has to distract himself quickly before his stomach forces him to test out their new toilet.

“…How many… how many men?”

“Twenty, maybe thirty guys.”

“You… you killed them all?”

Jason looks pained, remorseful, but he answers Tim anyway.

“Yeah. Yeah, baby, I did. Are you angry with me?”

“No. No, of course not. I’d rather have thirty, even fifty of them dead than have you… I wouldn’t be able to take it if... I can’t…”

Jason pulls him closer, but his arm tenses just a fraction around Tim’s back, his free hand fisting the sheets at his side. His voice is tight and controlled when he speaks.

“I did find those other guys eventually. The ones that came after you. Killed them, too. I’m sorry I’m only telling you now. I know I should’ve told you all this sooner. I promise I wasn’t trying to keep this from you, there was just never a good time to bring it up. I just hope you won’t be too disappointed in me for what I did. But I… I couldn’t just sweep it under the rug, though. ”

Tim runs a soothing hand down Jason’s chest, rubbing over his abdomen and appreciating the sculpted form of his muscles.

“It’s alright, Jason. You don’t do that anymore and that’s all that matters to me. And you did it for me. I can’t really be angry with you for that. Of course I wish you hadn’t taken anyone’s life, but I know you won’t ever do it again, right? You promised me and I know you wouldn’t.”

Jason goes quiet for a moment, his face pensive. He’s been honest with Tim about a few things he probably should’ve fessed up to sooner. And now he has one more truth he needs Tim to know. He decides that blurting it out as casually as possible is the best way to go.

“You know, I’m really happy you kissed me all those months ago. If not for that, I don’t know that I’d ever have the chance to feel… this in my life. I don’t know that I’ve felt this good or this normal since… well, since ever.”

Tim pulls his head back and his eyes get big and rounded as he stares up at Jason.

“Oh, Jay, you really… wait, what do you mean? You kissed me first. That night I tried to sneak into your apartment.”

Jason’s chest rumbles with his laughter. Tim may have missed the point of the comment, but he has no problem with giving him the answer he deserves.

“Heh. No, baby. I didn’t. And I only did that because you’d already kissed me, so I figured it’d be okay. You still don’t remember, I guess. It was that night I found you in the alley. I put you to bed and you told me I was prettier than Dickiebird. But hey, you weren’t wrong. And then you put the moves on me.”

Tim groans, his hand retreating from Jason’s stomach to slap his palm against his face.

“Jeez, Jay. Why’d you wait until just now to tell me? That is immensely embarrassing.”

“I wanted to keep it secret so I could tease ya with it later. Like right now.”

Tim groans again, smacking Jason on the chest.

“Always a gentleman, huh, Jay? Ugh, I really loathe you sometimes.”

“No you don’t, baby. Don’t say that.” Jason states, kissing Tim’s cheek again.

“No, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t incredibly vexing.”

“Yeah, well, you love me anyway.”

Tim knows he’s just joking. That he’s just saying words, but for a moment Tim feels sheer exuberance and fear. He doesn’t know if he should tell Jason just how right he is. Or it could be possible that Jason already knows how Tim feels about him. He wants so badly for the words to be said aloud, but if Jason doesn’t feel the same, then where does that leave them?

Tim is suddenly distracted by the fact that Jason is currently peppering contented little kisses all over his neck.

Jason likes this. He likes it a lot. He wants this every day. Just lying in bed with Tim, in their apartment, like they’re a real couple after he’s claimed Tim as his own and only his. His Little Bird is beautiful and Jason just can’t get enough of him.

He sucks at Tim’s neck lightly, trying to leave a mark, but he pauses when he feels the smaller boy’s chest rumble beneath him as he speaks.

“Jay? I think… I think I’m finally ready. To talk to Bruce. Set things right.”

Jason freezes in his ministrations.

They haven’t talked about this at all. Not since the last time they saw Bruce. Personally, Jason is still not ready to forgive Bruce yet. He’s been just as angry as Tim, if not angrier at Bruce for everything. But he wants Tim to be happy. And he doesn’t want Tim to feel like he has to push away his family in order to make him happy. He knows how much Dick and Bruce mean to Tim. And he doesn’t ever want Tim to resent him for trying to keep him from them. He’d give Tim the world if he could.

And now his Little Bird is lying in their bed, in their apartment, staring at him with those huge, beautiful eyes asking him if it’s okay that he goes to talk to Bruce. How did Jason ever get so lucky in his life that he managed to end up with Tim Drake?

“You do whatever you need to do, Tim. I’ll be happy if you’re happy.”

Tim beams at him and leans up to kiss him.

“Would you come with me? I want to settle all of this, but… but I’m just not sure if I can do it on my own.”

“Of course. Of course I will. And I’ll be there the whole time. I can be your rock, okay?”

Tim nods and pulls Jason against him again, burying his face in Jason’s neck.

“I’m so proud of you, Tim. I love… that you’re such a brave person.”

Tim’s heart seizes up for the fraction of an instant. A chill and flood of heat simultaneously running along every inch and nerve ending of his body. It had sounded as though Jason was going to say something else. That he might’ve been trying to tell Tim… but was he? Or was it only in Tim’s head?

Jason is stretching and is fiddling around with something on the nightstand and then Tim’s phone is being pushed into his hand. It’s already ringing, the caller ID saying “The Manor.”

“Wayne residence.” Alfred’s voice comes through the line.

“Alfred? It’s Tim.”

“Master Timothy! So nice to hear from you after all this time! I trust that you’ve been doing well? I hope that Master Dick delivered those pies I sent to you and Master Jason.”

Tim can’t recall Dick ever mentioning that Alfred had sent them something other than the stew and muffins, and knows without a doubt that it’s because Dick probably kept them for himself. He isn’t surprised, and he can’t even really blame Dick. He doesn’t dare tell Alfred that he never received them, though.

“Yes, they were great. Thank you, Alfred. I was actually just wondering what you were cooking for dinner tomorrow night.”

“Tomorrow night? I was planning to make a roast. Master Bruce has been even surlier than usual lately. I was hoping it might aid in lifting his spirits. Why do you ask, young sir?”

“Well, Alfred, I was hoping you could set the table with two extra settings. Jason and I… we’re coming home. I think it’s time we have a chat with Bruce that is long overdue.”

“I highly agree, Master Timothy. I look forward to seeing the both of you here. And on time, if you please. Seven o’clock sharp. And I will make a chocolate silk pie for Master Jason.”

“Thanks, Al!” Jason shouts.

“It is my pleasure, young sirs. I shall see you tomorrow night then.” Alfred has never been one for goodbyes, and hangs up the phone without one.

“Thank you, Jay.”

“Of course, baby. I’ll always be here when you need me.”

Jason hates that somewhere in his mind he’s wondering if that’s really true. He loves Tim. How could he not? And they’ve gotten through times that seemed impossibly rough. Jason even hardly has nightmares anymore. They’ve worked through their demons. But how can Jason be there for him when he still doesn’t feel that Tim’s making the right choice by being with him? He wants Tim to be happy. To live a long life where he can hang up his cape and get married, get some kids, and just be a boring version of Tim Drake. He just has no idea if he can give Tim those things. And if he can’t, it’s better that he lets Tim go sooner rather than later. Before either of them gets in any deeper.

He’s not sure he’ll get through it well, or at all. But he can’t do that to Tim. Can’t keep him from being happy and living the life he wants. Jason doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. He was never supposed to have come back to life in the first place, and he’ll be lucky if he makes it to thirty. He’s good at what he does. He knows that. And he knows it’ll probably end for him similarly as it had the first time: bloody and messy and painful. That’s all that’s guaranteed of his life. It isn’t fair to promise Tim anything more, or drag him down, too.

But that can wait. He’ll do it soon. For Tim’s sake. But tonight he has his Baby Bird, and the world could come crashing down around them right now, but Jason is not letting go.

Chapter Text

Tim can’t believe how rested he feels when he finally wakes. It’s a beautiful thing, waking in his apartment- in their apartment- in their bed. The sheets are still a mess and the room smells like them. He nestles back against his pillow, scooting towards Jason to soak in more of his bone deep heat. Jason smells like warmth and sleep and sweat and soap. He smells like cum and Tim and laundry detergent and cool morning air.

He doesn’t mean to let the whine escape, but he’s so hard now just from being near Jason. Thinking about how Jason is his and they’re here together, in a home that is theirs. He wants Jason so badly, all the time, with every fiber of his being. He’s happy to lay here all day and simply stare at how gorgeous Jason is, but he also always wants more.

Unfortunately, Tim knows moments like these can’t last. That there is more to who they are, to how they got here. And that part of that is something that needs to be confronted very, very soon.

Panic starts to surge up through Tim’s body as he thinks about what lies ahead of them today. His pulse quickens, his breathing becoming shallow, strained. He tries to draw in calming breaths, but they’re too ragged and staccato to be helpful. He needs something. He needs to be soothed. He needs to feel safe and secure and needed. He needs to be wanted.

It’s then that Jason is awoken suddenly from the feeling of something sharp and painful against his neck. He throws his fist on instinct in hopes to strike whatever it is that’s attacking him. But whatever it is grabs his wrist and pins it against the mattress. Jason’s body jolts completely awake at that. He opens his eyes to find that his attacker is Tim, and the sharp thing against his neck is Tim’s teeth.

“Tim, baby, what’s gotten into- mmph.” The rest of his words are muffled by the pressing of Tim’s lips against his. His wrist is still pinned to the bed and he’s rock hard under the sheets and he’s pretty sure he can taste blood in his mouth from Tim kissing him so forcefully.

“Baby, come on, what’s wrong? Talk to me, Tim. You gotta tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”

Tim doesn’t respond. Just bites at Jason’s Adam’s apple and sucks kisses along his jawline.

Jason twists his wrist, pulling free of Tim’s grasp and then surges forward, tackling Tim and sliding between his legs to try to pin Tim down.

“Tim!”

That finally catches Tim’s attention and he stares up at Jason with wide, lust hazy eyes.

“Jay.” Tim moans.

Jason kisses him sweetly, cupping his jaw with one hand and running his fingers through Tim’s hair with the other.

“Baby, what’s the matter with you? Is everything okay? Just tell me what is going on.”

Tim arches, trying to use the leverage to grind against Jason, but the larger boy grabs his wrists, pinning them above his head and presses fully against him, using his weight to keep Tim still.

“Tim, please talk to me.” Jason’s voice is gentle and soothing and it breaks Tim down.

There are tears in Tim’s eyes now, making them look bluer; clear, faceted gems that make Jason feel like the richest man on earth for just getting to look into them.

“Jay.” Tim’s voice shakes as the tears begin to flow.

“Oh, sweetheart, it’s okay. I’m here, Tim. I’m here. I got you. ‘M gonna take care of you, alright? I promise, baby.”

Because this is what Tim needs right now. Not words, not some lengthy discussion. He needs Jason’s touch. He needs to be taken apart from the inside out and be put back together again. He needs to know someone is there for him when he needs them, and Jason is that someone.

He sits up, pulling Tim with him and urging the smaller vigilante to climb onto his lap. Jason grips his hips before he can settle in properly, and claims Tim’s mouth in a passionate kiss. He reaches an arm around Tim’s back and slips a finger between Tim’s cheeks, feeling for his tight entrance. He gets a finger inside only to find that Tim is still rather open from the night before. And he’s still so wet. He can feel his own cum, sticky and still warm as it slides over his fingers and down the back of his hand.

It’s overwhelmingly sexy, and Jason is a bit aggressive as he presses his mouth back to Tim’s. He extricates his fingers from inside Tim and gets both hands back on his hips. His kiss becomes more tender and reassuring.

“Guess you don’t need me to stretch you. You ready?”

Tim nods quickly, eyes wide and pleading. He tries to immediately slam his hips down onto Jason’s cock, but Jason’s got a death grip on him and is keeping him from doing so. He wails, nearly sobbing at the leisurely pace of it all. He needs Jason inside of him now. The desire to feel the thick warmth of Jason’s cock is becoming devastating, but he knows his efforts would be in vain if he tried to get Jason in him again. 

A needy moan dies in Tim’s throat as Jason finally begins thrusting. It’s still too slow for Tim’s liking, but at least he’s moving. It’s almost tortuous the way Jason’s fucking him. And yet it already has his heart hammering away inside its bony cage. He’s flushed a sinful pink from the porcelain of his cheeks, to the tips of his ears. He’s choking on air, desperately trying to draw in breath as Jason slams into him so, so deliberately sluggish.

This is different from any other time they’ve done this. Raw and emotional. Stripped of everything except their passion and devotedness for one another. They’re doing this without barriers; completely accessible and straightforward with each other. Tim feels lost in it all. Like he needs to be anchored. And yet, he feels more close and intimate with Jason than he ever has due to the slow, yet rough pace of things. He still has tears running down his face, more from pleasure now than anything, but Jason is trying to soothe him all the same. Rubs his nose against Tim’s for a moment before kissing him softly.

“I got you, baby. You’re gonna be okay.” He says as he cards his fingers through Tim’s hair, planting kisses along Tim’s collarbone and throat.

Tim doesn’t have an oral fixation, but he does have a Jason fixation, so he grabs Jason’s wrist and sucks two of his still messy fingers into his mouth. He feels the way Jason touches and teases the slick muscle, petting at it and brushing the spit around. He bites Jason’s fingers gently, letting his teeth run from the last knuckle down to the pads of his fingertips and watching with delight as it makes Jason shudder.

He keeps sucking. Doesn’t let up and is whimpering around Jason’s digits like he’s a goddamn animal in heat.

Jason yanks his fingers out of Tim’s mouth, earning him another needy little whine. He keeps an arm wrapped around Tim and lays him out on his back, hovering over him and using the dry hand to push Tim’s hair off his forehead.

“God, you’re so fucking gorgeous. So good and so perfect. Just for me.”

Tim whines again, arching his back to get Jason to speed up. But Jason doesn’t. Instead he stops completely, grabbing both of Tim’s hands which are clenched at his sides, and linking their fingers together, spit soaked ones and all. He lays Tim’s arms flat on the bed, bracketing his head. He hovers over Tim, their eyes never leaving each other’s and it’s almost too much for Tim. The closeness and the pure vulnerability of it all. Tim wants to crawl away and hide, but Jason’s fingers tighten around his, knowing how Tim is feeling. Tim is going to lose it.

Jason stretches down and kisses his lips gently, his tongue poking into Tim’s mouth in slow, languorous strokes. It’s soft, yet domineering. It grounds Tim a little. Jason pulls back, nibbling and tugging at Tim’s lower lip. He kisses Tim’s jaw, his cheek, his temple, and then meets his eyes again with that gaze that’s so intense, it makes Tim want to curl in on himself.

“Look at me, Tim. Now.”

And that’s a command. There’s no way Tim can resist that. Especially when Jason’s voice takes on the low, sugary tenor that it does.

“You are so good, Tim. You’re beautiful and perfect and smart and amazing, and I lo… I’m so lucky to get to be with you. You are so good and we are all so lucky just to be able to know you. You are everything to me. Don’t you ever forget that! Okay?”

Jason keeps staring at him, and Tim realizes, a little belatedly, that he’s waiting for a response. It’s so hard to focus when he can openly study Jason this closely. His strong jawline, his perfect mouth, masculine eyebrows, shapely cheekbones, short, mussed jet black hair, and intense teal blue eyes that keep shifting; irises completely blacked out with lust.

“I’m going to give you everything you want, Baby Bird, but I need you to tell me that you hear what I’m saying to you. Tell me you understand what I’m saying to you. Tell me you know how truly incredible you are.”

Tim shuts his eyes, tries to hide his face against one of his outstretched arms.

“Tim!”

He opens his eyes back up, stares up at Jason with fresh tears that leave tracks down his cheek. He nods. It’s all he can give right now.

“Good. Now you tell me if you need me to stop. Got it?”

Tim nods again, and then Jason stops holding back. He rams into Tim with brutal speed and force. He unlinks one of their hands, sliding it down Tim’s arm, his chest, his side, pausing to massage and squeeze at Tim’s hips.

Tim keeps his arm just as Jason had left it, forgets about the absence of Jason’s fingers there as Jason starts licking over one of his nipples, biting it with the slightest bit of pressure before doing the same to Tim’s collarbone. Then his mouth is on Tim’s neck, licking and biting, sucking a mark on the hollow of his throat as his hips continue to piston into Tim’s body.

He doesn’t try to keep quiet. Doesn’t attempt to silence the moans and cries of Jason’s name. Just wraps both legs around Jason’s lower back so he can feel him deeper. Suddenly he’s missing Jason’s other hand pinning him down, and then he doesn’t, because that same hand is now around Tim’s cock, jerking him off roughly and dragging shout after shout from Tim’s throat.

Jason is sweating. His muscles ache and he can’t catch his breath, but he never once falters as his hips smack against Tim. He wants to make this so good for Tim. He can hear the wet squish as his cock forces his cum from last night out of Tim’s hole, making it all the wetter and slicker for Jason to thrust. Tim is hot inside, so fucking hot, and Jason doesn’t know if he’s saying these things out loud, or just screaming things inside his head.

Somehow it has escaped his attention that Tim’s available hand has made its way into his hair, until Tim begins scratching at Jason’s scalp, digging his nails in and yanking on the slight locks. Jason pumps Tim’s dick harder, snaps his hips rigorously, clamps his mouth around Tim’s nipple again and sucks incessantly.

Tim arches, presses Jason’s head further into his chest, practically trying to get all of himself into Jason’s mouth. He’s pretty sure he hasn’t stopped moaning this entire time. Tim’s cock and his ass feel raw, but he loves every second of it. He can’t get enough air and he feels a million miles away and too close at the same time.

The memory of him fucking Jason suddenly pops into his head, and he gets an idea. He slides his hand from Jason’s hair, down his spine, and presses at Jason’s hole. He doesn’t slip inside, just presses against it over and over and over with enough pressure that Jason can’t not feel it. And Jason fucking does, because he pulls his mouth off him, his forehead rubbing against Tim’s sternum and his fingers once again tightening around his where their hands are still clasped together. He squeezes Tim’s shaft hard enough that it makes him yelp, and Jason’s hips plow into him in sharp, vicious thrusts. Deep and savage, pulsing out wave after wave of cum against Tim’s prostate.

“Fuck. Tim, fuck. Oh, holy shit. Tim, Tim, Tim, fuck!”

Jason’s hips continue to jerk into him as he comes and Tim cries out, bawling as his own orgasm hits him like a fucking freight train. His body twitches and spasms, jerking against Jason’s body. Jason’s hips never stop pounding against his prostate, even as the intensity of his thrusts ebbs. Tim’s orgasm feels infinite, his cock continuously shooting out one hot, wet ribbon of cum after another.

He’s fucking gone. Lost to anything that isn’t Jason’s fingers or lips. He feels overstimulated everywhere, and he loves it.

Jason has been calling to him softly for the past few minutes but is getting no response. He rolls half off Tim gently, so that his chest is still in contact with Tim’s in hopes that it’s a comfort. Tim’s cooling cum on his fingers, so he sucks it off until there’s nothing but the taste of his own skin. Tim has cum all over his stomach as well, and Jason licks it up, punctuating each lap of his tongue with a kiss. Tim always tastes so sweet. His cum, his skin, his sweat. Jason can never get enough.

He continues kissing his way up Tim’s body, placing them against his neck and cheek and under his jaw and beneath his ear so that Tim knows he’s there. That he isn’t leaving him. That he’s here for as long as Tim needs him. And Tim is shivering like crazy, curled up against his side now and holding onto Jason as if he’s afraid one of them might float away. Jason knows Tim couldn’t speak right now if he wanted to.

Jason had done his research after the first time Tim had drifted on him during sex. All the articles had said it’s like floating, like being disconnected, in a sense. Almost like a deep trance. It’s a very precarious place to be mentally. He’s vulnerable, and that place can take him in either direction if even the slightest negative emotion infiltrates his mind. Tim is emotional and currently about to come face to face again with one with the one person who is able to flip his world upside down at the drop of a hat. And Jason is tremendously worried.

He’s dropping, Jason thinks.

“Tim, I’ve got you, okay? Just take it easy, princess. I’m sorry, baby. Fuck, why am I so bad at this? I can barely take care of you when you need me the most.” Jason berates himself.

Tim shakes his head vehemently and burrows his face into Jason’s neck. His own way of saying that Jason is doing just fine.

“Listen, baby, I know you’re dealing with some serious shit right now, and I know you don’t really want to talk about it. You needed this, I won’t deny that, but I’m responsible for you. I went a bit overboard just now with the sex and I shouldn’t have done that. You need to be cared for right now, not hurt any worse.”

Tim shakes his head again.

“Fine, I’ll take your word for it. But we are going to address what’s going on with you and then I’m going to feed you something and make you drink a ton of water when we finish here. Right now I need you to focus, though. I am going to talk and you are going to listen. You speak when you can. Understood?”

Tim shivers and nods lazily.

“Uh uh. No drifting off on me. That wasn’t technically a command. Hey, listen to me, Tim, I know what’s going on and I know that you’re afraid.”

“You do?” Tim doesn’t even attempt to hide how wrecked his voice is.  

“Yeah, doll. Bruce is an asshole. He’s grumpy, uptight, and a moron, and fucking Batman, but he’s your dad. He’s our dad. I know you’re still upset with him, and I know you’re worried. Bruce might be angry with us, and he might be bad at talking shit out like a normal person, but he still cares about us. So what if he’s pissed about our… about us, you know…” Jason trails off uncomfortably. He can’t even say what they are. Can’t admit out loud to the person that he’s in love with that he’s in love with him. This is why he needs to let Tim go. For Tim’s own sake.

“The point is that Bruce would never shun us or turn us away. He may not approve, but we’re still his sons. He’s a reasonable enough guy. And he loves us. A lot. We’ll be fine.”

“Yeah?”

There’s so much hope and love in Tim’s voice and eyes when he finally looks up that Jason vows to do everything in his power to keep this promise to Tim.

“Yeah. And even if he hates us when this is all over, you’ve still got Cass and Steph, and now you’ve got Roy, and you know Dick would never abandon you. And… and you’ve got me.”

Even if Tim could do better. Even if Jason should and will let him go some day. Even if Tim may hate him for it forever. He will always be here for Tim.

"You are so goddamn beautiful,” Jason says as he runs the backs of his knuckles along Tim’s cheek, then teases Tim’s bottom lip with his thumb. The watery blue of Tim’s eyes looking exceptionally so. Far less green in them than the hue of Jason’s own.

*I love you.* And it’s the first time he’s let himself really think it. Say it, even though the words are being spoken silently. He can’t say it aloud and he won’t. He won’t tie Tim to himself that way forever. It wouldn’t be fair. He can’t do that to his Little Bird.

He carries Tim to the living room, both of them still completely naked, and lays him down on the couch and goes to attempt to use their kitchen for the first time. He doesn’t even bother with the stove. He knows he’d probably burn anything he tried to make, anyway. He settles on toast and a banana and a chocolate covered protein bar. He grabs a water bottle from the fridge and brings it all back to the couch.

Tim feeds himself. He’s alert enough now. Jason sits with him, though, and monitors him. He finishes everything before falling back asleep on the couch.

Jason stares openly, now that he has the opportunity, and forces himself not to touch Tim so as not to wake him. Just dotes on the way Tim’s narrow chest rises and falls. Marvels at the way Tim’s dark eyelashes cast shadows over his downy porcelain cheeks. Cherishes the way his mop of messy black hair adorns the flawless skin of his forehead. Idolizes the proud straightness of Tim’s sweet nose. Adores the way Tim’s pink little mouth pouts in his sleep. Admires the vibrant bruises on Tim’s torso, chest and graceful throat that have been put there by his own mouth. Astonishes at the graceful curve of Tim’s back as he sleeps. Reveres Tim’s long, slender legs, and the way they direct Jason’s attention to Tim’s perfect little hips and his stunning little cock. Tim is ravishing, and there’s not a goddamn thing in the universe that can hold a candle to him.

Jason appreciates all of this in the morning sunlight that pours in from their unclosed curtains. It’s not as if anyone can see in this high up, as it were. And Tim is so painstakingly, heartbreakingly beautiful with the morning shine that slowly turns to the afternoon glow dancing off of his alabaster skin, that Jason feels like he’s worshipping at the feet of an angel. He has no idea how he’s ever going to be able to let his Little Bird go.

Tim had been allowed to sleep for some time before being woken by Jason kissing him from his ankle, all the way up to his temple, and then finally kissing his lips.

They shower together, but it’s purely for the purpose of getting clean. Tim probably doesn’t need Jason’s help; he’s much steadier on his legs now. Still, he’s happy to have Jason’s strength and warmth against his back as he gets himself washed up.

Tim helps him prepare a small late afternoon snack. He’s still learning the ins and outs of kitchen usage, but Tim is a great teacher. Just like he’s great at everything else.

They’re back on the couch after they eat. Tim is reading quietly while Jason pokes at the fire he lit, flipping through a random magazine when the crackling blaze doesn’t require his full attention.

They head for the Manor an hour before they’re expected to be there. Traffic out of the city is almost just as bad as getting into the city, and Tim hates to be late. Jason drives them in Tim’s car, noticing during the entire drive the way Tim fidgets in the passenger seat.

“Should we have brought something, you think?” Tim asks once they’re already halfway to the Manor.

“Tim, when has Alfred ever been short stocked on anything? Just stay calm, alright, babe? It’ll be fine. It’s just dinner.” Jason reaches over to take Tim’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

“Okay. You’re right.” Tim says, but doesn’t let go of Jason’s hand for the rest of the trip.

The drive goes much faster once they’re out on the open rural roads. And Jason can feel the way Tim’s pulse picks up from where their wrists are touching. He doesn’t say anything this time, though. Just squeezes Tim’s hand tighter.

Jason parks directly in front of the porch steps once they finally arrive, and helps Tim out of the car and to the front door.

Tim is strong, Jason knows that, but he’s still shocked that he can’t hardly move Tim from where he’s frozen in place just a few feet from the door.

"Jay, I don't know if-“

“You can do this, Tim. I’m right here. I’ll be right here. You just tell me if you need anything. You wanna go? Then we’ll go. But I know you can do this. And I’ll be right here the whole time. I promise.”

Tim nods. He wants so badly to kiss Jason right now, but given their current location, he can’t risk it. So, he takes the final step forward, lifts a hand and rings the doorbell. The Manor might still be his home, but at the moment he feels like an outsider, and he no longer feels welcome enough to simply open the door and walk inside.

Alfred opens the door twenty seconds later. Tim counts the seconds in his head in hopes to keep himself calm, but it’s really doing nothing at all for his nerves.

“Master Timothy. Master Jason. So nice to have the both of you back home. Well, come in. Dinner will be served shortly. Master Bruce hasn’t joined us yet, but Master Richard and Master Damian are already waiting in the dining room.”

Tim knows it’s a stupid idea, but he can’t stop himself from taking Jason’s hand again. This situation feels so surreal and absurd. Like something out of a ridiculous teen novel.

Here he is, the young adopted son of a handsome billionaire, who is also the world’s most powerful vigilante. And he’s just come back to their mansion to have dinner with said vigilante, as well as with his three adopted brothers; the oldest of which is fucking their billionaire father, and another that he himself is fucking. And of course there’s the matter of how he was left for dead by his adopted vigilante father after he’d been attacked by a ten foot crocodile man. Tim feels sorry for the imaginary person in his head that is writing their nonexistent story.

Jason doesn’t shake the grip Tim has on his hand, though, and guides Tim into the dining room where Damian is looking bored about something Dick is saying. And then Dick spots them and immediately perks up. Damian’s demeanor not changing whatsoever.

“Tim! Jason! You guys made it! And here Damian didn’t think you would. You owe me half your inheritance, Damian.”

Damian rolls his eyes and picks at his sweater disinterestedly.

“I’ll give you the entirety of it, Grayson, if you cease your talking for the remainder of the evening. Hello, Drake. Todd. I suppose it would be polite of me to say that it’s nice to see you again. Even if it isn’t.”

“Damian,” Tim acknowledges him with a nod.

“Satan,” is Jason’s reply to the youngest vigilante.

“Cretin.”

“Brat.”

“Trash.”

“Worm.”

“Clown.”

“Psycho.”

“Asshat.”

“Jason!” Tim finally interjects, breaking up the childish banter between Jason and Damian.

“That was a pretty good one. You’ve been practicing your insults from this century, huh?” Jason says, with an oddly amused and fond smirk.

Damian’s returning smirk is somewhat fond as well, but mostly just smug.

“You should know better by now than to expect anything less than exceptional from me, Todd.”

Tim sits next to Dick, one chair over from where Bruce will sit at the head of the table. He wants for Jason to sit next to him, but they both know how Alfred feels about dinner table etiquette, and instead Jason sits opposite him, next to Damian.

It’s not that he’s nervous… okay, he’s totally nervous, but Tim really doesn’t mean to jump when Dick puts a hand on his shoulder.

Dick gives him an apologetic smile and squeezes his arm.

“It’ll all be okay, Tim. We’re here for you. And I’m glad you’re back. I missed you, little brother.”

“Thanks, Dick. You know I missed you, too.”

There’s no warning before Bruce enters the room. No scuff of a shoe, not a throat clearing; nothing. Because why would there be? He’s fucking Batman.

Bruce sits in his regular seat, but he certainly isn’t himself. The one similarity Tim can say that he and Bruce share is their way of thinking. And Tim knows that Bruce is uncomfortable right now. More than uncomfortable as he analyzes the situation. He doesn’t even sit as stiffly as he is now when he’s being Brucie Wayne at a charity function.

“Jason. Tim.” Bruce says by way of greeting.

He’s quiet for the rest of dinner. Tim relaxes a little with having Dick back by his side. They catch up a little. Only about things that are suitable for dinner conversation, and for the ears of a ten year old.

Damian speaks here and there. Saying how he’d like to train Titus for future missions and that they should really consider buying a sloth to add to their already existing zoo.

Jason is quiet, and his eyes are always on Tim, even if he isn’t actually looking. Tim can feel it. The table is too large for him to have any type of physical contact with Jason, but jesus, does he need it right now.

Dinner is hard to get through. It’s awkward and long and Tim’s stomach is still in knots, so he can hardly eat half of what’s on his plate. He’ll apologize to Alfred about it later.

He’s very grateful when Alfred brings out dessert, because it means he’s almost gotten through this and they can finally talk about everything once they’re done.

Jason eats a slice of his favorite pie to be polite. It’s the only way he was able to finish his dinner as well; sheer will. He hasn’t been able to look at Bruce at all throughout their meal. He’s still so angry with the older man for what he’d done to Tim, and he’s not sure all of him will ever be able to forgive Bruce for that. He wouldn’t even be back at this house any time soon if not for Tim. He’s still half tempted to grab Tim’s hand and walk out right now. But he knows that Tim needs this. So he waits patiently as Damian finishes his second slice of pie.

“I don’t normally like sweets, but the pie was palatable. Well done, Pennyworth.” Damian remarks.

“So, Jason, Tim, I take it you’ve finally decided to rejoin us after all this time for a reason and that you’re here to disclose said reason.” Bruce says haughtily as Alfred comes around to collect their plates. “Thank you, my friend. The meal was delicious, as usual.”

Jason can understand why Bruce is so open and kind to the man. Alfred is practically his father. But he’ll never understand why Bruce isn’t just as open with his lover, with his son, and with the children he raised. They owe Bruce their lives and more, Jason will never deny that. But Bruce owes them quite a fucking lot, as well.

“Well, Bruce, I thought it would beneficial for all of us if we cleared the air.”

Jason’s eyes shoot to Tim. It’s the first time he’s been able to openly look directly at him since they sat down. Tim looks nervous, and his voice is shaking, and Jason just wants to take him home and make him tea, and then maybe watch a movie that they won’t finish, because he’ll be too busy sucking Tim’s dick under a soft blanket in front of their fire place.

Bruce sighs, and suddenly his eyes are shifting into something much softer. His voice dropping into a calming baritone.

“You’re right, Tim. And first, I’d just like to say that I am sorry. I’m so sorry that in my haste to successfully complete a mission, I risked the life of my companion and son. I never should’ve neglected your call for assistance, and I apologize for my mistakes causing your injuries. I’d also like to apologize to you for my cowardice. I should’ve gone to see you sooner, Tim. I should’ve made sure you had proper medical attention and were well taken care of.”

“Jason took care of me just fine, Bruce. And I accept both of your apologies.”

Jason hadn’t even noticed his fists had been clenched until he feels the relief in his joints as he flexes his hands.

“Bruce…” Tim can feel all four sets of eyes on him as he pauses to take in a calming breath. And now it’s five sets of eyes as Alfred watches from the doorway that connects the kitchen to the dining room. “I didn’t actually come here for you to apologize. I appreciate the sentiment, but I also needed to tell you that I am upset with you. I accept your apologies in good faith, but I’m not quite ready to forgive you yet. You betrayed me and my trust, and it will take time in order for you to earn it back.”

Bruce simply nods, but Tim knows he understands, and he also knows that Bruce isn’t the least bit surprised by what he’s saying. He’s ashamed, but this isn’t about Bruce’s feelings right now. None of this is really about Bruce at all.

“And there’s one more thing I’d like to get out in the open. You are all our family, and you all deserve the right to know.”

Tim’s heart is trying to slam its way out of his rib cage, and his dinner makes a valiant effort at reacquainting itself with his mouth.

“Tim.” Jason says softly in reassurance.

It works. Tim instantly feels far more relaxed.

“We… that is, Jason and I also came here tonight so that we could talk to you about the new dynamic we have discovered in our… friendship.”

“Tim, perhaps this is a discussion better suited for a more private setting. Alfred, please see that Damian remains upstairs and in the Manor. Jason, Tim, Dick and I will be heading down to the Cave. Damian, you can rejoin us shortly. Please do so once you’re in uniform. And be sure to do your stretches. We will be heading out on patrol soon.”

“Yes, Father.”

Jason fights off a smile as he watches Damian allow himself to be herded upstairs by Alfred. He doesn’t much like the little shit, but he’s actually kind of glad that the kid is finally starting to feel like he belongs.

“Jason.” Bruce calls to him, and he follows after him into the library where Tim and Dick have already passed through the clock and gone down into the Cave.

Tim is standing near Dick by the sparring mats. They’re chatting easily. Tim even has the smallest hint of a smile on his face. He doesn’t move from Dick’s side, though. Jason knows he’s still trying to feel out their situation.

“As you were saying, Tim.”

Bruce isn’t even looking at them. Isn’t even in the same part of the Cave as he goes to put on the Batsuit.

“Well, Bruce, the relationship between Jason and I has changed much over the several months that he and I have been… um… well, living together. And I just wanted to inform you that-“

“You think I didn’t know what was going on between you and Jason?” Bruce interrupts as he steps back into the open and makes his way toward them. He’s fully dressed in the suit, and even if the cowl isn’t pulled over his face, it might as well be. He’s no longer accessible. No longer Bruce. And unfortunately, there is no reasoning with the Batman. “I was made aware of what has been going on between the two of you some time ago. And to tell you both the truth, I don’t approve of it one bit.”

“Bruce.” Dick cautions. And he does his best to ignore the guilt roiling around in his stomach.

“W- what?” Tim stammers. He feels hurt and shocked and betrayed all over again. “How can you say that, Bruce? Who better to take care of Jason and me than each other?”

“You’re both being completely irresponsible. I feel that getting involved with each other could be a detrimental mistake, and I won’t let you jeopardize our operation.”

Suddenly, Jason is overcome with the urge to hit something. His Little Bird is hurt, and Jason wants to remedy that by destroying the source of his pain. By hurting Bruce just as badly as he’s hurting Tim.

“Oh, so then what was it considered when you and Dickie started fucking?!” He shouts.

“Jason, stop!” Tim warns. He doesn’t want Dick being dragged into things. And they need all the allies they can get right now.

“You’re not going to take him away from me, Bruce!”

Tim feels a tingle move through his whole body at hearing Jason say that.

Dick steps forward and places a hand on Bruce’s shoulder. He thought his discussion with Bruce had helped. Apparently he was wrong.

“Bruce, maybe this really isn’t such a bad idea. Tim is happy and Jason has been very productive. It seems like it’s been good for both of them. Just give them a chance to-“

Bruce carries on, shrugging off Dick’s hand, but otherwise ignoring him completely as he continues lecturing Jason. The hurt and worry is evident on Dick’s face.

“You’re careless, reckless and emotionally, as well as mentally unstable, Jason. You’ll end up getting him killed.”

“You mean like you almost did!”

Bruce’s whole body goes rigid.

“I won’t allow it. End of discussion.” He says in his Batman voice.

“It’s not up to you!” Tim interjects unsteadily. It takes every ounce of his courage to speak up. He never in his life thought that he would need to, or be able to stand up to Bruce and it’s utterly terrifying. “I’m eighteen, Bruce. And while I am still legally your son, I’ve also been living on my own for months, running half of your company, and I’ve helped you establish multiple contacts internationally for Batman, Incorporated. I’m perfectly capable of making this decision on my own, and I certainly don’t need your permission or approval.

“I’m staying with Jason. Not because he asked me, or forced me, or is blackmailing me, or any of the other stupid ideas that you’ve concocted. I’m doing it because I want to. I’m doing it because… I care about him.”

Tim won’t say love. He won’t. At least not before Jason says it. And then he sees the surprise and the happiness in Jason’s eyes at hearing him say just that and now Tim is wondering why he didn’t say it.

“There. You heard it from him. Let’s go, Tim.”

Tim smiles at Jason. It’s pure and elated and he practically runs to Jason’s side.

“Tim! Jason!” Dick calls as they turn to leave, and makes his way to them. “I don’t know all of the details of what’s been going on between the two of you, and while I can guess, it’s not really my business to ask. But just know that I’m okay with it. I know you guys aren’t looking for my blessing, I just wanted you to know that you have it, and that I’m here for you. Both of you. I’ve never seen either of you this happy, and there’s nothing I want more in the world than for the two of you to be happy. I love you, little brothers. Remember that always.”

Tim smiles at him and Jason gives a curt nod. They both can’t help but think this will be just fine for them. While it would be nice to have Bruce’s approval, they don’t need it. They have Dick and they have each other. They can live with that. But in Gotham, peace just doesn’t last very long for anyone. Especially those that live the life of a vigilante raised by the Batman.

There’s a rustling sound coming from behind them as they walk away, and then they turn to see that Dick is flying backwards and lands flat on his ass.

“Bruce, no!” Dick shouts from where was thrown down to the ground.

Bruce is flying toward Tim and Jason like a solid black missile, in a flurry of cape and wind.

“Tim, move!” Jason yells and shoves Tim out of the way, hurling himself at Bruce.

He blocks Bruce’s first punch and dodges the second, but he takes the next in the ribs and feels the kick against his outer thigh. He lands a kick to Bruce’s sternum, hard enough to make him stumble back and then lands a punch to Bruce’s jaw. Bruce recovers in milliseconds and throws his cape over Jason’s head, temporarily blinding him.

“Bruce, stop!” He hears Tim shout, followed by Dick’s, “Bruce, that’s enough!”

He ignores them of course, and sweeps Jason’s legs, causing Jason to fall onto his back. Bruce gets two consecutive punches to Jason’s ribs again and one to his chin, making Jason’s teeth clack together and his head get knocked into the concrete floor. It stuns Jason long enough for Bruce to use a nerve strike.

“Jason!” He hears Tim cry out.

Jason is furious. He’s absolutely fucking livid, but he’s immobilized for the next thirty seconds or so. He can do nothing, not even shout for Tim to get out of here. He just has to lie there and watch as Bruce advances on Tim.

“Bruce! Stop this!” Dick yells and steps between them.

Dick is once again thrown out of Bruce’s way before he even knows what’s happening. It’s a very deliberate throw and Dick’s landing is softer this time, clearly exemplifying that Bruce is aware of what he’s doing and that he doesn’t really want to hurt Dick. Even in a fit of rage, Batman is always in control.

Bruce lunges at Tim, but Tim is smaller and faster. He rolls away from the hold in time to stand and use his momentum to jump into a spinning kick that hits Bruce right in the cheek. Bruce acts as if he doesn’t even feel it. Tim isn’t in uniform, so he doesn’t have a bo-staff handy, and Jason can see how nervous he is without it. Especially since he’s going up against the Batman.

Bruce lunges again and Tim handsprings and lands in a crouch. He tries to sweep Bruce’s legs like Bruce did to Jason, but Bruce sees it coming and jumps aside. When Bruce throws the first punch Tim sidesteps it and spins around Bruce to his side, striking Bruce twice in the ribs and once in the kidney.

He throws himself backward onto his hands and then propels himself forward to kick Bruce in the ribs. Dick taught him that one. But Bruce takes it easily this time. He’d shifted his weight so the kick landed more on his hip, and then he’s turning and grabbing Tim’s ankle, pulling the smaller boy toward him. He slams an elbow into the top of Tim’s thigh, making him cry out. The bone’s not broken, Jason knows that, but it probably hurt like hell. Not to mention the deep muscle bruising it’ll leave.

Jason can see that Alfred and Damian- in his Robin uniform- have joined them, both watching in horror and shock as Bruce continues to try to attack Tim.

“Master Bruce! Stop this at once!”

“Father! What are you doing?!”

And then finally Jason can move and he’s seeing red. He stands and charges at Bruce. He guesses the older man had forgotten about him, because Jason’s never been able to tackle him this easily before.

They land in a sprawl a few feet away, Bruce still holding Tim’s ankle and dragging him with them. He won’t let go, even though Jason is throwing punches at Bruce’s face at a furious speed. Bruce squeezes Tim’s ankle hard, the gauntlets creaking loudly where they stretch over his knuckles. Tim is slender, and with the size of Bruce’s hands and his strength, Jason knows that Bruce is probably grinding Tim’s bones against each other by the way Tim yells out. He notices too late that Tim’s shoe is no longer on his foot- probably lost at some point during the scuffle- and that Bruce is pressing a thumb to the soft underside of Tim’s arch. Tim shouts before falling limp on the ground.

Jason is enraged. He draws his gun from the hidden strap on his ankle, hits Bruce in the face with it, and holds it to his temple. Bruce stills immediately, his eyes full of anger and curiosity as blood seeps from between his lips.

“Master Jason!”

“Todd, don’t!”

Jason sees Damian running towards them out of the corner of his eye, but Dick pulls him back. Then Alfred is advancing in their direction, but Bruce holds up a hand to halt him in his steps. Dick hands the young Robin over to him.

“What are you going to do, Jason?” Bruce asks with malice.

“You heartless, stupid son of a bitch. If you move, if you even fucking flinch, I will fucking shoot you. Do not test me on this, Bruce. I don’t want to have to shoot you in the goddamn head.” He’s glowering at Bruce. He can’t remember ever being this angry in his life and he wants to tear Bruce apart right now.

“Jason, don’t do this!” Dick is kneeling beside Jason, pulling on his arm and urging Jason to release his weapon, but Jason is like a statue; unmoving and unrelenting.

“He hurt Tim! He can’t just keep doing whatever he wants and getting away with it! It’s not his choice! He doesn’t control us anymore and I won’t let him take Tim away! He’s going to pay for this.”

Dick lets go of Jason and rushes to Tim’s side, shaking him gently in attempts to wake him.

“Tim, come on, wake up. Tim!”

Tim stirs, but he’s still out of it and isn’t able to do much more than sit up, and that’s with Dick’s help.

“You won’t take him from me. I won’t let you. There’s nothing on earth that will take him away from me. I’ll do everything in my power to keep him safe from you, or any other crazy out there! He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I won’t give him up!” Fuck what he’d thought before. He may burn in hell again for it, but he’s not giving up Tim. He can’t just let him go. “There is nothing more important to me than him. For fuck’s sake, Bruce, why can’t you leave us alone? Why can’t you just let us be happy?! I love him, goddammit, and that is all that matters! So if you have a problem with that, then you can just fuck off!”

And Tim is conscious enough to hear that.  His heart is pounding and his chest feels tight, but his whole body feels so warm; kind of like it might burst. His head is even spinning a little bit. Jason just said he loved him. Really said it. He wasn’t dreaming or fantasizing it. And he’d said it in front of everyone.

“Jason.” Tim says, and it’s nothing more than a whisper. Nobody even able to hear it but Dick. Except that Bruce does, because Tim can feel the way the older man’s eyes flick to him.

Jason sees the small smirk on Bruce’s face, and all five of them hear the slight chuckle that filters out of the man’s bloody mouth.

“What the hell could you possibly find funny right now?” Jason bites out.

Tim, Dick, Alfred and Damian are all also looking at Bruce as if he’s lost his mind.

“You’ve shown me all that I needed to know.”

“What?” Jason is so confused.

“You mean this was a test?!” Tim yells angrily, almost fully recovered now. He’s incredulous and livid, because isn’t this just fucking like Bruce.

He tries to get up and make his way to Jason and Bruce, but Dick grabs him and holds him back.

“What the fuck is going on?!” Jason’s pissed now, and Tim is a little worried. He knows how short Jason’s fuse is. Especially when it comes to Bruce. And he is still armed and tensions are still running high.

“He was testing you. Trying to see how serious you were about me so that he could decide whether or not he could trust you with me.”

Jason’s shocked gaze flips from Tim back down to Bruce, whose smile has disappeared and has been replaced by Bruce’s stern and analytical gaze.

“Jesus Christ, Bruce. You’re know you’re a fucking psycho, right?” Jason says to him before sliding his gun back into the ankle strap. “All of this because you didn’t believe I loved Tim?! I mean, what the fuck?!”

Again. He’d said it again. He’d said he loved Tim. Again. Tim honestly can’t believe his ears. He’s so overcome with joy and wants nothing more than to run to Jason and drag him off to an empty bedroom upstairs and spend the next twenty fours there, glued to Jason’s body. Dick is still holding him, though, and he knows it’s best if he stays where he is.

“Oh, Bruce. This was too far. Even for you,” Dick chastises.

Tim watches Jason stand, Bruce following his example shortly after. They stand toe to toe and stare each other down. Neither one blinking, neither one speaking, neither one backing down.

 Tim hasn’t seen the two of them this close in a very long time. It sends a chill up his spine. He often forgets what a dangerous individual Jason is. His gentleness with Tim is the polar opposite from the behavior of the man once wanted by Interpol and about a dozen other government organizations worldwide.

Jason is just barely shorter than Bruce, and nearly just as broad. Tim wonders if either of them notice how similar they are. From their posture, to the shape of their shoulders, to the expressions on their faces. With their dark hair and incredibly similar blue eyes, Jason could probably easily be mistaken as Bruce’s biological son. They’re both extremely handsome, of course, but to Tim, Jason is absolutely stunning. And it’s Jason’s heart and mind that makes Jason so perfect to him.

“I needed to know that you would give anything, and that you would do anything for Tim. You’ve been so disconnected and emotionally distant for so long that I couldn’t risk allowing the two of you to be together without being absolutely sure that you would always do what’s in Tim’s best interests.”

Jason gathers himself to his full height and sets his shoulders. He tilts his chin in a ferociously insolent gesture, as if he’s entirely unbothered by Bruce’s presence, and the look he fixes Bruce with sends an entirely different kind of shiver up Tim’s spine.

“I’d do anything and everything that Tim asked of me. And more. I would give him anything, including my life if he asked it of me. And I would do anything to keep him safe. ”

Bruce doesn’t react at all. Not even the smallest physical tell as to what he’s thinking, but Tim feels like he’s on fire from where he stands watching the two of them.

Bruce then turns to Tim. He’s still not wearing the cowl at the moment, but again, he might as well be. The intensity of Batman’s gaze still makes him uncomfortable and nervous, even after all these years.

“And you?” He asks Tim, and Tim knows exactly what he means.

“Anything and everything for Jason. For as long as I can.” Tim’s eyes flick over to Jason and he sees the smile he’s trying to hide, and then he looks back to Bruce. “Within reason, of course.”

Bruce nods. “I still don’t agree with your decisions, but I won’t try to interfere anymore. I hope I can trust you two to keep each other in check. Especially when you’re out in the field. And just remember: nothing that will jeopardize the mission,” he says and then walks away just like that. “Dick, Damian! We’re on patrol! Let’s move!”

Tim turns to Dick who’s giving him a heartfelt smile and a thumbs up. Tim rolls his eyes but smiles back and watches as Dick follows Bruce to the Batmobile. Damian hovers for a moment and then marches over to stand in front of Tim, looking up at him with a thoughtful look as Jason watches from where he’s still standing a few feet away.

“I can’t say that I am particularly fond of either one of you. And truthfully, I think love is a rather childish notion, but you’re both important to father and Grayson. So I’d like to say that I am happy for you both and respect your decisions. I hope that your relationship goes well.”

Tim and Jason are both stunned by the almost affectionate gesture and watch as Damian coolly walks over to the Batmobile and hops in, the beastly vehicle shooting out of the cave seconds later. Jason wonders briefly if it’ll go something like this the day that Damian challenges Bruce for Dick’s affection.

"Don't worry, young sirs. Master Bruce will come around. Just give it time." Alfred gives them a cheeky smile and wishes them a goodnight before he heads back up to the Manor, reminding them that they’re welcome to take leftovers.

Tim begins to walk toward Jason and Jason meets him, wrapping his arms around Tim’s lower back and pulling him snugly up against Jason’s front. Tim’s arms loop around Jason’s neck as if it’s the most natural motion in the world.

“So, for as long as you can, huh?” Jason smiles, arching an eyebrow.

Tim laughs. “You would’ve made fun of me mercilessly if I’d have said something as cheesy as ‘forever.’ And I can’t believe you really just did all that for me. You might be even crazier than Harley.”

Jason’s smile falls and he tenses up. Tim regrets whatever it is he said that caused such a rapid change in Jason’s disposition.

“Tim, I need you to tell me what you want.”

Tim gives him a perplexed look and shakes his head.

“What do you mean?”

“Do you even want this? You and me? For real this time? We weren’t- we haven’t been…You and I have just been you and I. There isn’t really an… us. Not officially, anyway. And we don’t really have a great record.” Jason pauses, but Tim stays silent, staring at Jason expectantly as he waits for him to continue. “I know you know how I’ve felt about you for a long time. Maybe since the beginning. You’re too smart not to have known. I know our relationship started out pretty rough, but I’ve… cared for you…” Jason goes quiet again for a moment, swallows hard. He needs to say it. “I’ve loved you. Fuck, I love you. I love you so fucking much, Tim.”

“And I love you, too, Jay. I love you more than anything.” Tim says in between Jason’s brief pause of words. It flows so easily out of his mouth, like sugar and honey and happiness and relief. He has to bite his tongue to keep from saying it over and over, but he knows Jason isn’t finished speaking yet.

“I’ve been in love with you for quite a while, and I’ve been holding myself back. I want to give you everything, Tim, but I don’t know how this would work. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I just don’t think I’m right for you. Is this… is this really something you want?”

Tim’s arms wrap tighter around Jason’s neck.

“I love you, but how can you be so smart and so dumb at the same time? And it doesn’t work. That’s why we make it work. We’ve been through so much, and we’ve given a lot for each other. Do you really think I wouldn’t want this, or that I wouldn’t want to give it my everything to make it work with you? Of course I want this. Want you. I’ve loved you for half of my life. Since I was nine years old, Jay. Since I first discovered who the second boy in the Robin mask was. I never thought you could ever want me, but I’ve been so happy during the time we’ve spent together. I’d like to stay with you. For as long as I can. As long as you’ll have me. I love you, Jay. I love you, I love you, I love you.” Tim just can’t stop saying it.

Jason smiles and it’s radiant and he kisses him quickly.

“You know I probably won’t ever be able to give you up.”

“Good thing I don’t want you to.”

Jason’s smile remains, but he swallows with difficulty. Now is not the time to keep things hidden, though. He’s laying all his cards on the table.

“I’ve been alone for so long, Tim. I used to think that it was the only thing that I wanted. That it was the only way things could be for me. That if I was alone I couldn’t get hurt. Thought I was better off. But I don’t think that anymore. Not with you around.

“I can’t promise you forever, because we’ll probably be dead before then, but as long as you’ll tolerate me. For as long as I can have you. I love you, Tim.”

Tim grabs a handful of his jacket and yanks him forward into an uncoordinated and completely perfect kiss.

“I love you, too, Jason. Now can we go home please?”

“Always so polite, love.” Jason can’t help but laugh. He’s never been this happy. He kisses Tim again, long and slow and full of every “I love you” that he’s been holding back for the past several months. He’s done holding back. He loves Tim and now he’ll never let Tim forget it. “Yeah, baby. Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

Jason’s done something stupid. Again. Jason’s done something stupid again because it’s who he is and it’s what he does. Jason has done something stupid again and now Tim is rather angry with him. Jason has done something stupid again because he’s probably the world’s biggest idiot.

He and Tim had got in late, nearly dawn, and it had been a long night. Jason was bone tired. He and Tim both were. They’d spent half the night out trying to find who ran a drug house in the narrows that has been using kids as their dealers. By the time they’d got there, their rat had called and warned their perps, causing them to clear out probably just shortly before they’d got there. Now they had no lead as to how to find them again. They’ll have to start from scratch.

Now Jason’s pissed and he’s drinking and Tim is tired and grouchy, which has put them at each other’s throats.

“I’m just saying-“

“You’re just saying what, Jason? Huh? That it would’ve been better if you’d killed him?”

Tim’s just gotten out of the shower and is standing in their living room in nothing but sweats, yelling halfway across the apartment at Jason who’s in the kitchen and is about six to eight shots of whiskey in. The sky is getting lighter outside with the imminent rising sun. Tim looks beautiful in the early morning light. Even while he’s angry. He’s always beautiful.

It’s been a month since their ordeal with Bruce at the Manor. Some things have changed. Mostly things haven’t, though. They’re officially together now, and they’ve told the people that matter, and Jason is more in love with Tim than he ever has been. Tim is Tim, and Jason is Jason. Tim is still gorgeous and brilliant amazing, and Jason is still short tempered and possessive and an absolute sucker for him in every possible way.

Tim is also back with the Titans. Not full time, but he helps on occasions when the turmoil is close to Gotham. He also cut his hair and got a new uniform, even though Jason has a soft spot for the old one. And Tim’s longer hair. But when Tim debuted his new look, Jason had gotten harder than he could ever remember in his life and  stripped him of himself of his clothes in half the time it normally took him and fucked Tim nonstop for nearly two hours.

They’re also both living in their new apartment full time. Tim sends a housekeeper to his own place in Crime Alley on occasion, but Jason wasn’t terribly concerned with the upkeep of his already half rundown place to begin with.

So, when they finally wrapped up their night after the huge mishap- and Jason had punched an innocent brick wall enough times to feel satisfied- they headed back to their place, where Tim got into the shower and Jason headed straight to the cabinet to bust out a bottle of whiskey. Tim had come out to get Jason to come to bed with him and Jason had opened his big fucking mouth, liquid courage making his tongue a little too loose.

“Look, Tim, all I’m saying is that if I still had my guns then we would’ve gotten that info out of him a lot sooner. Maybe could’ve even made it to their den before they had time to clear out.”

“So you wanna start carrying your guns again? It’s a dangerous slope, Jay. And you promised me!”

“I know, Baby Bird, I know. But things never get any better here! No matter how hard we try! The only way we can make a real difference is to get rid of the filth. For good. They don’t deserve to live, anyway.”

The look that gets him makes Jason’s heart drop into his stomach.

“I know how frustrating it is, Jay. Believe me, I wish there was another alternative, too. But killing those people is not the right thing.”

“You haven’t lived with it, Tim! You don’t understand the kind of first hand effect these people have!”

Jason doesn’t know why he says it. And as soon as it’s out of his mouth, he wants desperately to take it back.

“You’re right, Jason. I’ve just been living with you for months. I’m just that stupid kid who knows everything about you. I’m just your boyfriend. What would I know about how it’s affected you?”

“Tim, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that!” He yells after Tim, who’s already storming out of the room. Jason sets down the bottle and runs after him.

He knows Tim’s pissed when he finds their bedroom empty and hears the door of one of their spare rooms slammed.

“Baby, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it like that! I swear!” He yells through the door of Tim’s security hub.

Jason suddenly feels head- achingly sober and kind of nauseous. He always does this shit and Tim doesn’t deserve it. Tim brings out the best in him, yet somehow Jason always manages to bring out the worst in himself. Always manages to start arguments out of nothing when all Tim wants is to try to help him. Now he really doesn’t feel like drinking anymore.

He heads for their bathroom, taking a shower and washing out every bit of the lingering taste of whiskey in his mouth. He’s always been a bit of a nasty drunk. His genetics hard at work. It’s not an excuse, though. Not anymore. Not when the repercussion hurt like this. Truth be told, he should probably stop drinking. If not for his own sake, then for Tim’s.

It’s about a half hour since his and Tim’s argument when he’s crawling into bed. His mouth tasting of mint toothpaste and the absence of Tim’s goodnight kiss. God, he’d love a cigarette right now. But Tim’s angry enough as it is and he wouldn’t dare risk hurting him anymore.

Jason looks at the clock. It’s already six thirty in the morning and he knows he won’t be falling asleep any time soon. Not with the loss of Tim’s heat and perfect little body beside him. He gives up on sleep after trying for half an hour and texts Kori. He’s going to be grumpy and exhausted during their family dinner later, but that’s what they get for infiltrating his and Tim’s sanctuary. It’s nearly two hours later when he finally gives in to the heavy pull of sleep.

Meanwhile, Tim is still locked away in his security hub, checking the footage from his place and Jason’s and looking into some leads to help them find their drug dealer again. He’s angry, yes, but mostly just sad. He doesn’t exactly pity Jason, just wonders how the older boy can doubt himself so consistently.

He knows Jason better than to believe that he’d meant what he’d been saying. Sure, part of him had probably meant it, but Tim knows it’d mostly been the alcohol talking and that they would’ve had a real discussion about the matter when Jason was sober. If he did really care enough. Jason started the argument for entirely ridiculous and unrelated reasons.

The last time they’d fought like this had been the week after their family discussion, when Tim had told Jason that he wanted to start working with the Titans again. Jason had been quiet until Tim urged him to voice his concerns. Jason had already shut down, though. Said Tim could do whatever he wanted and that it didn’t matter to Jason one way or another.

Tim was hurt, but knew right away he hadn’t meant it. Still, it frustrated him beyond all thought that after all this time he still couldn’t manage to break down all of Jason’s walls. He’d locked himself in their bathroom for nearly an hour and ranted to Dick about how much of an insensitive jerk Jason could be. Dick had only reaffirmed his thoughts, telling him that Jason had always been rather self- conscious. And that hurt Tim more than Jason’s comment ever could.

Dick had been right, of course. But Tim will never understand it. Jason is incredible and gorgeous and so smart when he isn’t trying to play dumb to get everyone to leave him alone. He doesn’t understand why Jason constantly puts himself down.

In the end, he’d been the one to apologize, quickly followed by Jason’s own apology and sweet kisses of atonement. He’d reassured Jason that he had nothing to fear about him rejoining the Titans. Tried to make it as clear as possible that he would never abandon Jason and that his ridiculous jealousy when it came to Kon was entirely unnecessary. And then Tim had reassured him with a fantastic blowjob and makeup sex.

But Jason wasn’t doing this on purpose. No, the problem is that even now, Jason is still always subconsciously trying to sabotage himself. Tim has seen it many times when Jason gets too comfortable or when he feels like things are going too well for him. Like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. It breaks Tim’s heart that Jason still thinks he doesn’t deserve happiness. No one has suffered more than Jason, and no one deserves peace more than Jason.

He finally emerges from his security hub after several hours and returns to their bedroom. He finds that Jason’s already asleep, his phone still in his hand and Tim knows that Jason must’ve really been stressing out over their argument; probably texting Koriand’r or Roy about the ordeal. This is the last thing they need to be dealing with when their whole family will be coming over for dinner later in the evening at Tim’s request.

They need to talk this through immediately, but he doesn’t want to wake Jason, so he snuggles close to the larger vigilante; cuddling against his broad chest to soak in his heat and falling asleep easily with the scent of Jason in his lungs.

It’s mid- afternoon when Jason wakes up. He’s overheated and when he opens his eyes he finds that it’s because Tim is curled up against him. He wraps his arms around his Little Bird, a fond, sad smile overtaking his face as guilt sets in. He hates himself a little more every time he hurts Tim. Every time he sees a frown on Tim’s face that he put there. He always apologizes, always tries to make it up to Tim, but deep down he knows it’s never enough. And still Tim loves him unconditionally. His sweet boy is too good for him.

He kisses Tim’s forehead, his eyelid, his nose as he cards fingers through Tim’s shorter, more mature hairstyle. He studies the sweet flush of sleep dusting Tim’s always innocent face. He stares and stares and fights the urge to kiss Tim properly. He doesn’t want to wake him up.

But his Little Bird is so attuned to his every movement, every thought, every breath, that his eyes slowly flutter open just a short time later, a drowsy smile adorning his lips.

“Morning.” Tim says, groggy. His voice is still laced with sleep.

“Morning, baby.” Jason replies, and quickly takes advantage of the fact that he can now give Tim a real kiss. He keeps it innocent, though, pulling away after just a few seconds.

“Jay, I-"

Jason gives him a stern look.

“Don’t. Don’t you dare apologize, Tim. You did nothing wrong. This was all on me.”

“I shouldn’t have gotten so mad at you, though.”

Jason pulls him closer, wraps his arms around Tim so tightly that he’s practically smothering Tim against his chest.

“You had every right to be mad. I know I say stupid shit sometimes. Fuck, I don’t even know why I do it. I mean, I do, but that doesn’t make it okay. I wish I didn’t. It’s just that...”

He loves Tim. He does. More than anything or anyone in the world. But he’s still not great at talking. And even addressing this with the love of his life…it’s almost too much.

“It’s okay, Jay. I know. You don’t have to say it. But you have to stop thinking that way. You’re wonderful, Jay. Truly astonishing. You deserve everything you have and more. I am not too good for you, okay? You treat me so well, and you’re so good to me. You’re perfect and unbelievable and I love you. I need you to start believing that. For real, or we’ll just be stuck in this never ending cycle forever.

“I know you don’t like to talk about this stuff, but you need to. I swear it will help, Jay. And I’ll do anything I can to help you through this. But you have to start being more honest with me. You have to really talk to me, Jay. Open up to me. I’m your boyfriend and that’s what I’m here for. We have to take care of each other.”

Jason kisses him softly and it’s so passionate that Tim doesn’t even stand a chance of stopping the moan it tears from his throat.

“I love you.” Jason says when he pulls away.

It means the world to Tim. He’s said it before, of course he has, but he doesn’t say it terribly often. Just in the moments where he feels completely comfortable with Tim. It’s a step. A small step, but a pretty meaningful one, and Tim will take it.     

“I love you, too. Always, Jay.”

Jason kisses him again, brief, but still tender, and then pulls away to gaze lovingly at Tim.

“You know, I kinda miss your longer hair. You always looked so fuckin’ innocent. So pretty.”

“Yeah? I guess I’ll have to think about growing it out again.”

“Would you? Would you be my pretty Baby Bird again? Let me corrupt you and make you my naughty little thing?”

Tim nods enthusiastically.

“Anything, Jay.”

“That’s my boy. My good Little Bird. When did you become this beautiful fucking person? Not my pretty baby boy anymore, huh?”

“I am. Always yours, Jay. Just wanna be your Little Bird.”

“You’ll always be my Little Bird, sweetheart. You’re mine, baby. Forever. God, I love you so much. Don’t you ever doubt that, doll. Only mine.”

Tim’s mind is already off floating out into the infinite sea of lust. He can’t focus, can only hear the faint and comforting sound of Jason’s voice, the warm familiarity of his touch. He needs Jason now, but he can tell that it won’t be that type of day. Jason is going to drag this out. Make him wait, and drive him absolutely insane with want, because Jason knows Tim craves it and that he’ll love every last minute of it.

“Jay, I want you.”

“Yeah? You want me, baby? Tell me. Tell me how bad you want it. Tell me what you want.” Jason urges and kisses him deeply, sweeping his tongue into Tim’s mouth and claiming him.

“Jay…”

“Come on, Little Bird. Wanna hear it.”

Jason was every bit aware that Tim could hardly form words when he was in this state. However, something about him caused Tim to spit utterly debauched and wonderful filth without even being aware of the fact.

“Fuck me, Jay. Oh, god, please. I need it. Need to feel you. Want you to fill me up so bad.”

A violent shiver moves through Jason’s body at hearing those words. Fuck, Timothy Drake is the love of his life and Jason will never cease to be amazed by him.

“Okay. Okay, baby, I’ll give you what you need. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.”

Jason sits up only for the time it takes to pull off the shirt he wore to bed before he’s draping himself onto Tim’s body, cupping the back of his neck to pull him in for a kiss that’s entirely too short for Tim’s liking, the whine is anything to go by.

“’S okay, baby. I got you.”

He slides the hand down Tim’s neck, over his small and luscious pecs, down his abs, and finally into the front of his sweats. Tim never bothers with underwear when they’re at home, so Jason’s huge hand meets his hard flesh immediately. Jason maneuvers himself so that he’s straddling Tim’s leg, able to get a knee pressed right up against his balls through the sweats while still keeping a hand on his cock.

The touch is teasing, slow and lazy. It’s already driving Tim crazy. He thrusts his hips up impatiently, eager for more of Jason’s touch, but Jason’s lips suddenly pressing against his neck make him pause.

Jason whispers against the skin of his neck, “Gotta be good, Baby Bird. If you don’t behave then I can’t give you what you want. You gonna be my good boy?”

Tim’s fist holds steadfast to their sheets while his other hand digs claw marks into the smooth, scarred skin of Jason’s back. Jason’s teeth are nibbling at his neck, his tongue peeking out playfully every now and again to lap at the indentations and quickly blossoming patch of color.

Jason’s hand moves faster up and down his shaft, his knee pressing in tighter, his teeth biting harder. Blood is filling Tim’s ears, but he can hear the way he keens, so desperate for Jason. His back arches and his toes curl he’s so fucking close when Jason pulls his hand out of his sweats.

“Oh, oh, baby. I know. You need more. I’m sorry. No need to sound so upset. Promised you I’d take care of you, didn’t I? God, you sound so sweet for me. So hurt and needy. Love those fucking sounds you make. Wanna swallow all of them down, keep them inside of me forever.”

Tim lets out an exceptionally loud moan before biting his lip, trying his best to silence himself. He feels like he’s on fire. Like he’s burning from the inside out and only feeling Jason inside him will extinguish the extraordinary heat.

“Yeah. Just like that, Tim. Don’t hold back, baby. Wanna hear all the noises you can give me. Fuckin’ wring them out of you with every last breath. Every thrust. Every single drop that your pretty little dick is so ready to give me.”

Tim is panting, begging, and sobbing Jason’s name.

 Jason sits up again, slides off his sweats and then Tim’s before crawling between Tim’s knees. He rubs his thumbs over the jut of Tim’s hips, breathes hotly against Tim’s beautifully straight cock. He kisses the side of the shaft once and then his eyes flick to Tim’s face. His Little Bird is in fucking ecstasy.

“Look at me, Tim. You still with me?”

Tim’s eyes open and meet Jason’s, but he’s almost out of Jason’s reach. Lost on a fucking cloud and Jason needs to make sure to keep him grounded. So he bites the skin below Tim’s navel only hard enough to pull him back some.

He can tell Tim is a little more lucid now. His hand curling into Jason’s hair and his eyes saying the words his mouth is incapable of right now.

“You want me to suck you?”

The fingers in his hair tighten and Jason knows with just that gesture that Tim is giving his approval.

Sucking Tim off is something Jason never gets tired of doing. He sucked a lot of guys when he was younger, and even a few in his later years, and not one of them had a cock as nice as Tim’s. Average length with just enough girth. Nothing so overwhelming as to make him choke or gag. Not like the sick, pushy bastards of his past. Grown, perverted men who were eager to feel the hot little mouth of an eleven year old. Tim knows all about that now. But it’s all in the past where it will stay. Jason isn’t going to think about that now. Not while he has Tim’s delicious little prick laying hot and salty against his tongue. Not while he’s enjoying an incredible moment with the person he loves.

He pulls almost all the way off Tim, suckling and giving small kitten like licks to his head and slit before taking Tim all the way down again. He swirls his tongue, glides his teeth along Tim’s shaft the slightest bit on his way back up and does it all over again.

Tim’s eyes are closed and wet, his mouth bitten swollen and his cheeks and neck more red than pink at this point. He’s moaning and whining and pleading and crying. He’s beautiful and Jason smirks as he sucks Tim hard, letting him slide into his throat and then bobbing his head. Tim’s breaths start to sound choked, high pitched stutters that aren’t anything like real words. Jason knows he’s close to coming and pulls off Tim completely.

“Fuck! Jason! Please! Please! I fucking need it. God, I fucking need it. I want you in me! Please get in me! I’ll be good for you. I’ll be so good!”

“Shh, shh, shh.” Jason tries to sooth him as he crawls up Tim’s body and kisses his lips.

He can feel the way Tim’s chest is rising up rapidly against his. Can feel the slickness of sweat all over Tim’s body. He kisses Tim’s temple, tastes the salt there, kisses his lips again. Then he presses two fingers to Tim’s mouth.

“Open up, baby. Get me wet. Don’t wanna hurt you.”

Tim is eager and not at all graceful about it. He’s past caring, Jason knows, and passed desperate about five miles back. He needs Jason in him now. Of course, Jason had wanted to drag this out a little longer, but he wouldn’t deny Tim anything. Especially not when he’s aching for it like this.

“That’s my good boy. Okay, baby. I’m good. Gonna open you up now.”

They’ve done this so many times that it hardly takes any time at all anymore to open Tim up. But Jason would never go in without at least some stretching. He’s too afraid of hurting Tim. Yet, even in this state, Tim is able to control his muscles enough to open up to Jason and make the process go that much more quickly. Tim Drake absolutely fucking blows his mind.

“Gonne get in you now, baby. You ready for me?”

“Always, Jay! Always! Please!

Jason slides an arm under Tim’s hip, pulls him up and wraps Tim’s other leg around his own hip. He slides into Tim in one long, smooth thrust and Tim nearly screams in pleasure and relief. And somehow after doing this so many times, Tim is still just as tight and hot as ever.

His fingers bruise prints into Tim’s thigh, one of his plump little butt cheeks. His lips and teeth work at bruising Tim’s shoulder. His cock drives into Tim in deep, long thrusts. Fast and hard, but not overbearingly so. He’s nailing Tim’s prostate, knows by the way Tim’s hands have become incapable of clinging to Jason. So Jason just holds onto him that much tighter.

He slides his nose up Tim’s neck, tucking it just behind Tim’s ear.

“Fuck, you smell so good, baby. Everything about you is good. So fucking perfect for me. Fuck, I love you so goddamn much, Tim.”

“Jason!” Tim shouts, fingers digging into both of Jason’s biceps as he comes all over Jason’s stomach and his own.

Tim tightens around him like a fucking vice. It’s so good that it’s almost painful as the muscle then begins to flutter the slightest bit, Tim trying to keep himself open enough so that Jason can continue fucking into him as he chases his own orgasm. And that thought pushes Jason over, his hips thrusting with less fervor now as he pumps his cum deep into Tim’s body.

“Holy shit! Fucking Christ, Tim, I love you. So fucking- ah! Fuck! Geez, I fucking love you!”

Jason’s fucking drained, nearly half asleep before he’s even caught his breath. He can smell them on his pillow and unconsciously reaches an arm out to wrap around Tim and pull him close.

“Love you, too, Jay.” He hears Tim pant out between breaths as he slips into the abyss of sleep.

Tim sleeps exceptionally well these days, but even more so after he and Jason have sex. His internal clock will only let him rest for so long, though, and he slips out of Jason’s arms to shower. He wakes Jason up with a quick kiss and urges him to shower as well before he goes to the kitchen to make himself some tea and start preparing their family dinner.

He’s seasoning the steaks when Jason comes out, smelling delectable in the new cologne Tim bought him and looking as handsome as ever in jeans and one of his nicer long sleeve shirts. He wraps his arms around Tim from behind, placing a kiss on his neck before grabbing a beer from the fridge.

“Jason,” is all he says.

Jason knows that tone. It’s both a question and a statement and Jason sets the bottle down so that Tim knows he has his full attention.

Tim finishes the steaks and washes his hands before turning around to speak.

“I love you,” Tim continues, “and the day I stop loving you is the day I start hanging around Penguin.” He catches Jason’s adorable smirk. “So, Jay, I really think we need to talk a bit more about last night. About what you said when we got home.”

He watches Jason closely as he swallows, picks up the beer bottle and holds it without taking a single sip.

“Should’ve known that was coming.” Jason says with amusement.

“Please, Jay. I’m so tired of my life revolving around the secrets I keep. I don’t want that anymore. Not in this relationship. Not with you. I need us to talk about things, and this… we need to talk about this. Just tell me… what you said last night… did you mean it?”

“About wanting to kill people still?”

Tim nods. Jason sets the bottle back down on the counter. It’s nearly half a minute before he finally answers, and by then Tim already has all the answer he needs.

“Yeah. Yeah, I did. I know it’s something we should’ve talked about before last night. And also probably while I wasn’t drunk, but it was the truth. The scum in this city does not deserve the millions of second chances we keep giving them. My plan before… it was working before Bruce got involved. The city would be better if we kept them off the streets.”

Tim swallows down the lump in his throat. He can’t speak. Not yet. And he knows Jason isn’t done, anyway.

“Maybe something is still wrong with me for me to still be thinking this way.”

“No, Jason! You shouldn’t ever think that! You’re such a marvelous person!”

Jason sighs and shakes his head.

“I’m not, Tim. I’m really not. I know you think that, but I’m not. I’m trying to be. I really am, because I want to do right by you. I love you. It fucking hurts how much I love you. And I made you a promise that I swear I’ll never break. I won’t pick up my guns again unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I won’t kill again unless it’s to protect you. But that’s the truth about how I feel. I just don’t think lettin’ these people off the hook all the time is right. I’m sorry.”

Tim nods. He doesn’t really feel that upset or surprised now that he thinks about it. He asked Jason to change. Jason didn’t change because it’s what he’d wanted to do for himself. He’d done it for Tim. And Tim knows that opinions can’t be swayed. At least not the ones that belong to the hard headed people of their family. He just hopes that one day Jason will come to truly believe in the promise he’s keeping for Tim.

“Fine. And now I need you to promise that you’ll stop keeping things from me. I don’t care if it’s the most ridiculous secret ever, like you wanting me to dress up in a skirt or something.”

“Shit, have I been super obvious about that?”

Tim crosses his arms and forces the blush away.

“You know what I mean, Jay. No more secrets. I just… I can’t handle it. So please, just talk to me from now on?”

Jason nods once. They both stand silent and unmoving for a few moments. Tim watches as Jason gnaws nervously at his lip.

“So, you pissed at me?”

Tim uncrosses his arms and shrugs a shoulder.

“Yeah. But you’re entitled to your own opinion. I know I can’t change how you feel about this and I’m not going to try. All I can do is hope that eventually you’ll come to feel differently about it. But mostly I’m pissed that we had to have another discussion about you being honest with me. This is the last time we have this discussion, Jay. I mean it.”

Jason gives him a small, rueful smile and makes his way to him. He pulls Tim into his embrace and pecks his lips once.

“I know, baby. You’re right. I’m sorry. You deserve better.”

“Stop saying that. Please. I want you and only you ever. Got it? Now shut up and go put these on the grill. Everyone will be here soon and I still have to make the mashed potatoes, sautee the green beans and start on the triple chocolate cake.”

Jason groans.

“Please, please don’t ever invite our family over for dinner again. I can’t take a whole evening of Bruce yelling at Damian and Dick making googly eyes at Bruce and Alfred lecturing me about not making our bed…”

“Grill. Now.” Is Tim’s reply.

Jason heads out to the balcony, starts to slide the door shut when Tim starts to walk toward him. He opens the door back up and is a little surprised when Tim leans in and kisses him.

“I’m still rather angry with you, Jay. I don’t agree with you on this at all. But I still love you just as much as I always have and always will.”

Jason cups his cheek, rubs a thumb over Tim’s sharp little cheek bone in a gesture of understanding, and kisses Tim this time.

“I love you, too, baby.”

Both of their attention is suddenly drawn to the sound of their doorbell and Dick’s shouting coming from outside their front door. Jason sighs dramatically and Tim gives him a mischievous smile.

“Company’s here.”